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Vanilla Wars

by hughpierre
There is a shocking lack of official records in the accounting on the gains and losses and testimonials during the times involved. This might be because there have been so many conflicts over the spice that it can be hard to differentiate between the time periods. However, three conflicts do stick out in the history of the Step and their Sinks; in part for how they impacted the Seductions period. But even these are likewise lacking, in part, because authorities do not want to risk legitimizing any aspect of revolt.

The Conflict


Vanilla is the most expensive of spices; so it is from that, that the most costliest of conflicts are given their name. Vanilla comes from some distance civilization in the deep swamp, is exchanged and bartered over and over till it reaches the Sinks, then it climbs the Bad Step to our little valley. This trading network between the unkempt savages and the rest of the settlements is called the Black Road, after the black flower that is so desired. It is besides the Black Road that the dead are strewn.


First Vanilla War

It started as Mytenii by the Light disputing a spice tax imposed by Mytenii without their consideration. Mytenii by the Light simply refused to pay it and its citizens amassed outside the Admin Building to block anyone from leaving. They then sent a representative to Mytenii to demand the tax's withdrawal. Days later, the representatives smashed onto sink homes, followed by several boulders dropped from high.   During this conflict each side more or less stayed within or close enough to their respective city.  

Second Vanilla War

An allied collection of Sinklings were better prepared for this fight than the first. The zones of impact were cleared and piled with sand to reduce debris; and columns of men hiked up the cliff side and threatened to enter several caverns through the mountain bloods to fight the enemy within the cavern cities themselves.  

Third Vanilla War

The final war of the Seductions sought to give a common cause to the freshly unified Caverns and Sinks of the Bad Step by conquering regions that grow vanilla. Armies were amassed at specific points of the Black Roads so that they could enter the Deep Swamps' Reed Roads closest to Mytenii by the Light, Falls and Tonda.


First Vanilla War

Though the 'First' Vanilla War was not the first war over vanilla ever; it is distinctly notable for the arguably non-existent battlefield. That is because it was mostly men tossing boulders over the cliff side and sinklings futilely launching wands trying to reach the top.  

Second Vanilla War

Most vanilla wars have usually been little more than extended skirmishes. However, the second vanilla war saw another unusual and impractical battle site: the Step's shear cliff.  

Third Vanilla War

Finally, we can fit the third war comfortably in the Cold Swamp, just on the outskirts of Sink land against multiple incursions by the people of the swamp. Outside many sinks, the lands had been cleared and developed into productive areas without much means for the primitives to hide. Once Sink divisions cleared the invaders from the territory, the higher-ups seized the opportunity to expand into the thick deeper swamps.


First Vanilla War

There was nothing unusual on the hectic weather from the top of the Bad Step.  

Second Vanilla War

From Mytenii to Protilla, the tracks that connect the Caverns to the Sinks made for narrow and close fighting. And because the cliffs of the Bad Step are a site of conflicting hot and cold weather patterns; warriors on both sides felt the disorientating effects of the drastic height changes and the hot and cold feelings inflicted on the body simultaneously.  

Third Vanilla War

It was a time where the land was its familiar icy self; except for the Wet Wilds in front of Tonda. Step and Sink forces marched thorough several paths of the reed roads to meet the enemy in open battle. As it would turn out, the immediate areas had expended their manpower attacking the sinks and were very lightly defended. The biggest challenges would come from the cold weather and thick plant matter.

The Engagement

First Vanilla War

The conflict was so one-sided because it was mostly men tossing boulders over the cliff side and sinklings futilely launching wands upwards trying to reach the top.  

Second Vanilla War

Projectile weapons were ineffective due to the combatants easily able to step closer to the cliff face and hide out of eyesight. So contesting the route was done hand-to-hand, three men abreast at its widest, otherwise it was a horrendously long series of duels. Men on both sides were lined as if queuing for soup with the fallen man in front thrown over the edge or stacked in piles on block the path as much as possible.  

Third Vanilla War

For the first time, there was a concertive effort to conquer the lands beyond sink borders and maybe take control of the sources where vanilla is grown. However, all along their march, they were being constantly harassed and ambushed. Any settlements they came across were easily taken but even there was not much space to maneuver large armies.   Inevitably, allied commanders individually decided to withdraw due to logistical failing: for every man who marched was followed by three porters, choking the narrow paths so much that no one could move. And all the while, more soldiers were freezing to death than by contact with an enemy. The was a mighty operation just to turn everyone back.


Through all the wars, the outcome was always a return to the status quo.


Throughout all the wars, the outcome was always a slightly more unified Step. Although, the conflicts have been predominantly fought between the Caverns and Sinks, there were also smaller intermediate wars where other Sinks served as proxy for other caverns to extend political prestige.

Historical Significance


In that time, the fights for vanilla have really been over control of the trade routes from the swamp, between Sinks and to the Caverns. By the rounds of the second war, it had come to be remembered as a cause for Sink independence from the Caverns.

Technological Advancement

Red and Black Salt is a destructive combination of transmaterials. A fact known to well and all. Exactly how these things found their way to the Sinks is unclear. Although close combat fighting is considered to be the pinnacle of martial prowess, each iteration of the vanilla wars saw exponential improvements of distant killing weapons like bows, slings and a new categorization of specialized war wands.

Conflict Type
War, Theatre
Battlefield Type
Conflict Result
Reaffirmed dominance of the Cavern Cities
Cold Swamp
Geographic Location | Jun 26, 2021


Cavern Cities






Maintain control over their Sink colonies
Establish the Sinks as autonomous city states
Black Salt
Material | Mar 31, 2020
Mytenii Magazine
Document | Jul 6, 2020

Cover image: Black Lotus Flower by GMX


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