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The following is the history of the Dragon State.
In the early 1980s the Anhui province was a poor, backwards region of PRC and split over two cultural areas. It was heavily populated, though the lands to the the east and west both produced more rice. Several Chinese nuclear warheads were stored in a military base in the Huangshan mountains.
The People's Republic of China was not expecting a strike from the USSR, and as such, suffered incredible losses as more than thirty nukes rained down on their major cities. Other nuclear warheads destroyed military bases, in particular those suspected of having nuclear capabilities, and took special care to thoroughly radiate the common border between the two nations. The PRC quickly collapsed into massive chaos, as cities tore themselves and the countryside for food in a terrifying free for all. The province of Anhui was not an exception. While its two largest cities were not among those nuked, the suspected nuclear arsenal in the mountains of Huangshan was hit and destroyed.
Post Doomsday: the First Two Weeks
Surprisingly, the eventual ruler of the region was a Chinese military officer off base who survived the blast due to his location on the other side of a mountain on an extended training exercise. Hong Chow, later known as Hong Long, led his men into a nearby village, where citizens emerging from their homes found their communications to the outside world cut off. Hong Chow promptly pulled off a coup, took control of the local rice supply, and drove to the next village, and repeated the pattern in four or five villages, in each case declaring himself to be the new "government" and taking control of the rice for the purposes of "rationing and safe keeping". Hong and his men afterward retired back toward the mountains. Before doing so, Hong let his men know that "while we are in the shadow of the bomb, none will approach us, and when we are shielded, the bomb is no threat." Chow required an oath of absolute fealty from his troops, then tried to figure out which ones he could trust to do his absolute bidding. The ones he decided he could, he sent ahead to massacre a town not visited yet, and the soldiers he decided against constructed temporary shelters against the poisonous dust falling from the sky. The small army spent the next eight weeks in the bomb shelter of a destroyed village. Due to fallout, over 60% of them died, including most of the soldiers Chow did not trust, sending them out for water and other duties on occasion. Hong Chow survived, and began his quest in what he considered a zero-sum game.
Fall 1983:The Dragon rises
By the time that Hong and his men emerged from the ruins of the village, most of the Chinese population was dead, either by fallout, suicide, violence, or starvation. Hong assumed that at least some people would still be alive, and determined to find and destroy them before they knew of his existence. There were several militant groups in the area, but Hong was able to keep his own existence as well as the location of his base a secret, and as he had not been involved in the early fighting, his supply of ammunition was greater than any other group. As losses of men and particularly food reserves grew, Hong's troops gained the title "The Dragon" and Hong took up the title with pride, becoming "Hong Long". In a few months, Hong's strategy, along with the onset of winter, cleared the area of outside human presence. Hong began to accept small additions to his army, but gave them menial jobs and did his best to expose them to fallout and other hazards.
The Building Years (1984-1992)
In the spring of 1984 Hong began to accept "refugees" who he essentially turned into slaves, while not revealing his bases to, and keeping them in small communities his men constantly spied on. In order to protect these slaves, Hong expanded his extermination campaign, picking his men, he slowly expanded his forces. Several of his slave communities were destroyed on occasion, but the "Dragon Troops" as they called themselves, were never caught, and their main hold in the radioactive mountains was never discovered. After the repair of a munitions factory in 1987, Hong began rapid expansion of his military forces and slaves, and expanding the "Dragon Lands" to dominate the the Yangtze river valley.
Establishment of the Dragon Lands (February 13 1993 (New Year's Day))
In 1993, Hong and his top officers wrote down the "laws" for the "Dragon Lands", provinces and villages of the dominion were set up, mostly to restrict travel within the dominion, the military was regularized, with an incredible amount of officer control, slavery was instituted for most people, and Hong received the lofty title of "The Grand Dragon Marshal". The capital's location remained a secret, becoming known as "the hidden city".
The Dragon Lands 1993-1996
The creation of the "Dragon Lands" increased the aggressive policies of Marshal Hong. He maintained the security of his own holdings by establishing a giant no-man's land around his dominion. Anyone found outside of certain areas was killed, or, if his forces felt particularly confident, enslaved. While the small area of the Dragon Lands slowly filled in, the no-man's land around it swelled in size. Marshal Hong remained the terror of his neighbors, whom he kept agitated until his death in 1996.
Grand Marshal Zheng (1996)
Marshal Hong died at the age of 38 of cancer due to his residence in the fallout zone of the Haungstan Mountains. Ming Xu, his appointed successor, changed his name to Zheng Long "The Just," or "Proper Dragon" and reigned as Marshal Zheng. He shifted from the survival based policies of his predecessor in favor of building a strong state. He continued the policy of expanding the no-man's land around his domain, but began to expand the slave village zone or as he called it the "sphere of civilization".
The Dragon-Nunchung War (1997-2001)
Marshal Zheng's policy of expansion quickly put strain on his troops, who were patrolling an ever wider area and under pressure to capture rather than to kill more people. Combatants escaped, and the nature and plans of the "Dragon Lands" became known. Inland, in the former province of Jianxi, several dozen formerly competitive bands launched a coordinated fast major assault into the Dragon territory. Most of the "Dragon Troops" were raiding in the east, and the forces left behind were soon overwhelmed. A few dozen slave villages were depopulated and destroyed and their food taken. As the invaders from Jianxi entered entered the foothills of the nearby mountains, a small force of a local garrison ambushed them and drove them back. The gangs, having the food that they needed to wage a longer campaign, retired to the region of the destroyed villages. The main body of the "Dragon Troops" returned to find a substantial loss in food supplies, and an armed and ready enemy in their carefully protected settlement zone. While the initial force quickly lost numbers, and reputation of the Dragon Lands was broken, as it was invaded by hordes of men, mostly from the province of Jianxi. Hu Wang, a warlord in Nanchung, harnessed this flow of men to create a body of troops called the "Tigers". The "Dragon Troops" fought to control lands, but Hu Wang and his Tigers established slave settlements on the other side of the Yangtze. Bickering broke out among Hu Wang and the other leaders from Jianxi, erupting into a civl war. Marshal Zheng used this lull to "import" labor and troops from the coastal provinces, while putting Hu Wang and his enemies at ease about the Dragon threat. However, one of Zheng's officers, Gang Pu, strongly disagreed with the policy, and late in 1998, launched an assault on Hu's Tigers on the other side of the river. While both sides suffered huge casualties, The Dragons prevailed, and gained a foothold on the south of the Yangtze. That winter was spent battling for ports on the river, Marshal Zheng left the conduct of the South-western War with the Tigers in the hands of Gang Pu, and himself focused on former policies in the east along the coast line and in the north. in 2000, after two years of brutal fighting, a small band of men sneaked into Tiger Territory, and assassinated Hu Wang. With the loss of their leader, the Tigers quickly lost their territory on the Yangtze and with drew to the old Jianxi province. Gang Pu was all for annihilating the former Tiger forces, but Marshal Zheng ordered that they be taken and used as front line troops in his war in the east. Fearful of Gang's popularity among his men, Marshal Zheng secretly ordered an officer under Gang, Chen Hui, to assassinate Gang at the first sign of rebellion. Chen Hui quickly broke the Marshal's confidence and revealed the plot to Gang Pu. However, the war was too pressing for further action.
The Zheng-Gang Schism (2001-2003)
During the Jianxi campaign, Gang did all he could to rebel against the Marshal. As the war was in a critical point, Marshal Zheng waged a political campaign among the soldiers against Gang. However, Gang, along with many others, blamed Marshal Zheng for the losses in the war, and "departing from the traditions that made us great". Gang gained much ground among the troops that had served before Marshal Zheng, but most of the newer troops owed their new position and security to the Marshal. Divisions of the "Dragon Troops" began to ignore the commands of one commander and follow the commands of the other. In 2001, the Tigers migrated south, abandoning their traditional holds, and both sides prepared for war, or a coup. At the end of 2001, Gang was ordered to cross the river but refused, insisting his troops maintain "his side" of the river, starting a dense settlement on the south side of the Yangtze. Zheng was content to let the situation stay as was, and for two years, an uneasy truce was held. Surprisingly, this period was one of immense growth, as each side strove to increase its population, and therefore, its food supply.
Marshal Zhi and Contact with the Outside World
In 2003, Grand Marshal Zheng died of cancer, and his the Dragon General, Ming Hui, became the new Grand Dragon Marshal under the title Marshal Zhi. Zhi's first official act was to make peace with Gang, and give him a newly created office called General of the frontier. Marshal Zhi, while continuing the policies of his predecessors, has made a policy of exploring as well as destroying, being interested in the long run where his nation is headed.