Silence is Golden, at least the end of the Golden Century was, along with the beginning of the Political Century. There is little real canon detail to cover this period, so I had to add filler, ably helped by my earlier random rolling and then use the individual Clans to fill things out in greater detail later.The years from 2910 to the opening of the Great Debate in 2980 are long on trend, but short on detail in the canon histories of the Clans. However, one of the nice things about having built the general outline history of an AU before you begin writing, is that you are than able to develop story threads and use older threads as later catalysts for adding filler material where needed.
One of the random results of my rolls for the ilKhans, was a period of 60 years where the office of the ilKhan is held for relatively short periods of time, by what appear to be seven successive incompetents. Maybe that is a little harsh, but before then, the average time in office for an ilKhan was just over 18 years, however from 2935-2994, the average falls to just under eight and a half years.
How was I to write in the reasons for this? Well luckily, canon came to my assistance, with Tobias Khatib and his fall from grace. In canon, his fall ends the office of ilKhan for over a century, so by using this event and keeping the office of ilKhan, I write in a decline in the office’s prestige, something that it takes many years to redress.
So here is Part five, bookended by two separate Cloud Cobra successes: the gaining of the ilKhanship; and the taking of the Tanite Worlds.
Close of the Golden Century
In 2912, two events brought the Smoke Jaguars to the fore, the first being the election of Dante Kotare to the position of Clan Loremaster, following the death of Loremaster Riedel, and the Londerholm revolt.
The death of Loremaster Riedel was no surprise, as the man was ancient by Clan standards when elected in 2904 at the age of 71. The new Loremaster, Dante Kotare, was known for his moderation, or at least as far as a person could be moderate within the Smoke Jaguar Clan. His moderation, respect for Freebirths and willingness to listen to lower castemen, led to a stalled career, but those traits would make him an excellent Loremaster for the Clans over the coming thirty years.
The other event that brought the Smoke Jaguars to the attention of the Grand Council was the Londerholm incident, where the Jaguars had razed a settlement on the world in order to end a merchant/labourer uprising. Many in the Grand Council wished to see the Jaguars undergo Supplication, some to humble the proud Clan and others due to the parallels they saw with the earlier Widowmaker Supplication.
However, Khan Ian Moon eloquently argued for autonomy for a Clan with regards to relationships between the castes, otherwise he argued, any Clan may interfere with the workings of the others. The argument may seem shallow on the surface; however, it was far more pertinent in 2912 than it was in 2832, five generations earlier. By 2912, great differences existed between the social orders of the various Clans, vastly more so than was the case in 2832. The former reasons for Supplication for the Widowmakers, that they had deviated drastically from the other 19 Clans, no longer held valid, as the Clans had diversified and varied to such an extent, that to set such a precedent with the Jaguars, was to open all the Clans to challenges from their peers. The motion was dropped and the Smoke Jaguars avoided Supplication, much to the disgust of Clans that had hoped to engineer their fall.
Two years later, Dorian N’Buta stepped down as ilKhan due to infirmities deriving from wounds suffered when he was younger. His replacement was elected with little opposition, as at that time the Coyote Clan was at the height of its power and prestige. Khan Corian Tchernovkov became the seventh ilKhan of the Clans and the last of the Golden Century ilKhans. His death several years later, would mark the beginning of the Political Century and a decline in the prestige of the office of ilKhan.
Tchernovkov’s election was also fortuitously timed, as the end of the previous ilKhan’s Trial system for the Exeter worlds saw the inter-Clan conflicts began to increase in intensity again. The ilKhan was less cautious than his predecessor and saw no reason to step in to prevent Clans from battling as they saw fit.
However, following the advice of Loremaster Kotare, the ilKhan did begin to push for a lessening of tensions following the epic Battle of Tokasha, between Clans Hell’s Horses and Ghost Bear, in 2921. However, it would take the ilKhan the better part of fifteen years to bring the Clans back to some semblance of order, as the Widowmakers Exeter Campaign and the Mongoose Clan’s seconds drubbing at the hands of the Star Adders made his task a difficult one.
However by 2932, the ilKhan, ably assisted by Loremaster Kotare, had managed to set the balance of power amongst the Clans to order. However, this was to start into in motion the end of his rule, as the Cloud Cobra Khan, Tobias Khatib, had many of his plans upset by a return to the status quo. The Cobra Khan bided his time before striking, but was successful in his removal of the ilKhan in an “accident” and his own election to the post in 2935.
As Khatib rose to the post of ilKhan in the early years of the 30th Century, the discussion of whether a return to the Inner Sphere was to be conducted, or even practicable, began to gain voice. Over time two factions would form: the Crusaders, who believed in a war of conquest to return the Inner Sphere to the Star League by force; and the Wardens, who sought to protect the Inner Sphere, or return to it to bring peace if it fell into complete ruin. For much of the next 75 years the Wardens, led by the powerful Wolf and Coyote Clans, would dominate the Council, ensuring that the Crusaders had little real voice.
Additionally, the next seven years marked the first instances of open discord between the offices of the ilKhan and the Clan Loremaster. Loremaster Kotare was against the ilKhan’s open favouritism to those Clans who followed what was beginning to be called the Warden Movement. As a member of the Smoke Jaguars, Kotare was already leaning towards the Crusader viewpoint, but was wise enough not to allow his views to effect the running of his office.
As the Warden Clans held the balance of power in the Grand Council throughout most of the 30th Century, it was not difficult for the ilKhan to eventually engineer the removal of Kotare in 2942, ostensibly due to infirmity, when their relationship became openly acrimonious.
The Cobra ilKhan was unable to get one of his own elected to the position of Loremaster, with the Steel Vipers managing to ascend to the post a second time, with Armanda Black receiving the honour. Black was a Warden, and although not who the ilKhan wanted in the position, was able to work with him.
Khatib continued to follow a course that most suited himself in the Grand Council, an attitude which would later see him called the first of the Political ilKhans. He and the six ilKhan’s to follow would be faced with a fractured Grand Council, one that met infrequently and was ever more destabilised due to old feuds and the Crusader/Warden split.
In 2947, evidence was brought before the Grand Council by Clan Snow Raven, which showed ilKhan Khatib had assassinated his predecessor. This shock saw his immediate removal and execution, along with the fall of the current Loremaster, who was caught in the ensuing political crossfire. Khatib’s fall nearly saw the end of the office of ilKhan and tarnished its reputation for the next fifty years. It was only the writings of Andery Kerensky, eloquently quoted by Khan Malcolm Ward of Clan Wolf, which saved the office. Ward stated that “…the office of the ilKhan and Loremaster should always be filled, in order to preserve the balance between the Clans…”, and it was his words that saw both positions refilled.
Khan Ami Woods of Clan Ghost Bear, a compromise candidate, only elected after six days of inter-Clan bickering and horse trading, was inducted as the new ilKhan. However, ilKhan Wood’s position was never strong and she had little impact upon the actions of the Clans as a whole. Clan Wolf however, was honoured with one of their own being elevated to the post of Clan Loremaster, seeing Aldoflo Fetladrel being given the honour. Although not as stained as the office of the ilKhan was by Tobias Khatib’s actions, the Loremaster faced a long struggle to return the correct measure of dignity to his office. It is a testament to Fetladrel that he was able to do so over his thirty years holding of the position, as the three ilKhans that served alongside him could accomplish little to raise the prestige of their own title.
In 2962, further damage was done to the office of the ilKhan when ilKhan Woods failed to test out as a warrior, having avoided combat for the previous six years. This further disgrace made the job of the next ilKhan one that was not to be envied, as the office was now held in even lower repute.
Despite the reduced prestige of the office, the Coyotes were to provide their second warrior to the ilKhanship. Some hoped that Albert Tangen, a follower of the same principles as those of the late ilKhan Corian Tchernovkov, could restore the honour of the post and bring about a return to more balanced relations between the Clans. However, Tangen was stymied at every turn by those who sought to follow their own agendas and seek out what was best for their Clan. Although Tangen was widely acknowledged as having given the role of ilKhan his every effort, he was largely unsuccessful in his actions, although he did lay some foundation for his successor to follow.
It was during Tangen’s time as ilKhan that the Cloud Cobras found the Tanite Worlds, located near clan space, and began to cultivate contacts, and later war. The Cloud Cobras were far more discreet than the Wolverines and Mongoose Clans were when they discovered the Exeter Worlds, ensuring that the only Clan with knowledge of the Tanite civilisation was Clan Burrock. Clan Burrock was given a stake in the worlds, prior to the Cobra’s announcement of their acquisition of the Tanites in 2977, preventing the wholesale war that had engulfed the Exeter Worlds.