All this data is potentially out of date, and should be taken with a truckload of salt
The Elders are the seven representatives of the tribes that governed the tribal Matari people for thousands of years before the Amarr invasion. After a long period in hiding, they returned to prominence in YC110 during the Elder War, having spent decades gathering resources for a large-scale invasion of Amarr space.
- 1 The First Elders
- 2 The Artifacts
- 3 The Great Journey
- 4 Manifestation of the Tulraug
- 5 Continuation of the Seven Elders
- 6 The Survival of the Elders
- 7 A Network of Secrecy
- 8 Theodicy
- 9 Federation Support and Insorum
- 10 The Ambassador of the Elders
- 11 The Elder War
- 12 Return of the Elders
- 13 See Also
- 14 References
The First Elders
While the Minmatar tribes have followed their own spiritual philosophies since the formation of their first collective culture, one commonality has always been this shared pantheon of seven spirits. The current tribal names have been derived from the name of the First Elders, and this name has been adopted by every Elder who has assumed the role since, as they are considered to be one and the same person. Until contact with the other tribes it was not necessary for the tribes to generally refer to themselves by a name, usually considering themselves the tribe and having various other names for those they encountered, but it was the coming together of the First Elders that then led to their wider identification as a singular unit. It has always been understood that this Elder, and all that have succeeded them, have been in possession of particular traits that have significantly influenced their respective tribe’s identity:
Sebiess - Innovative, Thinker, Developer
Nefan - Patient, Practical, Dedicated
Thuk - Nomadic, Individualistic, Self-sufficient
Vheroka - Versatile, Welcoming, Wise Teacher
Stark - Tall, Quick, Stoic
Brute - Martial, Disciplined, Strong
Kruss - Subversive, Cunning, Aberrant
These First Elders were deified early in Minmatar history and have served as the embodiment or avatar of that tribes collective spirit. Scholars such as Keitan Yun have pointed to three principal influences on why this occurred - references to significant artifacts; a Great Journey that brought all the Elders together for the first time; and the manifestation of the Tulraug form.
The first has been references in both recorded materials and oral tradition to the First Elders being in possession of particular artifacts. While they have never been located it’s understood they’re at the bottom of the ocean off the continent of Coricia. There are three distinct camps that attest to them being either: entirely metaphorical; objects constructed specifically to signify the authority of the bearer or, most popularly in the modern era; fragments of a singular artifact that was divided up during an initial great migration. The traditional word for these symbols translates variously into ‘grant’, ‘aspect’ or ‘hope’ and other words synonymous with these and songs amongst most tribes make reference to the artifacts being fragments or gifts. Amongst the Vherokior there is a chant used during feasts that refers to these original artifacts as ‘sustenance’, divided up as corncake is expected to be when the words are recited. Much like the Matari themselves their dispersal amongst tribal leaders marked a point in history where the tribes started to also separate and distinguish themselves. It’s generally accepted that the original artifact, sourced from the Crystal Steppe, was divided at a point of great suffering when the people decided to divide and venture out in search of a means to maintain survival. Despite this fracturing, it’s clear that three of the artifacts remained on the largest island of Coricia in the possession of three significant leaders.
After a time, it was those now known as the First Elders that were in possession of them. In Coricia, Stark is usually depicted as the leader, and the other two in possession of artifacts his most trusted advisors, though the Brutor and Vherokior chronicles emphasize that the three worked together to govern the largest population of Matari. The three are referred to simply as the Brains, Brawn and Wisdom behind a Starkmanir culture that eventually fractured but set down many of the practices and rituals that would inform the earliest tribal assemblies.
Whether the artifacts themselves led to the significant differences that have evolved in each tribe has not been established, though it is agreed that it’s the authority imbued within those in possession of these items led to their significant influence over the formation of each respective tribe. What seems clear as the chronicles of each tribe are assembled and studied is that these artifacts were imbued with knowledge and were consulted or meditated on. Each tribe has their own language for what was drawn from the artifacts though this seems to be colored by the persuasion of each particular First Elder that came to possess them. Sebiestor chronicles, for instance, refer to them providing knowledge, Brutor strength and Krusual secrets. Each artifact is also described in a different way in terms of their physical appearance, though they were understood to be extraordinarily complex in design and/or mercurial according to the nature of how they were employed in storytelling.
The Great Journey
The second is the various references across all the tribes that all tell the same story of the journey and subsequent first war. In possession of the original artifacts, and apparently responding to a calling from the items themselves, each Elder had visions of great spirits and an island that Thukker readily identified as Mahj, the largest of those making up Mioar.
While the tribes had traditionally only had intermittent contact with those on their respective landmasses, all societies had had some contact with the nomadic Thukker. Archaeological sites such as the shipyards across the Mioaran Plate, some overlaid during the subsequent Brutor settlement, evidence the Thukker’s first use of large-scale ocean vessels and sophisticated navigation techniques. They spent a great deal of their time traveling between islands of the archipelago before setting out en masse in the first expeditionary sea-faring vessels, some of which were literally floating villages. When their respective Elder’s visions were being recorded in preserved writings, many of the tribes had therefore learned seafaring techniques from the Thukker tribe and were prepared for the sojourn that was to follow. Thuk was the first to arrive, according to his meticulous ship’s log, where he also indicated that he had familiarity with the specific destination in the visions.
It’s not only Thuk’s log that evidenced the journey, and most of the various writings that were recovered by Republic University in the decades following the Rebellion detail each First Elder’s concerns, recorded personally or by those that accompanied them. The Starkmanir embarked on a large ship that held a significant military presence, led by the powerful warrior, Brute, who either did not write down his thoughts or, as suggested by researchers, had them destroyed. It’s understood that he’d had had increasingly foreboding visions of what lay ahead, which he shared with Vheroka, also referred to as First Mother, an aging shamanic prophetess who oversaw the spiritual health of the people and its leaders. Instead of dismissing his fears, she echoed them as she shared her own auguries.
Sebiess also travelled on a barge, flanked by a large retinue. Both her fleet and the Starkmanir vessels encountered each other halfway to their destination, where several accounts are made by crews of their efforts to lash their ships together in a single flotilla at the core of the larger fleet. Many of the crewmen who returned told this tale so often to their children that it became embedded within the lore of several fishing villages in both Coricia and Mikramurka. It’s understood that at this time Sebiess and Stark also started a relationship, which itself inspired the shanty, Lest the Driven Falter, which instructs captains to be mindful of their duties instead of seductive women.
Nefan arrived with a small retinue, making camp at a respectful distance but often trekking into the Starkmanir site to speak with his fellow Elders. Kruss travelled alone, and was the last to arrive, eventually washing up on shore after being wrecked in a storm. His tale has also been preserved in song, warning sailors not to be so foolish as to travel alone. Details were also passed on by Vheroka, who, despite her age ventured out at night in response to a vision and was guided to him as soon as the large fleet she had been a part of had arrived. This event strongly influenced the bond of the two and their role later as peacekeeper and messenger respectively. This detail has never altered across all known accounts. Krusual instruction to adolescents during the rites leading to the voluval ceremony use the story of this meeting to teach valuable lessons. It speaks of the strength of those that know their path and acknowledge they may have to follow it alone, but also the loyalty that should be shown to those that put themselves at risk to aide you.
The First Great Tribal War
The First Great Tribal War has become almost mythical in the retelling but was caused by a rift between the Brutor and Sebiestor that had the other tribes picking sides. The collective stories of all Matari tell the same tale of how the hostilities started, though there are subtle differences in how each tribe portrays their own involvement that has led to heated debate in academic circles.
What has been established is that once the Elders had all come together they were approached by powerful spirits offering great knowledge. The specifics of what was offered vary, though a single commonality is that the Elders were told that they could learn to physically traverse material and spiritual realms. It was the Elder Sebiess that apparently argued for the other Elders to accept the gift, but she faced strong opposition from Brute, who had until that point been supportive of Stark. At this juncture, Brute is said to have stated that he recognised how "blinded" Stark had become by his adoration of Sebiess. Exactly what motivated his decision to persecute Sebiess and split from his leader has generated a number of theses, and has traditionally divided historians, as well as the tribes themselves over many generations. One of the subsequent Tribal Wars over a hundred years later started at the infamous Tachani-Morgre Wedding, which started as a means of uniting tribes but turned into a bloodbath after the Sebiestor father whose daughter was being married to the Brutor chief suggested to him that it would make up for Brute’s supposed rejection by Sebiess. The suggestion that Brute’s sound judgment was actually motivated by his own lust for Sebiess has little proven historical basis but has itself been preserved as a popular source of contention between the tribes for generations.
After the other First Elders were said to have either argued or assembled to decide with each other what to do, it was Vheroka that was eventually chosen to consult with these spirits about their gift and she left the assembly. In her absence the other Elders squabbled (this time attested by all sources) when they weren’t talking to visiting spirits. Eventually they agreed that these entities and the knowledge they were providing was a negative influence, leading to covetousness, materialism and competition. Brutor, Krusual and Thukker actually refer to them as dark spirits, evil in intent, that tested and tempted them. The decision was made in an assembly to leave the archipelago as soon as Vheroka returned. When she did, she was pale and weak, near death, and did not speak. While the tomes of the Elders all testify to her state, it’s the events that follow that become muddied.
Brute was said to have been enraged and the others afraid, though this is of course the version favoured by the Brutor themselves. Regardless of the reactions it’s he that then confronts and refused the spirits, alternately chosen to do so, or by his own accord without the blessing of the others. The spirits were very angry. What has been established is that the island shook with volcanic activity at this time, said by the Vherokior, Krusual and Nefantar to be due to the anger of these terrible dark spirits, but in all accounts referred to as a significant factor in their decision to leave. Outside the records of the First Elders, crew aboard their respective ships all speak of the eruption of the central volcano being the principal motivation for their departure.
The Elders intended to stay together and make their way to Coricia, to the site that eventually would become the Great Caravanserai. On their return journey, the squabbling among the the First Elders intensified, which is backed up by all records. From the accounts among the inner circle it’s mentioned that this is influenced in no small measure by the fact that the artifacts continued to channel communications from spirits. In Brutor accounts in particular, these spirits were the evil ones they’d encountered on the island.
Brute moved amongst the fleet one night with an armed escort and took all the artifacts from each of the Elders, in some cases under threat of force. The most fierce confrontation took place with Stark and Sebiess, who refused to give up theirs until Brute threatened them both. Both Sebiestor and Starkmanir records testify that Brute threatened their Elders with death, though the popular argument is that these accounts are colored by the subsequent brutality of the First Great Tribal War. As soon as their artifacts were seized Brute either destroyed them, threw them all into the ocean, or took them with him. This act was to mark the point where the Brutor separated from the Starkmanir, as several ships loyal to the warrior Brute separated from the fleet afterwards and made their way back to the Mioar archipelago, stating that they would take up watch there. On their return to they established themselves at the site that eventually became the city of Berrahem.
As history shows, Brute would eventually return to Coricia, and then venture as far as Mikramurka, with the intention of destroying the influence of Sebiess. While the other tribes said he was driven to war by the evil he had intended to contain, the Brutor insisted that he never encountered them again nor found any sign of them. Without an enemy he had then turned his sights back to the other negative influence and started the conflicts that became the First Great Tribal War, the first time all tribes had been involved in a single conflict as they picked sides - apart from one.
Amidst the conflict the Vherokior flocked to the side of their Elder, near death. The figure who became known amongst all the tribes as the First Mother remained largely passive through the first days of the war, recovering from her time with the dark spirits. As she regained her voice it was recorded in many letters calling for peace, some of which were recovered and have been printed several times over by most publishing houses for studies in schools. They serve as some of the best evidence for what came to be reconstructed concerning the Great War and it’s effect on the Matari.
While the Krusual were known to have aligned themselves with the Brutor initially, they vacillated between the tribes and it was actually the Elder Kruss that eventually brought an end to the First Great Tribal War. He brought all the Elders together again at the site of the Great Caravanserai, where Vheroka had recuperated and taken residence. Vheroka had been limited by her advanced age in the years of the first peace sought at the Great Caravanserai and had therefore relied on her messages to the other Elders and tribal leaders, asking them to come to her to discuss terms. It was only Kruss that responded affirmatively and became her emissary, going to those leaders that did not make the journey to her, particularly Brute. Stark’s disregard for her welfare during the larger conflict of the First Great Tribal War would also be the catalyst for one of chiefs of the remaining clans to begin causing trouble for him in subsequent years. Questioning many of the traditions and decisions of Stark and the other Starkmanir leaders, he was eventually sent into exile. Many of his clan followed him on an exodus into the Greater Sobaki Desert, and they would eventually become the Vherokior. On her death, Vheroka herself became the first to appear in the traditional Tulraug form.
Manifestation of the Tulraug
The third reason for the deification of the Elders is the appearance of the Tulraug form, fundamentally linking them with the spirit world due to their power to presumably cross over, or communicate, while in physical union with it. The first recorded appearance of the spiritual manifestation of the Elders known as the Tulraug comes from the Thukker archives, with the death of Vheroka, the First Mother, whose history has been intertwined with the earliest mythology of the people. Close to death, the First Mother is said to have asked Kruss to carry her up the mountain, where she meditated at the rocky outcropping known as The Pinnacle, for seven days, eating only traditional corncake, while she looked towards the distant Sobaki desert as those loyal to her left. On the seventh day she called the other Elders to her and spoke of what she had learned from the dark spirits during their time in Mioar, in particular the method by which a quasi-spirit form could be generated. Vherokior chronicles report that on her death it is said that her flesh was rent by beams of light and she emerged as a pure manifestation of spirit – the first Tulraug - though this is understood to be allegorical. What is clear is that the original Vheroka never again appeared as an old woman but the glowing white, masked version. Regardless, this form then appeared before leaders in all seven tribes over seven days, especially those who had left for the Greater Sobaki Desert, before eventually being united with a new Elder, once a handmaiden of Vheroka, who then assumed her role.
Many stories have a similar process occurring with the passing of other Elders. Accounts have Tulraug appearing to watch over the body of the departing Elder, who experiences physical death, and the spirit form then walks the earth for however long it takes for it to assume human form once more, which can be anything from minutes to years.
It is considered extremely offensive to enquire as to the actual science behind the manifestation of the Tulraug, presumably not only because it is the province of the Elders but also to protect the process by which they are generated, which is considered tainted concerning the bad spirits that were involved. Whilst it’s not understood how it was first achieved, in recent history the Tulraug form is rationalised variably as either a rudimentary form of cloning technology developed by the Elders, illusions that have become more technically sophisticated with the passage of time, hallucinations, hypnotic suggestions or a mix of all these elements. Traditionally, however, it is considered a thoughtform, resulting from the extreme mental and spiritual discipline of the Elder, who wills it into existence. It is a being that can take on the physical features of past Elders but in a very rudimentary way, seemingly influenced by those around it. It’s voice is usually that of the last Elder, though they have been known to speak with the voice of Elders long departed. Regardless of whether it appears as male or female or its individual features, like the current Elder themselves, the Tulraug is referred to by the name of the first Elder, such as Vheroka or Thuk. A mental projection, it does not require the Elder to have died, and is not confined by mass or distance. Some accounts of encounters with Tulraug involve it moving objects or having substantive form, but in other cases it’s described as incorporeal.
There have been accounts of Tulraug crossing vast distances of space in seconds, though it is understood that there may only be one such manifestation in the universe at any one time. As of YC116, there has never been an encounter with an Elder’s Tulraug form in wormhole space.
Modern appearances of the Elders are almost always the white Tulraug form, primarily a security measure to protect the actual corporal form of the Elder, though also to allow them to travel the vast distances required to communicate with a nomadic culture that has spread out across New Eden.
Continuation of the Seven Elders
After the passing of an Elder those remaining will start to wander amongst the clans in question helping that tribe once again find “themselves”. Once a candidate has been chosen the Elders will collectively appear to them and offer them the chance before departing for a single day in which the candidate is given time to consider and start making plans. Identified using the name of the First Elder before them, the candidates give up their previous lives and instead devote themselves to the collective interests of their tribe. They are expected to be mourned by their loved ones and will have funeral rites in most tribes as the person they are has moved into a spiritual realm. During this time they will absorb the collective knowledge of their tribe. On assuming the role they are not subject to the political will of the people, seen as a trapping of the material world, and are expected to make the hard decisions that may not generally be popular but are nonetheless necessary. Elders have in the past been expected to wear a traditional mask with etchings and decorations specific to their tribal identity, and it is exceptionally rare that any Elder would be seen or identified by their actual appearance, unless it’s important that it be established that the Elders are who they say they are. Elders have rarely been seen in person in the modern era and it is principally the Tulraug avatar that have appeared in the hundreds of years following the great tribal wars.
The Survival of the Elders
During the Day of Darkness in 22480 AD the Elders were thought to have been destroyed in a large military strike against the seat of the tribal assembly in the city of Mithuris. They had, in actuality, moved out of the city to join those gathered in the permanent camp at the Crystal Steppe as a demonstration of solidarity for those struggling there against the elements amid the ongoing superstorm. It wasn’t long before the Amarr managed to ascertain that the Elders had not been present during their initial attack, and in monitoring hampered communications below they gathered intelligence suggesting a small fleet would be escaping the planet, shuttling the Elders out to Starkman Prime. This was a deception laid out by those who had witnessed the beams of the Amarr strikeforce pounding Mithuris amidst the superstorm. Ultimately, during the one-sided conflict that followed, it was actually lightning that ended up finishing the flagship that had attempted to flee, and this event made it particularly meaningful to the Amarr, who interpreted it as the wrath of God. For those who gave their lives to carry out the ruse the Minmatar were to eventually construct a memorial spire of veined stone etched with their names.
The reality was that the Elders were spirited into the sands of the Sobaki Desert, and spent much of the next year moving throughout Matar, initially amidst the caravans of the nomadic Thukker. They eventually based themselves primarily in the semi-aquatic Nefantar city of Vanrond, on the Jade Coast of Houdea. As the barges of the Amarr continued to leave the skies of Matar, filled with those destined for a life of slavery, plans began to be drawn up here to correct the injustice.
A Network of Secrecy
The Elders sought to rescue those that had been taken and set about forming a network of people who could be trusted, initially amongst the Nefantar. Leaders of this tribe mobilized to protect the Elders. The goal of the larger network was the return of all those that had been taken by the Amarr. While many that sought revenge were recruited, it was only those with the measure and wherewithal to bide their time that were given all the facts.
In the early years the cooperation of key Nefantar and the formation of the Ammatar Mandate was motivated by opportunism. Key tribal leaders outside the network had already suggested that they cooperate, especially when they learned from their new masters of the honored status of the Ni-Kunni, as an example of how far cooperation could get them. When the Elders heard of this idea their own concern was the obvious disparity between the two cultures’ technological advancement and the need for strategic intelligence before a rescue could be mounted. It was felt that through the guise of Nefantar capitulation would leave Matari collectively in a unique position to study, learn and steal from their enslavers, passing on tactical knowledge that was to be used to instrumental effect during the eventual invasion. Those leaders loyal to the Elders therefore backed the plans of those keen to form an alliance with the Amarr and almost immediately started sending information back to the network. This intelligence came at a cost however, causing bitterness that threatened the Elders’ plans.
During the Vindication Wars that resulted, as Minmatar fought their kin, there were several points where plans and loyalties were almost revealed to prevent further hostilities. Sammar Utulf, ancestor of Ana Utulf, surprised many when he had supported cooperation in the initial formation of the Elder network, and his backing managed to convince many Nefantar whose loyalties had been torn that the decision was in the best interests of all Minmatar. In the years that followed he often made passionate pleas to the other tribes to put an end to the increasing hostilities that were being perpetrated against the Ammatar. The Elders at first supported his efforts, also keen to ensure that there was no bloodshed, so it was ironic that the events that followed were to have such a profound effect on the Vindication Wars. It was Sammar’s cousin Brecin that led the revolt that took place in 22486 and he who also convinced Sammar’s eldest son to join him. After storming a meeting between the entourages of Utulf and an Amarr delegate, sparing few, Brecin took the holder’s son hostage. He then retrieved a black dagger that he had constructed for the event and then proceeded to slit the throats of both the Amarr heir and the surprised son of Sammar in front of both their fathers. This act came to be replicated often throughout the Vindication Wars, as modern weapons were put aside in favour of increasingly ornate black daggers and bloody, theatrical violence against Ammatar. Sammar was spared on this occasion, and distraught, he indicated to the Elders his desire to reveal the deception of the Nefantar, so that such an act would never be repeated. He was found dead the next day, after an apparent suicide.
Only a year later an Ammatar military contact had a facility under his charge obliterated in an explosion that claimed many lives and left him scarred. Soon after he returned to work he arranged for the Nefantar Elder to visit him and ended up being seen by the Thukker Elder as well. That evening he attempted to burn down the building in which they slept. He had felt that the explosion at his factory had come about as a retaliation for targeted sabotage of Amarr infrastructure nearby that had gone badly and resulted in the death of agents under his command. He blamed the Elders for causing unnecessary strife. The network had learned of both this and a simultaneous rendezvous he had organised with a reporter to expose the network, both of whom were found in a bullet-ridden vehicle only blocks from the blaze. While this event didn’t have the same profound effect on the Matari consciousness as those surrounding Sammar Utulf, in private it was the event that convinced The Elders of something they had debated many times since the Day of Darkness. Despite their ties to the mother world, desire to lead the beleaguered underground resistance in-person and reluctance to heed concerns for their safety, it was time to leave Matar. They were spirited away from the planet by Thukker who had started stockpiling military assets for the proposed Elder War elsewhere.
Morale was low amidst the network now that the Elders were no longer physically present and in response to the various betrayals and cruelties of the Vindication Wars. Spirits were bolstered significantly by the Minmatar Rebellion in 23216 AD, however, when it looked like the network fleet elements already being assembled by the Elders would be mobilized entirely. Many of them were. It was these elements that went on to lead the operations that rescued the Starkmanir from obliteration, moving many of them into Ammatar care. Millions of enslaved Matari had already being freed from Amarr territories elsewhere, which had been the Elder’s principal motivation for their military build-up. Events transpired, however, that destabilized the Elders, stopping them from personally capitalizing on the Rebellion and making their return.
The Thukker, Starkmanir and Nefantar Elders had been recruiting amongst militants on Eanna in the Hror system of Metropolis when they were caught up in a reclamation themselves and herded onto Bestowers. The other Elders had learned of their brethren’s capture and immediately started debating an early mobilization of their existing forces. Plans had already discussed the possibility of moving into Amarr space through Derelik, so intelligence detailing the riot in the Diemnon planetismal’s mining complex in Hahyil served to provide a preliminary target. The Elder fleet was almost revealed and many within the network called for it, especially the already suffering Nefantar now that their Elder was one of those captured. The debate about whether an operation in Derelik would result in the loss of the element of surprise, key to a successful invasion, continued until news arrived from the Jovians that the captured Elders were dead.
The network fractured. Many lost patience with the slow accumulation of ships and the secrecy required and instead utilized the chance to strike that soon arrived following the Battle of Vak’Atioth. There was sufficient lack of accountability amidst the events of the Rebellion that the sudden appearance of extra fleet elements were taken for granted, but the Elders still sought to keep themselves hidden from view and presumed dead, especially now that news of the deaths in Derelik could potentially come to light. They did not stop members of the network contributing to the Rebellion that took place and they eventually welcomed them back, but the fleet that remained after the Minmatar Rebellion was weakened. They were still held back by the difficulties inherent in gathering resources while remaining hidden from the public eye, reeling from division and the loss of the Thukker, Starkmanir and Nefantar Elders. New candidates were found to fill the void that had been left by the deaths on Diemnon, but this took time.
Morale increased slowly with the Minmatar that had been liberated in the Rebellion. While the liberation that resulted from the conflict galvanized those who had been working to free the Minmatar, since it seemed that their mission had effectively been completed, to the surprise of the entire network the Elders chose to continue to plan and wait. Their aim was still the liberation of enslaved Matari, and while some had risen up to defend and free themselves, many others had not been able to due to their physical addiction to Vitoc. A significant number of Matari still remained in Amarr territories and the Elders still needed to act. Without a means to counter the effects of the addictive drug a rescue would not be achieved.
Federation Support and Insorum
While the people of the Federation, particularly the Gallente, had always supported the Matari in their plight, it was the Matari’s quest to liberate themselves and rebuild their society that adhered most to its principles. The Federation assisted the new Republic, encouraged by its willingness to adopt a government that mirrored its own. In doing so, the Federation government pledged a remarkable amount of financial support, intended for reconstruction, which was set down as a percentage of the total fiscal budget, scaled in perpetuity with the economy’s performance.
Steps were immediately taken to ensure that the Elder network became a place where a significant portion of this pledge was funnelled, in the hopes that the sluggish acquisition of military assets was accelerated. It was this liberal injection of funds that insured that those chosen were able to move into positions of authority should they not already be in them and, most significantly, to start establishing staging grounds for massive fleets, continuing to be built in secret amidst the infrastructure being established by the Thukker tribe. Three staging areas in the Great Wildlands, known as the Sanctuaries, were established and construction of larger fleets initiated. The Elders made their home aboard a Ragnarok-class Titan, one of those that came to be the flagships of the assembled elements.
While working with agents in the Federation, the Elders’ network celebrated with the revelation that Otro Gariushi had secured a sample of the Insorum prototype and was reaching out to the Republic as a potential bidder for the supply pipeline he had established. Thankfully it was Maleatu Shakor who served as the point of contact. A significant player in the Elder’s network, and a member of the significant Defiants presence in the ranks, he immediately sought to secure Insorum for the Elder Fleet. While he was initially outbid in meetings with Ishukone’s CFO, Kinachi Hepimeki, Otro Gariushi made the final decision that the Republic would soon be in receipt of the Insorum vaccine. With their Titans nearing completion, the Elders would soon have everything they needed to act. There was only one more obstacle – CONCORD would never allow the operation to proceed.
The Ambassador of the Elders
Reluctant to dedicate elements of their fleets to the possibility of hostilities with CONCORD, the initial desire of the Elders was to inform the police-keeping force of their intentions and hope that they would not interfere. They needed a representative. With his speech before CONCORD, the recently inaugurated Keitan Yun attracted their attention with his declaration that the Minmatar had a right to defend themselves against the Amarr. Shakor had already been asked to keep an eye on Yun as a potential part of the Elders’ network after his academic lectures about the Elders themselves, and his stellar reputation and establishment as a representative in the CONCORD Assembly had secured his pre-eminence for the role. With the timetable accelerating, Yun was taken to one of the Titans in the Sanctuaries after his dismissal from his first session, and there met the seven Elders, whom he had lectured about as a university historian. Yun initially took issue with funds that were supposed to have been distributed to rebuild the Republic instead being used to create the Elder Fleet, but he was honoured to represent the seven embodiments of the Minmatar tribes, and keen for the Republic to defend itself against tyranny.
Yun became the Ambassador of the Elders, asked to use the same passion he’d demonstrated at the CONCORD Assembly in doing what he could to prevent hostile engagement should they try and interfere. The Elders also revealed that the Starkmanir still existed under the protection of the Nefantar and there were complicitous elements within the Ammatar Mandate, both of which soon faced exposure. Overall, one third of the Minmatar were still held in bondage.
The Elder War
Yun eventually went before Chair Speaker Pauksuo at CONCORD, indicating that he wished to discuss the diplomatic and military options of the Republic and requested that DED representation was also present. DED Admiral Kjersidur Elladall was in attendance for what followed.
Yun took the opportunity to issue both authorities a warning. He stated again that Minmatar had a right to defend themselves from Amarr subjugation, especially now that they were sponsoring assassination. Yun asked both representatives if they would interfere with Matar seeking justice. He was about to be dismissed in response when a large section of the Elder Fleet jumped through a cynosural field in Yulai, surrounding the station <ref name=a>Breaking News: Unidentified Armada Detected in Yulai http://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/world-news/breaking-news-unidentified-armada-detected-in-yulai/</ref>. Keitan took the opportunity to stipulate that CONCORD and the DED would have limited time to reconsider their intention to intervene if Minmatar started fighting against the Amarr, and that he would return to receive their response in due course. Following this the threatening fleet departed <ref name=c>Report: Yulai Escapes Violence as Mysterious Armada Departs http://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/world-news/report-yulai-escapes-violence-as-mysterious-armada-departs/</ref>
Return of the Elders
Only days after he had presented his ultimatum to CONCORD, backed by the threat of another show of force from the Elder Fleet, and spurred by the news of the Starkmanir found on Halturzhan<ref name=e>Breaking News: Large Starkmanir Slave Population Discovered in Ammatar Consulate http://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/world-news/breaking-news-large-starkmanir-slave-population-discovered-in-ammatar-consulate/</ref>, Yun makes contact again. He appears before Chair Speaker Pauksuo dressed in Republic parliamentary robes. Pauksuo’s response is to declare Yun an enemy of CONCORD and call for his immediate surrender to be arrested for multiple violations of CONCORD statute. A cynosural beacon activates in Yulai soon afterward, and hundreds of Minmatar warships enter the space, beginning the events of the invasion that served as the culmination of the Elder War. Members of the Republic Fleet started abandoning their posts to join the fight against the Amarr, much as members of the Elder’s network had done during the Rebellion. Many responded to news that had started to filter out that the Defiants were amongst the Thukker and other Matari vessels under the leadership of the returning Elders<ref name=k>Report: Minmatar-Thukker Task Force are Minmatar Elders http://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/world-news/report-minmatar-thukker-task-force-are-minmatar-elders/ </ref>. This followed the huge swell in tribal pride following the acknowledgement that the Starkmanir survived and the suggestion that the Nefantar would be redeemed despite the Ammatar Consulate denying any advance knowledge of events<ref name=l>Midular Finally Acknowledges Starkmanir News http://community.eveonline.com/news/news-channels/world-news/midular-finally-acknowledges-starkmanir-news/</ref>.
The rescue was eventually aborted with the return of Jamyl Sarum and the decimation of the Sarum theatre fleet during the Battle of Mekhios. While their ultimate aim of freeing all enslaved Minmatar had effectively been aborted after years of preparation, many considered the invasion of the Elder War a success in terms of validating the tactical significance of the Minmatar as a resurgent people, and setting the stage for the return of the Elders themselves.