|Ancestral Quill Unification Alliance (AQUA)|
|Regions|| The Jeweled Cities|
|Ruler||Skipper-General Andus Fitzrion|
|Capital||Pearl, Jeweled Cities|
Not much is known of the Quill or Islander Pre-History. There are few written records, and oral histories are inaccurate and prone to conflation as the years progressed. It is widely believed that the Islander and Quill were once a single people, living in the region now known as Tar. The Quill believe that descended from some kind of creatures called the Fey. They believe they once wielded awesome powers, but that has been lost. It is possible they were a mixture of human and non-human races of some sort. It is certain that both Islanders and Quill have the potential to live well past 100, barring malnutrition, disease, or violent death.
Scholars speculate that the two split sometime in the past. Some attribute this to the Quill’s cultural disdain for “imperfection”. Perhaps some group along the coast developed the characteristic eyelids or flexible ribs and large lungs of the Islanders and were banished. Others believe the natural disaster that destroyed so many civilizations and records over 300 years ago was to blame. Whether by persecution of by natural disaster, those that became Islanders made their way to the Tangarotha Archipelago, and lost knowledge of their genetic counterparts on the continent.
The Islanders quickly evolved to living around the sea, with their unique eyelids and flexible ribcages. Their sea-faring skills evolved as well, and they were the first to craft ships capable of sailing the Sea of the Golden Sun, as they called it. For centuries, they were the terror of the coasts, raiding, stealing, and carrying off people and supplies. Their society evolved around ship side practices, with a strong dual-nature of authority being present. Several cities grew up along the coasts, but the islanders treated them more or less like ships, with a single leader selected by the majority.
On the mainland, the Quill turned to a largely theocratic society of small tribes and a central council of religious scholars. Content to live behind the shield of the Blackadder forest and surrounding terrain, they made little notice for centuries. In fact, most other cultures only knew them by their single coastal city. This city, as it turns out, held most of the ‘warped’ and abandoned Quill, giving a false impression of the group as a whole.
The Nations form (270-357) Edit
When the Quill formed a united nation in roughly 340, the young and strapping Chief Talon Char (315-380)-and his wing (wife) Root (314-404) were chosen to lead. Talon was given the ability to raise and commands troops, collect taxes in the form of food and other goods, and had the power to declare allied, enemies and neutral positions towards other governments and organizations. In most political negotiations he was merely to be the elected face of the Elder Council, an elite caste of sages chosen for their uncanny wisdom and wile among temple priests who confer on issues about trade, diplomacy and learning.
Talon Char’s 30 year rule was a disaster. There was no significant progress in building up a nation, an army, nor making negotiations with other nations. Only the lizardfolk of Scla’ca and the Islanders of the Jeweled Cities even seemed to take notice of them. For a decade, many believed the place was called Meraska. But this was a lie fabricated by the deformed Quill outcasts who populated the city of Hart. While the lizardfolk’s Cult of the Sky made significant inroads into the Quill populace, it was the Shamans of the Wild, from the Jeweled Cities, who found a way to move Tar forward.
Change came to the Jeweled Cities slowly. It was difficult to get the fractious pirates, sedate farmers, rough and tumble miners, and the subsistence beachcombers to unite around anything. Into this situation was born Jonas Grumby in 302. His mother was a sailor and his father a subsistence beach-comber. He was born on the pirate ship Sunset, but made his home in the city of Pearl. He rose to command through his discerning nature, good fortune, and keen negotiating skills. In his later life, he parlayed his wealth into control of most of the intra-city trading and built up Pearl as the shipping capital. Along his rise to power, he gathered a cadre of close friends and associates. These folks went on to from the first Senior Council of the Jeweled Cities.
The Council’s structure worked. Kelp-olive oil production reached Great levels in 340. Numerous trade missions were launched. The Coral Skipper, Jonas’ vessel, became known as their flagship, with Pauly Feather’s White Osprey and the Blue Monkey’s the Gambler sailing along side. The constructed a Shipbuilding and Navigation Naval Academy over the course of 25 years. It still ranks as one of the prominent sources for such knowledge. Above all, the Council worked hard to promote peace, non-violence, and free trade. It became a mantra amongst the Jeweled Cities’ leadership that profit comes from the free exchange of goods. Every diplomatic effort they made was along those lines. Some might have seen that as suspect, given they had the largest standing Navy at the time, and were not sharing their ocean-going ship building techniques yet.
Perhaps the most significant promotion of this idea happened at the Central Sea Conference in 355. There, Jonas made contact with the people of Raaneka, forging a friendship that lasted for decades. Raaneka assisted in training the Islander military, and Anguri Adite was fostered there. She went on to become ruler of Raaneka decades later. An agreement with the lizardfolk of Scla’ca for a lumber for oil trade allowed for an increase in their navy. It also included a large docking facility in their port city. Another with the Alydaxian lizards for kelp-olive oil for their special metal Ordinarium. He made an agreement with the Union of the Northwest for a trade port in Ryazen Bay was signed, with ocean patrolling agreements and exchange of precious jewels for construction quality stone and lumber. This was the first agreement of its kind, and would herald later, greater efforts. They built up the largest navy in the Sea of the Golden Sun with all of this influx of needed materials.
Not all went well. Ongoing strife with the Shamans of the Wild kept shipbuilding stagnant. The agreement with Scla’ca for lumber only made that worse. The loss of The Gambler in 345 took the Blue Monkey and a shaman, who happened to be Lovey’s son, name Feather. The woman died of grief the next year. This also caused Gil Egan and Mary Ann Summers to leave the council. Jonas was force to open seats on the council to a general election. The city of Amber placed an air shaman by the name of Whisper onto the council. She was known for her fair looks and calm demeanor. Turquoise voted a man named Samhell Bellami, and Opal named Pauline to the council.
Samhell Bellami (320-373), also known as “Black Sam”, opposed Jonas early and often. He was one of the Blue Monkey’s chief lieutenants, and a villain to the core. Despite this, he had strong ties to the Shamans, richly bribing the spirits to assuage his guilty conscience. This gave him a certain amount of power. So did his well-known association with a “Meraskan” called the Blue Monkey, leader of a large pirate armada. Pauline (291-370), also known as Pauly Feathers, was a prominent and vicious pirate captain, despite being a woman. It is speculated she had unrequited romantic interests in Jonas Grumby, which put her at constant odds with Ginger Grant. She spoke for the unaffiliated traders and merchants on the council. Whisper (323—394), pushed hard on spiritual matters, seeing trade expansion as a violation of ancient practices. She spoke little, but her utterances carried great weight with the Shamans. She also resented the loss of Shaman’s power that the lumber agreement with Scla’ca represented. Jonas had to negotiate with many lands to allow shaman scholars to travel freely.
Various secret actions taken at the time proved to be nothing useful. Jonas’ daughters were rumored to have caused multiple embarrassing situations as they grew up, including sleeping with the Raaneki Prince Tikta the night before his betrothal to the Bordeusi princess was announced. In 356-360, they attempted to settle a region that was eventually called Cassia, in opposition to the desires of Bordeux. They failed. However, given the nature of the Cassia conflict decades later, perhaps this was fortuitous.
The Regina and the formation of AQUA 357-390 Edit
In 357, Amber Grant took over for her father Jonas Grumby. Amber and Evelyn were Jonas and Ginger’s twin girls. They had their mother’s looks and sex appeal, and their father’s business acumen and commanding presence. They travelled everywhere with their parents, growing up aboard ship, at diplomatic facilities, and on the islands in equal measure. They even travelled on their own, such as to the first Raaneki games of 347. It was a certainty that one of the two would take his place. But Amber’s choice puzzled some. She seemed more adventurous than her more cautious sister.
Some speculate Amber used the militia, whom she trained, to force her father out. Others say that a gift of a magical toy ship from the Lord of Fire consumed his attention. In any case, Jonas Grumby did move on to Chancellorship of the Nautical Academy upon his retirement.
Almost immediately, she was beset with problems. A drunken tavern brawl between her and her twin sister Evelyn turned into an attempted murder of Evelyn. She fled in terror. It would be decades until the two reconciled and uncovered it was the Bellami family behind the attempt, to sow dissent on the council. She managed to side-step any confrontation with Pauline by making her leader of Ryazen Bay’s trading port. The Shamans of the Wild were reputed to spread wild rumors to foment strife. A massive and unusual hurricane devastated the islands in the first few years of her rule. This hurricane caused a political storm, as the students from the Union of the Northwest were casualties. Their deaths were not believed to be accidental, and the agreement with the Union of the Northwest collapsed in 366. A short, brutal war in Celero threatened their non-violent dogma, and uneven application of their promises also contributed to that dissolution. On top of it all, Amber had a difficult pregnancy to contend with, giving birth to Jonas and Tempest Grant in the same year.
But she had some early successes too. In 370, construction of the Emerald City began on the Woodwind coast, having been successfully negotiated in 366. Ignato gained the expertise of the Islander shipwrights in exchange, and an ongoing trade of Kelp-olive oil for Nyrothian silk began. Construction was slow, as the Islanders had little experience building stone cities. It was helped greatly with the acquiring of mammoths from Wenyavuk. The northerners had a passion for Islander tropical fruit. Some say Amber meant to negotiate for mammoth fur, and got live animals instead on accident. In any event, she put her sister in charge of the construction, having reconciled after over a decade apart. The construction techniques and the management of a port on foreign soil was an excellent learning experience for the new leadership. It became the model for many other port cities to follow.
But it was during this time that the region of Tar once again entered into world politics. In 366, Shamans of the Wild began working with the Quill elder council to research the origins of both groups. They wrote to Amber with their findings, recommending that the two cultures be brought closer together. By the year 372, this had been accomplished under the banner of the Ancestral Quill Unification Alliance (AQUA). The event was used by Amber to reorganize the Senior Council and the elders to reorganize the Elder Council. Quiver Char (340-present) and Coal Char (337-present), children of the original ruler, were given mostly symbolic positions a “Warden of the West” and Aide-de-camp. Her sister Evelyn was given stewardship of the Emerald City. Samhell “Black Sam: Bellami died in 373 as a result of a disease from the Blackadder Forest, so his son was selected to by the Steward of Beryl, the Tar port city formerly known as Heart. Indigo Summers (346-399), son of Gil Egan and Mary Ann Summers was the representative from Opal. Atura Timber (318-418) was the Quill representative on the Council.
Most Council meetings were held aboard Amber’s flagship, The Endless Sky. Much of the acrimony was toned down. Atura was always pushing for more knowledge and research, and largely backed by Whisper on religious issues. Samhell “Junior Black” Bellami Junior was a profiteer and war-monger, but Amber and Ginger, with Evelyn’s’ proxy in hand, easily out-maneuvered him.
On the diplomatic front, the newly formed Ancestral Quill Unification Alliance (AQUA) answered the missive from a Lord of Fire devotee called Paco Guzman for teachers for the potential new Blazing Avatar. They sent Amber’s Father, Jonas, who had become bored administrating the Naval Academy and wanted one final adventure. They showed their naval prowess in a brief war with the Salterri as they ‘invaded’ the north in retribution for the annexation of Cassia by Bordeux. Amber lead the attack personally, her blue hulled, blue sailed flagship at the forefront of the battle.
They extended a helping hand to the Beregines after their devastating earthquake. Most significantly, AQUA brought together the Hurosha Empire, Guilder, and themselves to study the possibility of creating airships. Trade flourished under her leadership as well throughout the 370s to 390s. The Glazfell Hegemony, Guilder, the Hurosha Empire, the Ignato Empire, Jarrland, Raaneka, Razdis, Salteire, and Sympol, all opened or expanded trade with them.
In a very real way, the Grant family became the face of AQUA. Evelyn gave birth to twin boys Tarn anf Firth, then Martin much later. The father, Pinna was a native Quill, and insisted his name be included in their children’s last name. So they became known as the Grant-Tremblor family. It was, for a time, rumored the boys had gills, but it was merely a rumor. The families travelled together often and were frequent and popular guests at events like the Raaneki games, the ill-fated Grand Ball of 381. Raaneki and AQUA children were fostered with each other, building close relationships. Tempest, her daughter, was married to a Jarrow Prince, eventually becoming Queen. Jonas, her son, became a close and trusted advisor to Mashidi Shvedishtri “Bright Eyes,” ruler of Genivana and a member of the Triumvirate.
This viewpoint was cemented firmly in place during the Jeweled Cities 50th anniversary party in 387.
It was a celebration of the Grants, with all of the finest gifts and presents going to them. They gave the gift of Pitch technology to their closest allies. Pitch, a sticky burning fluid, was ideal for defense, and the product of years of research. It was the ultimate expression of their pacifism. It was a huge party- rumor was that they literally drank the Islands dry of alcohol. It was here that Tumberink Grumby arrived on the scene, in a rowboat no less. More family drama upstaging the accomplishments of the Jeweled Cities.
The End of the Beginning (387-399) Edit
It was, perhaps, Amber’s popularity that was her undoing. Consumed with the external affairs, she neglected several important ones internally. Almost from the beginning, she discounted the concerns of the Shamans and the Quill scholars around the lizardfolk’s Cult of the Sky. The Cult made significant inroads into Tar, almost eliminating their traditional religion entirely. She did allow a religious amphitheater to be built in Tar, but did little else. They called for military troops that never saw battle. When Chief Talon Char died in 380, she held no formal service, nor did she celebrate Tar’s unification five years later. Whisper, a councilwoman for decades died in 394 without even a formal letter from Amber, while her mother’s death a year later warranted a week of mourning. When the Great Famine gripped the continent in 390-400, she shifted resources to aid her allies, shorting the people of Tar and the Jeweled Cities of key imports. And she sent the fleet into a war between Bordeux and the Salterri where AQUA had no stake, for ‘international peace’.
Others close to her believe that she focused so hard on her relationships to other nations because of her continuing losses at home. The events of the Grand Ball scarred her dramatically. It was a religious event that, in a real way, took her family away. Her son was nearly killed and permanently disfigured. Instead of returning home, he became a monk. Her daughter went away (with a prince, but still) who swept the girl off her feet, literally, to save her. Then came finding out her father was dead in 387, “uncle” Roy passing in 391, her mother in 395, and “uncle” Gil and “aunt” Mary Ann in 397. Even her new half-brother Tumberink did not stay in the Islands long. Grief, loss, and anger at the religious in the council blinded her to what was coming.
With Whisper and Ginger passing on, the Council again shifted membership. Atura Timber stepped down, giving the Char voting proxies to a pair of Quill, Tupelo Cornus and Opus Petrichor. Thrustone Howell stepped down as well in 392, bringing in a Continetal, Verdo Collino, and a firebrand Shaman of the Wild. The shift in leadership puzzled observers, but many now point to it as a sign of Amber’s disconnection from internal politics. Stormbringer was aptly named- a fierce promoter of religious ideas. Tupelo and Opus successfully blocked any attempt at sanctioning the Children of Kina when they drove out the followers of the Cult of the Sky from Tar.
On December 31, 399, The Deceiver Cult launched a campaign of assassination against the Grant Family and their close associates. Amber and her life partner Iaz, along with another couple, were strangled aboard her own ship. Evelyn and her husband Pinna, along with their three children, were attacked at their residence in the Emerald City. The three boys escaped and fled first to Genivana, then to Raaneka. Indigo Summers was strangled near his home. Hawkeye Grumby, Inidgo’s adopted son, was attacked in the Tar city of Arrow. He managed to kill his attackers. Tempest and Jonas, being removed from AQUA politics were not targeted.
The council quickly reformed, and Tupelo Cornus was named Regent of the Jeweled Cities and Sagamore of Tar. They issued a proclamation to all the other rulers, explaining their actions.
They immediately sought to make their coup legitimate. They dissolved the Grants' hold on intra-island trade, redistributed resources, and held general elections. These elections put non-voting members on the council to voice their opinions.
Tupelo Cornus set out to preach to the masses, formalizing the Children of Kina as a religion. His speech, or variations of it, as given in hundreds of locations in the Jeweled Cities and Tar.
The assassination of the Grant family did not rest well with other regents. In Raaneka, Anguri Adite attempted to renounce her crown and leave to kill him personally. She was refused, and such was her rage that it resulted in her accidental death. In Jarrland, King Athelmere was driven to extremes, offering lands and titles to anyone who brought him Tupelo’s head. Assassins from Hrathan-Tuor were hired, and a group of nearly a dozen set off to accomplish the deed. Little is known of the battle in the swamps in 404. Tupelo and a large group of his Deceivers were killed, but many of the assassinating party failed to return as well, including Athelmere’s cousin.
His assassination set off a four year civil war. The Children of Kina, and the Deceivers, attacked indpendent ship captains and Shamans of the Wild, believing them to have assisted in the marytring of their leader. This, in return, sparked a wave of reciprocal attacks. Three thousand soldiers perished, four thousand crews and ships lost, and well over eleven thousand civilians died. The rule of law was replaced with the rule of the sword. The elderly claimed it was as bad as the worst of the pirate days before unificaiton.
In the end, Opus, Verdo, and Samhell formed a council of three. The Children of Kina held a majority faith in both regions. Minority faiths were allowed, with a tax. A huge monastary was started in Tar, to train people to control the winds.
The Quiet War (400-438) Edit
The Grant family and their allies were not defeated during the assassinations and following civil war. Verdo Collino remained an ally, if a quiet one. He understood his role was to keep Opus and Samhell fighting against one another. He used his training at the Guilder Institute for Clever Minds to control the treasury, allowing spending on harmless projects like the Aeromancer Academy. He cleverly maneuvered Junior Black into supporting his call to allow minorities of other religions into Tar and the Jeweled Cities. This, of course, incensed Opus. And so it went for the next three decades.
The three children on Evelyn survived and regrouped, first in Genivania and then in Raaneka. They lost a strong ally when Anguri Adite was crushed under the statue of Tupelo she sought to topple. But the Adite family embraced them. It was only a few years before they began to put their plan in action. Signore Collino made an unapproved trip to Jarrland to attend a wedding, and returned with an armful of trade agreements. These agreements were carefully orchestrated by the Grants to stretch AQUAs resources away from religious activities.
Tarn remained in Raaneka and eventually married into their royal family. He quietly funneled money and influence to those opposing the ruling Trio. In 417, Opus revealed that is aide, Fern Cascade, was actually his daughter. Political maneuvering by Signore Collino sent her off to Woodwind and Raaneka, where she encountered many who sided with the Grants. It also brought Hawkeye Grumby in as Collino’s aide, another direct affront to the Quill Opus Petrichor.
Firth travelled widely, being the most visible and harmless of those still alive. He travelled widely, drank greatly, and was a legendary lover of women both noble and peasant. Rumors and stories of his exploits took the attention off of the rest of the Grant family’s maneuverings.
Martin ingratiated himself first to Ambryn Jarrow, his cousin, then to Li Tailong, her eventual husband. More stories and tavern tales of his struggles abound. Li ascended to the Qzare of the Salterri Empire. He granted Martin governorship of a Prefecture far from the Islands, ostensibly to protect him. Much of the future success of AQUA in Salterri lands was due to Martin’s influence.
Slowly, the Grants built a coalition. The Free Alliance of Trading Ships was Tumberink Grumby’s contribution. Opus cared nothing for trade, and Junior Black wanted to rebuild the military into a raiding fleet. Tumberink gathered Salterri pirates and disaffected Islander merchants into a coalition to control shipping prices through force and guile. They were able to siphon off vast amounts of ‘legitimate’ funds hauling cargo or various projects. By 430, they were strong enough to negotiate deals with the Guilds of the Triumvirate right under the nose of the Trio. Huang Pei-Mei, a Salterri pirate, eventually married Tumberink.
The Trio, of course, did their best to heal the wounds of the civil war. Their ’goat in every yard’ program was popular with the farmers. Traders grew rich and prosperous with the new trade agreements. The Sea of Glass was colonized. Despite her private objections, Fern Cascade was married to the Crown Prince of Celero, and eventually made Queen. Mutual defense with Celero was formalized. But always something was done to spoil Opus’ success. Placing John Lafitte’s longtime ally, Pierre Mason, as Triumvirate Governor of Woodwind was a triumph; spoiled by the appointing of Hawkeye Grumby as Captain Administrator of Emerald City. Fern’s marriage was a strong tie to Celero; ruined when she forced Opus to take one of Prince Rion’s bastard children as an aide, and then adopt him! Verdo Collino retired in 428, but Tumberink Grumby replaced him.
In 436, Opus attended the Second International Council in Propinlonge. The Council was attacked by Ridolvo the Crazed. Opus was killed while struggling with one of Ridolvo’s followers. The council was pressured by Queen Fern of Celero and Linden Flint of the Children of Kina to select someone outside of the rancor of the last decades. They chose Andus Fitzrion, seeing the young man as malleable to their desires. Andus, however, was not the lamb they thought he was. He was smart, and clever, and disarmingly handsome. He officially retired the titles Regent of the Jeweled Cities and Sagamore of Tar. They were remnants of the old ways, he concluded. He formed his own title, Skipper-General. This was a throw-back to the original nickname for Jonas Grumby, their founder.
He attended the First Tellurian Games as one of his first official acts, determined to be the visible presence of AQUA that Opus never was. There, he met Ginger Grant-Tremblor, the adopted daughter of Martin Grant-Tremblor. The two were married in 438. This reunion of the Grant family line and the leadership of the Jeweled Cities marked the end of the Quiet War.
Adusian reformation (440-473) Edit
Andus did much to appease his new realm and bring prosperity to heal the old wounds. Consolidating pitch to Tar and gunpowder to the Jewelled Cities brought prosperity to both regions. He reformed the council again, granting only 1 council position to each realm and 1 at large position. Gonzo the Great and Sadie the Goat became full council-people. John Lafitte represented the Jeweled Cities and Tumberink Grumby took one of the Council at large position. In 456, the councilperson at large was expanded to 2 positions, with the election of a Cloudiz named Pyrithia. In the 460s, ame the expansion of the Jewelled Cities Shipyards and the creation of their trade ships as an exportable resource. Freedom of the press expanded with former Triumvirate speaker Kondriix Valtis founds “The Free People’s Press”, and other humorous or ritical papers followed.
He crafted a separation between the Children of Kina and the leadership. AQUA still provided funds and resources to the CoK, but at a loss of overall influence. Still, AQUA published ”The Call of the Mother”, supported the Wives of Black, and allowed development of the Holy Order of the Great Deceiver. The CoK missionaries spread out among the colonies of AQUA, New Crima, Faedas, Celero and others. The death of Linden Flint and the claiming of the position of Eldest Child of Kina by Elemi Scoria was fully supported by AQUA. AQUA also paid for the Holy Order to pursue Ridovo the Crazed. They declared a week of mourning when Fern Cascade died. Most importantly, however, was the Call of the Mother ritual, which was held with the blessing of the Council. Supporting all of these activities kept the faith and the secular activities separate and gave AQUA deniability for their actions.
Internationally, there were only a few crisis for Andus to deal with. He passed the Proclamation of Reconciliation with the Jarrs early on to normalize relationships. They discovered and colonized the Bloomenwald Isles. Grape-Lotus extract became a powerful narcotic sold by the disreputable, and he quickly introduced a quarantine to the islands. They hosted the Pink Tide Festival in 446, to celebrate love and to gather diplomats from other nations for vacations.
For a time, they opposed the Tzalteclan sale of slaves. They issued letters of Marque and Reprisal against their ships, and accepted slaves within AQUA as free people. Sadly, it did little to stem the sale. But the actions of these people led to the creation of a formal school for military ship captains, and the creation of trained Privateers. Guilder suffered under them for a few years after the attack by Ridovo on the Caercian Coronation. They were rescinded a few years later.
Their family grew, with Martina being born in 447, Percival (Percy) in 449 and Arthur in 456. Their extended group of ‘cousins’ spread their influence as well. Dominique and Emmanuel Grumby, Tumberink’s twin daughters, took control of FATS. Their main rival, Shale Vug, quickly met with an accident. The family escaped the horror of the MECK attack on the Caercian Coronation largely unscathed. Maximillian Grant-Tremblor married Pyrithia and had a child in 469. Dominique and Emmanuel both had sets of twins in 468.
There was some losses as well. Their nominal leader, Dowager Queen Fern Cascade, died in 468. Andus held her as a truer mother than his birth mother and declared a week of mourning. In 469, Hawkeye Grumby and Doris Robson retired from politics. Henry Braymore, their son, was elected Captain Administrator of Emerald City. Tumberink Grumby and Huang Pei Mei also retired, and turn to full time exploration of the seas. Phillip Grumby was elected councilman in his place. Philip rapidly assumed the position of Grant family historian.
The Transition to the Confederation Edit
By the mid-460s, Andus realized that the nations were aligning more and more into great Kingdoms and Empires. Even the Triumvirate was expanding and growing. If AQUA was to survive, it needed a partner. Their limited ability to build military units was clearly handicapping them. Celero was a natural choice given their close relationship. AQUA explorers discovered Novrania, and the three entered into early discussions to form a Federation. Differences in government combined with physical separation to make negotiations take well over a decade. In the end, however, it failed. Attempts to attract others failed as well. So Celero and AQUA turned to the Salterri.
Scholars debate the reasoning for such an action. Some point to long standing antagonism between AQUA and the empires of the west. Others claim it was due to the ability to the Salterri to block the Straights of Shengdi. The offered reason, however, was the large unexplored lands to the southwest. These lands would allow Celero and AQUA to grow and colonize in ways other nations couldn’t. In 473, AQUA signed the Greater Charter with the Salterri Imperium. They gained the lands of the Sea of Glass and Galomyr from Celero, and Novrania as well.
In order to ease the transition, Andus made the controversial move to disband the Senior Council. He retained most of the council as advisors with no real power. Some feared a return to the Grant dynasty that caused so much trouble in the past. This was amplified by a series of betrothals that took place in the early 470s. Martina Grant-Tremblor Fitzrion was married to Vitus of Caercia; Percy to Li Meishan Magnes Fireguard; Arthur Grant-Tremblor Fitzrion to Varwynn Jarrow of Ereycardia; and Markus Caine, King of Novrania, to Cecilia Abn Tnyn of Caercia. Distrust in the provinces grew.
For the next twenty years, the rulers of AQUA defined a new term “shuttle diplomacy”. The group was constantly on the move dealing with local issues and internal reorganizations. Each state was allowed to form its own government. Tar reinstated its Theocracy under a re-formed Elder Council. The Jewelled Cities implemented a city-state approach. Galomyr was a Republic, and the Sea of Glass picked someone to answer to AQUA. Andus worked with the Free Alliance of Trading Ships, integrating them into the structure and giving them lucrative contracts to carry official correspondence.
Andus took pains to satisfy numerous pet projects from the individual states. The University of Galomyr published its findings on the use of aloe vera and medicinal herbs in medical technology. Novrania’s “Rules of Benevolent Monarchy” was published. Plans for a new capital city in Galomyr were developed. Tar got funds for Cree refugee camps.
It took ten years, but eventually the groundwork was laid for a new entity to arise from the critical mass that was AQUA. On the summer solstice in 491, Andus announced the formation of the Seaborne Confederation. A great kingdom in function if not in name, it was granted the title Imperial Province of the Salterrin Imperium. Andus was granted the title of Proconsul to the Empire. Andus died of stress-related illnesses in 495.