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David Scott

Guide to Glorantha Group Read Week 6 - Deep Discussion

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David Scott    1,312

This is the Deep Discussion thread for Week 6 - Feel free to speculate, move away from the Guide section under discussion and into other related areas.

Edited by David Scott

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Joerg    861

The Copper Tablets in the Mythos and History section are almost a chapter of their own.

First off kudos to the artwork - evocative, instructive, and a nice summary of the stellar pre-history up to the Darkness.

 

The perspectives of the tablets are interesting:

Tablets 1-4 - Side view of the Cosmos. 

Tablets 5-10 - View from outside, above the south. The ground remains constant - a very winding Oslir river/tamed Nestentos, a holy mountain with a tower on top in the center, two towers at its base, eight towers (the southwestern one inverted) in a circle around the mountain.

 

For a sky disk (like e.g. the Nebra disk) I would have expected a record of the view from below, or at least between the ground and the sky.

Instead, the creator of these tablets shows an extremely detached and objective view from above. This is the perspective from the Spike, and viewing only the northern quarter of the world. The known world, from a Dara Happan perspective which puts Yuthubars above Raibanth in the center of the world. Most of the time, at least. I am not certain which is the case.

 

 

Tablet 1 shows the axis of the world as a pole, or stick. The three brothers sit at equal height in the sky, only the firestick is shown.

Tablet 2 shows the inner world - Darkness below the earth cube (which is a wide rectangle rather than the square I would have expected), sea around it, most of the upper world is empty sky, except for the three light brothers.

The Earth cube is shown barely elevated out of the water, pretty much like a floating iceberg. I would have expected higher freeboard for this and the following tablet. But then I would have expected a square rather than a rectangle for the side view of the earth, and Sea rather than Darkness at the bottom of the Earth. Those details wouldn't have mattered to a Dara Happan, though.

Tablet 3 is the first tablet to show the Cosmic Mountain from the side. Possibly from the north? Or we rather see the Footstool of Raibanth, reaching up only into the Middle Sky. The three brothers switch from a side-by-side arrangement to the vertical fire-stick position. Lodril merges with the deep earth, while Dayzatar moves upward into the Upper Sky, into or even beyond the Sky Dome.

Tablet 4 shows the consequences of the Birth of Umath (at least in my opinion) - the Earth Cube is pushed down enough that Nestentos, the Blue Serpent, can invade the land. Yelm hovers above the peak of the mountain/ziggurat. Entekos/Dendara enters the sky (another indication for the birth of Air/Storm).


Tablet 5 shows something not exactly like Murharzarm's Decapolis, from above from the south. This might be the view from the Celestial Court.

We see an outer ring of seven towers and one inverted tower (a hole in the ground, below Derdurnus). For some reason, there is an extra tower in the center - possibly a premature presence of Yuthuppa to the left of the Footstool, and Raibanth on its southern edge?

The Decapolis has two rings, with only the cardinal directions occupied. The copper tablets have a single ring plus two towers at the foot of the central mountain below Yuthubars.

We are presented the eight planetary sons, Gods Wall 1.3 to 1.10.

Tablet 6 shows two or three new celestial bodies (depending on whether you count the Pit or not), Umath and Zayteneras. From the first row of the Gods Wall, I would have expected Ghelotralas, too, but no such luck. For some weird reason, Zayteneras sits lower than the eight planetary sons, and further east. There is no tower of Senthoros below it, though. Yelm in the center has eight rays spreading out to the planets.

The Eight Planetary Sons correspond to Gods Wall 3-10. However, Plentonius identifies Zator as Buserian.

Plantonius also assigns the Planetary sons numbers in his Gods Wall interpretation. - Stars 7 to 15, skipping the 12. Strange, that - counting the celestial bodies on the Copper Tablets, I arrive at 3 for the three brothers, 1 for Entekos/Dendara yielding 4. Stars 5 and 6 are missing.

Okay, let's consult Plentonius other great opus, the Perfect Sky. Glorious ReAscent of Yelm, p.47. Nope, nothing to do with the planetary sons - instead I see drivel about the Virtue Stars making up the celestial body of Buburstus, the (headless) Celestial Dragon for the stars 7-15, and stars 1-6 are the ones introduced on Tablet 8 (at least that's what I'd assume).

 

Ok, let's compare the lists of the eight planetary sons (plus Zayteneras).

Tablet 5 in the Guide names them (starting in the east, going clockwise):

Zator, Reladivus, Shargash, Derdurnus, Deumalos, Falsoretus, Verithurus, and Ghevengus

They aren't named again in the Guide.

Tablet 7 sees several planets evade or disappear, anonymously. Yelm in the center loses one of his eight rays for each planetary son gone missing, he is down to four in tablet 7.

GRoY p.73 gives a slightly different list, in a different order (the order of their reactions to the arrival of Umath).

Brought into the same sequence, we get:

Zator, Reladivus (or Kargzant), Shargash, Derdurnus, Deumalos, Kargzant (or Reladivus), Verithurus, and Makestina

GRoY details the fates of the planetary sons in the order of their being affected by Umath intruding, as per GRoY's Tablet 6 (Tablet 7 in the Guide):

Quote

• Makestina rushes towards with the news Yelm, and in his haste abandons all formality and is so embarrassed that he gives himself up, and is absorbed entirely by his Father.
• Jernedeus follows at a distance, but while watching Umatum ignores his own progress and crashes off the east end of world.
• Derdurnus spins to watch, and goes spinning off the edge of the world.
• Zatora follows Umatum at a great distance through his circle (later see Zator, below).
• Kargzant follows Umatum, circling behind and low.
• Shargash is struck directly by Umatum, and thrusts the invader onward and follows. Umatum is fatally wounded and wobbles around the sky, sinking lower. Shargash moves inside of Umatum’s path, protecting the City. They fight with missiles, and eventually Umatum wavers, then crashes down in the far north.
• Therados (Zayteneras) dodges up and out of the way.
• Deumalos drops “like a rock” to dodge the coming Umatum, and is gone.
• Zator goes into the Pit and is never seen again. Instead the first myriad of stars come out.
• Umatum crashes upon North Camp. This starts the tilting north-south Dome Movement. It goes northward first, because the Pillar there is broken, until it is pushed back even harder by Arnstadum (identified now with Kalikos).
• Sons of Umatum rise out of the ruined North Camp, bearing the weapons of their dead father. Unknown to them, a Dragon pursues.

Heortling Mythology has almost the same story, giving no alternative name for Therados, naming Shargash Jagrekriand, and telling a different story about Makestina being devoured by an enraged Yelm.

 

Tablet 8 is devoid of any of the Planetary Sons, only Zayteneras remains low in the east. Umath apparently rises again from the crater at the North Pillar. Shargash is mentioned, but not shown. All planets except for Zayteneras have gone to the Underworld.

Shargash is said to move inside of Umath, protecting the City. Which City? Yuthubars? There is no Celestial City in the sky, other than Yuthubars, sitting fairly low in the Middle Sky.

Tablet 9: Umath crashes into the northern pillar, again, and doesn't rise any more. Stars emerge out of the Pit (aka Stormgate), filling the sky.

 

Tablet 10 shows the Doom Conjunction. Orlanth moves into Yelm's place, Shargash stands by slightly to the southeast. Yelm disintegrates into his six parts - Ghevengus/Vrimak reappears in his original position, Antirius (circle with four rays), Kazkurtum (according to Gods Wall, although I doubt that), Enverinus and a fire rune with three rays to the left, upper and lower left remain in the sky, while Bijiif presumably has gone down into the Underworld. Entekos, Shargash and Dayzatar are in the sky. Shargash and Ghevengus are the only planetary sons  runes remaining.

GRoY has Uleria appearing, a couple of settings possibly shown on Guide tablet 6, but presented as post-disintegration of Yelm.

 

In short, lots of contradictory things going on in the sky.

 

Tablet 10 might be read differently, with the conspirators against Yelm assembled in the sky - Shargash is there, Ghevengus/Makestina might be the Bat, or a stand-in for Sedenya. Enverinus might really be the stellar dragon.

 

Edited by Joerg
Wrongly cited Buserian as author of the Perfect Sky
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David Scott    1,312
13 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Copper Tablets in the Mythos and History section are almost a chapter of their own.

An interesting commentary on the Copper Tablets, however your post would be more accessible an overview and individual tablets. Otherwise it's too dense to easily discuss individual sections.

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scott-martin    107
15 hours ago, Joerg said:

We are presented the eight planetary sons, Gods Wall 1.3 to 1.10.

How extraordinary it would be if this were an original document of the archaic celestial Yuthuban pantheon revealing divergences from the Raiba-centric system of the Wall. This may be the moment when relatively isolated "planets" were forced together above while down below their shadows ("cities") did likewise. (All out of likes for the day.)

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Joerg    861

Tablet 5

7 hours ago, David Scott said:

An interesting commentary on the Copper Tablets, however your post would be more accessible an overview and individual tablets. Otherwise it's too dense to easily discuss individual sections.

I'll let that monstrum stand for itself.

Most of the Copper Tablets consists of very small changes in a static cosmos.

Tablet 5 introduces the surface map of Murharzarm's Dara Happa. Cities are symbolized by Ziggurats. Each city on the outer circle has one of the planetary sons of Yelm as the orb hovering above the tower, bathing the city below with their light and magic. Possibly with their wisdom, too, as far as that goes.

Two towers on the inner circle don't have a Planetary Son. One can be assumed to be Raibanth, situated beneath Yuthubars, participating in Yelm's direct glory, and elsewhere mentioned to be protected/blessed by Raiba(mus). The other ziggurat is absent from Glorious ReAscent (for Murharzarm's period), but might be located at Yuthuppa. (In which case Herustana's Hill could have been a water-worn former ziggurat.)

Derdurnus hovers above an inverted tower/ziggurat/step pyramid. I know only one such edifice from Pelandan mythology, the descending pyramid of Dezarpovo. However, Spol is located in the northwest of Raibanth, not the southwest. Derdurnus as master of Brilliance should hover above Suvaria, and the Tablet sort of agrees.

It is possible that the position of the descending pyramid is an error in the pictures, or we are missing some sinister myth from Suvaria. Opinions?

Edited by Joerg

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metcalph    227

I had an epiphany about the origins of the Durulz.  It's been speculated in the past that they were prisoners of slaves of Sshorg after the drowning of Duruvan and made their way from there to Genertela and the west (where they get boiled alive by Zzabur).  It's occurred to me that this hypothetical army is none other than the Seabird Army which Orlanth fought (King of Sartar p65)

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Joerg    861
8 minutes ago, metcalph said:

I had an epiphany about the origins of the Durulz.  It's been speculated in the past that they were prisoners of slaves of Sshorg after the drowning of Duruvan and made their way from there to Genertela and the west (where they get boiled alive by Zzabur).  It's occurred to me that this hypothetical army is none other than the Seabird Army which Orlanth fought (King of Sartar p65)

The Seabird Army was defeated by Orlanth on their first encounter on the Western Shore, but returned in the Storm Age to destroy the (northwestern) Sofali.

 

Why would durulz attack Sofali females and children? Ok, the children fall within the duck-bill edible range of sea food, but why the females?

And when in the Storm Age did the durulz have the beak-power to muster an army again, destroying the western Sofali nation?

 

Looking at the ecology of sea turtles, their young and possibly their females during their egg deposition are exposed to all kinds of aggressive gulls, loons, etc, with predatory gulls able to peck living females to the death. Ducks or geese? Ok, they do have a mean peck, able to draw blood from soft-skinned opponents, but they wouldn't normally harrass turtles.

Adding humanoid shapes to this conflict would aid the turtles more than the birds, IMO.

 

The coast between Ramalia and Pithdaros is sufficiently free of human population that noone else would remember there being a Diroti culture, Remnants of that might be found on Alatan and in Nolos and Pasos - Diroti culture is wherever humans steer boats, and the exclusively Sofali link has felt dubious to me anyway. That said, I cannot find any reasons for enmity between Sofali and other Diroti except where it comes to harvesting turtle eggs and hunting adult turtle for food on sea voyages. The Sofali reserve the right to feed on their unhatched beast kin for themselves and object to the long imprisonment of turtles lying on their backs in the bilge before being slaughtered.

The concept of a Diroti culture (the Pelaskites) sponsoring a Seabird Armada in Men of the Sea never felt quite right to me for this reason. I can see why there would be the wish for an anti-Orlanth sailing culture to remove the Pelaskites further from the Theyalan/Orlanthi fold, but I don't share that desire, and I think the means were faulty.

 

 

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metcalph    227
2 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Why would durulz attack Sofali females and children? Ok, the children fall within the duck-bill edible range of sea food, but why the females?

Try thinking of the Durulz as being one tribe among many in the Seabird's army and many of your problems will disappear.  And birds have been known to drop turtles onto rocks (and greek playwrights) from a great height to shatter the shell to get at the juicy flesh within.

 

 

 

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Joerg    861
18 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Try thinking of the Durulz as being one tribe among many in the Seabird's army and many of your problems will disappear.  

All the other keet types disappearing makes a new problem, then. Where are the gull and pelican keets which are much better suited to feed on turtles? Haragala is half the world away from the Western Shores.

The keets get a lot of blame for inviting the invasion of the Togaro Ocean onto the formerly dry Earth. IMO they bear an ancestral enmity against and by the seas that surpasses the earned enmity of the rapacious seas against Orlanth's successful prevention of their total conquest of the dry lands. Durulz have arranged themselves with rivers and standing sweet waters, and marshes, but they are no friends of the seas. Even Choralinthor Bay doesn't work as foraging territory for them.

 

The keets are explicitely exempted from Ludoch friendship in the East Isles, at least from the friendship of the demigod leader of the Oreno tribe of Ludoch. For all their sea-bird-headedness (parrots being the only and notable exception, possibly as an extension of the puffin keets), the keets are met with hostility from the seas. But then, having given up their wings, few are able to pursue the hunting style their beaks were designed for, instead relying on their man-rune style hands.

Apart from parrots, all birds mentioned have webbed feet, and about the only webbed feet birds missing from the list are wading birds other than the Flamingo, auks and penguins.

I wonder whether parrot keets have feet like the kakapo, or whether those are webbed, too.

18 minutes ago, metcalph said:

And birds have been known to drop turtles onto rocks (and greek playwrights) from a great height to shatter the shell to get at the juicy flesh within.

Eagles and other non-sea raptors dropping tortoises, I think. For some reason tortoises often get quite different associations than turtles. Referenced all over Pratchett's Small Gods, one of my "most influential" works of fantastic literature.

Tortoises are perceived as strictly vegetarian. Turtles living in ponds or in the seas can be carnivorous, but the ones represented by Sofala are basically feeding of mostly sedentary stuff (sponges, sea-anemones, sea-grass, urchins, sea stars, but also crustaceans, jellyfish, fish eggs and some species even cephalopods as well). Under Gloranthan classifications, I think that sponges and sea-anemones get categorized as offspring of Murthdrya rather than as sedentary animals, and coral polyps possibly too.

Sweetwater turtles (like the alligator snapping turtle) with their ability to trap air-breathers under water are a legitimate foe of ducks and durulz.

 

Pelaskite diet ranges across the entire food chain of the coastal waters, and is supplemented with prestigious big hauls from the open seas, not restricted to fish. Sea bird eggs are bound to feature prominently in their diet, too.

 

Durulz diet could consist of pretty much the same stuff the Sofali turtle types are after if they roamed salt waters, but as said above, I don't think they do, unless getting really desperate. Waddling through Choralinthor's mud flats at low tide might be an option, but troll and sea troll presence make them prefer channels and clearings in the reeds along the former Creek-Stream River mouth west of Karse, on the Zola Fel, and further west in Maniria. The open mudflats between the skerries of the Rightarm and Leftarm islands aren't much to their liking, and I don't know whether they would be singled out by the Guardian Cranes of the Rightarm as traitors to birdhood.

But then the newtlings of Choralinthor Bay might have some form of sacrificial worship to these brutes, accepting a certain number of theirs to be consumed in exchange for the protection by these birds. No idea whether the Rightarm Pelaskites who had joined Amphobos to survive the Darkness would have been included in such a deal or not - the Karse Pelaskites certainly have no obligation to be selected as crane snack, and most of the other coastal fisher folk quite likely would have excused themselves from any such obligations as soon as they moved away to Heortland and Esrolia in the Silver Age.

But then, on Sesre and Itlanmorango the keets have just a deal like this, with one keet "per month" being fed to a sea eagle (headed) deity there in exchange for protection.

 

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Quackatoa    79
2 hours ago, Joerg said:

Why would durulz attack Sofali females and children?

Because ducks are metal and they want to shred out some serious tunes?

 

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