The Bandit Wars

The Bandits Wars is the name given to a period of violent uprising in Tohl, capitol city of the High Kingdom of Ralstaa, eventually put to a stop by military intervention. It is the most recent, and memorable event in the city's long history, and the City of Lights still bares the fresh scars of the bandit uprising today.

The Origins (1073 - 1087 D)

After a lean season in the Shaeish lowlands from 1073 through to 1075 many of the tohls along the southern knife found themselves very low on food supplies, in Tohl particularly the prices of this basic resource for survival mounted and mounted beyond it's already astronomical level. Eventually by 1076 the lower classes of Tohl simply could not afford to eat regularly, older people starved, and large families were forced to abandon young children in an effort to survive. Mungies and stray dogs were eaten, and rumour suggest that some slum dwellers even resorted to eating the starving. Meanwhile all of the food was diverted into the inner city and the professional trade districts and never came out. And with the mounting dead came disease, bodies festering and swelling in alleyways where they died putrefied, poisoning water supplies and attracting enormous plague-flies and rats.

Amongst this atmosphere of starvation and sickness desperate people turned tho theft, first in small numbers from market stalls and then in roving gangs waylaying caravans of food as they came through the gates and wards of the city, and clearing them out completely. By 1080 there was an epidemic of these brigand bands operating in broad daylight all around the periphery of the city, and the upper classes weren't getting the shipments of food they had paid for, even the barges on the silver river were being ambushed.

The Lord High Provost Roenan Uth-Coumbh reacted by militarising the watch, nearly tripling their numbers and having them operate in units and encouraging the use of lethal force against large bands of men committing any crime, even as minor as purse snatching. This resolved the problem for a time, but citizens kept dying of plague and starvation, and eventually in 1087 things came to a head.

The Wars (1087 - 1089 D)

At some point during the build-up to the Bandit Wars the nine thieves cabals of Tohl, who the authorities had tolerated largely because they all had connections to noble houses, banded together into a shadowy and secretive group called the Bandit's Council. These men brought together a group of veterans from local wars who had been injured or retired ingloriously, and had them begin drilling the mobs of the city and equipping them as a real army. In 1087 the first attacks against the watch started. Watch blockhouses were never directly besieged, but rather the bandits waged a merciless guerilla war in their own territory and they did it well. Watchmen's homes were torched, units of watch were murdered, and when the guard made a showing in force a greater force of the brigands emerged from nowhere and forced a full retreat into the nearest watch fastness.

There was chaos in the outer city, though the bandits could not pass the gates or walls by force they could rule the streets, and thanks to a law preventing the High King from interfering in the affairs of The City, the Palisade Guard would just look on from their posts. Law was unenforceable, and the Bandits took what they wanted, and fortified entire districts against watch contingents, who were becoming increasingly scared and undermanned. Skirmishes reigned in bloody streets for a full two years as the bandits and the watch slugged it out, but the bandit forces were numerically far superior, and the watchmen, worried for their lives and those of their families, deserted in droves - some even switching sides. Brutal violence was a daily sight on the streets of Tohl, and even bands of children went about dragging down watch officers and stabbing them to death with tiny blades.

The March on the Walls (1089 D)

Buoyed by success the Bandit's Council reconciled to finally gain everything that they needed, and inciting a huge riot they marched on Broadstreet with the intention of taking control of the stores of the inner city. At the gates the Lord High Provost's watch took command of the gates despite bitter resistance by the garrison there, and faced down the Bandits. They were never expecting the numbers that they faced, with an armed mob nearly thirty-thousand strong not only were the gates taken but they were actually pulled down, along with a large section of wall, to give egress to the mob. The Lord High Provost was publicly executed, and Broadstreet was ransacked, every scrap of gold and food and anything else the mob desired was taken from wealthy homes and shops. Then, buoyed by their success, a large group broke away from the mob and began assaulting the gates of Rallah's Keep.

Within moments the Lord Marshal of the Palisade Knights declared that the social unrest had escalated to war, and instructed every knight in Rallah's Keep, and the entire city wall garrison to mobilize. In what is undoubtedly the the largest massacre in Ralstaa's history, within the space of three hours over ten thousand rebels lay dead in the streets and markets of Broadstreet, and that many again lay dying. The knights swept out onto the streets, with the Lloric initiates running down those who fled. The High King's informants identified the leaders of the Bandits Council and they were killed in their homes, along with their entire families. Every single ranking member of the council was displayed, hung dead from the walls.

In the following days the last strongholds of the bandits were flushed out like rats by a far superior force commanded by the knights, and a further eight thousand died either trying to hold their ramshackle fortifications or trying to force their way out of the City through the gates. With only a handful of insurgents managing to hide within the City the High King appointed a new Lord High Provost, and turned the situation back over to him. In a few days of bloody efficiency nearly three years of bitter fighting was settled, and almost twenty-nine thousand insurgents died. The legacy of this march is that no criminal organization has risen up in the city since, none have dared. Furthermore the deadly secretive Citizens Militia have risen up to watch the citizens for any further sign of uprising and ensure that anyone with such thoughts never has them again.