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The Restorationist–Loyalist conflict was a period of unrest in the former Fire Nation colony Linsho, pitting militant Earth Kingdom decolonization activists ("Restorationists") against a group of hard-line Fire Nationals ("Loyalists"). Over the course of several years, the two sides protested, sabotaged, and fought each other in disputes of colonial property and the future course of their community. Local authorities led by Mayor Leaf tried to keep the peace in the town, while businessman Ria attempted to fuel the conflict to his own benefit. When a major storm threatened Linsho and an arsonist struck a local warehouse, tensions further escalated, with a team of traveling adventurers trying to find a solution.

Background[]

Main article: Harmony Restoration Movement
Harmony Restoration Movement

The deportation of Fire Nation colonists during the Harmony Restoration Movement contributed to the tensions in Linsho.

Following the Hundred Year War, the Harmony Restoration Movement was initiated by the governments of the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom. It was designed as a programme to decolonize formerly occupied Earth Kingdom lands and return them to native rule.[3] However, the Harmony Restoration Movement had been planned without considering the fact that many old Fire Nation colonies had ethnically mixed populations, with many colonist families having lived for decades or even over a century in the occupied territories. As a result, the decolonization also caused much resentment and social unrest, ultimately contributing to the Harmony Restoration Movement's termination in 101 AG.[3][4][5]

One of the colonies targeted by the Harmony Restoration Movement was the town of Linsho. Though mainly inhabited by Earth Kingdom natives, the settlement had a substantial population of Fire National and mixed families; one colonist family owned the dominant local company, Blue Sky Fisheries.[1] The Fire Nationals had exploited the local population during the Hundred Year War, and the Harmony Restoration Movement thus gave rise to new hopes among poor citizens in Linsho. In contrast, the decolonization and deportation of colonists was very negatively received by inhabitants of Fire Nation descent. Thus, the town entered into a period of unrest which developed into a new conflict in 101 AG.[2][6]

History[]

Emergence of the opposing groups[]

When the Harmony Restoration Movement was ended, the decolonization of Linsho had not yet been completed. The valuable properties, most notably Blue Sky Fisheries, remained under the control of Fire National or mixed families, and several deported colonists returned to reclaim their lands.[1] However, Linsho was officially returned to the Earth Kingdom.[7] This unclear result led to the rise of two opposing factions in Linsho soon after the Harmony Restoration Movement's end.[1]

On one side were the "Restorationists", a group of Earth Kingdom natives led by Chen Lai who were angry at the incomplete decolonization. Many of them were poor, and they demanded that the Fire National-owned properties in the town be given to the entire community so that their wealth could be equally shared.[2] On the other side were the "Loyalists", a group composed of militant colonists led by ex-general Yeoh. Unlike the "Restorationists", the "Loyalists" were a diverse group with few common aims aside a vague belief in the defense of the status quo to protect local Fire Nationals.[2][6] The Blue Sky Fisheries, then owned by Ria, became a focus of the disputes; to many Earth Kingdom natives it was a symbol of Fire Nation colonial oppression, but to the "Loyalists" it stood for the positive aspects of the Fire Nation's rule.[1][2]

At first, the "Loyalists" and "Restorationists" limited themselves to protests and repeated bureaucratic complaints against each other. Linsho's mayor, Leaf, tried to mediate, but her stalling and reluctant attitude left militants on both sides dissatisfied.[8][7]

Escalation[]

After years of unresolved conflict,[2] there was little substantial change in Linsho aside of growing tensions. With both groups frustrated, the "Restorationists" and "Loyalists" became increasingly violent and extreme in their demands. Chen Lai's followers had shifted from property demands to a call for the removal of all Fire Nationals from Linsho, while Yeoh's forces became more willing to attack local authorities for their perceived lack of support.[2][7]

Meanwhile, the region began to suffer under a series of arson attacks. These followed in pattern, as they were committed by a single person[nb 2] and stoked tensions relating to the Harmony Restoration Movement's aftermath. In response, the regional governor enlisted a team of adventurers who had earned a reputation as peacemakers.[1][5] The group, consisting of Kallika, Gingko, Ziyi, Toklo, and Chihiro[9] was granted a special dispensation from the regional governor and then set out to capture the arsonist as well as prevent further hostilities.[5] Unbeknownst to anyone else, the arsonist was manipulated by Ria who tried to use the arson attacks both to protect his ownership of Blue Skies Fisheries as well as sabotage any local competition to his company.[1][8]

Storm near Linsho

The conflict threatened to escalate as a major storm approached Linsho.

The conflict threatened to escalate into full fighting when a major storm approached Linsho just before the popular, yearly Squid Ink Festival. Seeing no other option, Mayor Leaf decided to cancel the event due to the storm even though the Squid Ink Festival had traditionally helped to defuse the local unrest.[1][5] By chance, the governor's team of peacemakers arrived in Linsho on the day when Leaf intended to make her announcement. The group had tracked the arsonist to the settlement. The mayor quickly enlisted their aid to safeguard her town. Indeed, just after Leaf declared to a crowd of gathered townspeople that the Squid Ink Festival had to be cancelled, a nearby warehouse owned by Blue Skies Fisheries suffered an arson attack. While the perpetrator escaped, Ria publicly complained about being a victim of targeted violence. As the crowd grew restless, "Restorationists" blamed the "Loyalist" firebenders for the arson attack, causing a brawl to erupt.[5] The adventurers subsequently intervened in the conflict, while trying to discover and apprehend the arsonist even as the dangerous storm drew nearer.[1][5][nb 3]

Notes[]

  1. The conflict is confirmed to have begun just after the Harmony Restoration Movement's end in 101 AG.[1] Its end date is not clearly defined, but it is mentioned that the Restorationists had "been petitioning Leaf for years to change the way things have run", meaning that the conflict lasted into the late 100s AG.[2]
  2. The arsonist is not conclusively identified in Storm Over Linsho; instead, two individuals are mentioned as possible perpetrators: Ge and Yiko.[1]
  3. Based on the information in Storm Over Linsho, the Restorationist–Loyalist conflict currently has no known canonical ending.[10]

References[]

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