Rebels and Revolutionaries (A to Z Challenge, R)21 April, 2016
To no one’s surprise, and certainly not that of the dragons, dragonrule is disliked by some and actively hated by a large minority of the people of the Sea of Stars. There are no lack of people and organizations plotting to overthrow singular rulers to those seeking to destroy the entire system. For the purpose of this discussion, rebels is the term that will be used for those seeking localized change and revolutions for those aiming to destroy the entire system.
Rebels consist of everything from rival claimants to the throne to organized groups of disenfranchised people seeking to claim some sort of influence over their own lives and everything in between. There focus is almost without exception within one state and seeking to change the ruler or the way the state is ruled. Most dragon expect their proxies to deal with such threats to their rule with harsh measures and oppressive tactics, but some are more enlightened and would rather reach a compromise that minimizes destruction of property, even if some servants have to be sacrificed in the process. But rebellions are a cyclic problem in most dragon-ruled states, generally less frequent the more devolved the power is in that state.
The Empress does not concern herself with rebellions (outside of the rare one that takes place in an Imperial holding which are quickly dealt with) leaving them to the dragons who rule the land involved. The only requirement she imposes is that all land must ultimately be ruled by a dragon, so even a victorious rebellion will need to select a dragon to act as a figurehead in exchange for (usually) wealth. Successful rebellions scout out potential dragonic overlords well in advance of their final victory to present a fait accompli when it is achieved.
Revolutionaries, on the other hand, are usually far more ideological and less practical in their aims, seeking to destroy the dragons and replace them with the restored gods/ ascended wizards / the people / or other vast changes. Revolutionaries seeks to build a broad coalition to overthrown the dragons, drawing in allies wherever that can while maintaining secrecy, not an easy task. As the dragon are so powerful, gathering an alliance capable of defeating them requires vast resources and personnel, the very sort of thing that make maintaining secrecy almost impossible. Far more revolutionary groups have been founded only to fall apart under the stress of the situation before they even raise to the level of minor threat then last long enough to become a threat. Revolutionaries, naturally, try to infiltrate and control rebels groups, using practical problems to gain support for their lofty goals.
While some dragons have a deep hatred such ideologues existing in their territory, the Imperium only concerns itself with the actions of such groups and only then, when they strike at Imperial targets. These are treated as simple criminals, the Empress refuses to engage with the political aspirations of such revolutionaries, many of the dragon rulers are not so wise. Indeed the Imperium takes such a hands off approach to revolutionaries, that much of the printed propaganda of such groups is produced illicitly in Imperial holdings.
Notes: There are always rebels and revolutionaries, some more noble than others.