Tensions were high. The Chitin Empire bolstered their border world’s patrols, with no less than 50,000 soldiers per planet. Even long-held dogmas were swept aside in the face of the postatons rising aggression. After the Night of Red Petals, the centuries-old bans on buboes and black ash storks participating in joint armed forces operations were lifted, and their enlistment became commonplace. While this migration of people had its own negative effects on the empire’s workforce, the cost seemed well worth the risk. Little did they know however that in only two years the postatons control would fall at the hands of their citizens, and no interstellar war would be necessary. In fact, only two battles were ever fought in that time of militarism.
One at the starward end of the empire where a miscommunication between two infantry regiments caused them to open fire on one another, and the battle of scales in the border world of Mattri, which will be the subject of this article.
Prior to the Chitin Empires’ claim to the backwater planet of Mattri, a small colony of lilarianads settled on the planet. Though the wider Lilarianad Federation made no claims to the planet due to the colony’s minuscule size and isolated position, the colony itself (as most lilarianads do) guarded their new home with an untamed fervor. For a long time, the colony went without contact with the greater universe and had not yet been made aware of the rising tensions or the Federation’s new policies which withdrew themselves from foreign affairs. So it comes as no surprise that when Chitin troops landed looking ready for a fight, it would be a fight they would get.
It was a short, but bloody battle. Though the Chiten troops had superior weapons and numbers, outmanning the defenders 4/1, the lilarianads fought with a ferocity the attackers had yet been ignorant of. This is reflected in the losses of each side, while the lilarianads lost roughly 6,200 soldiers the Chitin troops lost 29,100.
Above is a scene in which a surviving chitin soldier depicts the loss of their squad mate. Their squad was composed of 6 individuals, and only suffered one casualty. The group surrounds their fallen comrade, and an abstract symbol of religious iconography is shown dripping from their blood. Despite the societal prejudice against buboes and black ash storks, the three in the drawing (Two buboes on the left and the stork on the right) are allowed to openly grieve. There is a common stereotype that buboes cannibalize and use corpses in dark magic, and the touch of a stork is seen as poisonous due to their nocuous discharge. Yet, the buboes are allowed to kneel in reverence, and a hand of comfort from the squad’s stork rests on the head of the squad’s sibilusian.
I can only imagine that while in the grips of heartache, such intolerance is irrelevant. And maybe it will stay irrelevant.