The Redline History
A History of the Lunar Empire: The Second Wane
by Greg Stafford
originally published in Wyrms Footprints 12
Table of Contents
- The Redline History: Zero Wane
- The Redline History: First Wane
- The Redline History: Second Wane
- The Redline History: Third Wane
- The Redline History: Fourth Wane
- The Redline History: Fifth Wane
The Empty Conquest
Lunar contacts with the peoples of Twice Blessed had been friendly ever since the Red Goddess aided their Council of Queens during the Zero Wane after the fall of Karasal. In return, the peoples had maintained a helpful attitude toward the Empire, sending mercenaries and gifts to their aid. Many people from Twice Blessed tribes had studied in the Empire’s schools as well, and their knowledge of the magical standing stones and their use was always sought after by Lunar priests and priestesses.
In the year 2/3 (1304 ST.) all Twice Blessed peoples were expelled from Karasal and South Eol, and their lands and properties were impounded. This event, called the Salt-Diamond Incident (for reasons now long forgotten) also included the military seizure of two strategic forts in Eol. Another motivation was to sieze certain door stones to trade to the dwarfs of Yolp.
The peoples of Twice Blessed knew better than to war against the Empire, and so withdrew to their forts and their islands in the Thunder Delta.
In 2/29 (1330 ST.) trouble broke out anew when the Sultan of Karasal attempted to throttle a visiting Etyries merchant named Erian Soor. Erian managed to kill him first through luck and, when set upon by the Sultan’s guards, called upon the ancient powers of Twice Blessed. After a miraculous escape she and her party were joined by kinsmen who had hurried south to heed her mystic summons.
At the Poralister River she was met and engaged by Aronius Jaranthir, a Lunar nobleman commanding a company of heavy cavalry. Aronius was nearly killed and his cavalry thrown to the earth by her magic, and the priestess Erian lost a foot and half of her powers in the struggle. Parg llisi, a general noted for his skill in dealing with barbarian tactics, was dispatched with picked troops to teach the people of Twice Blessed a lesson. To combat the great magics of the land, several schools of magicians were also sent to accompany him.
After a year of fierce combat, in 2/31 (1332 ST.) the Eldest Elder of the Council of Queens offered herself as a sacrifice for her people. She promised that her people would give up all of their lands, possessions, and lives, but not their beliefs or souls. Parg llisi proceeded to take all that was offered and, with a cruel twist of Lunar magic, stole their souls as well. Free to act as he desired, the demented general proceeded to rape the land, people, and powers of the region.
The subsequent horror is a blot on the Lunar name, and an eternal shame that was allowed to continue for ten years. By the year 2/41 (1342 ST.) the stories of Parg llisi’s horrors and debauchery began to spread to the other Lunar provinces, forcing the Emperor to act lest the provinces rebel. On touring the once-beautiful land, he was staggered by the destruction and personally dispatched demons to drag Parg llisi to the pits of perdition. The Emperor lamented and mourned for a week, then rose and granted all survivors of Twice Blessed these things:
- return and restoration of all bodies, souls, beliefs, and properties if possible;
- a propitiatory sacrifice every eleven years, offered to the survivors or their descendants until the recipients should decide to release the Empire from this task;
- imperial protection of lives, properties and beliefs for as long as the Emperor shall live; and
- freedom from taxes.
In return for this astonishing gift the people of Twice Blessed agreed among themselves to embrace the Lunar Way, and changed the name of their lands to Thrice Blessed to mark the magnitude of the gift. This whole episode is called The Empty Conquest in Lunar annals.
The Bindle Wars
The Kingdom of Bindle was the most powerful of many such territories bordering on the Sweet Sea. The lands between the Brass Mountains and the sea were all Bindle territories providing good, rich grazelands on the interior, and three large cities upon the sea: Talst, Prin, and Banlot. The Bindle navy controlled the eastern sea and the Upper Poralister as well, and its river ships plied their trade as far within Peloria as they were allowed.
In 2/25 (1326 ST.) Bindle, aided by other Sweet Sea allies and the Char-Un tribes, went to war against the Empire attempting to seize territory in the West Reaches. Spol fell, and the forts of the Brass Mountains were besieged, but in 2/30 (1331 ST.) the Char-Un changed sides and the Bindle army was defeated in two successive battles.
In 2/31 (1332 ST.) Orlik Bearface, a mercenary working for Bindle, boldly led a devastating raid into Char-Un territory and flailed the Char-Un’s sacred Great Horse.
Retaliation was swift and fierce, and the horsemen swarmed across the Bindle farmland, sacking the interior and successfully assaulting Talst. The rest of the kingdom surrendered, but the barbarians would not be appeased and attacked a second city, Prin.
Aronius Jaranthir, recovered from his wounds and now a famous Lunar general, finally drove off the Char-Un in 2/34 (1335 ST.) and began a program of resettlement and rebuilding of the devastated West Reaches. His efforts finally led to a conversion of the inhabitants to the Lunar Way, but because his family was not a member of the powerful and ruling Vakthan-ilart clan, Aronius and his heirs never gained Sultan status within the Empire. However, their insistant presence and native loyalty assured that no other clan or cult could rule there. As a result, the region was finally given Citizen-Foreigner status in 3/30 (1385 ST.).
The Conquering Daughter
Hwarin Dalthippa was a daughter of the Red Emperor and a High Priestess in her own power. She had been present in the resettlement of burnt Rist in 1/49 (1296 ST.), and was the leading peacemaker with the earth spirits there. Under her leadership the Lunar colonies were established and she gained many estates in her own name.
In 2/8 (1309 ST.) she married Ingkot Axe-and-a-half, the most powerful chieftain among the Sylilan clans, and together they quickly subdued all of that land. The inhabitants of Dara-ni could see the fate of having lands of the Emperor’s daughter on both sides of their country. They made one daring and desperate attempt to use their river magics to muster the old Tripolis (Alkoth, Raibanth, and Yuthuppa) to their aid. Lunar power was greater and the expeditionary party fell to the clutches of the Lunar guardians. The land-dwellers of Dara-ni then sued for peace, but the river peoples withdrew in disgust and moved upriver in 2/15 (1316 ST.) where they lived in isolation but in great strength.
Lunar expansion into Sylila provoked widespread hostility among the tribes of the south, who laid aside petty differences to fight the looming foe. In 2/16 (1317 ST.) the Blue Deer Princes of Vanch invaded and burned Jillaro. The retaliation was swift, and the hides of the Princes decorated the army headquarters in that town afterwards.
In 2/25 (1326 ST.) Sylila (expanded now to include the old lands of Rist and Dara-ni) was adopted into the Empire as a Sultanate, with Hwarin and Ingkot as founders of the first ruling clan. The acropolis of Jillaro was rebuilt and the surrounding city seemed to leap into being under the watchful eyes of the Sultaness. She prepared the cities’ grounds herself, and her calm beauty is apparant. The lands around the city were made to grow a luxuriant clover to forage Ingkot’s favourite steeds, and so the city is sometimes called Jillaro of the Prince’s Green.
Barbarian troubles continued as a rabble called the Kynnelfing Alliance was intercepted while boldly transporting some especially hostile river people, worshipers of Bold Vareleus, across the wide land of Aggar, but the Lunar forces received a severe military and magical defeat. Gwythar Longwise is named in Lunar sources as the leader of these enemy forces, and under his command a great force of gods was assembled at Mirin’s Cross, a fortress on the junction of the Oslir and Black Eel rivers.
In 2/32 (1333 ST.) Phirmax, a son of Hwarin and Ingkot, was killed while building the bridge which later bore his name. The bridge was finished later, by his children, while his father sought vengeance. He hunted the river spirit called Bold Vareleus and slew him with “dwarf magic blades, noiseless and handless, which returned to their caster upon command.” Ingkot was drowned in the battle as well, and washed downstream until his body was caught upon a footing of his dead son’s bridge. In return for these acts, Hwarin Dalthippa began her celebrated Daughter’s Road Campaign.
After several years of active preparation, the Conquering Daughter initiated her physical and magical invasion of the barbarians of the southland. She chose the greatest line of Power across the land and determined to move directly along it to the object of her desires. All her preparations had been made to complete this task.
In 2/46 (1347 S.T.) she set out, heading south from her beloved city of Jillaro upon a hearse, her face painted black, with many magicians and priestesses chanting a funeral dirge. At the Bridge of Phirmax she spoke with her husband and son, and at the far side mounted a war unicorn, put on a red mask, and began marking the straight road with her tracks. At Mirin’s Cross she and her allies confronted the gathered power of Gwythar Longwise in a four day battle of magic which raged wild upon the world. Spirits were broken, dead gods rose, and the New Fire of the Lunar Way burst brilliant through the barbarian midst. When it was done a path across the Black Eel River was made, hard and indestructible, but as clear as the purest crystal. It was held stable on the changing waters by powerful runes. Atop it now stands the blinded guardian called Gwythar Grimwise of the Two-handed Axe. The army which followed and supported the Conquering Daughter crossed upon this Crystal Bridge and stormed the barbarian fortress there. Many fought desperately and savagely. Many others surrendered to the daughter.
The path continued and finally halted at Filichet, upon the shore of Lake Invaress, where the Daughter took for herself the Helmet of Perides and accepted the submission of many barbarian chieftains. By the end of the year she had returned to her home in Jillaro and, after a year’s rest, she began the ritual again with a new goal in mind. At this time the Jillaro Stelae was also begun.
The second road began in Cafol, a small town in Sylila, and ran eastward crossing the Oslir at the second branch of the Bridge of Phirmax. In Vanch her army defeated the barbarian mob, and bound them to their road-building duties. She halted at Hilltown, a trade center near the Imther Mountains, where she exchanged the blades of Ingkot for a belt with three stars on it among the diamonds, three iron eggs laid by a cardinal, and three blue furstones.
In 3/3 (1358 ST.) the craft god, Iphigios, came to the city and constructed a beautiful statue of the Sultaness in ivory and gold. It was placed in the entrance to the family palace. While celebrating that night the Conquering Daughter was caught unawares by the otherwise unknown assassin called No Print (so called because he left no physical or magical trace to follow him by). Her body was cast into a crevice afterwards called Hwarin’s Well. Her worshipers can go there to receive oracles if they can brave the terrors of the pit. At other times she can be summoned by the city as their war goddess, and she is also worshipped by many warrior women, wives, or people who honor the arts.
Magical standing stones: The magic-wielders among the Twice Blessed peoples had discovered some secret to the use of stone arrangements which dot the Pelorian Basin and other parts of Glorantha. Those Twice Blessed shamans could draw power from the stones to aid in the casting of their magics, and naturally the Lunar priestesses were interested in learning the secret.
Door Stones: (not to be confused with the stones of power discussed above) are thought to be lost treasures of the Mostali. Mostal lost them on his way from his workshop beneath the Spike to the Court of Acos to deliver special locks (the Door Stones) for use by the gods when they became jealous and territorial. Only the ancient Mostali know the spells of their use, and so they remain only curiosities to surface dwellers.