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Darkness! Earth! . . . Dark Earth???


g33k

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So we've got this "Dark Earth" concept floating 'round.  Gouger & the Tuskers (does that sound like a great name for a thrash-Bronze Donandar group, or what??!?  You just KNOW some Eurmali is involved with THAT one!), Asrelia, M.Gor & B.Gor, etc.  Bloody, lots of Death, lots of Dark.  Secrets and Mysteries.

Dark Earth is a very RealWorld notion... We even have a word for it, "cthonic."  Lots of exemplars, too.

But... In Glorantha, the two elements are allegedly separate; they seem inordinately close!  And why are these all EARTH (with some Dark) rather than DARKNESS with some Earth?  Why is "Dark Earth" so very MUCH of a thing, unlike, say... Dark Wind (yes, I know there IS such; but there's just... less of it, mythically speaking)).

And then we have beings like Kyger Litor.  DarkRune + ManRune ... And yet one of the most prolifically Fertile deities we know of!  With no Earth, no Fertility!

I don't want to be accused of GodLearnerism, but...  boys & girls ... I begin to suspect that whole Dark / Earth division is a helluva lot less crisp than some of the other Elemental splits!  And they both seem to have a "special" relationship with Death and Fertility, too, that the other Runes don't have...

Yeah yeah, I get that whole "cycle of Life" with Death clearing the way for more Life.  But don't think I don't see that crimson Lunatic smirking over there, as soon as "cycle" comes up!  Puffed-up little  nouveau dei  tart, with her "Illuminations," and her "We are all Us" and pretty soon her "differences are illusory" madness will have us mooshing all the Runes into one big loaf and stuffing ourselves into her handbasket!  And if you think she'll stop carrying when she'd gets to Hell... No sirree sirrah, she's marching THAT loaf straight to the Chaosium.

Ahem.  Sorry.  Little Miss Moonshine, miss wannabee-queenbee, always sets m'back up...

Where was I, again?

Earth.  And Dark.  Dark Earth... Earthen Dark?

What is going on, over in that oh-so-secret bit of the Lozenge?

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Just now, g33k said:

So we've got this "Dark Earth" concept floating 'round.  Gouger & the Tuskers (does that sound like a great name for a thrash-Bronze Donandar group, or what??!?  You just KNOW some Eurmali is involved with THAT one!), Asrelia, M.Gor & B.Gor, etc.  Bloody, lots of Death, lots of Dark.  Secrets and Mysteries.

Dark Earth is a very RealWorld notion... We even have a word for it, "cthonic."  Lots of exemplars, too.

But... In Glorantha, the two elements are allegedly separate; they seem inordinately close!  And why are these all EARTH (with some Dark) rather than DARKNESS with some Earth?  Why is "Dark Earth" so very MUCH of a thing, unlike, say... Dark Wind (yes, I know there IS such; but there's just... less of it, mythically speaking)).

And then we have beings like Kyger Litor.  DarkRune + ManRune ... And yet one of the most prolifically Fertile deities we know of!  With no Earth, no Fertility!

I don't want to be accused of GodLearnerism, but...  boys & girls ... I begin to suspect that whole Dark / Earth division is a helluva lot less crisp than some of the other Elemental splits!  And they both seem to have a "special" relationship with Death and Fertility, too, that the other Runes don't have...

Yeah yeah, I get that whole "cycle of Life" with Death clearing the way for more Life.  But don't think I don't see that crimson Lunatic smirking over there, as soon as "cycle" comes up!  Puffed-up little  nouveau dei  tart, with her "Illuminations," and her "We are all Us" and pretty soon her "differences are illusory" madness will have us mooshing all the Runes into one big loaf and stuffing ourselves into her handbasket!  And if you think she'll stop carrying when she'd gets to Hell... No sirree sirrah, she's marching THAT loaf straight to the Chaosium.

Ahem.  Sorry.  Little Miss Moonshine, miss wannabee-qurenbee, always sets m'back up...

Where was I, again?

Earth.  And Dark.  Dark Earth... Earthen Dark?

What is going on, over in that oh-so-secret bit of the Lozenge?

Dark Earth is not a Runic element, but the Jrusteli God Learners made a distinction between Fertile Earth (Ernalda, Voria, Grain Goddesses, etc.) and Malign Earth (Babeester Gor, Maran Gor, etc.). Interestingly the folk that know the Earth secrets the best make no such distinction within the Earth, instead modifying Earth with either Life or Death (or other Power Runes). I'll go with the Esrolian God Learners on this one.

Darkness is often found beneath the Earth. But many deities associated with the Earth are not Earth deities, and many Earth deities friendly with the Darkness are not Darkness deities. So although Asrelia lives deep within the Earth and is friendly with the Darkness (but wait, she is also friendly with the Fire Beneath the Earth!), she is not in possession of the Darkness Rune and has no magic that requires that rune. Even Ty Kora Tek is not a Darkness deity.

Kyger Litor is not terribly fertile -  her daughter Korasting is. The dark trolls give birth to dark trolls infrequently, and to Mistress Race Trolls not at all. The vast armies of Mistress Race and dark trolls that once dominated the Surface World in the Lesser Darkness are but fractions of their original numbers.

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

And why are these all EARTH (with some Dark) rather than DARKNESS with some Earth?  Why is "Dark Earth" so very MUCH of a thing

All you have to do is go into a cave, and you will know the Dark Earth. The Earth cave is there, the Darkness is there. You can bring a Fire there and drive off the Darkness for awhile, and see the truth that it is Earth, not Darkness. 

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

Dark Earth is a very RealWorld notion... We even have a word for it, "cthonic."  Lots of exemplars, too.

To piggyback the Asrelia and Lodril references, there's also a sense of geological superposition going on in a lot of this stuff. The "darkest" layers are the deepest and the oldest, and as time proceeds what was once "bright" in a given generation gets pushed down away from the surface. 

Asrelia and Lodril started out as bright young things. She was fertile and he was fire. Now they're grandma and grandpa within shouting range of the grave. All the world's potential focuses on the grandkids and the dawn. Us adults in between look one direction or the other, but for the typical person the trailing horizon (the past) is where the sun goes down and shadows get deep. It's the archaic world of ghosts, vestiges, relicts, fossils, ancestors, extinct species. When you carry a light down into that world, it's not so scary, but you have to have the courage and a reason to go there in the first place. Grandma and grandpa have a lot of things to teach us that the adults misplaced or lost. All good things ultimately grow in the dark. People who forget this and focus entirely on the light (of the sun, of tomorrow) are doomed.

There's a sense in which the trolls (and other "primal" peoples) are either dying out or merging with humanity. They ruled the world once, almost within living memory, and they have big songs left to sing before the curtain falls. We were closest to them in the dark and now when we see them they remind us of that primordial experience. They symbolize the dark we left behind. They're a matriarchal people so people who read earth as woman often see them as verging on the dark earth. That's okay. In my first grandmother's day, the line between human and troll was just a blur and people came and went. My other grandmother is already in the tomb back where the trolls come from and where they're going. Hard contrasts soften in the dark.

But to the extent to which a troll can be male, people often imagine a kind of dark storm. Wild hungry winds, cold blasts, Gouger rites. In my experience people who identify too strongly with the bright side can associate the entire storm complex with a masculine dark. There's no storm rune for these people. It's just another subrune of dark . . . call it cold maybe. Of course here we know storm is its own thing. Some people don't recognize a female brightness except as a kind of shadow solar consciousness, a reflected light . . . call it moon maybe. Right now the dominant moon is neither dark nor light but cycles red. (Would love an explication of Red Earth theology in the new decade. Even though they lost before the curtain rises, the psychic trash they left behind plays a role in the Hero Wars.)

Storm is the classical element that can learn from its mistakes and vow to do better. By the bright standards of today, storm is primitive, archaic, unlettered and crude. It's "darker." But the sun won't budge from its throne to save the world. The storm has to liberate the sun when it falls, negotiating with the sunset powers and exchanging one hostage for the other in order to bang open the sunrise gate and start the clocks of time again. Day destroys the night (ouranekki) but night can only divide the day. It takes storm to revive the sky. That means setting it in motion, but life is change. We'll sleep when the world stops.

This is the sea.

 

 

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On 1/1/2020 at 8:48 AM, Jeff said:

Dark Earth is not a Runic element, but the Jrusteli God Learners made a distinction between Fertile Earth (Ernalda, Voria, Grain Goddesses, etc.) and Malign Earth (Babeester Gor, Maran Gor, etc.). Interestingly the folk that know the Earth secrets the best make no such distinction within the Earth, instead modifying Earth with either Life or Death (or other Power Runes). I'll go with the Esrolian God Learners on this one.

RQ3 had the Dust Rune, which was effectively what g33k is describing. Earth without Fertility.

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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