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Ages of the World


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Here's an interesting late Second Age document that I find deep in the Library of Nochet. Although it was written in Theyalan, I suspect it is of Jrusteli origin, given its materialist nature.

THE AGES OF THE WORLD

1.      All was Darkness and Water. Then came Earth and Aether. 

2.      Earth formed a perfect lozenge floated atop the water, rooted or pillared to the ancient base of Darkness. At first there were only gods, but later came life - algae, prokaryotes, arthropods, and fish.

3.      Earth became irregular as it grew faster in some areas than in others. Flamal was born and plants grew atop the earth, followed by arthropods, and then by the first amphibians.

4.      The Spike grew in the center and the first River flows uphill onto land. General mixing on surface world of elements. Other mountains are grown or made at this period. Reptiles rule the land, and True Dragons nest. Grandfather Mortal created.

5.      Intense light begins above the Spike and grows in brightness. The first birds appear. 

6.      Sky encircles all the earth. Yelm rules the north, Lodril the south. Flowering plants appear, and insects flourish. Giant reptiles dominant.

7.      Ratites and other great birds proliferate. Growing conflict among gods. Age ends with Yelm slain by Orlanth.

8.      Storm gods dominate. Seas drop, many clouds, and more rivers. Mammals become dominant land animal. Conifers proliferate. First trolls appear on surface. 

9.      A predatory age. Valind conquers much of the world. Daga, Mallia, and Ragnaglar are big leaders. Trolls are very powerful. Brithos persists.

10.   First Chaos gods appear. Age ends with the destruction of the Spike and departure of the Lightbringers.

11.   Age of Chaos. Mortal revival and resurgence. Increased victories against Chaos, including I Fought, We Won.

12.   Age of Time. The Dawn. History begins.

 

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33 minutes ago, Ladygolem said:

Bacteria exist in Glorantha? I thought diseases, rot etc. were caused by spirits and such...

Whoever's been detecting prokaryotes has been stacking a whole lot of Seeing magic, too...

1 hour ago, Jeff said:

12.   Age of Time. The Dawn. History begins.

I'm curious about the prevalence of the equation of the Dawn and Time.  Though I guess that as both the Orlanthi and the God Learners seem to have this belief, it'd be common currency in 2nd Age Nochet...

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2 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

Bacteria exist in Glorantha? I thought diseases, rot etc. were caused by spirits and such...

Prokaryotes ("before nut") fit within the God Learner schemes as life before Flamal, Mee Vorala, or Triolina. Or maybe the embryonic stuff that was later worked into those forms. They are entirely hypothetical of course, but then again, so is that entire schematic.

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3 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

Bacteria exist in Glorantha? I thought diseases, rot etc. were caused by spirits and such...

In shamanic practice, an illness is often described as being caused by a spirit that is in the wrong place.

My microbiology lecturer basically said that microbes in the wrong place often cause illness. 

Not all spirits cause disease.

Not all bacteria cause disease.

Who's to say they aren't the same thing in this overall theoretic approach?

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14 hours ago, Ladygolem said:

Bacteria exist in Glorantha? I thought diseases, rot etc. were caused by spirits and such...

The sizable blobs that were the first life forms leaving a geological record were prokaryotes, too. Already "Darkness" in them differentiating an outside from an inside, but more primitive than bacteria.

Masses of bacteria can be seen with the naked eye. They are observably alive in that they grow and they digest.

Rot is a Darkness process - it is digestion. Its agents can be quite amorphous, but they can also take more physical forms. Darkness is fluid that way.

Putting Dark and Blue Age into a single category simply implies that the God Learners found no way to quest that far back.

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Does Glorantha have what used to be called blue-green algae? Presumably it does? In that case, we would seem to have a slam dunk for (the Gloranthan equivalent of) prokaryotes and bacteria.

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Does Glorantha have what used to be called blue-green algae? Presumably it does? In that case, we would seem to have a slam dunk for (the Gloranthan equivalent of) prokaryotes and bacteria.

Blue elves perhaps?

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The widespread presence of (presumably Darkness-aligned) invertebrates on the early Earth cube is interesting. They predate the coming of trolls by, well, Ages (ba-dum-tsshh). 

If I'm just spitballing, my guess is that they came from the myriad of lifeforms that lived in the Sea, where presumably Darkness and Water mingle fairly freely? This happens to align with RW evolutionary history at least a little bit, which is convenient, but obviously not a requirement for Glorantha. Anyway, point is, Darkness is clearly not an alien element to the Surface, even in its earliest ages. Which I guess we already kinda knew, but it's neat nonetheless. Also I guess this opens up for pre-Troll Gorakiki (or rather, any applicable Darkness gods of invertebrates, Swems, Kopa, etc.) myths, though exactly who would tell them I don't know. Timinits? ELVES?

But anyway, this also shows how early the Beast Rune is out there, I guess. Kinda funny that Beasts seem to proliferate before the Dragons, although I guess this might just be a case of perspective. Maybe the True Dragons were there already, but they didn't "descend" to the Earth (or take physical forms or whatever) until the Spike solidifies, but plants and beasts had no such requirements. 

Yelm and Lodril sharing the world (or sky, or both) as a codominium is interesting. The South's been all about Fire for longer than I'd thought. But then, what is 'south' in this respect? The old "Lodrilela" around Lodril's Mountain? Or as far south as the Nargan? *Was* he already a volcano god at this point?

(Also, on a related note, did his descent into the Earth accelerate the "irregular" growth of the Earth cube given that he might add a certain tectonic dynamism to it? Fun to think about, if nothing else.)

Of course, this is all just speculation on my part. The document appears to be God Learner theorization, which admittedly is usually fairly accurate as far as mythic applicability goes (as in "could we base a heroquest on this myth and have it work", or whatever), but obviously not necessarily entirely accurate or the only version of events that is mythically applicable. So just having a go for fun.

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For our planet, it is widely assumed that life only left the waters after the cyanobacteria had poisoned the atmosphere with that new-fangled bi-radical oxygen molecule. Things must have been quite explosive for a while during the transition...

Early life likely inhabited biofilms on surfaces. From there it spread into the water body, the water bottom, and the sediments below. Some may have formed scum on the water surface.

 

Gloranthan life was born out of fertility, or created by coteries of deities. Nymphs would self-fertilize or take a partner and give birth to a wide variety of other life.

Sokazub, the anestress of darkness beasts, would be such a fertility entity. Varchulanga, wife of Drospoly and mother of the Deep Sea monsters, is another. Triolina's daughter Tholaina gave birth to the less terrible beasts of water. Maran mothered the Earth Shakers, and among others Seshna appears to have mothered serpents and possibly other reptiles. And so on.

 

According to the God Learners, the beast ancestors were fathered by Hykim and/or mothered by Mikyh. Presumably with the primal element manifestation in the Celestial Court.

Although there may be a rivaling theory that elements have certain emanations like beast, plant, metal, color, language ... and that these separate out of the raw elements on their own.

The western lands of Danmalastan saw animals manifested from principles, and then had these principles permutate with one another - see Anaxial's Roster for the original beasts.

 

Almost all we know about Glorantha is the surface world, on top of the Earth cube. And our knowledge about the edges of this cube is mostly vague, too. The Camp of Innocence apparently was north of the Nargan Sea of Blue Flame (as per the Afidisa story), which means that the other four camps can be expected to have been some distance from the actual edge, too. The eastern camp may well have been in the now flooded lowlands of Vormain, or on eternal Vithela, a land almost as inaccessible as the inside of the Crater.

Where have all the feathered people gone that dominated the Early Golden Age? Some still are around in the East Isles. Some, like the Griffins, have stuck to a more beast-like form unlike their king on the Gods Wall. Some may have lost their beaks, wings and feathers by force, much like Hippogriff did. Some may have taken on human shape, as in Rinliddi or Suvaria. Many may have perished at Earthfall alongside Yamsur. A few hang out in Dragon Pass. Quite a few may reside in the lower sky dome, where it touches the Outer World.

The serpents and earth reptiles may inhabit glorious underground caverns or tunnels untouched by Mostali tools, troll feet or krarshtkid claws. The submerged flanks of the cube, and the flanks of the rifts of the cube separated by the Doom Currents, have roughly six time the surface that the flat top surface of the cube has. The far East Isles may rest on coral-like outgrowths of the cube reaching out into the slower current parts of Sramak's River. There is space for fantastic, undocumented life there under "First Underworld" conditions as the Dara Happans or Jules Vernes' Arne Saknussemm define it.

 

Lodril did "conquer" parts of the innards of the Earth. Remnants of Aether's fiery seed still sloshing in Gata's womb, possibly having taken over some of those lizardworld areas mentioned above, offering a reddish glow as illumination from the open lava lakes and rivers there. There may be trapped waters, possibly pushing upward to heed Sky River Titan's call to the center of the surface world, possibly taking a more direct course to the rift valleys. There may be trapped air, leftovers from Umath's birth, or that of his sister. Troll, Krarshtkid and dwarf tunnels are filled with the stuff.

The fleeing denizens of Wonderhome conquered significant parts of the undergrounds. According to Anaxial's Roster, expect huge giant ants...

 

There may be short cuts to the deep, Darkness Underworld, transitions to the lands of the Dead, to the realms of demons like the Shadzorings or a number of eastern Antigod races.

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On 1/23/2021 at 2:08 PM, Jeff said:

Prokaryotes ("before nut") fit within the God Learner schemes as life before Flamal, Mee Vorala, or Triolina. Or maybe the embryonic stuff that was later worked into those forms. They are entirely hypothetical of course, but then again, so is that entire schematic.

Ah, gotcha.  I think.  So they're kinda saying this is the Primordial Sludge (or should I say Ursuppe, for fellow Doris & Frank fans!), according to the divinations of top Jrusteli sorcerers, and their stab at an Eldritch Wizardry Standard Model.  Rather then them having a 20th-century take on the distinction between prokaryotes, protozoa, yeasts, and other such unicellular malarkey.

Slightly jarring terminology, but then again we'd a similar complaint about Essences, and any number of other Western concepts, so pick yer poison, i guess.  Or perhaps I should say, choose the form of the nomenclature Destructor!

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On 1/23/2021 at 1:08 PM, Alex said:

Whoever's been detecting prokaryotes has been stacking a whole lot of Seeing magic, too...

I'm curious about the prevalence of the equation of the Dawn and Time.  Though I guess that as both the Orlanthi and the God Learners seem to have this belief, it'd be common currency in 2nd Age Nochet...

The Theyalans, the Malkioni, the Lunars, the Yelmites, the Praxians, and probably plenty of others have a very STRONG connection between the Dawn and Time. The Kralorelans and the Teshnites often acknowledge it, but also think it misleading or illusory. The truth is that everyone that was tied to the Theyalan Councils (including the Broken Council) or the Middle Sea Empire are going to have that as a strong connection.

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