Valoria, formally the City of Valoria, was located on Valoria Island, the largest island in an archipelago off the eastern shores of the Borealia. The city was the third largest in the Aurelian Union, with nearly 1.5 million people, and held the title of financial capital of the Union before the city was abandoned following the Valoria Incident. Valoria was the capital of the Valor Islands Region.
Valoria was established in 1799 as a port town and the terminal city in the massive migration known as the Prime Destiny. As the city of Aurelia began to expand and fill the limited space available, Chief Justicar Hiwaaka encouraged Aurelians to settle in the vast lands that remained mostly unexplored beyond the Rim. With the promise of untold riches to the east, a massive migration took place as many moved across the wild continent. The movement saw the establishment of cities such as Prospekt, Renna, Altum, as well as Valoria. Valoria served as a hub and "door to the east" and saw significant growth during this time. In modern times, Valoria served as the financial capital of the Union in part due to the growth and development restrictions the city of Aurelia had at the time. Modernization was a difficult undertaking in the old and congested capital. As such, many new industries were established in Valoria, which had land, sea and air transport connections, and better accessibility than the capital. The Valorian Stock Exchange became the largest in the world, with the city contributing nearly AUD$2 trillion annually. During the Second Civil War, Valoria was rendered uninhabitable after a local nuclear powerplant's cores melted down and exploded, inundating the city with lethal levels of radiation and contamination. The crisis was coined the Valoria Incident and marked the end of the war. The city, including a fifty mile exclusion zone, remains uninhabited. The remaining structures within the city and exclusion zone are gradually decaying. Many of the city's buildings are structurally unstable and some have since suffered a partial or complete collapse. The city's conditions and deterioration are monitored and studied by the Valorian Habitat Survey, a branch of the Department of the Interior.
The Valoria Incident
The Valoria Incident occurred after a series of bombs struck water main pipe lines that served as a source of coolant for the city's nuclear powerplant reactor cores. Valoria served as the incumbent capital of the Separatist Forces, which sought to establish their own sovereign state independent of the Aurelian Union. Union Forces outnumbered and overpowered the Separatists, pushing them back quickly. Valoria held against Union Forces as the final stronghold. On October 4th, 1956, Union Forces launched an attack onto the city with the goal of stifling the Separatist movement and ending the Second Civil War. However, Union Forces were met with serious opposition and the battle continued for weeks. On the twentieth day of the battle, October 24th, a series of bombers inadvertently struck several water mains that supplied coolant to the city's nuclear powerplant. The nuclear reactor cores began to boil the remaining coolant water. As steam pressure began to build up within the reactor housing units, and with meltdown imminent, engineers staffing the powerplant during the conflict sounded alarms and sirens throughout the city in an attempt to alert the populace of the impending crisis. Due to the armed conflict within the city, citizens found it too dangerous to evacuate. A ceasefire treaty was quickly drafted in order to allow citizens to evacuate but it was too late. On the night of October 25th, the reactor housing units that contained the cores suffered catastrophic damage as the result of several steam explosions, releasing radioactive contaminants into the air and towards the city. Due to the city's isolated nature, evacuation efforts were slow as many choke points occurred in and around the city's limited bridges and passenger ships. During the conflict, it is estimated that approximately 900 people died due to the violence. The resulting radiation-related deaths now tally at 122,318.
The Valorian Incident is regarded as "The Darkest Day in Aurelian History" and remains a significant scar on the image of the Union. Following the Incident, great political and social reform occurred throughout the nation. While the Union quickly recovered from the economic losses related to the Incident, the subsequent cultural shifts are still felt today. Despite the civil war, the Incident brought on a wave of unity to the Union as many sought solace in each other over the loss. Chief Justicar Fel'en resigned his position with Chief Justicar Jo being elected to take his place. Multiple amendments to the Path Papers were made to prevent internal conflict from occurring again.
It is unknown whether Union or Separatist forces were responsible for the misfired bombs. Official studies indicate that both sides contributed to the damage that occurred to the powerplant with some conspiracy theorists speculating that Sostian operatives destroyed the plant in hopes of crippling the Union's economy. Today, the exclusion zone is safer than it was before but continues to be illegal to enter. Certain portions of the city including the area around the powerplant still contain deadly amount of radiation. The Aurelian Coast Guard monitors the area for any illegal activity.