The Origins of the Polaris Civil War Edit
The Polaris Civil War was a terrible conflict that had its origins in a disagreement between the P'aedt (the scientist caste) and the Ver'ash (the medical and engineering caste). Now, as Iusia tells it in the Polaris preamble to EV Nova, "When we originally split into our castes over a century ago, the understanding was that whichever caste could make the most use of a system would have sway over it. This did not mean that Polarans from other castes could not live and work there; it is merely a matter of administration." The reasoning of Bis Valalo--the Polaran leader behind the creation of the caste system--was that the Nil'kemorya, for instance, know best how to handle military matters, whereas the Tre'pira (the labor caste) know best how to handle matters in their sphere of expertise, and so on.
At any rate, the war began to build when the Ver'ash and P'aedt could not decide who could best make use of a previously unoccupied planet near the Kel'ariy System. This was not the first time such a dispute had come up, but previously they had been resolved within a few years at the most. This time, however, 22 years passed with the two castes deadlocked on the issue.
Again, the words of Iusia: "The Kel'ariy, in their wisdom, decided that the Tre'pira should adjudicate over the matter. Perhaps, in hindsight, they should have handled it themselves. But, because the leadership caste is, in reality, a conglomerate of experienced people elevated from all other castes, they decided that a completely independent arbiter would be best, and who better to reach a practical settlement over who should be in charge of a system's administration than the members of the worker caste?"
Inevitably, the two sides each had strong arguments in their favor, and the deadlock continued. The Tre'pira came to a decision that was both the only feasible one and, in hindsight, the most disastrous: The Tre'pira would form an interim administration until such time as evidence came up to tip the scales in one side's favor. Quite understandably, the decision pleased neither side: The Ver'ash and P'aedt had been arguing over the planet for over twenty years, and more than likely no new evidence would come up, leaving the Tre'pira in permanent control of the system.
The Winds of War Edit
The next decision of the fighting castes was even more disastrous than the Tre'pira's decision. Instead of merely informing the Tre'pira that their decision was unacceptable, they expelled every member of said caste from the system.
What happened next is not entirely clear, but it seems that four unidentified Polaris, in two groups of two, assassinated the heads of the warring castes. The assassins reportedly wore Tre'pira white and traveled in Tre'pira ships. Nobody knows to this day who the assassins were, but it didn't matter: The enraged P'aedt and Ver'ash blamed the equally shocked Tre'pira, and war was declared.
This was when the Nil'kemorya under Iusia became involved. As he put it, "We were not concerned about some minor internal political squabble; we looked outwards as we always have, placing our bodies, our very lives, between the Polaris and any danger that might threaten them. But, put simply, warriors cannot ignore war, and I, as leader of the Nil’kemorya, could ignore it even less." Still, Iusia initially refused to act, telling his advisors that they "need not fight those whom we have already died to protect."
Though this statement resembles in a way the warrior ethos of the Aurorans, Iusia's explanation is as follows: "For we are like the blazing autumn leaf which has fallen so that the tree might better survive the winter. In a very real sense, we have already lost our lives, and we are trying to make this loss worthwhile. This is our 'sacrifice.' We, as 'the falling leaves', have given our lives for the Polaris ‘tree’, so that it might more easily survive. We are floating along with the breeze, trying to decide where best to fall so as to aid the recovery and growth of the 'tree' come spring."
Inevitably, the violence spread. The Kel'ariy, normally those who would stop the insanity, instead splintered along the lines of their former castes. While the P'aedt, the Ver'ash, and the Tre'pira butchered each other, their leaders endlessly debated the appalling chain of events.
Iusia had no choice but to bring the Nil'kemorya into the fighting. Again, his words:
"I stood before my advisers after three days of deliberation in my private chambers. 'The tree must not be allowed to die,' I nearly whispered in anguish.
"'We go to war then?' asked Trearna, my senior adviser, in a quiet voice. I nodded. 'But which of the castes is at fault,' she asked tremulously, 'and which are the victims? Which caste do we choose as our enemy?'
"Tears stung my eyes as I stood resolutely before them. 'All of them,' I answered hoarsely. 'Now get to your duties.'"
The End of the Fighting Edit
"What followed has been described as surgical, even clinical, but those words are far too clean to describe the following events for me. We are the Nil'kemorya, warriors all. We train continuously our entire lives for war in all its forms. The warring castes could not stand against us."
In little more than a week, the Nil'kemorya entirely incapacitated the warring castes. Iusia had saved his nation, but 3 million Polaris had died under his guns. "These sorts of losses have never even been contemplated before in any human conflict in our entire history. I fail to see how the words 'surgical precision' can be used to describe such an horrific event. Only those necessary to any part of the war effort were killed, but still, the number is a stain the Polaris people can never forget."
At the end of the fighting, Iusia brought the leaders of the castes to his headquarters on the very world around which the war had begun. But even then, peace may not have returned: "I walked up to Bis Lornola, the head of the Kel'ariy, and therefore the leader of the Polaris people, and she looked up at me with spiteful pride. 'We will not surrender to you!' she spat. 'You have destroyed that which you were tasked to protect. You are scum!'
"I stood, momentarily wrestling with my despair, trying to hold on to my calm exterior. I must have stood, looming ominously over her, because she stepped away from me in fear. I dropped to one knee before her. 'I, Iusia,' I began as my eyes began to glimmer, 'as leader of the Nil'kemorya, surrender my forces.'
"The leaders of the castes stood momentarily in stunned silence. 'What?' asked Lornola in surprise.
"'We have been fighting a war we cannot win,' I continued painfully, 'for we have been fighting against everything about which we believe, and so we have lost. To avoid the humiliation of the entire warrior caste as a whole, I surrender.'"
Lornola accepted his surrender, but then Iusia claimed the planet. "'The system over which the war started will not be owned by any caste. I claim it and order all members of other castes off the planet in it.'"
The fighting may have restarted then, but for Trearna: "'You arrogant, stupid fools!' she said through tears of anger. 'Nobody in the Nil'kemorya will be taking control of any systems today.'" She alone understood.
Iusia exiled himself forever from Polaris society, "sacrificing the leaf to save the tree," as he had so eloquently put it. Trearna took a new name, Iuso, meaning "Disciple of Iusia." All future leaders of the Nil'kemorya took that name in remembrance of Iusia's sacrifice.
The planet is now known as Ar'za Iusia; none but the Nil'kemorya may land.
Long-Term Effects of the War Edit
The Polaris never again had such a terrible conflict, due in large part to the respect for Iusia's memory, but also because of the efforts of a new caste: The Mu'hari. They work tirelessly to protect their nation from internal and external threats, and were created explicitly to prevent the horrors of the war from happening ever again.
Iusia's Parting Words Edit
"And so here I am, alone on this planet which they have named 'Ar'za Iusia' in honor of my sacrifice. It is a pity that I cannot ever share their sentiment. I keep seeing the faces of those three million Polarans that died, and my only thought is that my sacrifice can never be more important than theirs. It is a stain that I will wear forever. After all, by what right does a falling leaf decide that an entire branch needs to go as well? The only question I keep asking is: 'Did my actions save the Polaris?' I doubt that anyone will ever be able to answer that.
"My only defense is that I did no more than what I thought was necessary, although there are at least three million people who stare at me with an accusing lifelessness when I say that. To them, my excuses are of little comfort.
"Now, though, I can finally give all my doubts away. There is nothing more left for me to do except to reflect on everything I have done and to somehow stop making a mockery of my sacrifice.
"My name is Iusia, and this is where I choose to fall."