Occupied Sartar

Saravan Peacock (saravan@perth.DIALix.oz.au)
Sat, 19 Oct 1996 15:45:11 +0800

A little orderless since High Priestess Nick's last two efforts to reassure
us loyal Orlanthi that "The Lunar Government is Our Friend!":

You're right, my use of the Carolingian/Saxon analogy was rather strained -
I have a tendency to get worked up about conquests and religious
conversions. I'd just like to state publicly that I do not believe that the
Lunar occupation of Sartar bears any substantial religious resemblance to
the conquest of Saxony by Charles 'the Great' and friends (for all sorts of
reasons)! But... I was making the comparison in terms of the _theory_ that
the Lunars were actually trying to wipe out the whole position of Orlanthi
worship amongst the Sartarite tribes. That _is_ what the Carolingians were
trying to do (towards the pagans, not the Orlanthi :-) ), and it took them
a hellishly long time to do it. That was my real point of comparison. As I
stated earlier, IMO the Lunars probably don't have the resources to pursue
an policy of ethnic cleansing/ genocide in Sartar. Which, of course, does
not necessarily mean they would not like to!

As for sources in print outlining the ban on Orlanth worship. Well, now
that you mention it, I can't think of any definitive material, except one
miniscule quip which is the Riskland Broadside promising that Riskland will
be (the only place where) Orlanth worship shall not be abridged. But then,
my memory is notoriously shoddy. Oh yeah, wait on... In the River of
Cradles description of the Pavic Orlanthi Farmers and Town-Dwellers, I got
my first impression that Orlanth worship was actually _banned_: "Since the
veneration of Orlanth is outlawed within the Lunar Empire's borders, most
Pavic Orlanthi have adopted the public worship of Ernalda while privately
continuing to honor Orlanth as an associated cult. At present the Empire
tolerates this transparent imposture, but many fear that when Whitewall
falls and Orlanth is officially declared dead throughout the Empire more
energetic persecution of Orlanth worship may follow." (p24) My difficulty
with this came particularly as I began to play through an Orlanthi campaign
and realised that the meaningful ceremonies are all public - so how could
the Orlanth ceremonies remain powerful if they were forced to divide and go
underground (so to speak)?

I call upon all Orlanthi sympathisers, and even truth-seeking Reds to rise
up and contribute any additional material they may find about this fact of
repression. It is hushed up within the Empire, so that they may continue
their two faced doublespeak and hypocrisy, convincing their own deluded
citizens that worship is free when in fact they are repressing people
across the breadth of their domain.

Of course we would all like to think that the Lunar policy is as pleasant
and benevolent as Nick paints it. But these are the views of the Heartlands
priestesses many of whom have never even seen our glorious (but temporarily
subdued) Sartar. Benevolent Fazzur may have had a remarkably lenient
mindset in drawing up Redbird's treaty, but I don't think this is the
general feeling among the Lunar forces of occupation. Looking back over
this treaty, I _am_ surprised at how lenient it sounds, especially in
comparison to what would be the case if they were pursuing a "convert or
die" policy.

As for the benificent taxes... Yeah, _right_. This same lenient treaty
imposes a yearly tribute of half a cow per citizen. It doesn't say how this
is to be paid, which means:

A) the Lunar tax collectors force it out any which way they can at the
stead level - and probably take some more for themselves while they're at

B) the clan chiefs collect the tribute from their people peacefully,
contributing any extra which are necessary, and then hand them over to the
tax collectors

C) the lunars make the kings and chiefs pay which means they will extort
the tribute from their people while keeping their own herds and farms

D) the local Seven Mothers temple collects it on holy day from the
voluntary, well meaning and newly liberated members of the community who,
of course see the need for public taxes to help their poor misfortunate

Only D could actually meet the intentions of the high priestesses to
redistribute wealth, and we all know how likely this one is to come about.

I'm inclined to accept a combination of all of them varying according to
the local circumstances. My Vale Treader clan chieftain in the Sambari Pass
collects taxes after the harvest and hands them over to the tax collector
who comes by at the end of Earth Season. The chief, being a good soul helps
out the poorer members of the clan with contributions from his own herd. We
don't have no Seven Mothers temple around here. Good thing too... One of my
PCs was horrified when a Lunar orphanage was set up nearby. "What?" she
said, "People without kin? Surely this cannot be!" And my good chieftain
was a little put out that his traditional responsibility for taking care of
his more misfortunate clanspeople had been usurped by a Lunar interloper.

Problem with these Lunars see, is that they're determined to reform the
world in their own image. All those big, ugly, dirty, cities with ruffian
street kids... They think we good hill folk have such problems too! Bah!

Overall, though, that tax sounds extremely harsh just in itself. And that
is on top of any other 'normal' taxes the Lunars may want to impose. Just
think, the Sambari alone (if they were subject to this tax) would have to
hand over around four thousand cows per year! I'm inclined to think that
that particular clause is a miscalculation. Or else the tribes simply don't
pay it all, a common occurence historically where 'tribute' and
'reparations' are concerned.




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