Many years ago, there was a happy, peaceful, productive land. But some of its citizens felt it needed some excitement: a major event that would unify its citizens and give them a rallying point to help focus their efforts. So the call went out for volunteers to wage war.
The vocal advocates of war claimed that the battle would be quickly and easily won. There’d be few casualties, and fighting would be limited to those who volunteered for service. All would go precisely as planned and be executed like clockwork with triumph following triumph, and the eventual outcome would be a strengthened populace, unified by this great cause.
So forces were mobilized and the first battles were fought. It quickly became apparent that instead of a series of quick victories, each battle would be a long drawn-out siege. Although ground was made with every battle, the overall effort took on the nature of a lengthy war of attrition. It would be neither quick nor easy.
The pre-war notion that there would be few casualties proved horrendously wrong. As the war dragged on longer than anyone had anticipated, those eager and energetic volunteers who had won the most territory were lost, and there were no volunteer reinforcements to replace them. The war ground to a dead stop. It wasn’t going as planned, and with the war’s most vocal advocates lost in the fighting, the noncombatants began to voice their dissatisfaction with the course of events. Many expressly turned their back on the war to work toward their own goals. The country was in big trouble.
But despite the growing unpopularity of the war, the country was committed to that course of action, and had to bring the war to a conclusion. An unpopular draft was instituted, drawing people into the war who had been told it would never effect them. Few survived without getting sucked into the seemingly unending war effort. After nearly a decade of fighting, popular opinion finally caused the war to be brought to an abortive conclusion far short of its original goals.
The people had been led off to war thinking it would be easy, glorious, and painless. What they experienced was seemingly unending drudgery, divisiveness, and pain. Although there were victories along the way, the most valuable outcome of the war was the painfully-won lesson that war is hell. The war was the biggest mistake in the history of the land.
The punchline is that I’m not talking about a country — I’m talking about the Dargon Project, and our Baranur-Beinison war storyline.
Since the project’s inception, we’ve tried to create communal events that span storylines, so that individual writers can reference common events and give their works a sense of unity with what everyone else is doing. Back in 1988, a war between the kingdoms of Baranur and Beinison seemed like an excellent event which everyone could incorporate into their stories. Unfortunately, it didn’t take us very long to realize that waging war in a fictional world is just as hazardous as it is in the real world. We found ourselves making many of the same stupid mistakes that real nations have made. Eight years later, we’re still trying to put the beast to rest. But with the publication of this issue, we have passed a milestone:
The war’s over.
Boy, it feels good to say that! So good, I think I’ll say it again: the war is *over*!
This issue contains Jon Evan’s “Coup” storyline which officially marks the end of the war between Baranur (to whom Dargon owes fealty) and Beinison. Jon was one of those people who started out as a “noncombatant” but who got drafted into finishing the war storyline when key writers left the project. He deserves huge thanks for his willingness to pick up the slack in the war storyline, as demonstrated in “Coup” and “Laraka III”.
Although this is the official end of the war, you’ll still see several stories which deal with the aftermath of the war. War has lasting effects which can’t be ignored, and this war is a historical fact that will remain evident in our works for some time to come.
But that’s not going to stop us from celebrating the accomplishment of something which has caused us so much pain and which we’ve been working toward for so many long years.
The war is over!!!