75% of Atla’s food is grown and raised in the province of Arodil. The vast plains of the eastern half of Atla cover a number of climate zones suitable to growing every type of crop imaginable. From wheat and barley to citrus fruits and vegetables, if you can eat it, it probably comes from Arodil.
The province of Arodil was a leading producer of crops long before the formation of Atla. However, before any shipping and distribution infrastructure existed each community grew for its own population. Trade between the cities was limited to major market events and annual festivals.
Since Atla’s formation the Grand Council has done its best to make certain the farmers and ranchers throughout the region make the money they deserve and are protected during years of drought or pestilence. However, despite their best efforts managing the province hasn’t always been easy.
One of the deadliest periods in the Province’s history began 118 years ago. At the time the two largest farms in the province were located 10 miles north of Arodil City in a town known as Hill View. The two farms, run by Mr. Stanislaw and Mr. Dutch, covered more than 10,000 square acres apiece and employed hundreds of workers.
Mr. Dutch and Mr. Stanislaw regularly produced and sold more goods than any other farms in the nation. Part of this productivity was due to their competitive and sometimes relentless pursuit of perfection. For decades the pair was known for pioneering new techniques and technologies, all in an effort to best his rival. At the time there were no national regulations for buying, selling, and distributing crops. This meant individual sellers were responsible for the welfare of their own farms, the prices of their goods, and the deals they negotiated with buyers both large and small. As a result, the two men held a monopoly over most other farms in the region and largely dictated what others grew—whatever the Dutch and Stanislaw farms were growing the rest of Arodil farmers avoided like blighted wheat.
As a result of decades of indirectly controlling the prices and availability of goods throughout Atla the Grand Council formed an organization designed to create, implement, and enforce fair farming practices throughout the nation. The Association of Atla Buyers and Distributers, or the AABD, was formed in 130 EM and within one year after its formation all farmers were required to follow the regulations or face financial penalties and incarceration.
In the summer of 131 a representative of the AABD traveled to the Dutch and Stanislaw farms to ensure their compliance. The agent was also there to broker a deal between Mr. Stanislaw and a chain of flour mills in the Alpine Province.
At the time of its creation the AABD was headquartered in Westlake along with the nation’s capital. It took the representative four days to reach Hill View. When she arrived late in the afternoon she found a town that was entirely different than expected. Figuring Hill View was organized like Arodil City, she assumed she could find lodging in a local boarding house and meet with Mr. Stanislaw the following morning. Instead, she found a town of approximately 250 residents, one without lodging or other amenities, and located 10 miles north of the capital.
The representative’s first stop was Hill View, and from there she was to continue north touring farms throughout the area for the next two months. Her schedule was tight and did not allow for any mistakes or miscalculations like the one she. Not wanting to travel to Arodil, then back to Hill View before continuing north, she decided to complete the deal that very afternoon and continue north in the evening. A 20 mile round trip would have proven disasterous, throwing off every scheduled meeting for the next week.
While she had rough instructions on how to reach the Stanislaw farmhouse, she needed specific guidance to locate the exact house. She asked the first person she could find—an old farmer sitting on his porch. After a brief exchange the old man offered to take her to the farmhouse which was just over a mile away.
When the pair arrived at the intersection between two farm roads leading to houses on either side of the street the old man stopped and let her out. She asked the man which house belonged to the Stanislaw family and he pointed to the one on the west side of the main road. A short distance ahead she spotted a man crossing the road aiming straight for the Stanislaw homestead. Figuring the man was Mr. Stanislaw, she approached him, eager to finish the deal.
Word spread quickly through the close-knit farming community that Mr. Dutch had secured an arrangement with the AABD to sell his goods to a chain of mills in Alpine, an agreement that would absolutely secure his financial future. It didn’t take much longer for word to spread that the deal was meant for Mr. Stanislaw, the man Mr. Dutch claimed to be when speaking to the AABD representative. With a bit of quick thinking, clever acting, and playing on the representative’s anxiety, Mr. Dutch was able to write his real name in all of the forms without the representative catching on. When Mr. Stanislaw heard of the deception the smoldering rivalry ignited into an inferno of hate and anger.
At first the feud was nonviolent; the two men would spend their days shouting obscenities whenever they saw each other. Before long the friends and family of the two men took part in the shouting and a city-wide feud ensued.
One year after the forgery the feud had escalated to a cold war. Walls were erected between homes and farms in an attempt to stake official claims and protect their lands. Vandalism, theft, and arson followed the construction of the walls. During the spring of 132 the feud claimed its first life. A man from the Stanislaw Warriors (as they called themselves) was caught diverting irrigation water from Dutch lands. Young men from the Dutch Brigade caught the Stanislaw man in the act and began beating him. When the dust settled the Stanislaw man lie dead, his skull crushed and chest collapsed.
After the first death the feud turned into all out war. Death was no longer a final barrier or hurdle and local authorities were unable to stop the escalating violence for one major reason: the local authorities were involved with the war just as much as anyone else. News that the sheriff and his deputies had taken sides and were doing nothing to stop the violence only added to the growing unease spreading throughout Atla.
Though the assaults and murders were mostly confined to the city of Hill View and some areas in the surrounding countryside, there were other consequences to their actions that reached to the farthest shores of Atla. Besides assaulting members of the rival faction both parties began sabotaging the other side’s fields. The idea was simple: if the other faction had no crops to sell the other family would form a total monopoly. In other words, the AABD’s arrangement meant nothing if Mr. Dutch couldn’t provide the promised goods. However, both sides employed the same tactic, decimating the farmlands throughout the region.
After months of salting soil, burning crops, and damming water sources the once bounteous farmlands were rendered useless. As a result, prices for grains and grain products as well as a few select vegetables both men grew increased tenfold throughout Atla. The people of Atla looked on in horror as the two largest farms in the nation destroyed each other over what was initially a simple rivalry. And though the Grand Council prepared to put an end to the violence by any means necessary, members of the council knew that any actions they took would only stop the violence; there was no simple fix to boost the area’s grain production when the soil itself was nearly worthless.
At length the Atlan military intervened in the escalating war. By the time troops marched into Hill View and the surrounding towns the area looked more like a battle site from the War of the World than a once thriving farming community. Atlan forces apprehended as many members of the two factions as they could. But after more than a year of bloody fighting many faction members, not necessarily those related to either family by blood, were so blinded by hate and anger that they refused to be taken captive and opted to fight to the death instead. The Atlan forces were successful in putting an end to the uprising and restoring order to the region. But order was not the same as productivity. Tens of thousands of acres of profitable farmland was all but useless. From ruined silos and burned homes to salted fields and poisoned lakes, the entire region was as useful as chaff in a windstorm.
Many members of the community could not be accounted for after the war, and as a result the estimated number of deaths has a strong margin for error. Between recovered bodies and the following census reports the best estimates suggest at least 2,000 people were killed during the fighting. As bad as the deaths were, hundreds of thousands throughout the entire province faced financial ruin and starvation.
It took more than a decade before the city of Hill View was rebuilt and the farmlands restored to working order. Few of the original family members survived the attacks leaving the city open to a new generation of farmers and ranchers. The city and region were able to start fresh and regain the former productivity the location was known for, albeit with new families operating the land. A monument was erected 15 years after the attacks to both remember the fallen innocent civilians and serve as a reminder of what unbridled anger will inevitably bring. Today the former Dutch and Stanislaw farms are owned by more than a dozen individual companies or families and the city of Hill View has tripled in size.