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Oraya and the Blue Moon Plateau
[Oraya and the Blue Moon Plateau]
The Blue Moon Plateau
The goddess Lesilla saved this region from the Great Flood by simply making it higher... higher... higher... so it rose like an island above the flood. Her holy city of Merinta was a center for worship of goddesses and other practices the Dara Happans see as disorderly at best, wicked at worst. So one of the Early Emperors sacked the city and cast down its goddesses and priestesses; trolls overran the area and have ruled it ever since.
The Trolls take a certain pleasure in following the old Merintan customs as best they can so as to further show their defiance of first the Dara Happans, then the Empire of Wyrm's Friends, then the Carmanians and then the Lunars. Indeed, they parody the worship of many lowlander gods, just to spit in everyone else's face defiantly.
This includes proving Lunar missionaries are tasty in fish sauce. The Lunar embrace of Chaos has caused Gakuz, leader of the Blue Moon Trolls, to declare the Lunar Empire tainted by Chaos and she will definitely destroy it. Eventually.
One of these days.
The Blue Moon Plateau is one of the most powerful surviving troll homelands in Genertla, possibly Glorantha as a whole. Like most troll societies, it is a matriarchy but it's better organized than most, though still limited by the troll tendency to rely on hunting and herding for food. Admittedly, if need be, trolls can just eat any plant which grows, making specific agriculture less necessary. They possess a powerful force of trolls who ride on giant moths. They are not strong enough to destroy the Lunar Empire alone but they're too strong to easily root out.
- Uz-Gakuz (15,000): Gakuz claims to be the daughter of Gorakiki; whether or not this is true, she is definitely an incredibly powerful Hero level devotee of Gorakiki. She is known to have eaten a dream dragon, an avatar of Thed, two Dara Happan emperors and if her claims are true, the concept of 'forguz'. Whatever that is. Darkness surrounds her like a cloak. These days, she rarely leaves her fortress, unless a major Lunar army decides to commit suicide by coming her way. Her fortress is simple on the surface but is an endless maze of tunnels and caves, cut out for her by the four hundred mostali who obey her every whim; the place is, as you'd expect, riddled with insects.
Oraya is a war zone and has been for centuries. It is fenced by the Blue Moon Trolls to the north, the Pentans to the east, and more Pentans to the south. At times, monsters rise out of the rivers and kill people for reasons they don't share. Only the desperate, over-optimistic, or the disgraced come to Oraya. Yet, at the same time, it is the land of second chances, where anyone can start over and escape their past. Two institutions embody this.
- Enemies Inside Claimed Territory: 8-10,000 Estvenori at a time, coming down from the north. (Thousands more outside the Satrapy border) Skirmishing is constant.
The Lunar Frontier Legion is actually a force of three Legions, committed to the defense of Oraya. Discipline is harsh, pay is often bad, and conditions are dangerous. It will recruit anything and anyone, no questions asked. You serve for 20 years, at the end of which, all your crimes are erased and all your shame discharged. Anyone who survives twenty years in the LFL is one of the toughest people on the planet and in high demand. Many take a land grant and settle down but some become mercenaries, guards, champions, and even officers in the normal Lunar forces.
- First Frontier Legion (5,000): Now augmented by a company of Rinliddi Aerial Cavalry on giant eagles, this group is spread across four fortresses and many posts in First Blessed and Oraya. It has one regiment of heavy foot, three regiments of light foot and one regiment of irregulars (eagle riders, lunar wizards, golems, aldryami, etc).
- Second Frontier Legion (5,000): They guard the eastern frontier and are mostly light to medium cavalry with some footmen to hold fixed posts. The fifth regiment is a force of irregulars, which includes a group of 200 Pralorelan deer Hsunchen.
- Third Frontier Legion (5,000): They guard the southern frontier and are mostly light to medium cavalry with some footmen to hold fixed posts. The fifth regiment is a force of irregulars, which includes a group of 100 Broo who are all kindled Lunar initiates. Even for the Legion, this is seen as extreme but they have only slaughtered the enemies of the empire so far.
The Kastoks are a group which has gradually emerged over the last fifteen hundred years as locals tried to avoid dying horribly at the hands of the Pentans. About a third of the population are Kastoks, herders and hunters who roam the plains of Oraya, fighting the Pentans and helping to defend the region which is their home. The Kastoks are organized around polks, which are basically regiments supported by intermarried families. Each harok, or company, elects an ataman who leads it and they choose the hetman who leads the polk. Like the legion, they take in exiles from other areas, but won't go as far as the legion because they are not committed to the Lunar idea 'We are all us'. They give nominal religious service to the emperor to avoid trouble, but they follow Kostok (Horse (Beast), Cavalry (Mastery)), their founder, who taught them how to kill Pentans. They were once highly autonomous but now are more tightly under Lunar authority. All Kastok men must be ready to fight and provide their own gear; in return, they don't pay taxes and they have other privileges. Groups of them are often used elsewhere in the empire to supress dissent.
The Satrap is one of the Rinliddi, Janraddi of the House of Cinlodi. His wealth mostly comes from the caravan trade to Kralorela, which is now increasingly threatened by the Pentans. He has built up a considerable force of slave-soldiers despite warnings this is a bad idea, and possesses a regiment of Rinliddi Bird-Cavalry which has long served his house. It is usually on the move protecting caravans. He also controls the HonEel? hero cult in this area, having muscled in after the old ruling clan died in the Night of Terror. This provides him with substantial religion-related revenues.
Northwestern to north-central Oraya is farmland in the Arcos River valley. Much of the population is Rinliddi but elements of many other groups can be found here, jumbling together. This is wheat production country and millet country; the locals are noted for eating noodles in profusion. The Yerkoy area is noted for a group of Mostali who have converted to the Lunar way. Dara Happans are rare here.
To the aggravation of the Lunars, the Aldryami of the forests east of the Blue Moon Plateau have allied with humans known as the Estvenori. The Estvenori worship Flamal, Yelmalio, Yelorna, and Uleria, using miracles to grow crops interspersed among the trees with mutual benefits. They ride 'timberwolves', wolves made out of wood which are the size of a large pony. They alternately trade with and raid the settlers in Oraya and retaliatory raids seem to end up eaten by trees. They somehow grow grapes in the chill forest and have excellent blue wine. Both groups are known to trade with the trolls to the west.
- Barti: The vale of the Morkosh River is highly productive with fertile grass and shepherds cluster in villages along its banks. This ancient fortress, constructed by the Empire of Wyrm Friends, was built to defend against the Pentans. Now it is a quiet posting behind the lines; few invaders get this far. 100 Orayan Heavy Infantry, 100 Vanchian Archers, and 100 Rinliddi Bird Cavalry guard this fort; they can call on 200 Kastok light cavalry from the local herders if necessary.
- Kangal Castle: Kangal Castle is the headquarters of the First Frontier Legion. General Aesos Harrek is the commander, himself an exile from Fronela. He has changed his name and will not speak his original name. The castle holds a force of 20 Aerial Cavalry, 10 brave/insane souls who pilot Mostali constructed gliders, 20 Lunar Wizards, 50 exiled Fronelan heavy cavalry, 100 exiled Orlanthi light cavalry who worship Elmal, 400 Rinliddi skirmishers, 100 Dara Happan Hoplites, 100 Pelandan slingers and an attached force of 200 Kastoks who are not part of the Legion but do have to obey him personally. 50 Mostali engineers from Yerkoy constantly work to strengthen the base. They cover all their work with Lunar holy scriptures.
- Kirikkale: This humongous sprawling castle is controlled by the Red Hair Tribe, Pentans who worship the Red Goddess. Thirty thousand strong and growing, they collect all redheads born to those Pentan tribes who pay tribute to the Red Goddess, an admittedly dwindling group. Half go to the Red Haired Guard of the Red Emperor and the other half become members of the tribe. They can field up to 6500 horsemen when necessary.
- Marsihath: This fortress has the job of suppressing the chaos monsters which lurk in this ancient swamp; local legend claims the tears of a goddess slain by Chaos during the Great Darkness created the swamp. 10 Lunar wizards and war priests join 100 Dara Happan Phalanx-Men, 100 Rindliddi Skirmishers, and 100 Carmanian Cavalry in defending it and trying to hunt monsters down as they appear.
- Negde (14,000): This city sits on a large mound full of layers of previous versions of the city sacked by the Pentans or the Estvenori. It is a bustling trade city which the crops of the east and metal from Yerkov flows on its way west. Adventurers known as 'Delvers' descend into the catacomb-ruins under the city, bringing back treasures and sometimes encountering monsters. The prayers of the cult of the City Hero Negdamus (Communications) keep the monsters trapped.
- Palbar (32,000): Fields of corn worked by slaves owned by the city's temples surround this city. Those slaves who misbehave too much are chosen for the annual blood sacrifice to help the corn grow. This was HonEel?'s city and still is, very devoted to her with the largest temple in the city. However, what visitors first notice are the strange purple spires of the Temple of Unknown Predecessors; the city is built over the ruins of an older, unknown civilization from the Great Darkness. The temple contains what scraps of information were left behind; the oddest thing are the many pictures of Aldryami and Mostali together. The city is organized on lunar principles and you would not know it was not in First Blessed or Silver Shadow except for the many Kastoks. The greatest of all temples to HonEel? is located here, rising over the city on a hill. There are daily human sacrifice of Pentans and Estvenori here, usually one of each, sending power to HonEel? herself and into the priests and priestesses of the temple, including the Satrap.
- Yerkoy (22,000): This city is mostly underground and is home to an unusual group of Mostali converted to the Lunar faith by HonEel? herself. They are lead by a Gold Diamonddwarf, Markos IV.3. They continue to restrict access to their most advanced arts, but they supply many goods and troops to the lunar cause and worship in the Lunar way. They can field up to 2 regiments of heavy foot supplemented by sorcerors and odd mechanical gimcracks; they are the source of the gliders used by the First Frontier Legion. On certain rare occasions, Markos IV.3 has declared a 'state of emergency', mobilizing 4 entire legions of Dwarves plus jolanti, mechanical oddities, two flying ships held up by giant balloons, and four giant tunneling devices with huge corkscrews on the front. His left arm is made of iron because Gakuz bit his original left arm off; it then exploded inside her, forcing her to retreat. He also had to retreat and was not seen for forty years, then returned with an iron arm, with gold engravings of Lunar holy scripture on it. It has been noted that Lunarized Mostali seem to keep their immortality as long as they hold to Lunar teachings; several who left the faith then withered and died within weeks. When asked, the Mostali explain they converted because they realized that Sedanya represented forces which had to be integrated into the World Machine and they could not do that without understanding them from the inside.
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