0: The Desert War
Forward: Part 1
“To the ordinary soldier, ‘patriotism’ is an abstraction with which they associate the things they dream about while they are being shot at: their freedom, people they love, their hopes for the future… Patriotism to them is all the good things in life that have nothing to do with war – all the things they would rather be doing than risking their lives.”
– Danzo, leader of the Ikasha insurgency
0: The desert war
The worldwide conflict known as The Desert War that left The United Unions of Valos in a state of false peace and political distress as much as it left The Imperial Kingdom of Kamako a hollow, empty shell of its once glorious empire went by many names. Perhaps the permanent destruction scarred into the Valosian mountains to the west, and the dangerous relics and weapons left in the wake of devastating warfare and scattered across the vast western Kamakan wastelands identify it more than any one name ever could. It had been 4 years since the last official battle of The Desert War was fought, and each region was struggling to cope with the aftermath of global warfare in its own way. In the northern cities of Yakima, the high monks talked of another war in the future, and the hidden forest ninja clans scattered across the Tuyena forest to the north east had been warring against each other since weeks after the war ended.
Within the green hills of the United Valosian Unions, broken promises by prime minister Navahawk were creating tension all around the country, as the Warriors’ union, which was made up of veterans from the war, protested for more compensation to deal with physical and mental trauma, and the Immigrants Union, made up of the Kamakan slaves and POWs that were taken during the war and given citizenship when it was over, faced racial and economic discrimination from multiple loyalist unions, who pushed for isolationist and nationalist ideals. Along with the Warriors’ Union and the Immigrants’ Union, many more smaller unions were starting to form, all spawning from different variations of the fear that the war was not over, and that for 4 years, a secret, Government ran group of the most powerful valosian unions, led by prime minister Navahawk himself, had been fighting a secret war against an insurgency born from the ashes of what remained of The Imperial Kingdom of Kamako while maintaining the belief that the world was entering a new era of peace.
Even if it weren’t true, the fear made the empire much harder to control for prime minister Navahawk. When the public was at fear, they could be led to do anything. Every crooked politician or vocal activist who could see the bigger picture easily exploited public fear to gain a following.
Even after winning the war, The United Unions of Valos, as a kingdom, was bursting at the seams. As a people, it was even worse. At any moment, an uprising from an angry union could occur, or thousands could be killed in an unsuspecting attack by a ruthless and unpredictable enemy that is still not done fighting.
In the vast, ominous deserts to the west, The Imperial Kingdom of Kamako was breathing its last breaths, fading from history beneath the dirt and sand it once ruled over as it began to crack and split into smaller independent towns and factions. The huge, elegant cities that made up the metropolitan landscape were now ancient, sandy relics of what they once were. The old King, Managa Cozo, died during the war, and his throne had still not been claimed in the 4 years since. The urban landscape where the cities of The Imperial Kingdom of Kamako once stood had become a bloody no-man’s land, a scar on the planet that bled ancient treasure, relics, and weapons.
The only city in the desert that could still officially call itself part of The Imperial Empire of Kamako was The Imperial City of Furano. It was the most preserved part of Kamako, and the only place in the desert that was still protected by what remained of its small military and police force, which had been assimilated into the United Unions of Valos after the war. The rest of what used to be a vast empire was a kingless, lawless, brutal wasteland littered with small, self governed towns and Ikasha bases.
Made up of old soldiers from the Imperial Kingdom of Kamako, raiders, and thieves, the Ikasha were a large gang of patriotic Kamakans named after a famous battalion of elite swordsmen that served during the war. They were not finished fighting and had even infiltrated the cities of The United Unions of Valos. Loyal insurgents lay in the shadows of the most crowded districts of the most crowded cities, waiting for the perfect time and target to attack and send their message to the world.