Long after the last shell has fallen, after the documents of surrender have been signed and the invader becomes the occupier, the civilian population must endure the great changes wrought upon them. Some react better to these changes than others. While the majority accepts their new status as a defeated society with little more than whimpering and whining, there are those who protest their fallen state more vigorously. These quar are the partisans who defend their homes and families and work to restore their vision of proper governance through armed resistance, generally against a numerically superior and far better equipped foe.
Partisan bands have become a feature of the Long War only relatively recently. The Laws given down by Ehn’k’du expressly prohibit the direct targeting or involvement of noncombatants in times of war, but as the war has dragged on and on, many quar have decided that they cannot rely on their governments to end the conflict. Some clans have used the war as an excuse to settle old grudges, or to expand their influence. Others are trying to restore the First Families, or support the Crusade, or establish their own control over their homelands. The genesis of any particular band of partisans may never be known beyond the circle of its members, but their actions are much farther reaching. Quar opposed to the armies trampling their fields or investing their cities take to the hills and forests, striking at their enemies from positions of opportunity, disappearing into the landscape after the shock of their initial assault wears off. Theirs is a particularly effective style of asymmetric warfare, a handful of partisans can sometimes paralyze entire catrawds, forcing them to spend valuable time and energy attempting to root them out of their holes and hiding places.
Unlike town or county militias, which typically receive at least superficial support from local governments or institutions, partisans are more self-reliant and self-supporting. They may benefit from the occasional surreptitious donation from sympathetic farmers or businessquar, but on the whole, they must fend for themselves. Weapons and ammunition are scavenged from the victims of their actions. Wounded quar are often forced to consult veterinarians or shepherds for care of their wounds, as the first places an occupy- ing force will check after an attack is local doctors and hospitals.
Because they operate outside the Laws of War established so long ago, many partisans, once caught, are rarely afforded the same treatment that would be given to an enemy rhyfler. Many officers feel the need to make examples of captured partisans, and these examples are always quite brutal. An area that sees a lot of partisan activity will also see its citizens handled far more savagely by occupying rhyflers than a calmer region.