I posted elsewhere a few thoughts on the Lunar Occupation, and I thought they might be of interest here.
Remember that the Lunar Empire is not all powerful or all knowing. So let’s imagine things circa 1622-1625, back when there was a Lunar Occupation. We have a governor-general (really a satrap) in charge of things. That’s Tatius the Bright. If you want to travel another two weeks, you can appeal to the Provincial Overseer in Mirin’s Cross.
Tatius is kind of focused on the war in the Holy Country and the consecration of the Temple of the Reaching Moon, and most Lunar resources have been committed to these two projects, as these will cement his legacy and that of the Assiday family. If he hears that some Provincial officer got killed along with his militia-followers, he’s going to demand that his local allies deal with the situation rather than waste his time. Only if your actions threaten the war in the Holy Country or his temple-building project (or threaten key foundations of either – such as liberating one of the cities of Sartar) is he going to throw his own resources into the fray.
After the Battle of Auroch Hills, many tribes are effectively autonomous, as Tatius needs to focus everything he can on the war in the Holy Country. But these tribal “rebellions” are little more than large-scale banditry. The next year, Tatius sends the Lunar Army to besiege Nochet, and if that falls, who cares about pin-pricks from the Culbrea tribe?
1624 is a nightmare year. The Lunar Army is routed in Esrolia and has to retreat a couple of hundred kilometres through Esrolia and Beast Valley to get back to Sartar. I wouldn’t be surprised if detachments of the Lunar Army takes out their humiliations on any rebels it can, especially near the Royal Roads. But things are certainly getting tight from the Lunar perspective – and now Tatius is acting directly. King Broyan is killed near the Troll Woods in 1625, and a Praxian Army is defeated by the Lunar College of Magic (and its Chaotic allies) at Hender’s Ruins shortly thereafter. But by Earth Season, Tatius is finally ready to deploy his masterstroke – the consecration of the Temple of the Reaching Moon, which will extend the Glowline over Dragon Pass and the Holy Country (and much of Prax). The massive magical energies of this location will be harnessed and Dragon Pass quickly pacified.
Of course things don’t quite go as expected.
It is worth keeping in mind that the Lunar Army at Tatius’ disposal is about 25,000 soldiers in Dragon Pass, Prax, and the Holy Country. And for most of that period, about 20,000 are in the Holy Country. That’s about a third of the entire professional military of the Lunar Empire.
Appius Luxius, the Provincial Overseer, receives regular reports from Tatius the Bright, who is about two weeks away. Such reports likely include regular requests for more money and more soldiers. The Overseer, no doubt, gets far more information from his own agents, who are able to give him independent sources of information. Quinscion the Patient probably is the best informed person about affairs in Dragon Pass. Meanwhile, others, such as Bellex Maximus and Icilius Overholy receive regular reports as well.
From time to time, Tatius the Bright no doubt reports directly to the court of the Red Emperor. The Red Emperor is kin, and Tatius is of the highest imperial nobility. Such reports no doubt speak in glowing terms of Tatius’ many successes. We know that Tatius enjoys the personal patronage of the Red Emperor, and Tatius is a favorite of Argenteus, so going against Tatius gets you into Dart Wars territory.
Besides, the White Moon rebellions are closer and more dangerous than whatever is going on in Dragon Pass. And when the Redlands rebel in 1624 and Pentans are rampaging through Oraya and First Blessed, that’s the priority. Dragon Pass is just fine.
So imagine things from the perspective of Glamour. Some three weeks away is Dragon Pass, home of those exotic Orlanthi barbarians, where our satrap is extending the Lunar empire to the Sea. Huge treasures are being expended here, with the expected that the fabulous riches of the Holy Country shall soon be part of the Imperial Treasury. The Red Emperor has appointed one of his favorites to lead us to victory – a Yelm Imperator member, Red Goddess initiate, who is the Guardian of the Flame of Virtue. Impeccable qualifications.
Meanwhile, a dangerous movement has formed here within the Lunar Heartlands. Numerous Lunar priests have preached that the Lunar Empire itself is contrary to the Lunar Way and that the entire imperial edifice needs to be dismantled. Now THAT is dangerous!
Now imagine things from the perspective of Glamour circa Dark Season 1625. The new Temple of the Reaching Moon along with the main Lunar Army in Dragon Pass has been devoured by a True Dragon. Sartar, Prax, and the Holy Country are lost. Thousands of Provincial leaders – including the Overseer and Tatius – are gone. Fortunately, your client king in Furthest is doing his best to salvage what can be.
More immediately, Blessed Torang – the birthplace of the Red Goddess and the most sacred of cities – is under siege by the Pentans. Oraya and First Blessed are overrun and there are nomad raiders seen across the banks from Raibanth.
Let’s hope that client king in Furthest is up to it, as you aren’t going to be able to send money or men south until the Pentans are dealt with. Assuming they can be. Gulp!
At Pennel Ford, 8,000 Lunar soldiers faced 4,000 Esrolians and Heortlings, 3000 Wolf Pirates, 2500 Caladralanders, and 2000 Western Barbarians. Despite the defection of the Western Barbarians, the Lunar Army was decisively defeated. 3000 Lunars and 500 Western Barbarians were killed or captured, against 1500 allies killed. The Lunar Army is harried all the way back to Dragon Pass; only 2500 Lunars returned.
So during their 180 km retreat from Pennel Ford to Sartar, the Lunar Army lost nearly 50% of its strength. I assume they were harried by Esrolians, Hendrikings, Trolls, and Beast Folk all the way.