The Reign of Bowie, 22 YD - 23 YD
This work is an account of my term as Lord Imperator of the great Republic of Swordfell, having taken office by election after illness debilitated our Lady Imperatrice Abbigal Pike in the cold winter of 22 YD. It ended in the Autumn of 23 YD after the Fellish nobles and I agreed that I would retire from public office. The deal was that in exchange for not continuing as Lord Imperator I would be appointed Duke and Margrave of Balance's Retreat. My reign officially ended when I was captured by rogues in the North Divide. Coincidentally, this imprisonment occurred at the exact same time as the elections began in the Republic. Leave it to the gods to intervene in such a peculiar way.
The purpose of this memoir is to act as an historical testament to the early time of Swordfell, during its Foundation Era, and to prove an effective guide for any successor to follow my example. It’s also done for personal conceit. If you happen to be elected Lord Imperator and don’t know what to do, these are the things I did with my time on the seat. I should say, however, that if you are elected without a goal or vision or a platform for your term in office than I must wag my finger in shame to the Fellish nobles who elevated you. No one should ever be elected without being worthy of the position, without being responsible for it and to it. I will include in this article the things that I did and thought, my principles and ideals, my reasons and justifications and my hopes for the future.
When I first entered office I was a bit cold to the geopolitical position of Swordfell in Central Toprak and on Dwilight, and so I took time to speak to my neighbours and acquaint myself with them. Much was still brand new, but a few things were already set before I took the seat. The alliance between Swordfell and the Morek Empire was long understood since the Conception Era. The alliance between Swordfell and D’Hara was established by my predecessor. The relation between Swordfell and Luria Nova developed from neutral to friendly through correspondence with Queen Alice Arundel. Relations with Corsanctum were friendly to concerning, and relations with Libero Empire were neutral. Swordfell had little contact with realms outside of Toprak or the Tomb Islands. I had personal connections to the Grand Duchy of Fissoa, to Barca and to Asylon, and so I could say we had friendly relations with those realms but nothing was official. The Farronite Republic was also friendly toward us unofficially. Terran was in its great peril and so they were not in the position to conduct any conversation with Swordfell.
After the wedding of Prime Minister Rynn JeVondair of D’Hara to Governor-General Khari Kye the two realms formed a federation. Swordfell was asked to join the federation but the Fellish elected to decline the offer. Consensus agreed that federations were a diplomatic coffin to our newly earned sovereignty. An Article was added to our Constitution to regulate such a diplomatic agreement in the future.
King Veles Sobczek of the Libero Empire and I held correspondence. The Libero Empire sought an alliance with Swordfell, but the Fellish did not seem too keen on it. The Libero Empire went on to voluntarily subjugate themselves to Niselur.
Regent Himeko Ishida and I also had correspondence before she ran away in a fit of romance, or so the story goes. After her eloping, Corsanctum, I suppose, went into a bit of a power contest. During that election time, a veiled threat was sent my way from one of the contenders for the Regency making Corsanctum a concern for Swordfell. The new Regent of Corsanctum, Norgard Kaltenthal, via moderation with Grandmistress Eviera Lanze, cleared up the issue and settled the unease.
The great challenge I faced was balancing Swordfell’s diplomacy between the frequent territorial antagonism between D’Hara and Luria Nova. Swordfell is positive toward both realms but those realms are negative toward each other, putting our Republic in the middle. Should any conflict reignite between our ally and our friend, the Fellish will have some critical decisions to make. I often pointed out that neutrality goes against the Fellish value of martial valour, and so I advise that some kind of action should be taken. However, pragmatism dictates that we can only participate in a vocal capacity, rather than a martial one.
Domestic Focus: Legal, Economic, Infrastructural, Political
Domestically, my reign oversaw the growth of the Constitution. Routinely, much to the irritation of some of the less bureaucratic minded Fellish, I pushed through several referendums for a variety of new Constitutional Articles. I sought to establish the basic foundation of the Republic, its levers and gears. These were things the group planned since before Foundation Day, and things that needed to be installed incrementally. It was important to do such as to ensure a well organized and ordered Republic for my successor in office and for the inheriting generations of Swordfell. Longevity is another Fellish value, and so I consistently thought of how nobles would approach Swordfell long after we pioneers were dead. The term for that regard is continuity. Although much of the function of the Republic is to allow for organic growth based on experience and sentiment as time goes on, certain functions required static design. One thing to keep in mind about discussing new policy and eventual referendums, make sure to set a duration for the conversation. Too often a proposition is made but the momentum is lost by slack contributors. The sun does not wait for man to wake; it rises, man be damned! Be decisive.
Swordfell became a regular trading partner with D’Hara during my term. Our surplus is their demand. I believe this relationship is beneficial for both our realms and should be maintained.
Infrastructural, I designed and announced the Five-Season Plan, a strategy to accomplish a collection of small goals that would progress the Republic’s condition. Categories included in the Five-Season Plan were recruitment centre upgrading, region maintenance and improvement, infrastructure construction (things like blacksmiths and banner makers), and expansion into our claimed territory.
A large part of the image of a realm is its military power. To better organize our armed nobility to respond to continental conflict or to internal strife or crises, I designed a meter. I named the meter the “War Footings.” The War Footings is a way for the Republic to determine the need of its military forces. Each of the three levels is associated with a state of the army and the diplomacy of the Republic. The lowest setting, Level One, is peacetime. The middle setting, Level Two, is mobilization, where all of the combat available nobles are required to field a specific strength of force and to gather as an army. The third level, wartime, is when the army is required to operate at full strength and where the High Command exercises full authority.
Since we are a noble Republic, it was also important to install a system of decorations for celebrating our glorious knights and dames, Vice-Marshals, Marshals and Archmarshals, thus we added the Battle Honours to the Constitution.
The creation of the War Footings and the Battle Honours defined Swordfell’s military tradition.
Cultural and Social Patronage
One of the most important Fellish values is community. It is also my favourite of the bunch. So, I made it a point to celebrate the little victories of the Republic and to encourage the little textures of our regions and the personalities of our nobility. In some way, in any way, I tried to make the motions of our realm matter to all of the nobles, to connect them as a group and to make them feel the realm was personal to them. There is nothing I hate more than a vacant community. Too many realms I have lived and witnessed were social deserts. Part of my drive in founding Swordfell was to correct such a grave insult to Dwilight! It might be that our neighbours or other realms on the continent are stifled and entombed, but never will that be Swordfell. The first strength of Swordfell is its community.
Community acts, such as parades or festivals, become part of the collective memory of the Fellish nobles, and hence improve the culture. Culture is memories, habits, traditions and relationships. Fellish of the Foundation Era retain memory of the Mud Crisis, our struggle against the tyrant Sevastian, and so that has become part of our culture. Elements of that memory surface in a variety of facets such as the performance I directed in the parade, where the Snake ate the knights who personified our values. Society is the events and activities of the community. I built Casino Ironsides in Flowrestown to have a space for the Fellish to gamble, and we did gamble on the duel between Queen Alice and Grand Duke Skyndarbau! Events such as the 100th Day Parade, or the Demon Celebrity Roast, improve the society and community of Swordfell and produce culture.
If it is the Archmarshal’s daily job to cleanse the Republic of monsters, undead and unwashed peasantry, it is the Lord Imperator’s responsibility to monitor and organize the culture, society and community of Swordfell. It is the Lord Imperator’s responsibility to manage and patronize this activity in any way the Fellish most enjoy.
In all honesty, I never planned to hold the title of Lord Imperator for too long anyway, only a term or two. Circumstance decided that I only reign for one term. Be that as it may, from the get go I acted as if I would only ever get one term to contribute my vision for Swordfell, to give all I had. For those planning on campaigning for the seat when I retire, or for those in the far future who are looking back at the early days of Swordfell, know that you are the person to add the next chapter in the Saga of Swordfell. If you do nothing, the page count will remain the same, you will be merely a bullet point. Probably, you won’t even be recorded at all if you live with an attitude of apathy. If you do something, anything of merit, then you will progress our Republic to new arenas and elevate it to higher summits. We, the pioneers, built Swordfell and will pass it on to the next generation. They will maintain it and progress it and all of their work will be inherited by the generation after, who will do the same for the generation after that, and so it will go for a thousand thousand years. That is the purpose of our Fellish nobility, to build and improve the civilization of Central Toprak. This is our territory, our sphere, and, the analogy I enjoy using most, this is our garden.
Tend to it and it will bloom, ignore it and it will wither.
Autumn 23 YD