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Midget Empire

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Midget Empire

2002–2006/9

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Capital city Midget Base
Official language(s) English
Official religion(s) Secular - Vapourism recognised
Demonym Midget
Government Stratocratic despotism
- Midget Master Daniel (I) (2002 - 2004)
Jonathan (II) (2004 - 2006)
Caroline (III) (2006 - 2010)
Established 9 September 2002
Area claimed measure
Population ~7 (2003)
~15 (2004)
~60 (2005)
~200 (2006)
Currency Pound sterling (£)


The Midget Empire was a non-sovereign micronation which existed in Rushy Meadow KS2 Playground between September 2002 and the summer of 2006, although physical vestiges of it remained into 2007 and it was not abolished as a legal entity until 2009. In many ways a successor to the earlier Rushymian civilisation, the Midget Empire was a militaristic state which was able to conquer the Playground and return its different groups back under a single ruler. After its fall, the remnants of the Midgets were transitioned into the Midget Nation-in-Exile in December 2009, which was annexed by the Empire of Austenasia in April 2011.

Etymology

Although many take the name of the Midget Empire to be a sign of jocular informality, it should be remembered that just under a decade ago the name of the Midgets was both feared and respected by the peoples of the Playground. Some have suggested that the name of Midget was adopted due to the tiny size of the empire conquered - a single school playground - however, the actual reason is due to the circumstances in which its first leader was appointed.

Midget Master Daniel, the first leader of the Midget Empire, was approached in early September 2002 by some friends who had been playing a game of soldiers at a party during the summer and asked to resume the game. He had been playing a game in which he was chasing people while crouching down and shouting "Midget attack!", and a mixture of the two games was formed, with him being named the first Midget Master. The group of friends took on a far more serious outlook, however, when the area in which they were playing was threatened by the Invaders, effectively founding the Midget Empire as a defended territorial entity.

Government

The Midget Empire was first and foremost a stratocracy, with all officials holding their positions through their role in its military, the Midget Army. The autocratic Midget Master functioned as the supreme executive, legislative, judicial and military authority, making all major decisions and unable to be overruled, and individual provinces were governed by the commander of their garrison. After the Second Coup in September 2005, the Midget Empire was governed by the Triumvirate, with the Second Midget Master sharing equal effective power with two senior officers but remaining the only Midget Master by virtue of being the only one permitted to hold the title and the only one who could choose his successor - in theory, he was also able to remove his fellow triumvirs from power. However, he did not do this firstly because of their popularity amongst the military, which had gained them their power in the first place, and secondly due to the fact that the Midget Empire simply could not be governed by a single person after it had expanded past a certain point. Each of the triumvirs generally stayed in a certain region of the Midget Empire and met regularly to discuss Empire-wide affairs while also rotating between the areas they stayed in, meaning that whenever a local problem arose there would be a person with capable authority to deal with it, and that the Midget Empire did not separate into different realms.

The Midget Empire became gradually less militaristic in its final few months after it had successfully conquered the Playground, and its system of government began to become more similar to an absolute monarchy - with the Pax Midgetana in place, the need for two officers as triumvirs became less apparent, and the Midget Master was acknowledged a lot more as their superior. This similarity with a monarchy was made more evident when Midget Master Jonathan decreed that the position of Midget Master would be hereditary, appointing his sister as his heir, and the title of Midget Master was officially recognised as monarchical with the foundation of the Midget Nation-in-Exile.

Military

As a stratocracy, the military of the Midget Empire - known as the Midget Army - were its most integral part. For most of its existence, every member of the population of the Midget Empire was also a member of the Midget Army, but in February 2005 the Line and Lower Playground were conquered, entering the first "civilians" - conquered pupils who acknowledged the supremacy of the Midget Master but did not join the Midget Army - into the Midget Empire.

Before February 2005, the Midget Army consisted of a single field unit, which would travel to wherever needed defending or attacking. After February 2005, however, the Midget Empire began to expand and the Midget Army with it. Midget Master Jonathan established a system of provinces - the Midget Army was divided into garrisons (roughly half a dozen soldiers were made members of the Midget Army and given officer ranks without becoming part of garrisons), each with its own commander responsible for that garrison alone, and each garrison was given responsibility for the defence of a certain province. The Quiet Area was also provided with a garrison after becoming a Midget protectorate. The Midget Base was unique in that it was the only province without a garrison, as due to its position (surrounded by fences and the Music Hut on three sides and by the garrisoned Lower Playground on the other) it was considered impervious to attack. Two bodyguard units were formed by and for Midget Master Jonathan (II) - considered part of the Midget Army but not classified as garrisons, one of them would usually accompany the Midget Master as he resided in the Midget Base or travelled across the Midget Empire. The first were the Elite Guard: comprised primarily of Yr.4/5 girls and founded around March or April of 2005, they performed a mainly ceremonial function and were disbanded in September 2005 after their failure in the Second Coup. The second bodyguard unit, the Praetorian Guard, were founded a little over a week before the disbanding of the Elite Guard, and in contrast served with distinction protecting the Midget Master during the Second Coup. They were eventually merged with other soldiers to create the garrison for the Upper Playground after it was conquered in May 2006.

While fighting for the Midget Empire, the Midget Army developed a wide range of tactics. The most common form of attack was "intimidation tactics" - simply put, soldiers would charge at an enemy shouting "Midget Attack!", usually causing them to retreat. If the enemy did not retreat, the soldiers would make threatening advances in an attempt to intimidate them into backing away. When situated in the Midget Base, soldiers would pick up fistfulls of sand from the ground of the non-paved area and throw it at the enemy. This sand, often referred to as "dust", could be transported in small amounts, and could be used in conjunction with intimidation tactics by throwing it while charging. After the War of the Midget Hunters, the Midgets had access to a Mahonia aquifolium bush in the Quiet Area the berries of which left red stains on clothing if thrown - known as "blood berries", these were a very effective weapon, as their ability to stain school uniform was known and feared. Physical contact was rarely used by the Midget Army, as it risked having the staff of the school at which the Midget Empire was based intervene - some notable exceptions were during the First Battle of the Grove and War of the Midget Hunters (when both sides using intimidation tactic charges resulted in some wrestling) and the Quiet Area Rebellion (when Midget soldiers were attacked by having sticks and stones thrown at them and had to use themselves as human shields to protect the Midget Master).

Geography

The Midget Empire consisted of the majority of the KS2 Playground of Rushy Meadow Primary, as well as part of the adjacent Field. The Playground was divided into various regions, most of which were made provinces after being conquered by the Midget Army, based on the province system allegedly used by the Kings of Rushymia.

The Midget Empire consisted only of the Midget Base until April 2003, when it expanded into the Rebel Side. By February 2005, the entirety of the Rebel Side was under Midget control, as was the Lower Playground and the Line. The Patioed Pathway was conquered in June 2005, the Quiet Area Pathway in April 2006, and the Upper Playground the following month.

Midget Base

Click to expand.

The Midget Base was the capital of the Midget Empire, and its seat of power for most of its history. Situated in the eastern-most corner of the Playground, it was bordered by fences to the north-east and south-east, by the Music Hut to the north-west, and by the Lower Playground to the south-west.

The site of the foundation of the Midget Empire, the Midget Base came under frequent attack from both the Invaders and the Girly Gang between 2002 and 2004. The Midget Base was in the sun for most of the day and was not paved with tarmac like the rest of the Playground - it therefore had very sandy ground, which the Midget Army used to drive off attackers by throwing it at them. A tree growing in the centre of the Midget Base functioned as a sort of regnal list; Midget Master Daniel carved his initials into the tree after the Midget Civil War, and the following two Midget Masters (as well as the Triumvirs) followed his example. The Midget Base continuously functioned as the base of the Midget Master until 2006 - it was occupied by the Midget Hunters for a single day in April, and by the end of the following month the Midget Master had moved his court to the Quiet Area, although the Midget Base remained capital in name. By April 2009, the Midget Base was no longer in existence due to the Music Hut having been expanded.

Music Hut

The Music Hut, also known as the Studio, was a green building at the north-eastern end of the Playground which was used for music lessons. Although locked during morning break and lunch time, it had a ramp leading up to the door known as the Watchpost, which was used by the Midget Army as a vantage point from which to view the Playground. There was also a narrow passageway leading behind the Music Hut (sometimes known as Fox Run) which connected the Midget Base to the Rebel Side - although the staff of the school forbade pupils to traverse this passageway, this instruction was sometimes disobeyed by the Midget Army (most notably during the Battle of the Push Bench Gang). By April 2009, the Music Hut had been completely renovated - now white, it is also a lot larger, having been expanded to cover the areas in which the Midget Base and Rebel Side once were.

Rebel Side

The Rebel Side was an area similar to the Midget Base, on the other side of the Music Hut - due to therefore being in the shadow of the Music Hut, its ground did not dry into sand and dust like that of the Midget Base. Originally known as the "Rebels' Base" during the Midget Civil War, this name had become the Rebel Side by the end of the First Boys vs Girls War. The Rebel Side contained a bench, often used by the Push Bench Gang in the game that gave them their name. Originally inhabited by Yr. 3s and Invaders, it was taken over by the New And Improved Midgets and then the Push Bench Gang before being divided between the Midget Empire and the Word Life Gang in April 2003, partially occupied by the Girly Gang the following month, and permanently annexed in its entirety by the Midget Empire in March 2004. It had shared the same fate as the Midget Base by April 2009, having had the newly expanded Music Hut built over it.

Line

The Line was the area in which the various year groups would line up to await their turn to be sent in for lunch. Playground staff would call out a year group, the pupils in which would then line up in the Line, and be sent in once the lunch hall was sufficiently empty of the previous year to have their lunches (the first year to be called were therefore sent in straight away). Situated between the Rebel Side and Patioed Pathway and bordering the Lower Playground, the Line was conquered by the Midget Empire in February 2005, after which the main duty of its garrison was to keep order in the line of pupils and stop people jumping the queue.

Lower Playground

The Lower Playground is the area between the Football Pitch and the Music Hut, bordering the Midget Base, Music Hut and Rebel Side to the north-east, the Line to the north-west, the Football Pitch to the south-west, and the fence dividing the Playground and Field to the south-east. Inhabited by some small gangs and the Invaders from September 2002, it was mostly occupied by the Girly Gang in May 2003. By the end of July 2004, both the Invaders and Girly Gang had disbanded, leaving the Midget Empire free to take over their territories in the Lower Playground - Midget rule was officially proclaimed in February 2005, after Midget Master Jonathan (II) recieved recognition of Midget rule over the Lower Playground from the Footballers and led new Midget recruits into the region to fully occupy and annex it to the Midget Empire.

Football Pitch

The Football Pitch is the area between the Lower and Upper Playground, inhabited by the Footballers. Comprised of a relatively featureless piece of tarmac with two makeshift goals at either side (one formed by a wall separating the Football Pitch from the Patioed Pathway), the Football Pitch bears the distinction of being the only region of the Playground to have never been successfully invaded, as well as the only region to not be effectively controlled by the Midget Empire by the time of the Pax Midgetana.

Upper Playground

The Upper Playground is by far the largest area of the Playground, spanning roughly half its length - it is thought that the Rushymians divided it into two areas, the Upper and Middle Playgrounds (the Upper Playground to them approximately consisting of the south-western most third of what is now referred to as the Upper Playground. It borders the Football Pitch to the north-east, the Quiet Area to the west, the Patioed and Quiet Area Pathways to the north, and the fence dividing the Playground from the Field to the south. Inhabited only by the Skipping Rope Gang in September 2002, by April 2006 several other gangs had taken over roughly two-thirds of the Upper Playground, and the following month it was conquered by the Midget Empire in the war bearing its name.

Basketball posts were installed against the south-western fence in late 2005, leading to some controversy - the leader of the playground staff was accused of sexism after alotting Monday for Yr.3s to play with the basketball posts, Tuesday for Yr. 4s, Wednesday for Yr.5s, and Thursdays for Yr.6s, but then making Friday a "girls only day" for girls from all years, despite girls from each year playing basketball alongside the boys in their year on the other days in the week. After several mass protests around the basketball posts (the partakers in which were initially punished by said head of playground staff) and a petition to the headteacher of the school, the policy was reversed, leaving its instigator rather unpopular and with a reputation as a repressive female-supremacist. The installation of these posts helped to push the Skipping Rope Gang westwards, as there was less space in which they could play with skipping ropes. Since 2007, more play equipment has been installed in the Upper Playground.

Patioed Pathway

The Patioed Pathway is the area running along the north-western side of the Football Pitch and Upper Playground, separated from the main Playground by two walls with benches. It was inhabited by a variety of gangs from the fall of Rushymia until February 2005, when it was conquered by a force of the Midget Army under the command of Thomas, who became its Commander.

Quiet Area Pathway

The Quiet Area Pathway is the name given to the Patioed Pathway as it continues along the northern-most side of the Playground and runs north-west past the Quiet Area. It was bordered to the west by a red line painted on the ground, which marked the official end of the Playground over which no pupil was allowed to cross during break and lunch times. It was conquered by a force of the Midget Army under the command of Thomas in April 2006, shortly before the War of the Midget Hunters - before this, it had been inhabited by the Skipping Rope Gang for the entirety of the time that the Midgets had been in the Playground.

Quiet Area

The Quiet Area is the former capital of Rushymia, and the former brief de facto capital of the Midget Empire, located at the far west of the Playground. Its position overlooking the rest of the Playground and the fact that it is surrounded by walls made it a valuable area to control but easily defended. Inhabited mostly by Quietarians since the fall of Rushymia, it is the only region of the Playground known to have produced its own distinct culture, primarly due to its relative isolation from the rest of the Playground. After an unsuccessful Midget raid in October 2003, the Quiet Area became a protectorate of the Midget Empire in late April 2006, with the Midget Army providing a garrison to defend it without claiming it as a province or attempting to govern it. However, the following month the Quietarians attempted and failed to force the garrison out, after which Midget rule was enforced (although it was still permitted to claim the status of a protectorate) and it became the seat of power for Midget Master Jonathan (II). It is thought that the Quiet Area garrison was the last to disband after the fall of the Midget Empire, probably some time in 2007.

Field

The Field is a field roughly twice the size of the entire school, bordering it to the south-west and south-east. Between April and July, the KS2 pupils would often be let out onto a fenced-off area of the field used by the school, roughly six times the size of the Playground - it is this area which is more properly referred to as "the Field" (capitalised), with the inaccessible part of the field often being known as the "Off-Limits Field" or "Forbidden Field". The far-western corner of the Field was allegedly the former site of the ancient city of Atkantia in Vapourist myth, and was claimed as a province of the Midget Empire in late May or early June 2006.

History

Origins

Click to expand.
The Midget Base, capital of the Midget Empire.

The Midget Empire is believed to have been founded on 9 September 2002, although it may have been founded up to a week earlier. Two Yr. 3s, Jonathan and Gregory, new arrivals in the Playground, began to play a game of soldiers or secret agents which they had played several weeks previously during the summer holidays at the birthday party (c. 24 July) of Gregory's brother. Daniel, another Yr. 3 who had been the leader of the group at the game played at the party with the code name of "Master", initially did not play with the others and they went to find him. Daniel was playing a game in which he was chasing after some other pupils while crouching down and shouting "Midget Attack!", and refused to play with the others unless they addressed him as "Midget". They returned to a corner of the Playground which they called the Midget Base, and began playing, with Gregory addressing Daniel as "Midget Master". After a few minutes, however, a group of Yr. 4 girls entered the Midget Base, upon which Jonathan shouted "Invaders!" - the Invaders claimed to have inhabited the Midget Base before the summer holidays, but refused to share it with the Midgets and were driven out by Daniel and the others throwing dust from the ground at them. As the Invaders fled, Daniel shouted after them that he was Midget Master Daniel, that his base was the Midget Empire, and that it would be defended.

Reign of Midget Master Daniel (I)

It soon became accepted that Midget Master Daniel had absolute power over the inhabitants of the Midget Base, who became known as the Midget Army. Other Yr. 3s joined, helping to beat back the frequent attacks by the Invaders, until the number of those in the Midget Army numbered approximately 16. Half of these rebelled against Midget Master Daniel in March 2003, starting the Midget Civil War by declaring themselves the New And Improved Midgets and setting up base in the Rebel Side. They were swiftly defeated, however, and their remnants transitioned into the Word Life Gang, which helped the Midgets to defeat the Push Bench Gang the following month, enabling the Midget Empire to expand into the Rebel Side.

The Midget Empire and Word Life Gang continued to work together, fighting alongside each other in the First Boys vs Girls War (May 2003 - March 2004) against the Girly Gang and jointly attempting an ultimately unsuccessful conquest of the Quiet Area. By July 2004, the Invaders and Girly Gang had disbanded, the Word Life Gang had assimilated into the Midget Army and Footballers, and the Midget Empire consisted of the Midget Base, Rebel Side, and parts of the Lower Playground. During this time, Jonathan (who along with Gregory had been given the rank of Commander) became known for his military strategies, having led the Midgets and Word Life Gang to victory in both the Battle of the Push Bench Gang and the First Battle of the Grove. Towards the end of July, the school left for the summer holidays. When the pupils returned (with the Midget Army now in Yr. 5) on 6 September 2004, Midget Master Daniel abdicated, stating that he was handing over the title of Midget Master, together with his absolute control over the Midget Empire, to Jonathan.

Early reign of Midget Master Jonathan (II)

One of the first actions undertaken by Midget Master Jonathan was to make provision for the expansion of the Midget Empire. He transformed "Commander" from a rank into an office, and appointed Gregory the Commander of the Rebel Side, giving him the duty of defending and administering that province with a garrison. After a few months of consolidating his rule, he began a recruitment drive, enlisting pupils both from his year and others into the Midget Army and leading them in conquering the Line and the remainder of the Lower Playground, both in February 2005. In June 2005, Midget Master Jonathan decided to attempt the conquest of the Skipping Rope Gang, leading a force of new recruits through the Patioed Pathway in an attempt to reach the Quiet Area Pathway. Although the various gangs of the Patioed Pathway all surrendered to the Midgets, the Midget Master ultimately decided not to attack the Quiet Area Pathway as well due to a risk of overextending his forces. Instead, he chose to simply retain the Patioed Pathway as a new province of the Midget Empire, appointing a newly recruited officer, Thomas (who had been his second-in-command during the conquest of the Patioed Pathway), as its Commander.

The Midgets were well aware of the proclamation by King Alex of Rushymia that the next person to control over half of the Playground would be permitted to be his successor in the titles Warlord of the Playground, Theocrat of Atkantia, and Defender of Nibiru. Although the Midget Empire covered only a third of the Playground and roughly a quarter of its population (estimated at sixty pupils in June 2005), with the conquest of the Patioed Pathway the Midget Master was ruler of five out of the nine regions of the Playground - the Disciples of Ferengool, a Vapourist group who were the closest thing possible to Rushymian legal experts, confirmed that the Midget Master could be considered to rule over half of the Playground, and so Midget Master Jonathan assumed the three Rushymian titles.

Triumvirate

Unlike his autocratic predecessor, Midget Master Jonathan involved his commanders in decision-making, allowing them to question his ideas and even hold votes on some issues. Although intended as limited democratic reform, his actions were seen as weakness by many members of the Midget Army, resulting in the First Coup, in which Commander Thomas was able to persuade the Line, Lower Playground and Patioed Pathway to rebel in favour of himself in late June 2005. However, the Midget Base and Rebel Side remained loyal to the Midget Master, and Midget Master Jonathan arranged a deal with Thomas whereby they would rule with equal power for the rest of his reign, although he would be the only one with the title of Midget Master and with the authority to appoint a successor.

In August 2005, the Second Boys vs Girls War broke out in the Midget Master's house when Commander Gregory encouraged some Midget troops who were attending a party at the house to attempt to "conquer" the bedroom of the Midget Master's sister, Caroline. Caroline and her guest bravely resisted the attacks, and since the conflict was taking place in his house the Midget Master was unable to fully take control of his soldiers due to fear that he would get in trouble with his parents, whereas Gregory of course had no such restraints. The war ended without any decisive victory having been won, and common opinion amongst the Midget Army once the school returned after the summer holidays was that Commander Gregory had fought bravely in defence of Midget honour whereas the Midget Master had been timid and unable to assert his authority over his troops. While this was not the full story, it helped to cause the Second Coup in September 2005 - this was resolved in a similar way to the First, with Gregory being given the same status as Thomas while the office of Midget Master itself remained held only by Jonathan.

From then on, the Midget Empire was ruled by a Triumvirate. All of the provinces were able to be easily defended and efficiently administered with a Triumvir nearly always nearby, with Midget Master Jonathan generally residing in the Midget Base and Lower Playground, Commander Gregory in the Rebel Side and Line, and Commander Thomas in the Patioed Pathway. There followed several months of relative stability, before Thomas decided to extend the Midget Empire by conquering the Quiet Area Pathway in early April 2006, reducing the territory of the Skipping Rope Gang by roughly half as he did so. This may have been a significantly contributing factor to the War of the Midget Hunters fought later that month, when a former member of the Skipping Rope Gang whose land had just been conquered by Thomas led a huge coalition of Yr. 4 and Yr. 5 gangs against the Midget Empire. The main body of the Midget Army began to be defeated and the Midget Base itself was occupied until the Quietarians were persuaded to send troops to help the Midgets, resulting in the Midget Empire ultimately emerging victorious and the Quiet Area becoming a Midget protectorate, being given a Midget garrison to protect them from any enemies by their request in return for its help. Around this same time, Commander Thomas founded the Midget province of Atkantia Minor on the Field, the first Midget territory outside of the Playground itself.

The Midget Empire was by now the undisputable "superpower" of the school, stretching from one end of the Playground to the other with a population of over a hundred. This position was cemented in late April 2006, when the Midget Army fought on behalf of the school in the War of Muschamp Alley against another local school over the right for pupils to use a nearby alleyway as a shortcut on their way home, and won. Successfully projecting their power outside of the Playground on behalf of the school greatly increased the prestige of the Midgets, with this conflict remaining to date the only time when the Midget Army has physically fought an opponent outside of the Playground or Field. In early May 2006, the Quietarians decided against having a Midget garrison stationed in the Quiet Area, resulting in a rebellion which was crushed by Midget Master Jonathan and Commander Thomas - now conquered by force, the Quiet Area effectively became a Midget province. However, Midget Master Jonathan permitted the Quietarians to claim the status of a mere protectorate, despite moving his court there and making the Quiet Area the de facto capital of the Midget Empire.

Click to expand.
The Upper Playground as seen from the Football Pitch, with the Quiet Area in the background.

By now, only the Football Pitch and Upper Playground were outside the control of the Midget Empire. In late May 2006, Midget Master Jonathan invaded and conquered the entire Upper Playground within a single day, leading a huge army forty strong in order to do so. The Midget Master left a local loyal Yr. 4 as the Upper Playground's commander and the Praetorian Guard elite troops as its garrison, turning it into the largest province of the Midget Empire. This left the Midget Empire free to concentrate on the only remaining gang outside of their control - the Footballers.

The Footballers were renowned for their physical strength and value of independence, and so the Midget Master considered a war against them unwise. Instead, he decided to conquer the Footballer Pitch through diplomacy. The Footballers are ruled by two popularly accclaimed Captains and an appointed Referee, with the owner of the ball currently being used in their game of football also holding great influence. Midget Master Jonathan and Commander Thomas managed to secure their acclamation as the two Captains for a day, and then together with the Referee and owner of the ball (both former members of the Word Life Gang) declared that the Footballers would enter into an eternal alliance with the Midget Empire. Bound by their honour, the Midget Master was able to return to the Quiet Area with the Footballers no longer even a prospective threat. Although the Footballers were legally independent allies of the Midgets and were respected as such, in practice the Football Pitch functioned as a simple autonomous province of the Midget Empire by which it was surrounded and greatly influenced by.

With the Playground now pacified and united under Midget rule, a period of peace began known as the Pax Midgetana (May - July 2006). The function of the Midget Army transitioned from that of a military to that of a police force, with a simple judicial system being set up to solve disputes fairly. A volunteer service was set up which cleaned the moss from the walls of the Quiet Area and searched the hedges for litter which was then disposed of. The Midget Master attempted to promote Rushymian culture, encouraging the Vapourists in the Playground to teach others about the belief system and promoting the cultural tendencies of the Quietarians. The purchasing by the school of new playtime equipment such as pogo sticks and tennis balls added to the general feeling of happiness and prosperity during this period, and the Playground flourished.

End of the Midget Empire

Even as the Pax Midgetana brought order to the playground, it was clear that the stability would not last. In September, Midget Master Jonathan, Gregory, Thomas, and a large proportion of the Midget Army would move on to secondary school. When that truth became impossible to ignore, Midget Master Jonathan set up an initiative to ensure that the Midget Empire would be remembered for as long as possible should it collapse upon the departure of so many of its leaders. He sent a mission to the Infants' playground to tell them about the Midgets - the youngest that encountered this misson left the school on 20 July 2012. Peices of paper with a brief history of the Midget Empire were hidden behind noticeboards, on top of cupboards, and even inside computer disk drives.

Finally, the time came for Midget Master Jonathan to appoint a successor. There was some precedent for how his successor as Midget Master should be chosen, as when Midget Master Daniel had abdicated he had made Jonathan the Midget Master for his skills in military leadership. Commander Gregory favoured a continued stratocracy, as that meant that there was a good chance that his brother, a Yr. 5 Midget commander, could become Midget Master - Gregory would therefore still be able to influence events in the Playground for a year after he left the school. However, Midget Master Jonathan ruled this out, saying that a stratocracy was inherently unstable - there had been two coups in the space of a year. He finally named his sister, Caroline, to be the next Midget Master on the basis that by making the position hereditary there could be no dispute about who was the legal Midget Master. Her reign would start on the last day of July, a few days after the school had broken up for the summer holidays.

Upon the return of Midget Master Caroline to the school after the holidays in September 2006, the Midget Empire fell apart. Having been governed by a triumvirate for nearly a year, a return to absolute power being vested in a single person meant the Midget Empire's now complex (having conquered the Playground) government became extremely centralised. With Midget Master Caroline being unsure of how to rule and quicky losing her enthusiasm for the job, and a large proportion of Midget officers and soldiers having left along with her brother, the Midget Master's authority collapsed. There were no rebellions by remaining Midget commanders, since as the Midget Empire was crumbling around them the remaining members of the Midget Army (now wishing in vain for Midget Master Jonathan to return) desperately enforced whatever decrees of their former supreme leader that they could remember - such as the one that his sister was now Midget Master. Midget control over the provinces disintegrated, with the remaining garrisons quickly becoming nothing more than roaming bands of soldiers with a nominally Midget identity. While the garrison in the Quiet Area survived into 2007 (even attempting to continue Midget Master Jonathan's policy of cultural promotion) before assimilating into the Quietarians, the other garrisons dissolved a lot sooner, merging with other gangs and losing their Midget identity. While Caroline's title of Midget Master was still acknowledged and respected by most, it was clear to all that the Midget Empire had irreversibly collapsed, taking the Playground back to the state it was under when the Midgets first entered the Playground four years ago.

Culture

At its height during the Pax Midgetana, a variety of cultures existed in the Midget Empire. The culture of the Midget Army itself was almost completely militaristic, with great emphasis placed on loyalty, discipline and obedience.

The Quietarians had a far more developed culture - having been effectively isolated from the rest of the Playground by their surrounding walls for over five years, the Quietarian identity was very distinct from those of the other gangs of the Playground. With many seeing themselves as the cultural and political "descendants" of the Rushymian royal court, they were immensely proud of their inhabitation of the Quiet Area. The benches in the Quiet Area meant that many Quietarians spent their time reading and writing instead of playing or fighting. While no surviving examples of Quietarian literature remain, it is notable that under Midget Master Jonathan the Quiet Area even hosted a play, performed to a large proportion of the population of the Playground. Other common activities undertaken by the Quietarians were observation of the wildlife in the several small flowerbeds in the Quiet Area, performance of Quietarian Vapourist rituals at the Quiet Area Portal and Shrines of the Kings, and (when particularly sunny) lying on top of benches and sunbathing.

Midget Master Jonathan in particular attempted to encourage Rushymian culture to ensure that it would not die out after the departure of the Disciples of Ferengool. While he himself never professed belief in Vapourism, he spent a great deal of time studying it with the Disciples and helped those Vapourists he knew to spread knowledge of the belief system. The history of Rushymia was written down into a single document (now lost) based on stories from the Disciples of Ferengool, Quietarians, and even some playground staff - this history was also spread throughout the Playground. While Midget Master Daniel had wished to obtain King Alex's Bottle to make himself the new King of Rushymia, once the Midgets controlled the Playground no attempts were made to retrieve it, with Midget Master Jonathan taking up a view during the Pax Midgetana that the Midget Empire was the successor of Rushymia simply in a social and cultural sense and that the declaration of a new Midget-led Kingdom of Rushymia was unnecessary.

Legacy

Although no real vestiges of the Midget Empire were left after 2007, there did exist a titular Midget Army comprised of all those who had not relinquished their military ranks or titles. This was formed into the Midget Nation-in-Exile on 30 December 2009 by Midget Master Caroline, which served as a government-in-exile for the Midget Empire for over a year until it was annexed into the Empire of Austenasia on 9 April 2011. The Midgets live on in two ways - the title of Midget Master is now an automatically assumed title by the Emperor of Austenasia, and a unit of the Austenasian Army is comprised of what was formerly the Midget Army, Centuria II Midgetae.

It is unknown the extent to which the memory of the Midget Empire has lived on in the Playground after July 2009, when Midget Master Caroline left the school. The last of those pupils to have had any contact with the Midget Empire left on 20 July 2012, but it is possible that memories of Rushymia and the Midget Empire (quite possibly conflated) will live on further still, passed down by the teachers and playground staff.