A Contest of Nisse and Release
The Threshold is the common name for the lands which are part of Creation’s major land mass, beyond the Blessed Isle. It is also sometimes used to refer exclusively to lands which are not part of the Realm.
The Realm’s presence in the Threshold
The Realm does not directly rule any territories in the Threshold. Instead, the system of Satraps was established in which the Scarlet Empress would set up a relative (from the Scarlet Dynasty) that she personally chose to serve as an advisor to local governments which would remain free to continue their own legal system, culture and government as long as certain standards were met and tribute payments were made each year. In the days of the Empress, tribute payments were carefully set to be difficult but bearable.
Before her disappearance, the Empress would use a combination of intelligence about the territory (usually gathered by the All-Seeing Eye but from other sources also), information about the potential candidates and instinct to choose each satrap. Being a satrap is a position of power and a sure-fire path to increased wealth which would be sold to the candidate who in turn would pay for the position by gathering additional tribute from the territory.
The Satrap’s advisors
Traditionally three of the satrap’s four leading assistants, called the Four Advisors, were appointed by the Empress. As all five of them would report on the activities in the satrapy and they would all be chosen from different Great Houses this would create a check and balance system to keep them focused on her needs (and the needs of the Realm as a whole). Since the disappearance of the Empress, however, this check has also disappeared and satrapies are often run for the benefit of a single House or of the local government instead.