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Yelmalio defends the Stead


Martin Dick

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So, we know that most Sartarite Elmali went over to Yelmalio and realised that he had deeper and truer secrets than Elmal. But this raises the issue that the Elmal myth of guarding the stead, then needs to be replaced as it's a pretty damn useful HeroQuest. So, here's a first draft based on the myths from the Book of Heortling Mythology, any feedback/improvements very welcome

Yelmalio defends the Stead

It was in those darkest of times, Orlanth and the other LightBringers had been long gone on their quest and little hope remained at the stead. Ernalda lay sleeping. Babeester Gor, that mightiest of defenders had been wounded after many battles and was dedicated to guarding her Mother’s body. The Fyrd were despondent and many of them had died valiantly defending the stead. Besanga the Grey, handmaiden of Ernalda and the carrier of burdens took it upon herself to go look for help as she had briefly seen a faint light in the north and Kev had muttered in her sleep that evil things were coming to the stead and all their lives were in danger. After several days trying to find the light, she saw a warrior dressed in golden armour, wielding a strong spear in one hand and a mighty shield in the other, saving some elves from ice beasts. As he fought his light shone all around causing a minor break in the terrible Darkness that lay on the land.

“Great Warrior” she said. “Can you come to our stead and defend us?” The warrior looked upon her and said “Earth Woman, you are not of my tribe or clan or family. There are many who need help at this time, why should this one come and defend you?” Besanga replied “We suffer greatly at this time and life gets ever harder, your light is both beautiful and wonderful in this world of darkness and charity is something that none can afford, so you have my word that my mistress Ernalda and I will reward you greatly for your efforts, if you defend the stead with us”. Yelmalio was taken by the sincerity of the handmaiden’s words and having heard of the generosity of Ernalda agreed to aid her and reached out with his hand and forged a pact between them

Besanga transformed into her horse then carried him back to the stead. There he came upon the Fyrd and they were rowdy and noisy and did not like this stranger, so one of them challenged him, but Yelmalio quickly defeated him and threw him to the ground with his strong spear which quieted them down to some extent. Yelmalio then look upon the ragged crew and felt that he would need a truly great reward, for though they seemed to be strong, there was little discipline amongst them. Then he spotted in their midst, his cousin from long ago in the sky and he called him out with his sky name. His cousin came forth and said “In this place, I use the name Rigsdal” and Yelmalio told him that he did not care what name he used, but that he was appointing him the watcher for the stead for his eyes were as good as any star and that he needed to get up on top of the stead and keep an eye out.

And it was good that he did, for creatures of darkness came upon the stead only a few hours later and but for Rigsdal’s keen eye that could see though the night, they would’ve been in the stead before anyone would have known it. A terrible fight ensued, the Fyrd fought valiantly and gloriously against the insatiable darkness but they fought as individuals and did not protect each other and two measures of the Fyrd died in that battle. None of the Fyrd could stand against the terrible Demon of Darkness that led them and all would’ve been lost save for the light and bravery of Yelmalio who stood against him and fought him to a standstill, despite taking many wounds. He may have died that day, but Rigsdal was able to circle behind the demon and shoot him with his star arrows, which gave Yelmalio one last chance to give the distracted demon a deep wound with his strong spear thus driving him and his followers away. Besanga then came to the gravely wounded Yelmalio and took upon herself the burden of his wounds and he rose again, though his power of fire had been greatly diminished and Besanga could not bring them back.

 

The Fyrd was now grateful to Yelmalio and so when he taught them the Blessing of the Shield Wall and how each brother can protect those beside them, they all worked hard to learn this new way and put it in to practice. It was good that they did, for not too long after they had it ready, another enemy came upon the stead. The men of the green-walled city led by the dreadful Shargash came to sack the stead. Again, the battle raged but this time the Fyrd fought as one and only one measure died in the battle. Yelmalio led them and bore the brunt of the fight with the atrocious Shargash for many hours and when it looked like Yelmalio would no longer be able to endure, from the stead burst out Babeester Gor enraged by the noise and the disrespect shown to her Mother. She unleashed her fury upon the hateful Shargash and drove him from the stead. She then staggered back to the stead calling for beer to ease her wounds. Besanga then came and bound Yelmalio’s wounds and praised his valour and brought him what little in the way of luxuries remained.

Soon, another threat came upon the stead, small strange creatures came around the stead digging holes and getting in the way and trying to take the stead’s wall apart. Then when they were stopped, the weird earthen denizens, summoned giants made of stone and attacked. The battle lasted many days, the Fyrd fought as one and were able to fend off many attacks though two measures died during the assaults. Again, Yelmalio led the defence and took many wounds from the stone giants while turning them to rubble. All seemed lost but then the King of the Forest arrived and attacked the stone dwellers, for he was a friend of Yelmalio and owed him for the many times that he had saved his subjects and he also hated them for the wrongs they had done to Aldrya. Once again, Besanga tended to the wounded Yelmalio and cleaned his gear and weapons and prepared him a bed to sleep on to recover from his efforts.

Yelmalio defended the stead many time at great cost, but the last and greatest was when Chaos came upon the stead. It was Rigsdal who first saw it or perhaps did not see it. He came to Yelmalio and said “Something strange is on the horizon, something that I have never seen before” and soon they could see a great horde of Chaos creatures advancing upon the stead. The horde was led by two great monsters, Ovodaka who was the Foe of Ernalda and Teghern and his minions: Author of Sores, Teller of Lies and Eater of Skin. Gathered with them was a multitude of horrific creatures, warped by Chaos. Yet the Fyrd was not broken by this as they knew that if they fought as one, then led by the light of Yelmalio they would win and survive.

First, the Author of Sores, a writhing boiling abomination of sore-ridden flesh approached the stead and Yelmalio went to fight it. It unleashed its terrible plagues upon him, but his light protected him and he struck it a terrible blow in return, but its flesh boiled and reformed. Then Yelmalio knew that he must make a sacrifice, taking the plague upon himself, he unleashed the last of his Fire and burnt both the plague in himself and the Author of Sores to ash.

Second, the Teller of Lies, a small withered corpse of an old man, came forward and though it looked much less dangerous than the previous monster, Yelmalio could sense his mind being to warp and his Light begin to fade away. Yet he reached into the depths of his power and manifested the Truth of his soul and the Telller of Lies that had Nothing inside could not stand the Truth filling it and its head exploded and its spirit was destroyed.

Third, Teghern ordered the Eater of Skin to the battle, and the creature a weird mix of both frog and insect with rasping teeth and tongue leapt at Yelmalio and attacked with its rending Song. It was a long battle and during it, the impatient Ovodaka leapt over Yelmalio who it wished to avoid if it can, leapt over the walls that were far from high enough and leapt over the Fyrd who it did not even notice at all, and went to find Ernalda, but that is not Yelmalio’s story. So, the battle went on for hours and first his golden armour was broken and then his body was broken, but his spirit was still whole and he fought on, for Yelmalio had taken many wounds in his life and he always fought on regardless. So, throwing away his broken shield, he grabbed his strong spear with both hands and with all his remaining might brought it down and skewered the Eater of Skin, and with the mighty blow, his strong spear shattered, but so did the Eater of Skin never to arise again. Sinking to his knees, he saw Teghern with his two noses like mammoth trunks, four horns on his head, and four hands upon a snake’s body signal the horde to advance upon the stead and it itself with an evil grin upon its face advanced upon Yelmalio. Yelmalio whose legs were shattered wondered how he might fight against this dread foe but then Besanga came to him as a horse and carried him in to battle. Drawing upon his last energies, he rode in to combat with Teghern knowing that he could not win, but that he had not yet lost. Just as he was about to suffer the final stroke, Besanga threw herself in to the battle bearing Babeester’s mighty shield to take the blow. The shield shattered under the Chaos creature’s strike and Besanga and Yelmalio were thrown down to the ground but both of them still lived. Yelmalio then knew that while he could not save himself, but he could sacrifice to save the stead. Thus he called upon his power of Light in his right hand and his power of Truth in his left hand and used them together to deliver a death blow to Teghern, leaving himself with none of his powers. The Fyrd seeing his valiant sacrifice had slain the Chaos Horde’s leader were inspired and swept the horde from the field though 3 measures of them died in doing so. Besanga then took the body of Yelmalio and descended into the Earth with it to where her mistress Ernalda was sleeping and called upon her to pay Yelmalio the rewards that she had promised him. And even though Ernalda was sleeping nigh unto death, she made Yelmalio her Husband-Protector and gave him her blessings and barred his soul from the Underworld and brought him back restored via her magics, though his Fire powers were gone forever.

 

Heroquest Stations

1.     Finding Yelmalio

2.     Forging the Pact

3.     Taming the Fyrd

4.     Recognising Rigsdal

5.     Drive off Zorak Zoran and the Trolls– 2 measures of the Fyrd die (20%)

6.     Training the Fyrd – gain Blessing of the Shield Wall

7.     Drive off Shargash and survive until Babeester Gor arrives - 1 measure of the Fyrd die (10%)

8.     Drive off the Mostali and Jolanti until High King Elf arrives – 1 measure of the Fyrd die (20%)

9.     Fight the Chaos Horde led by Teghern and Ovodaka – 3 measures of the Fyrd die (30%)

          o   Defeat Author of Sores with Fire

          o   Defeat Teller of Lies with Truth

          o   Defeat Eater of Skin with his spear two-handedly

10.  Aided and saved by Besanga, sacrifices himself and defeats Teghern

11.  Saved by Ernalda

Consequences

·       Yelmalian heroquester – loses their Fire Rune and has it replaced with a Light Rune at +10%

·       Yelmalian heroquester gains Immortality/Endurance?

·       The Stead is saved and gains Light and Truth defences for the year. Ernaldan hero-quester and Yelmalian heroquester are in a year marriage (at least)

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15 hours ago, Martin Dick said:

... The Fyrd seeing his valiant sacrifice had slain the Chaos Horde’s leader were inspired and swept the horde from the field though 3 measures of them died in doing so. Besanga then took the body of Yelmalio and descended into the Earth with it to where her mistress Ernalda was sleeping and called upon her to pay Yelmalio the rewards that she had promised him. And even though Ernalda was sleeping nigh unto death, she made Yelmalio her Husband-Protector and gave him her blessings and barred his soul from the Underworld and brought him back restored via her magics, though his Fire powers were gone forever. ...

Ability to be restored to life, no matter what harm has befallen, through being buried in the Earth? Being buried then rising from the dead? That could cause some confusion... 🙂

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1 hour ago, EricW said:

Ability to be restored to life, no matter what harm has befallen, through being buried in the Earth? Being buried then rising from the dead? That could cause some confusion... 🙂

I didn't click to the parallel 😑 but I'm basing it as a variation on what's been discussed with the full Hill of Gold heroquest from Sandy where the successful quester gets full on physical immortality (i.e. cut their head off and they still live), but the coming back/immortality should come from Yelmalio himself rather than from Ernalda, so I've modified it as follows:

And even though Ernalda was sleeping nigh unto death, she made Yelmalio her Husband-Protector and gave him her blessings and barred his soul from leaving for the Underworld and then while lying there in the cold Earth next to his wife, Yelmalio understood the power of the Cold Light that remains when the Fire has gone and he rekindled the last enduring spark of his soul and he arose and he kissed his wife and went up and brought the new Cold Light to the world that lasted until his Father returned to the Sky. Still his Fire powers were gone forever, but as all who follow him know, the price needs to be paid.

 

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3 hours ago, Martin Dick said:

Still his Fire powers were gone forever, but as all who follow him know, the price needs to be paid.

Since I'm replaying it for roughly the thousandth time, this puts me in mind of how Six Ages presents the myth of Hippogriff becoming Horse, with the loss of her wings, claws, and fangs ultimately being a shedding of unnecessary parts, allowing her to become who she needed to be so that she and the people who now depend on her could survive.

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6 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

At some point years ago (on Earth, not Glorantha) there was a Vinga myth of her rallying the women and helping guard the Stead, with some competition and rivalry with Yelmalio.  Not sure if this still applies or how this should fit in.

well Vinga is a competitor because she's Orlanth (previously, Orlanth's nibling if you preferred) and thus the other spouse, Wind v. Fire. The third "small competitor" was Heler, who is Water and neither male nor female.

These "small-spouse" conflicts were one reason I liked Elmal-guards-the-Stead over Yelmalio (yes, I accept the Evangelical Church of Yelmalio as canon). It was a comradely competition that let us see who impressed Ernalda this year and got to be her lover and what kind of summer we'd have.

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6 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

At some point years ago (on Earth, not Glorantha) there was a Vinga myth of her rallying the women and helping guard the Stead, with some competition and rivalry with Yelmalio.  Not sure if this still applies or how this should fit in.

Can't find it 🤔

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