The beginning of the Great Debate in the Grand Council marked the beginning of the end for the Warden opposition to what would one day become Operation REVIVAL. With the alternate timeline now bounding along, I had the chance to add a little to the debate.The Great Debate will be a large chapter, making chapter VII likely as large as the two or three before it. So in order to set the stage for it, a smaller chapter VI was in order. However, once this deep into an AU, you will finds that many of the threads you have developed yourself, start to have as much weight as the canon threads.
Weaving these together consistently gets more difficult the further on you go, so it takes time and thought to ensure that they mesh as well as they can. Don’t ever be afraid to retcon backwards or forwards whilst the background history is being put together, especially if things don’t feel right. For this Clan AU, six retcons backwards and three forwards have already been made, but outside the proof readers, few will ever be aware.
However, once you publish to the general public, big retcons, if not just additional background filler can prove disjointing and drive readers away. In the main KU, as its is developing along. we have avoided any major retcons and limited ourselves to fixing errors in previous editions of the works.
So here is Part VI of the KU Clan history, where Mongoose politics, Wolverine idealism and Crusader guile build the platform for the Great Debate to commence.
The Crusaders Rise
For most of the 2960’s, ilKhan Tangen strived to bring about change amongst the Clans, with his efforts stymied at every turn by individual Clan Khans who sought personal glory and benefits for their Clan alone. By mid-decade, it was rapidly becoming apparent that Tangen had little hope of changing the status quo, with the ilKhan becoming increasingly despondent out of Council sessions and less communicative during them.
In 2868, following a long speech before the assembled Grand Council, Albert Tangen stepped down from the post of ilKhan. In his own words, “…individual Khans, mired in their own personal desires for glory, have forced the office of the ilKhan into further decline. I have faced, and those who follow me will be faced with these selfish Khans, bent only on personal gratification. Nicholas Kerensky taught us to compete, yet Andery counselled us to never forget we are brothers. I feel my brothers have turned their back on me and therefore, having lost their confidence, I must resign from this office.”
Tangen’s speech, though not unexpected, did strike a chord with some Clans, with a small block coming together to elect Elanor McEvedy of Clan Wolverine to the office of ilKhan in 2968. McEvedy, supported by several smaller Clans and the core of the Warden movement, was able to bring a short period of dignity to the ilKhan’s office, as well as a measure of decency to the inter-Clan feuds and conflicts that continued across Clan space.
Unsurprisingly, there was intense opposition to ilKhan McEvedy from several quarters, especially those Clans traditionally hostile to the Wolverines or who were fast becoming Clans with large Crusader majorities. However, if external opposition was all McEvedy needed to face, then many Clan historians believe that this tragic figure would have become the ilKhan who restored honour to her post and pushed back the beginning of the great debate for many years.
McEvedy was not only a gifted warrior and political leader, she was also an idealist, something not often encountered in the upper echelons of the Clans. She was a fervent believer in the importance of all the castes, re-instituting several measures within the Wolverine Clan, prior to her ascent to the ilKhanship, which provided greater freedom to the lower castes and more say in the Clan’s governance. She encouraged Clans like the Sea Foxes and lauded them as examples to the other Clans, whilst loudly denouncing several hard line Clans in the Grand Council. Clans Smoke Jaguar, Widowmaker and surprisingly Clan Coyote, often a willing associate, if not an ally, felt the bite of her tongue.
Despite making enemies with her speeches on the Council floor, McEvedy was also a master politician, able to gain the votes and support she needed through means that many did not suspect her to be capable of. Despite her success, McEvedy’s fall would not be engineered by her Grand Council opponents, at least not at first, as one of her closest confidants within Clan Wolverine would bring her low.
Samuel Fallstaff, a Wolverine officer who had seen his career stall at the rank of Star Colonel, long harboured a grudge against his Khan. Though one of the Khan’s inner circle of advisors, he felt betrayed that Khan McEvedy had never allowed him to compete for higher rank. This rejection caused a deep bitterness and rancour to develop within Fallstaff and would be the catalyst for the ilKhan’s removal. Fallstaff was also a closet Crusader and hardliner in a liberal Warden Clan, a fact that coupled with his good, but not stellar abilities, had stonewalled his career.
In 2971, Fallstaff managed to secure the post of Wolverine Loremaster and began to set his plan in motion. Over the next five years, he began the history that would come to be called Trinity’s Children. This eight volume master work, traced the history and achievements of the Kerenskys and the Clans down to 2970 and is still considered the primary reference work for Clan historians for those periods to this day. The most remarkable element of Trinity’s Children is that is shows little, if any bias, towards the Crusader’s or Falstaff’s own views. Despite his later actions, his abilities as a historian and writer are beyond reproach and stand to this day as a model for historical writing.
However, Fallstaff used his time in writing Trinity’s Children to engage with Clan Loremaster Aldoflo Fetladrel on an almost monthly basis in the collection of information for his work, having Fetladrel write the forward to his great masterpiece as well. Not only did Fallstaff spend much time with the Clan Loremaster, but he also visited every other Clan, seeking their assistance and views in compiling his work. These visits to several Clans, especially the Crusader Clans, served to provide him with the time to engineer the ilKhan’s fall. Fallstaff believed this to be a relatively simple feat, if taking some time to accomplish. Fallstaff knew Loremaster Fetladrel would soon step down, and he sought the support of the Crusader Clans to see himself elected to Clan Loremaster. He told the Crusaders that the Wardens would support him, and many middle ground Clans would, following the release of his grand history, something many Clans had already had access to parts of. With Crusader support, not only would they have one of their own as the ilKhan’s advisor, but would remove McEvedy.
Fallstaff’s reasoning in the fall of McEvedy was this: Following the disaster of the Steel Viper’s holding of both the office of ilKhan and Clan Loremaster, most Clans had been very cautious about the possibility of another Clan holding both positions. Fallstaff knew that McEvedy, as a staunch idealist, believed more in the stability of the Clans as a whole, than in her own personal power, something which had given her such an advantage over her opponents in the Grand Council. When Fallstaff was elected, McEvedy would step down, he was sure of it. Though not entirely convinced, enough Clan Khans who bitterly opposed the ilKhan were on side for Fallstaff to have confidence in his chances in gaining the office of Clan Loremaster.
On December 27th, 2977, a year after the release and open lauding of his work by all the Clans, Fallstaff made his move. At the Grand council session where the Cloud Cobras announced the conquest of the Tanite worlds and their joint occupation with the Burrocks, Loremaster Fetladrel stepped down. Nominations were called for from the floor, with Khan Terry De Geode of Clan Ice Hellion nominating Samuel Fallstaff. Seconded by saKhan Andrea Thastus of Clan Jade Falcon, the motion for Fallstaff’s election to Clan Loremaster passed by 24 votes to 16.
However, it would take three weeks for Fallstaff to arrive on Strana Mechty for his induction and in that time it became clear that Khan McEvedy was planning to step down, as Fallstaff had predicted. McEvedy’s departing speech, delivered prior to Fallstaff’s formal induction, to prevent both holding office simultaneously, fell on many deaf ears, but remains as one of the great Clan speeches and is often quoted by many Clansmen to this day.
Fallstaff’s diaries, only recently recovered, paint a picture of a bitter man who despised most of those around him. He seems to have lead a lonely and harsh life, even by Clans standards and his cutting and often vicious diary entries about those around him are always to the point and sometimes brutally accurate.
Nevertheless, Falstaff had what he wanted and officiated as Loremaster for the election of a new ilKhan. As a Crusader, he chose to first acknowledge Khan Dana Roshak of the Jade Falcons, who nominated Khan Jae Ruby of Clan Widowmaker for the position of ilKhan. As a Crusader, he would secure at least a quarter of the Grand Council votes, but he was opposed by Khan Jeffery Tchernovkov of the Coyotes.
However, Ruby was in luck, as a recent Coyote offensive, one which had gained no small measure of success, had alienated some Clans that may otherwise have voted for Tchernovkov. Once voting concluded, Jae Ruby was the 12th ilKhan, on the narrow margin of 22-18. Voted in early 2978, Ruby would last just fourteen months in the position, as the Warden Clans quickly came to realise he intended to open debate in the Grand council over a return to the Inner Sphere. The Wardens managed to stymie his efforts until they could select a viable candidate to replace him.
Clan Mongoose, ever the manipulator, saw their chance and took it. With the Coyotes not in a position to elevate one of their own, due to their recent campaign, and both Wolf Khans being new to their positions and quite young, the Mongoose Khan, Beverly Ryu, approached the Wardens as a compromise candidate. Clan Mongoose was still fence sitting on the Crusader/Warden debate and would be seen, at least according to Warden eyes, as a viable substitute for ilKhan Ruby. However, Clan Mongoose had been majority Crusader Clan for some time, merely hiding the fact from the other Clans to suit their own purposes. Khan Ryu also approached the Crusaders, letting them know of Ruby’s coming fall, but promising to open the Great Debate to discussion in the Grand Council if she secured their votes.
In March 2879, ilKhan Ruby was challenged on the Council floor by the Wardens, who declared he was unfit to be ilKhan, as he had lost the support of the majority. ilKhan Ruby refused to step down gracefully and a vote was called. Khan Rivka Kerensky of Clan Wolf nominated Beverly Ryu of Clan Mongoose to oppose Ruby and swept into office in an overwhelming victory of 36-4.
Upon accepting the position, ilKhan Ruby shocked the Wardens by announcing her Clans official adoption of the Crusader cause and her intention to open debate on the matter of the return to the Inner Sphere. She claimed that with 18 Clans supporting her, she had such a mandate. Although the staunch Warden Clans opposed her, ilKhan got her way and the debate opened, much to the delight of the Crusader Clans.