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Phargentes the Younger


Ironwall

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7 hours ago, Ironwall said:

What is Phargentes like? What are his goals? 

Depends on the time period you reference.  Through the early 1630s he is Phargentes, who becomes King of Tarsh.  Somewhere in the mid/late 1630's, he becomes Red Emperor, so has an overlay of Phargentes with the varied Moonson personalities.

As Ethilrist notes (Guide p.750): "he was still Phargentes, Jar-eel’s son, whom I had fought in the service of all those years before. He was a true Emperor though, not like the poor sacrifice Jar-eel and Great Sister had raised to power. He knew things Phargentes did not, and could not." and "I do not trust the Red Emperor, even if he wears Phargentes’ face. He has always proven himself to be duplicitous."

I'd interpret these statements as:  

  • Ethilrist was willing to aid Phargentes again, so trusted him, though he does not trust Moonson.
  • Phargentes was a "true Emperor", so son of Jar-eel, descendant of Yelm, and had completed the 10 Tests of the Emperor.  He had proven himself to carry the powers of authority, order, justice, etc. - everything you'd want in an Emperor.

There are other Sartarite/pro-Argrath references that refer to Phargentes as a "cruel king" (and yet perhaps not as cruel as Mularik proved to be).

Clearly he is ambitious and magically powerful leader, and once Red Emperor he worked to conquer Dragon Pass, the Janube valley in Fronela (or at least the Arrolian Properties), and presumably the Redlands.

 

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15 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Phargentes was a "true Emperor", so son of Jar-eel, descendant of Yelm, and had completed the 10 Tests of the Emperor.  He had proven himself to carry the powers of authority, order, justice, etc. - everything you'd want in an Emperor.

Taking this fragment of the conversation for my own convenience, where could I find the 10 Emperor Trials?

Edited by Godweyn
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38 minutes ago, Godweyn said:

where could I find the 10 Emperor Trials?

Glorious ReAscent of Yelm - part of the Stafford Library collection at Chaosium.

The 10 tests are to prove their ability as:

  • The Protector
  • The Provider of Surplus
  • The Seer
  • The Problem Solver
  • The Recorder (i.e. remembering Truth)
  • The Judge
  • The Bridge (i.e. overcoming feuds)
  • The Patriarch (i.e. inheritance)
  • The Truth (i.e. the True light/Sun)
  • The Final Proof (i.e. naming the secret, sacred Regalia without harm)
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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

Glorious ReAscent of Yelm - part of the Stafford Library collection at Chaosium.

The 10 tests are to prove their ability as:

  • The Protector
  • The Provider of Surplus
  • The Seer
  • The Problem Solver
  • The Recorder (i.e. remembering Truth)
  • The Judge
  • The Bridge (i.e. overcoming feuds)
  • The Patriarch (i.e. inheritance)
  • The Truth (i.e. the True light/Sun)
  • The Final Proof (i.e. naming the secret, sacred Regalia without harm)

I thought the Red Emperor as an entity took up the mantel of emperor of Dara Happa following the reign of Yelmgatha. 
 

There are different masks of the red emperor but in a way it is the same being. Does every masks of the red emperor need to take once more the 10 tests? 

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1 hour ago, Eagle Talon said:

I thought the Red Emperor as an entity took up the mantel of emperor of Dara Happa following the reign of Yelmgatha. 

Yes, that's correct.  But to rule DH as part of the Lunar Empire, they must prove themselves to be THE EMPEROR.  Which means they are descended from Yelm and must pass the 10 Tests.  There are references to this in Fortunate Succession.

1 hour ago, Eagle Talon said:

Does every masks of the red emperor need to take once more the 10 tests? 

Yes.  Each time they are "renewed" they must repeat the process.  If they don't, someone else takes on the Mask of the Red Emperor.  

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2 hours ago, Ironwall said:

Where was he raised lunar tarsh or the imperial court?

I'm pretty sure he's raised in Glamour in the imperial court, but we really don't hear of him during this period.  He's born in 1610 and presumably comes of age around 1625-6.

His half-brother, Pharandros is King in Tarsh, and as there is an ongoing back-and-forth between Pharandros' supporters and those of Fazzur it may be best for Phargentes to be far from that interaction.  Plus, Jar-eel likely wants him exposed to the deepest secrets of the Red Moon: studies with the finest Irrippi Ontor scholars, martial training with the best duelists to protect himself from assassins, magical training, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

According to the Takenegi Stele in GtG he becomes emperor in 1638, and the Ethilrist frgment indicates that Ethilrist had fought for him before he was emperor, so probably in the different conflicts for control of Saird and Holay between Mularik's death and 1638.

That same fragment indicates that Jar Eel failed in taking control of Tarsh from Annstad and his allies, though it may be she still cannot fight against him. 

As son of Jar Eel he surely got a full lunar upbringing, keeping him also away from his half brother Pharandros, at least till Pharandros' death. Even then I suppose he has other interests, but I would expect he intervenes in the conflicts in Tarsh and Saird, as both a son of the Moon, even if he is not yet Moonson, and a provincial, understanding better the provincial mindset. 

Those years, the decade between the sacrifice of Argenteus and Phargentes' ascension, the years of the False Emperor, the Usurper, the Empire is at its weakest, as the Western Reaches are independent, there is no Yelm emperor, and the south is in turmoil, so it is no surprise that Argrath can keep Tarsh and take Saird and Holay, even if he loses them again. 

Phargentes unifies all the Empire, and besides his exalted mother I would expect he was the best candidate by his success in defending the south, or at least minimizing the losses. Dwernapple in this context, although a victory, is bad for Argrath as a weak emperor is replaced by a new strong one. 

As for the original question, as son of Jar Eel, born from a magical ritual that killed his father, King Moirades, he is probably more than human, and his upbringing probably reflects it, so he was directed from birth to become Moonson. However he was probably still young and learning when Great Sister sacrifices Argenteus in 1628, so there is an interim Emperor till he is ready to take the mantle. Probably he was in the Moon at that point, and returns later, when the False Emperor is seeing the Empire break up.

As for his aims, his objective is to recreate the glory of the Lunar Empire (as New Moon Emperor), as his feats show. Pass the 10 tests and recover Dara Happa, accepted as Shah by the Western Reaches, bringing back from the Moon the Crimson Bat (showing his mastery of Chaos), and reconquering the south. He also performs new feats, such as getting Shargash (Tolat's?) sword or supporting the Arrolians against Loskalm, getting tribute from Sog city along the way. He was bred for this and he does his best, with the help of his mother.

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On 10/31/2022 at 4:50 PM, Eagle Talon said:

There are different masks of the red emperor but in a way it is the same being. Does every masks of the red emperor need to take once more the 10 tests? 

Yes indeed! For much more speculation about what happens in an interregnum, see my second Gloranthan Manifesto, available in this group.

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11 minutes ago, JRE said:

As for the original question, as son of Jar Eel, born from a magical ritual that killed his father, King Moirades, he is probably more than human, and his upbringing probably reflects it, so he was directed from birth to become Moonson.

There may be a hint about this in that footnote about imperial plurals I inserted in the back of the Guide.

Previous Masks of Moonson had employed the "imperial plural" form (e.g. the famous Moonbroth Plinth inscription: "Our name is Moonson Argenteus, Khan of Khans: look on our works, ye humble, and aspire!"); on the later Takenegi Stele, however, Phargentes the Younger does not. This may tell us something about his fundamental nature: it is often suspected that the previous Masks were gestalt composite entities with a weirdly multiple sense of self (after all, the plural of "Ego" is "Egi")... but what is he?*

* (Möller, taking after Graves, suggested "a populist grammatical pedant," but his footling arguments can be trivially dismissed)

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In the same stele he claims to have purified his mother's home of quarrelsome Egi, which may be why he is a single self instead of many. On the other hand he still knows the secret knowledge Moonson shared with Ethilrist many years before he was born...

The New Moon Empire starts by getting rid of the Old Moon traditionalists in the Moon...

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  • 7 months later...
On 11/10/2022 at 4:57 PM, JRE said:

In the same stele he claims to have purified his mother's home of quarrelsome Egi, which may be why he is a single self instead of many. On the other hand he still knows the secret knowledge Moonson shared with Ethilrist many years before he was born...

The New Moon Empire starts by getting rid of the Old Moon traditionalists in the Moon...

Phargentes may have successfully integrated the different alters into a complete, holistic ego. Whereas before they were acting as competing modes, now the borders between them have been torn down and they're more manageable. 

Maybe it was Sheng that caused the split originally, since it was he who caused the masks to take the different bodies as well? Or maybe it was always unintegrated and Phargentes is truly a culmination of the Red Emperor process. I have no idea.

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It is an interesting idea, though tragicomic, that the last red emperor was the one who integrated the whole, only to be unmade by Sheng once again.

Though that would be a good reason why Argrath decided to bring the old demigod back.

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I see young Phargentes as basically the creepiest thing you will ever meet that didn't come from Chaos.  If you've read the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, it's depiction of Young Jesus is exactly on the nose.  He knows things he should not know, does casual magics without being initiated into anything, and weird things happen around him, for his soul is older than his body, in part because his mother pretty much disassembled his father's soul and gave him as much of it as possible.\

This also enables the integration of what's left of Moonson into him instead of him being integrated into the Moonson.

The downside of this was that once he went down... all of him went down.  It took someone like Sheng to do it.  (Though Argath probably had enough mystical mojo, he didn't want to risk being disassembled himself.,)

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2 hours ago, John Biles said:

The downside of this was that once he went down... all of him went down.  It took someone like Sheng to do it.  (Though Argath probably had enough mystical mojo, he didn't want to risk being disassembled himself.,)

It probably required someone who could complete the Ten Tests and become Emperor (i.e. descended from Yelm). Argrath would not and could not have qualified, Sheng very much could.

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I don't think Phargenetes Xocoyotltzin integrated the different components of the Red Emperor into a unity at all. That's pretty antithetical to the connection to mama Sedenya. I think a more interesting possibility is that he reincorporated Lunar traditions from outside the mainline red ones (carrying the Sword of Tolat, I mean Shargash, and marching to the aid of Arrolia) and these produced a more active Red Emperor.

It's possible he also purged some elements out of the red emperor system, and these may then go on to join other figures who compete for Lunar legitimacy (Shadow's Good Shadow, Sheng, Ralzakark?).

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

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

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On 10/31/2022 at 12:05 AM, jajagappa said:

There are other Sartarite/pro-Argrath references that refer to Phargentes as a "cruel king" (and yet perhaps not as cruel as Mularik proved to be).

It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it?

I rule with a firm hand. You're harsh. He/she is cruel.

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My own interpretation, as refined by the discussions here, is that Phargentes is a mostly succesul attempt to recreate Takenegi, by using aspects of two Inspirations (Hon-Eel and Jar-Eel, which is why Moirades was the chosen father) and several Masks of Moonson. He is probably the biggest success of the Eel-Ariash eugenic project, bigger even than Jar-Eel. To be the new Takenegi he had to purge also many of the "new" Egi, and that may well have taken him several years in the Moon, explaining the decade of the False Emperor.

Argrath had to go for Sheng because he is the one that beat the first Takenegi, and because Argrath had tried already all his tricks and they all failed. Maybe if he had still had access to Harrek things could have been different, but Jar-Eel had taken him out of the game.

Makes me wonder if Anstad was really so attractive, or if it was the right time to have the usurper leave the scene and Jar-Eel just let him die to allow her son free access to the throne. Motive and benefit. Think of the Kwisatz Haderach.

Edited by JRE
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22 minutes ago, JRE said:

He is probably the biggest success of the Eel-Ariash eugenic project, bigger even than Jar-Eel.

I wouldn't go that far. He falls to Sheng. We don't know the Lunar equivalent of King of Sartar other than references to the Fourth Inspiration of Moonson, but for all we know Jar-eel might become the White Moon goddess.

24 minutes ago, JRE said:

Argrath had to go for Sheng because he is the one that beat the first Takenegi, and because Argrath had tried already all his tricks and they all failed.

Or because it required a true Solar Emperor to eclipse the Red Emperor.

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3 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Or because it required a true Solar Emperor to eclipse the Red Emperor.

That is true, but he could have gotten many Solar emperors without breaking up the LBQ. It would have been a perfect LBQ, after all, if he had chosen Karvanyar, though he would probably consider Argrath as the EWF reborn.

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4 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Or because it required a true Solar Emperor to eclipse the Red Emperor.

Is Sheng Seleris considered a solar emperor? Can some like him be able to pass the 10 tests to become emperor of Dara Happa? After all the pent nomads are enemies of DH since before the dawn. 

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1 hour ago, Eagle Talon said:

Is Sheng Seleris considered a solar emperor? Can some like him be able to pass the 10 tests to become emperor of Dara Happa? After all the pent nomads are enemies of DH since before the dawn. 

Several horse nomads have been legitimate Emperors of Dara Happans in the Grey and Dawn Ages

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