One of the more confusing historical episodes of Agrippa is the number of lesser political and military operations that have come to be known collectively as the Fronde. Together these conflicts have had a large impact on the present political landscape of the sector.
The Anvil DMZ Edit
At the close of the Chaos invasion of Hibernia, relations between Imperial interests and the Tau conclave of Aachen shifted fundamentally due to Tau aid during the war. Prior to the war, Hibernia had taken a hard-line stance towards the alien Tau who had alarmingly staked out a vast territory in Aachen at the expense of the Imperium.
Prior to the Hibernia invasion, the Treaty of Anvil formally recognized Tau sovereignty in Aachen and created a DMZ on the world of Anvil itself which would become a world shared by both the Tau and the Imperium.
Such concessions were seen by many like Hibernia, as a step in the wrong direction and a sin towards the principals of the Imperium.
However, the result of this treaty was an immediate recognition that Anvil was to become a lucrative market hub. The Great Houses rushed to world to take advantage of the boom, in particular House Dukas, developed a close relationship with the Tau.
Traditional Hardliners such as Hibernia, and Exeter criticized the arrangement as nothing short of a sinful scheme to profit and stood by their traditional anti-alien opinions.
However, following the Hibernian invasion and in light of the assistance by the Tau, attitudes suddenly changed and the Tau began making welcome overtures to rebuild Hibernia via open trade.
The Rise of the House of Conde At the close of the Hibernian war, parliament enjoyed a rare period of cooperation which facilitated a shift in power. As trade was thriving, relations between the rival Houses sweetened. To further this atmosphere, the often wayward House D’Hautville was experiencing its own internal political shake-up replacing the long standing sept House Brettoni with their Aurex rivals of Conde.
This was significant to Parliament at large. House Brettoni had ruled for a near century and had a terrible reputation for corruption and belligerent policies in the Council of Houses. With the coup of Conde, the cantankerous relations between Houses were somewhat relaxed.
As tensions with Hibernia escalated over trade with the Tau, the council elected the firebrand Prince Conde (The Red Hydra) as House Elector, believing he was the best man to protect the trade interests of the Houses. As one of the key agents who originally brokered the peace at Anvil, he was intimate with the complex rules guiding the subsequent treaty of Anvil.
The Anvil Trade War Edit
When Hibernia began to warm to the idea of open trade with the Tau, the Red Hydra and Parliament acted swiftly. In a typical fierce act of protectionsim, they moved to quash any deal between the provinces and the Tau.
House forces were dropped on the Imperial side of Anvil and Hibernian trade officials were arrested.
The Tau reacted with outrage citing the Treaty of Anvil which stipulated no armed forces be allowed on Anvil. Parliament’s rebuttal was that since the Tau had approached Hibernia with a trade proposal, they had broken the treaty as it had been ruled that the Houses were only allowed to trade with the Tau.
These events opened a myriad of old wounds and brought to light the long-standing tension regarding the privileges of the Houses over trade and religion.
Hibernia’s reaction was to galvanize the smoldering resentment of the House’s among many of the subsector governors and create a coalition to resist. The result was a show-down between the Hibernian led Alliance and the D’Hautville party Loyalists.
Death of the Conde and the Battle for Anvil Edit
Hibernia made it plain that they were no longer interested in negotiation and intended to use force. There intention was to reform parliament away form the Houses, establish free trade and religion under John Proctor’s severe brand of Imperial faith.
Throughout the sector pockets of fighting broke out between the two sides. Many subsector governments who had endured the rule of the Houses for centuries took the oppurtunity and engaged in micro revolutions. With the Alliance scoring major victories by taking away House holdings on Helios and controlling galactic trade lanes throughout the lower subsectors, the Houses lost nearly a half of their sector holdings within months.
But the real showdown came on Anvil itself, where Loyalists and Alliance forces engaged in an epic 3 stage battle.
During the second battle of Anvil, Alliance forces were put to rout by the Conde only to be rallied by Kitchener who consolidated and attacked the next morning. For the entire day the two sides slugged it out until the Conde himself was killed in the fighting. The blow to the Loyalist side was significant and Anvil was won for the Alliance.
The Battle for Dummonia Edit
Although many of the Houses were saddened by the death of the charismatic Red Hydra, the loss of Anvil took the fight out of many House supporters. Dominic Fortuna was elected to lead the council and immediately called for talks.
Unfortunately for the Loyalists, Hibernia was unwilling to cooperate. Bolstered by their success at Anvil the Alliance presented terms intentionally designed to antagonzie the Houses. An invasion of the Blodsburg subsector itself was inevitable.
Many historians speculate that Kitchener’s decision to intimidate the Houses into a prolonged conflict was to simply punish House D’Hautville. Not only was the Loyalist faction of parliament led by House D’Hautville interests, their holding of Dummonia was the southernmost bastion of the subsector and due to receive the greatest blow. To hurt D'Hautville was to hurt the very symbol of House privleges in the Agrippa Sector.
The campaign on Dummonia was shorter than the 3 battles on Anvil and although there were a number of successful guerrilla resistance campaigns by locals, the final battle at Parc Parselles was a major loss for the Loyalists. In a humiliating defeat, tarnished by controversy and treachery, Dummonia was lost to the Alliance and Kitchener free to enforce his terms on the Houses.
The Treaty of Parselles Edit
A major power shift occurred with Kitchener’s victory at Dummonia. Among the terms, Dominic Fortuna was forced to step down and allow Kitchener to take the post as Elector of the House. A number of sweeping economic reforms stripped the Houses of their exclusive trade rights and a strong federalist movement required (for the first time) tithes and resource taxes to be paid directly to a central government.
Both House Navies and Imperial Guard holdings were also stripped of many of their original rights including an unpopular edict enforcing independent Commissars to be posted to House regiments.
The blow to the Houses was severe but among all of them, House D’Hautville would remain under a humiliating occupation by Hibernian forces and her regent bound to the whims of Governor Kitchener. For many decades later, Hibernia would control parliament by controlling the votes of House D'Hautville.
The only area where Kitchener’s reforms did not stick was with the ecclesiarch. Although he did abolish the Cardinal Duke’s office and replace it with the Dictat Procter’s régime, Procter’s radical reformations were halted for fear of inciting a people’s revolt. War weary, Kitchener was clever enough to recognize that the Houses had suffered enough and that to dabble with religious change would have led to disaster. He had achieved the unthinkable and decided to quit while he was ahead.
The Neutrals Edit
Throughout the Fronde episode, several important power bases that could have swung the balance of power one way or another decided to remain neutral. Most notably the Red Guard, from the very beginning sued for peace and heavily criticized both sides for their militancy. However, it was clear that the twelvers held a solid bias for the Alliance perhaps due to insults exchanged in parliament with the Red Hydra himself. Regardless of preference the Red Guard managed to stay out of the fighting.
House Dukas was also another power base that remained largely neutral. Although factions of the House sided with the traditional Council, and some even served in the Loyalist army, this Houses's ties to the Tau tied their hands. Of all the Houses, Dukas was particularly close and any open support for the Loyalists would have been seen as anti-Tau.
Others say Dukas was also caught within its own internal civil war which made it difficult for the House to act with a collective voice and back one side or another.
In any case both neutral parties had the power to end the Fronde sooner rather than later and involvement could have been a factor in preventing the tragic loss of lives on Anvil and Dummonia.