Now let’s look at things from the vantage of Furthest, again late 1625. The Lunar position in Dragon Pass is in shambles. Glamour has tasked you with recovering Dragon Pass from the rebels but you need to do it with the resources you can scrape together.
Top Priority: Stay alive. People in your position often turn up dead from a surfeit of eels or a miscast dart. Make no mistake, your biggest dangers are here in Furthest, not the rebels. Worse yet, your effort to hamstring your overly-powerful (and increasingly independent) uncle not only failed but backfired. He’s not taken direct action against you yet, but you know it is coming. And Fazzur is nothing if not tactically brilliant – you need to be constantly on your guard!
Glamour has acknowledged you as the “provisional imperial proxy for the South” or something like that and you have taken command over all imperial resources that previously reported to Appius Luxius or Tatius the Bright. The Tax Demons have not been unleashed on you, so far at least. However, it is an extremely dangerous position until the Red Emperor gives you official designation as his proxy.
So with that top priority in mind, let’s assess the situation.
Strategic situation: Furthest, Talfort, and Slavewall are firmly under your control, and your alliance with the Yelmalio cult of Goldege is firm. The Black Eel domains remain secure. You have the support of the priestesses of the Temple of the Reaching Moon. Alda-Chur is securely garrisoned by soldiers loyal to you, including some imperial troops, as is Bagnot, although the local tribes are no doubt not reliable. Dunstop is solidly under the control of your independent-minded uncle. That gives him control of the second largest district in Tarsh. From there he could easily move on Bagnot. Sartar has acclaimed Kallyr Starbrow, the leader of the previous rebellion, as Prince. Your full sister Estal Donge is still there in Boldhome, as a hostage to Kallyr, but also as your most valuable source of information. Starbrow is preparing a vast magical ceremony, no doubt something based on Orlanth’s Lightbringers Quest. You’ve sent this information on to Glamour.
The new Feathered Horse Queen is your half-sister. You barely know her as she was raised in the Shaker’s Temple by the Earth priestesses. She could be a resource or a dangerous enemy.
The Queen of Filichet has made pleasant supportive words but has provided you with no soldiers or gold. She is no doubt trying to secure control of Saird.
Military Resources: You have been appointed de facto Provincial General by Glamour, which you have taken to permit you to directly command such imperial units remaining in the Lunar Provinces.
Your mobile reserves consist of some 4,000 soldiers at Alda-Chur and can gather another 1000 cavalry at Furthest. The rest is local militia which you need to deter Fazzur from action (Fazzur has his own local militia and his own companions).
Finance: This is a mess. To maintain your armies in the field cost somewhere around 750-1000 talents a year up from around 200 (remember you have taken over payment of the imperial troops). Your court expenses (University of the Provinces, etc) are normally around 500 talents a year.
Your revenues are down to around 1000 talents a year. Agricultural revenues are way down – worse yet, your uncle has not remitted any payments to you – but you have seized the toll revenues that normally go to the Provincial Overseer. At least what toll revenues there are. You have put all Sartarite trade caravans under your personal protection (as long as they pay the tolls) to increase trade – ironic that you can get Kallyr to help you raise revenues!
You have some reserves, and with confiscations from your enemies you should have enough resources to launch a military campaign next year. But it is tight.
Religious: Glamour has tasked you with “prosecuting the Goddess’ war against Orlanth” but your kingdom includes tens of thousands of Orlanthi, many of whom serve in your militias. Tatius the Bright’s efforts to destroy the Orlanth cult in Dragon Pass was potentially very destabilizing for your kingdom. You have no fondness for the Orlanth cult, but you also don’t want to needlessly antagonize your own subjects, especially when you need them to fight for you. This is complicated by Kallyr self-promotion as “Orlanth’s satrap”.
That being said, you need to maintain the support of the priestesses of the Temple of the Reaching Moon, many of whom are still in mourning for their sisters lost in the Dragonrise. You do not want them to think that perhaps you could be replaced with your uncle!
One solution is to hold large sacrifices and games in the honor of your great-great grandmother Hon-eel. That costs money, but it would help secure support among the Lunar priesthoods.
I imagine everyone in Pharandros’ court are nervously looking over their shoulders for the Tax Demons. Or suspected Dart Warriors. Old comrades of Fazzur Wideread need to watch their back, as they are under increasing suspicion. Paranoia and nervousness everywhere. Worse yet, it is all understandable.
Note I say that it was “sent this information on to Glamour”. So maybe the Red Emperor’s advisors or ulema issued something, but the Red Emperor hasn’t approved it, at least not yet. And you know that “Glamour” is treacherous.
So this is worse than a power-grab. This is a bunch of people around the Red Emperor that have given you something that could justify the power-grab, except that they don’t really have the authority to do what they just did. Which means if the Red Emperor changes his mind, which is his won’t, you might be having a diet of eels soon.
Now from Furthest, the people we are watching the most carefully are:
The Red Emperor. Never take your eye off him. He’s the key to our survival but every Mask is mercurial – this one in particular.
Fazzur Wideread. your uncle is overly powerful, overly independent, you tried to cut his wings, but only antagonised him further. He need only stamp his feet and soldiers flock to his banner. His defeat at the Battle of Dangerford is proof that he is no longer loyal. However, he is too powerful to strike against directly.
Kallyr Starbrow. This perennial rebel took advantage of the disarray following the Dragonrise to once again proclaim herself Prince of Sartar. Currently you are too weak to strike against her, but when your army is ready you will strike and defeat her just as your uncle did.