In and around the region of Moroz commonly referred to as the Fisanduh Mountains lies the troubled Imperial Occupied Territory of Fisanduh -- the land once known as the Confederated States of Fisanduh until quite recently. While Fisanduh’s land -- which covers roughly a fifth of Moroz -- has been officially controlled by the Empire of Dominia since 2384, its people, commonly known as Fisundahians, have proven to be highly resistant to Imperial rule and an insurgency known as the Fisanduh Freedom Front has fought against the Empire for decades. Despite being officially an Imperial province the region has, much to the frustration of Nova Luxembourg, long eluded total control and has retained a degree of de facto independence despite the immense amount of men, materials, and money that have been poured into the province over its decades under Dominian control. Internationally Fisanduh is both an embarrassment for the Empire and a spot of hope for those opposed to it. Domestically, it is a region devastated and ravaged by nearly a century of war that is in dire need of economic aid -- and an end to its century-long war with the rest of Moroz.
The history of Fisanduh is one of war, and of the sorrow that comes as a result. For over a century -- since 2355 -- Fisanduh has been involved, in various manners, in conflict with the rest of Moroz: first with the Imperial Alliance, and then with the Empire it would eventually form. Fighting was initially confined solely to Outer Fisanduh and the Gates of Fisanduh themselves until 2384, when the Confederated States of Fisanduh officially fell to the forces of the Imperial Alliance, Plan SCRAM -- an emergency “stay-behind” resistance designed to continue the fight -- was activated, and what remained of the government fled to Xanu Prime. Following its fall the then-Emperor Godwin Keeser I made few efforts to properly integrate the native Fisanduhians into the greater Empire, viewing them as decadent, rebellious, and tainted by the Confederated States’ long-lasting and stable democracy. He instead opted to begin a process of “Morozification” in Fisanduh, in which Dominian settlers from the rest of Moroz were brought to “civilize” the new province. The Emperor additionally laid a heavy “war tax” upon his new subjects in the former Confederated States, both to help pay off debts the state held to its great houses following the war and as a punishment for Fisanduh’s decades of resistance.
As a result of this tensions in Fisanduh were extremely high even before the formal emergency of the Fisanduh Freedom Front (3F) and the start of the guerilla war in the province. While violence between native Fisanduhians and Morozian Dominians had been a part of the occupation from its first day the situation escalated dramatically in 2386, when the Fisanduh Freedom Front formally emerged as a unifying force for the various anti-Imperial factions within Fisanduh itself. The following decades in Fisanduh have been marked by constant conflicts with the Empire of Dominia’s occupying forces, and the economic devastation that has been brought by the conflict. The province is poor due to repatriations and conflict damage, which motivates Fisanduhians to join anti-Dominian resistance groups, which in turn leads to more conflict damage and more repatriations that must be paid.
Contemporary Fisanduh, as a result, is in a generally poor state. Constant conflict has resulted in an economy that has partially collapsed, with only Imperial-controlled Outer Fisanduh and 3F-controlled regions of Inner Fisanduh having an economy to speak of, crippled infrastructure, and countless deaths. Despite this the current Emperor, Boleslaw Keeser, hardly seems interested in the state of his semi-autonomous province. While none can say for certain the reason for this neglect -- perhaps it is due to his old age or perhaps it is due to his multiple failed attempts to bring the province “to heel,” -- the Emperor’s recent disinterest in Fisanduh has been both of blessing and a curse for the province, which is -- despite the dogged stubbornness of its population -- in dire need of economic assistance, and a formal end to its century-long war against the Empire of Dominia.
Environment and Regions
The territory formerly controlled by the Confederated States and now under the shaky control of the Imperial Province of Fisanduh is, like much of Moroz, cold and icey with a short growing season. Fisanduh’s geography is dominated by the Fisanduh Mountain range and its foothills, which completely surround the majority of the region and only leave it accessible through seven mountain passes collectively known as the “Gates of Fisanduh.” The Gates of Fisanduh were sites of some of the fiercest fighting during the War of Moroz, becoming heavily-fortified strongpoints of the Confederated States’ Army by the war’s end. Even though the CSFA’s guns in the passes have long-since fallen silent (at least, on paper) the Gates remain flashpoints of conflict between the Imperial Army of Dominia and the Fisanduh Freedom Front to this very day. The Gates serve as the main point of division for Fisanduh and effectively split it into two regions: Inner and Outer Fisanduh.
Outer Fisanduh is the smaller of these two regions, and is made up of the outward-facing foothills of the Fisanduh Mountain range. Before the War of Moroz this region was the more rural part of Fisanduh and was well-known for its rolling, farm-covered hills dotted with the occasional mountain town and criss-crossed by the railways that would bring the foods of Outer Fisanduh through the Gates and to Inner Fisanduh. When the War came to Outer Fisanduh it was abandoned by the Confederated States, which retreated to the Gates of Fisanduh. The vast majority of its population was quickly uprooted from their ancestral homes and became refugees as the once-idyllic hills of the region were scarred by the war. By the war’s end many areas of Outer Fisanduh had been damaged nearly beyond repair by repeated exchanges of artillery fire, and some areas remain uninhabitable even decades later. The Empire of Dominia’s control in Fisanduh is strongest in this region as its population is primarily Imperial Morozi rather than Fisanduhian, as very few refugee families from the prewar era have returned to their former homes in Outer Fisanduh. Those rare Fisanduhians still living in the region often find themselves under suspicion by the Empire and are typically discriminated against for their origins in the region. Many Outer Fisanduhians, disillusioned by their lesser status, ultimately join one of the many resistance cells that make up the Fisanduh Freedom Front. The largest city in Outer Fisanduh is Strelitz’s Rest, a former Fisanduhian town renamed after the fall of the Confederated States and that now houses the largest Imperial Army base in the region.
Inner Fisanduh is the larger of the two regions and consists of all land found inside of the Fisanduh Mountain range. Long considered to be the heartland of the Confederated States, this region is known for its mountainous terrain, which has long been dominated by industrial towns and cities -- such as Neubach, the capital of the former Confederated States, fed by mines found in the nearby foothills and mountains. While Inner Fisanduh managed to avoid much of the devastation that Outer Fisanduh experienced during the War, it was ravaged by guerilla warfare during Dominian attempts to solidify Imperial control over the region and has long struggled to deal with the refugee problems caused by the exodus from Outer Fisanduh. Dominian control over Inner Fisanduh is tenuous at best and weakens the further one moves from the Gates of Fisanduh, which are regarded by many Dominians as the border between “civilized and uncivilized” Fisanduh. As Dominian control weakens the Fisanduh Freedom Front invariably grows in strength until one reaches the Front’s center of power: the former Confederated States capital of Neubach.
Prior to the War of Moroz the Confederated States of Fisanduh were well-known for their heavy industrial and mining sectors, which were often regarded as the best on Moroz. The region -- particularly Inner Fisanduh -- is rich in minerals required to sustain a modern industrial economy and the Confederated States made effective use of them; first to establish a successful economy among the nations of Moroz, and finally to sustain a decades-long war effort against an existential threat to itself. Following the collapse of Fisanduh in 2384 the newly-formed Empire of Dominia made attempts to claim the resources of Inner Fisanduh for itself, which initially resulted in widespread civil unrest such as miner’s strikes that eventually escalated into sabotage and -- eventually -- armed resistance as the Imperial Army resorted to harsher and harsher measures to maintain its grip. The Empire’s hold on Inner Fisanduh’s mines would eventually be broken in the late 2300s, but many mines were badly damaged during the fighting required to dislodge Imperial Army forces and House Caladius mining concerns from Inner Fisanduh. Some of these mines remain unopened to this day, their resources awaiting a day when Inner Fisanduh is no longer ravaged by war.
After nearly a century of conflict the Fisanduhian economy is in utter shambles in both the Inner and Outer regions of the province. Many small towns -- and even some provincial cities -- have resorted to a barter system in lieu of a functional central currency, and only areas under either strong Imperial Army or 3F control feature stable -- if poor -- local economies. Many of the Confederated States’ once-proud factories have been reduced to bombed-out skeletons of their former selves, many mines were collapsed or flooded in a deliberate attempt to deprive the Empire of valuable resources, and once-productive farmland in Outer Fisanduh has had its soil poisoned by the residual powder from artillery shells. In some more isolated regions of Fisanduh, further from Imperial Army or 3F control local warlords -- some simple bandits, others the remnants of the government that could once be found in the region -- profit at the expense of the local population, selling precious metals mined in the hills of Fisanduh for both personal gain and to purchase weaponry for the ongoing struggle against the Empire of Dominia.
Fisanduh has morphed culturally as a result of nearly a century of war with the rest of Moroz. While the region’s population has always had a reputation of being hardy and independent the length of the war has morphed this dedication to independence into an often-fanatical hatred of the Empire of Dominia and its peoples. For many in Fisanduh, there can be no compromise over their autonomy -- and there is no price too steep to pay for it. This fanaticism is at its strongest in Inner Fisanduh, which has dwelled outside Imperial control for several decades following the Imperial Army’s retreat beyond the mountains that divide it from Outer Fisanduh. Many in Outer Fisanduh, on the contrary, do not display this fanaticism and the region overall has a higher rate of collaboration with the Empire of Dominia, though none can truly say if this collaboration is born out of mutual goodwill or simply mere convenience. The Moroz Holy Tribunal is generally not viewed in a positive light by most Fisanduhians, whether they come from the Inner or Outer sections of the region, though the region itself has become home to a variety of cults and sects of the faith that have fled persecution by the Holy Tribunal for the relative isolation of Fisanduh. Those in Inner Fisanduh often view these religious refugees with suspicion, but some have found a place in the mountainous region -- particularly those able and willing to participate in the fight against the Empire. Such tolerance is rarer in Outer Fisanduh despite the presence of greater Dominian influence in the region, and religious conflicts are a constant flashpoint of tension between Morozians and Fisanduhians in this region. While Fisanduhians have not been explicitly ordered to convert to the Moroz Holy Tribunal, those that do not often find themselves passed over for opportunities in favor of those that have.
Life in Fisanduh
Day-to-day life in Fisanduh, in both the Inner and Outer regions, is hardly pleasant. Poverty and war are the constant companions in the daily lives of typical Fisanduhians, and a significant portion of Fisanduhians exist as refugees driven from their homes by the ongoing conflict between the Empire’s forces and the various resistance groups aligned against it. Life for average Fisanduhians, despite these two constant companions, varies based on if one lives in Inner or Outer Fisanduh. Fisanduhians speak a variety of languages -- including Tradeband and Freespeak -- but a regional variation of Vulgar Morozi (itself derived from Solarian Common) is the most commonly spoken language in the region.
Life in Inner Fisanduh is generally regarded by most in the region to be the better of the two, despite the widespread devastation the region experienced during the initial phases of the guerilla war against the Empire of Dominia. The Fisanduh Freedom Front’s control is at its strongest here, which has allowed for most -- not all -- of the region to have some form of formal government, though it is an informal and typically underground one often referred to as the “shadow state” by Dominian commentators. Despite this quasi-government life is far from easy here, as the primary employer -- the region’s heavy industry -- was gutted during the guerilla war and steady employment -- particularly for refugees -- is hard to come by. Consistent unemployment drives many to join the 3F in order to feed themselves, leading to continuing violence and further devastation as the guerilla war drags on.
Life in Outer Fisanduh is, on the contrary, generally regarded by most in the region to be the harder, often worse place to live in due to Outer Fisanduh being the main region of conflict between the various resistance factions in Fisanduh and the Empire of Dominia, which is primarily represented by the Imperial Army and Imperial Fisanduhian Gendarmerie. Those in the region are additionally subject to Imperial law and Imperial taxation when the Empire’s control is strong enough, which means that Imperial law -- and the Moroz Holy Tribunal -- is only strictly enforced in the urban centers of the region, and these laws are generally enforced by the IFG. Outside of the major cities of the region life quickly becomes harder due to constant fighting between various factions and the power vacuum created by the collapse of the Confederated States, which has been filled by numerous warlords. These warlords often make life harder for those unlucky enough to live under them, as they exact tithes of recruits and materials in order to fund the war effort -- and often fight with other regional warlords as often as the Empire of Dominia. The result of these warlord conflicts is bitterly ironic: many Fisanduhians in Outer Fisanduh flee the countryside’s violence and settle in Imperial-controlled cities, where they are often treated as second-class citizens compared to Morozian Dominians. This treatment results in many refugees eventually joining resistance cells to fight against the Empire, continuing the cycle of violence in the region.
The Imperial Army in Fisanduh
The contemporary Imperial Army troops stationed in Fisanduh are quite unlike the House Strelitz commandos that brought the Confederated States to their knees a century ago, though Fisanduh is still regarded by the Empire as a province of “critical importance” to its continued stability. Primarily operating out of fortified outposts located along Outer Fisanduh’s main roads (commonly referred to as “Imperial Relays” by Imperial Army troops) and sprawling military bases in the same region, the Imperial Army’s mission in the region is to maintain the stability and security of Dominian-controlled areas rather than actively fighting in Inner Fisanduh. This mission invariably brings them into conflict with the resistance groups of Outer Fisanduh, which they actively attempt to flush out and destroy. The daily life of an Imperial Army soldier is often quite boring, with most days spent on guard or on patrol for the insurgents that are known for attacking Imperial Army outposts in the region and “real” engagements in the field rare -- much to the frustration of more zealous officers and soldiers. The Imperial Aerial Corps in Fisanduh -- the air wing attached to the region -- is typically perceived as the more “exciting” posting in the region, with its gunships often patrolling Outer Fisanduh and its long-range bombers flying as far as Neubach to eliminate suspected munitions factories.
The governing of Fisanduh is, presently, neither an easy task for the Empire of Dominia’s occupying forces or the Fisanduh Freedom Front’s underground governments, the majority of which claim allegiance to the Confederated States’ government-in-exile. The government-in-exile itself is viewed by many in Fisanduh -- particularly those in Inner Fisanduh -- to be the sole legitimate authority of the region despite the government’s current residence on Xanu Prime, light years away from Fisanduh itself. The government of Fisanduh itself is hardly a cohesive entity and is sharply divided between Inner and Outer Fisanduh, with Inner Fisanduh primarily controlled by the Fisanduh Freedom Front and Outer Fisanduh primarily controlled by the Empire of Dominia.
The government of Inner Fisanduh is officially (at least on paper) an Imperial province similar to its counterparts across Moroz or an occupied province that should be controlled by the Confederated States’ government-in-exile, depending on one’s stance on the Fisanduhian question. However the on-the-ground reality of Inner Fisanduh is far more complicated than either of these stances: decades of insurgent warfare, Imperial Army punitive expeditions, and the aftermath of the War of Moroz have left the region without a true central government. While the Fisanduh Freedom Front and its constituent resistance factions have made an attempt to establish what they refer to as the “parallel state” (or “shadow state,” if one is Dominian) in Fisanduh that is loyal to the government-in-exile, the distances involved and the reality on the ground has made this a difficult endeavor at best. As a result the 3F often acts on its own, following orders from its underground headquarters in Neubach rather than the government-in-exile Xanu Prime. Unfortunately 3F control tends to wane the further one moves from Neubach and with many settlements near the Gates of Fisanduh are loyal to their local resistance cell (or group) first and the 3F second. Some of these local authority figures (often simply referred to as “warlords”) are only nominally loyal to the 3F, with only the presence of a greater enemy -- the Empire of Dominia -- keeping their alliances intact.
While Inner Fisanduh is primarily controlled by the Fisanduh Freedom Front -- and the resistance groups affiliated with it -- Outer Fisanduh’s control is divided. Major urban centers and main roads are controlled by His Majesty's Imperial Army and His Majesty’s Imperial Fisanduhian Gendarmerie (IFG), and the Fisanduh Freedom Front controls much of the countryside. While the 3F nominally commands the resistance cells active in the region the cells tend to act more or less independently, answering first to their local leader and often only paying lip service to the 3F and government-in-exile. Outer Fisanduh is the site of nearly daily engagements between these resistance groups and Imperial forces, and these engagements tend to be concentrated around the control of the region’s roads -- particularly those in and around the Gates of Fisanduh. Many resistance groups are known to fight one another in addition to the Imperial Army over access to the resources needed to sustain their operations such as precious metals, food, and underground armaments factories. In the cities, where Dominian control is stronger, the IFG -- despite its failures in Inner Fisanduh -- is the primary policing force instead of the often much harsher Imperial Army. This has led to many Fisanduhian refugees -- which often have no better place to run to -- fleeing to IFG-controlled regions despite the organization’s reputation as a puppet of the Empire.
The resistance movements of Fisanduh are numerous and diverse, and can be found throughout both Inner and Outer Fisanduh. On paper these resistance forces are extensions of the Confederated States’ government-in-exile that take answers from it and the Fisanduh Freedom Front, which is meant to command and coordinate all resistance forces in Fisanduh from their headquarters near Neubach. The reality is much more complicated: many resistance groups only cooperate due to their mutual distaste for the Empire of Dominia and hold no greater loyalty to the government-in-exile or the 3F, particularly those active in Outer Fisanduh -- which is beyond the easy reach of the 3F. The resistance groups listed below are some of the more prominent groups, but this should not be considered an exhaustive list.
The Fisanduh Freedom Front is regarded by most as the oldest and most venerable of the currently-active resistance cells in Fisanduh, with its first cells activating in 2386 as part of Plan SCRAM. As a result the 3F is able to call upon something else that no other resistance group has: its status as the legitimate continuation of the armed forces of the Confederated States of Fisanduh, and its connection to the government-in-exile on Xanu Prime. While it does not control the entire region -- or all of Inner Fisanduh -- the 3F holds a firm grip on the majority of Inner Fisanduh, which it has managed to restore to a modicum of stability though the region remains poor and the scars of conflict are still present. Its center of influence is the city of Neubach, and the Front’s underground central command center is rumored to be located nearby. The Front is the only resistance group able to equip significant numbers of regulars, including the famous 32nd Mountain Brigade -- the only still-active unit of the Confederated States’ of Fisanduh’s Army.
Slightly outside the Front’s definitive zone of control in the mountains that ring inner Fisanduh lies a resistance group quite unlike its counterpart in Neubach: Our Lady the Goddess' Resistance Against the False Empire. Often simply referred to as the “Goddess’ Resistance,” this organization traces the roots of its existence to a group of Tribunalist clergy exiled from the Empire for their radical stance that the Empire was an illegitimate state that did not follow the Goddess’ edicts, which led to their rapid banishment. After being banished in the late 2300s they fled into the mountains of Fisanduh and founded what was initially a simple monastery in the ruins of a Confederated States Army redoubt that, over time, swelled into a significant organization. The Goddess’ Resistance is an eclectic group made up of a variety of anti-Dominian groups unified in their faith. Among the oddest of these is the all-female Our Lady the Goddess' Holy Order of Vihren Mountain, a militant order primarily made up of war orphans and refugees that has become known for its unusual fanaticism -- its members having been raised from birth to believe that the Empire of Dominia’s continued existence is an affront to the will of the Goddess.
In Outer Fisanduh -- well beyond the 3F’s realm of control -- one can find the similarly-named Yellow Star Front, an organization that similarly claims to be the legitimate successor to the government of Fisanduh following its collapse. But unlike its Inner Fisanduhian counterpart the Yellow Stars (as they are often called) have no legitimate endorsement by the government-in-exile, instead claiming that their right to rule as the legitimate successor state was earned by its founders -- themselves former Confederated States’ Army officers -- rather than given by bureaucrats that fled in Fisanduh’s hour of greatest need. The Yellow Stars are regarded as one of the most brutal resistance groups by the Imperial Army and are ideologically dedicated to the creation of an ultra-nationalistic Fisanduh free of Dominian influence, and will stop at nothing to see their goal realized -- regardless of how much blood most be spilled during their war. Their ideology calls for the elimination of the Empire of Dominia “in totality,” so that Fisanduh will never again suffer the fate it did during the War of Moroz. The Yellow Stars’ primary bases of power are on the outer sides of the gates of Fisanduh, regions which saw some of the fiercest fighting during the War of Moroz.
One of the most unusual resistance cells in Outer Fisanduh is the grandly-named All-Morozian Union of Ma’zalist Communes. Unlike most resistance cells in Outer Fisanduh it makes no attempt to pay even lip service to the Fisanduh Freedom Front and the government-in-exile due to its goals and makeup: it is, unlike any other resistance cell in Fisanduh, primarily made up of Morozian Ma’zals that have fled the Empire of Dominia to take refuge in one of the few regions on Moroz that its police and military cannot truly reach. Espousing an ideology self-described as Ma’zalist Communalism, which calls for the creation of a unified Morozian state free of the nobility that has been built for and by the Ma’zals of the Empire, the All-Morozian Union views itself as the legitimate governing body of all of Moroz and is in nearly constant conflict with both the Empire of Dominia and nationalistic Fisanduhian groups such as the Yellow Stars. The All-Morozians are a highly-decentralized group and are scattered throughout Outer Fisanduh in small hidden communes, which has made them exceptionally difficult for the Imperial Army to deal with.
Under Dominian law the territory of Fisanduh is officially a province of the greater Empire itself, though it is one that is considered to be insecure and prone to civil unrest. The situation, in reality, is significantly more complicated than this, with the government-in-exile of Fisanduh (based on Xanu Prime) claiming to be the legitimate government of the region instead of the conquering Empire of Dominia. Due to this most human interstellar powers hold some form of official stance on the true nature of Fisanduh, and its nature as an independent state under occupation or an Imperial province in revolt.
The Coalition of Colonies officially recognizes the Confederated States’ government-in-exile as the sole legitimate government of Fisanduh, despite the ongoing Imperial embargo over their stance and hosting of the government-in-exile. No member-state of the Coalition is more supportive of this stance than Xanu Prime, which has become the main destination for Fisanduhian refugees as a result. While some -- particularly Imperial diplomats -- claim that Xanu’s interest in Fisanduh is solely monetary in nature, many in Fisanduh proper see the Coalition as the best, and perhaps last, hope for the rebirth of a free Fisanduh.
The Republic of Biesel does not recognize the Confederated States’ government-in-exile, and instead views the Empire of Dominia as the legitimate authority of the province. Many theorize that this recognition is due to the corporate influence of Zavodskoi Interstellar, via the Stellar Corporate Conglomerate, over the Republic’s government. The small Fisanduhian refugee population in the Republic -- which is primarily concentrated in and around District 11 of Mendell City -- has repeatedly protested this to no success, and the Empire’s diplomatic corps has repeatedly praised the Republic for its wise decision-making on the Fisanduhian question.
The Republic of Elyra holds that the Confederated States’ government-in-exile is the legitimate government of Fisanduh, but has been hesitant to allow Fisanduhian refugees to settle on its planets due to the Republic’s strict border controls. Those Fisanduhians that are permitted entry into the Republic are generally the best and brightest of the Confederated States, or are otherwise able to provide skills to the Republic that are of use to it. However the political situation of the Republic leaves its recognition of Fisanduh in question, with the opposition currently preferring to recognize the Empire in order to seek détente with it.
The Alliance of Sovereign Solarian Nations has no official stance on the state of Fisanduh, due to its distance from the Empire of Dominia and its disinterest in the region following the Solarian Collapse of 2462. Prior to the events of the Violet Dawn catastrophe and Sol’s retreat from the Middle and Outer Rings, many Fisanduhian refugees eventually settled in the Alliance. This number has fallen significantly as a result of the Solarian retreat, and most refugees now head to either the Republic of Biesel or Coalition of Colonies.
Neubach is the former capital of the Confederated States of Fisanduh, though it has arguably remained the de facto capital of Fisanduh despite efforts by the Empire of Dominia to control it. 3F control is at its strongest here. Located in a relatively flat region of Fisanduh, the city is built more horizontally than vertically and has maintained its status despite the collapse of Fisanduh due to its position in the interior of Fisanduh, the dogged resistance of its citizens to Imperial occupation, and Emperor Keeser’s desire to leave the city intact as a gesture of goodwill to Fisanduh. The city remains a major regional manufacturing center though the economic devastation of the region is still felt here, with understaffed or shuttered factories not an uncommon sight. Above all else, the former capital remains an important rallying point for the people of Fisanduh.
Strelitz’s Rest is the official Dominian capital of the region. Formerly a moderately-sized Fisanduhian mining town, it was transformed into the Imperial Army’s command center for the region during Emperor Keeser’s efforts to pacify Fisanduh in the 2400s. The city itself more closely resembles a massive military compound than a traditional city, as the town that once was has been fully absorbed and overcome by the military base that the Imperial Army constructed in the region to support its efforts. The outskirts of the town are covered by watchtowers, checkpoints, concrete walls, and barbed-wire fields -- all in an effort to prevent resistance attacks. The town is most well-known for the massive airfield located in its center from which dozens -- if not hundreds -- of air missions are launched every day, ranging from simple helicopter resupply flights to bombers that will eventually strike suspected munitions factories in Inner Fisanduh.