Few events of the 9th century were as devastating to the empire as the
Granola Riots of Estuary 16, 865 GUE. With the death of Dimwit Flathead and his siblings in 789, the port
cities of Marba and Anthar erupted in riot. Apparently unconcerned with
the death of their not terribly popular ex-king, the citizens of
Antharia were much more disturbed by malicious reports that the Curse
of Megaboz had included a spell to transform all granola in the Kingdom
of Quendor into well-hardened yipple waste. For the time being, Loowit
Flathead was able to calm the populace by suggesting that they look in
the granola mines; no such transformation had occurred. Nevertheless,
the seeds of granola unrest had been sown in Quendor, and the whole
issue was destined to rear its ugly head once again some 75 years later
in the form of the Granola Riots that nearly destroyed all forms of
civilized life on the island of Antharia.
The final slip into the grips of decay for the Antharian island came in 865,
beginning with an obscure series of events surrounding the granola
mines near the port of Anthar, events that soon swept over the entire
island, and made themselves felt throughout the entire economy of the
empire. Anyone who has ever studied the decline and collapse of the
Quendoran empire must come to grips with the issue of cause and effect:
are the disastrous events of the 9th century direct effects of the
Curse of Megaboz, or is the Curse itself to be seen merely as the first
in a long series of disasters that eventually brought about the
collapse of the Great Underground Empire? If we agree to grant the
Curse a pervasive all-importance, then the Riots of 865 must take on a
lesser importance. However, if we instead explain the collapse of the
empire in terms of a long list of different causes, then it is possible
to view the Granola Riots as one of the single greatest contributing
factors to the fall of the Quendoran state.
What, then, was the big deal? What actually happened? As always, there are several different sides to the story. To get the
complete picture, it might help to step back some two-hundred years to
the defeat of the island nation at the hands of the Bellicose King.
With the absorption of the immense granola smelters of Antharia and the
granola-hungry semi-barbarized population of the east, granola
production and consumption rose to dramatic importance within the
Quendoran economy within a mere ten years. Over the course of the next
century or so, an elaborate legal and economic framework sprang up
around the ensuing granola trade: tax revenue from the western
provinces served to support the mining, packing and shipping of granola
from the center of the ocean to the distant provinces in the East.
Despite the enormous granola consumption of the Eastlands, the
Antharian mines never managed to achieve self-sufficiency, and the
Analecta Loowitica document several generations of Flathead monarchs
attempting to deal with the issue via over-forceful legislation of
various kinds. The following edict of Dimwit Flathead in 782 serves to
illustrate the origin of the main problem of the Granola Riots:
- That the Royal Monarchy of Quendor has taken it upon itself to solve
the manpower shortages that plague the Granola Mines of the Antharian
- That His Royal Beauteousness has found an opportunity to express
His Royal Displeasure with the lowly subjects of the Western Provinces
for their continued unwillingness to consume the Most Holy and Royally
Approved Antharian Granola.
- That, because He feels on this day most generous and beneficent,
His Royal Authority hereby allows every family in the heretofore
mentioned Western Provinces to volunteer their first-born sons for
forced labor in the Antharian Granola Mines.
- That the birthday of Her Royal Majesty the Queen shall from henceforth be celebrated on the first Grues Day of each month.
For the next eighty years, inspectors made the rounds of the Western
Provinces on an annual basis, sending the male first-born to the mining
camps of Antharia, and for all that time, the native Antharians and the
kidnapped westerners formed two opposing camps, leaving a rift in the
mining community that finally exploded in the 860s.
Finally, members of the two negotiating camps hit upon a clever idea.
Rather than stay above ground and argue over whether or not the mines
were actually empty, why not send someone down to find out? The two
opposing parties argued on for a few hours, perhaps afraid to go ahead
and discover the truth. Finally, both the native Antharians and the
rebellious western slaves elected a representative, the two agreeing to
go down together to investigate the situation. Was there any granola
left? Had one side been trying to deceive the other? The whole
investigation should have taken only an afternoon; the anxious miners
were left waiting for nearly four days. Finally, where two had gone in,
one survivor staggered out, shaking his head and holding up a small
rock of yipple waste. Before anyone could beg him to speak, the miner
dropped of exhaustion and died where he fell.
Immediately, both camps erupted in violence. The mines were empty, the
endless supply of granola transformed in an instant to rotting yipple
dung. Fearing that the Curse had been fulfilled two decades too soon,
the miners exploded in riot. Immediately, the western slaves repeated
their claim to freedom from the mines, pouring ferociously into the
valleys below. The mines continued to yield granola thereafter, but at
a far more limited rate, before all operations came to an eventual halt.