Beginning of an Empire
Following the Cataclysmic Era, Kalquorians gathered in small groups under territorial chieftains. These groups often clashed over resources such as water, food, and technology. Because such a small amount of time had elapsed between the fall of the great cities and the Kalquorians’ re-emergence, there were still records and stories of the engineering feats of the first Kalquorians. Claiming control over the machines that made survival and even flourishing easier to maintain was uppermost in the chieftains’ plots to retain control and gain more power. Most of these machines were underwater or destroyed, but a few remnants were discovered here and there. Water purification systems, sewers, farming equipment, and manufacturing devices were either put back to work or their remains studied and re-fabricated.
Weaponry of the ancestors was also coveted. Better arms meant more resources and more power for the leaders of the various groups. It started small with the chieftains setting on their neighbors. The losers of these struggles would be absorbed into the populations of the victors. Larger and larger areas became the fiefdoms of kings. Intermittent wars were fought over thousands of years, as happens on so many planets as their populations experience the growing pangs of civilization. Thousands of kingdoms became hundreds, hundreds became dozens, until at last Kalquor was split between two opposing countries.
There were long stretches of uneasy peace between the two, interrupted by devastating conflicts from time to time. At last the final great war was fought until the whole of the planet was placed under one ruler. Insurgencies would rise for the next two centuries as the conquered lands tried to regain their independence, but rebellions were put down. At long last the planet’s population settled into one government ruled by a single emperor and the advisory council elected by the people of Kalquor. The empire was born.
The War of the Breeds
Because Dramoks were recognized leaders, it was always a member of this breed that sat on Kalquor’s throne unless a crown princess was born before a Dramok heir. That meant that even if the emperor had several Nobek and Imdiko sons, none would inherit the throne. Upon the emperor’s death or inability to rule, the eldest Dramok or Matara relation deemed capable by the council would assume the crown.
Eight thousand years ago, Emperor Odmal died. His elder son Nobek Chigrit was passed over in favor of younger sibling Dramok Nakew for rulership despite Chigrit’s amazing defense of Kalquorian space against a much larger force of invading Bi’isils. Nakew becoming emperor was not unexpected, but the new ruler added insult to injury when he made his personal bodyguard and lover Nobek Fepnin the high commander of Kalquor’s military, stripping the decorated Chigrit of his rank. The soldiers who saw Chigrit almost as a god were incensed by this. Many openly vowed that if the prince rebelled against his brother, they would take up arms in support of his cause. The council begged Nakew to reconsider the appointment, but the new emperor, known for a large dose of his own megalomania, refused to be swayed.
Nakew had made a terrible mistake against a man who was already teetering on the verge of violence. History tells us that Chigrit had chafed most of his life under the belief that Nobeks were being marginalized by the Dramok breed. He had publicly railed against the unfairness of Nobek youngsters ripped from their families and treated like animals in the training camps. It should be noted that Chigrit had attended a training camp that was later closed down for excessive brutality against its students. Many of its administrators and instructors were convicted of abuse, but in the Nobek prince’s case, the damage had been done. He remained convinced that the Nobeks were victims of prejudice and tyranny, even though many of those who had harmed him and others were Nobeks themselves.
After his demotion, Chigrit became ominously quiet. What young Emperor Nakew didn’t realize was that his older brother was quietly gathering his loyal Nobek troops to his side and plotting the overthrow of the crown. He was a charismatic speaker, able to make similarly disenfranchised Nobeks accept his arguments that their breed was regarded as no more than watchdogs by the Dramoks. Young Nobeks in particular fell prey to his rhetoric, looking to ensure themselves status and accolades.
Two years after Nakew’s coronation, Chigrit struck. The Nobek-dominated military turned on the emperor and the council, which was made up of Dramoks. Nakew barely escaped with his life, due mostly by the quick actions of his lover Fepnin. He was forced to go into hiding.
Chigrit might have received some measure of sympathy had his atrocities against those he captured not been so heinous. Once he claimed the throne for himself and declared the council disbanded, he declared war on all Dramoks. The gutted bodies of Dramoks, particularly those who had occupied high office, decorated the outer walls of the Royal House.
Seeing the bloody carnage, the Imdikos declared themselves aligned with the Dramoks. The two breeds gathered not under the banner of the deposed Nakew, but that of his uncle Prince Rogiz, a respected elder Dramok of the Imperial Family. Rogiz called the two breeds to fight against Chigrit, and the War of the Breeds commenced.
What followed were three terrible years of death and brutality. For the first two and a half years, the Nobek army scored victory after victory, savaging not just unknown opponents, but also Dramok and Imdiko fathers, brothers, and sons. Some Mataras joined in the fight, their loyalty often determined by the most important men in their lives. Chigrit’s daughter Hamu was often found on the front lines, cutting down her father’s enemies with the same bloodlust of any enraged Nobek until she was killed during battle.
Chigrit himself was not content to hide behind his lines. He was often the first on the battlefield and the last off. His huge size and propensity for stomping on the dead and dying bodies of his enemies, grinding their flesh and bones under his feet, earned him the moniker The Big Boot.
A Surprising End
The tide began to turn against Chigrit when an Imdiko medical technician, working on a way to non-invasively immobilize critically wounded patients for transport to surgeries, stumbled on the shockwave device. Those in the shockwave’s path were instantly knocked unconscious. Upon regaining their senses, the victims’ overwhelmed nervous systems meant hours of incredible pain, during which time they found it difficult to attack others or defend themselves.
Prince Rogiz recognized the importance of this device almost immediately and ordered it weaponized. During a ground battle near the Imperial capital city, two dozen shuttles overflew the fight and aimed their shockwaves at the opposing army. The Nobeks went down, almost to a man.
Chigrit was on another continent, fighting at the front there when word reached him of the Dramok and Imdikos’ new weapon. He immediately sent a team of infiltrators and spies to capture one of the shockwave devices, but Rogiz kept his new toys well hidden.
Rogiz’s forces, their numbers cut by the many months of fighting a superior enemy, were now winning all ground battles. Shockwave attacks left Nobek airbases with no one to guard their fighters and destroyers, setting up complete destruction of Chigrit’s air and space power. Three weeks after the first combat use of the shockwave, Rogiz called for the Nobeks to surrender.
Chigrit refused. “We will fight until every last Nobek lies dead, with as many Dramoks and Imdikos as we can take with us,” he vowed.
Rogiz’s response was no less vicious. He ordered that all Nobek soldiers felled by the shockwave be killed rather than taken prisoner. “If the entire breed is destroyed, so be it,” he said.
The war might have dragged on but for the shocking actions of Chigrit’s two wives, Budelon and Pevir. Unbeknownst to their mate, they had plotted behind his back, sickened by the war and his madness. They had both lost all the males of their immediate blood families to the war, with the exception of their two youngest sons. The eldest of the Mataras, Budelon, had set up a secret network to important female leaders of the major cities. One of her contacts was Prince Rogiz’s wife Princess Gamrec. Hours after Rogiz’s pronouncement of death for all Nobeks captured, a frantic Gamrec called Budelon, insisting they had to act immediately. Gamrec’s father and two of her brothers were Nobeks, men she loved despite being on opposing sides of the fight.
Chigrit’s wives had their own reasons to panic. Pevir’s son had just been categorized as a Dramok, and Budelon’s showed all the characteristics of being an Imdiko. They feared in his madness, Chigrit would kill the boys.
Pevir is credited as being the main architect of what came to be known as the Matara Ruse. The plan had been known for months to those in charge of implementing it. Two days after Rogiz’s death sentence on the Nobeks, Pevir gave the signal.
As most the men waged war against each other, the women climbed aboard space cruisers, taking their children and elders with them. They left Kalquor in a mass exodus, taking a six-day journey to a small outpost moon where Pevir had quietly overseen the building of a refugee camp. Budelon had also arranged for a communications satellite that scrambled the location of its transmissions.
Approximately three-quarters of Kalquor’s Mataras had left. The sight of so many transports departing the planet had gotten the immediate attention of the warmongers. Fighting ceased as the men scrambled to discover what had happened. Even Chigrit was distracted by the unforeseen abandonment. He failed to mount any attacks on Rogiz’s confused forces as he searched for clues as to where his wives and children had gone.
Nine days after their disappearance, Budelon and Gamrec sent communications to their husbands, demanding a truce be declared between the breeds. “Enough blood has been spilled. Enough of our people have died. This ends now,” Budelon told her mate. “If it does not, we refuse to return.”
Chigrit screamed his denial, declaring he would destroy his enemies or be destroyed. One of his generals in attendance, said by many to be the father of Princess Gamrec, cut Chigrit's throat on the spot. “It is ended,” he told Budelon. “Let the lifebringers come home.”
As simply as that, the War of the Breeds was over. The Mataras did not return to Kalquor right away, insisting both sides come together to reform a new government. It is apparent Budelon and Pevir had apparently not just put their minds to ending the war; they had also expended a great deal of thought on post-war Kalquor. It was their recommendations that led to the re-installation of not only the Dramok emperor and his council, but also the advisory positions of the Imperial Family’s highest ranking Imdiko, Nobek, and Matara. In the case of an Empress taking the throne, a Dramok advisor would be included in the Imperial Trust, as it came to be called. While the Emperor or Empress would lead, the opinions and recommendations of the entire Trust would be on public record. Should all the members of the Trust along with the majority of the council disagree with the ruler on a law or policy, his or her decision would be overturned.
Another condition of the Mataras’ return was crowning Rogiz as emperor instead of the irresponsible Nakew. Though it was agreed Chigrit might have fallen into madness without his brother’s insult, it was undoubtedly Nakew’s actions that set the war in motion. In retaliation for losing the crown, he and his Nobek lover, who had remained at his side during the war, tried to assassinate Rogiz. They were publicly executed for treason.
The final ingredient for peace was the unilateral pardon of all Nobeks who fought for Chigrit, with exception of those responsible for the worst atrocities. This allowed many men to return to their homes and families and take up their lives where they'd left off. This atmosphere of forgiveness allowed Kalquor to make a fresh start and leave the ravages of war behind. There has not been civil war among the Kalquorians since the War of the Breeds.