Alsara: Dawn of Vokaya
Originating from the Valley of Rust, perhaps 300 miles west of the Cascade Valleys, the Iron Dominion has swiftly and quietly conquered much of the western third of the Far North. While their true motivations and capabilities remain a mystery, some things are known to all.
They are expansionist and violent, and operate under a strict dictatorship supported by a rigid caste system. New acquisitions to the Dominion become slave tribes, and are usually formed into slave houses that can be then trained and sent back out to do war against the Dominion’s enemies. The most important value that an individual can display is valor and skill in battle, which secures promotion and material reward. While the picture is grim, it is difficult to say if life is different at any level of the Dominion; little is known beyond the lives of the slaves that have escaped the Dominion’s clutches.
The army is divided into separate command structures, each of which is managed independently with a certain degree of freedom. These command structures are referred to as War Houses, and usually consist of 1000 to 5000 men, though some slave houses are as small as 200. Each house is further divided into smaller units with gradually less and less independent command, down to the common footsoldiers that must ask permission to set up shelter.
The war houses roam about the Dominion’s borders and occasionally will trek out beyond and capture a settlement or village with precise efficiency, taking extreme efforts not to allow any survivors to escape capture.
The upper echelons of the Dominion’s military structure, their limitations, and their operating procedures, remain mysterious.
The politics and internal structures of the Valley of Rust are impenetrable, as they are almost entirely invisible to the client peoples.
Civil: Client States
The governing structures of captured villages and tribes are entirely disassembled within mere hours of their defeat in battle. This is done through formal ceremony, or formal execution, depending on the situation.
Within a few days, a governor is appointed from among the higher ranks of the victorious war house, and that person then is responsible for managing the captured province. Usually this means creating a central city that the captured population will then be relocated to for reeducation and induction into the Dominion. From this location, work is distributed based on the skills of the laborer, and families are further relocated to allow easy access to their place of work. For the most part, able-bodied men are used in either the army or manual labor, and they are given little choice in the matter.
The lives of actual citizens are utterly mysterious, as there are few that are not acting in governing capacity beyond the edges of the Valley of Rust.
The promise of citizenship, however, is a nearly universal incentive for every client member of the Iron Dominion. Exemplary military service is the fastest route to citizenship, as well as close relation to someone capable of same. Next to that, second generation client peoples are given ample opportunities to become citizens, provided the first generation performed admirably at whatever tasks they were given. Citizens are given great privileges and easy access to food, education, and shelter, as well as more freedom to choose their path in the Dominion.