Invasion of Silimanis
As the Labarean Empire had been growing, its needs for slaves, arable land and port access increased. By 724 LC, the Empire had expanded from the Labarean peninsula to Lobster Bay and had encroached on the Kingdom of Laeryll by reaching the Laeryllian protectorate Silimanis, which was populated by a minority of wood elves and a majority of humans who had been granted that right by Queen Galythiel after the War of the Sisters. Yet the Kingdom of Laeryll was in no state to offer protection, as revolt in the province of Qosid in 699 LC had divided and weakened the Kingdom. Therefore, the Labarean Empire took the risk of invading Silimanis, where they met resistance from an alliance of humans and local wood elves.
Kingdom of LaeryllSilimanis was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Laeryll, as declared by Queen Galythiel after the War of the Sisters, and so the Decree of Returning was upsetting to the elves and placed Olyxx III in a weak political position. Qosid petitioned the Crown for a military response and the Dathyllian Church of Ush pleaded with Olyxx III to allow human refugees into the kingdom. Yet Olyxx III did neither of those things. He publicly expressed his concern for the human inhabitants of the lost province and requested the Labarean Empire to treat them with dignity and respect.
The PorcupineFor the dwarves in the Porcupine, the conquest of Silimanis was mostly an economical concern. The Labarean Empire levied higher tariffs on goods than the Kingdom of Laeryll did. Moving goods to Nossed had allowed the dwarves to sell to many different trading partners on the Northern Arm, but the new tariffs would push such trade to higher prices and might lower demand. The dwarves therefore took a dual strategy: they secretly lobbied for war among the elves and were willing to fund and support it. Simultaneously, they petitioned Emperor Dolydorius for lower tariffs.
The Labarean EmpireWithin the Empire itself, the success of the Silimanis campaign greatly boosted the popularity and clout of the aging emperor Dolydorius. The Empire, which had benefited greatly from Dolydorius' expansionism, diverted more and more resources into BRIGHT/LAMBCOW to develop (mostly military) machinery. The conviction that the Empire was an unstoppable machine spread among the gnome elites. The invasion of Silimanis also changed the way that slavery in the Labarean Empire took place. While slaves were originally captured or bred, the Labareans found Silimanis to be an industrious area and were not willing to enslave its population fully. Therefore, 727 LC saw the introduction of an Independence Tax in Silimanis, which was to be paid by all non-gnome citizens of the region. By paying the tax, profitable businesses or industrious individuals could continue to operate in freedom, but humans who were not able to provide enough to pay the tax were instead taken up as slaves. Each year, on the first of Marat, slaves could buy their freedom by paying the Independence Tax and free humans could find themselves in forced labor if they did not have adequate funds. In later decades, the Independence Tax became a staple of the Empire.
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