The Lunar Conquest

The Lunar Empire has long sought the destruction of Orlanth and his people, thereby placing men and gods under the tyranny of the Red Goddess. Sartar founded the kingdom as a bulwark against further Lunar conquests in sacred Dragon Pass; most of the Princes of Sartar met their demise in battle against the Empire and its henchmen. Finally, in 1602 the Red Emperor mustered an immense army of soldiers, sorcerers, and monsters to crush Sartar. This was the Disaster Year.

Doomed Prince Salinarg and the Household of Death fought ferociously against the Emperor, but at Runegate, the Emperor unleashed the Army of the Walking Corpses and the dread Crimson Bat, a Chaos demon the size of a city, to devour the defenders of Runegate. Still the Prince fought on, nearly defeating the Emperor at Caroman Pass, until a traitor showed the Lunar cavalry the paths to get around the Sartarite army. Salinarg and the heroes of Sartar retreated to Boldhome.

The Household of Death led the defense of Boldhome. The women, children, and old were sent out of the city over the rough mountains through secret paths, although many chose to remain and defend their city. The garrison, the last free folk of Sartar, waited for the final assault alone.

The garrison fought like fiends. The Crimson Bat lifted slowly from Runegate and soared towards Boldhome to devour all. When a dragon appeared the defenders were disheartened, but it attacked the Crimson Bat. Both monsters were destroyed. Lunar
Priestesses scaled impossible cliffs over Two‑tree Peak, supported by their sisters below and on the distant Red Moon. Once atop the mountain, they glided towards the Orlanth temple, blasting all foes with deadly spells. A handful of thanes and winds flew to meet them, whirling with weapons aloft. The moon gained scars from that.

Harsalter the Terrible, the son of the Prince, met the emperor in single combat and gave him a fatal wound. That could have won the day except that the dying emperor slid past his defenses and forced the boy to break a geas that killed him.

Dragonewts, hired at some inhuman cost, finally stormed over the wall and entered the city in force. They profaned the Temple of Sartar and fired the royal palace. The spirits of the temple were driven out, the magical power stolen or polluted, and the Flame of Sartar quenched, battered, and cursed by superior magic. Although it occasionally sputtered on
for years, the fire of the land was effectively dead.

The final valiant Sartar defenders fought to the death, performed miraculous escapes, or were captured and killed or sold into slavery. None of Salinarg’s family survived, nor did a single member of the Household of Death.

The Lunar army occupied the capital and cities, and began their occupation. Tribute was laid on all subject tribes. Sartar had fallen.

After the Disaster Year, Sartar was now ruled by Lunar military governors who occupy the cities and strategic military, magical, and economic points. Lunar assassins tracked down any known descendents of the House of Sartar and murdered them. Without the House of Sartar to unify them, the kings of Sartar ignited old rivalries, and the kingdom disintegrated into its old tribal components. The government was controlled by the military, which
was commanded by Euglyptus the Fat, a nobleman of the Dara Happan Assiday family, of Raibanth. He brutally imposed new laws and taxes, all with harsh penalties upon the tribes, but spared those friendly to the Lunar Empire.

In 1613 one of the most widespread and violent uprisings occurred. Attempts had previously been made to reassemble the Ring of Sartar. Although they had always been a failure, they always succeeded in some part, thereby indicating that the spirit of Sartar still lived, someplace. If the Ring could be assembled and held, then it would be a powerful
summons to bring Sartar back. If he returned he would bring great powers, and they could cast the oppressors out.

The attempt to forge the Ring of Sartar in 1613 failed, but encouraged the conspirators to strike anyway to preserve what they had gained. Among the rebels were most of the powerful tribes of the Quivini, including the Colymar, Culbrea, Kheldon, some outlawed Telmori tribesmen, and a horde of the homeless and disaffected.

The leader of this rebellion was Kallyr Starbrow, queen of the Kheldon tribe council, and a descendant of Sartar himself. Dreams had told her that she would be a king greater than her tribe, and she sought this as fulfillment of her desires. Once she had made the cold ashes of Sartar’s flame flicker. Another key leader was Hofstaring Treeleaper, king of the
Culbrea Tribe, a master warrior and tactician. Kallai Rockbuster raised the Colymar tribe, the oldest and one of the least touched tribes, and sent a thousand howling warriors under the leadership of his son, Blackmor the Rabid. And finally there was Tonalang Greathelm, the King Storm Kahn, ready to pitch in his whole following of Urox berserks who were tired
of hiding in the hills with chaos headaches.

“All in one place,” said Euglyptus, “and all in one swoop.” He sent an army of 4,000 thoroughly professional, hardened veterans across the country to provoke the foes by pillaging the Hill of Orlanth Victorious. This hill had been holy since ancient times, and was the place where Harmast Barefoot departed upon the first Lightbringers Quest. When the tribes assembled to defend their temple, the rest of the army from Boldhome would quickly march and destroy them.

Euglyptus badly miscalculated the Sartarites. The expeditionary forces were destroyed in an
ambush, or died fleeing towards the support army. The rebels dispersed before the relief army found them. Euglyptus was shocked. He was also careless, and he was found dead of a surfeit of sugared eels. The generals mourned his passing and welcomed the new general who came to command them.

was a Tarshite, of the Orindori clan, which had close connections to the king. Although consistently successful as a military commander, intrigue had removed him from his previous post. When King Moirades asked him to come out of retirement to handle the crisis, he agreed. Some of his rivals wondered aloud how it was that he raised his
tribe’s regiment so quickly after his appointment, and marched at the head of a new army of Tarsh nationals to rescue the imperial interests. The provincial regulars welcomed their old commander back.

The campaign was swift. Fazzur constantly threatened the assembled Sartar army, and harassed their homelands with the corruptive Lunar magic. At last, the Sartar army waited at Larnste’s Table, with the Lunar army visible below. Every day new troops joined the Lunars. As the odds grew worse and worse, many Sartarite warriors deserted.

The decision seemed certain when both Fazzur and Starbrow received word that an heir to the throne of Sartar had arrived at Boldhome without warning, and proved that he had a claim to the throne by making Sartar’s Flame flicker, just as Starbrow had done. Many had already rallied to his cause, and the Storm Walkers of Old Wind had come to his side.

The name of this heir to the throne was Temertain, a scholar in the cult of Lhankor Mhy who
lived in the temple in Nochet. He was the sixth son of Markalor, who had lived in Nochet for many years before he was assassinated, along with all his kinfolk save the scholar. Markalor was the son of Jotisan of Karse, a merchant who had business between Boldhome and Karse before he was killed. Markalor was a son of Eonistaran the Sage, who had been an
advisor to King Saronil of Sartar. Eonistaran was a bastard son of King Sartar.

Temertain had been found by the Ballistan war band and was convinced by the wiles of Redbird that he could be the Philosopher King who would make peace between the Empire and the tribes. Redbird, a dangerous sage seduced by foreign sorceries, was his advisor, and he wrote a peace proposal to conciliate the imperial rulers with the natives. The proposal boldly urged co‑operation between the tribesmen and the occupation forces.

While debating what to do, the Sartar leader received an invitation to meet in neutral territory with Fazzur. They did, after the most careful magical preparations for safety. Fazzur offered them simple peace and pardon if they agreed to support the new king. Some took it, and went from the tent to lead their contingents home. Fazzur made the remaining leaders an alternative offer: if they agreed to exile immediately, then their people would be spared Fazzur’s wrath. Treeleaper exploded in wrath and attempted to escape using his best magic, but was stopped when something invisible grabbed his wrists. He tried anyway, and his hands were pulled off, and he was held helpless upon the floor.

Then Fazzur showed the power of his wrath: he ordered a priestess to do something unusual, and as the Orlanthi kings gawked like children they looked into a Lunar Hell. There they saw Sheng Seleris, a famous enemy of the Lunar Empire, roasting. Treeleaper was grabbed by demons and dragged into the pit, and the vision vanished. The rest of the
leaders, except for Tonalang Greathelm, agreed to the last set of terms and laid down their arms. Most went south to Whitewall, the ancient stronghold of Orlanthi rebels. Tonalang Greathelm was never seen again, and all his followers were slain over the next year, and his entire clan died in the next seven years, even though he had renounced them when he joined the cult of Urox, the Storm Bull.

Fazzur marched to Boldhome and was received by Temertain. They were very friendly, and soon sent most of their armies home. Fazzur agreed to pardon all of the recent rebels except for one group, who he said were the cause of the entire trouble. These were
the Durulz, or wereducks, one of the beastpeople who had been loyal to Sartar. Temertain agreed. Peace was made.

A proclamation was made that any citizen who delivered the body of a durulz, dead or alive,
to certain places would be relieved of one year of the heavy tribute that had been levied by the Lunars. Then collection outposts were set up on lands that had previously not had Lunar troops. It seemed that the pacification of Sartar had advanced another step, as the late Euglyptus had predicted.

Fazzur led the army to Boldhome and was received by Prince Temertain. The two of them were very friendly. Fazzur pardoned all of the rebels. Peace was made. Temertain soon sent his supporters home. Redbird the Foreigner, content that his deeds were great and he had accomplished peace, went away.

Fazzur was the prince’s main advisor, and is in truth the real ruler of Sartar. Temertain was unfit for leadership and is bored by court duties. When he found two statues in Boldhome that were of iron he spent nearly all his time inspecting them. The emperor sent a beautiful spy named Estal Donge to keep the prince occupied, and she and Fazzur were soon rivals. Now she controls Temertain, but Fazzur rules the kingdom.

The Lunars continue to oppress the Sartarites and tax the clans into poverty. They have closed the temples of Orlanth and crucify all who rebel against them. They have destroyed ancient tribes and appointed traitors and cowards as tribal kings. Rebellion simmers, and Kallyr Starbrow has returned from Whitewall seeking supporters amongst the tribes.

In 1616, after three centuries of immortal rule, Belintar the God-King of the Holy Country
disappeared during a magical ritual and did not return. Many blamed the Lunar demigoddess Jar-Eel the Razoress (a daughter of the Red Emperor) and the land fell on hard times. Civil war and insurrection were widespread, and a great fleet of pirate vessels
was ravaging their shore.

The Lunar Army under Warlord Fazzur’s command has gone from conquest to conquest, and the Lunar sorcerers openly plot the final destruction of Orlanth and his people. The Great Darkness approaches. However, King Broyan of Whitewall has now given hope to the remaining Orlanthi by revealing himself to be of the sacred bloodline of the Vingkotling Kings and resurrecting the kingdom of the Hendrikings. The prophesized Hero Wars
approach.

Under the terms of the peace, each clan is assessed a tax of one cow per two free adults; less for those favored by the Provincial Government. However, the Lunar Provincial Government does not collect this tax; instead, consortiums of tax farmers from the
various Imperial Associations loan the Governor-General money in exchange for the right to impose and collect a tax on various clans. The representative of the Imperial Association informs the clan ring of the tax and when it is due, with the threat that failure to pay will bring the wrath of the Lunar army.

When the Empire wants something, they may ask or bargain for it. Or they may just take it, calling it a tax, a reparation, tribute or fine. Some Lunars use their positions to justify theft, but in the eyes of the Empire it does not matter – resisting a Lunar request, even an improper request, is the same as rebellion.

Resisting the Empire has one outcome: brutal retaliation. When ordered to do so, the soldiers of the Provincial Army display no qualms about enslaving Sartarite civilians, or burning down villages and crucifying their inhabitants. Entire clans have been sold into slavery; all remember the vicious destruction of the Fire Bull clan in 1615.

To suppress the cult of Orlanth, the Lunars started in Boldhome where they closed the Great Temple of Orlanth Rex. They put guards on the mountaintops up above Boldhome and extinguished the Sacred Flame of Sartar. They then went to the other cities and tribal centers and closed the temples there. Later they tried to destroy the rocks and sacred boundary markers. They do their evil deeds on mundane days, since during the rites the defenders are most powerful. Instead, the Lunars try to destroy or disrupt the sites, and keep events from happening rather than interrupting them in progress. The Lunars even
go to clan holy sites and prevent worshippers from gathering.

Euglyptus the Fat had hoped that the desecration of the Hill of Orlanth Victorious would begin the process of destroying the cult of Orlanth amongst the tribes of Sartar, as he had already destroyed it in the cities. However, he got Starbrow’s Rebellion instead and the Lunars had to spend some time re-consolidating their control. But once he had consolidated his power, Fazzur the Cruel restarted the process of destroying Orlanth in earnest. He installed loyal tribal kings and suppressed the tribal rites. Rebellious tribes were destroyed and Lunar kings imposed.

The Lunar Conquest

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