Frontacian/Psycian War pt. 2
[This article was originally presented in the August 15,
1997 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "A Brief History of the
Frontacian/Psycian War" by Calondin Fflammdwyn.]
The Hidden War
There was a long period of well hidden hostilities between
the Frontacians and the Psycians. This period was filled with small scale violence
and various depths of subterfuge. There were too many episodes for me to detail each
one here. Perhaps Bards rather than historians should do the telling of individual
tales. That being the case, I will limit myself to recording the key events during
this cold war that led up to the catastrophic conclusion that ended not only the Isle of
Psycia, but also much of the Frontacian Empire itself.
Shortly after the Age of Expansion ended, the internal
structure of the Frontacian Empire was forced, by the lack of new frontiers, to
change. While the basic format of a Traders' Council did not change, the next level
in the hierarchy did change dramatically.
For centuries, the Frontacian Council was made up of an elite
group of families. Membership on the Council was given only to those invited in by
the Council itself. Given that those on the Council were not keen to share the
power, the rare family that managed to get added to the Council did so by applying
sufficient pressure to the necessary majority of the Council to receive the
invitation. At the end of the Age of Exploration, there were twelve seats on the
Now, these representatives of twelve families hardly were
enough to represent the interests of the myriad of Frontacian trading families.
However, due to the near pathological rivalries that existed between families, the Council
never united sufficiently to grant the elite families all the power and exclude those not
represented. The reality was quite the opposite, as those on the Council constantly
sought to undermine the positions of the others on the Council, often in retribution for
some age-old slight. Surprisingly, the constant jockeying for position and strength
within the Council allowed the smaller families to flourish, at least to some extent, in
the expanding empire. Of course, when the Empire stopped expanding, this turbulent
balance was bound to change.
Change it did. The influx on new lands, and with them
new markets, had brought the Frontacians an ever-growing economy. When this source
of growth evaporated, the Frontacians, as I have mentioned, turned to other means to
increase their wealth. The most dramatic method, at least internal to the Frontacian
Empire, was that the Council agreed to agree long enough to parcel out the known world
amongst the families represented on the Council. The lesser families would be under
the authority of the greater family to which they were assigned. While this new
hierarchy did bring greater wealth to the elite, it did so at the cost of the lesser
families who were none too pleased. They, in turn, grew more competitive with the
other families in their caste, vying more and more for a bigger slice of the proverbial
Aware of the discontent caused by their machinations, the
Council saw fit to start creating opportunities for wealth. These opportunities
could take many forms, be it a poor harvest in one area or the eruption of a battle
between neighbors. Whatever the form, there was always room for an enterprising
trader to make a profit. While it is true that the Council, aware of the upcoming
need from the manufactured opportunity, could profit the most itself, they allowed lesser
families to play a role, thus giving them a share in the profits. Now I am not
suggesting that every border dispute or famine or assassination that took place during the
Age of Domination was the result of Frontacian meddling. However, you will find a
Frontacian factor or emissary close at hand to many of that period's violent episodes.
Needless to say, those who were aware of the Frontacian
manipulations of the other races were a bit disconcerted. Primary among these were
the Psycians, who belatedly discovered some guilt for the role in keeping the Frontacians
in power. This realized guilt, along with the lessened benefits from working with
the Frontacians led the elder Psycians to start machinations of their own.
Initially, the Psycian efforts where primarily focused on the
dissemination of information to the other races. On more than one occasion, a
Frontacian plot would be foiled by a word or two put in by a Psycian. The Psycians,
however, did not limit themselves to simply working against the Frontacians among the
other races of the world. The Psycians' underground rebellion against the
Frontacians in power was also taken into the Frontacian homeland itself.
The Psycians who made up the communications network for the
Frontacians had always had as their mandate that they would forward information only to
the specific persons requested by their Frontacian masters. This control of
information allowed the Frontacians to direct who would profit from a famine, for although
many families may have interests in food resources, only those contacted would know to put
their interests for sale in particular areas. This control was not, of course,
limited to foodstuffs, but was valid for any commodity for which where was a sudden need,
be it weapons, wool, or whatever.
One of the goals of the Frontacian Council had always been to
maximize profits by limiting free enterprise. However, their change in structure at
the end of the Age of Exploration created sufficient unrest among the lesser families that
the occasional leakage of information from one Psycian to another brought on a surge of
price competition among the families. It could be said that no greater blow was made
against the Frontacians way of life than that of the Psycians releasing to general
circulation their inside information. Suddenly, many families were vying to be the
source of goods in trade deals. The birth of a free enterprise economy in the
Frontacian Empire terrified those on the Council, for wealth and control were their
foundations. However, because the entire Frontacian trade mechanism relied on the
Psycian ability to communicate over vast distances instantly, little could be done in
direct retaliation. Given that the Frontacians could not simply kill all the
Psycians, the anger at being played that was not given vent started to fester within their
The efforts of the Psycians were not the only source for
anger to the Frontacian Council. Not only were there reports of Frontacian families
undercutting each other, a previously unheard of thing, but also of mysterious traders of
other races seeming to appear out of nowhere, selling needed goods and vanishing.
Somehow, it seemed to the Frontacians, there were traders who were reacting faster than
the Frontacians themselves to emergency needs. Perhaps because of their aloof
superiority, the Frontacians simply could not fathom how anyone without the aid of the
Frontacian magickal bridges could bring goods to remote locations so fast. This
inability to believe that they were being beaten at their own game of instant trade, the
Frontacians grew steadily more frustrated and started turning to their military for
enforcement of their monopoly.
The Psycian Subterfuge
Any history of the conflict between the Frontacians and the
Psycians would be incomplete without a discussion of the role the Psycians played in the
development of war. The tight grip in which the Frontacians held the rest of the
world's races makes it easy to blame the Frontacians for all the harm that was done.
However, it would be unfair to the truth not to acknowledge that the Psycians played a
significant role in increasing the anger and frustration that eventually led the
Frontacians to violence. An altruist may say that it was the very arrogance of the
Frontacians that was the root of their violence. While that is a valid point, it
forgets that such arrogance is the very nature of Frontacians. To dismiss this would
be akin to blaming the Secians for giving aid to those being hunted down for the
crimes. The justice of the world may demand the death of those who kill for
pleasure, and it may be true that a Secian healing one such and thus allowing him to kill
again is in part guilty of abetting the further crimes. However, we cannot blame the
ensuing deaths caused by the criminals on the Secian who healed him simply because it is
the nature of the Secian to heal. Likewise, while me may abhor the atrocities
committed by the Frontacians, that they were driven by their very nature explains their
behavior, even if it does not forgive it.
I say all this because, as a Psycian myself, I expect the
revelations of the next few passages will focus on me some of the unbridled hatred my own
kind has for the Frontacians. Those who suffer the most like to believe they were
innocents abused by some great evil. I do not deny that the loss of our home and
most of our race was a horrific disaster. That perhaps we brought it on ourselves,
at least to some extent, is not a popular suggestion. However, popular or not, it is
The Psycian effort to weaken the Frontacian Empire hardly
stopped at promoting free enterprise through the dissemination of information. There
were, among a rare group of the Psycians, those with extremely rare capabilities.
These Masters of the Mind were enlisted to promote trade among the other races in a way
that rivaled the trade of the Frontacians. Specifically, these Psycians were able to
transport people and occasional items much like they could transfer information,
instantaneously and over great distances. This allowed trade in small items faster
than even the Frontacians could manage. Additionally, since it was Psycians
themselves who controlled the flow of information, the knowledge of needs could be
forwarded to the Psycians' own traders before the Frontacians.
The subject races of the Frontacian Empire were initially
startled to discover that others could provide their solutions to their trade needs.
After generations of relying on the Frontacians, it was unheard of to have outside
sources. This revelation struck at the very foundations of the control the
Frontacian Empire had over the other races. If the Frontacians could be beaten in
their area of mastery, trade, in what other areas could they be beaten? With this
question, the other races of the world began to push at the boundaries of what their
Frontacian masters would allow.
Finally the Psycians put their abilities to one other, ill
considered, use. Using their new influence with the lesser families they had aided
in competition, the Psycians started feeding the more militant and discontented Frontacian
families with what cannot be described as anything less that suggestions for
assassinations. By listening in on the planning of the Trade Council and then
locating their messengers, the Psycians were able to foil many of the plots the Council
hatched. Often this was accomplished by beating the Frontacians out directly.
However, in some circumstances, the Frontacian plan was thwarted by successfully
suggesting to a lesser family that they could profit by killing this envoy or detaining
that one. It would not be overly harsh to suggest that the Psycians were trying to
encourage a civil war among the Frontacians as a means of toppling their power.
Considering themselves immune to retribution due to the Frontacian reliance of Psycian
telepathy, the Psycians of the time were brash and often foolish. The very arrogance
that they used as reason to work against the Frontacians was becoming present in
themselves. Had the Psycians of that era not thought themselves safe from the
Frontacian wrath, it is possible that the final outcome of the coming war would have been
The Chain That Binds
The Age of Dominance
The Psycian arrogance that the Frontacians could not afford
to harm them held true, for a time. It was not long before the Frontacians
discovered their underhanded tactics. However, as I have mentioned, the Frontacians
could do little. At first, the Frontacians tried taking as prisoners the families of
the Psycians in their employ. They were startled to find that the Psycians did not
seem to care about imprisonment. Apparently they did not understand that to a race
that follows the way of the Mind, the location of the physical body matters little.
Accounts of these prisoners suggest that they merely took their incarceration as an
opportunity to reflect further on the Mind. Some even thanked the Frontacians for
taking them away from the daily chores that would otherwise have distracted them from
their mental pursuits. On the rare occasions that the Frontacians sought to punish
an employee by the murder of his family, the prisoners would be found missing.
Although a few of the prisoners were indeed killed, the majority simply vanished from
their cells. This inability to dominate their Psycian underlings festered in the
Frontacians and led to even greater anger. This anger, however, remained
unsatisfied, leading to greater frustrations.
Since the Frontacians felt they could not survive without
their Psycian communications, they turned their increasing frustrations out into the
world. Where before they had been satisfied to dominate trade, they now sought to
purely dominate. While they still dominated trade, their control was not
complete. Apparently their desire for dominance was sufficiently threatened to
warrant the application of physical domination.
The armies of the Frontacian Empire, bolstered by mercenary
companies of various races, spread through their magickal bridges across the world.
Since at this point the known world was already effectively part of the Frontacian Empire,
the presence of these armies served little purpose. The Frontacians, however,
apparently felt a need to reaffirm their position of power. These regional armies
were set to excising taxes and ensuring that any and all learned to fear the sight of a
Frontacian. The few who rebelled and challenged the Frontacians in battle quickly
found themselves facing three times their number as reinforcements appeared through the
magickal bridges. In the Age of Dominance, none stood against the Frontacians and
survived. None except the Psycians they could not afford to estrange.
In every corner of the world, the Frontacian Empire made its
presence felt. Local guilds paid homage to their Frontacian masters. Even the
thieves of the world paid their dues to the Frontacians who suffered their
existence. The Age of Dominance was an unhappy time for the world. It did not
last long, as ages go, but the sheer brutality of it warrants the title in the annals of
history. Where there were those who spoke against the Frontacians, there were
savage beatings and death. Where there were those who told tales of Psycians aiding
merchants, those who spoke were shunned by the fearful residents or simply
disappeared. In a world where Psycians exist, it is not possible to police the
thoughts of the world. However, the Frontacians certainly did try.
The Frontacians held the world, bound by the chain of their
might and their magick. Yet even as they did so, the presence of the Psycians, that
all the world knew were working against the Frontacians, nicked away at the links of that
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