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2.  The perversion of power: Borbar Measel, 812-819


Borbar Measel can be seen in two ways. Firstly, he has traditionally been considered as an Atlantean nationalist, a xenophobe, and an adherent of the most extreme wing of the Brotherhood Party. As such, he rejected all the changes wrought within the Empire since 750, and wanted only to return it to its original Atlantean core, purged of all other races. It would be run for and by the Juralic peoples, especially the Atlanteans, while all other peoples would be suppressed, expelled or exterminated. This doctrine was not part of Yrutiensí original brotherhood philosophy, which sought no more than the return of ethnic minorities within the Empire to their "original" subordination to Juralic leaders, or to encourage them to leave the Empire. Later this was developed by some Brothers to suggest that the bounds of the Empire should be contracted to exclude these peoples altogether. Borbarís beliefs were developed in the 800s by a small Brotherhood clique, and had indeed been condemned by Yrutiens just before he died. He and some others wrote a book in 803 setting out these views, and it is interesting that Borbarís contribution laid particular stress on the need for absolute power and authority to be vested in the Brotherhood leaders, and the necessity of complete ruthlessness in suppressing all dissent. Others of the writers added that while violence and terror would help to secure this power, the public should also be given "carrots" in the form of entertainment to keep them favourable disposed towards the regime.

This is one view about Borbar. But the other angle is that Borbar was really just an amoral adventurer. Power-mad and out for what he could get, he used the extreme views of the Brotherhood Party simply as a cloak for his own ambitions. Recently this has been taken as the most accurate view of his disturbed character. In fact, though, we have to consider that both these elements contributed towards his character and policies. There is no doubt that he genuinely believed in the extreme Brotherhood beliefs in Atlanteanism, and the ruthless methods necessary to maintain them in power. Moreover, his amoralism was moulded by the atmosphere of the previous decades, in particular by the philosopher Pouton. This meant that he felt no inhibitions whatever about using violence, torture and murder to maintain absolute power for himself, and carry out his policy of remaking the Empire as a pure Juralic state.


Borbar was generally known by his first name, unlike his predecessor, and was supposedly an Emperor, although he hated being called that, preferring the term "Leader" of the Empire. None of the Tyrants (as they were to be termed after 828) called their period of power the Fifth Empire, as might have been expected, but simply the Atlantean Empire; in 821, Brindor would change this to the "Brotherhood-Federation", with himself as "Great Leader".

Borbar was a giant of a man, over 6 foot 4 inches tall, weighing 17 stone, with thick black hair, and the bushy moustache which became "de rigueur" as a fashion mark of the era. He was harsh and strict, showing little affection to anybody. To anyone who crossed him, he was invariably unforgiving, and such people were usually executed or imprisoned for many years. He was married, and had 4 children by 819 (when he was 48 years old). It emerged later, however, that he also led a secret life of liaisons with other women, some of whom were revealed to be non-Juralic. Such revelations, and other more extreme ones, were assiduously put out after the fall of the Tyrants in 828. This was another example of his deviousness, as publicly, at least at the start of his reign, he continued to promulgate the morality of good family values.


Security Army soldier, 815 
Borbar was determined to castrate the Frontier Army, so that he would never suffer the fate of his predecessor at his own hands. He carried out another purge in 813, replacing all non-Juralic officers with Atlanteans, where possible. He also reduced its size considerably, and in both these ways, impaired its efficiency quite a lot. He was forced to introduce conscription for the Frontier Army after 815, and in fact deliberately encouraged the use of certain non-Juralics, such as the supposedly warlike Dravedeans. But at the same time he sought to eliminate the signs of the Dravedeans within the Empire, and rechristened the Province of Dravidieh II as Gestchalcrieh. The Frontier Army was kept busy with relatively minor operations across the Gestes and in the south, keeping it employed and out of mischief. This kept the Ughan Army out of the way while Borbar persecuted the Ughan population west of the Gestes. There was also a revolt against Brindor in Penedrin (The South Island) in 813, which was put down with difficulty only by 817. Guerilla activity continued, however, and Brindor finally abandoned the Island in 821, withdrawing the garrison. (It never reverted to Atlantean control thereafter).


In the south, the cease-fire negotiated by Celeuos with the Rabarrans broke down, and small-scale fighting resumed. Gradually the effective area under Atlantean control shrank, notably in the former Yall. Thiss. Province. Terrorism and assassination of Atlantean officials also resumed, and infuriated Borbar. He decided to teach the Rabarrans a terrible lesson, and the result, though admittedly effective, makes clear the moral depths to which the Atlantean regime, and many of its subjects, had sunk. In 815, he proposed a general armistice and a conference which should lead to permanent peace conditions. He offered to agree to a new border between the two states roughly corresponding to the position in 810. This would make formal all the Rabarran gains up till then, under the strict understanding that Rabarrieh should never again attempt to undermine Atlantean control of her side of the border. It was suggested that Uarilteccoth, as a neutral country, at present, should attend and act as "honest broker". However, in secret, Borbar intended to strike a double blow against the Rabarrans under the cover of this Peace Conference, which would outdo in treachery anything else ever committed in Atlantean history. He managed to keep his plans secret, and employed only his Security Army for the military part at Dohgash.

After much internal argument, and amidst deep mistrust of Borbar, Rabarrieh finally agreed to the conference, and Uarilteccoth willingly took its part, with the promise from Atlantis of the cession of territory north of the river Vulcan. In June 816, the peace officials collected in Dohgash, chosen because both sides claimed the battle there in 807 as a victory for them. Discussions went on for weeks, and in September, Borbar proposed that the heads of Government and their Ministers should now meet, in a grand ceremony, and then thrash out the remaining details. This was agreed, and the great event began on October 6th. Having hitherto shown a great deal of moderation and willingness for peace, Borbar had by now lulled the Rabarrans into a false sense of security and hope for a final peace settlement. (Though they had their own plans about taking over the rest of Atlantisí territory south of the Helvengio in years to come).

But now Borbar unleashed his treacherous surprise. A large force of specially trained commandos and Security forces suddenly descended on the sleeping quarters of the Rabarran politicians at 3am on October 9th, and ruthlessly shot down most of them taking certain picked ones hostage. The Rabarran security forces reacted slowly and inefficiently, and by next day, all the Atlantean politicians with about 50 prisoners had moved out behind the barrier of a strong military force. They left behind 300 people dead and 250 wounded, including most of the Rabarran heads of state and army. The Uarilteccoth diplomats and heads of state were scrupulously left alone. Next day, as all the Atlantean civilians and their prisoners were hastily evacuated, Borbar announced that this action had been taken as revenge for years of Rabarran terrorism. He now warned Rabarrieh to instantly agree to peace, and threatened to kill his captives, one by one, if the Rabarrans so much as shot one more Atlantean soldier.

The Rabarrans were outraged, of course, and as Borbar had expected, immediately declared war again. Borbar now began to publicly execute some of his more important prisoners, and then to torture them first, leaving the broken bodies for the Rabarrans to find later. But as he had assumed, another harsh blow, already prepared, seemed needed to finally crush the spirit of the Rabarrans.

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