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Holy Country, Silver Age Heroes, and Belintar...


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Jeff provided a series of posts on FB today regarding the Holy Country, a couple Silver Age heroes, and Belintar...

Some of you might find this interesting - it is a common version of the myth cycle told in the Holy Country. You might consider this the Esrolian version of the monomyth.

 

MYTHOS

In the earliest remembered stories this land was simply part of the Earth at the base of the Spike, where dwelt the Celestial Court and the Elder Gods. When the Gata warmed with life, it was Esrola who occupied this rich and fertile soil. Gata gave birth here to twin daughters, Asrelia and Ty Kora Tek, who dwelt deep within the Earth. Gata gave the sacred and beloved Earth to Asrelia, and Ty Kora Tek went even deeper down until she came to the Underworld.

Asrelia had many lovers, and with Lodril had twin daughters, Maran Gor and Ernalda. When Ernalda came of age, Asrelia gave the sacred Earth to her. Ernalda lived here and the land north of the Spike became known as Ernaldela. Ernalda’s beauty and bounty brought life to the land, she was the Earth Mother and Source of Life. Many suitors vied for Ernalda’s favors and she gave them freely. With Flamal she conceived Aldrya the Forest Goddess. With Hykim the Father of Beasts, she conceived Eiritha the Herd Mother. With other husbands and magical activities, Ernalda was responsible for most of the life on Earth. Among her favorites were the serpents that wound around her and whispered secrets to her.

The Celestial Court handed rulership of the cosmos to Yelm the Sun. Ernalda was taken away by Yelm, but she was freed by the storm god Orlanth, who killed Yelm and began the Gods War. Orlanth later became Ernalda’s husband and King of the Gods. Orlanth was violent and unruly, but always a good partner and lover to Ernalda. Whenever Orlanth could not protect or provide for her, Ernalda took husbands that could.

The Blue Dragon traversed Ernaldela, and a grand forest of Yellow Elves sprang across her land. Later, the Ocean of Terror sent his destroying son, the Raging Sea, the cover Ernaldela with his waters. Esrola was flooded by the slaying waters, but not before she had met one of the sea gods, named Faralinthor, in love. Together, they conceived a child whom they called Choralinthor.

Orlanth defeated the Blue Dragon and the Raging Sea, and then the Storm King slew Faralinthor. The place where he struck them dried up and was covered with a great plain of salt. It is still visible under the water. The arms of the goddess and her husband are still visible as the marshy archipelagos which reach out to the sea.

Orlanth appointed his son Vingkot to rule the peoples of Ernaldela. The barbaric splendor of the Vingkotlings defined the era known as the Lesser Darkness. The Vingkotlings fought many wars and founded many kingdoms. The royal line of the Vingkotlings, called the Kodigvari, settled at what is now Nochet. They invited many deities to live there, and built fine homes for Chalana Arroy, Issaries, and Lhankor Mhy, and many other deities.

When the Great Darkness came and the world became untenable, Ernalda went to sleep within the Earth. Even in sleep, Ernalda mothered Babeester Gor, the terrible guardian of the Earth. Orlanth sought to fix the harm he had caused by starting the Gods War and departed on his Lightbringers Quest. The Vingkotlings tore themselves apart in a series of feuds that culminated in the Last Royal Betrayal, where the royal house of the Vingkotlings were all slain by Chaos. After the Last Royal Betrayal, the widows seized power for their own protection and founded the Queendom of Esrolia.

When Darkness overpowered the world, the legions of Night came to surround the Spike. Argan Argar himself set up camp atop Esrola and the goddess went to him to plead mercy. Argan Argar told her to stand proud, for he would rather have her friendship than her fear. He became her lover, and their child was the Only Old One, who was made king of the land.

Lodril was a spiteful and powerful god, and he attacked this place of darkness, but he was captured and subdued by Argan Argar and bound into servitude by that god of night. Lodril was forced to build the great Palace of Black Glass, wherein lived the Only Old One and his minions. It was a huge metropolis with tall slender spirals rising over spiked turrets of sharp obsidian. Its basement reached the Underworld and its tallest tower reached to the sky’s zenith until it was broken by the Sun at the Dawn.

Another event which shaped the land occurred when the Storm Bull wrestled with a mountain god, twisted him into a corkscrew shape, and stuck him into the ground. This was the origin of ice-covered Stormwalk Mountain, where the sky bull herds are kept by Baskelos and Heort once took refuge.

When Chaos came into the world, Larnste the Mover saw a squirming thing twisting its way through the land. He tried to stamp it out, making a great dent in the earth. The impact of his stamp raised the Storm Mountains, yet he did not kill the Chaos thing. Instead it bit and wounded Larnste. Poisoned ichor dripped to the earth and left oozing sores hurting all life within it. Larnste howled and limped off.

A god looked down and saw the writhing horror, and he took Lodril’s Spear and struck it. The spear drove the monster deep into the earth where Lodril was freed from the spear and fought it. In exultant victory, Lodril burst forth again from the Vent, spreading molten earth and rocks all about and raising a huge pall of ash which poisoned the air.

From within Larnste’s Footprint grew a foul mass of Chaos, slowly seeping and filling the deep print with vile horrors. Orlanth bent his attention toward the Footprint and blew the ash and rock down upon the evil mass. It had no effect on those places already polluted, but it covered all the living woods and creatures with ash. The god then used powerful magic to turn them all to stone. Thus, the Footprint now has a terrible Chaos nest at one end, but its spread is halted by the fossilized forest formed by Lodril and Orlanth.

When the hordes of Chaos swept over the world during the Darkness, many gods fought back. The Only Old One was one, and he sheltered many who would obey him within his Palace of Black Glass. He founded the Council of Friends which fought the Unity Battle and defeated Chaos.

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Chivalrous is short-hand for "Cult of Hrestol". The cult of Hrestoli imposes a stringent code on its initiates and demands that they: 1. Uphold justice and fight injustice. The Hrestoli ultimatel

Joerg greatly overstates the case here. Orlanth (and indeed most others) is viewed like a Greek deity by the Esrolians - powerful but capricious. Your reading of the Esrolian Grandmothers is just plai

Jeff provided a series of posts on FB today regarding the Holy Country, a couple Silver Age heroes, and Belintar... Some of you might find this interesting - it is a common version of the myth cy

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Jeff's notes on two Silver Age heroes:

MERNGALA THE GREAT QUEEN

Greatest queen of Esrolia, Queen Merngala was the daughter of Esrola. She wielded awesome Earth powers, gained when her goddess mother retired to the Land of Sleep. Her main residence was a palace on Lake Bakan where her army guarded the bodies of the dead. The site is now simply called Necropolis. With the Dawn, Merngala invited the Lightbringers back to Nochet.

Merngala was a mighty priestess with many husbands and is the model all Esrolian queens are compared to. Some husbands were rivals for her at times, even murdering each other as Heort did to Panaxles, or were boon companions, as were Aram ya-Udram and Vathmai Entrulsson. Even the Only Old One was her husband. She had Panaxles and the Strong Man build the great walls around Nochet and invited the Waetagi to set up piers for the dragonships. Merngala had Sestarto decorate the city and temples with countless sculptures inhabited by the gods. She allied with King Heort but did not join his kingdom. Merngala is worshiped as the founder goddess of Nochet.

 

PANAXLES THE ARCHITECT

Panaxles was descended from the Stone-souled builders and was thus related to the dwarfs. His mothers were the Tilntae so prevalent and important in the early ages of the world. Panaxles lived atop the slopes of the Spike before the Great Darkness. When the Spike was destroyed by Chaos, Panaxles managed to land in the place known as the Broken Arms. He was captured by trolls, and made for them the Shadow Plateau to protect the Palace of Black Glass as a fortress against Chaos. The Only Old One set Panaxles free and he wandered throughout Kethaela during the Silver Age.

Panaxles was the great builder of the period. He built the oldest sections of the temple at Ezel; the walls of Nochet; the palace of Queen Merngala; Whitewall; and many other famous buildings. Panaxles became a rival of King Heort over the affections of Queen Merngala, and built for her the great sewers that drain the city of Nochet. It is said that King Heort met Panaxles upon the day the sewers were completed and the first waters rushed through it. Panaxles mentioned his contentment with his creation; Heort agreed, yet added, “It is a shame it is so ugly.” Thus, began one of the most famous feuds of the Silver Age.

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And the final bit on Belintar...

And one last snippet for you all:

THE HOLY COUNTRY

Belintar was a human being who swam ashore from the deadly sea at the Rightarm Island of Sandpaper one bright morning in the year 1313. He had great bearing and power, and quickly proved he was no mere pauper washed ashore. He undertook great trials and travels, and he made important friends quickly. His origins have remained unknown, though all hell knows that the Only Old One tried.

Belintar revealed that he had come to depose the Only Old One and liberate the land from darkness. He did this through the process of mustering ancient allies on Heroquests and opposing the magical forces which aided the Only Old One. Belintar called forth many of the Silver age heroes, plus others of a more recent or different origin. The process was long and difficult. At one point, Belintar was slain and completely devoured. But in the end, he succeeded. He met the Only Old One himself in combat and cast him down and cut him into pieces. Then he pulverized the Palace of Black Glass, covering all the Shadow Plateau with dense, heavy black sand which smothers most life. He made other changes in the land too: raising Loon Island and creating the City of Wonders in the center of the Mirrorsea; digging the New River to divert the Creek-Stream River to flow into the Lyksos River past Nochet, among others. He then took the title of God-King and began his rule.

The ascension of the God-King in 1318 also marks the beginning use of the term Holy Country to describe this land. Belintar first used it in his proclamation of rule and the tribes all about echoed it, for the land was kept holy by the rites arranged by the God-King. It prospered internally and cowed all who might think to invade it. It sent messengers and merchants outward to the west, through Nimistor to Ralios and beyond.

The Holy Country contained many old secrets which people sought. The investigations of the Jrusteli and the Empire of the Wyrms Friends had unleashed terrible powers which changed the face of the world. Heroquesting had explored and released many ancient things which were blamed for the terrible state of life in the Third Age. Thus, most people shied from investigation and heroquesting. Yet such forces cannot be suppressed by official decree nor unnatural fear once they are remembered, and folk across the continent again used them, carefully.

In contrast, Belintar encouraged exploration of the mythic paths that tied the Holy Country together. Belintar himself explored the Other Side many times and each time proved himself worthy of ruling over a part of the population. He divided the Holy Country into six sections – one dedicated to each of the five Elemental Runes, plus one for the Invisible God of the humanist sorcerers. None were equal in either size or splendor, yet each of them were filled with miraculous holy places whose names are known throughout the speaking worlds. They were:

  • Caladraland, the Sixth of Fire;
  • Esrolia, the Sixth of Earth;
  • Heortland, the Sixth of Air;
  • Right Arm Islands, the Sixth of Water;
  • Shadow Plateau, the Sixth of Darkness; and
  • Left Arm Islands (usually called God Forgot), the Sixth of the Invisible God.

At the center of it all was Belintar and his magical palace at the City of Wonders. From here, he arranged the rituals and ceremonies that tied the Sixths together and blessed the whole land.

The extensive cross-cult communication and interaction under Belintar’s patronage resulted in a mythical synthesis that defined the elemental progression as a continuous cycle rather than as a mere set of oppositional conflict. Belintar’s elemental synthesis enabled the six parts of the Holy Country to work together – not only politically and militarily, but magically and mythologically. Under his enlightened rule, the gods of the Holy Country cooperated for the maintenance of the individual, the Holy Country, and the cosmos. The Holy Country became a land of myth and wonder, where the myriads of religious rites brought the gods down weekly, and where magical roads crossed land, sea, and air.

In 1336, Belintar “used up” his body the first time and the first of the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death was held, which resulted in his divine soul blessing a new body. The Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death was part of Belintar’s elemental synthesis. It recharged and made necessary changes to the magical pathways that united the Holy Country’s mythological landscape.

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And a sidenote:

Q: When did they stop calling it Ernaldela?

Jeff: It would appear that Esrolia became the preferred name under the Shadowlands. Esrola was the Only Old One's mother after all. So I suspect at the Dawn, it was called Ernaldela or Esrola, but in the Second Age Esrolia is what it would be called "in Time" and Ernaldela in "God Time".

 

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The Esrolian myths shows that we're still dealing with mutually conflicting, overlapping myths here, which is nice. Panaxles being a being from the God Time and not just a Silver Age Hero is news to me, and his conflation with Lodril's acts is interesting, if wild. Merngala is a new character to me. She kinda seems to be redoing some acts of the various earth goddesses, which I suppose is the point. It's been a while since I read "10k Goddesses", and I wonder how she fits into the timeline put forth there. 

Most of all, I'm very surprised to see Maran and Ernalda's father being named as Lodril. Or, hell, them HAVING a father to begin with. I wonder which groups believe this and why it's not presented in most genealogies we tend to see (like the one in the Sourcebook). Als: not the father of Esrola. Curious. I also wonder to which degree Esrolans identify Lodril with Veskarthan. One would assume they're treated as synonyms in the Holy Country, but who knows.

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3 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Most of all, I'm very surprised to see Maran and Ernalda's father being named as Lodril. Or, hell, them HAVING a father to begin with. I wonder which groups believe this and why it's not presented in most genealogies we tend to see (like the one in the Sourcebook). Als: not the father of Esrola. Curious. I also wonder to which degree Esrolans identify Lodril with Veskarthan. One would assume they're treated as synonyms in the Holy Country, but who knows.

IMG there are a lot of deep earth mysteries at play throughout but it isn't up to me to strip Draupadi bare of her entire sari as it were. Other people can do that more constructively.

Lodril's grudge is a good loose thread to pull on as well. And I love the bit about making important friends. Never know when you're going to wash up somewhere and have to start from scratch.

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34 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Merngala is a new character to me. She kinda seems to be redoing some acts of the various earth goddesses, which I suppose is the point. It's been a while since I read "10k Goddesses", and I wonder how she fits into the timeline put forth there. 

Silver Age is still God Time.  It's the post-Defeat of Chaos, pre-Dawn period.

Book of Heortling Myth and 10K Goddesses both note quite a few of these key figures:  Panaxles and Sestarto, Heort, Merngala, Vogarth, OOO, and a few others.

Merngala, as noted, is the Queen at the Dawn.  Consistent with 10K Goddesses from what I can see.

43 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Panaxles being a being from the God Time and not just a Silver Age Hero is news to me

The origin of Panaxles is new and interesting, as well as how he got to the Holy Country.  Interesting tie-ins to both the dwarfs and the Tilntae.

45 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm very surprised to see Maran and Ernalda's father being named as Lodril.

Lodril's had a long-time association with Asrelia.  And it's probably not too surprising that the Father of Volcanoes is also Father of the Earthquake Goddess.

 

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The Holy Country became a land of myth and wonder, where the myriads of religious rites brought the gods down weekly, and where magical roads crossed land, sea, and air.

The Holy Country as a real, manifest "HOLY" Country!  You (well your grandparents, maybe your parents, assuming a PC in 1625) could have met the gods!  And then it all fell apart because of Harrek and Jar-eel.  In a short 8 years from the Evil Year to Harrek's Sack of the City of Wonders, you go from a Holy Country of Wonders to what must seem like at least the Lesser Darkness come again.

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18 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Lodril's had a long-time association with Asrelia.  And it's probably not too surprising that the Father of Volcanoes is also Father of the Earthquake Goddess.

 

Back in June, I believe, I made a thread asking about this very question, ie. their relation. No answer then. Interesting to get now. Of a kind, at least. 

 

This can also be tied into the complex Heat-Matter interaction of the Entekosiad, as ViSaruDaran interacts with BesedEria (and multiple gradients above and below mirroring this interaction at different levels).

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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Back in June, I believe, I made a thread asking about this very question, ie. their relation. No answer then. Interesting to get now. Of a kind, at least. 

 

This can also be tied into the complex Heat-Matter interaction of the Entekosiad, as ViSaruDaran interacts with BesedEria (and multiple gradients above and below mirroring this interaction at different levels).

I wonder if the childrin of Lodril, or Turos other children have correlations with some of the other volcano gods in Maniria and the Holy Country (Pelushi, Howler, Caladra and Aurelion. etc).  I'm guessing no, but I'm unsure.  I guess it would make sense that a greater deity like Lodril is known in many places, but his children tend to be more geographically specific.

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Merngala as queen of the Necropolis and wife of Heort and Panaxles is weird. P.34 of "Esrolia, land of 10k Goddesses" gives different details, among others giving the rivalry between Panaxles and Sestarto (a story which has been among us for decades).

Sure, every male leader would have undergone a ritual year marriage with the leading Earth Queen at some time. Even Heort, who was married to the demigoddess Ivarne, may have extended his protection as the high king to Nochet through such a rite. As for him slaying Panaxles, if he did so, then jealousy would not have been the reason, rather a disagreement over where and what the Architect had built. Panaxles' suicide after his rage killing of Sestarto still makes the better story.

Aram ya Udram and Vathmai as her boon companions are new - Aram held the Necklace of Kero Fin and had re-located to the Ivory Plinth at the Dawn, but he would have started from Esrolia when he chased Gouger. The name Vathmai has previously been a tribal name, part of the Lightbringers Missionary story when Lalmor brought the Lightbringers' methods to Maniria with force in the second century ST.

Panaxles and the Shadow Plateau - I find it hard to believe that the obviously volcanic trunk of the plateau would have been an architectural feat. Axe Hall and Esrola's throne as features on the plateau I can see having been built by the Architect.

But then the Esrolian interpretative sovereignty over their misdeeds that caused discord, death and even Chaos among their husband-protectors is quite blatant.

 

Merngala as the founder goddess of Nochet is a bit weird, too - Nochet pre-existed her reign by a lot. She did reign during the resettlement of the city abandoned by Norinel, and the city wasn't abandoned afterwards (not even after the Devastation of the Vent), so having her as the city wyter might work out. But then the families hiding in the Blackmaw had not completely abandoned the city, either.

 

I hope that "Sandpaper" is a spell checker alteration of "Sindpaper" and not the new official spelling...

 

God Forgot - the Sixth of the Invisible God, or the Sixth of the Man Rune / the Humanist world view?

 

And who slew Faralinthor? I have seen the names of Umath (a bit difficult, as Faralinthor appeared only after Umath's dismemberment), Vadrus, and now the Storm King.

But then, in an Esrolian myth, things would be blamed on Orlanth. Ernalda's marriage to Orlanth is depicted as the deal with the lesser Devil, and no chance to give male agency bad reputation is left out. The Grandmothers' reign is based on what I see as a huge whitewash of their selfish betrayal in the face of fighting Chaos in the Sword and Helm Saga. Esrolia First! and the rest of the world may go to Chaos. Do we know the name of the Queen who betrayed Rastagar and whose actions invited Nontraya?

 

 

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Merngala as queen of the Necropolis and wife of Heort and Panaxles is weird. P.34 of "Esrolia, land of 10k Goddesses" gives different details, among others giving the rivalry between Panaxles and Sestarto (a story which has been among us for decades).

Sure, every male leader would have undergone a ritual year marriage with the leading Earth Queen at some time. Even Heort, who was married to the demigoddess Ivarne, may have extended his protection as the high king to Nochet through such a rite. As for him slaying Panaxles, if he did so, then jealousy would not have been the reason, rather a disagreement over where and what the Architect had built. Panaxles' suicide after his rage killing of Sestarto still makes the better story.

Aram ya Udram and Vathmai as her boon companions are new - Aram held the Necklace of Kero Fin and had re-located to the Ivory Plinth at the Dawn, but he would have started from Esrolia when he chased Gouger. The name Vathmai has previously been a tribal name, part of the Lightbringers Missionary story when Lalmor brought the Lightbringers' methods to Maniria with force in the second century ST.

Panaxles and the Shadow Plateau - I find it hard to believe that the obviously volcanic trunk of the plateau would have been an architectural feat. Axe Hall and Esrola's throne as features on the plateau I can see having been built by the Architect.

But then the Esrolian interpretative sovereignty over their misdeeds that caused discord, death and even Chaos among their husband-protectors is quite blatant.

 

Merngala as the founder goddess of Nochet is a bit weird, too - Nochet pre-existed her reign by a lot. She did reign during the resettlement of the city abandoned by Norinel, and the city wasn't abandoned afterwards (not even after the Devastation of the Vent), so having her as the city wyter might work out. But then the families hiding in the Blackmaw had not completely abandoned the city, either.

 

I hope that "Sandpaper" is a spell checker alteration of "Sindpaper" and not the new official spelling...

 

God Forgot - the Sixth of the Invisible God, or the Sixth of the Man Rune / the Humanist world view?

 

And who slew Faralinthor? I have seen the names of Umath (a bit difficult, as Faralinthor appeared only after Umath's dismemberment), Vadrus, and now the Storm King.

But then, in an Esrolian myth, things would be blamed on Orlanth. Ernalda's marriage to Orlanth is depicted as the deal with the lesser Devil, and no chance to give male agency bad reputation is left out. The Grandmothers' reign is based on what I see as a huge whitewash of their selfish betrayal in the face of fighting Chaos in the Sword and Helm Saga. Esrolia First! and the rest of the world may go to Chaos. Do we know the name of the Queen who betrayed Rastagar and whose actions invited Nontraya?

 

 

Joerg greatly overstates the case here. Orlanth (and indeed most others) is viewed like a Greek deity by the Esrolians - powerful but capricious. Your reading of the Esrolian Grandmothers is just plain weird - I guess maybe that is the opinion of some Storm Voices at Wintertop, but is unlikely to be held by anyone in the Holy Country (and few in Sartar). These stories are ancient - the Esrolian Grandmothers are farther away from the Gloranthan NOW as the tales of Alexander and his knights were from Jacques de Longuyon when he wrote about the Nine Worthies. It is a foundational tale, but by 1625 it is mighty garbled. Basically it boils down to - the old kings fought feuded among themselves and endangered everything with their internal fights, and so after the last straw, the Grandmothers took power for their own protection. That's why in Esrolia the Earth Temples rule directly.

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7 hours ago, Nevermet said:

I wonder if the childrin of Lodril, or Turos other children have correlations with some of the other volcano gods in Maniria and the Holy Country (Pelushi, Howler, Caladra and Aurelion. etc).  I'm guessing no, but I'm unsure.  I guess it would make sense that a greater deity like Lodril is known in many places, but his children tend to be more geographically specific.

Caladra and Aurelion, two of the most prominent children, were spread across much of the Homeward Ocean.  Possibly linked together by the Godlearners.

The old cults writeup notes about the Holy Places: The three main temples and holy places are: The Breakwater, located on Jrustela Island; Meetinghall Mountain, the highest surviving mountain in the Slontos Isles; and Caladra’s Vent, the largest active volcano in the Holy Country. At these three sites, the old volcanic fires are constantly active, though seldom violent, even though the nearby mountains are dormant.

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58 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Caladra and Aurelion, two of the most prominent children, were spread across much of the Homeward Ocean.  Possibly linked together by the Godlearners.

The old cults writeup notes about the Holy Places: The three main temples and holy places are: The Breakwater, located on Jrustela Island; Meetinghall Mountain, the highest surviving mountain in the Slontos Isles; and Caladra’s Vent, the largest active volcano in the Holy Country. At these three sites, the old volcanic fires are constantly active, though seldom violent, even though the nearby mountains are dormant.

The Argan Argar Atlas makes me assume that the highest mountain in the Slontos Isles is less than 300 m above sea level. Meetinghall Mountain is not shown anywhere on the maps.

Is there a chance that Meetinghall has been pulled into the Mournsea during the Devastation of the Vent? Maybe Santorini is how it looks like in the Third Age.

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More good stuff shared by Jeff:

VOGARTH
Vogarth was the Strong Man. He was huge, strong, and generally kind, but noted for his dull mind as well as his great power. He was the strongest man in the world.
He did many great deeds. The Strong Man was always ready to engage in challenges of strength. A huge stone giant once came and threatened the Only Old One, who called for Vogarth’s help. He came running and cracked the stone giant with his hammer and saved the Only Old One. He threw a dragonship onto the Palace of Black Glass, and the trolls ate the Waertagi. Another time he challenged Jeri Babo, called the Immovable Person, and pushed him off his chosen place. Another time, he carried the wondrous Living Stone Tree from the Footprint to Queen Merngala’s palace. She took him as her husband for while, and had him build the walls around her city.
 
In modern Esrolia, his is a cult of oiled and perfumed bodybuilders, who work out in the buff in the plazas of every Esrolian cities.
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And:

HISTORY OF KETHAELA - THE FIRST AGE
Kethaela is an ancient name for the region now called the Holy Country. The land was named for the goddess Ketha, the wife of Entru and mother of Entruli, who came from this region but left for the West. There are many myths of this area and its creation. These myths include the making of the Mirrorsea, Ezel, the Footprint, the Stormwalk Mountain, the Palace of Black Glass, the Shadow Plateau, the Vent, and many other minor places.
The history of the region boasts a period between the Unity Battle and the Dawn called the Silver Age to mark its increasing splendor. Under the guidance of the Only Old One, the many races and tribes of Kethaela and Dragon Pass formed a council to speak to each other and work out the problems of their mutual defense. This was the Unity Council, or, as it is sometimes known, the World Council of Friends. At the Dawn, the peoples of the Unity Council spread throughout the world bringing the news of the Lightbringers to people still in hiding. At first even the Elder Races cooperated with each other, as they had in the Unity Battle, but eventually the unity weakened.
The dwarves of Gemborg were the first group to dissent. Their leader, Martaler of the Blazing Forge, and the Only Old One fought hand to hand, and the Only Old One proved he was no troll, for iron did not burn him. But the Mostali master still rebelled, and his human followers used volcanic powers from their area to drive off troll armies in 123.
Despite such occasional setbacks, the Dawn Council sent many missionaries and peoples out into the world to free them from the fear and ignorance which spread everywhere during the Darkness. Parties from Kethaela set off westwards into the lands of the Entruli and the Pralori with mixed success. These people were famed for their hatred and violence. It was only when King Lalmor set off with his tribe, the Vathmai, and reached Slontos in 115 that the Lightbringers were firmly entrenched into the culture of the region.
In the First Age, Kethaela was commonly known as the Shadowlands. The Only Old One preferred to surround himself with trolls, who loved him most dearly. To outsiders, trolls seemed to rule this land. Merchants rarely penetrated inland past the coastal cities of Nochet and Karse, and Goldentongue merchants spun haunting tales of wild Dragon Pass, deeper in the mountains. In the contemporary maps made by sea-goers, all the areas beyond Dragon Pass were labelled “Krjalki,” a Western word meaning “chaos monster” or “demon.” The map makers never visited there, but heard only stories of Lightbringers who hated the distant Pelorians.
The Shadowlands were a brooding and menacing entity for peoples who sailed past this coast. The trolls treated fairly with any ambassadors who came to them, but official policy was to defend the region against the forces which might come from the south. The trolls had no delusions about being able to expand into the lands of Slontos, while the humans there had no grandiose or foolish ideas about moving against a land ruled by trolls where the light did not work right and whose humans claimed a friendship with the dragons that lived in the north.
The Waertagi were the common boat people on the sea, and found eager allies in the Mirrorsea. The Triolini there preferred their watery cousins (the Waertagi) to the Only Old One, a male demi-god who was a son of Argan Argar. The Only Old One thereby lost a valuable subject but gained a loyal ally. The Waertagi asked to set up some trading ports in the area which were graciously allowed.
The island peoples thrived tending to the coastal commerce of the region. They never developed any major cities of their own but instead had a loose confederation of islanders who elected an annual Son of Choralinthor who dealt with the shipping authorities in Slontos for tribute and hiring.
When the High Council of the Lands of Genertela sought to create a new god, the trolls and Heortling tribes left, resulting in the Broken Council. The Only Old One remained loyal to the trolls, and armies from Kethaela were among those which opposed Gbaji and were defeated at the Battle of Night and Day in 379. Kethaela was conquered by the Broken Council’s forces and placed under the rule of Palangio the Iron Vrok, a cruel warrior backed up by terrible magic. Despite great efforts, Palangio never succeeded in destroying the Only Old One and his Palace of Black Glass. Though there were some bandit groups, such as the Hendriki, who evaded capture, the rule of Palangio was largely complete and peaceable. Great caravans and armies marched from Kethaela to bring the bright word of Chaos to Slontos and beyond.
In Dragon Pass, Harmast Barefoot gathered allies and, in 420, became the first mortal to follow in Orlanth’s path and travel the Lightbringers’ Quest.
The strength of the Iron Vrok weakened in 432 when distant Slontos fell to the approaching army of Arkat Chaosfoe. The Waertagi had been raiding sporadically throughout the period, but now the raids were bolder and came more often.
When Arkat and his main army arrived in 433 to liberate Kethaela, he was opposed by a great force, though less than Palangio had hoped. Many of his subjects stayed away, such as the volcano priests of Caladraland; or were occupied by other foes such as the Hendriki in the Storm Hills, the Slontos army to the west, or the trolls who seemed to be everywhere. Arkat’s landing was successful, the dwarfs retreated to Gemborg, and Palangio was forced north toward Dragon Pass.
Arkat the Heroquester had taken great pains to make his landing successful. He mastered the art of heroquester and demonstrated his great courage by undertaking the tasks again and again. He often visited the Other Side to speak to or return with the spirits and heroes of old. In Kethaela, for example, he summoned forth King Heort, Vogarth Strong Man, and Tessele the True, all Silver Age heroes who had vanished from life centuries ago.
By heroquesting, Arkat assured himself of superior knowledge, surprise, and regenerative strength for each step of his increasingly difficult campaign. To enter Dragon Pass, he mustered ancient allies of his Unbreakable Sword, and later he called forth all the troll heroes he could remember. With an army of Orlanthi and trolls, Arkat crossed the Dragonspine in 437 and continued his war into Peloria.
Arkat was no conqueror and tried to leave behind a stable government everywhere he went to ensure continued cooperation in his war against Chaos. The Only Old One was reinstated as ruler of his land and it was again called the Shadowlands.
 
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And something that @Nevermet might find of interest, Jeff noted the relationship between Kethaela and Slontos:

Now something that always gets overlooked is the importance of Slontos in early Kethaelan history. From something I have posted elsewhere:
At the Dawn the Elk People, the children of Pralor, were the residents here. Their population was thin at first, but the relative ease of the Dawn Age allowed for population expansion in all directions. Clans and families migrated in all directions until they came into conflict with neighboring peoples.
The traditional foes lived to the south and were called the Entruli. These were a branch of the Mraloti, or boar-folk, who had survived the Darkness in relative strength and delivered their civilization to their cousins after the sun rose. Thus, the Entruli ruled all of the peoples to the south.
The Entruli valued their civilization highly and looked with contempt on their neighbors. They coveted the lands inland from their civilization, and were happy to combat the Elk People for it. The Pralori, in their turn, were glad to gain the wealth of civilization through plunder rather than work. Thus, the region quickly reverted to the combats and troubles off the Darkness, as if nothing had changed since the Gods War.
In the year 97, the Entruli did what the Pralori could never do. Their ruler broke an ancient taboo which angered the gods. A great flood came rushing upon the land, drowning everything in its way and destroying the land. Only the capital, Porluftha, escaped because a Kolat clung madly to the buildings and held firm as the water washed over him. The city and its ancient inhabitants were preserved in a great air bubble undersea, lost to the outside world, undiscovered for many years.
Without their traditional dynasty, the Entruli treated each other like foes. The Pralori plundered often, the Entruli destroyed each other’s strongholds, and it seemed as if a powerful Elk person would become leader here easily.
Instead, there came a leader who was related to the old Entruli dynasty. He and his tribe came from the Shadowlands, where the Only Old One ruled over a nation of trolls and subject populations. A time had come when the Only Old One offered many of his subjects their freedom if they left his lands, or else commanded them to accept his rule.
The leader was named Lalmor, and his tribe were the Vathmai. He united the Entruli, helped them rebuild their strongholds, and led them to a great victory in driving off the Pralori. He arrived in 115, was finished with his victories by 122, and died in 138.
King Lalmor’s arrival was more than simply a unification of the Entruli peoples. He brought a new religion with him, and he was also aided by many inhuman peoples. Lalmor came from Dragon Pass, where the Unity Council had been formed and where they worshiped the world-saving Lightbringers. Lalmor brought worship of Orlanth and his pantheon. With these new cults he was clearly ascendant.
When the Lightbringer missionaries left the coastal Entruli lands and moved to enlighten the Pralori they were, in general, well received. The Pralori recognized the superiority of the new gods over their own animistic spirits. It did not unify the tribe, not did it split it.
The Lightbringers faith did not ensure the unity of the Entruli. After the death of Lalmor in 122 the Entruli heirs divided his lands into several kingdoms. Some were coastal and thrived upon the increasing sea-trade borne by the ship-living Waertagi race which ruled the surface waters. Some were buffer states between the coastal cities and the inland barbarians. Others were barbarian kingdoms living in woods and plains.
The Entruli and Pralori mixed in many places, blurring their original tribes and creating peoples who did not worship the animal gods Entru or Mralota or Pralor. These nations took the names of their kingdoms, such as the Ramalians and Wenelians and Manirians. In Pralorela the people continued to be called that ancient name through the whole period.
The Pralori first contacted the cult of Nysalor when missionaries from the north brought word and gifts of their new god. Like many places in the world, Pralorela was being swept by an awful plague which devastated the people. The Nysalor missionaries could heal it, and they could also cure many other ills. The Pralori were quick to adapt to the cult, and its subsidiary gods.
The Nysalorean Pralori united under the religion, and they also chose to worship the gods who were friendly to Nysalor. Thus, the cult of Yelm gained an ascendancy among the Pralori which it had not enjoyed before. Some allies, most adventurous mercenaries, were gained from norther peoples from Ralios. The Yelmite Pralori attacked the southern kingdoms, and there began another long and terrible war. Some of the Vathmai nations also embraced Nysalor, and the Pralori claim that these southerners were the first to use the Dark Side of their god to gain their own ends. This is discounted by most scholars, but it is certain that this whole region was embroiled in an increasingly difficult and vile war. One instance is recorded of a Nysalorean army meeting a Gbaji army on the field, and in the fight everyone was killed except the priests of both cults.
Pralori armies aided Tanisor, a leading nation of Ralios, when they fought against Arkat, an enemy invader from a distant land. The Pralori army, like so many others, was crushed.
Eventually the forces of Gbaji the Deceiver gained the upper hand. Many Chaos creatures, especially the vile broos, were increasing in the land. People seeking a decent way of life were driven to a smaller and smaller region. Kaxtorplose, the sacred city of the demigod Kaxtor, was one of the last places which remained untainted by Chaos as the wars raged. Thus Ralios fell to the cleansing armies of Arkat but the Pralori and Entruli were all but devoured.
Arkat’s cleansing scourge went far and wide. He arrived in Pralorela by land and sea, in Waertagi ships carrying Seshnegi and Brithini troops, and in great columns of Lightbringer barbarians from Ralios who follow the Unbreakable Sword. They concentrated on relieving Kaxtorplose, and then on liberating the centers of coastal population. Some Pralori, huddled among the refugees of Kaxtorplose, agreed to help convert their people away from the evil god. They were aided by the remnants of the coastal population in this. Their main gods were the Lightbringers, who refused all contact with the gods of Light and of Chaos, and also the religion of Malkion in its Brithini and Seshnegi form.
The cleansing of Pralorela was never as complete as anyone wished. When Arkat slew Gbaji in 450 and ended the cosmic battle, this land was still plagued. The natives did their best, but the broos could always find refuge in the marshes, and the natives were never dominant enough to force a final solution. The region became popular for all peoples seeking Chaos to destroy, and who had the time and courage to search the treacherous marsh. Many Pralori were proud to be among those hunters over the generations, and they were also experts at marsh survival and so gained great local fame and riches.
The end of the First Age saw the region little-changed from the Dawn. The people were slightly more educated in the ways of the cosmos and new gods were worshiped. They owned some manufactured goods, plundered from the coast and handed down over the generations, but they had no great cities of their own, nor any inspired leaders to lift them from their squalor. But the people were not unhappy, and lived good lives when they were not harassed by enemies.
 
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And a few more Manirian notes:

Caladraland extended to the Pelushi Volcano and served as a buffer between Wenelia and Esrolia. "Haraldland" is now the Old Woods and Longsiland, and Kotorsland is what is now the Ditali and Thomble.  A Lightbringers dynasty ruled in Herolal and Wenelia, originally from the Unity Council lands.
 
Herolal gets conquered by the Broken Council around 401, and Maniria by 413. These campaigns were, I believe, spearheaded by Palangio the Iron Vrok. A crazy period when Dara Happan mystics commanded armies with Storm cultists, dragonewt mercenaries, iron dwarfs, and elf bowmen.
 
 
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6 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Caladra and Aurelion, two of the most prominent children, were spread across much of the Homeward Ocean.  Possibly linked together by the Godlearners.

The old cults writeup notes about the Holy Places: The three main temples and holy places are: The Breakwater, located on Jrustela Island; Meetinghall Mountain, the highest surviving mountain in the Slontos Isles; and Caladra’s Vent, the largest active volcano in the Holy Country. At these three sites, the old volcanic fires are constantly active, though seldom violent, even though the nearby mountains are dormant.

Does Meetinghall Mountain still exist?  I can't find it anywhere.

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4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

And something that @Nevermet might find of interest, Jeff noted the relationship between Kethaela and Slontos:

 

Yes!  Yes, I do 🙂

 

A few reactions: 

  • It fits with something I had already guessed, which is that when Entru went west, he created a community that welcomed in many other people, including ex-Hsunchen. I suspect the Holy Country is most aware of the Boar associations because of Harand's attempts to take Arrowmound.  
  • Jeff mentioned the bit about Porluftha / Erenplose before, and it blew my mind that it sunk after the Dawn.
    • Also, Maniria gets a divine flood once per age, it would seem.  First the destruction of Porluftha, then the sinking of Slontos, and then whatever the Hero Wars Flood takes.
  • The Pralori are just fascinating
    • I wonder if Yelm remained actively worshipped by the Pralori after Nysalor left.  It would help explain why they are some of the most "imperialistic" Hsunchen I know of.
    • EDIT: Also, in my Pralori thread, there was at least a little discussion of when the Pralori showed up in Maniria.  It's now confirmed that they were there either at the Dawn or very soon after.
  • Its good to have confirmation that Malkionism was present on the coasts of Maniria by the time Arkat showed up.  
  • It also makes sense that the coast of Maniria had a lot of Lightbringer worship, probably imported by the Vathmai.
    • I'm not 100% sure what Pre-Vathmai Entruling religion looked like.  While it was definitely Orlanthi, it was also probably quite different than the Vingkotlings.  Probably much more animistic, due to the Hsunchen and Aldryami influences.
Edited by Nevermet
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30 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

Does Meetinghall Mountain still exist?  I can't find it anywhere.

Found it in Blood over Gold.  It is listed there as south of Lukae, just to the east of the current Ramalian coast.

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4 hours ago, jajagappa said:
Caladraland extended to the Pelushi Volcano and served as a buffer between Wenelia and Esrolia. "Haraldland" is now the Old Woods and Longsiland, and Kotorsland is what is now the Ditali and Thomble.  A Lightbringers dynasty ruled in Herolal and Wenelia, originally from the Unity Council lands.
 

Another theory that I feel is justifiable but not proven:

According to the Guide, Herolal "dominated the surrounding lands until the kingdom was torn apart by a feud between the king and its most powerful champion, Fodalor, who was exiled in 315. The ruling dynasty was wiped out in civil war and political contact with Dragon Pass was lost in 320."

Thought it is not stated, I lean toward thinking that this was a conflict between the local Entruli population and a population from Kethaela.  This tension also brought down the earlier Herlaning kingdoms.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Nevermet said:
    • Also, Maniria gets a divine flood once per age, it would seem.  First the destruction of Porluftha, then the sinking of Slontos, and then whatever the Hero Wars Flood takes.
  •  

Do we have any sort of writing on the nature of the region's Land Goddess that explains this? Sometimes it seems like the quakes are imposed externally, sometimes it seems they're caused by internal mythic mechanisms. It'd be interesting to have some lore that perhaps shows a mythic precedent for why Maniria tends to, uh, roll over, every once in a while. 

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6 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Do we have any sort of writing on the nature of the region's Land Goddess that explains this? Sometimes it seems like the quakes are imposed externally, sometimes it seems they're caused by internal mythic mechanisms. It'd be interesting to have some lore that perhaps shows a mythic precedent for why Maniria tends to, uh, roll over, every once in a while. 

I am not currently aware of such a piece that is written.  However, it is something I need to either find or write.  I don't even have disorganized thoughts about this, but here are some mythical elements I know should probably be accounted for in the discussion (I'm sure there are others):

  • Maniria is a land people keep going to, rather than coming from.  This includes a land goddess, Ketha, the land goddess of the Holy Country, who left the Holy Country during the Storm Age.  I don't have a full handle on the consequences of this, but it seems very noteworthy.
  • Maniria is where Heler swore fealty to Orlanth after rescuing them from Aroka.
  • Just as there are multiple floods, is there something like the Goddess Switch and/or the reading of the Book of Secrets that can be identified for the other Floods?
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