[I’m working to develop the world for my next NaNoWriMo story. Here’s my first stab at the backstory behind it. What do you think?]
Once upon a time there were two kingdoms, Yasgur and Addison. Yasgur was located in the southern part of the land, and had warm weather and a laid-back attitude, while Addison was to the north, with colder weather and more competitiveness. Both kingdoms were quite modern, with recognizable technologies and some rather advanced innovations, especially in the area of biotechnology.
There was a conflict between the two, a war if you will. It was short and bloody, as conflicts between such modern actors will be. The cause is irrelevant, the outcome perhaps predictable. Addison was on the verge of wiping out Yasgur, and possibly being wiped out in return, when an accommodation was reached. A cessation of hostilities, guaranteed by an exchange of hostages. These being kingdoms the hostages were members of the two royal families, children of the two kings, who were quite young at the time.
That ended the fighting, and for Yasgur the war as well, but the kingdom of Addison was not so easily deterred. While Yasgur went about rebuilding itself, Addison started a two-pronged strategy to conquer its neighbor in such subtle ways that it wouldn’t realized the war was still being fought.
The first prong was corruption. Yasgur was ruled by a king, true, but his rule was guided by a parliament made up of leaders of the major houses and representatives of the people. Key members of parliament, people of influence, received bribes in the form of campaign support and monies with the only expectation being that they would vote as Addison directed on certain measures.
The second prong was infiltration. The damage done to Yasgur’s economy and military left many opportunities for rapid advancement, and Addison was able to place agents inside both who advanced in position and power as those institutions were rebuilt.
There was a third prong, intelligence, but this was really quite a minor thing, since it was an area in which Addison had long excelled. Addison’s development of drones for information gathering and remote strike ability proceeded unabated by the cessation of hostilities. By contrast, Yasgur focused its technology advancements on animal-cyborg developments as a way to supplement its decimated workforce.
Several years after “the end of the war” Addison implemented the final phase of its plan. The king of Yasgur suffered an “accident” and the resulting power vacuum was filled by a minister on Addison’s payroll, who promptly urged closer ties between the two kingdoms. The motion passed by the narrowest of margins, and was reaffirmed not long afterward by a hotly contested election which nonetheless resulted in a large majority of seats in the hands of the pro-Unification party. Soon after the king of Addison was crowned king of the United Kingdom of Malum, and the purges began.
And what of the hostages? When the king of Yasgur died his children were “discarded” as no longer necessary. His eldest son wound up in the biotech labs as an experimental subject, while the younger was dumped into an orphanage that fed into the military academy.
The king of Addison’s children fared slightly better, being distributed into the foster care system and effectively lost in the bureaucracy. They were a son and a daughter, by different wives. The king went on to father more children, so reintroducing them into the succession would prove awkward, thus they were pronounced “dead” complete with state funerals so that his younger children could inherit.
A decade later a coup occurred that resulted in the death of the king and the ascension of a young, charismatic leader whose swift rise to power was attributed to a magical power of persuasion. He cemented his rule via the bloodiest, most repressive tactics imaginable, making full use of the latest technologies. Those in opposition were branded “traitors” and “terrorists” and most were simply killed, but a few select members were instead imprisoned in a high security facility located in a small town far from the capital.
This is where our story begins.