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by The Commonwealth of The Natufian Nation. . 41 reads.

The Collapse of the Natufian Nation

Nathaniel-al Shuqba got up wearily from his desk, momentarily lost his balance, then righted himself again. He supposed the severe lack of sleep the past three days had taken its toll, giving him dizzy spells and blurred vision. He rubbed his eyes and took note that the team of advisors and military officers that had occupied the conferencce table near the map wall took no notice. His office had become a beehive of activity; Councilors, aides, generals and secretaries had essentially taken up residence in his office, busily reviewing reports, updating maps, speaking rapidly to their staff on their phones and attending to the paiges that constnatly came in and out of the office. The High Chief was doing his best to consolidate information and issue orders and responses but the information was coming in too fast, the situation they were dealing with changing by the moment and taking its toll on the aged leader of the Natufian Nation.

The events of the past few days has shaken the Charter to its core. Comfortably situated in the Strei-ar heartland in the protective shadow of Imperial Rome, the Natufian Nation was immersed in the vibrancy of trade and relations with its neighbors, Heratfilia, Skjoldur, Slavacia and the Oceani colonies. Valyrien was a critically important connection given the historical closeness the Natufian Emirate of Harif shared with the stratocratic military empire. Asgareth and its ally, Haja-Mishu was also everpresent in the Natufian consciousness, especially after the dilpomatic failure of the Krisik-Todor affair. And in the background of the Natufian worldview were the longstaning superpowers of Illyria and Myraxia, locked in a cold war detente in their decades-long conflict; Chargren, Drekhi and Nocturnalis in their brooding, quiet presence; and then there was the goblin nation of Auruum with whom the Natufian Nation had unsuccessfully reached out to in pursuit of trade and a diplomatic warming, much to the irritation of the Proconsul and other Confederation member ambassadors in New Jericho. These important nations provided balast and a sense of endurance to the world of the Charter.

Now the Charter lay unbalanced, spinning uncontrollably into chaos. Certainly, a new order would emerge and life in the Charter would go on, but in the meantime, right now as the High Chief tried to focus his eyes out the window down into Uki Square trying to tune out the cacophainc sound in his office for a moment, navigating the present seemed an impossible task.

The High Chief was still dealing with the power vacuum that opened up in Archon when Nouvel Acadie lost its Queen and descendend into anarchy. The loss of North Covenent earlier hardly affected the Commonwealth. Nouvel was closer to home. While he was struggling to help the nation cope with the exit from the world stage of that mighty nation, the reports started coming in of disruption and disintegration from other corners of the Charter. The harshest blow was learning that Valyrien had broken. Unable to recover its legitimacy after a crushing defeat at Harren Island and now bankrupt, the government lost the support of the people and low-ranking officers. Facing a revolt, the government dissolved, leaving each principality to fend for itself, fracturing the great empire into hundreds of ungovernable local factions and losing any cohesive identity. Iron Harbour was abandonded, hitting the Natufian economy hard, especially in the eastern province of Harif.

The knock-on affect of Valyrien's absence in the Charter was that Auruum found itself no longer under the protection of the great military power. Standing alone and with a well-founded fear of imminent attack from an unfettered Confederacy, the goblin nation ceased all its activity in the Charter, retreating underground, back into the unknown, vast subterranean recesses they had emerged from a century ago.

In the absense of Valyrien's stabilizing presence in Rusina, the paranoid, nervous trigger-fingers in Illyria and Myraxia got jumpy and unleashed unholy nuclear armageddon upon themselves. The tenets of "mutually assured destruction" proved accurate as neither nation survived as a functioning entity in the Charter after the apocolypse.

Left without support on Rusina and suffering the collateral damage of the devastation left by the disapperance of Valyrien, Illyria and Myraxia, the nation of Drekhi folded, joining the anarchy sweeping through Rusina.

In was uncertain what would happen to Asgareth. The insular nation had cut itself off from the Charter some time ago. Who knew what internal challenges the nation was dealing with. It could collapse at any time...or reawaken to assert its hegemony in the north with renewed and unbridled force.

It was too much to bear, too much to take in and make sense of.

The High Chief turned from the window back to his staff and Councilors diligently preoccupied putting together pieces of information coming in. He felt dizzy at the movement and stumbled forward, bracing himself by placing a hand on the desk. He took another step forward and swooned. Suddenly, he lost his vision and balance and felt himself hit the ground, unable to move his left arm and incredibly weak in his right. He heard muffled voices and vaguely felt himself being propped up and touched. The panicked voices around him became increasingly distant and unintelligible. His thoughts become fuzzy as the burst artery in his brain deprived it of the oxygen it needed. The High Chief quietly refelcted with peaceful satisfaction on his wife, his children and grandchildren and the nation he loved and helped steer. In his final moments of life, Nathaniel al-Shuqba then found his attention diverted to the Great Aurochs, and his ancestors coming into the foreground of his awareness, welcoming him to the spirit world.


Aftermath

The late High Chief, Nathaniel al-Shuqba, was given a state funeral, though sparesely attended by any foregin diplomats who were all engrossed in assessing the aftermath of the collapse of nearly an entire continent in the Charter. The Conclave of Chiefs was convenved to elect a new High Chief immediately afterwards, tribal chiefs from across the Commonwealth converging in New Jericho. Under ordinary circumstances, the rites and traditions on deciding a new High Chief would have been mild and peaceful. These were not ordinary times.

Benjamin al-Shuqba, nephew of the deceased High Chief, seemed to be the favorite among the status-quo group but the idea of a dynasty was quickly rejected by the majority of chiefs, leaving no clear alternative chief to be elected. What started as a solemn gathering disintigrated into bickering and threats. With the world order uncertain, a couple chiefs argued for full annexation into Rome as an official province, others believed Rome too powerful now and wanted to end the treaty and isolate the Commonwealth. A few others actually argued for an end to the chiefdom altogether and the drafting of a constitution to set-up a new form of governement. Of those, some wanted a republican form, others a one-party politburo to move the nation in a socialist direction. Others, also giving up the idea of the Commonwealth, argued for a return to a loose Confederation of tribes.

No one could agree, but no one wanted to assert their position by force and instigate a civil war.

In the end, the Conclave broke up without making a decision. There was no High Chief to succeed the great leader. The local tribal leaders returned to their seats with fear and trembling, awestruck at how quickly things had turned. The Commonwealth was no longer feasible, it was every tribe for itself.

In the end, the northern tribes petitioned for annexation into Rome, having been the most closely connected and Romanized area. They wished to become a full province with Kerak as the provincial capital.

The land south of the Jordan Sea, including the important cities of Jeddah City and Doha, seeking to continue the trade and luxury afforded by Heartfilia, asked for inclusion in the Heartfilian Empire.

New Jericho and its surrounding land sought to align itself within the Jarldom of Valaker, hoping to mutually benefit Jarl Haroldsson and accept the soverignty of the Kingdom of Skjoldur.

The newly acquired Baidha lands, however, were shocked when armed fighters of the socialist Red Horn movement stormed the provincial capital of Oshala, executing the local chief and his family and declaring the Badiha lands henceforth known as the Natufian Soviet Socialist Republic, sending an emissary to Greater Slavacia for protection and inclusions of the Natufian SSR into its sphere of influence.

The annexed Emirate of Harif, however, devoid of Valyrien patronage and with the Glass Rail now defunct with Iron Harbour deserted, regressed back into multitudinous factions of petty warlords, screaming and attacking each other and any travelers through the Negev.

The Commonwealth of the Natufian Nation had come to an end.


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