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More interesting comments from Jeff, this time re: Belintar

A few notes on Belintar that folk might find interesting:
Belintar was a wise and beneficent being, with no grudge against the innocent, and a keen mind in marshalling his resources. In the councils of Belintar, one of the seats was filled by a troll, sometimes a Mistress Race troll, sometimes a dark troll. Other seats were filled by the Orlanthi, the Ernaldans, Caladra & Aurelion, the Triolini, and the Godless.
GOVERNMENT
Belintar made little material demands on the peoples around the Choralinthor Bay, only that:
1. They send their tribute like everyone else. This tribute is both material and magical.
2. They obey his trade laws. Local rulers must guarantee the safety of passing caravans against robbers and brigandage, they must maintain roads and bridges in exchange for tolls and taxes on transit trade.
3. Send the requisite troops to his army. The God-King maintained a small but flexible professional army and a large navy.
Belintar largely let the locals rule themselves - and gave them a little boost in resources and organization. In the end, that's all the Sixths are (and I am rapidly reconsidering use of terminology like "governor"). In each Sixth, Belintar recognized the local ruler and gave them protection and additional resources.
If this looks a lot like what Sartar established in Dragon Pass, that's because Sartar based a lot of his policies on that of Belintar. In fact, the traditional Holy Country take on Sartar is that he was the agent of Belintar who was sent to civilize Dragon Pass, but then declared independence with his own apotheosis.
THE MASTERS OF LUCK AND DEATH
Belintar is a living god in the material world. He has a divine self that has existed since 1318, and is recognized by all the gods of the Holy Country. He also has a mortal self, that lives, ages, and dies.
The Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death is held to select the new incarnation of Belintar. This is a magical contest, that sometimes has military dimensions, sometimes has gods and monsters participate and more. The winner of this contest IS Belintar but also themself. He or she gains access to Belintar's soul, and adds their experiences, personality, and knowledge. This is not possession - more like an incredibly powerful Allied Spirit or Fetch. Upon death they become Belintar in the God World, each incarnation adding to the god.
Now if this looks familiar - it is. You should immediately think of two other rulers that more or less operated this way: the Only Old One and the Red Emperor.
This system worked fantastically for over a century, but I think the first creaks showed up with Sartar's mission to Dragon Pass. Belintar violated his own trade laws in the 1520s when he allowed (or even ordered) the Kitori to seize the trade route between Dragon Pass and Karse. Nonetheless, Belintar was still able to support Dormal in the Opening - which might really be the last hurrah of the God-King. Sure he was still powerful enough to easily route the Red Emperor at the Building Wall Battle - and I think the Red Emperor was completely outclassed there - but Belintar had become stagnant, even senile, and did. not recognize how much the world had changed.
Jar-eel ambushed Belintar as he performed rites in the Otherworld. Lunar spies had mapped out parts of his route and Jar-eel, a heroquester on par with the original incarnation of Belintar, dissected the God-King and hid his parts in the Lunar Otherworld. When the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death was held in 1616, there was no Belintar to join with.
 
Plus additional comments:
The folk that left in the greatest number were the traditionalist Hendreiki (including the Elmal cult) who did not want to accept Belintar's magical changes to the land or their traditions and cult practices.
The irony is that those who left ended up changing far more radically than those who stayed behind - but that of course is familiar with many such emigrations.
 
Belintar could have the gods of the Holy Country manifest in the mundane world - and so the Holy Country was a place that outsiders thought was entirely on the Hero Plane. But Belintar was the intercessor between the worlds - which was frightening and dangerous (and the Orlanthi had a very bad experience doing just that same thing a few centuries before).
As for the Only Old One, when Belintar slew him, he was no longer able to manifest in this world. However, he did not bother, or attempt, to destroy the children of Argan Argar, the dark trolls of the Shadowlands. And dark trolls made little political activity at all except to send their tribute to Belintar like everyone else, obey his trade laws, and to send the requisite troops to his army.
Belintar is gone with the commencement of the Hero Wars. Jar-eel has changed things and they will not return. Period.  And by 1621, the unity of the Holy Country is shattered. Completely.
He's not coming back, any more than the Council of Friends can be restored. Maybe there might be something new that resembles the Holy Country (in fact I am pretty sure of that), but Belintar and his magic is gone.
 
It is important to keep in mind that from 1318 to 1616, the Holy Country maintained an astonishing amount of internal peace. The largest internal conflict involved the Volsaxi about a generation after Belintar became a god - which was basically the Orlanthi being Orlanthi. The Volsaxi kings quarrelled with the Durengard kings about who ruled Heortland. By 1460, that conflict had largely petered out.
But after 1616, war, disorder, and invasion came to the Holy Country. The unity is gone, and things won't go back to how they were. The Golden Age is over and the Lesser Darkness is upon us.
 
So if you imagine how this system would have worked in its prime - let's say around 1550, when Tarkalor was here.
Belintar resides in the City of Wonders. This is a marvellous magical place, where the gods themselves wander freely. Beings no longer present or even possible in the mundane world can be found here. Even with the Closing, there are guests from far off lands, Teshnite and Seshnegi nobles, Lunars and others. Belintar speaks with the gods and spirits, and works to keep the divine world and the material world in harmony.
It is important to think of Belintar as a priest or a living god, rather than as an administrator or politician. Belintar doesn't have politics. He does what is necessary to keep the mundane world in harmony with the divine - while also keeping the divine world from tearing apart the mundane world. He says something - well, you just follow it. Belintar just *knows* things - secrets, mysteries, impossible stuff. And he is friendly with all the gods of the Holy Country - Orlanth, Ernalda, Caladra&Aurelion, Choralinthor, the Lightbringers, you name it (yes he has a few enemies too, but they are important to be enemies of).
So if the Queen of Esrolia has a problem, she just takes the Rainbow Bridge over to the City of Wonders, and asks Belintar what to do. He's the Great and Terrible Oz! He's got councils, with a mistress race troll, with Wind Lords, Earth Priestesses, Twin Priests, and zzaburi. And more. Sometimes Belintar shows up in your city, with demigods and spirits in his entourage. He plants a garden or stamps his foot and a spring appears or satisfies a dozen priestesses in the fertility rites or whatever miracle is needed and then returns to the City of Wonders. He admits guests, speaks with them, and then disappears again, leaving you puzzled about what he exactly meant by that and how did he know it? There is nothing "ordinary" about him at all.
 
But at some point, even Belintar is no longer balanced. The Tournament is supposed to produce an incarnation strong enough to not be overwhelmed by Belintar - but that started to break down after the Opening.
That's a general theme in Greg's stories - nothing made in Time lasts forever.
 
Q: No brigandage and willing payment of tolls are both significant additions to Orlanthi ways. Did Sartar actually impose either?
A: yep - at least on Sartar's roads. Part of the deal with the Prince. And tribes that broke their oath got slapped hard.
 
Q: Are the cities the toll stations? If not, where?
A: The royal roads belong to the Prince and travelers and their property are under the protection of the Prince while they are on the road. Tolls on goods moving along the road are collected at various points, this is largest source of revenue for the Prince. For much of Sartar’s history, such revenues made the Prince richer than most Lunar satraps. At the entrance to each city and a few other toll stations (such as at Roadend and Dangerford), scribes and their guards assess a toll on the caravan. These tolls are sizeable (typically 2% to 5% of the value of the goods at each station) but ensures that the caravan can travel along the road without interference from the local tribes. A caravan traveling from Furthest to Karse might add another 50% to its costs through tolls, but can expect to still make huge profits; the tolls are the price of safety, security, and speed. Few experienced merchants complain much as long as the tolls are kept to these “reasonable” rates.
If the caravan tries to avoid the toll and bypasses the road, then the local tribes can impose whatever “toll” they desire (often tribal raiders simply take the caravan goods and ransom the merchant). In addition, there are tolls on ferry crossings, bridge crossings, and market taxes. This system was maintained with varying success during the Lunar Occupation.
 
Q: What was the Lunars issue with Belintar? Just territorial aggression that he resisted?
A: He was a problem on every level. For most Lunar leaders, the Holy Country was a matter of growing concern since 1500 or so. The Heartlands were shipping tons of silver every year to the merchants of the Holy Country, and getting spices, herbs, wine, textiles, etc. in return. The Sartarites were getting a big cut of that silver, making them a growing threat to the Lunar Provinces. But the Holy Country was getting the rest of it.
Magically, the Holy Country was a threat - it was a Proximate Realm, like the Silver Shadow or Glamour. Its presence blocked the expansion of the Glowline and stopped the rise of the Red Moon.
Ideologically, it was a problem. The Lunar Empire already has a God-King who sits atop the Axis Mundi and communicates between the divine and mundane worlds. Belintar did the same - and very successfully. Given the Red Emperor's universal claims, the presence of Belintar was intolerable.
 
Q: on the state of the City of Wonders
A: And it should be observed that after Harrek the Berserk sacked and pillaged the City of Wonders with King Broyan's aid, the city sank and disappeared from the world. It is no more. Like at Atlantis, it has disappeared from view.
So not only is there no Belintar, but there is no City of Wonders either.
 
Q: Why the hostility between the Volsaxi and the 'Governors' (or whatever the title is - Prince sounds likely to me)?
A: Whitewall is the traditional cult and assembly center of the Hendriki. Durengard is the cult and assembly center of Heortland. The Volsaxi refuse to be tributaries of Heortland (although I am pretty sure they paid their tribute to Belintar after their restoration).
 
So if you wanted to find some way to restart the Masters of Luck and Death - I'd suggest the following steps:
1. Get back all the parts of Belintar that Jar-eel dissected and scattered with guardians. They are in Lunar Hells, on the Red Moon, with Yara Aranis, and in a necklace around her neck.
2. Lift the City of Wonders from the bottom of the bay and rebuild its wonders.
3. Redo the original deeds of Belintar, more or less, and gain the submission of ALL the rulers of the Sixths. And do it fast, because Harrek has a good claim to be the Ruler of the Seas, and by 1628 Argrath is one of the rulers. Not to mention Queen Samastina, who is no nostalgist.
 
Similarly, want to resurrect the Only Old One? Find all his parts wherever Belintar hid them. Rebuild his Palace of Black Glass.
And get all the tar out of his stairway to the Underworld. All of it.
 
Q: Wouldn't this also incorporate the dismemberment of Belintar into the Belintar myth, forcing future Masters of Luck and Death to dismember and remember themselves in order to complete the ceremony?
A: or worse, it might mean you are the restarted Belintar. And starting from scratch
 
Q: Funny thing is that Greg once theorized it was possible Belintar was from the future or far past.
A: future, no. But there are hints that he might have been originally from the Second Age. Or just elsewhere. But nobody knows where he came from. And that's important. - some mysteries shouldn't be answered!
 
 
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More interesting comments from Jeff, this time re: Belintar A few notes on Belintar that folk might find interesting: Belintar was a wise an

A very serious theory: Belintar is the subject of the Eiffel 65 song "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" despite existing at least 15 years before said song did. 

Prodigy of Belintar and Valira Delainaeo.  This is noted in the Guide p.142: "These included the Esrolian noblewomen Valira, appointed by Belintar and bearing his special knowledge" and "Dormal himsel

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I’d love material on post-Belintar Kethaelan politics, personally. I can’t imagine Broyan has a good time after allowing Harrek to burn Esrolia and God Forgot to the ground like he did, let alone what happened to the City of Wonders

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The winner of this contest IS Belintar but also themself. He or she gains access to Belintar's soul, and adds their experiences, personality, and knowledge. This is not possession - more like an incredibly powerful Allied Spirit or Fetch. Upon death they become Belintar in the God World, each incarnation adding to the god.

Well there's the answer to one long standing question. The winner isn't overridden, or replaced, just added to. Good to know!

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51 minutes ago, ZedAlpha said:

I’d love material on post-Belintar Kethaelan politics, personally. I can’t imagine Broyan has a good time after allowing Harrek to burn Esrolia and God Forgot to the ground like he did, let alone what happened to the City of Wonders

Broyan gets killed by the Lunars within a year of the fall of the City of Wonders.

 

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1 hour ago, ZedAlpha said:

I’d love material on post-Belintar Kethaelan politics, personally. I can’t imagine Broyan has a good time after allowing Harrek to burn Esrolia and God Forgot to the ground like he did, let alone what happened to the City of Wonders

Even the Last Vingkotling probably doesn't really have the power to "allow" Harrek to do something. Or rather, he only has the power to "allow" Harrek to do what he's already doing.

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8 hours ago, John Biles said:

Broyan gets killed by the Lunars within a year of the fall of the City of Wonders.

Or by the Kitori according to some passage of KoS. 

8 hours ago, ZedAlpha said:

Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy

Adding to the "Why everybody hates Argrath" thing. Well maybe bc all other great orlanthi heroes coincidentally die about a couple years before he does his big move, and all those deaths benefit him. 

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9 minutes ago, Jape_Vicho said:

Adding to the "Why everybody hates Argrath" thing. Well maybe bc all other great orlanthi heroes coincidentally die about a couple years before he does his big move, and all those deaths benefit him. 

Ooorrrrr you could say that all those deaths give nice openings for the player characters to step in!

Of course, Argrath may still end up taking the credit, arrogant bastard...

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1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

Ooorrrrr you could say that all those deaths give nice openings for the player characters to step in!

Someone is going to need to take over!  Might be a bit of Game of Thrones for awhile though.

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Belintar's governance of the Holy Country sounds a little bit like the Achaemenid system. Iirc, they kept native rulers in place of the satrapies, with native power structures and traditions, but also added in a imperially appointed military governor to maintain the local garrison forces (of course conveniently reducing the power of the satrap), as well as a kind of financial "comptroller" to oversee tribute and such (possibly multiple ones, including census officers, I forget). 

Now, regardless, Belintar has the benefit of being a literal god of a pseudo-immortal nature, so he can afford to be a little more hands-off.


Some of this makes me wonder:
- How big is Kethaela, again? Isn't it about the size of England or Southern California or something? That would make it roughly similar to something like the Bronze Age "empires" in southern Mesopotamia, which is pretty fitting, I suppose. 

- The cult of Belintar very much sounds like an aristocratic thing, with inductees being so because they have some kind of political or leadership role. Were there ever mass/popular movements dedicated to Belintar? Was there some esoteric or "countersocial" tradition of poets and musicians or whatever going off to the City of Miracles to check out the living god's powers?

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

- How big is Kethaela, again? Isn't it about the size of England or Southern California or something? That would make it roughly similar to something like the Bronze Age "empires" in southern Mesopotamia, which is pretty fitting, I suppose. 

There's no hard figures of course, but a while ago I did some calculations based on the Argan Argar Atlas. Genertela seems to be more or less the size of the continental United States or Europe, funnily enough. Each page in the AAA is about the area of Arizona, Prax is about the size of West Virginia I think it was? The Holy Country seems to be smaller than that. Again, official sources vary (not least because there has been confusion on whether certain maps have their scale in miles or km)

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Were there ever mass/popular movements dedicated to Belintar?

Of course Belintar is popular among the masses - he's brought peace, prosperity and blessings, and as a god he is present in their rituals.  As Jeff noted "Sometimes Belintar shows up in your city, with demigods and spirits in his entourage. He plants a garden or stamps his foot and a spring appears or satisfies a dozen priestesses in the fertility rites or whatever miracle is needed"

I'm sure some portion of the magical worship at the temples goes to Belintar, who probably has a shrine in each of them.  But, I doubt that there is any formal cult or that anyone initiates to Belintar.

1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Was there some esoteric or "countersocial" tradition of poets and musicians or whatever going off to the City of Miracles to check out the living god's powers?

Why go to the City of Wonder when Belintar may just come to you!  But, yes, I'm sure there were events (such as celebrating Belintar's return) when many were invited to pass over the Magic Roads to come to the city and experience the wonders there.  And, now, with Belintar and the City of Wonders gone, I'm sure everyone remembers those happy bygone days and fears what will come.

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1 hour ago, Ladygolem said:

There's no hard figures of course, but a while ago I did some calculations based on the Argan Argar Atlas. Genertela seems to be more or less the size of the continental United States or Europe, funnily enough. Each page in the AAA is about the area of Arizona, Prax is about the size of West Virginia I think it was? The Holy Country seems to be smaller than that. Again, official sources vary (not least because there has been confusion on whether certain maps have their scale in miles or km)

Here's a map of the UK / Dragon Pass overlaid. It was made by Colin Driver who created the Guide / AAA maps for a map talk at Dragonmeet. It's the UK as the Con we were at was in the UK and Colin and myself live there.

1373815751_UKDragonPass.thumb.png.3d0f95f24709942fb1ff3c4c36241af6.png

I'm sure there's a US and continental European one somewhere.

 

Edited by David Scott
corrected european
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36 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Here's a map of the UK / Dragon Pass overlaid.

Looks like if you take England/Wales and chop off East Anglia, Kent, North Wales, and anything north of Birmingham/Nottingham, you've got the Holy Country (with a large sea in the middle of it).

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16 hours ago, jajagappa said:

More interesting comments from Jeff, this time re: Belintar

A few notes on Belintar that folk might find interesting:
Belintar was a wise and beneficent being, with no grudge against the innocent, and a keen mind in marshalling his resources. In the councils of Belintar, one of the seats was filled by a troll, sometimes a Mistress Race troll, sometimes a dark troll. Other seats were filled by the Orlanthi, the Ernaldans, Caladra & Aurelion, the Triolini, and the Godless.
GOVERNMENT
Belintar made little material demands on the peoples around the Choralinthor Bay, only that:
1. They send their tribute like everyone else. This tribute is both material and magical.
2. They obey his trade laws. Local rulers must guarantee the safety of passing caravans against robbers and brigandage, they must maintain roads and bridges in exchange for tolls and taxes on transit trade.
3. Send the requisite troops to his army. The God-King maintained a small but flexible professional army and a large navy.
Belintar largely let the locals rule themselves - and gave them a little boost in resources and organization. In the end, that's all the Sixths are (and I am rapidly reconsidering use of terminology like "governor"). In each Sixth, Belintar recognized the local ruler and gave them protection and additional resources.
If this looks a lot like what Sartar established in Dragon Pass, that's because Sartar based a lot of his policies on that of Belintar. In fact, the traditional Holy Country take on Sartar is that he was the agent of Belintar who was sent to civilize Dragon Pass, but then declared independence with his own apotheosis.
THE MASTERS OF LUCK AND DEATH
Belintar is a living god in the material world. He has a divine self that has existed since 1318, and is recognized by all the gods of the Holy Country. He also has a mortal self, that lives, ages, and dies.
The Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death is held to select the new incarnation of Belintar. This is a magical contest, that sometimes has military dimensions, sometimes has gods and monsters participate and more. The winner of this contest IS Belintar but also themself. He or she gains access to Belintar's soul, and adds their experiences, personality, and knowledge. This is not possession - more like an incredibly powerful Allied Spirit or Fetch. Upon death they become Belintar in the God World, each incarnation adding to the god.
Now if this looks familiar - it is. You should immediately think of two other rulers that more or less operated this way: the Only Old One and the Red Emperor.
This system worked fantastically for over a century, but I think the first creaks showed up with Sartar's mission to Dragon Pass. Belintar violated his own trade laws in the 1520s when he allowed (or even ordered) the Kitori to seize the trade route between Dragon Pass and Karse. Nonetheless, Belintar was still able to support Dormal in the Opening - which might really be the last hurrah of the God-King. Sure he was still powerful enough to easily route the Red Emperor at the Building Wall Battle - and I think the Red Emperor was completely outclassed there - but Belintar had become stagnant, even senile, and did. not recognize how much the world had changed.
Jar-eel ambushed Belintar as he performed rites in the Otherworld. Lunar spies had mapped out parts of his route and Jar-eel, a heroquester on par with the original incarnation of Belintar, dissected the God-King and hid his parts in the Lunar Otherworld. When the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death was held in 1616, there was no Belintar to join with.
 
Plus additional comments:
The folk that left in the greatest number were the traditionalist Hendreiki (including the Elmal cult) who did not want to accept Belintar's magical changes to the land or their traditions and cult practices.
The irony is that those who left ended up changing far more radically than those who stayed behind - but that of course is familiar with many such emigrations.
 
Belintar could have the gods of the Holy Country manifest in the mundane world - and so the Holy Country was a place that outsiders thought was entirely on the Hero Plane. But Belintar was the intercessor between the worlds - which was frightening and dangerous (and the Orlanthi had a very bad experience doing just that same thing a few centuries before).
As for the Only Old One, when Belintar slew him, he was no longer able to manifest in this world. However, he did not bother, or attempt, to destroy the children of Argan Argar, the dark trolls of the Shadowlands. And dark trolls made little political activity at all except to send their tribute to Belintar like everyone else, obey his trade laws, and to send the requisite troops to his army.
Belintar is gone with the commencement of the Hero Wars. Jar-eel has changed things and they will not return. Period.  And by 1621, the unity of the Holy Country is shattered. Completely.
He's not coming back, any more than the Council of Friends can be restored. Maybe there might be something new that resembles the Holy Country (in fact I am pretty sure of that), but Belintar and his magic is gone.
 
It is important to keep in mind that from 1318 to 1616, the Holy Country maintained an astonishing amount of internal peace. The largest internal conflict involved the Volsaxi about a generation after Belintar became a god - which was basically the Orlanthi being Orlanthi. The Volsaxi kings quarrelled with the Durengard kings about who ruled Heortland. By 1460, that conflict had largely petered out.
But after 1616, war, disorder, and invasion came to the Holy Country. The unity is gone, and things won't go back to how they were. The Golden Age is over and the Lesser Darkness is upon us.
 
So if you imagine how this system would have worked in its prime - let's say around 1550, when Tarkalor was here.
Belintar resides in the City of Wonders. This is a marvellous magical place, where the gods themselves wander freely. Beings no longer present or even possible in the mundane world can be found here. Even with the Closing, there are guests from far off lands, Teshnite and Seshnegi nobles, Lunars and others. Belintar speaks with the gods and spirits, and works to keep the divine world and the material world in harmony.
It is important to think of Belintar as a priest or a living god, rather than as an administrator or politician. Belintar doesn't have politics. He does what is necessary to keep the mundane world in harmony with the divine - while also keeping the divine world from tearing apart the mundane world. He says something - well, you just follow it. Belintar just *knows* things - secrets, mysteries, impossible stuff. And he is friendly with all the gods of the Holy Country - Orlanth, Ernalda, Caladra&Aurelion, Choralinthor, the Lightbringers, you name it (yes he has a few enemies too, but they are important to be enemies of).
So if the Queen of Esrolia has a problem, she just takes the Rainbow Bridge over to the City of Wonders, and asks Belintar what to do. He's the Great and Terrible Oz! He's got councils, with a mistress race troll, with Wind Lords, Earth Priestesses, Twin Priests, and zzaburi. And more. Sometimes Belintar shows up in your city, with demigods and spirits in his entourage. He plants a garden or stamps his foot and a spring appears or satisfies a dozen priestesses in the fertility rites or whatever miracle is needed and then returns to the City of Wonders. He admits guests, speaks with them, and then disappears again, leaving you puzzled about what he exactly meant by that and how did he know it? There is nothing "ordinary" about him at all.
 
But at some point, even Belintar is no longer balanced. The Tournament is supposed to produce an incarnation strong enough to not be overwhelmed by Belintar - but that started to break down after the Opening.
That's a general theme in Greg's stories - nothing made in Time lasts forever.
 
Q: No brigandage and willing payment of tolls are both significant additions to Orlanthi ways. Did Sartar actually impose either?
A: yep - at least on Sartar's roads. Part of the deal with the Prince. And tribes that broke their oath got slapped hard.
 
Q: Are the cities the toll stations? If not, where?
A: The royal roads belong to the Prince and travelers and their property are under the protection of the Prince while they are on the road. Tolls on goods moving along the road are collected at various points, this is largest source of revenue for the Prince. For much of Sartar’s history, such revenues made the Prince richer than most Lunar satraps. At the entrance to each city and a few other toll stations (such as at Roadend and Dangerford), scribes and their guards assess a toll on the caravan. These tolls are sizeable (typically 2% to 5% of the value of the goods at each station) but ensures that the caravan can travel along the road without interference from the local tribes. A caravan traveling from Furthest to Karse might add another 50% to its costs through tolls, but can expect to still make huge profits; the tolls are the price of safety, security, and speed. Few experienced merchants complain much as long as the tolls are kept to these “reasonable” rates.
If the caravan tries to avoid the toll and bypasses the road, then the local tribes can impose whatever “toll” they desire (often tribal raiders simply take the caravan goods and ransom the merchant). In addition, there are tolls on ferry crossings, bridge crossings, and market taxes. This system was maintained with varying success during the Lunar Occupation.
 
Q: What was the Lunars issue with Belintar? Just territorial aggression that he resisted?
A: He was a problem on every level. For most Lunar leaders, the Holy Country was a matter of growing concern since 1500 or so. The Heartlands were shipping tons of silver every year to the merchants of the Holy Country, and getting spices, herbs, wine, textiles, etc. in return. The Sartarites were getting a big cut of that silver, making them a growing threat to the Lunar Provinces. But the Holy Country was getting the rest of it.
Magically, the Holy Country was a threat - it was a Proximate Realm, like the Silver Shadow or Glamour. Its presence blocked the expansion of the Glowline and stopped the rise of the Red Moon.
Ideologically, it was a problem. The Lunar Empire already has a God-King who sits atop the Axis Mundi and communicates between the divine and mundane worlds. Belintar did the same - and very successfully. Given the Red Emperor's universal claims, the presence of Belintar was intolerable.
 
Q: on the state of the City of Wonders
A: And it should be observed that after Harrek the Berserk sacked and pillaged the City of Wonders with King Broyan's aid, the city sank and disappeared from the world. It is no more. Like at Atlantis, it has disappeared from view.
So not only is there no Belintar, but there is no City of Wonders either.
 
Q: Why the hostility between the Volsaxi and the 'Governors' (or whatever the title is - Prince sounds likely to me)?
A: Whitewall is the traditional cult and assembly center of the Hendriki. Durengard is the cult and assembly center of Heortland. The Volsaxi refuse to be tributaries of Heortland (although I am pretty sure they paid their tribute to Belintar after their restoration).
 
So if you wanted to find some way to restart the Masters of Luck and Death - I'd suggest the following steps:
1. Get back all the parts of Belintar that Jar-eel dissected and scattered with guardians. They are in Lunar Hells, on the Red Moon, with Yara Aranis, and in a necklace around her neck.
2. Lift the City of Wonders from the bottom of the bay and rebuild its wonders.
3. Redo the original deeds of Belintar, more or less, and gain the submission of ALL the rulers of the Sixths. And do it fast, because Harrek has a good claim to be the Ruler of the Seas, and by 1628 Argrath is one of the rulers. Not to mention Queen Samastina, who is no nostalgist.
 
Similarly, want to resurrect the Only Old One? Find all his parts wherever Belintar hid them. Rebuild his Palace of Black Glass.
And get all the tar out of his stairway to the Underworld. All of it.
 
Q: Wouldn't this also incorporate the dismemberment of Belintar into the Belintar myth, forcing future Masters of Luck and Death to dismember and remember themselves in order to complete the ceremony?
A: or worse, it might mean you are the restarted Belintar. And starting from scratch
 
Q: Funny thing is that Greg once theorized it was possible Belintar was from the future or far past.
A: future, no. But there are hints that he might have been originally from the Second Age. Or just elsewhere. But nobody knows where he came from. And that's important. - some mysteries shouldn't be answered!
 
 

Since Belintar is a living god in the material world would that be considered a breach of the great compromise? 

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4 minutes ago, Eagle Talon said:

Since Belintar is a living god in the material world would that be considered a breach of the great compromise? 

Perhaps not if the Holy Country is partly in the Gods World... (there is, I think, a good reason why the place has the word "holy" in the name).

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13 minutes ago, Eagle Talon said:

Since Belintar is a living god in the material world would that be considered a breach of the great compromise? 

He probably gets an exception like Waha occasionally does and the Red Emperor. Probably it's at least partially due to having a mortal host - he's kind of half way between mortal and god, so he can do a bunch of stuff other gods can't without getting slapped.

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37 minutes ago, Ali the Helering said:

Since it is absolutely unclear who/what Belintar is, that might be hard to adjudicate.

Well, Jeff did basically just spell out most of who/what Belintar is, so I think we can make a good guess.

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