A few thoughts on the elite of the Lunar nobility. The highest nobility are those who are within two or three generations of the Red Emperor. So a few numbers to see what that pool might look like.
Since 1460 (say 160 years ago), there have been ten masks of the Red Emperor. Before that, the Red Emperor had existed 1250 to 1449 (about 200 years) and had fathered at least a 100 children. Some of these children and their families were recognized by Magnificus during the restoration of the Empire after 1460. Many others had been destroyed by Sheng Seleris or had rejected their birthright to survive in the Celestial Empire.
So let’s assume in 1460 there were 20 “Lunar Imperial Nobility families” that had survived Sheng Seleris. This includes Hon-eel, some of the priestly lineages (possibly House Assiday), and many of the families that have rights to travel on the Silver Bridge. These are the Old Nobility with the most status (although not necessarily the most powerful. In the last 160 years, there have been 10 Masks of the Red Emperor. The Emperor typically maintains several consorts and concubines. Some (like Magnificus, Robustus, and Militaris) many; some (like Artifex, Celestinus, and Reclusus) very few. Let’s say on average, each Mask sire one child a year. That’s a 160 direct descendants. Each is the founder of an imperial lineage (with a few weird and powerful exceptions like the Tharkalists). By now, the “average” imperial lineage is 4 generations old, with about 300(!) descended from the founder. That means the New Lunar Nobility probably numbers about 45,000 people (!). For comparison, that’s about three times the size of the modern Saudia royal family. Like that, power and status is concentrated in about 2,000 to 6,000 individuals, who probably include:
- All the satraps
- All the Provincial Kings
- Most of the Imperial bureaucracy
- The entire Full Moon Corps
- Most of the important priesthoods
- All the Masks of the Red Emperor
In fact, in the Lunar Heartlands, it might be difficult to find someone of power who isn’t part of the extended imperial family (this is at its most extreme in the Silver Satrapy and probably at its least extreme in Sylila).