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dumuzid

Argan Argar Sources

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Xentha or Netta appears in the Sky early in the Golden Age, according to the ReAscent of Yelm. Whether that is the Upper Sky or the Underworld Sky is another question.

According to the Copper Tablets the stars first appear as a consequence of Umath invading the sky - one might say that Umath is the father or the midwife of the stars.

Darksense cannot interact with the stars of the Upper Sky - they are voids in the main sense of the denizens of the Underworld, unless they get illuminated. It may sense the tattered cloak of Night, though.

The stars of the Hell Sky may be hardly visible to optical sense, but may be emanating Darksense - not as echo, but as independent source.

(Which leads to the question whether troll darksense can use some other troll's Darksense emissions for their own perception.)

 

The planets are solid bodies, and tangible (if far away) to Darksense. The Red Moon's Shadow is tangible to Darksense, too. Its absence creates a highly disorienting void.

 

The Orlanthi (Vingkotling) myths of the Star Captains tell about Orlanth's invasion of the skies, of his victory over the Sky Terror, and of some of his followers dropping back to the Vingkotlings bereft of Vingkot's lineage leaders. Dara Happan Star Captains are children of Pole Star or Lux/Arraz/Shanasse. There may be female or otherwise gendered ones in either myths that we still can learn about.

The Pamaltelan Sky Witches are planets or moons (or both), and rather clearly tied to the Night.

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19 hours ago, dumuzid said:

Another question: does anyone know of myths establishing the relationship between Xentha and the solar star gods?

The main story of Xentha and the stars is in the old Yelorna cult writeup: "She [Yelorna] began a battle with the children of dread Xentha, the night sky. To aid in this struggle, she brought Pole Star and some of his children to the world through the upper sky, with the blessing of Dayzatar. For bringing these gods into the battle, she obtained the sobriquet of “Starbringer.” At one point, Chalana Arroy healed her of several wounds suffered while Yelorna sought the Meteor Bow. This bow eventually became her main arm. She used it to hurl fiery missiles at Argan Argar in an epic struggle, but was badly beaten and almost extinguished by that son of Night. She escaped, but was weakened."

 

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4 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

She used it to hurl fiery missiles at Argan Argar in an epic struggle

I wonder if this was on the northern peregrination we see in the Tradetalk Kingdom of Night history or in that other ancestral center of AA worship from his Troll Gods writeup: Halikiv. Either way a Chalana is available.

Looking at all this great horse stuff I wonder two more things: 

1. Whether religions like "Pure Horse" are synthetic reconstructions with or without Bright Empire influence, in which case currents of illumination may persist around FHQ etc.

2. Whether the explicitly sorcerous "unicorn" known in '90s Western materials is itself a reconstruction separate from the light ladies' magic mounts but itching to be reintroduced to its estranged cousins in a Hero Wars context

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5 hours ago, scott-martin said:

1. Whether religions like "Pure Horse" are synthetic reconstructions with or without Bright Empire influence, in which case currents of illumination may persist around FHQ etc.

 

A reaction against cattle-herding Storm people, perhaps? Occuring either in the God Time or later.

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Another question for the tribe, regarding this from the Sartar Companion's Argan Argar cult write-up:

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The Silver Age Heroes have come up before in this thread, and they may or may not be included among beings who joined the Household during the Kingdom of Night--they are probably no longer part of the Household, after Belintar heroquested to win them to his side in his war to depose Ezkankekko.

This was written for the 1600s version of the Argan Argar cult though, so presumably Belintar did not suborn all of the Loyal Household, and maybe some have returned since Belintar's dismemberment.  Does anyone know of other entities that might be included in the Loyal Household, or ways Argan Argar worshipers manifest this element of the cult in the world?

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10 hours ago, dumuzid said:

The Silver Age Heroes have come up before in this thread, and they may or may not be included among beings who joined the Household during the Kingdom of Night

I've never seen the Silver Age Heroes listed as part of this.  The Silver Age heroes, besides the OOO, that I'm aware of include:

Esrolia:  Queen Merngala, Kalops the Sacrifice, Panaxles the Architect, Sestarto the Artist, Vogarth Strongman

Heortland:  Heort the Swift, Ivarne, Desaventus Widefarer (son of Heort)

Dragon Pass: Aram Ya-udram

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Sure, and I'm familiar with those figures, but if they're not normally associated with the Loyal Household then who or what is?

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12 hours ago, dumuzid said:

This was written for the 1600s version of the Argan Argar cult though, so presumably Belintar did not suborn all of the Loyal Household, and maybe some have returned since Belintar's dismemberment.  Does anyone know of other entities that might be included in the Loyal Household, or ways Argan Argar worshipers manifest this element of the cult in the world?

What little we know about Belintar's relationship with the Silver Age Founders can charitably be described as "occult" in the wake of the MOLAD disaster but I agree with Jajagappa, the Loyal Household seems to function differently.

If I were gambling (luck and death!) I would chase the theme back to the original institution of Unity . . . this is the related to the ecumenical collective effervescence OOO in his genius was able to bolt together and save the world. It's his thing. We can love him for that if nothing else. 

Within Time, some pieces of that collective fell away and became "disloyal." We don't talk about them now. These are the ones that remain. Here in the 1600s it's probably a shrunken household. Hardcore AAs have spent a few centuries in the literal wilderness out of power. Their "loyalty" preserves the memory of Mastery.

The profound thing is the way this also resembles the Husband Protector court, which sometimes seems curated to achieve elemental universality with a female figure at the hub. Maybe Argan Argar has many wives as a parallel to the Esrolian menu and as a subversion of normative troll family. It's good to be the shadow king. Maybe this points to a primeval interface between an "Ernalda" and one or more Kyger Litor. Now that you mention it, I've heard more than once in the necropolis that "Ernalda is a black goddess" but you hear similar whispers about everyone in the old parts of town. Maybe AA is sometimes a woman like Belintar is sometimes a woman and has husbands or "best friends."

The easy way out is to give him something like Four Weapons Subcults and leave it open whether Orlanth worship adopted the form from the troll overlords back when we all lived nearer the dark. Of course Pavis remembers something like this too.

 

Edited by scott-martin
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26 minutes ago, dumuzid said:

but if they're not normally associated with the Loyal Household then who or what is?

Interestingly comparing the cult writeup in SC to what's coming in the RQG Gods book, I see the Loyal Household has been renamed to Spirit Warriors.  The text is largely unchanged:

"Spirit Warriors

Another subservient cult is the Spirit Warriors. These are mysterious beings known to have sworn themselves to Argan Argar either during the God Time or during the destruction of the Kingdom of Night. Many Argan Argar temples have altars to one or more of these beings, and during important cult ceremonies it is sometimes possible to summon one."

They form their bodies out of Darkness, not unlike shades, but possess magic (more like dryads in that regard).

So, I don't think we need to expressly hunt for Silver Age heroes to find these.  They were AA's/OOO's loyal warriors and can be invoked or summoned by AA for aid. Whether they were originally Darkness or not is probably immaterial.

 

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14 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Maybe Argan Argar has many wives as a parallel to the Esrolian menu and as a subversion of normative troll family.

I have found direct descriptions of Argan Argar being married to Asrelia as well as Esrola in older materials, and every single one of his holidays coincides with one of Uleria's. I think it's a fair assumption that one of the many elements of the cult that's deterioriated since Belintar is recognition of those mythic relationships.

14 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

"Spirit Warriors

Ah, I've seen that term used rather than "The Loyal Household" in older versions of the AA cult write-up.  This does clarify things, and I'm pleased the Spirit Warriors are getting an update for RQG.  Is there any indication of how an entity joins the Spirit Warriors?  If more joined in the history of the Kingdom of Night, then clearly the Warriors/Household could expand within Time.  It's doubtful there have been any substantial additions to the roster since Belintar, but with him gone and the Hero Wars coming...

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8 minutes ago, dumuzid said:

I have found direct descriptions of Argan Argar being married to Asrelia as well as Esrola in older materials

Also remember that Esrola's Throne sits atop the Shadow Plateau. And Esrola is also at times called "Black Esrola" (probably has good rich black soil - much like you'd find in the US in Minnesota/Wisconsin or up in Manitoba).

9 minutes ago, dumuzid said:

Is there any indication of how an entity joins the Spirit Warriors?

Nope, they just are an existing subcult.  Sounds like there would be some ancient quest to dedicate oneself to AA.

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14 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Also remember that Esrola's Throne sits atop the Shadow Plateau. And Esrola is also at times called "Black Esrola" (probably has good rich black soil - much like you'd find in the US in Minnesota/Wisconsin or up in Manitoba).

As a proponent of the Egyptian Esrolia Heresy, I must confess this makes my Martin Bernal antennae quiver...

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The RQG campaign that prompted this thread featured the revival of an ancient tradition in its latest session: the full ceremonies of a human-troll marriage.  The player characters are the founders of a new settlement on the frontier between the Grazelands and Sartar, and the marriage is intended to sanctify the community's place as a non-tributary ally of the Grazelander queendom.  The marriage comes only after a courtship period where the prospective groom, my Esrolian Argan Argar dark troll, met the eligible daughters of their most prominent neighbor, the sunlord of the Four Gifts tribe, and preparations for the wedding began only after a contingent from the player settlement participated in a joint raid against Lunar Tarsh.  That raid featured a few audiences with, and one mission for, the Feathered Horse Queen; after the raid's success, the FHQ offered to come to the player community and bless the marriage herself.

There was very little precedent for a Grazelander marriage to a troll, so the Grazelanders hewed to their traditions while the groom's party used those from the story of Norinel and Kimantor, from Esrolia: Land of 10,000 Goddesses.  The bride arrived in the courtyard of the settlement's acropolis, a palace of magical obsidian raised by the community's first Sacred Time heroquest, veiled in the dress of a Grazelander earth priestess and accompanied by her father in his full sunlord regalia.  The groom stood with three dark trolls and a trollkin black badge, each of whom held spears that suspended a black canopy between their points.  The trollkin black badge represents trollkin on the town ring, and held the vessel of the community wyter, a bronze lance perpetually veiled by shadow.  The groom made a stir by using recently acquired powers of the Nightcult subcult of Argan Argar to appear in human form for the first time in public, with enough Extension to make the effect last the whole wedding day.

When the groom and bridal parties met the bride curtseyed, and the groom offered his hand to help her rise with Argan Argar's words from the Wooing of Esrola, telling her to "stand proud, for [he] would rather have her friendship than her fear."  The bride and groom processed through the settlement accompanied by their parties, to music that included a skeleton drummer animated by the town's foremost Zorak Zorani.  The groom's mother, a wealthy and hardened Argan Argar trader, was moved to tears by the scene.  They descended into the settlement's Earth temple where they exchanged vows before the Ernalda altar, witnessed and blessed by the Feathered Horse Queen.  The combined fertility magic of the temple and the FHQ's blessing ensure the happy couple is likely to have many children, regardless of the form the husband has during the, ahem, "Uleria moment."

There was some question of the legal basis for the marriage, but the synthesis of Shadow Plateau and Grazelander ideas on the subject was an equal husband and wife arrangement, with the wife moving to the husband's house and the children joining his clan.  It has been an uphill battle for the groom to convince many people he's met in Dragon Pass of connections between Argan Argar and the Earth goddesses that Esrolians take for granted, but with the Feathered Horse Queen's blessing local opinion seems to be turning in the Son of Night's favor.

Edited by dumuzid
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So, this may be a shot in the dark but: does anyone know any sources regarding the sky trolls?  Trolls that invaded the sky dome in the God Time and stayed there, like the Celestial River?  I recall reading oblique references to them, but don't know if there are any actual myths about them.

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1 hour ago, dumuzid said:

does anyone know any sources regarding the sky trolls?  Trolls that invaded the sky dome in the God Time and stayed there, like the Celestial River?

No, I don't recall any.  Clearly the realm of Xentha and her vast cloak is below or at the bottom of the dome (depending on whether you consider the dome to be transparent or translucent or similar).  She either blots it from view, or spreads her shadows across the blue-stained surface, leaving only the forts of the star folk visible.  When she is not there, though, there are no specific "dark" or shadowed spots upon or within the Sky Dome, and that suggests that there isn't really a place where "sky trolls" could live/survive.

You might argue for the Celestial River, but the Celestial River is visible at night - i.e. it has to be light, not dark.  And that would also tend to preclude sky trolls.  

Where I would look are:

  • Dark Spot (Guide p.650) - doesn't appear until Red Emperor defeats Sheng - maybe there are troll allies of the Red Moon guarding it
  • Jugger (Guide p.651) - probably the same as the Juggernaut. Might have trolls inside it.
  • Stormgate (Guide p.651) - while associated with Orlanth, it is the place from which Orlanth's Ring emerges from the Underworld.  Maybe followers of the Sandals of Darkness guard it?
  • Celestial Desert (Guide p.645) -very empty of stars.  Could this be an area where sky trolls exist?  The Badlands, if you will, of the vast sky realm?
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Not all forces of darkness were necessary fielding trolls. Personally, I don't think any but individual hero trolls ever visited the sky realms. They already call the Surface World "Hurtplace" because of its over-abundance of light.

Xentha and Argan Argar have power over Shadows, entities of Darkness able to block intense light, providing shelter for darkness entities beneath. That is an awesome power - taking on the brunt of the enemy - but they seem not to possess any of the other Darkness-associated powers (Cold, Fear) other than formlessness.

There is one Kalikos myth which has Himile and his frost demons invade the Sky Dome, weighing it down, until Kalikos frees it (causing or re-affirming the tilt of the Sky Dome). Again, these are incomplete darkness creatures, able to stand the brightness (reflecting it) but negating the heat.

I don't think I have seen Dehori anywhere near the Sky. Not yet, at least.

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15 hours ago, dumuzid said:

So, this may be a shot in the dark but: does anyone know any sources regarding the sky trolls?  Trolls that invaded the sky dome in the God Time and stayed there, like the Celestial River?  I recall reading oblique references to them, but don't know if there are any actual myths about them.

Much like Joerg I wonder if these are not really trolls in the sky but allied celestial darkness entities. What we have here might be the origin of entities like the Tamali who might have been mostly assimilated into the troll way so early on that we only have fragmentary records. The Tamali are notorious for being a "shadow" people. So, arguably, are the uz-adjacent tribes of Pamaltela. Of course I am no authority in modern troll politics so I would take these notes with even more caution than usual.

However, it strikes me that people who remember the White Elves occasionally hint at a kind of substitution where the sky forest disintegrates and a new wave of Takers emerges in its place. This might be simply the elf memory of the sky changing color but even in that scenario, your "sky trolls" are probably involved. They might be related to the children of Lorion . . . more work is always required.

 

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Come to think of it, there is one huge Shadow object in the sky - the shadow creeping over the Red Moon, shielding half the world from its maddening glow.

It doesn't look like the Blue Moon had any troll inhabitants before the Blue Moon Plateau in northern Peloria was settled.

16 hours ago, jajagappa said:
  • Stormgate (Guide p.651) - while associated with Orlanth, it is the place from which Orlanth's Ring emerges from the Underworld.  Maybe followers of the Sandals of Darkness guard it?

Wait a second- are you telling us that when Orlanth's Ring passes Pole Star, it descends (immediately?) to the Underworld?

My assumption has always been that it walks back to Stormgate on the outside of the Sky Dome. There may be a pathway from the Underworld to Stormgate. When Umath first emerged from Stormgate, there were no stars in the sky, yet (he really should bear the epithet "Father of Stars" or "Midwive of Stars" or "Caesarian Surgeon of the Stars"), and as far as I can determine, neither had Lorion begun his ascent into the Sky yet.

The formation and arrangement of the stars is a largely untold myth - other than the Copper Tablets (in the Guide) we only get the parentage of Pole Star. I think it is safe to assume that there were a lot more stars in the Sky before the Greater Darkness, when all became invisible. The Sky Terror (that was slain by Orlanth before he set off on his Lightbringer's Quest) will have snuffed many, and so will Shargash before he went to the Underworld for a couple of Yelmic centuries, too.

 

Maybe Shargash is the key to humanoid Darkness demons in the Sky - the Shadzorings of Alkoth  could be the minions of Darkness up there.

Shargash appears to be a foe of Kyger Litor, and their respective underworld offspring have been at each others throats in Peloria and Saird as long as they can remember.

 

Several pieces of the Sky Dome fell down during the Gods War. Mt. Selon in the Mislari, and the island of Churanpur in the Sshorg Sea being the biggest chunks. I wonder whether the Sky Dome patched together by spider silk has areas that are clearly re-constituted.

 

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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Wait a second- are you telling us that when Orlanth's Ring passes Pole Star, it descends (immediately?) to the Underworld?

My assumption has always been that it walks back to Stormgate on the outside of the Sky Dome.

Largely based on SKoH p. 195: "Orlanth’s Ring.  One door from Karulinoran leads to the Sky World or Underworld, depending on the location of Orlanth’s Ring. When in the sky, the ring might be in the Celestial Fields, crossing the Celestial River, or near the Pole Star watchpost, depending on the day of the week. When in the Underworld, this door may lead to any one of a number of bleak, hopeless, and dangerous places."

The Guide does not specifically say.  But consider that this is also the Sky Bear, and half the time the Sky Bear sleeps/hibernates in the Underworld.

What happens mythically when Orlanth enters the city and reaches Pole Star?  It's either the point when the Rebel Gods are exiled beyond the world (Orlanth placed in the Underworld with the Strange Gods), or when Orlanth kills Yelm and the world falls into the Lesser/Greater Darkness.  So I would agree that he passes beyond the Sky Dome at that point.  But I don't believe he just walks back downslope to Stormgate without going to the Underworld.  Orlanth is gone from the Sky, and placement in the Underworld makes sense.  Yet clearly there is a way or path for him to escape the Underworld and reappear in the Sky.  

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4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Largely based on SKoH p. 195: "Orlanth’s Ring.  One door from Karulinoran leads to the Sky World or Underworld, depending on the location of Orlanth’s Ring. When in the sky, the ring might be in the Celestial Fields, crossing the Celestial River, or near the Pole Star watchpost, depending on the day of the week. When in the Underworld, this door may lead to any one of a number of bleak, hopeless, and dangerous places."

Still, the Pole Star seems to be the place the furthest from the Underworld, plus there is an established path to the Underworld followed by the Blue Streak twice a week.

Bleak, hopeless, and dangerous places - yes, that's IMO an apt description of the realms beyond the Sky Dome. It is a realm of illumination, of awful temptations and threats. You're in view of both the Absolute and of raw creative energy. I think of the draconic otherworlds like those in Ingolf's story when considering the realm beyond the Sky Dome. "Soul-rending"is an adjective used to describe what is encountered there.

 

4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The Guide does not specifically say.  But consider that this is also the Sky Bear, and half the time the Sky Bear sleeps/hibernates in the Underworld.

The body hidden in a cave, the spirit gong down like the Aldryami do. But maybe that bi-locality is an aspect of soul-rending? Arcane Lore mentions this kind of pluripresence.

4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

What happens mythically when Orlanth enters the city and reaches Pole Star?  It's either the point when the Rebel Gods are exiled beyond the world (Orlanth placed in the Underworld with the Strange Gods), or when Orlanth kills Yelm and the world falls into the Lesser/Greater Darkness.  So I would agree that he passes beyond the Sky Dome at that point.  But I don't believe he just walks back downslope to Stormgate without going to the Underworld.  Orlanth is gone from the Sky, and placement in the Underworld makes sense.  Yet clearly there is a way or path for him to escape the Underworld and reappear in the Sky.  

While those outer places usually are seen as the Underworld, I am not so sure that they are actually of any fixed location. The pits appear to be places apart from the bubble of reality that is Glorantha, with access points that may be of a fixed location Multiple points, though, making a statement about their location difficult.

The prison of the Strange Gods is a series of pits in or very near the Storm Camp where the uncles take young Orlanth and his brothers from. Is that where Orlanth and the other Strange Gods emerge from, though? Orlanth forges an alliance of the Strange Gods (much like Umath did) and has them team up on the guardian preventing their escape.

 

The alternative is that there are known short-cuts between certain poles of the world - e..g. between the Gates of Dusk and Dawn, used by Uleria/Mastakos (unless there are two identical bodies on opposite positions of the Sunpath). And possibly used by the Sun Horse/Lightfore, too, when the Sun Disk continues to the Halls of the Dead. Annilla appears to have such a secret route to the Gates of Dawn for her next swim up the Celestial River.

Both the dragonewt roads and the magical trail from Cliffhome to Stormwalk Mountain used by the Redbird company when retrieving Temertain seem to be such topological anomalities.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

The alternative is that there are known short-cuts between certain poles of the world - e..g. between the Gates of Dusk and Dawn

Maybe between the Pole Star and the Chaosium then... 😉

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Maybe between the Pole Star and the Chaosium then... 😉

If the Chaosium can be pinned down to a location at all. It's not the Orderium.

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Maybe between the Pole Star and the Chaosium then... 😉

I really like this.

Maybe related: I have never really fathomed the role of the "star" heart in orthodox Orlanth initiation. You definitely want to kindle something perpetual within your self that can ground more dangerous magical work. But why do storm people use stellar terminology to describe the experience? And for that matter, why is it necessary to give the Lightbringers a presence not just in the "middle air" but the sky itself?

This is not just archaeological trivia because it opens the door to alternative LBQ and Return Path approaches. Modern accepted Harmast uses the sunpath gates and requires the Westfaring. In theory, the exit takes you back around to the east gate and you ride the dawn. The Ring, on the other hand, starts in the West and spirals up and out. This tempts Orlanth questers with a broader pool of options and creates spiritual tension, i.e., MGF. It also exposes complexity behind my friend Harmast and his great work.

I wonder now what High Storm taught. Also it's past time we named and numbered the orange stars in the Ring. 

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13 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

The Ring, on the other hand, starts in the West and spirals up and out.

Which is an interesting phenomenon.  Umath supposedly was born in the center of the world, and raised the dome up from the world to make the middle air.  Yet the flaw in the dome by which Umath returns/enters the world is off in the West, so presumably is the Storm Gate.  Umath did spiral about, but he did not go up and out, but crashed down instead.

We don't have birthplaces for most of his children, though they do rise up from Umath's Crater in the north after Umath falls.  Orlanth, of course, is born in a cave on Kero Fin (the west side, perhaps? particularly since Orlanth is associated with the west wind), which reinforces the Umath born upon the Spike motif.

Orlanth's original spiral (per the Copper Tablets) shows him rising out of the pit in the North (not the west), circling until he reaches, then slays Yelm, and usurps the middle air.  There is no emergence from the flaw/pit in the west, nor any conquest of the sky.

21 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

I wonder now what High Storm taught.

Perhaps the High Storm knew the path from Pole Star to the Storm Gate beyond the Dome?  That would likely require a Star Heart and Illumination in order to face the Void beyond.  And perhaps it creates high risk of turning to Chaos???

Another interesting bit to contemplate is the idea that Pole Star has one eye.  It could be that he simply alternates eyes for keeping watchful - one always awake.  But it could be that he gave the other eye away - perhaps as a Star Heart? (much like Kallyr got a star)  Or perhaps Pole Star cast it down through the hole of the world into the Underworld to serve as a light for Orlanth there on his "Light" bringer's Quest.  

Some bits that might be pieced together:

  • Umath born in the center of the world. Demands a place, but there is none.  He is banished beyond the world (a westfaring perhaps?)
  • Beyond the world, Umath meets strange gods and learns how to create a crack/hole in the dome.  The Storm Gate is made and Umath spirals in.
  • Umath is turned away from the city, fights other star gods, and dies in the pit in the North (though interesting that he is later seen chained at the center of the world).
  • Some god of light (Pole Star?) goes into the Pit - the first stars come out.  Should this actually happen later, after Orlanth kills Yelm?
  • Orlanth is in the pit in the North, comes out of the pit with Umath's weapons (and Death), spirals around, enters the city, kills Yelm
  • Darkness comes, and at some point someone (Pole Star? Yelorna?) brings the stars back from beyond the Dome (out of the Underworld perhaps?)
  • Eventually Orlanth goes back west for LBQ - but we don't really know how he came out of the Underworld; we tend to assume out the Gates of Dawn, but it may be as likely that he finds the path from the Underworld to Storm Gate. 

 

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