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The Imperial Lunar Way

by Nick Brooke and David Hall

The Red Moon
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The Lunar Empire is a powerful state ruled by an all-embracing and pervasive theocracy devoted to the religion known as the Lunar Way. This new faith is at present a mere four hundred years old, yet it will grow in the future to complement and eventually replace every other form of organised or personal religion. It does this not through enmity or rivalry, but as part of the mission of the Red Goddess: to Heal the World.

The Lunar Way is unique, because it was reborn within Time, and thus embodies Progress. While all the other religions of Glorantha are frozen into their current forms, the Lunar Way can change and develop, growing to encompass and convert them into harmony with the truths of the Red Moon.

Important Lunar Deities

The Red Goddess

The Red Moon Goddess is the spiritual head of the Lunar religion. The Lunar Empire was forged from her rebirth as a mortal and subsequent apotheosis. It is her son, the immortal Red Emperor, who rules her domain.

The Red Goddess is the goddess of freedom and tolerance. She teaches how to perceive, how to make judgements, and how to maintain balance. She urges individual experimentation to discover meaning in the world, and also supports public formalisation of those new discoveries as hero cults so that others can share in the knowledge.

The goddess teaches that her devout followers are continually reborn and that when the earth is covered by her magic, she will built a City of Power upon Glorantha, where her followers can be eternally reincarnated. The goddess' own death, dismemberment, rebirth, disappearance, and subsequent return give proof of her knowledge of life after death.

The Red Goddess' embracing of freedom and tolerance means that there is no official discrimination against women or other races in the Lunar Empire. A quarter of the Lunar Army is made up of women, while citizenship has granted to members of all species.

The Red Emperor

The Red Emperor is an incarnation of part of the Red Goddess, and he is the secular head of the Lunar Empire. It is his duty to spread the way of the Goddess across the earth. All leaders of political states and Lunar religious bodies report to him. He has been reborn many times, and is in effect immortal. Whenever he dies a great search is made across the land to find one who will be recognised as the next Red Emperor.

The cult of the Red Emperor is primarily a political cult followed by those who wish to serve the Emperor in the army, the bureaucracy, or in any other capacity. In fact, all Lunar citizens are in theory lay members of the Imperial Cult. There are a number of different aspects of the Red Emperor's cult, including the Lunar Youth Movement, the Lunar Army Officer Corps, the Moon Lords (including the Satraps), and the Dara Happan Senate. Many other Lunar cults also have Imperial sub-cults which allow devotees to serve the Empire directly, at the same time as their particular religion.

The Seven Mothers

The Seven Mothers are demigods who lived as mortals before the rebirth of the Goddess. During the declining years of the evil Carmanian Empire, they met and prepared the final ritual which allowed the Red Goddess back into the mundane world. They are the midwives and missionaries of the Red Goddess.

The Seven Mothers' cult guards the Lunar borderlands, keeping foes of the Empire out while admitting its friends. In the former mode it operates as a military order of zealous converts, while in the latter it runs diverse charitable and educational institutions, which offer both preaching and teaching to those who would learn the correct gateway to the Red Moon.

The Seven Mothers are:

  • Jakaleel the Witch, "Spindle Hag": a blind priestess from the troll-haunted mountains of Jord, whose worshippers explore the diverse horrors and solaces concealed within the mysterious realms of darkness and insanity.
  • Teelo Norri, "Young Life": an innocent orphan from the streets of Blessed Torang, she is now the cupbearer to the Red Goddess. Her cult maintains the Fund for the Poor Movement, and performs many charitable works.
  • Queen Deezola, "Binder Within": a potent Earth Priestess of Peloria in her mortal life, she is now the source of many spells of healing and harmony, and is a favored patron of nobles and poets.
  • Yanafal Tarnils, "Ram and Warrior": Duke Yanafal was an exiled Carmanian renegade who founded the Red Army's officer corps and defeated his former master Humakt in battle. He is worshipped by all officers in the Lunar Army, and by many common soldiers as well.
  • Irrippi Ontor, "Brown Man": Yanafal's magus, friend and advisor is now worshipped as the chief god of wisdom and learning throughout the Lunar Empire. His libraries contain countless learned tomes that uphold and propagate the Lunar Way.
  • Danfive Xaron, "Bridge for the Seeker": a bloodthirsty outlaw who sacrificed himself voluntarily for the Lunar Way, his grim cult provides a last chance for criminals to rehabilitate themselves. By obeying its harsh laws, anyone can attain salvation and rebirth in the Goddess.
  • An unnamed servant, "She Who Waits": a mysterious person, spirit or deity, whose unfathomable secrets and powers are known only to the elect few who are chosen for her cult of the Secret Moon.

Attitude to Other Faiths

The Red Goddess demands only that her freedom (and that of her worshippers) be recognised and respected by other living powers and gods. She does not reject their rights or powers, and she does not insist on changing their worship.

The Arrolian Colonies in the West were settled two centuries ago, during a time of nomad invasion and upheaval in the Heartlands. They follow the Lunar Way, but are presently outside the bounds of the Lunar Empire. They give worship to the Red Goddess, but refuse tribute to the Red Emperor.

The Malkioni of the West worship a God they call the Invisible God and Creator. The Red Goddess knew of this primal being, and made it part of her mission to heal him (and, thereby, heal the world). Yet by worshipping the Creator as he WAS and IS, the Malkioni prevent him from attaining the final transformation into what he must BECOME. Their faith is fossilised and rigid, limited by its past and unable to perceive the necessity of future change.

A Diplomatic Note

Please remember that you are present at this Western Ecclesiastical Council in a diplomatic capacity. While the truths of the Lunar Way are unquestionably higher than those contained in the old-fashioned, outdated and limited doctrines of Malkionism, it would not be correct protocol for you to give insult to your hosts. As they believe in only one God, it may be prudent to stress the originally mortal nature of all the Lunar demigods. (In the Western tongue, demigods like the Seven Mothers are known as "Saints"; the Red Goddess herself would correspond to a Western "Prophet").

It is said of the Goddess that "She is the Mirror, and She is the Mask". Thus, her truths should be presented to unbelievers in a manner they will understand. The superficial form of the Lunar Message can vary; the underlying truth remains the same. This is why our religion has been successful in converting peoples from all four corners of the world.

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Glorantha, HeroQuest, Hero Wars, and Issaries are trademarks of Issaries, Inc. The contents of this page are copyright by Nick Brooke and David Hall, 2002; any material derived from Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha is also copyright by Greg Stafford. Glorantha is the creation of Greg Stafford, and is used with his permission. Return to Index