Black Iron's Glory - Chapter 549
Death of the Great Chieftain
The death of Great Chieftain Unamas of the losman was all his own fault. He had overestimated his position's worth and believed he would be able to hold his people together in solidarity in a time of chaos such as this, which resulted in his untimely fall.
Most of the three million losman believed that Unamas was the best great chieftain, given how fair and benevolent he was. There was once when he stood up for a losman woman against a settler regardless of the repercussions. Using sufficient evidence to argue his case, he got the settler to apologise to the woman. That caused Unamas' reputation to soar to the point he was called the godfather of the losman. The local officials also respected him for being well versed in the law and obedient of it.
A great chieftain wasn't the leader of all the tribes, but rather, a position akin to a chief judge responsible for making the final judgement on conflicts between the losman and other tribes.
In the thirty years since he took up the position as great chieftain, he had dealt with up to ten thousand mediation cases such as those. Only the minority of his decisions were ever questioned. Throughout his career, he pushed for the losman to gain basic education so that their innately lazy customs and habits could change.
The informants of the autonomous region saw Unamas as the ideal candidate to lead the losman into a war for independence. What they didn't expect, however, was how Unamas wasn't keen on self-rule. Instead, he was pacifist to a fault. While he wasn't satisfied with how his fellow losman was being suppressed and taken advantage of, he trusted in the law and believed that peaceful protest would one day shape the laws to give the losman a fair chance.
Unamas' only mistake was having received aid from the region in the form of weapons. The informants believed that with the 15 thousand new muskets, the losman would soon go the way of the pamigar and start the war for independence. Little did they know that the great chieftain only accepted those weapons to form his own force to defend himself and protect the losman from being affected by the pamigar's flames of war.
However, when the four Shiksan voluntary folks moved a little too fast and exterminated the three Lesnian corps, they swept through most of their colony, leaving the settlements emptied by their raid in the care of the local losman. Even with Unamas banning the losman from joining the war, there were some who were unhappy with the decision who took over the towns and cities the Shiksans passed through.
Troubled, Unamas refused his family and friends' advice and wasn't willing to meet with the ambassadors of the Shiksan folks. He insisted on meeting the local officials at the capital, Salatsburg, in hopes of clarifying the misunderstanding and revealing the lies the Shiksan folks were spreading about having come on the losman's request.
However, he overestimated the tolerance of the officials. At the same time, he hadn't expected the personal effect the battles would have on him. Even when he said he would have his personal force work with the colonial forces to repel the Shiksan invaders to restore peace in the colony, all he got was the suspicious glares of the officials who doubted every single word of his.
The officials might've trusted Unamas before the three Lesnian corps invaded the pamigar nation. Perhaps they might even reward him with a friendship token. But with the three Lesnian corps now completely eliminated and the colony only controlling a small part of their former territory, the officials' only reaction was doubt. What did the great chieftain mean by those words? Was he trying to doublecross them?
The officials thus suggested that Unamas launch a heavy attack on the two approaching Shiksan folks and ordered him to rescue the captive officials and settlers to ensure their safety. Only when those were achieved would the colony administration believe that the losman didn't betray them.
Unamas made them a hearty promise, and the Shiksan folks were indeed halted in their tracks in a standoff at Salatsburg. They didn't stop the messengers Unamas sent out to call for the release of the officials and settlers to the other settlements controlled by the losman either. Soon, the people gathered in the concentration camps were released and transported to Salatsburg on old carriages.
Unamas didn't think that the officials would jail him after he fulfilled those two requests. All the officials and soldiers who guarded his cell called him a traitor. Soon, his attendant was harshly beaten and chased away, leaving him alone in his house arrest in his stone house.
As the number of returned officials and settlers increased, word of Unamas' imprisonment in Salatsburg spread. The settlers who lost families during the chaos demanded the colonial administration to kill the highest-ranking losman who triggered the revolt. After all, their suffering was only made possible by the losman who aided the Shiksan voluntary corps, after all.
Throughout two centuries of colonial rule, the Lesnian settlers still held discriminatory views on the native losman. They thought of themselves as noble, white settlers and the losman as lowly, primitive folk. Oftentimes, the settlers would oppress the natives to varying degrees in daily life.
When the Shiksan voluntary folks raided those towns and gathered the settlers in camps, many losman exacted revenge against the settlers. The young daughters and wives of the settlers were the losman youths' favourite.
Laughably, the Lesnians didn't hate the Shiksan soldiers that raided them at all, perhaps due to their similar fair complexion. Though, there was a case to be made that they didn't harm any of the settlers' family members during the raids.
Additionally, the Shiksan soldiers called themselves mercenaries which the losman paid a huge price to hire to achieve independence and found a nation like the pamigar.
As for how much they were paid in total, the low-ranked soldiers didn't know, save for their superiors' satisfaction with the amount. It was said that the great chieftain of the losman and many of the tribe elders agreed to it. The soldiers were all promised a huge haul after successfully achieving their objectives.
That was how all the Lesnian hate got transferred on the losman. They stood together and called for harsh punishment on the losman, especially the imprisoned Great Chieftain Unamas. By the time their youth, and even some white-haired old men, enlisted for the forces for the sake of revenge, the local officials could no longer contain their collective hate.
When the president of the pamigar republic, Taganem, was questioned by the region's ambassadors about the actions of the Shiksan folk, he said that they no longer took orders from the pamigar as the losman had hired them away. So, the burden fell on the poor, old great chieftain to bear.
Before his execution, Unamas Diya Modrikus told his sentencer, "Kill me, and you shall lose all hope for peace."
The man, however, barked, "A traitor like you should've died long ago! You kept us shrouded in your lies. If you didn't betray us, why would the Shiksan folks listen to your orders? Not only that, they even let you take over the towns they raided!"
Unamas merely smiled and sighed, before falling silent and letting the rope be looped around his neck. The boards beneath his feet were loosened the moment the bell was rung. Accompanying his death were the thunderous cheers and clenched fists of the settlers in the air. They were relishing in the rush of vengeance.
The 11th month of Year 603 pushed the western colonies into a dangerous predicament. First came the pamigar's war for independence and defence of their sovereignty, during which three corps of pamigars stopped two Wasiliskian corps from advancing and even encroached upon their border.
The remnants of the Wasiliskian forces could no longer function as a cohesive unit. Faced with the nonstop and forceful attacks of the pamigar, the only thing they could do was to let their garrison forces join the frontlines. However, the hole left in their place tempted the jisdor to act. Soon, many conflicts between the jisdor and the settlers broke out.
The Wasiliskian officials couldn't cry even if they wanted. Why did their battle to take Moloshik's territory turn into a defensive fight for survival? That wasn't helped by the fact that the skro and jisdor were about to join in. Being on their wit's end, the Wasiliskian officials had no choice but to request military aid from Opsaro's colony.
When the 300-thousand-plus soldiers of Wasilisk and Lesnia launched their attack, everyone thought the pamigar nation would come to an end. And yet, Wasilisk ended up being invaded themselves after three months and even had to request aid.
Wasilisk's three corps had been beaten and scattered, with the four Shiksan voluntary folks having swept across most of their colony. Then, something completely inexplicable happened. The two Shiksan folks were in a standoff against the Lesnian troops, yet they didn't attack despite the advantage they held. The other two, on the other hand, suddenly launched an attack on Fochs' Cape Loducus.
After taking Cape Loducus, they turned to attack Loki Mountains and defeated a local garrison line, taking control of the three gold mines there. Angered, the region sent Monolith 3rd Folk north. After a heated battle and substantial casualties, they crushed those two Shiksan folks and occupied Cape Loducus.
All of a sudden, the Fochsian colony had become the region's. The angered region sent ambassadors to question the pamigar republic about the Shiksan soldiers' actions, only to find that they were no longer affiliated with them and were currently serving the losman.
It was as if the region had stabbed itself in the back by releasing the Shiskan captives. After the Shiksans formed their mercenary folks and were rearmed, the hatred and humiliation they had for losing against the region once more festered, causing them to launch a probing attack on it.
However, the region's forces were far tougher. Using Monolith 3rd Folk, they managed to take down enemies double their number and even occupied Cape Loducus. Even so, they still suffered rather heavy casualties.
As such, the region made an urgent callback to Monolith 1st and 2nd Folks that were stationed in the Nasrian region to toughen its defences, lest the enemy attacked them from a blindspot. That would also serve to calm the populace.
Additionally, word from Lesnia was that the two Shiksan folks' probing attacks were unfruitful at best, huge losses at worst. Of the 60 thousand men who joined the attack, only thousands returned. They were soon absorbed into the 1st and 2nd Voluntary Shiksan Folks to make up for their casualties. All of a sudden, 3rd and 4th Folks vanished without a trace.
As the battle between the region and the Shiksan folks came to an end, Lesnia's colonial officials did the crazy act of sentencing Unamas, who had voluntarily surrendered himself at Salatsburg as a hostage in good faith, to death by hanging. When word of that got out, the losman were infuriated. They gathered their youths and marched for Salatsburg with weapons in hand.
While the losman didn't properly support the revolt even as the four Shiskan folks were invading Lesnia's colony, Unamas' death was the critical event that kicked the losman revolt into action.
Back then, the losman didn't take the initiative to attack the settlers in the cities and towns, with some continuing to work for the settlers like usual. Even after taking over control from the Shiksan folks, they treated the settlers and officials with care. While quite a number of Lesnians hurt the losman out of revenge, only a minority of those incidents caused loss of life.
When they received a letter from Unamas to release the settlers and officials, they obeyed the orders without hesitation and even prepared carriages for them. Little did they know that their kind gestures were repaid by vile venom when the very people they let go called for the hanging of their great chieftain.
His death was unforgivable for the losman. As Unamas had gone to Salatsburg on his own accord, he was a guest by losman customs. Yet, their capture and execution of him was the worst insult the losman could receive. One of the losman's other customs was to pay a debt of blood with blood.
That sparked the end of the Lesnian colonial days. Even with a force of 30 thousand settler youths, they weren't able to resist the suicidal attacks of the Shiksan-aided losman. In a short four months, the Lesnian colony was awash in blood. Almost all settler males and elderly were killed. Only the young women were left alive to be their slaves.
Only a few settlers managed to escape that fate by seeking asylum with the voluntary Shiksan folks. Among them was a pair of siblings, a brother and a sister, who eventually survived the cruel times. The elder sister eventually became a scholar who authored a classic chronicle titled 'Era of Massacre' that detailed the bloody history of those times.