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Why I don't think of Orlanthi as a naval culture


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This would have been a further derailment of the "What is Canon" thread, so I'll reply in a new thread.

 

  

On 8/26/2020 at 2:57 PM, Bill the barbarian said:

Yes, I see yer point Joerg, Orlanthi do not have ships, Ever, none, don’t even live near water. Got it :) 

You did mean Sartarites right? I mean, Sartarites that do not live near water. 

Orlanthi don't really captain any seagoing ships. You cannot be an Orlanth worshipper and perform Dormal's magic, unless you are an illuminate without any respect for the cult you joined. Most of the Sea Gods bear a grudge against the Storm Tribe, and the merfolk have at  best mixed feelins for their Storm ancestors and the circumstances they "married" their ancestresses.

 

23 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Well, the Esrolians are Orlanthi: they have ships, some of the largest humans have before the Waertagi come back.

The Esrolian houses have Pelaskite clients building their ships, opening the seas for them, etc.

Their grain barges are fairly sizeable, but grain barges have to be in order to make at least a modicum of a profit.

 

23 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Some of the Janube valley Orlanthi probably have ships.

The Orlanthi of southern Peloria have ships, on the Oslir.

River traffic is plenty different from sea traffic. Sailing a river is managing choke-hold after choke-hold.

Would you call the Assyrians a naval culture? They certainly did use riverine trade.

 

23 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

The Orlanthi of Ralios have ships on the Upper Tanier.

The Umathelans have ships.

The sailing culture of the Umathelans is the Malkioni component, mostly. The Orlanthi may serve as marines, but they are unlikely to do the shiphandling in any leading role.

 

23 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Some of those use ships for trading, war, and probably raiding.

The Saxons - and the Old Norse after them - created their kingdoms from ships' crews. The first Orlanthi leader to do so appears to be Argrath.

The only Theyalan culture to which ships are as intrinsic as they were to the Minoans or the Myceneans are the Pelaskites, named Diroti in earlier works, after Diros, the (human) inventor of boats. They have been absorbed by the Orlanthi tribes of Heortland and the Houses of Esrolia to some extent - some claim to the point where they became hardly distinguishable from other Heortlanders or Esrolians. But then the laws of Aventus found application during the Adjustment Wars, so it seems to me that ethnic identity survived quite a long time of shared history, and I don't quite see how the last five centuries were so drastically different from the preceding nine or so when they had expanded to live alongside one another and share coastal settlements.

Once the Pelaskites leave their respective shores, they are mostly free of the adaptation pressure.

There are stories to be told about that - Norway has a horrid history about forcing the coastal Sami to abandon their own culture and traditions and to adopt Norse names and culture. Kethaela really has a tradition of hanging on to such identities instead, reveling in the different magics that both the OOO and Belintar could access through their diverse subjects.

The God Learners and the Adjustment Wars are cases of attempting such forcible conversions. Success was limited, but damage was inflicted.

 

Fisherfolk from the Heortland coast may identify as Orlanthi or Aeolians. IMO the ones denying their Pelaskite culture are restricted to coastal sailing.

Esrolian Houses do finance overseas merchants, and possibly some Heortland nobles do so, too. Aeolians possibly more readily than devout Orlanthi. Ships can be an excellent investment, as long as you avoid total loss of ship and crew. They may send their own daughters leading such expeditions, but then those daughters wouldn't be the default earth priestesses that make up their elite. To sail the seas may make you filthy rich, but the individual choosing the sailor's career is unlikely to rise high in the management of the House or the land.

 

Orlanthi may make excellent marines - they can board ships that aren't even adjacent to their own vessels, through use of Flight, Teleport, etc, and you may learn to appreciate Orlanth's weather magics if your ship is sailed. Callming a storm may not be their speciality, but directing it (and making it stronger) is.

 

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Some Orlanthi (those around the Mirrorsea, many Wolf Pirates, etc.) use ships. Others (Sartarites, Tarshites, Ralians, Talastari, etc.) don't. Ships are a pretty  a new thing in the Third Age, as the

The definition of a sorcerer is someone who knows sorcerous Runes or Techniques. Open Seas can be cast without knowing any. Most initiates of Dormal know just this one spell and are not sorcerers.

As I said over on a thread about the Port of Nochet: The Holy Country is a collection of littoral cultures (per Colin McEvedy*) co-existing around a vast, calm, and easily-traversed bay. Despit

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17 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Orlanthi don't really captain any seagoing ships. You cannot be an Orlanth worshipper and perform Dormal's magic, unless you are an illuminate without any respect for the cult you joined. Most of the Sea Gods bear a grudge against the Storm Tribe, and the merfolk have at  best mixed feelins for their Storm ancestors and the circumstances they "married" their ancestresses.

Well, the Yggites certainly sail and captain ships, and they worship Ygg, a Storm God, though apparently many later turn to Orlanth.

19 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The Esrolian houses have Pelaskite clients building their ships, opening the seas for them, etc.Their grain barges are fairly sizeable, but grain barges have to be in order to make at least a modicum of a profit.

Hmm, both the Prince of Sartar comic and HeroQuest Glorantha show Esrolian ships, both triremes and biremes, with Esrolian crews, though doubtless most of their oarsmen are Islanders, and they undoubtedly carry Dormal worshippers.

21 minutes ago, Joerg said:

River traffic is plenty different from sea traffic. Sailing a river is managing choke-hold after choke-hold.Would you call the Assyrians a naval culture? They certainly did use riverine trade.

Unlike smaller rivers, some of the rivers of Glorantha are enormous, virtually long narrow seas. If you have sailed on the lower Nile or a similar river, you get a very different impression to sailing on an ordinary river. As my cousin's in-laws said, when walking along a river in England 'that's not a river - it's a stream!' and if you have seen the Yamuna, a mere tributary of the Ganges, you will appreciate the difference. The Oslir, the Janube, the Lower Tanier are very wide, for much of their flow, a mile or two wide, no choke-holds, and sailed by vessels not similar to sea craft, including penteconters.

The Tigris has always been more demanding than the Euphrates for river traffic, but there was considerable traffic even in Assyrian times, and of course, the Assyrians claimed to have conquered Cyprus, using Phoenician ships. However, even the Euphrates isn't the Janube...

32 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The sailing culture of the Umathelans is the Malkioni component, mostly. The Orlanthi may serve as marines, but they are unlikely to do the shiphandling in any leading role.

I wouldn't be so sure...

33 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The Saxons - and the Old Norse after them - created their kingdoms from ships' crews. The first Orlanthi leader to do so appears to be Argrath.

I'm sorry - I don't understand what you are saying here.

34 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The only Theyalan culture to which ships are as intrinsic as they were to the Minoans or the Myceneans are the Pelaskites, named Diroti in earlier works, after Diros, the (human) inventor of boats.

Hmm, the Esrolians seem to be very much into the sea trade, including warships and merchant vessels. Based on the sources, they also supply officers and marines.

I suspect you are underestimating the cultural impact of the great rivers, especially in Peloria, Fronela, Ralios, and Seshnela.

I suspect that the problem arises from your narrow interpretation of The Orlanthi are <take any naval raiding culture engaging in cattle herding and non-irrigation farming> without ships. Mycenean, Sea People, Saxon, Viking, Slav, Baltic, Barbary Corsair, Kilikians, Scoti, Veneti... Whilst there are elements of these cultures in the subset of Orlanthi cultures found in Dragon Pass, it excludes others, such as the Thracians, Dacians, Hittites (though they also claimed to have ruled at least part of Cyprus - without a sea-going tradition), the Celtiberians, etc. No Gloranthan culture maps exactly onto any terrestrial culture.

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5 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

Hmm, the Esrolians seem to be very much into the sea trade, including warships and merchant vessels. Based on the sources, they also supply officers and marines.

Agree.  While some of the boat-building originated among the Pelaskites circling the Mirrorsea, the coastal Esrolian cities over the last two generations have fully taken up positions as captains, sailors, magic-wielders (both undines and sylphs), marines, and most other tasks.  And the Esrolians are the ones who settled the colony at Dosakayo on Melib.  There is considerable back-and-forth trade, even with the Wolf Pirates.

Also the Manirians of Handra have also established a solid position in the Genertelan sea trade (and no Pelaskites here).  

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Aren't the Pelaskites Orlanthi anyway? Pelaskos and Diros are members of the Orlanthi pantheon. I don't see how dropping sea travel onto them somehow pushes it away from the Orlanthi. 

 

Again, I agree with the general point that the Orlanthi as an umbrella group, are less sea-focused than some of their inspirations, but that doesn't mean there aren't Orlanthi groups who use the sea to great effect. 

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12 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Aren't the Pelaskites Orlanthi anyway?

Pelaskites as far as I can tell are a Dawn Age group.  Current references talk about the Rightarmers or the Right Arm Islanders.  In terms of culture, I think the Islanders would be classed as  sea-going Esrolians rather than a distinct culture of their own.

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5 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Wait, why can't you perform rituals to Dormal and still be an Orlanthi? I am aware that it apparently is sorcerous, but, well, so?

You beat me to it by living up to you name good Sir_Godspeed!

After all, we do know how much the Orlanthi hate sorcerers. Or was know it all grey beards? Or both... :) Seriously one of the two write ups I see to Dormal is the possibly non-canonical RQ3 short cult write up. In that the one Dormal restrictions to be an initiate are: May* be a sorcerer or shaman. Now I do not see any reason the Dormali would cast-out an orlanthi Captain but I have found reasons they might welcome one...

ETA Originally said, must and changed to may as it will soon t be pointed out to me about the error. Must be too used to cut and paste, I was staring right at the words as I typed,
Thanks metcalf!

Quote

Dormal is a common religion that transcends pantheons. Most cultures have a local sailing hero of some kind, but all of them ultimately derived the secret of the Opening from Dormal. For example, the troll Dastalak Boat-eater was one of Dormal’s original companions, but after Dormal’s fourth voyage he “stole” the secret and returned to the Jrusteli Isles, where now he is the most worshipped of all the spirits of the Kogag Practice of the Kyger Litor Tradition.

From a slightly less canonical source Men of the Seas page 16 (seems the weill take anyone)

Now one more source, RQ RiG and in neither writeup in this tome, of Orlanth’s cult, shows an animosity twixt air and water or any reason a Orlanthi can not be a Captain of a ship. Mind you I found many other reasons (as said) to have one as Captain or at least one on the ship. Two obvious ones is the ability to predict weather and the keeping of winds in a bag (sylphs).

Last point, why would the Doornaii practitioner have to be a Captain Could not a captain hire a Dormali?

Nice move Joerg, using my silliness to make a topic! And a good one too!

4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Again, I agree with the general point that the Orlanthi as an umbrella group, are less sea-focused than some of their inspirations, but that doesn't mean there aren't Orlanthi groups who use the sea to great effect.

Agreed. especially seeing as Joerg and I have, together argued with others that the Orlanthi are capable of being sailors and fine one at that. Perhaps he means that they are not as good as others, and we both missed that point. 

 

 

Cheers

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8 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Seriously one of the two write ups I see to Dormal is the possibly non-canonical RQ3 short cult write up. In that the one Dormal restrictions to be an initiate are: must be a sorcerer or shaman.

Not must, may.  

 

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36 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Pelaskites as far as I can tell are a Dawn Age group.  Current references talk about the Rightarmers or the Right Arm Islanders.  In terms of culture, I think the Islanders would be classed as  sea-going Esrolians rather than a distinct culture of their own.

Aren't there Pelaskites all around the Mirrorsea? I'm not sure if I'd see the Pelaskites in the lowlands of Heortland as Esrolians - not to mention that I have no idea if they have the Grandmother system, of course. I might be wrong.

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Just now, Sir_Godspeed said:

Aren't there Pelaskites all around the Mirrorsea? I'm not sure if I'd see the Pelaskites in the lowlands of Heortland as Esrolians - not to mention that I have no idea if they have the Grandmother system, of course. I might be wrong.

What I am talking about is Pelaskites as a culture.  I don't think it exists any more as it was always based on a worship of a God so minor that even Yelmalio could beat up for Llunch money.  I have great difficulty in believing that it survived essentially unchanged through all the centuries since the Dawn.  Hence my belief that the Islanders became subsumed into a larger cult, most probably the Esrolians (as the Caladrans are fire worshippers which would create a visible point of distinction between the two).

What you are talking about is Pelaskites as a religion.  Pelaskos is worshipped all around the shores of the Mirrorsea and possibly beyond.  But his worshippers do not form a distinct culture, instead they are Esrolians, Newtlings and Heortlings depending on where they are found.

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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

Pelaskites as far as I can tell are a Dawn Age group.  Current references talk about the Rightarmers or the Right Arm Islanders.  In terms of culture, I think the Islanders would be classed as  sea-going Esrolians rather than a distinct culture of their own.

While predominant in the Right Arm Islands, most of the coasts of Esrolia and Heortland are certainly occupied by related folk who get their livelihood from the sea (and therefore worship Choralinthor, Diros, Pelaskos, and Poverri).  Those in Esrolia, are likely just called Esrolians.  Those in Heortland, would be Heortling or Volsaxi, etc.  They would certainly be lay members of Orlanth to get the favorable winds.  But they likely pay less attention to Ernalda and the Earth cults, and make up at least a sea-going/sea-focused sub-culture.

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Culture is a tricky concept. Far more diffuse and permeable than we're usually led to believe. Like Jajagappa, my take is that the Pelaskites are more-or-less integrated with their neighbors wherever they are, but that they might also have certain rites, beliefs, customs, etc. (rites for good fishing fortune, locations of underwater holy sites, boatbuilding and blessing rites, nautical terminology, marine cuisine, cetoi greetings or cooperation contracts, fishing site claims, etc.). In addition to that, I'd imagine there is a more-or-less constant trickle of people in and out of the Pelaskite lifestyle through marriage and people simply having to change subsistence depending on overpopulation, annual fortune, etc. etc.

Given that Esrolia is the current economic, demographic and cultural (in the sense of artifacts and artstyles, not necessarily social structure) superpower of the Mirrorsea, I'm sure many Pelaskites are heavily influenced from there. Hell, according to Jeff, Esrolian artstyles, pottery techniques and so on dominate in Sartar too. 

And do we know if "Pelaskism" is its own separate religion? Given that Pelaskos is integrated into the Orlanthi pantheon, I imagined the Pelaskites more like a kind of marginal denomination of than anything. A subset where minor boat and fishing gods are given more prominence than what is usually common, but are otherwise understood to be a part of the Storm (or Earth, if you will) Pantheon. 

Again, this is all speculation on my part.

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Some Orlanthi (those around the Mirrorsea, many Wolf Pirates, etc.) use ships. Others (Sartarites, Tarshites, Ralians, Talastari, etc.) don't. Ships are a pretty  a new thing in the Third Age, as the Opening only happened about 45 years ago. One could argue that there are NO real naval cultures outside of the Waertagi and the East Isles, although Nochet, Rhigos , the Rightarm Islanders, Handra, Noloswal, Afadjann, Maslo, etc. all have more than two generations of sailing on the open seas.

That only about 45 years really needs to be emphasised. Prior to 1580 nobody was on the open seas. Nobody sailed past the sight of land. After that, lots of people did. But it is only 1625 and that's in living memory of many people. It's like imagining the world before 1991 and the rise of the World Wide Web. It is that kind of change. Prior to that, it is absurd to talk about experts on the internet - what there was was limited to research institutes (and even then only since the late 1980). A few folk had some conceptual ideas but nobody really had any practical experience. Now it is the basis of hundreds of billions of dollars of commerce and part of everyone's everyday life, either directly or indirectly. That's how big and recent the Opening was. 

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That is a VERY telling analogy, thanks! (The only difference would be that ships existed before the Closing. So, in a way, more like Democracy for Early Modern people, maybe?)

However, I must say that my own feeling is very much like Jeorg's. Some Celts' for instance were maritime people, but it is not the first thing coming to mind when one thinks about Celts*. It is like geeks; Many are married but the BBT's depiction of the comic books store is still pretty convincing.

* I know Orlanthi are not Celts, don't worry, that's not my point, here.

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34 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Some Orlanthi (those around the Mirrorsea, many Wolf Pirates, etc.) use ships.

Given @Jeff's reply and the map of Heortland he posted the other day :

 

It's clear to me that an adventurer from Smithstone, Karse, Jansholm, Sklar, or Durengard could have a RQG sailor occupation. It would be coast hugging, but they could still be orlanthi sailors.

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49 minutes ago, David Scott said:

It's clear to me that an adventurer from Smithstone, Karse, Jansholm, Sklar, or Durengard could have a RQG sailor occupation. It would be coast hugging, but they could still be orlanthi sailors.

The main Heortland ports are Karse, Sklar, and Leskos (smaller ships can get up to Durengard), and to a lesser extent Vizel.  (The rivers are not navigable up to Smithstone and Jansholm.) But yes folk from any of those communities could end up being sailors as there is regular traffic to and from the coastal ports.  And in the period post-Dormal, that is not necessarily coast-hugging, but on sailing vessels.  

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2 hours ago, David Scott said:

It's clear to me that an adventurer from Smithstone, Karse, Jansholm, Sklar, or Durengard could have a RQG sailor occupation. It would be coast hugging, but they could still be orlanthi sailors.

As I said over on a thread about the Port of Nochet:

Quote

The unique geography of the Holy Country is well suited to water transport. A succession of wide, sedate rivers empty into the Mirrorsea Bay, a broad expanse of calm water which laps the shores of five of the six provinces. The Mirrorsea, also known as Choralinthor Sea, has been renowned since legendary times for its tranquility. It is broad, relatively shallow (10-30 meters), well-lit and warm, abundant with marine life. The boats that ply the Mirrorsea are generally flat-bottomed and powered by oars, for the air above the Mirrorsea is remarkably stable too, quite unsuitable for sail. Though the barge captains may bemoan the necessity and expense of oarsmen, they are also grateful that only in the Storm season, when the Orlanth winds whip down from the Stormwalk mountains and churn the waves, is the Mirrorsea Bay hazardous to boat travel. For the rest of the year they may ply it in safety.

The Holy Country is a collection of littoral cultures (per Colin McEvedy*) co-existing around a vast, calm, and easily-traversed bay. Despite the Closing, which effectively cut off open ocean travel further afield, Belintar's peace turned the Choralinthor Sea into a thriving eco-sphere built around the ease of moving things by water.

* he has a fascinating discussion about this concept in his Penguin Atlas of Ancient History

HQmipt4.png.3db074b7e436287ec6ffd0b95d03e60a.png

Edited by MOB
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16 hours ago, Joerg said:

Orlanthi don't really captain any seagoing ships. You cannot be an Orlanth worshipper and perform Dormal's magic, unless you are an illuminate without any respect for the cult you joined. Most of the Sea Gods bear a grudge against the Storm Tribe, and the merfolk have at  best mixed feelins for their Storm ancestors and the circumstances they "married" their ancestresses.

Well, if I were an ambitious Orlanth Adventurous worshipper, with enough money to have a ship and hire a team :

 

I don't see in my faith any issue to not lead the ship

Never Orlanth forbid me to hire a rokari or better a sea explorer from Lankhor Mhy cult (a cute dormal initiation, and hop, let's go to water).

I m pretty sure that the ritual is not a leadership task but just some activities to appease and cheat the fish gods I will plunder.

What ? It is mandatory the captain must join Dormal ? Ok I name the Dormali captain, and he/she will order what I say because I am the ship's owner and the captain's employer.

Not an issue, no need to be illuminate. I m the wind, the wind does not stop on the see (only in dragon pass, for a few moment, but it is another story)

 

16 hours ago, Joerg said:

Orlanthi may make excellent marines - they can board ships that aren't even adjacent to their own vessels, through use of Flight, Teleport, etc, and you may learn to appreciate Orlanth's weather magics if your ship is sailed. Callming a storm may not be their speciality, but directing it (and making it stronger) is.

You are absolutly right, I m pretty sure I will hire only Orlanthi sailors (and one Issaries, two chalana and hum... some Uleria , if not, the travel should be long) Sailors with enough runepool to transform the ship into a  flying vessel for a day or two, and you can escape any fish monster...

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The truly odd thing about the situation is that Dormal comes from Nochet City.  Allegedly Dormal is a son of Belintar and a noble by birth to his mother Valira.  As a male noble he may have belonged to any of the masculine cults, but given that he first has to receive the prompting from Magasta, then become curious about ships, sees the mosaic on the boatshed floor, then research Diros the Sailor, etc, and he needed to know sorcery, I would argue that Dormal was a Lhankor Mhy initiate or better.  This seems to be the best fit based on the evidence.  It is possible that he also had some Issaries given that he was recorded as a good communicator, and contradiction though it is, Lhankor Mhy is the greedy one, whereas Issaries is the freedom loving curious footloose explorer.

As to Orlanthi not being a Ship culture, well that is to be expected imo.  In 1580 Sartar and Heortland existed, but it was Esrolia that spawned Dormal.  Prior to that, everyone had been getting about in boats, not ships, and only in sheltered bays and rivers, and within sight of land.  Orlanth has a long standing fight with the Water Tribe, as we can see, for storms at sea are very obviously an elemental confrontation.  Orlanth has also effectively kidnapped both Heler and Mastakos from the Water Tribe.  Now in the period between 1580 to 1625, it must be said that the Orlanthi had their attention focused away from the sea.  Ultimately, any new links with Orlanth and the sea would likely come via Argrath's voyage.  It also becomes apparent that the Wolf Pirates are the ones who will come to dominate the waters round Genertela, and really no other power can properly challenge them.  Will Orlanthi join the Wolf Pirates?  Very Likely.  Will Wolf Pirates in turn come to worship Orlanth?  I would think that is a foregone conclusion.  This cultural shift will not be quick, but Argrath is a forward thinker, so gaining wealth through trade to further fund the war effort seems an inevitable choice once the Wolf Pirates decide not to prey on the ships of Sartar's Alliance after the incorporation of the Holy Country into Argrath's sphere of influence.

Edited by Darius West
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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

The truly odd thing about the situation is that Dormal comes from Nochet City.  Allegedly Dormal is a son of Belintar and a noble by birth to his mother Valira.  As a male noble he may have belonged to any of the masculine cults, but given that he first has to receive the prompting from Magasta, then become curious about ships, sees the mosaic on the boatshed floor, then research Diros the Sailor, etc, and he needed to know sorcery, I would argue that Dormal was a Lhankor Mhy initiate or better. 

I don't know that it's necessarily odd that Dormal comes from Nochet.  Belintar was likely manipulating lineage over several generations.  Also there's nothing contradictory between Dormal being noble and a LM sage - many Esrolian noble males join Issaries or LM, as those make good candidates to marry into other noble clans.

We do know the group that aided Dormal from the Guide (p.142)

"in 1580, Dormal the Sailor first performed his ritual and, in a ship expressly built for the voyage, Opened the oceans. A coterie of others had helped create this. These included the Esrolian noblewomen Valira, appointed by Belintar and bearing his special knowledge; Martinavo, a powerful sorcerer who had once worshiped Lhankor Mhy; Edro, an ambitious Esrolian merchant anxious to compete with the Trader Princes of Maniria; Mendalan, a bankrupt heir of an Esrolian ship building family; Fudaru, a mature newtling trying desperately to reach the New Fens to breed; and a castaway Deri half mad with loneliness."  [The Deri were native to Jrustela IIRC.]

None of these preclude Dormal from also being LM, though never stated one way or another.  

Edited by jajagappa
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5 hours ago, David Scott said:

Given @Jeff's reply and the map of Heortland he posted the other day :

 

It's clear to me that an adventurer from Smithstone, Karse, Jansholm, Sklar, or Durengard could have a RQG sailor occupation. It would be coast hugging, but they could still be orlanthi sailors.

They would have been coast-hugging until the Opening. Now they could well be sailors on the open seas.

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