September 3rd – The Storming of the Traitor’s Palace

On the third day of the Revolution, the fighting began in earnest. The arms held by the Defence Brigades were added to from secret caches located by the famous spies Yasinda Umer and Wassily Herman, and from those stored at the Monarch’s Tower, before it was felled the day before. In the aftermath of that event, which could be heard from all across Buentoille, there were some short skirmishes in the nearby streets. In Counterlark street there was disaster as a group of twenty or so armed monarchists began firing into the packed crowd, most of whom were only armed with rough improvised weapons; tools and bricks and clubs. Eventually the crowd managed to round the corner, to safety, but not before about thirty of their number had been killed. A counter-attack was organised quickly, having heard the shots, and the monarchists were routed, but the event served as a sober reminder that the Revolution would not be uncontested. Today flowers will be laid along the narrow street, red roses to remember the blood spilled there. The road surface will be covered completely with them, save a thin walkway and several islands in the red sea, where the names of the dead are written on brass plaques set in the floor, scattered around where they fell.

The power that the Traitor King wielded over the City was always based upon meek acquiescence, on the assumption of a disorganised and disunited opposition, rather than force of numbers or superior fire power. When the coup came in 1890, it wasn’t an armed insurrection, but a legal rewriting, a political usurpation of a status quo that had become mistrusted and ineffectual. Many saw the danger from the off, but more people, encouraged by successive Parliaments to be politically disengaged, derived their worldview from the papers owned by the upper classes and the Traitor King himself, and remained blindly unfazed. When activists started to go missing they believed, as they were told, that they were deviants from whom they needed protecting.

By the turn of the century, however, things had begun to change. The better life that the King promised had not materialised. The upper classes seemed to be benefiting, surely, but there was no ‘cascade’ of wealth down from them. Stories of how the King had murdered his brother began to surface. ‘Ordinary’ people started to be targeted when they repeated these stories. It is sad that it took something as terrible as Benetek to shake folk from their stupor. But, shaken as they were, they realised their power in numbers, and they saw the fear in the eyes of the monarchists. They shaped their anger into organisation. They prepared to strike.

Darksheve’s district was a particular flashpoint, a place where the fight could have gone either way. The district had always had a large fighting presence, which was more loyal to the King than most. On the second day of the Revolution they locked down the bridges that led into the district, and built barricades at other key points. Most of the local Revolutionaries had left the district to watch and participate in the felling of the Tower, but those who did not were now trapped, arrested, killed and dispersed by the temporarily more populous monarchist forces.

The distance between Darkesheve’s and Ranaclois district, where the majority of the Monarchist forces had retreated to and fortified, meant that there was little communication between the two, so no backup forces were coming for the monarchist holdout. If it were not for the information on the emergency procedures of the Darksheve’s forces provided by the window-cleaning spies Umer and Herman, there would have been far more Revolutionary casualties in the assault, but as it was weak points were easily identified by those who managed to get out, and a group of roof-hopping Revolutionary fighters, with surprise and preparation, managed to break a hole in the defences and storm the barricades. From the rooftops where the Revolutionaries positioned their snipers many flags will be flown today.

The majority of the violence was, however, centred on the King’s palace and the Parliament buildings. Whilst the Revolution had been taking shape, most of the monarchists had been fortifying the already well-equipped area, sealing off underground routes and placing soldiers in key positions. The main approach to the fortified zone had two cannons guarding it, but other routes were equally well protected with troops and snipers at the ready. The Revolutionaries, however, were ready with a bold plan: through the monarchist barricades ran a train line which went right up to the gates of the palace, a personal line for the King. Along the track they set a train car at great speed, packed with explosives and shrapnel. The cannons had been loaded with cannister rounds, intended to rip through crowds to devastating effect, but these did little against the carriage, which had been armoured with metal sheeting over the windows. The cannons and the monarchists manning them were made short work of by the explosion.

A second carriage then came down the tracks, this time much slower, filled with armed Revolutionaries, who cleared up the remaining barricade troops. Behind them came the main body of the Revolutionary forces. By the time they fought their way to the Parliament building, many of the monarchists were surrendering, but inside the palace they met with more fierce resistance, as the last monarchists attempted to protect the King. Surrounded, the King came out onto his balcony to plead, to make concessions, to make empty promises. He was shot almost immediately, and the remaining forces surrendered. Buentoille was free!

That original party, fuelled by the reserves of booze held in the palace cellars, lasted for many days, and whilst its modern counterpart will continue on into the early morning, few have the stamina for parties of that length after the past two days of revelry. Still, the celebrations are something to behold: out in the square a huge bonfire is built, with monarchist symbols and effigies being burned on it all night long. From midday the People’s Palace, as it is now termed, will host thousands of Buentoillitants, with different music and entertainments filling its many rooms.

The Parliament building is now the home of the Council of Logistics, the primary governing body of Buentoilliçan life who are voted in each year, but today even this building will be open to the general public, though important files and equipment is cleared away to make room for revelry. Nobody is in charge of the festivities each year, save for perhaps those who make it their business to supply the intoxicants. Bands set up, play their set and then make room for the next, and then the next. Dancers and stage magicians perform in corridors or makeshift stages here and there. There are rooms where party games are played, hide-and-seek or sardines amongst the crowds. Cupboards and what were once servants bedrooms hide discrete lovers, stealing an amorous moment. It is the greatest house party that Buentoille has to offer.

There are no other festivals happening today.