A real divergence of interests between South and North Harchong, for example, or even a serious sense of 'we aren't them'. The conditions are certainly in place to create such a divergence _now_, and there does appear to be an existing variation in culture for them to act on. However, this is a very new situation, and the fissures won't be apparent for a generation or so. If then. For all we know, the South already plays a big-enough role in Imperial decision making for the two halves to rub along quite comfortably for another 6 or 10 decades [while the cultural dispersion steadily widens into a gap in the background - that should be acutely familiar to students of the US civil war], or even to push the entire Empire in its preferred direction. There have been many variations on the model of the "Empire of Desks" in history, and centralisation has been a variable and often dynamic thing.
Something else to be careful about is exactly how distinct the upper classes are and which shows what attitude most strongly. Here, BTW, is where we have some of the stronger hints of divergence between the north and the south: the interweaving of nobility, bureaucracy and merchants _seems_ to be stronger in South Harchong. However, there is probably much more of it than is immediately apparent even in the North. In any case, their interests and attitudes may be more similar than some people are assuming. More important still, the distribution of influence may well not be what is thought. In Imperial China, for example, it was the bureaucrats who were the die-hard reactionaries. And the people with their hands on the levers of power. It was only when their grasp slipped - which happened every 2-3 centuries, in fact - that the nobility pops up again as 'warlords'. From what we've seen, though, the commanders of the Mighty Host are consummate bureaucrats, which is interesting given that they are drawn almost entirely from the middle and lower nobility. There's clearly a lot of overlap. Is that because the military bureaucracy is the only one open - or at least viewed as suitable - to the nobility, or simply a selection effect: the only Harchongese we ever see are military types? There's certainly textev that there's a line between them, but just as much evidence that there isn't.
DMcCunney wrote:Good point, but we don't know enough about the power structures in South Harchong. They seem to be governed by a branch of the Harchongese bureaucracy, and seem to have rather less of the great nobles that ossify North Harchong to maintain their social position.PeterZ wrote:South Harchong on the whole would likely prefer to remain above the fray, any fray, anywhere. My assumption is more that some of the merchant families in the South will have strong feelings about the social abuses in both the North and Desnair. How different are they from similar merchant dynasties in the Northern States of the antebellum USA?
All it takes is one or two of these families and movements get funded. Once funded, these movements take on a life of its own with those passionate but less wealthy members providing the hands and feet of the movement. Furthermore, I doubt Charisian interests will remain above the fray in supporting such endeavors. Private and public interests will have their interests coincide in facilitating social change in Desnair and North Harchong.
But there is government, and likely people in a position to say "You can't do that!" to wealthy merchant families that want to stir the pot by financing revolutionary movements in North Harchong and Desnair.In practice, South Harchong could likely tell North Harchong to go pound sand now. What, precisely, could North Harchong do about it? I believe South Harchong's membership in the Harchongese empire has been increasingly nominal for some time. Given that the Harchong Sea and the Gulf of Dohlor separate North Harchong from South Harchong, doing something about it would require the Harchong Navy to ferry troops across and land them to spank the South Harchongese. I suspect the ICA might prevent that just on general principle. )All this suggests to me that the Northern Aristos will fight tooth and nail to prevent any part of the MH to move down south. That sort of weapon will allow South Harchong much more freedom to tell the North to pound sand any time they believe the cost of compliance is worth the effort to avoid compliance to any Imperial policy.
The principal factor keeping the Harchongese Empire intact is tradition, with the Emperor a symbol that all can point to and say "We are all Harchongese and loyal to the Emperor." But textev indicates the Emperor reigns but does not rule, and Imperial proclamations get filtered through the Emperor's council (or whatever the equivalent body is called in North Harchong) and the Imperial bureaucracy. The Emperor can likely say whatever he wants, but what is done is a rather different matter.How might they prevent it? They certainly don't want the MH back in North Harchong.The only way the North will allow it is if there is a benefit to the North in having the MH move South.
The challenge with the MH going to South Harchong is simply getting them there.Same practical problem as having them go to South Harchong. How do they get there?One example would be a war of conquest against Desnair. Adding Desnair to the imperial tax base would be worth letting the MH kill itself in Howard. The longer that fight continues, the fewer soldiers will be around to cause mischief. After the war is over, those soldiers can provide the garrison for Desnair.
The land route requires them to march through the Grand Duchy of Silkiah. You can assume Silkiah will not be thrilled by that, and its borders have been confirmed in perpetuity by Charis and Siddarmark.
An alternate would be staging through Dohlar or a Border State like Tanshar or Sabana, then proceeding by sea, but who provides the transport? I'm not sure North Harchong has the lift, and I don't see the ICN permitting it.The last thing North Harchong wants is for the MH to return home. As mentioned, the thought of a couple of million peasants and serfs who have been given modern weapons and training coming back to a system that treated them as less than beasts of the field (because the beasts cost money and have definable value) would be enough to have any rational North Harchong great noble waking up in a cold sweat. They have to be aware the returnees would not simply resume being oppressed when they have the power to resist it.I seriously doubt letting the MH anywhere else in Harchong doing anything else will make the North comfortable.
What will happen to the Mighty Host is a really good question. I think Lord Protector Stohnar's concerns about what will happen to Rainbow Waters if he tries to return home are justified, but I doubt he would actually be assassinated. Anyone who tried would have a lot of fun getting close enough to make the attempt. The response of pretty much anyone in the MH to a threat to Rainbow Waters is likely to be "You will do that over our dead bodies. Come and try it and see who actually gets dead."