The coup of Dahl'Arak in the Drow city-state and hegemony of Negeémiliel brought General Danieh'le Dahl'Arak to power as Keeper of the Web, Web-mistress and the Protector of the Negeémi Republic of Negeémiliel.
The Coup d'etat was a self-coup, in which the ruling Negeémi Senatorial Party, despite having come to power through legal means, in order to avoid a coup d'etat organized by the Negeémi Populist Party, that had majority rule on the Low Council of the government of the Negeémi city state, dissolved and rendered powerless the national legislature, unlawfully assuming General Dahl'Arak extraordinary powers, not granted under normal circumstances, annulling the nation's constitution and suspending civil courts.
While the High Priestess remained in her position as 'Head of the Spider' -head of the government of Negeémiliel-, and General Dahl'Arak remained only as a Leg of the Spider -member of the Inner council of government- she actually became a dictator.
This occurred on the 25 to 31 October 2428 a.a.H, year 4868 under the Negeémi Calendar.
Historical context: the Populist and the Senatorial FactionsEdit
Since around the 1500 a.a.H, two main political parties rose in the southern drow city-state of Negeémiliel: the Senatorials and the Populists.
The senatorials were a traditionalist group, that wanted to perpetuate the social structure of Negeémiel, meanwhile the populists sought for the reform of the system, such as expanding citizenship to even more Negeémi drow.
Between the 1500s to the 2072 a.a.H, the relations between both factions will be mostly polite -but as with drow politics, with plots, conspiracies and machinations-, being alternated longer periods of government by the Senatorial party, along with brief governments of Populist charismatic leaders: however, being fewer in numbers, they couldn't achieve significant reforms, and when they intended to do so, the power returned in the elections to the Senatorials, being perpetuated the status quo.
However, this comfortable situation began to change since the 1700s after the defeat of the dual-alliance of Ched'Nasan and Ched'Hihrin that had for long contested the power of Negeémiliel, which meant a significant expansion of the territories held by the city: for this began pressing the issue to control the larger empire, and more acolytes were needed, so there were reforms to extend citizenship even more, as intended by the populists.
This meant that slowly, the new acolytes that entered the system with populist affiliations -after their acolytal service- were to enter into politics, slowly shifting the balance from a minority of the populists and senatorial majority, to even political power:
It will become more difficult each time to reach agreements, as the discussions in the Low Council became longer and longer, and while the Populists and Senatorial alternated rule continued, began to be each time more frustrating for the populists how slowly reforms were done.
This will mean an escalation of tensions, until at the year 2072 a.a.H occurred the Khalazza Coup, when the councilwoman Haelra Khalazza seized the power in a bloody coup d'etat, raising herself up as a dictator, banning the high and low councils and pushing an aggressive reformation program, which was really a revolution.
The absolute rule of Khalazza would be however short lived, as by the 2084 a.a.H a bloodless coup d'etat by her own officers, scared by the speed of the changes, took her out of the office, and for the 2084 to the 2120 ruled a military junta lead by the populist General Felyndiira Olonrae, who scaled down the reforms from her predecessor, but still keeping dictatorial powers for herself: at least until at the 2120 a.a.H Haelra Khalazza will return from exile in Erehel-Sinu with an army, forcing Olonrae in exile, and asuming again as dictator. While she was able to seize power thanks to Erehel-Sinu, and was expected to be a puppet of the foreign city, she quickly turned against Erehel-Sinu, beginning an agressive expansion program in the exterior and a revolution within Negeémiliel, keeping with an iron grip the city and repressing her political enemies.
After defeating Erehel-Sinu, she continued with an agressive policy toward the surface, fighting the Hebonnor, and underworld, against the Nortunk dwarves.
However, her agression campaigns will extenuate the Negeémi forces and Negeémiliel, and will be assessinated at the 2166 a.a.H by a group of close populist politicians. A brief period of anarchy would follow, while the three main populists generals fought each other for sucession, until the dicator Miz'ri Vrinn raised in power.
As her antecesor, an ambitious populist general, she was interested in consoldiating the conquests of Khalazza and expanding them into a Negeémi empire, over and under the surface of Aels, harboring the secret desire to become Queen of Negeémiliel. To achieve this goal, she reestablished the institutions of Negeémiliel and put on hold some of her predecesor more radical and hated reforms, to appease the Senatorials.
This granted Vrinn estability, and to realice her imperialistic dreams, she signed at the 2169 a.a.H a secret alliance pact with the Dark Legion, in which Negeémiliel alligned themselves along with the demon lords for the incomming war that the demon overlords prepared.
That's why during the First War of the Power (2203-2223 a.a.H), Negeémiliel will support the Dark Legion, sending expeditionary forces to reinforce the Dungeandar drow heterogeneous armies in northern Aels, and as well fighting in southern Aels along the forces of Satman against the Empire of Uslen, the Hebonnor and the dwarves of Nortunk. By the year 2207 a.a.H, when was thought only was matter of time the complete demon victory, Miz'ri Vrinn proclaimed herself as Queen of Negeémiliel.
But with the arrival of the forces of the venerable Empire of Whide Axis at the 2209 a.a.H, will change the tide of the war, lossing Negeémiliel forces during the Siege of Hortann, as Queen Vrinn tried send a relief force, ans she will finally be killed in the Battle of the Titanizk Mountains, where she was smithen by the Emperor of the Elves.
Her underage daughter Phaere Vrinn hadn't the power to claim sucession of her mother, and while some of her mother generals tried to held regency for her, at the 2221 a.a.H the Council of the Regents and Queen Phaere Vrinn where defenestrated, and Negeémiliel pulled out of the Dark Legion of Demons.
The monarchy was abolished, and the traditional institutions where reinstalled: With the military defeat, the populists lost much of their support, becoming once more time the Senatorials -after such long time- the hegemonic power.
The senatorials government where able to keep some of the territorial surface gains and most of their underworld territories, dedicating the Senatorials to consolidate their power.
But as the generations of acolytes that where raised under the rule of Khalazza and Queen Vrinn became adults, still holding dear many of their ideals, populists began to gain again some power.
The hegemony of the Senatorials will last from the 2221 to the 2350 a.a.H, governing the destiny of the city -thought not completely unchallenged, due the rise of the monarchists who tried to place in the throne Queen Phaere Vrinn, and some populist conspiracies beyond the accepted political game.
But with the further expansion of the Negeémi empire, as always more acolytes where needed, and once more time citizenship was extended to more drows, which reinforce the Populists bases.
But the further flowering of the Spidersilk trade will make a larger, wealthier class of Commoners by the 2300's, with aspirations of citizenship, which will began to put pressure into the system:
And so, by the 2350 a.a.H, once more time the Senatorial and Populist forces will be matched, and afterwards, the number of seats occupied in the Lower Council by the Populists will all but rise, reaching a populist sorceress the High Council at the 2380, and by the 2421 a.a.H, Selene Paen'Dhirra will become the High Sorceress of the Temple of Doom: the Populists controlled then the mayority of the Lower council and 3 seats of the High Council.
The Rise of the Cult of the FlowerEdit
Beginnings of the Cult in the CityEdit
The Cult of the Flower was the cult dedicated to the Goddess Jabharil in Negeémiliel. Jabharil was the matron goddess of the city of Kalhari. While the first recorded presence of Jabharil worshippers in Negeémiliel was at least as early as the 1800 a.a.H, it was only after the Third Sia'Peiran-Negeémi war (2405-2408 a.a.H), where Negeémiliel defeated Sia'Peiran and their vassals Kalhari and Ched'Ipango. After this war, Kalhari became under Negeémi rule, and with the influx of slaves -prisoners of war- that worshipped Jabharil, and the direct trade between Negeémiliel and Kalhari -with Kalhari traders founding the cult- it will quickly expand across the slaves and commoners of Negeémiliel.
This rising power within Negeémiliel was spotted by the rich commoners that had interests in achieving citizenship, and some of these rich traders that had contacts with the populist party told them about the possibility of using them as a leveler.
The populist party saw this as an oportunity to force the hand to the Senatorial faction -to use the scare of a rising commoner-slave religion within Negeémiliel- to force them to form a cohalition government, and formed a secret alliance with the Cult of the Flower at the 2416.
With support from Kalhari traders, rich commoners and the Populist party in secret, the Cult of the Flower expanded like wildfire, and so the worship of Jabharil.
The Ambitions and Plots of Selene Paen'DhirraEdit
However, Selene Paen'Dhirra, an ambitious populist sorceress, one of the heads of the Populist Party and who had played a key role in the negotiations between the Cult of the Flower and the Populist party, saw it as a possibility to extend her own personal power, within her own party and in Negeémiliel: and as politician she suggested in secret to the Cult of the Flower to began to use some more agressive tactics, while she played in the lower council to avoid the ban on the Cult of the Flower, but making the senatorial party to try to use violence to solve the situation:
she played an escalation of violence that rose to street violence at the 2421 a.a.H, culminating with the assassination of the High Sorceress of the Temple of Doom Khariel Baener in 2424 a.a.H., which led to the sucession of Selene Paen'Dhirra as High Sorceress in the Temple of Doom.
From this position, Selene continued to play the card of the Cult of the Flower, making secret deals with them through the High Priestess Ma'Az to strengthen her situation within her own political party and Negeémiliel, procuring to the Cult of the Flower grain, while using the Hebonnor-Negeémi war to create food shortage, to make umpopular the Senatorial government, and give even more popularity and power to the Cult of the Flower.
To do this, she promised the Cult of the Flower free worship in Negeémiliel after a Populist regime ruled over Negeémiliel, giving Jabharil an official status, and compromised them in a conspiracy to do a coup d'etat against the Senatorials offering them the independence of Kalhari.
- preparations of the Populist faction for a coup d'etat: Negeémi-Hebonnor War
- Senatorial faction learns about this, and prepare their own self-coup
- preparations of the Senatorials: the visits of General Dahl'Arak
The Negeémi-Hebonnor War was a war set within the context of the Drow-Hebonnor Wars: while tension between drows and mountain elves were ongoing for centuries, being antagonistic, the situation had worsened after the First War of the Power, as Negeémiliel conquered important footholds on the surface.
Hildetriel IV , (Hildetriel IV the Young) a young Hebonnor king who wanted to rally support behind him and legitimize himself as a chief and warrior in front of the nobles after the suspicious death of his sister, Brainne the crazy, heir to the throne of the Mountain Elves, decided to realize a series of raids against drow outposts, as a demostration of strength.
However, what should have stayed just as another skirmish in the long history of drow-hebonnor aggressions, became the casus bellum due to some internal political interests of Negeémiliel .
Due to the uproar caused by the Cult of the Flower, instigated by the machinations of Selene Paen'Dhirra, she manipulated the popular opinion of the city to convert this skirmish in a full out war: The Populist faction created a shortage of surface supplies from the city artificially, to weaken their oppositors and strengthen their alliances, as they held for themselves important parts of the crops of the surface, while blaming the Hebonnor Kingdom for the situation.
In this way, and having the majority of the Lower Council, they forced the hand to the Higher Council to enter in a full out war against the Hebonnor: as well, as further preparation of the war, they send the most important officers and forces of the Senatorial faction stationed in the capital to the war, to weaken their presence in preparation of a coup d'etat to overthrow the High Council and government of the Empire.
Events on 25 to the 30 OctoberEdit
- Senatorial factions forces seize the House of the Parliament of Negeémiliel, the Temple of Doom and other key positions along the city, as the Academy of War, the University of Negeé, some of the city gates and the bridges over the Abyss of Doom. In the process, they capture key leaders of the Populist faction
- High Sorceress and head of the Populist faction, Selene Paen'Dhirra, is defeated and captured.
- The Senatorials prepare to defend the positions they assumed, barricading themselves as they waited for General Dahl'Arak's return.
- the leaderless Populists try to organize themselves, and attack entrenched Senatorials
- The Cult of the Flower gathers their forces, and try to support the populists. About 4.000 Fanatics of Jabharil and sentries of the Cult of the Flower are mobilized
- near 20.000 to 30.000 slaves and commoners break havoc and began to sack in the now lawless city, as the acolytes fought each other
- furious Populist and Cult of the Flower attacks
- The advance of General Dahl'Arak, and some populists attempts to delay her advance to the city, blocking some tunnels
- first relief forces of the senatorial faction arrive to the city
- General Dahl'Arak, undercover, leads some attacks to clear entrance to the city
Events on the 31 OctoberEdit
- General Danieh'le Dahl'Arak enters in the city of Negeémiliel
- Populist faction remnant pockets of resistance and forces surrender
- A martial law is declared, and the sackings are stopped
City Damage and DeathsEdit
Many active members of the Cult of the Flower involved in fighting would be killed during the civil war and crackdown. Rioters spontaneously turned their frustrations against foreign merchants and killed and burned much of the foreigner's area. The Cult of the Flower used every effort to bring out all the support they could. They beat and often killed any that refused to join them in the attempted overthrow of the Senatorial government.
So many neighborhoods, often wealthy areas were looted and often burned, or various shops were also looted and burned. Slaves were noted for carrying out such attacks on their owners.
Affects on the Low CouncilEdit
Due to intelligence gained by a pivotal mission by Maylara Maltree, knowledge of which members of the council were involved in treasonous (or at least very suspicious) activities between the council and the Cult of the Flower was known. This gave sufficient excuse to dissolve the council, arrest the guilty members on a basis of suspicion rather than political party, and then reform an interim council. The interim council made emergency measures favorable to General Danieh'le Dahl'Arak, giving the appearance of legality to her actions and emergency measures.
Indeed, they may have been too accommodating, voting to reform the government as a monarchy with Dahl'Arak as the queen. Dahl'Arak refused this honor as she was trying to preserve the republic. The council annulled (or duly ignored) its own measures and instead granted General Dahl'Arak multiple titles such a "Keeper of the Web" and "Web Mistress" to give her extraordinary powers. These powers may or may not have had an expiration date. It is known that Dahl'Arak was able to act as a dictator for some time, but just a few decades in the future, her influence was shown to have limits, such as the difficulties in enrolling and graduating her mixed race daughter Xylinthia Dahl'Arak.
It is known that few conspirators lost their lives, but many or most lost their properties or portions of their properties. Populists expelled from the Low Council were still able to hold important positions in the Academy and elsewhere, so long term 'blacklisting' did not seem to have been enacted. It is likely that several high level conspirators were executed and many more exiled. It is known that Ver'acea Paen'Dhirra the daughter of one of the principal conspirators, Selene Paen'Dhirra, was neither executed or exiled, but forced into a marriage contract into the Dahl'Arak family. It was a means of assuming some form of control over a great house and name, and their blood line as well.
Cult of the FlowerEdit
The Cult was largely crushed in the brief civil war. Military elements connected with the Kalhari departed when their cause was lost, or were already killed or captured. What happened to High Priestess Ma'Az is unknown, but if she didn't escape to Kalhari, she was almost certainly executed. It would seem likely that the Jabharil religion has been outlawed as an openly observed religion, but this has not been determined.
Circumstantial evidence suggests that any remaining Jabharil holdouts trying to continue the fight 'underground' in the city or as bandits outside, would be hunted down by Acolytes or mercenaries. How far the Negeémi state would actively hunt down and punish all members of the cult or contributors or worshippers of Jabharil is unknown. It is known that the textile merchant Gaveo and his family continued on profitably many years following the civil war, despite having connections to the Jabharil church, and having other issues that might arouse official ire if revealed. It would suggest no long reign of terror ensued, or that the Gaveo family remained relatively untouched by prosecution.
There may have simply been too many Jabharil worshippers to think of draconian punishment for all of them and would have been counterproductive to State stability to have attempted such a thing?
Many commoners, both those who believed in the efforts of the Cult of the Flower, and those who merely wished for social change would be disappointed by the results. Also, with a form of martial law that continued in the aftermath of the Dahl'Arak Coup and the civil war, acolytes and military types would be pushing commoners around worse than ever for a time.
Many commoners criminally involved with the Cult of the Flower would doubtlessly be enslaved or executed, but this would not seem to extend to just being a worshipper of the religion.
Those commoners caught looting might have also been given a harsh punishment of enslavement given the political instability.
Although, given the numbers of Jabharil worshippers and looters, it would be impossible or at least inadvisable to carry out a persecution expecting to round up all persons involved in revolutionary or merely criminal deeds and kill or enslave them. Also, those commoners not connected to the Cult of the Flower had the hope of making the excuse of aiding the Acolyte's Populist Party. Indeed, even Cult of the Flower members had that option should any tribunal choose to hear it.
Some wealthy commoners would suffer due to their choices or the randomness of violence, prosecutions, and looting. Others would benefit from a need for many new acolytes allowing more daughters of wealthy commoners into the Acolyte system.
Slaves were a fairly big part of both the activities of the Cult of the Flower, as sometimes members of the Fanatics of Jabharil, and in opportunistic looting. Many, if not most, Negeémi slaves have freedom to act furtively and one could perhaps characterize the chaos springing up in the civil war as being an impromptu slave revolt. Many slaves, surprisingly, would be unlikely to be punished as they were seen as being forced into serving the Cult of the Flower or general revolt by the Populists.
What is certain is that there would be many new slaves by the time the tribunals were done, and that slaves in general might be placed under greater suspicion and subject to tighter control.
1. Dobesh, p. 375.