Reaching Moon Megacorp's Life of Moonson
Marshal Fyodr Volkhovos
General of the Blue Army
Career: Chief Assassin of the Empire, Head of Military Intelligence, Member of the Presidium
Disposition: Brooding and paranoid
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You were born in Sartar. Your fellow members of the Presidium never miss a chance to mock you, privately, for your Orlanthi birth. You remember little of your early years, as you were captured by Lunar Troops pacifying the area after the Battle of Grizzley Peak. You were brought up in the re-education camps of the Seven Mothers. Here you became convinced, and remain so, that the Lunar Way is the true path for civilisation. Its enemies are motivated by barbarism and superstition.
Even at this young age, you began to suspect that your teachers were hiding something from you. Who was the mysterious Seventh Mother and how did the Red Goddess suddenly become powerful enough to challenge the Carmanian Empire? By listening unobserved to your teachers' secret meditations and by spending hours in forbidden libraries, you learned the answer. Behind the public actions of the Red Goddess lurks her secret elder sister Annilla. You hinted that you would like to learn more and were at last summoned to initiation into the mysterious cult.
As a member of the Blue Army Assassins, you were picked for dangerous missions in Sartar where you could blend in easily. You rose swiftly through the ranks, bringing you to the attention of the Presidium. 26 years ago they summoned you to a secret meeting. They explained that the ailing Emperor, Ignifer, would have to be killed to allow Moonson to be reborn, and that you were the man to arrange this. You performed the terrible "Ritual of the Shroud" which stripped the Emperor of his protective magics, but robbed you of your youth and half your strength. This gave you your characteristic withered arm and limp for which everyone ridicules and despises you. You sent in the famous gladiator and dart warrior Harrek the Berserk to finish off the helpless emperor. Within the year, Argenteus ascended the pearl throne and you were rewarded with command of the Blue Army.
You began to suspect that the conspirators had been motivated by fear for their own positions if the Emperor regained his full power. Accordingly, you initiated the purging of the Presidium, removing all who knew of the part you played in the death of Ignifer. The last to fall was the leader, Bellex Maximus. The only members of the old Presidium to survive your purges are Great Sister and the Red Dancer.
Last year, once Bellex Maximus was safely assassinated, you chose the former rebel, Fazzur Wideread, as the best man to act as Imperial Warlord. Using a similar brain- washing technique to that employed by Orsorkhon, you suppressed his past memories while keeping his skills intact. His identity is hidden behind the former War-Lord's Steel Mask.
As Marshal of the Blue Army, you work tirelessly to safeguard the empire. Your brief covers military intelligence, investigating both external enemies and possible disloyalty in the Red Army. It is certain that Treason lurks elsewhere and you have taken it upon yourself to extend your brief to security matters in general.
The Empire has been beset by forces both without and within: The King of Sartar, the Cult of the Invisible Orlanth, the Fiscal Anarchists, the White Moon Fanatics. Seemingly random and uncoordinated, but you have begun to discern a pattern, the workings of a single mind behind them all. Whoever it is, they must have friends in very high places.
Still at least Sheng Seleris is safely locked up in his Lunar hell. Wait, when was that last checked...?
Despite its small size, this barbarous mountain kingdom in Dragon Pass is the main military threat to the Empire. It is a stronghold for the Storm Gods, who hate the Empire as a source of Chaos, and a beacon of Orlanthi nationalism inspiring rebels in the provinces.
The Empire has tried to crush it on many occasions but has always been driven back. This happened most recently when the Temple of the Reaching Moon by its capital, Boldhome, was mysteriously destroyed.
The current King, Argrath Dragon Tooth, is the leader of the Southern rebellion. He is supported by the legendary Harrek the Berserk, western hero Gunda the Guilty and undead Praxian Jaldon Tooth-maker.
You are a devotee of Annilla, the ancient mystic goddess of the Blue Moon. This planet was before and behind her bright Red Sister.
Annilla sends out the invisible forces which control the tides, inspire her assassins and cause mysterious disappearances. She preserves the mysteries which empower the Red Moon. Outsiders say there have been other Blue Moon Goddesses: Lesilla, whose body is the Blue Moon Plateau, Orogeria the Virgin Huntress and so forth. You know that these were in fact disguises worn by Annilla to obscure her secret purposes.
The cult of Annilla is led by the mysterious Mistress Race Troll priestesses of the Blue Moon Plateau.
The Blue Army
You have followed a career in the Blue Army, the secret counterpart of the Red Army.
Its role is to investigate military threats from outside the empire and corruption, incompetence and disloyalty inside the military. It consists of the Guides, exploring officers sent deep into enemy territory; the Assassins; the Provosts or Military Police and the Blue Moon School Military interrogators. Its goddess is Annilla, mistress of the tides, and for this reason it includes the surface fleet, mainly river boats on the Oslir, Poralistor and Arcos rivers, and small ships on the Sweet Sea and Thunder Delta.
You lead the Blue Army.
Who You Know
Bellex Maximus: Really the brainwashed Fazzur Wideread, there is always the risk his programming may break down and his own personality become dominant.
Grandmaster Orsorkhon of the Secret Police: Your main rival, he deals with internal security, but frequently tries to move in on your areas of operations. He and his men enjoy inflicting pain for its own sake, rather than a means of gaining information. In fact it often appears that they already know the answers they pretend to be seeking.
Moonson Argenteus, the Red Emperor: essentially a harmless figurehead. You have even speculated he may be a proxy set up by the old Presidium. His name is suspiciously similar to that of the Silver Proxy who was Regent of the Empire for a time under Reclusus.
Jar-Eel the Razoress, the Superhero. Her actions, while beneficial to the Empire, are too showy.
The Red Dancer of Power, chief Missionary of the Lunar Way. Your fellow presidium member is inscrutable. You have very little to do with her, except when her missionaries need covert help in the war in Dragon Pass.
Great Sister, Daughter of the Red Goddess: A powerful independent military leader, who needs to be carefully watched.
Thalia Springtime: Your main field agent. Totally loyal to you, as long as she does not learn too much (see your files).
Mikos Thiokonos: The Imperial Chamberlain. An irritating functionary.
Ivex Devouring Dog: The Imperial Tax Collector. He has started prying into the earnings of your Assassins from their private commissions. Obviously, you are not responsible for paying these, and even if you were, they could not be revealed to the IRS for security reasons. Ivex must know this, so what is his real motive?
Blue Army Agents
Meritus: A Jakaleeli witch and informer who often works closely with you. One of the Examiners of the Moon. You keep your relationship secret, of course.
Nose Ring, Danfive Xaron Penitent (NPC): one of your best deep cover agents. He managed to get into the Black Army as a penitent, and then joined the famous Coders under Count Julan. These Coders were sent to Prax to investigate the Governor, Sor-Eel. However, soon afterwards they were mysteriously disbanded. Nose Ring says this was due to their investigation of missing White Moonie settlers who had been sent to Prax from the Heartlands but never arrived.
Subsequently, Nose Ring managed to join the Red Navy as a rower on the Kalikos-class Icebreaker Red Storm Season. You have not heard from him since his ship left to complete the annual Icebreaker mission.
Recently Nose Ring sent you by Imperial Courier a copy of the Scroll of Whispers, an occult work of Carmanian Holy Law. There was no accompanying note or explanation as to why this was sent to you!
Thalia Springtime: Your main field agent who you delegate investigations to. She came to the cult an escaped slave - having been brutally tortured and raped by her captor, a Lunar General. With your mind-control techniques you helped her to forget everything and re-forged her as your premier assassin (her first mission was Euglyptus the Fat - the disgraced Governor of Dragon Pass).
When the constant assassination missions became too much for her you had her transferred to the Guides Regiment, where she excelled and rose to become its Colonel.
She was involved in the replacement of Bellex Maximus with Fazzur Wideread and dealt with General Zhaduun Ud-kar personally (her first assassination for many years).
Bellex Maximus is the name given to the Imperial Warlord, commander of all of the Empire's military forces. This rank was once preserved for the Red Emperor himself.
The first Bellex Maximus was General Parg Ilisi in 2/30. However, his brutal and demented actions against Twice Blessed cause him to be removed from the post when the Emperor learned of his actions. The position did not exist again until the time of the mask Reclusus, when it was held by the Steel Proxy, whose face was hidden by a steel mask.
With the ascension of the mask Ignifer the Steel Proxy retired for a time, only returning after Ignifer was wounded during the siege of Boldhome. The Steel Proxy has continued to hold the position of Bellex Maximus up to the present day.
The above is the "official" story. Unofficially, many insiders in government know that the original Steel Proxy was Ignifer himself, before he became Emperor. When he became Emperor he took personal command of the Empire's military and no longer needed a proxy. Thus the Steel Proxy "retired".
However, after Ignifer was wounded at Boldhome a strong military leader was required while he recovered. Therefore, Fatalius Victor took over the role of the Steel Proxy and pretended to be the same man as before.
The Replacement of Bellex Maximus. The first stage of your plan was to get rid of the incumbent, Fatalius Victor. You assassinated him and used a ritual to send the soul to the deepest Pits of Perdition where it can never be discovered.
The second stage was for Thalia to kidnap his replacement, the Tarshite Usurper Fazzur Wideread, and make it look like he had been assassinated. The power of Annilla was used to wipe Fazzur's mind of all of his memories except his military knowledge and strategic and tactical genius.
The last stage was to create a cover story to keep Fazzur's identity secret. For this a Lunar general was found who everybody "in the know" would assume had taken the place of Fatalius. Thalia found one Zhaduun Ud-Kar, commander in the Redlands. He had been badly wounded in battle and it was easy to use him. His soul was also sent to the Pits of Perdition.
The White Moon is a teaching which has grown up from nowhere in recent years. It holds that it was never the intention of the Red Goddess to create an enduring Empire. The Empire was a means to an end, to confront those states which violently opposed the Lunar Way to allow the liberation of their peoples. Since the days of the First Wane, the Empire has become a self-serving structure, its expansion never matching the speed at which the Lunar Way first spread. The White Moon Cult holds that the Red Moon is not yet perfect. The Empire must wither away. Then, and only then, will the Lunar Way be able to spread throughout Glorantha and the Moon shine White in the Air. From a fringe, harmless teaching, the cult has spread. Its devotees refuse to pay taxes or serve in the militia. They have now taken to attacks on Imperial Monopolies, tax collectors and so forth. You would like to discover some White Moon sympathisers, either to blackmail them into helping you or to denounce them and gain Imperial favour.
The Icebreakers are enchanted vessels which carry the Kalikos Icebreaker missions across the White Sea to face the ice demons of Valind's Glacier and keep the Lunar Heartlands fertile and free of bad weather.
The Moonboats are magical aerial craft, propelled by the moonlight. Within the Empire, they are used for rapid transport of troops and supplies. Their use beyond the Glowline is more limited, as the cyclical phases of the Moon and the untamed forces of Storm can leave them grounded or even damaged.
The Crimson Bat is a monstrous Chaotic demon, the Empire's ultimate deterrent. Once unleashed, it devours all who oppose it, a terrifying weapon of atrocity which has greatly aided the peace-making efforts of the Red Army. The Chief Feeder of the Crimson Bat controls this demon, taking orders from the Director of the Field School of the Lunar College of Magic.
The Emperor's Spoken Word functions as an internal security organisation, essentially operating within the political and military spheres of the Lunar Empire. The basic aim of the Spoken Word is to enhance the security of the Emperor. However, within the current organisation, the definition of what must be done to protect the Emperor allows a wide scope which includes internal and external espionage and investigation.
The Spoken Word is forbidden to investigate the State Church. Also, there is great rivalry, and some degree of overlap, with the Blue Army (military intelligence) and the Danfive Xaron cult (the religious and social watchdog of the Empire.
The Seven Year Plan is the mechanism by which the major food and raw material requirements of the Empire are centrally planned and provided for. At the beginning of each seven year period every sultanate and province agrees to quotas of important foodstuffs and other raw materials and goods which they must achieve over a seven year period.
A seven year plan has just ended and each of the sultanates and provinces will be audited this a sacred time on their results. Success is usually the route to promotion and Imperial favour, while failure is a sure road to political humiliation.
The East Isles Bubble is the name given to a failed commercial and trading venture which was to be launched from the frontier port of Corflu. The East Isles company was set up to manage the venture and collected investments from Lunar citizens, promising them large returns. Unfortunately, the venture collapsed and Lunar trading vessels never left Corflu for the East Isles. None of the investors' money has ever been recovered or the perpetrator's behind the scam arrested.
The Red Dancer of Power was a major supporter of the venture, though her losses were minor.
Governing Bodies of the Lunar Empire
The Imperial Presidium
In recent years, an executive body, known as the Imperial Presidium, has taken over the reins of power. All Imperial Agencies ultimately report to a member of the Presidium. You are the wielders of real power, usually through control of military forces in the Empire. Presidium means garrison in New Pelorian. The function of the Imperial Presidium is to safeguard the Empire until Moonson again decides to take an interventionist role in government.
The Imperial Senate
The Senators are the guardians of the social structure of the Empire. They meet collectively in Glamour to advise Moonson and assist him in implementing his Mother's Will. They also co-ordinate the actions of other Lunar agencies when necessary. Senators sit as Judges in cities throughout the Empire, act as Ambassadors, and head Commissions of Inquiry into law reform and abuses of power. Only Senators are entitled to wear the Toga.
All Senators must possess extensive landed property. Those with so great a stake in the Empire are most likely to want to safeguard it, and less likely to be swayed by factional interests, greed or bribery. Financial peculation is grounds for expulsion from the Senate.
The Red Emperor is an absolute ruler, and has no legal obligation to consult the Senate or to listen to its advice. In practice, the Senate always supports Moonson's policies, and is used for the public promulgation of laws and edicts. Senators do criticise other imperial agencies which have come under the scrutiny of the cult, and in this capacity they act as a useful counterbalance to bodies such as the Imperial Presidium or the Court of the Silver Gate. When Moonson decides between conflicting advice, it is the Senate which puts the case for stability, tradition and social cohesion. The Senate also acts a debating chamber, legislature and appeal court.
The Court of the Silver Gate
Although Provincial Kings and the officials of Silver Shadow report to Moonson directly, most of the Heartland is under the sway of the Sultans. They head the Red Emperor's Cult in their own domains. Thus, within their own lands, their decisions command the same authority as those of Moonson.
At present, the Emperor only intervenes in the internal affairs of the Sultanates to enforce political decrees and raise troops. The Sultans enjoy access to the Emperor and expect to be consulted by him in major matters of economic and military policy. The Sultans infrequently meet collectively, as the Court of the Silver Gate.
The Satrap of Doblian will have a place on the council, when one is appointed. Either collectively or individually, the decisions of the Sultans are subject to appeal to the Imperial Senate.
The Blue Army Files
Acutus: The Prefect of the Mother's Guard is a former Gladiator. He seems rather too heavy-handed in his dealings with the citizens. He is, after all, a devotee of Shargash, god of wanton destruction. In previous times, the Mother's Guard have attempted to sell the Empire to the highest bidder.
Alehandro of the Brass Arm, commander of the Queens Regiment: A valiant soldier, but never forget that he is the son of Yolanela the Taloned Countess, who plots daily to over-throw the Empire. Could be an agent for her in deep cover.
Amun-ilart, Ex-Sultan of Doblian (now dead): he was involved in the conpsiracy to kill Ignifer. In fact it was done on his estates where Ignifer was recuperating. This year you decided to plant false evidence of tax evasion and as a result Moonson killed him in a purge.
Appius Luxius: the long-time Provincial Overseer. His iron grip on the Provincial administration is very worrying. Is he hiding something?
Barakos, the last Grand Master of the Cenobites: a fellow conspirator in killing Ignifer. As part of your purge you had him killed five years ago. Orsorkhon replaced him.
Beat-Pot Aelwrin, Commander of the Imperial Guard. A former rebel, yet now apparently loyal to the Empire. He owes his position to the influence of his lover, Jar-eel.
Jubba the Hood, Head of the Spoken Word: a bureaucrat who specialises in intelligence gathering. His agency is supposed to just guard the Emperor's person, but his activities are far more wide-ranging.
Count Julan: Commander of the Household Foot, but you know for a fact that he used to be the head of Appius Luxius' Coders, secret agents who investigated the Provincial Government. They worked with Jubba the Hood and the Spoken Word. He owes his advancement to friends in very high places. Who could they be?
Didius Copernicus: The new Dean of the Field School of Magic. He is showy and unprofessional. He has been engaged in secret magical experiments which have not been declared to the High Command.
Hetman Ignatieff: A blood-thirsty and unstable maniac who leads the Char-Un. He is fiercely loyal to his own King, Orgrol the Fat.
Lergius Cassius: Head of the Provincial Army, this man is dangerously ambitious.
Miriros Conradin: Colonel of the Grim Soldiers (the Black Watch). He is an agent of Orsorkhon, and linked in some way to General Roan-ur in Aggar - from the many messages they swap.
Murad Iznik, the Red General: This former naval commander (often called "The Red Admiral") has been promoted well above his apparent capacities to head of the Red Army. You often wonder what strings he had to pull?
General Roan-ur: This Chaos-using general could well be in league with Ralzakark, the Broo King of Dorastor who has been in hiding since his defeat seven years ago. He commands Lunar troops in Aggar.
Sitzmag Redmoon: Part of the discredited garrison of Pavis. Perhaps you should interrogate him to find out more about events there?
Sor-Eel the Short: the Ex-Governor of Pavis. He was removed after the botched Cradle incident. Your agents suggest this was merely a pretext. They suggest he was really removed as a result of his own corruption. However, Nose Ring has disputed this, saying that his corruption was no more or less than the norm for an Imperial official. If so, why was he removed from office?
Nose Ring also said that he had arranged for the Jaxarte Papers to be sent to you (from the Danfive Xaron archives) which might throw some light on these events. These papers were part of a journal by Sor-Eel's nephew, Jaxarte Whyded. They have yet to arrive.
Thanuk of Thunder Delta: A devoted aide to the old Bellex Maximus. Ensure that he never learns or starts to suspect that the man behind the Steel Mask is no longer his friend.
Reaching Moon Megacorp's Life of Moonson was written by Nick Brooke, Chris Gidlow,David Hall and Kevin Jacklin, with Rick Meints and MOB. The lead author for Fyodr Volkhovos was Chris Gidlow.
Glorantha, HeroQuest, Hero Wars, and Issaries are trademarks of Issaries, Inc. The contents of this page are copyright by Chris Gidlow, 2001; 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.