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jajagappa

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Jeff's latest FB post on Belintar has a lot of interesting information:

We all know about Belintar's first incarnation - from when he appeared off the shore of Kethaela in 1313 and his titanic struggle with the Only Old One that resulted in his apotheosis as the God-King of the Holy Country. We also all know that Belintar's mortal shell expired many times, and that the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death was a great magical-mythical contest that selected the new incarnation of Belintar and kept the Divine Realm in close proximity to the Holy Country.
Belintar had a cult and many priests in each of the Sixths who offered him magic points, incense, and other accoutrements of worship. This worship aided him in doing many miracles, such as extending the Magical Roads that connected the Sixths to the City of Wonders or indeed in maintaining the City of Wonders itself.
The prime function of each incarnation of Belintar was to maintain the proximity of the divine realm with the Holy Country. In some ways, Belintar can be thought of as a high priest of each of the gods whose job was to communicate between the gods and their worshipers AND between the gods and themselves. He reconciled the needs of the gods and their many different cults.
Now Belintar was rarely powerful enough to impose his will on the gods. Instead, he needed to work with the gods, and often interacted with them in the divine realm for the benefit of the people of the Holy Country. This involved near constant heroquesting. Like the time Belintar brought the Jolly Fat Man to Nochet so he might reside within the city. Or the time Belintar brought Heort to Stormwalk Mountain so they could both view the Holy Country. Or when Belintar got Argan Argar to invite him to share a meal with the Mistress Race Trolls beneath the Tarpit.
Each incarnation, regardless of their mortal identity, always appeared as Belintar in the Hero Plane. The gods recognized him regardless of incarnation and the many pacts and bargains he made were always upheld by the gods. Because of the proximity of the divine realm with the Holy Country, gods often manifested in the Holy Country, visiting their worshipers even outside of the worship ceremonies!
Belintar rarely got directly involved in governing the mundane affairs of the peoples of the Holy Country. Each of the Sixths more or less followed their traditional ways - of course those traditions were changed by the very presence and role of Belintar. When a cult's leaders might refuse to accept Belintar or reject his advice, Belintar was known to bring the cult's own god into the discussion! But Belintar's demands were few and always reasonable, and it was usually quite easy for cults and tribes to accept what he had to say.
 
As has been said many times before, Belintar and the Tournament of the Masters of Luck of Death served as a heroquesting school for the Sartarites. Heroquesting techniques that were lost or rejected by most cultures were developed and refined in the Holy Country.
 
What never really developed around Belintar was the sort of court administration as you see in Glamour. Belintar surrounded himself with philosophers, mystics, magical individuals, adventurers, and vacationing gods. When young Tarkalor visited the City of Wonders, he met:
Belintar, who was a woman at the time;
Enamyx, the "False Daughter" of Belintar (she was the daughter of a previous incarnation)
Darkasten, Prince of the Hendriki
Antagorn, the Rich Thief of Nochet
Bardranu, the Teshnite nobleman
Mister Bondaru, the philosopher
The Tanist, Belintar's identical stand-in
As well as such strange beings as the Dwarf Giant, the Spirit of Freedom,
The Constant Guard
The Five Physical SPirits
The Reef Master
and the Tide Lord.
 
increasingly I view Belintar as the mentor or godfather of the Sartar Dynasty and later the Sartar Magical Union. He is a big reason why the Orlanthi of Sartar really don't resemble the Orlanthi of King of Dragon Pass or Thunder Rebels.... especially since a significant number of Sartars participated in the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death....
 
And Belintar was there for centuries. Not really a single individual, not really an office, but definitely a single soul that had many incarnations.
That's the hardest thing to get around - that Belintar had many incarnations, each with their own personalities and appearances, but the same powerful soul. And each incarnation knew secrets that only Belintar could know.
 
But now Belintar is gone. No heroquest is going to bring those tattered webs back into place, or rebuild Humpty Dumpty's broken egg. Jar-eel tore it into parts, shattered the pillars, and broke the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death so that it always fails. That magic is still churning and looking for an outlet, but can't find one. The divine realm is still in proximity with the mundane world and is now easy to grab.
And that goes a long way to understanding the Hero Wars.
 
Q: so, how does that differ from the Moonson, the Red Emperor?
A: Moonson is certainly similar. But if you dig you find some big differences. Moonson was created by the Red Goddess to manage her worldly affairs after she rose into the sky as the Red Moon. Belintar made himself through contests, pacts, and proofs that he made throughout the Holy Country and now must make anew roughly every generation through the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death.
And remember, every incarnation of Belintar has managed to succeed in the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death, which is a far more "experimental heroquest" than the Ten Tests of a Dara Happan Emperor (and much harder to rig in your favour). Politics plays much smaller role in selecting the new incarnation of Belintar (usually none at all) than it does in selecting a new Mask.
 
Q: Does that mean that an incarnation has two souls: the soul of Belintar and the soul of the original person? Or the two souls merge somehow? Or is it just the soul of Belintar but the new body change it somehow?
A: we modern Westerners tend to have a very ego-centric sense of the self. Think of Belintar as a hero out of some young adult fantasy series. Belintar is dead, so now we have a big contest and tournament to choose the new Belintar. During this contest, our hero succeeds in making the pacts and winning the contests that are necessary to magical unify the six lands, including displaying the necessary temperament and self-discipline to serve as Belintar, and in the process starts to communicate with all the previous Belintars. Many Who Are One. In the end, our hero triumphs and becomes the new Belintar, aided by all those who came before.
And our new Belintar is capable of calling upon all their prior selfs. But is also their own self. And all share in that mighty soul called Belintar, which is recognized by the gods and spirits of the Holy Country. So a pop culture analogy might be the Avatar
 
Q: How does this not completely break the Great Compromise?
A: Not in the slightest. This sort of interaction between the worlds is found at every worship ceremony, just on a smaller and more focused scale. One can think of the whole Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death as a huge worship ceremony/mass heroquest that happens roughly once or twice a generation.
 
Q: Belintar seems to have had much in common with Takenegi.
A: Belintar has nearly nothing "in common" with the Red Emperor other than he has a mortal element and an immortal element, and that the mortal element regularly dies and a new mortal incarnation is chosen. That may seem like a lot in common, but there's probably a dozen or more entities in Glorantha that do that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Just now, jajagappa said:

And our new Belintar is capable of calling upon all their prior selfs. But is also their own self. And all share in that mighty soul called Belintar, which is recognized by the gods and spirits of the Holy Country. So a pop culture analogy might be the Avatar

What it reminds me of is the Bene Gesserit of Dune.

 

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Or the Trill in Deep Space Nine, perhaps even more analogously.  A symbiotic (at least in the broad sense of the word, biology fans -- may or may not be mutualistic!) being, one part of which is extremely long-lived, and transfers shared memories, etc, from one "host" to another.  Or the Goa'uld, if you're not a 'Trek fan.  (Or maybe more to the point, if you're not one of a Belintar).

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Because of the proximity of the divine realm with the Holy Country, gods often manifested in the Holy Country, visiting their worshipers even outside of the worship ceremonies!

With my God Learner hat on, Belintar taught, tutored, and mentored heroquesting to the point that that the 'pious' could permanently manifest as their deity (great spirit, etc) and reside permanently or long term on the heroplane.

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A couple additional questions from the FB post with Jeff's answers:

Q: the Only Old One is still around?

A: The Only Old One is also destroyed, by Belintar. There are rumours that the Argan Argar cult seeks to reassemble his pieces so that he may return to the world, but nobody other than the Argan Argar cult thinks that would be a good idea. There isn't exactly a lot of nostalgia for the OOO in the Holy Country, outside of Argan Argar and the trolls.... Belintar was fair with the trolls and took no action against them despite his war with the OOO. The trolls participated in the Tournament and even won on at least one occasion. But now that Belintar is gone, I wouldn't be surprised if there are some trolls searching through the Underworld for a way to find the OOO.

Q: So what was Jar-Eels goal [in killing Belintar]? What did she gain? What did she lose? Removing Belintar seems to have created a power void. What was the Lunar plan to fill that void?

A: [from Scott Martin] IMG the answer revolves around her sense of personal scale. Taking over the MOLAD enterprise is beneath her . . . she has more explicitly lunar things to do now that this irritation in the larger landscape has been resolved. The symbolic wreckage left behind is always somebody else's problem. Unfortunately those people aren't really equipped to deal with a mess of this magnitude . . . they just don't get it . . . and so all that divine resonance remains active without its natural outlet and available for opportunists to exploit.So the empire ends up with that power void to the south. Not her problem and at best incidental to her agenda. A long-term problem for the empire as we all later learn because Glorantha is in love with these historical ironies.

A: [from Jeff] Scott is again 100% spot on. Jar-eel's goal was "simple" - to destroy Belintar and remove him from the landscape. He had already stopped the Lunar Army from conquering the south (in 1605). Get rid of Belintar and the Holy Country easily falls to the Lunar Army. But as Scott observes, doing that is a problem for others.

 

 

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17 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Q: Belintar seems to have had much in common with Takenegi.

A: Belintar has nearly nothing "in common" with the Red Emperor other than he has a mortal element and an immortal element, and that the mortal element regularly dies and a new mortal incarnation is chosen. That may seem like a lot in common, but there's probably a dozen or more entities in Glorantha that do that.

Which raises the question, which entities do this?

THE ONES WE KNOW FOR SURE-ISH:

Belintar (RIP)

Takenegi

Great Sister

The Sun Emperor (currently also Takenegi)

STRONG MAYBES:

The Queen of the Kiss seems like a strong candidate.

The Only Old One (RIP)

POSSIBLE:

Pavis (via his Champion)?

The White Bull? I feel like there have been other White Bulls in the past, even if the lore doesn't say so specifically.

The Dragon Emperor of Kralorela? (If so the process is super secret and the changes are concealed from the people)

The High King Elf of any given Aldryami Forest?

REMOTELY POSSIBLE:

Jaldon Toothmaker? How does he return? It could involve someone embodying him as an avatar.

There may be an aspect of this for the King of Dragon Pass, but that feels like a different thing. It's possible Argrath channels TWO different divine energies if this is true, the White Bull and the King of Dragon Pass.

Vingkot. Broyan may be tapping into a divine kingship with aspects of this.

HIGHLY DOUBTFUL:

I don't think Cragspider does this. She was never mortal to begin with.

I doubt Ethelrist does. He seems too ego-attached to his body.

NO:

Jar-eel

Harrack

 

 

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32 minutes ago, RHW said:

Which raises the question, which entities do this?

Jeff noted on FB in answer to a similar question:  "Just off the top of the head - Mani, Jaldon Goldentooth, the Founder Khans, Aronius Jaranthir, the Only Old One, possibly Waha, and Arkat."

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3 minutes ago, RHW said:

Which raises the question, which entities do this?

THE ONES WE KNOW FOR SURE-ISH:

Belintar (RIP)

Takenegi

Great Sister

The Sun Emperor (currently also Takenegi)

Let's not confuse ourselves by using the title Takenegi. The first incarnation of the Red Emperor likely was around for about two centuries. The Red Emperor is now an office held by someone recognized by the leaders of the Lunar religion and who is said to be the current "Mask" of the Red Emperor. Each Red Emperor has access to a tremendous amount of magic, "and each maintains the policies of their predecessors, so that it seemed that one man ruled for centuries."

This is somewhat less than Belintar.

The Sun Emperor is much less than this. He's basically the head of the Yelm Imperator cult in Peloria and has access to huge amounts of magic, etc. But each of the Dara Happan emperors maintained an individual identity - hence the reason for king lists.

 

3 minutes ago, RHW said:

STRONG MAYBES:

The Queen of the Kiss seems like a strong candidate.

The Only Old One (RIP)

Both are strong maybes. We know that the Only Old One was not a troll, since iron did not burn him.

3 minutes ago, RHW said:

POSSIBLE:

Pavis (via his Champion)?

The White Bull? I feel like there have been other White Bulls in the past, even if the lore doesn't say so specifically.

The White Bull is a spirit. Argrath contacted the spirit and is now in direct contact with it, like a fetch or allied spirit. I think this is the first time that has happened with the White Bull.

We don't get a lot of stories that Pavis did this or that after he withdrew to his temple. So Lord Pavis is probably not on this list. 

 

3 minutes ago, RHW said:

The Dragon Emperor of Kralorela? (If so the process is super secret and the changes are concealed from the people)

The High King Elf of any given Aldryami Forest?

REMOTELY POSSIBLE:

Jaldon Toothmaker? How does he return? It could involve someone embodying him as an avatar.

There may be an aspect of this for the King of Dragon Pass, but that feels like a different thing. It's possible Argrath channels TWO different divine energies if this is true, the White Bull and the King of Dragon Pass.

Vingkot. Broyan may be tapping into a divine kingship with aspects of this.

Vingkot only appears in the God Time. Heort, Tessele the True, and various other Silver Age heroes might be better candidates as they are said to have aided Arkat and were summoned by Belintar.

Jaldon Goldentooth is an interesting one, as he has multiple appearances. Prior to his appearance, we also had several appearances of Waha within Time. Presumably these were something like the Call Founders spell of the Waha cult.

3 minutes ago, RHW said:

HIGHLY DOUBTFUL:

I don't think Cragspider does this. She was never mortal to begin with.

I doubt Ethelrist does. He seems too ego-attached to his body.

NO:

Jar-eel

Harrack

 

 

Agree on all four.

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3 hours ago, RHW said:

Which raises the question, which entities do this?

STRONG MAYBES:

The Queen of the Kiss seems like a strong candidate.

I should hope not! But maybe the ruler of Zoria is as mortal-dominated a mixture as the Red Emperor, such that the Queen of the Kiss could be a particularly harmful avatar of her. 

Of course, many of these entities (Jaldon, Waha, the Only Old One) are so immortal-dominated we don't even have textual references to the mortal contribution, just notes that they keep appearing as if they were one continuous person manifesting. Strong personality versus weak personality, but possibly Jaldon's personality is hard to express without being able to speak coherently. 

Ironhoof is of course another example of a divine being manifesting through mortal "horses"/avatars on a more full-time basis, but he's less grandiose than some of these others, it seems, for all that he can order horses to freeze for a day. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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I'm surprised to see Only Old One in that discussion, I'd read his immortality as more like Cragspider's, but I suppose this another way to interpret things like the description of him being dismembered by Chaos demons and coming back in 10,000 Goddesses.

Edited by dumuzid
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18 hours ago, Eff said:

I should hope not! But maybe the ruler of Zoria is as mortal-dominated a mixture as the Red Emperor, such that the Queen of the Kiss could be a particularly harmful avatar of her. 

I was thinking The Queen of the Kiss is a Zorian mini-Red Emperor, and the current Avatar usurped that power and is Up To No Good.

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18 hours ago, Eff said:

Ironhoof is of course another example of a divine being manifesting through mortal "horses"/avatars on a more full-time basis, but he's less grandiose than some of these others, it seems, for all that he can order horses to freeze for a day. 

Ironhoof absolutely fits this mold! I should've thought of him.

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10 hours ago, Cassius said:

In what way do they differ ?

Most Sartarites have an allegiance to one of Sartar's cities, in addition to their tribal and clan and cult allegiances. The Colymar and the Lismelder are the glaring exceptions among the Heortlings, and the Telmori are an exception anyway. The cities in Old Sartar have strong connections with Belintar's Holy Country through trade and influx of specialized craftspeople at the time of their founding.

In comparison, the clans in King of Dragon Pass weren't even sure that joining a tribe was a good idea. The city founding occurs only in the end game of the long game and doesn't upset or change their outlook.

Sartar ruled the Quivini for 30 years, and his cities had been around for up to 15 years longer. His successors added 82 years of urban-dominated politics.

Rather than the clan warband, the most common military experience of the tribesfolk would have been as part of the city militia, alongside tribesmen (and women) from the same confederation.

It looks like the "apprenticehood" phase happens on a tribal level rather than on a clan level.

No such "outsourcing" was even thinkable among the clans of King of Dragon Pass resettlement era.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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32 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Most Sartarites have an allegiance to one of Sartar's cities, in addition to their tribal and clan and cult allegiances. The Colymar and the Lismelder are the glaring exceptions among the Heortlings, and the Telmori are an exception anyway. The cities in Old Sartar have strong connections with Belintar's Holy Country through trade and influx of specialized craftspeople at the time of their founding.

In comparison, the clans in King of Dragon Pass weren't even sure that joining a tribe was a good idea. The city founding occurs only in the end game of the long game and doesn't upset or change their outlook.

Sartar ruled the Quivini for 30 years, and his cities had been around for up to 15 years longer. His successors added 82 years of urban-dominated politics.

Rather than the clan warband, the most common military experience of the tribesfolk would have been as part of the city militia, alongside tribesmen (and women) from the same confederation.

It looks like the "apprenticehood" phase happens on a tribal level rather than on a clan level.

No such "outsourcing" was even thinkable among the clans of King of Dragon Pass resettlement era.

Most Sartarites also have an allegiance to the Sartar dynasty, who often intervenes in tribal and even clan affairs. They are familiar with many other peoples through trade, and are open to new ideas and things. Most people have been outside of their tribal lands many times (for religious, economic, political, or military reasons) and many have been to Boldhome, the Holy Country, the Grazelands, Prax, and even Tarsh.

Many Sartarites are literate thanks to the presence of several large Lhankor Mhy temples. During the Lunar Occupation, most people had at least some non-violent interaction with people from the Lunar Empire, who also routinely intervened in clan and tribal affairs. Most Sartarites had at least a passing knowledge that the Lunars worshiped the Seven Mothers and the Red Goddess.

Also cults like Issaries, Humakt, Lhankor Mhy, Chalana Arroy, and Eurmal, as well as Yelmalio, are much more important in Sartarite life than presented in Thunder Rebels. 32% of Sartarites are dedicated to gods that are not Orlanth or Ernalda.  

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On 1/31/2022 at 7:41 PM, RHW said:

Which raises the question, which entities do this?

I would suspect Ralzakark here as well, with the proviso that he also has multiple (frequently quarrelling) incarnations at the same time. It would certainly explain how he gets killed by Oddi the Keen ("final death" even, Lords of Terror) but still turns up as the Monster Emperor later. Do we know it's the same Unicorn Broo body?

What's the mechanic of Arkat Reborn?

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 2/3/2022 at 11:10 PM, Akhôrahil said:

I would suspect Ralzakark here as well, with the proviso that he also has multiple (frequently quarrelling) incarnations at the same time. It would certainly explain how he gets killed by Oddi the Keen ("final death" even, Lords of Terror) but still turns up as the Monster Emperor later. Do we know it's the same Unicorn Broo body?

What's the mechanic of Arkat Reborn?

Fascinating the Ralzakark and Arkat both came back in multiple bodies. Maybe that is what happens when powerful illuminates are resurrected - the contradictions can no longer be contained in one body. The resolution, recombining all those powers back into one body, maybe what you end up with is the Monster emperor. 

What did happen to all those Arkat incarnations? They kind of appeared then nothing?

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4 minutes ago, EricW said:

Fascinating the Ralzakark and Arkat both came back in multiple bodies. Maybe that is what happens when powerful illuminates are resurrected - the contradictions can no longer be contained in one body. The resolution, recombining all those powers back into one body, maybe what you end up with is the Monster emperor. 

I also get the impression that Scorpion-Arm-Ralzakark might well be the original (or at least more original than the Unicorn). Did he split at some point? Did someone else usurp much of the transcendent ”Ralzakark” entity, becoming Ralzakark? Was it yet another Ralzakark that was killed by Oddi during Hahlgrim’s War? Maybe even two of them, seeing as he killed ”Ralzakark” twice in one day?

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I also get the impression that Scorpion-Arm-Ralzakark might well be the original (or at least more original than the Unicorn). Did he split at some point? Did someone else usurp much of the transcendent ”Ralzakark” entity, becoming Ralzakark? Was it yet another Ralzakark that was killed by Oddi during Hahlgrim’s War? Maybe even two of them, seeing as he killed ”Ralzakark” twice in one day?

A theory: Unicorn Ralzakark is the image of Ralzakark in memory, Scorpion-Arm Ralzakark is what he was like when he was alive. The former, a transcendent monster, the apex of the Bright Empire's wickedness, etc. and the other, kind of a jackass with a weird arm. Which might well explain how Ralzakark keeps coming back- it's not like unicorn boy is real in the first place. 

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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I like this Gloranthian pattern of magically integrating several individualities into a (quasi or fully)-divine being; I wonder if the technic could share some mythology-hacking aspects with Sedenya's case... or if it could be leveraged by other cultures to bring back flawed, reconstructed approximations of 'Artmal' or 'Vadel' for example ?

23 hours ago, jajagappa said:

And Face-only Ralzakark is the mask of his future form??? 🙂

I like to think of Face-Only Ralzakark as the Gbaji portion because of that scene in KoDP, but it's probably a bit too simplistic 😄

Edited by Ialda
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