Events Leading up to the Revolt
Prior to this, Kelly and his movement came into conflict with the Jhereg Organization. The Jhereg Organization profited from drugs, gambling, predatory loans, and prostitution; Kelly and his group were successfully teaching Easterners and Teckla the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and to resist the temptations of predatory Organization entertainments and businesses, thereby reducing Organization profits.
The Jhereg Organization responded by committing the murders of two members of Kelly's group, as a warning to the others. This led to strong tensions between Kelly's movement and the Empire — Kelly demanded that the Empire investigate the murders, and held mass rallies and protests. The Empress, alarmed by this, ordered the Phoenix Guard into South Adrilankha, en masse. These tensions, while partly resolved by the disclosure of the one responsible for the above-mentioned murders (the Jhereg boss Herth), still continued, and of course, the conflict between Kelly's group and the Jhereg Organization grew even stronger. (See Teckla)
In a move to exacerbate the tensions between the Empire and Kelly's group, a high-ranking Jhereg Councilmember had a Phoenix Guard watchtower destroyed, making it look like it was done by Kelly's group as part of the protests.
While Vlad Taltos secured the release of Cawti, this was insufficient to ease the tensions in the area. Since Kelly and others of the movement were still incarcerated, anger over this led to additional unrest involving large groups gathering and threatening Phoenix Guards. The fact that conscription was still in effect led to skirmishes between Press Gangs and the Easterners in South Adrilankha, resulting in deaths of some of the Phoenix Guard.
Kelly's revolutionaries continued to organize resistance despite his imprisonment, including building barricades in various places in South Adrilankha, and arming themselves with sundry tools, utensils, and hand-crafted weapons such as wooden spears. They declared themselves in control of South Adrilankha, and, while preparing for combat, issued proclamations to the effect that they would not allow any more press gangs into South Adrilankha, and demanding the release of their leaders from prison.
The Empress, realizing that events had escalated much too far, decided that actual military action was necessary against the threatening protesters, and ordered the Phoenix Guard against them — although this order led to the resignation of the Brigadier of the Phoenix Guards, Khaavren. The skirmishes were now longer, more violent, and more frequent; the protests now became outright battles of revolt.
Maria Parachezk's pamphlet "Grey Hole in the City" describes the events that followed, including the burning of the grain exchange, the fact that the Imperial Palace was attacked twice and was under siege for nine hours, and that "the insurgents, Easterners and Teckla, were actually winning until late in the second day of the rebellion, the third of the new year, when the sailors on the Whitecrest withdrew their support of the rebels and allowed the landing of the Fourth Seaguard, who broke the siege at the Imperial Palace." The Fourth Seaguard was composed of Orca who killed everyone they saw, ending the revolt.
Vlad Taltos was in the city at the time, and although he certainly fought, he later contended that he was in a sufficiently shocked and confused state that he did not remember his actions clearly. His greatest concern was to help Noish-pa leave the city safely. While his grandfather successfully defended his shop against three of the Phoenix Guard who attempted to burn it down, the fourth escaped, and would no doubt have returned with reinforcements. Vlad safely teleported himself and his grandfather out of South Adrilankha.
The revolt, or failed revolution, resulted in countless dead.
Cawti was then arrested again on charges of treason, and faced the death penalty.
Vlad then negotiated with the Empress, and swore under the Orb that he had personally heard the Jhereg Boralinoi boasting that he had framed Kelly's group. Vlad then negotiated a peace treaty with Greenaere, ending the war. With the war over, conscription was no longer necessary. Because of the peace treaty and Vlad's testimony, the Empress agreed to free Kelly and the other leaders, including Cawti, thus relaxing the tensions that had led to the revolt in the first place.