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Leingod

The Lore of Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind

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Spoilers, obviously. If you want to wait until the game comes out on your medium of choice to play it, you should probably stay away from this thread until then.

I'm still essentially a Glorantha neophyte, so I don't really know how much of where the Six Ages lore adds to or contradicts/changes any of the stuff that is already known about the setting, something I'm nonetheless very interested in and would like to know what people more well-versed in this stuff (or who just have a cool idea) take away from the lore and mythology of the game. Since not everyone has had a chance to get it yet (I know a lot of people are waiting until it comes out for their medium of choice), so I thought that, as someone who does have the game and has played the crap out of it, I might make myself useful.

To start with, I'd like to talk about the chief god of the Hyalorings and my personal favorite ever since I first played King of Dragon Pass, Elmal. As their chief god, they have a lot more legends and sayings and such about him than the Orlanthi later will in Dragon's Pass, so I think it'd be cool to talk about, starting with his Heroquest (or rather, "Ritual"), "Elmal Guards the Sunpath.

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Elmal stood guard at his post in Nivorah, far from the Solar Court, when the Emperor was killed. Had he been there, he could have interposed himself between Yelm and the Rebel, taking the blow meant for his father.

But he was not and so the sun fell from the sky and darkness seized the world.

Like people everywhere, those of the Golden City panicked and thought existence had come to an end. It was Elmal’s duty to guard them, but in this case, he could do that best by leaving them, taking action, and returning when he had rescued his father. Because Death was still new in the world, the gods did not yet understand its permanence.

So Elmal spun into the sky onto the path his father proceeded upon each day, granting his glory and warmth to all. He found that its light might still be rekindled.

Upon this path pretenders prowled. They tore up the golden paving stones, stuffing them in sacks, devouring them, seeking to usurp not only Yelm’s throne but his rune of power.

First Elmal encountered his younger brother Little Yelm gathering up the stones. Little Yelm said, “I suppose you think you’re the sun now.”

“I am not the sun,” Elmal replied.

Shame overwhelmed Little Yelm and he stopped gathering the golden stones. So, the two of them did not have to fight.

Next loomed the Demon Sun. He did want to fight, and said, “You think you’re the sun, Elmal?”

“I am not the sun,” Elmal replied. “And neither are you.”

The Demon Sun attacked Elmal with his implacable mace. Emlal withstood him with his fiery shield, crying out, “The sun is not red. Hell gives off no warmth. A force shines from you, Shargash, but it is not the light that gives life.” For a quick eternity they clashed. In the end, neither god slew the other, and the Demon Sun withdrew to hang over his green-walled city, Alkoth.

During the prolonged duel various Small Suns, like the Ghost Sun and the Eggshell Sun, managed to sneak away a number of golden paving stones. After Elmal recovered from his injuries he battled a few of them. But they were many and while the retrieved the bricks from one, another would sneak in to steal more. All of them asked him if he thought he was the sun. And to all he said he was not, that one day he would find a way to rescue his father from hell.

Finally, the Cold Sun interposed himself upon the sunpath. It radiated a dim frigidity, strengthening the ice crushing Yelm’s domain. When the Cold Sun saw Elmal, he laughed, “You’re supposed to be the sun?”

“I am not the sun,” said Elmal, and he leapt at the Cold Sun, spear outthrust.

They battled for a long time, reaching only a standstill. The Cold Sun withdrew, but Elmal knew it would gather strength and return.

Elmal patrolled the part of the sunpath he had freed from incursion by the false suns small and large. Every day he went up and down the length of this portion, expanding it southward a little at a time. A mantle of heat grew around him, not as strong as Yelm’s, but enough to preserve the land below.

Finally, he went to Nivorah and told his people it was time to go. The Riders heard him faster than the Wheels, who were deafened by the sounds of their cumbersome carts.

As we readied for exodus, the Cold Sun came a second time.

He blasted Elmal with frost, with ice, with hail. “My name is Yonesh,” he said, “and I am the sun.”

“You are not,” said Elmal, “because you are riddled with storm runes. You will pollute whatever part of the great sky road you touch.”

To save the sunpath, Elmal saw the terrible sacrifice he would have to make. He would have to destroy part of it, further damaging the city below. So, he broke a hole in the path, over Nivorah. The Cold Sun could claim what was once the Golden City, but a line of warmth and brightness remained to the south, for the Riders to follow.

Yonesh rushed to leap across the breach. To keep him back, Elmal girded himself for one mighty blow, to knock him senseless.

As it landed, he said what he needed to be said to power his strike.

“I am the sun!”

Little Yelm is probably Yelmalio prior to losing his Fire (there's more evidence of this elsewhere, especially in "Nyalda's Bride Price"), and JonL suggested in the "Elmal Yelmalio thing" thread that Yonesh is Yavor, the warrior of the Fire Tribe who snuffed himself out to survive a battle with Umath (and made lightning darts from Umath's brains after he was killed), was torn apart by Orlanth so his bones could be made into weapons, and whose head was kept by him.

I think the interesting thing here is that Elmal is depicted as an archetypal "Reluctant King," the good, virtuous man who dons the mantle of a ruler not because it is his birthright or the spoils of conquest, but because he must. It fits the Hyalorings, who take a very dim view of kings and kingship (to the extent that they don't have kings themselves) but nonetheless love Elmal as the king of gods. Elmal's kingship is justified by his reluctance, which is what sets him apart from the Pretender Suns who try to take the mantle of the sun out of greed and constantly try to equate Elmal with themselves by accusing him of believing he is the sun like they do.

Elmal has a lot more of a family among the Hyalorings (and presumably the Samnali, i.e. the "Wheels" to the Hyalorings' "Riders"). After the death of Yelm, he eventually earns the hand of Nyalda (i.e. Ernalda) in "Nyalda's Bride Price," because he offers what none of the other suitors are willing to offer her (Freedom) and proves his strength by beating said suitors into line. Nyalda here is a former concubine of Yelm, BTW.

Prior to Nyalda, though, Elmal is married to the goddess Nivorah, who is of course the goddess of the city of Nivorah that the Hyalorings and Samnali both come from. Presumably, that's who most of his children were mothered by. The named children who are probably Elmal's children with Nivorah include Osara (basically an Elmali version of Vinga), Verlaro, and Samnal. The one who is definitely Elmal's son with Nivorah is... Reladivus.

Yeah, in "Taming the River," it is outright stated that Reladivus (whom the Dara Happans now consider a son of Yelm) is the son of Elmal and Nivorah. How did they eventually confuse Yelm's grandson with his son? My guess is that the answer is found in "Hyalor Tablet-Maker":

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When his first ambassador returned to him in shame, Manarlavus sent another. This one said that Manarlavus would curse the name of our god, which would never again be remembered.

“Our god is Elmal, and will always be Elmal,” Hyalor and Samnal said together. “And he will never be forgotten.”

I guess Manarlavus might actually have been as good as his word, at least as far as his subjects were concerned. And to fill the genealogical gap that removing Elmal as the emperor's son created, they simply replaced him with Reladivus.

Unless this is just more of that thing where Vinga is considered both an aspect of Orlanth and his daughter by people and neither of these is incorrect.

Edited by Leingod
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Well, no one's told me this is pointless, so I might as well forge on ahead and see if anything comes of it. The Hyalorings worship Ernalda under the name Nyalda, and in their mythology she is married to Elmal, and Inilla is one of their children (there might be more, but I either don't remember them or they aren't named as such). Anyway, like the Orlanthi there is an important myth detailing the marriage between the two, "Nyalda's Bride Price."

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When the sun dropped down into hell his wife appeared to the earth goddesses to say she was going away too. Her absence, she said, would make Nyalda the most desired of all the fertility deities. “Use your wisdom to win the best husband – not only the strongest, though he must be strong, but also the wisest. He will think it is he who chooses you. Husbands are like that. It is easiest if you let them persist in certain beliefs.”

And Nyalda’s mother allowed the ice to cover her, taking her down to the underworld, where she remains to this day. If she survives at all.

With Yelm dead, his sons and vassals leapt enthusiastically to war. After fighting each other for a while they remembered that soldiers have to eat. Each commander came to Nyalda to make an offer. Nyalda knew this would happen and sent Ekarna to gain the Negotiation Rune. Ekarna spoke for her, and Busenari gave practical counsel.

First came Little Yelm, who said, “You were my father’s concubine, but I will make you the replacement Empress. I will give you gold and a palace to protect you from the cold.”

Nyalda looked at Little Yelm’s palace but would not go in. On the other side of the threshold she spotted the invisible chains he had fashioned for her, to keep her from ever leaving. “A wife is not a slave,” she said, and avoided the trap. Little Yelm chased her, so she led him to a distant hill. She called upon the hill for aid, and it wrapped arms of stone and soil around the Pretender Sun, entrapping him. It pulled him inside its depths, where lurked a towering troll, who would keep him busy for a good long time.

Next came Shargash the Demon Sun, who said, “You will be the Green Wife, and nurture my warriors.” Nyalda looked at the Demon Sun’s green palace and saw its locked doors, behind which he maintained shrines to his previous wives. “Did you say the same to Rice when you wooed her? To River, when you cast Rice aside?” Smelling betrayal all around, Nyalda saw that Shargash had also broken with and attacked his second wife. So, by setting a trembling in motion along her banks she summoned the River Wife, who rose up to wash the demon suitor away.

Third came Golden Man, who said, “Enough of gods. Some day there will be only men. Become a woman and be with me. For the joys of life are all the sweeter when they are finite and always at risk.”

Ekarna did not even bother to take this offer to Nyalda. Later they all laughed and made a song about it. If someone was wise, they knew, he would hear this song and find the truth buried in its gibes.

Finally, Elmal rode to the earth camp on Gamari, a horse wreathed in flame.

The words Ekarna spoke were really Nyalda’s. “Why did you wait so long to petition us?”

Gamari negotiated for Elmal. “Until he became the sun, he lacked standing to ask.”

“What enemies did you overcome?”

“He has been waiting to show you,” Gamari said. And the enemies who had been trailing Elmal showed their faces.

Elmal thumped Little Yelm, drove a spear into the Demon Sun, and sent Golden Man scurrying with a kick to the backside.

Nyalda was ready to step forward and tell him right away that she found him pleasing. At the last moment she saw the temptation this represented and retained her composure. Instead she established the tradition we now follow – that it was proper for her kin to conduct negotiations on her behalf.

Ekarna spoke for her first. She praised him but asked if he had any other gift.

“I call my gift Freedom,” said Elmal. “You will not be hidden under a dome, or discarded by a fickle mate, or reduced to wretched mortality.”

Busenari Cow Mother spoke for her next. “There is one more thing.”

And Elmal produced a herd of Busenari’s daughters, who had been lost in the darkness. Gamari spoke for him. “It goes without saying that we would bring cows, a requirement for any wedding.”

Nyalda smiled. Finally, one had come who was not only strong, but wise enough to hear her songs.

“Yes,” her kindred goddesses said, and commenced the ceremony.

A few interesting things to note here. For one, this seems to strongly tie into the idea that "Little Yelm" is Yelmalio; Nyalda trapping him underneath a hill with a troll when he tries to make a slave of her seems to hearken back to the Hill of Gold and Yelmalio losing his Fire to Zorak Zoran.

I don't really know who the Golden Man is, though to me he seems to foreshadow Argrath; I'm an adherent of that conspiracy theory that Argrath intentionally gets the gods killed by the Devil before he slays it so that men will be free of the control of gods in the Fourth Age. That said, I'm not sure what the song Nyalda makes of it is supposed to be or mean. I will say that when you do the actual Ritual, there are instead several Mortal Suns, with the Golden Man simply being chief among them; I think they're supposed to be tiny pieces of the slain Yelm or something.

Another difference when you do the actual Ritual is that Relandar does the speaking for Elmal rather than Gamari, and the way he offers Freedom as a marriage gift is somewhat different:

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“We bring Freedom,” said Relandar. “Not the wayward freedom of the individual, but the galloping freedom of the clan, together.”

I think this may represent a later change to the myth to represent the changes in Hyaloring society.

Another thing interesting to note is that in the game you can get aid from the Wheels/Samnali on Rituals as well as Riders/Hyalorings, at least for ones that involve gods you both worship (the Samnali do not worship or like Ekarna or Hyalor). Unlike the Riders, who learned a certain amount of flexibility under Hyalor, the Samnali try to keep to their old Dara Happan ways as closely as possible, which includes a rigidly patriarchal society, slavery, the use of chariots, etc. Their worship of Elmal is virtually the same as yours (and unlike the Hyalorings, I suspect they might still worship Reladivus in his own right), but Nyalda is a bit of a different story. You can invite the Samnali to send some Nyalda priestesses over, but you get warned that choices that draw on a woman's strengths might be weakened if you do, and afterward the Samnali priestesses ask that you not let their men hear of what goes on in the Ritual (this might just be when you pick the proper choices like saying "A wife is not a slave" to Little Yelm and such), saying that they really don't need to know anything other than that it worked and will make good things happen.

Also, Nyalda's mother is interesting. She seems to have more in common with Asrelia than Dendara, but is regarded as the wife of Yelm regardless (which also makes it rather creepy that Nyalda is also Yelm's concubine here). Maybe I just haven't done my due diligence, but it always seemed to me that Dendara was lacking in Earth associations and is usually presented as Yelm's properly submissive wife, rather than the still loving but more wry and even subversive Earth goddesses who say things like, "Husbands are like that. It's best to let them persist in certain beliefs."

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33 minutes ago, Leingod said:

I'm an adherent of that conspiracy theory that Argrath intentionally gets the gods killed by the Devil before he slays it so that men will be free of the control of gods in the Fourth Age.

I haven't had a chance to see the game yet but love this project and am especially fond of a world where a self-described "Glorantha neophyte" casually lets arcana like this drop. Good times!

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20 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

I haven't had a chance to see the game yet but love this project and am especially fond of a world where a self-described "Glorantha neophyte" casually lets arcana like this drop. Good times!

Well, I have read King of Sartar, and the speech Argrath gives when he kills the Devil seems to strongly imply that Argrath considers the deaths of the gods and a Fourth Age that is made by and for mankind to be the ideal outcome, so it's not a huge leap to think he did it deliberately.

And I'm glad to hear you're at least enjoying the lore-dumps.

Edited by Leingod

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This thread has renewed my interest in this pending game, I will have to take a look. Thanks for posting!

Edited by Mankcam
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1 hour ago, Leingod said:

Third came Golden Man, who said, “Enough of gods. Some day there will be only men. Become a woman and be with me. For the joys of life are all the sweeter when they are finite and always at risk.”

 

1 hour ago, Leingod said:

I don't really know who the Golden Man is, though to me he seems to foreshadow Argrath; I'm an adherent of that conspiracy theory that Argrath intentionally gets the gods killed by the Devil before he slays it so that men will be free of the control of gods in the Fourth Age. That said, I'm not sure what the song Nyalda makes of it is supposed to be or mean. I will say that when you do the actual Ritual, there are instead several Mortal Suns, with the Golden Man simply being chief among them; I think they're supposed to be tiny pieces of the slain Yelm or something.

I also immediately wondered who the Golden Man was. It doesn't seem to be the Golden Spearman, since that's effectively Yelmalio/Little Yelm, but then the various identities of the suns is a mess to begin with.

I'm wondering if it's maybe some remnant king of Peloria? I honestly think it's quite interesting that the Hyalorings are differentiating so strongly between mortals and gods at this point in time, given that such a distinction in the God Time is often either meaningless or difficult.

I was also of the impression that Argrath intended to kill off the gods, or rather, integrate them into his new web.

1 hour ago, Leingod said:

Also, Nyalda's mother is interesting. She seems to have more in common with Asrelia than Dendara, but is regarded as the wife of Yelm regardless (which also makes it rather creepy that Nyalda is also Yelm's concubine here). Maybe I just haven't done my due diligence, but it always seemed to me that Dendara was lacking in Earth associations and is usually presented as Yelm's properly submissive wife, rather than the still loving but more wry and even subversive Earth goddesses who say things like, "Husbands are like that. It's best to let them persist in certain beliefs."

Dendara is a confusing and interesting goddess. We are so used to seeing goddesses associate with the Earth, but in the Entekosiad she is famously associated with Entekos, the Pelandan goddess of Air, rather. She also has a celestial body named after her, but this doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot in the Dara Happan context, as a lot of gods, regardless of their elemental nature, does.

I would argue, personally, that Dendara is a goddess not of the primal powers of femininity, of fertility and abdundance, and the material goods like many Earth goddesses, but rather that she is the goddess of wifely virtues, and also of the "refined crafts", or to put it in other terms - she is a goddess of the feminine secondary sector, rather than the primary sector. The baker rather than the wheat-grower, as it were.

The role of primary fertility and material goods goddess more accurately goes to Oria or Pelora (which I find it strange are not openly considered the same goddess, but instead separate, which is more and more odd the more I think about it.)

Regardless, the mother-daughter relations here does seem a bit odd. Perhaps more archaic myths HAD Yelm as marrying an Esrolia/Oria/Pelora-equivalent, but later myths revised this with a vengeance. 

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I've brought up Inilla, the only (confirmed) child of Elmal and Nyalda's marriage, so I might as well talk about her a little bit next. Her Ritual is "Inilla and the Golden Bush."

Quote

When Elmal moved the fire gods south, they discovered a new enemy god, Yatelo. Some said he was an evil piece of the sky, the Hungry Sun. Others claimed he was a big spirit spawned by the destruction of many smaller, kindly spirits. Yatelo pained their bellies but would never stand and fight.

Elmal cried out in righteous fury, “If I can’t catch him on my spear, how can I defeat him?”

Inilla stepped forward from a wall of pines to tell him that some enemies cannot be fought with weapons.

Elmal asked this reedy, purposeful girl who she was.

She was his daughter by Nyalda, she explained. Her mother had planted her as a seed in Golden City’s earth temple.

“I remember planting the seed,” said Nyalda. “But it failed to germinate.”

Inilla shook her head. That neither parent knew she had been born was understandable, she explained, because though her roots were established in Nivorah, she had sprouted up down here. While Elmal’s retinue departed the crush of ice, she had already been exploring, and was ready.

Inilla pointed out a cave to Nyalda, which inside resembled the Golden City temple. Together they descended into it, and there her mother recognized her daughter. When they emerged, Inilla won over Elmal, too.

“If only we could welcome you with a feast,” Nyalda said. “When I send my retinue to gather food, they come back empty-handed, bemoaning the cold.”

“That is why I am here,” Inilla replied.

And with those words, she went into the bushes and brambles to battle Yatelo. Unlike Nyalda’s older kinfolk, she knew how to employ his own methods against him. Instead of crashing through the brush, she slid through it. There she found Yatelo sleeping, his stick-like arms curled around a pile of spruce tips. She waited until his snores grew deepest, then plucked them from his dry fingers.

She took these back to the sky gods. Though they found this food strange at first, they ate it all up.

Yatelo came to her and threatened her.

Before she vanished, bleeding into the thorns and willows, she said, “If you attack me directly, you will make yourself into the kind of foe my father knows how to kill.” Yatelo sputtered in impotent fury.

But later he crept back into Elmal’s camp and again filled their bellies with emptiness.

The others wanted to whoop against him and show him who was boss. Instead Inilla crept to his favorite mushroom patch, moving softly among the mossy earth. She took all the good mushrooms she found, leaving behind only the poisonous ones whose red caps were dotted in white pimples.

She brought back so many mushrooms that the gods couldn’t eat them all. When they hungered again, they found the leftover mushrooms rotted and worm-ridden. Inilla heard Yatelo’s laughter in her ears. He had snuck in to ruin all the extra food she had gathered.

The next time she raided his berries, she tricked him in turn. She left some on the vines, to seed again. Inilla took more than the gods could eat at once, but not so many that they could not prepare the rest by sun-drying.

When these were eaten Yatelo came again and once more afflicted the gods with hunger.

Like the flicker of dawn Inilla went out. There she found a golden bush dripping with cloudberries. Yatelo stood there with spindly arms crossed, waiting for her to make a mistake. Inilla stood for a moment, thinking carefully. Birds came to eat the berries, but rather than shoo all of them away she made a deal with them. She and the birds would split the delicious fruit. Later, she knew, their elated cries would help her find the bush again, and others like it.

Yatelo wept in fury. He threw Inilla a sword and said she could take the first swing at him. She laid it down at his feet. “Neither of us will ever destroy the other,” she said, “so let us get used to this instead.” Her words and actions revealed Yatelo to himself, not as an enemy of the sky gods, but as a part of the natural way of things.

For, you see, she was dancing with him.

As you might guess, Inilla is the goddess of foraging. It's interesting that she sprouted as a seed planted by Nyalda (and presumably Elmal is her father in the sense that sunlight is needed for the seed to sprout and germinate) and she does have the Plant Rune, but she is a goddess of gathering nature's bounty rather than, you know, being nature's bounty. I haven't really found anything on whether Yatelo shows up elsewhere in Glorantha lore, though I'm sure there's some kind of hunger god (if not multiple ones) that bedevils people.

Among the Samnali, Inilla is considered a very minor divine figure; whenever I try to convince them to help you with her Ritual they'll laugh me off and say something like "the blessings of a slave aren't worth leaving home for." I get the feeling the Samnali probably don't consider Inilla Elmal's daughter, given they recognize him as the king of gods and successor to Yelm. They probably omit the part about her revealing her parentage and portray Inilla as some wretch on the road that provides food to Elmal and his retinue in exchange for being allowed to sleep at their hearth or some such.

Inilla is married to Dostal, the Hyaloring's god of hunting. This is where I developed one of my pet theories after reading the Book of Heortling Mythology: that Dostal is actually a Hyaloring name for Siwend the Hunter, the original Orlanthi hunting god who was displaced by Odayla. I mostly get this idea because Siwend is stated to be married to a member of Ernalda's retinue named Indeg (a name kind of similar to Inilla), who made one of the famous Treasures of the Vingkotlings: a thorn basket that always had another handful of dried berries in it. And in fact one of the Treasures you can get in this game through doing her Ritual (though admittedly it has a different effect) is called the Basket of Inilla. Further, Dostal is a god the Hyalorings met after they left Nivorah, i.e. some time after they first came into contact with Orlanthi.

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I also immediately wondered who the Golden Man was. It doesn't seem to be the Golden Spearman, since that's effectively Yelmalio/Little Yelm, but then the various identities of the suns is a mess to begin with.

I'm wondering if it's maybe some remnant king of Peloria? I honestly think it's quite interesting that the Hyalorings are differentiating so strongly between mortals and gods at this point in time, given that such a distinction in the God Time is often either meaningless or difficult.

I was also of the impression that Argrath intended to kill off the gods, or rather, integrate them into his new web.

I think maybe if we knew what the song Nyalda made from that was and/or what the intended lesson was we could speculate, but as is, I've got nothing.

As for the distinction between god and mortal, while this is before Time it is at least after the introduction of Death to the world, so the difference that gods can be killed but mortals inevitably die is now a thing.

1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Dendara is a confusing and interesting goddess. We are so used to seeing goddesses associate with the Earth, but in the Entekosiad she is famously associated with Entekos, the Pelandan goddess of Air, rather. She also has a celestial body named after her, but this doesn't necessarily mean a whole lot in the Dara Happan context, as a lot of gods, regardless of their elemental nature, does.

I would argue, personally, that Dendara is a goddess not of the primal powers of femininity, of fertility and abdundance, and the material goods like many Earth goddesses, but rather that she is the goddess of wifely virtues, and also of the "refined crafts", or to put it in other terms - she is a goddess of the feminine secondary sector, rather than the primary sector. The baker rather than the wheat-grower, as it were.

The role of primary fertility and material goods goddess more accurately goes to Oria or Pelora (which I find it strange are not openly considered the same goddess, but instead separate, which is more and more odd the more I think about it.)

Regardless, the mother-daughter relations here does seem a bit odd. Perhaps more archaic myths HAD Yelm as marrying an Esrolia/Oria/Pelora-equivalent, but later myths revised this with a vengeance. 

Makes sense. I guess Dendara represents the ideal "civilized" wife; she's the wifely god for an urban rather than a rural society.

While I'm here, I might as well continue with another Hyaloring god and myth, Dostal the Hunter and his own Ritual, "Dostal and the Snow Elk.

Quote

Back in the old days, when all the Riders who left the city still belonged to a single clan, the gods visited us often.

Among these was Dostal, a god we had only just met.

Often when Dostal showed up he would drink all of the kumis and chase around with Raven.

Then one day he would be sober. He would bolt up, hearing what no one else did. His spine would straighten. He breathed in deep, smelling the air.

And he would ask, “Who’s coming with me?”

The elders of all the seven families pushed their brave sons forward.

Dostal said he would only take four. This caused discord, for the families were supposed to be equal. Dostal did not care. He only took four.

This was the First Hunting Lesson: take too many, and you scare away the game.

Dostal pointed to four youths, each from a different family. This happened more than once, but I am telling you about a particular time, where first he picked golden-eyed Zenangar of the Zervusa family. Then the one would become known as Nameforgot, from the great but doomed Shilevasa line. Next Dostal nodded to squat and muscular Stelfor, who was a Bayyasa. And finally, he picked Basikan, grandson of Hyalor, from the Vashyasa, root of all our clan’s families.

The other families grumbled. They asked Zerris, Dostal’s favorite priest, why these had been chosen and not others. Zerris said, “They have awareness in them already. Dostal will not awaken it.”

Dostal led the boys north, to the ice. He did not tell them what game he sought. Then on the ridge, the four young men, who at that time were all fast friends, saw it. A vast white elk crunched through the snow on big fat hooves.

Nameforgot was about to cry out, but Zenangar put his hand over his friend’s mouth.

Dostal nodded, and they all understood the Second Lesson: when you see your prize, shut up. Awareness flowed into all of them, but into Zenangar most of all.

Stelfor was about to rush toward the animal, but Basikan stopped him. “He is strong now and will outrun us if he sees us chasing him. We must follow until he is tired and unaware.”

Dostal nodded, and they understood the Third Lesson: to catch your prize, be willing to wander. Basikan learned this more deeply than the rest.

They tracked him for days, encountering many dangers: Straw Faces, swooping clouds, and ghosts in spirit guise. Dostal guided them through all of these.

When they came upon the elk again, Basikan said that it was tired, and the time was right. But Nameforgot shook his head. “This is not our elk, for that one had four spots on the left haunch, and this has five.”

Dostal nodded, took an arrow from his quiver, and felled the creature, revealing it as a smoky sending of the sorcerer Yenfar.

This was the Fourth Lesson: remember all you see.

The false elk left traces in the snow. Basikan wanted to follow them to find Yenfar, murderer of his mother. But Stelfor shook his head.

Dostal nodded, and they all understood the Fifth Lesson: do not change your quarry midway through. Stelfor could have taken more of this lesson than the others. But he suspected another lesson, one he would prefer, still awaited.

And that was so. For when they kept on they found the real snow elk. It had fallen into a crevasse and sakkars threatened it. And with Dostal leading them all the boys fought the sakkars, Stelfor most ferociously of all.

Sakkars ate others and were themselves not so good to eat. This was the Sixth Lesson, which everyone shared equally: know who eats what.

All four boys approached the elk, which cried out in fear. “Why must you slaughter me now, when I am helpless?” it wailed. “Be fair and seek other game.”

Zenangar and Basikan and Nameforgot stepped back. They were hungry but felt pity for it.

Dostal nodded, and Stelfor cut its throat. Blood reddened the snow.

And thus, the Seventh Lesson flowed more into Stelfor than the others: the hunter must strike without qualm.

They were boys, so Dostal carried the whole elk back on his shoulders. Our ancestors feasted. When Dostal had drunk enough kumis, Basikan asked him: “You could have dropped that elk right away, couldn’t you?”

Dostal smiled, and that was the Eighth Lesson: when you understand the first seven lessons, the time has come to teach them.

As I mentioned earlier, Dostal seems to be a foreign god the Hyalorings received after they left Nivorah, as here he is "a god we had only just met."

As to the identity of the four children, there's more lore to explain it; essentially, when the One Clan grew too large, it split into four, and each of the children here would be the first chieftains of those clans. The story of the one called Nameforgot isn't actually told outright (as far as I can tell), just hinted at here and there. He led the North Clan, which tried to stay just out of reach of the encroaching glacier rather than moving further away from it. Basikan led the South Clan, and in keeping with the lesson that Basikan learned most strongly their descendants (including the PC clan) have wandered further than any others; in the game, that means they are right on the north bank of the Black Eel river, with a bunch of Ram (Vingkotling) clans on the southern bank.

So basically this is a sort of mythic origin story for the particular traits of the different branches of the Hyalorings as much as it is a myth about Dostal himself and how he taught the Hyalorings to hunt. It's probably why the hunting lessons Dostal teaches are all things that are applicable to more than just hunting. I'd be willing to bet that which of the four boys asks Dostal the question that leads into the Eighth Lesson changes depending on whose descendant is telling the story.

Also, like Inilla the Samnali treat Dostal with less deference than the Hyalorings do, though it's to a lesser extent and they will in fact sometimes agree to send some worshipers over to help with the Ritual. If you successfully complete it, the Wheel Dostal-worshipers will thank you for proving that a light step can be just as useful to the clan as the rumbling of wheels; presumably, then, Dostal is afforded less respect among the Samnali because a hunter can't very well ride a chariot, whereas shooting things from horseback is a perfectly acceptable way to hunt and thus it's no problem for Hyalorings.

EDIT: Also, a note on Yenfar. Yenfar is known as "Yenfar the Capturer" to the Hyalorings, who regard him as a personal enemy of Hyalor. He worships "neither Sky nor Storm" and made a people from nothing referred to as "the Sorcery Tribe." So, Zzabur, or...?

Edited by Leingod

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1 hour ago, Leingod said:

As you might guess, Inilla is the goddess of foraging. It's interesting that she sprouted as a seed planted by Nyalda (and presumably Elmal is her father in the sense that sunlight is needed for the seed to sprout and germinate) and she does have the Plant Rune, but she is a goddess of gathering nature's bounty rather than, you know, being nature's bounty. I haven't really found anything on whether Yatelo shows up elsewhere in Glorantha lore, though I'm sure there's some kind of hunger god (if not multiple ones) that bedevils people.

I was thinking of Daga, but turns out he is the god of drought rather than famine, as I thought. But yeah, seemingly some incarnation of the concept of hunger or famine, I reckon.

It's rather interesting to see these gods of extremely primitive concepts arise more recently than kingship and such, but I guess that's what happens when you are a group of survivors of the Apocalypse of an urban society. 

1 hour ago, Leingod said:

Also, a note on Yenfar. Yenfar is known as "Yenfar the Capturer" to the Hyalorings, who regard him as a personal enemy of Hyalor. He worships "neither Sky nor Storm" and made a people from nothing referred to as "the Sorcery Tribe." So, Zzabur, or...?

Possibly, or one of the several Blue People around Lake Oronin, maybe? They have several incarnations, but some of them are associated with sorcery, like the Logicians and so on. They have at least one leader mentioned by name, but I can't recall what it is.

EDIT: YarGan, is the guy i'm thinking of, I think. King of Logic aka Blue King.

Anyway, hard to tell with no further hints.

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2 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I was thinking of Daga, but turns out he is the god of drought rather than famine, as I thought. But yeah, seemingly some incarnation of the concept of hunger or famine, I reckon.

It's rather interesting to see these gods of extremely primitive concepts arise more recently than kingship and such, but I guess that's what happens when you are a group of survivors of the Apocalypse of an urban society. 

Well, the Golden Age did predate death and most forms of suffering, so it makes sense in its own way that the bad things came after the good things. And yeah, I thought of Daga too and remembered he is a god of drought specifically, hence he was defeated when Heler was freed from Aroka.

Actually, I suppose this makes Inilla vs Yatelo a little similar to Barntar vs Daga.

4 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Possibly, or one of the several Blue People around Lake Oronin, maybe? They have several incarnations, but some of them are associated with sorcery, like the Logicians and so on. They have at least one leader mentioned by name, but I can't recall what it is.

EDIT: YarGan, is the guy i'm thinking of, I think. King of Logic aka Blue King.

Anyway, hard to tell with no further hints.

Well, YarGan and Yenfar don't sound too far apart linguistically, but yeah, no real way to tell.

And while we're on the topic of food and feeding yourselves, the Cow Mother of the Hyaloring mythos is called Busenari, who seems to be pretty much identical to Uralda. Like Uralda's Heroquest, her main myth and Ritual is a foundation myth about man's relationship to cattle. And as mentioned above, it's basically an explanation of how things changed in the shift from an urban to a rural life. Thus, we have "Busenari Finds the Light:"

Quote

Busenari Cow Mother lived in a golden pen with her many daughters. Each day the Emperor would come and lead Busenari out of the pen into a pasture of the greenest grass, made for her by the Empress. Busenari and her daughters would eat this grass, which was sweet and rich, until the Emperor grew tired and had to go to bed. At this time, he would lead her back into her golden pen, which enveloped Busenari’s kin in comfortable warmth.

In exchange for these boons – the sweet grass, the warm pen – Busenari fed the Emperor and his household. In those days people did not drink milk for sustenance, instead preferring a rejuvenating mead. But they did eat beef. Busenari selected the daughters who would join the imperial feasts. When they were done, the Emperor’s servants would gather up all the bones and (after making soup of course) would bring them to Busenari in her pen. Busenari would sing to her daughters the long slow song and in the morning, she would have calves, new daughters, to replace the ones who had done their duty the night before.

Occasionally Busenari would hear a rumpus in the far distance. On occasion, when the sounds grew close, Busenari’s daughters came to her and said, “Can we truly trust the Emperor to keep us safe?” Busenari sang them the calming song, which then was called Let the Emperor Worry About What Lies Beyond The Fields. And so, they settled down.

Over time these disturbances grew more and more frequent. One night when the Emperor came to lead her back into the pen, Busenari saw that he was covered with dark splotches. This had never happened before, so she asked him what they were. “Bruises,” he said. “They’re what you get when a fist or weapon strikes you. But do not trouble yourself. These troublemakers are but winds, blowing harmlessly.”

Busenari ruminated upon this, and saw that if times were growing tougher, the need for calm and courage had grown along with it. So, when her daughters came to her with fear in her hearts, she altered her calming song, and it became It is For the Emperor To Fight, and For Us To Stay Brave. And once more they settled down.

But one day when Yelm returned to escort her back to the pen, Busenari saw what he was trying to hide from her: rips in his flesh. Now she sang the calming song to the Emperor, and it became Share Your Worries, and They Will Dwindle. “Those winds are stronger than I thought,” Yelm confessed, “Still, the Emperor is the Emperor, so they cannot prevail.”

Busenari ruminated upon the surprising turn of events until she perceived a new calming song. When her daughters came to her, worried, she sang Fear of What Has Yet To Happen Does No One Any Good. And again, they settled down.

One day the Emperor did not return at all. Instead the grassy fields plunged suddenly into darkness, and no one came to lead Busenari’s daughters home. She waited for a long time, but the air grew cold and not so far away she saw hungry creatures prowling. They leapt upon one of her daughters, dragging her away. Busenari understood that the creatures would not bring back this daughter’s bones, preventing her from being created anew.

Before the creatures could take more of her daughters, Busenari rounded them up. She sang a new song, Now is the Time To Gather Ourselves. She became the one to lead them home.

Morning took a long time to come, and when it did, it was not in the form of the Emperor, but his son, who introduced himself as Elmal. He led her out to the pasture to introduce himself to the new Empress. Busenari recognized her as Nyalda, an attendant upon the previous Empress. Together the two entered an earthen mound, where they realized they had been sisters the whole time.

The new Emperor was as good as his word, or nearly so. Wolves and other creatures occasionally took her daughters, but when the survivors came to her, she sang The New Way is Hard, But We Will Persevere.

Over time the patch of grass became ever smaller. Its edges turned brown, encroached upon by ice.

Then one day the young Emperor did not come back. Busenari’s daughters wondered if he had died, like his father. But since the sky had not entirely darkened, she reckoned that he had gone off somewhere. Busenari led her people to the pasture and looked for the Empress but did not find her either. The grass had never been worse – dry and tasteless and dwindling.

Busenari sang the song she had long prepared, called Now the Moment Has Come. It drew her daughters around her and they set off, toward the greatest warmth. As her song said, this was south, the Right Direction.

She headed that way until she found the horse goddess, Gamari. “Take me to the young Emperor,” Busenari said.

“He went to find a new brightness,” Gamari answered.

“Then take me to his new household,” Busenari said, “so we may calm and feed his warriors, and they may protect us.”

Gamari agreed but warned Busenari that Elmal’s people were embarked together on a long journey.

Busenari saw that Gamari had a joy in wandering. “Give me a fraction of it,” she said, “so that my daughters might take it and embrace a life without pens, where you simply keep moving from one pasture to the next.”

And Gamari did this, and went with Busenari to find her partner, Hyalor, chieftain of the Riders.

“Where have you been?” the frantic, hungry Riders said.

“Coming to you,” she said. And Busenari sang her newest calming song, Home is Wherever We Are.

It's interesting that in some ways this is essentially the opposite of Uralda's myth, though. Uralda's story is of the cattle beginning out in the wild and seeking the protection of man in pens, while Busenari's story has the cattle beginning in Yelm's pens and seeking the protection of man out in the wild.

I also find myself wondering if the songs Busenari sings have any deeper meaning. I'll also note that unlike in Uralda's myth, bulls have no mention here; where one of the major hurdles in that Heroquest is convincing the bulls to follow and then mollifying them when they realize some of them are being slaughtered (in that Earth Goddess way where you use your superior wiles to put the witless men in their place thinking that they run everything), but here the cattle are all called Busenari's daughters, with no mention at all of bulls.

... Also, there's a big difference here that I only just noticed. Here, Nyalda and Uralda are sisters, whereas Ernalda is the mother of Uralda. What gives?

Hmm... It might be how the Hyalorings interpret the relationship because they aren't as comfortable with having sex and children outside of marriage. I don't actually know how okay with it they are, BTW, except that they believe that a child born of a Ram and a Rider will always end up as an evil sorcerer, and one of your choices when you find that a Rider of your clan has been seeing a Ram girl is to encourage him to drown himself.

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3 hours ago, Leingod said:

In exchange for these boons – the sweet grass, the warm pen – Busenari fed the Emperor and his household. In those days people did not drink milk for sustenance, instead preferring a rejuvenating mead. But they did eat beef. Busenari selected the daughters who would join the imperial feasts. When they were done, the Emperor’s servants would gather up all the bones and (after making soup of course) would bring them to Busenari in her pen. Busenari would sing to her daughters the long slow song and in the morning, she would have calves, new daughters, to replace the ones who had done their duty the night before.

Funny. This is very much like the myth of Thor and the goats that draw his chariot. In the evening he would butcher them, eat their meat, and then put their bones back into their skin, swing his hammer above them, and they would return to life.

3 hours ago, Leingod said:

And while we're on the topic of food and feeding yourselves, the Cow Mother of the Hyaloring mythos is called Busenari, who seems to be pretty much identical to Uralda.

I wonder how/if there is any relation to Buserian, or Bisos, or Turos. All of these are cattle-themed names, possibly due to the prehistoric Cattle Hsunchen that migrated into Pelanda and Peloria from along the Janube, but this might not count for all of these elements.

3 hours ago, Leingod said:

Well, the Golden Age did predate death and most forms of suffering, so it makes sense in its own way that the bad things came after the good things.

Well, for the urban Dara Happans maybe, but for most other societies, certainly free gathering probably predated organized agriculture, back to the Green Age. But this is conjecture.

3 hours ago, Leingod said:

But one day when Yelm returned to escort her back to the pen, Busenari saw what he was trying to hide from her: rips in his flesh. Now she sang the calming song to the Emperor, and it became Share Your Worries, and They Will Dwindle. “Those winds are stronger than I thought,” Yelm confessed, “Still, the Emperor is the Emperor, so they cannot prevail.”

Real talk: this is probably the most sympathetic Yelm has ever come across for as long as I've read Glorantha. I honestly feel bad for the guy here. Unless, of course, the Emperor isn't Yelm but Murharzam or something. Still.

3 hours ago, Leingod said:

I also find myself wondering if the songs Busenari sings have any deeper meaning.

Cattle-calling songs reminds me the ones in my own language:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpDnJ3QuSrY 

If I were to guess, I'd say Buserian's songs mostly serve to show that she is a goddess that can adapt to the needs of the herd, which is a good example for cowherders to follow.

 

3 hours ago, Leingod said:

... Also, there's a big difference here that I only just noticed. Here, Nyalda and Uralda are sisters, whereas Ernalda is the mother of Uralda. What gives?

I honestly don't think this is too big of a difference. Divine family relations are quite mutable, imho, and whether someone are sisters or daughter-mother is among the least drastic ones.

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3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I wonder how/if there is any relation to Buserian, or Bisos, or Turos. All of these are cattle-themed names, possibly due to the prehistoric Cattle Hsunchen that migrated into Pelanda and Peloria from along the Janube, but this might not count for all of these elements.

Hard to say; Buserian is in the game (though spelled Buseryan), but he isn't very prominent. The Hyalorings still read the stars the way he taught them, and their story tents are a record of their history in pictures rather than writing, but his worship (and literacy) has fallen out of use with most of them, though your clan can be one of the ones who still offers him worship and can build a shrine to him.

3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Real talk: this is probably the most sympathetic Yelm has ever come across for as long as I've read Glorantha. I honestly feel bad for the guy here. Unless, of course, the Emperor isn't Yelm but Murharzam or something. Still.

The Hyalorings at least seem quite clear that Yelm is dead and Orlanth killed him, none of this "He only killed Murharzarm" thing. But yeah, definitely sad for Yelm in this one, if only because it's from the point of view of someone who relied on his care and protection.

3 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I honestly don't think this is too big of a difference. Divine family relations are quite mutable, imho, and whether someone are sisters or daughter-mother is among the least drastic ones.

Fair enough. Here's another one, though: as I've mentioned already and elsewhere, Reladivus is usually accounted as one of the Eight Sons of Yelm. The Hyalorings, however, claim him as Elmal's son in the myth "Taming the River:"

Quote

One day something new came roaring into the world. From the north rushed great blue serpents, cutting deep ravines into the earth and drowning all who opposed them.

Shargash and his drummers marched out to fight the invasion, but they were swamped and had to flee.

The Emperor strode forth. A blue snake surged towards him. He gave the Shovel and Bucket to his servants, and they used them to tame the serpent. This was Oslira, who ever since flowed past the Emperor’s city in her new banks.

But the rest of the Empire was still flooded. Reladivus, the son of the gods Elmal and Nivorah, set out to protect his mother’s city. First, he had to find the chief, an immense blue dragon. The dragon was guarded by so much spray and mist that it could not see the god approaching in his brilliance. Reladivus burst into searing radiance, and the mist and spray fled, leaving a much smaller dragon. It attacked but found itself boiling away. It offered riches to Reladivus, but Reladivus was not tempted and pushed forward. Finally, the dragon capitulated. Reladivus compelled it to flow peacefully as the Arcos and yield its treasures to this people.

But the Arcos was untrustworthy. When Reladivus had to fight the Rain Folk, Arcos rose up and flooded the land again. After Reladivus dealt with the Rain Folk, he asked Relandar for a map of the realm. Feigning injury, he returned to Arcos. Sensing weakness, the dragon lunged for Reladivus. But Reladivus was ready, and raced towards the nearest valley, then across one plain to another, then turned again, following the plan he and Relandar had made. The dragon chased after, but quickly tired, and was easily compelled to stay in its new banks.

Again, Arcos could not keep its word, and rose up to flood the land. This time, Reladivus consulted with Ekarna, who gave him a clay jar that she sealed with wax and gum. Reladivus brought it to Arcos, who was intrigued by the jar and took the form of a beautiful blue woman. She tried to seduce Reladivus, but he rebuffed her. Finally, she offered a reed basket full of pearls of all hues, but Reladivus would only trade if she returned to her channel. Arcos agreed and used the jar to make a great lake in which to bathe and raise her children.

The Arcos can never truly be tamed, but Reladivus could always master it.

I've already given my theory for why this change in genealogy occurs.

Other than that, seems like a fairly standard "man tames the forces of nature to benefit him" myth. The difference between the Arcos and Oslira calls to mind how myths have characterized the various rivers that they've built their civilizations around, like the predictable, gentle Nile contrasted with the violent, capricious Tigris and Euphrates.

The Hyalorings no longer worship Reladivus in their day-to-day life, though they remember this myth and make use of its power. The Samnali might still worship him; they can assist in this Ritual, and if it succeeds they praise you for remembering the old ways even if you don't live them the way they do. Perhaps he's too strongly tied to Nivorah, and was unwilling to leave the city of his mother with his father and people?

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I've gotten pretty far into this without discussing the guy the Riders are named after in the first place: Hyalor himself. He's actually got two major myths you can read up on in the game, one of which is actually a new one you learn as a people in the game and that can cause a divisive religious schism, no joke.

But the one we'll be discussing here is the first one, "Hyalor Tablet-Maker."

Quote

Elmal’s wife, Nivorah, had finally died. The walls and streets of what had once been a living city were now her mausoleum. Elmal was gone, off on a quest to restore the sun’s warmth, when bells rang and drums boomed. A procession entered the city, sent by the throne of Dara Happa. As always, the legates of the ineffective Emperor came to us when we were starving and offered to feed us only nonsense.

Manarlavus the Emperor had proclaimed himself the Roofer. He would build – meaning everyone else would build for him – a dome over the entirety of the empire. It would be an egg, from which later generations would hatch, when the ice was gone. That was the sort of idiocy imperials spouted as the world grew dark. The chief legate, Avilraru, demanded to know who was in charge in Elmal’s absence.

So Hyalor, commander of the Riders, and Samnal, leader of the Wheels, who never agreed on anything, stepped up together to meet him.

Avilraru said, “When will you start building?”

Together Hyalor and Samnal replied, “All we will make for Manarlavus is your headstone.”

“And not a very good one at that,” Samnal added.

Hyalor was surprised, for Samnal was not normally given to witticisms. But then this was not a normal time.

When his first ambassador returned to him in shame, Manarlavus sent another. This one said that Manarlavus would curse the name of our god, which would never again be remembered.

“Our god is Elmal, and will always be Elmal,” Hyalor and Samnal said together. “And he will never be forgotten.”

When the emperor’s second ambassador found us no more pliant, the demons of Alkoth cried for war. But the Emperor restrained them, fearing what would happen when the Riders and Wheels were united.

Hyalor said, “The Emperor may not come for us, but the ice surely will.”

“My charioteers will not budge from this place,” Samnal said.

And so again, after a time of brief accord, the two were at odds. The Wheels convinced themselves they could stay and withstand enemies forever, and nothing would ever really change.

We knew there was nothing left worth fighting for.

But how would we live, away from our city? Would Hyalor, who still looked a hundred and fifty years younger than he really was, become our king? If not, who would lead us, and how would we choose him? How would he be advised? How would we remember who we are, and who would we become? What would we eat, how would we make war, what would our laws be?

Hyalor said these answers could only be found in the Sky World. He told us to pack everything we owned, then throw most of it away. Take only the things we would need to survive in the wilderness. Then he climbed onto Gamari’s back and rode to the sky.

We were confused, until Ostalar, descendant of Hyalor from his second wife’s line, came forward and told us what to take and what to leave. Thus, he became Ostalar the Sorter, our first chieftain.

Ostalar chose six advisors to carry his institutions to everyone. From each of Hyalor’s six bloodlines he picked one person. He picked women as well as men, which we found strange, until he said we would have to rely on everyone’s wisdom from now on. The advisors stood in a circle to speak with him, and so our council became known as a circle.

By the time Ostalar was ready to go, we wondered if Hyalor would ever come back, or had been slain in the Gods War.

Meanwhile the Wheels had done nothing but ready themselves for another fight.

Ostalar was about to give the order to depart when Hyalor rode down from the sky, atop Gamari. In his hand he held a golden tablet. “It contains the rules of your new lives, which you will need to survive,” Hyalor said.

“Are you our king?”

“Riders will never have kings,” Hyalor said. “Kings will get big heads, and try stupid things, like covering the empire in an eggshell. Instead Riders will learn to think for themselves. This tablet contains your freedom.”

And so, we clamored to see it, and he smiled, and turned it around.

Both sides were blank.

Immediately we understood. In this new freedom, we would make our own rules.

We departed the dead city to the rumble of approaching ice.

The Wheels realized they could not withstand the ice wall and fled in haste. A ravening brood of Rams intercepted them on the way out, costing them lives and treasure.

And that shows how we prepared for a new life with new rules, and how they cling tight to as many old ways as they can, even when those customs prove as ungainly as their dreadful carts.

When we were well clear of the doomed city, Hyalor gave the tablet to Ostalar.

When the One Clan split into Four, each chieftain rode to the sky with Hyalor to get a new tablet.

When the South Clan split into five clans, those chiefs rode to the sky to find Hyalor for a tablet.

On the third split, our ancestors did this again, and here is the [Clan Name] tablet. Still glowing with our freedom.

And there you have it. Hyalor was a very humble guy; in addition to refusing to make himself a king or even a chieftain, he also never claimed to be anything more than a man despite being a hero and the son of a god. This has been both bad and good for the Hyalorings; one problem is that both the Vingkotlings and the Samnali have no such compunctions. I'd actually only gotten this event in a playthrough just now, when the Wheels formed their own kingdom in the Black Eel/Oslir river valley. And if you take too long/fail to get the good end, the Orgovaltes tribe comes in and starts to wreck up the place (being a separate tribe of Vingkotlings who have married a Rider into their family; I haven't gotten that ending yet, but I'm guessing Ulanin is meant to be a descendant of the East Clan), while the Hyalorings never have an option to make a kingdom or tribe of their own.

Which is probably why the Riders had to become Rams in order for the Berennethtelli to be created from the tribeless Vingkotling and Hyaloring clans (the "King of Dragon Pass"-esque ending here is that your clan's Beren becomes the Beren by marrying Redaylda, and the ending slideshow is of the Riders and Rams getting along, intermarrying, and taking on aspects of each others' culture, capped off by an image of Elmal and Orlanth standing on either side of the Black Eel River as giants and shaking hands like friends, hearkening to the later Orlanthi myth of Orlanth saving Elmal when they fought over a bridge and fell into the river).

But yeah, I'm thinking that Manarlavus's threat of a curse that Elmal's name would be forgotten by the Dara Happans might be significant.

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Enough of gods. Some day there will be only men

This is obviously a child of Grandfather Mortal.  My own theory which I adhered to in my Argrath's Saga campaign was that Lanbril and Trickster are one and the same.  That Lanbril always plotted to destroy the gods.  That being mortal, he escaped the Great Compromise and so could continue in disguise as Trickster walking the earth.  That is why in King of Sartar he is the one personally responsible for tricking the gods to their doom.

I believe those words above spoken by Golden Man must be the words of Trickster/Lanbril.

From Pavis and Big Rubble:

Quote

Lanbril was a son of Grandfather Mortal....Lanbril studied the ways of deceit and perfected the techniques of seeming to not be doing what he was indeed doing....he cultivated Disorder and worked to attain the Illusion that all was right until repair was impossible and he had made his escape (note Tricksters runes are Disorder and Illusion)....Some devout cultists go so far as to state that this influence inspired Eurmal to help Orlanth in stealing Death from Humakt.

I believe that Elusu the Little Shit is actually Lanbril as Trickster.  That Lanbril has been moving from body to body since Time began and that he's been plotting the downfall of the gods and is instrumental into bringing Argrath to power.  He's literally been waiting for Argrath to come along.

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12 hours ago, Pentallion said:

This is obviously a child of Grandfather Mortal.  My own theory which I adhered to in my Argrath's Saga campaign was that Lanbril and Trickster are one and the same.  That Lanbril always plotted to destroy the gods.  That being mortal, he escaped the Great Compromise and so could continue in disguise as Trickster walking the earth.  That is why in King of Sartar he is the one personally responsible for tricking the gods to their doom.

I believe those words above spoken by Golden Man must be the words of Trickster/Lanbril.

From Pavis and Big Rubble:

I believe that Elusu the Little Shit is actually Lanbril as Trickster.  That Lanbril has been moving from body to body since Time began and that he's been plotting the downfall of the gods and is instrumental into bringing Argrath to power.  He's literally been waiting for Argrath to come along.

That's definitely a new one to me. Thanks for sharing it, both because it's interesting and because I really don't want a long chain of just my own posts.😋

Quote

Snowflakes struck Osara and Verlaro as their father Elmal led the Riders from the Golden City, which had been suffocated by an ice shroud.

While in the city both had been exemplars of obedience: Osara the goddess of daughters, Verlaro, god of the common man.

According to Elmal’s favored mortal, Hyalor, things would have to be different in their new wild existence. Freedom was the word now, not obedience.

So, they decided they would have to prove themselves in new ways, and rode off together, ahead of the others, to do just that.

“Obedience was boring anyway,” Verlaro said.

Freedom is not about pleasure, Osara thought. It requires more discipline, not less. But her brother seemed happy, so she did not trouble him with this contradiction.

They rode until they came upon the sinister Cold Sun and his favored mortal, Stakar. These wintry adversaries quickly hid a white blanket, so Verlaro figured it had to be a treasure. With club in hand he charged them, seeking its blessing of peaceful sleep. He too easily captured it from them and would have wrapped himself in it and slept forever had Osara not been there to tear it from his back. Her arrows blazed for the first time and she used them to slay Stakar and drive Cold Sun back to his northern land.

Verlaro promised he would not fall for that trick again, but said he still liked a good snooze.

To spare her brother’s feelings, Osara did not say what she was thinking.

They rode further still, until they came upon the wild Ram god Ovadorudus and his favored mortal, Thengist. These wild-blooded enemies pretended to hide a skin of mead. Verlaro thought he would redeem his previous folly by grabbing it and taking it back to their father. But once he had done so, he decided to taste a little of it. Osara slapped the skin from his hand but not before he quaffed a mouthful of poison and slumped from his saddle. Ovadorudus and Thengist ambushed them. Flames wreathed Osara’s spearhead for the first time. She seared Thengist’s flesh, causing Ovadorudus to scorn him.

When he awoke, Verlaro said he was much smarter now. Now there were two tricks he would never fall for again. But did still like a good drink.

This time Osara said part of what she was thinking: if Verlaro kept this up, people would sing about him in stories, and tell of him in tales, but no longer seek him for worship.

Verlaro said this was fine with him. Granting blessings was a lot of work.

They rode as far as any Rider had ever gone, until they came upon their evil brother Samnal, who had thrown his lot in with the hated Wheels, along with his favored mortal, Goldtalon. Arms wide, Samnal cried out as if he was happy to see them: “Welcome! Join my people and resume your proper places! Osara, you need not strain yourself carrying the weapons of a man. Verlaro, shelter yourself from the dangers of the trail.”

Now that her arrows and spear blazed, Osara had no intention of quelling them. But Verlaro, who had always yearned for his haughty older brother’s respect, rushed forward. Samnal slapped him in golden chains. “You will slave hard for the nobles of the Wheel.”

Osara saw that she too was tempted – not by the chance to be a quiet, obedient daughter again, but by the urge to leave Verlaro in Samnal’s hands. She even turned and rode away.

But as soon as she did that she understood how wrong it was. Osara turned around and for the first time fire sprang from her sword. She dashed Goldtalon’s chariot to bits and put out Samnal’s right eye. She dug the tip so deep into his skull that the burnt eye would not grow back for nearly a year, until Fire Season came around again.

Freed from his chains, Verlaro wept. He was as smart as could be, now that all of life’s three tricks had been revealed to him. But still he wished Samnal would be a righteous brother again.

When they got back to camp Elmal saw that Osara had changed. He said Riders would now petition her for a share of her strength and smarts. As her father, he knew she was ready for the added responsibility.

“Sounds like a lot of work,” Verlaro said, and he drank a skin of kumis and crawled under a blanket, but not before embracing his father and sister and declaring his love for them.

As Verlaro snored, Elmal told Osara a secret, one he himself had learned but recently. Verlaro was right about one thing. Leadership surely was a lot of work. Not when it came to helping the great achieve their greatness. That was already in them. Protecting the stubborn and thick-witted and flawed, now that was the hard part. But you did it, because they were the ones who needed to be led.

Gotta say, I really feel for Verlaro, especially when it comes to Samnal. I'll also note that he seems to be roughly analogous in the societal role he plays (i.e. as the "common man") to Barntar. Note the difference: where Barntar is the backbone of the clan and able to do great things in his own right when he must, Verlaro is portrayed as a lazy simpleton who needs to be constantly bailed out and protected by his betters when his bumbling gets him in trouble. It seems to reflect a lingering Dara Happan contempt for the lower classes, in my opinion, though it at least eschews enslaving the common man (via Osara maiming Samnal).

I think Ovadorudus is a Dara Happan/Hyaloring name for Vadrus; Thengist comes up in another story as a mutual foe with other Rams in "Ekarna's Four Trades," and his treatment of Thengist when Osara burns him is befitting of Vadrus in particular of Orlanth's kin.

I don't think Stakar or Goldtalon are ever mentioned again in the game, though.

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Ovadorudus is Vadrus, from what I know, yes. No idea who Thengist is, although it's interesting to see that apparently Vadrudings are explicitly identified with the Rams (who are otherwise identified as Vingkotlings), which might lend credence to the idea that the term "Ram" is actually a wider term than Vingkotling per se, although it clearly doesn't cover ALL "Umathings"/para-Orlanthi, as it doesn't cover the Andam Horde, it seems.

Is it just me, or is the prose in this myth a bit more... casual, than the others?

Verlaro does feel like a negative stereotype of Lodril, yeah.

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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Ovadorudus is Vadrus, from what I know, yes. No idea who Thengist is, although it's interesting to see that apparently Vadrudings are explicitly identified with the Rams (who are otherwise identified as Vingkotlings), which might lend credence to the idea that the term "Ram" is actually a wider term than Vingkotling per se, although it clearly doesn't cover ALL "Umathings"/para-Orlanthi, as it doesn't cover the Andam Horde, it seems.

Is it just me, or is the prose in this myth a bit more... casual, than the others?

Verlaro does feel like a negative stereotype of Lodril, yeah.

Actually, the Andam are also referred to as "Rams" in-game and in fact are probably the origin of that name (being followers of Varnaval the Storm Ram). In the game, the Hyalorings show a tendency to conflate different Storm peoples and lump them all in together. You know, like every other culture does.

Yeah, the prose in "Osara and Verlaro" is definitely a more casual one than most. I would guess it's because of Verlaro's centrality to the story.

Here's the other mention of Thengist in one of these myths, with "Ekarna's Four Trades."

Quote

When we left the Golden City, we found ourselves in need of items we had once taken for granted.

“We are running out of swords,” said Elmal.

“With no gold plaques to adorn our belts, nobles have lost their pride,” said Relandar.

“Without pots, how will we carry our grain?” asked Pela.

Ekarna, known as a member of Nyalda’s retinue, revealed herself to them in a new form. She showed them her rune of trade and would now demonstrate its purpose.

For her first trade expedition she took seven sword nobles, one from each of the clan’s families. She led them to the camp of the Goose People. They feared her at first, but she showed them her brow and up stepped one of their nobles, who had the same rune on his brow. Perceiving each other as friends, they exchanged goods. We received feathers to thicken our jackets when the Cold Sun neared. They received bells to frighten foxes.

Warmed by the feathers, our herders found winter fodder for Gamari, who gave Ekarna seven skins of kumis.

Next Ekarna took Hyalor and seven archers. She led them to the stead of Aradanth the Bold. Although both were Rams, he often fought our enemy Thengist, who raided us and tried to take us as slaves. Aradanth accepted the kumis and in exchange gave us brooches of protection we could use against Thengist.

On the way back Thengist stormed at us and our archers tested the brooches. They tipped the balance away from the enemy Rams, forcing their retreat. Ekarna memorized the feats of the archers. Back home, she encouraged Relandar to weave this into the story tent, so all could remember it.

On her third expedition, she asked Osara to lead her escort, accompanied by seven fighting noblewomen. They took the story of the fight against Thengist south to the Ghost City. The restless dead of that place hated Rams and delighted in the tale. So, they gave us bone shards of the dead god Umath. These could be fashioned into bits, bridles and blades.

During Ekarna’s return journey, Thengist appeared yet again, this time with the cat god Yinkin at his side. Osara and Yinkin squared off. Shades of Ghost City came out to fight for Ekarna, whose story so pleased them. They devoured the souls of fleeing Rams.

Ekarna offered Samnal thick blankets and brooches of protection and god bones. More importantly, she offered the opportunity to treat each other as cousins and not as certain foes.

Samnal said no. Ekarna was a woman and could not be trusted with serious business.

Elmal, who was Samnal’s father, said that he had accepted Ekarna’s elevation. Samnal frowned. “You are too generous, father. You should not let Riders sully you with their crooked worship.”

Osara offered to break her brother Samnal’s arms for him, to show who would wind up crooked. Ekarna saw that this would lead nowhere. She pulled her fiery friend away and spoke calming words she had learned from the Cow Mother. Sometimes, she saw, business proved easier to conduct with strangers than within a feuding family. So, she withdrew.

Jealous Samnal said that he would never let a woman speak for him but saw the value of her ways. So, he sent his son Rogoros out to barter for the Trade Rune. He gave away the Fire Rune to get it. But Wheel arrogance still burned in Rogoros’ heart and he offended all he approached. When Rogoros went to the Goose People, all they gave him were greasy gray droppings. When he went to Aradanth he broke hospitality, so the Ram captured his retinue and sold them to Thengist. And when Rogoros went to the Ghost City, they gave him only shrieks.

The Goose Folk and Aradanthi and even the ghosts came to Ekarna to trade some more, to drink, and to swap secret stories. Elmal got his blades, Pela her pots, and Relandar his plaques of gold. Those united by trade allied against the charioteers.

When they had gone, Ekarna smiled. Sometimes trade brought you a physical sword you could hold in your hand. And sometimes it brought you swords of another sort.

I thought at first that Ekarna might be Etyries, but IIRC Etyries was a mortal at first and only became a goddess after the rise of the Red Moon. I wonder, though, if being a trader was her "new form," then what was she before then? I guess going by "Nyalda's Bride Price" she was just the clan's negotiator?

The implication through events is that the Samnali tell basically a reversed version of this story, where Rogoros is the successful trader rather than Ekarna. It makes me very curious as to what exactly happens to the Samnali over the course of the Storm Age and the Great Darkness; do they survive to see the Dawn, and what ultimately became of them? I have this pet theory that "Samnal" is actually the same god who would later be known to the Orlanthi as "Saren," Elmal's charioteer and one of the potential Three New Stars.

The "Ghost City" is Elempur, which you can actually explore during the game (and get an awesome Treasure from after an event fires where some part collapses and reveals a new ruin; it's a real game-changer if you can get it) and can also get an event where the ghosts demand you take vengeance on the Rams for them; if you do you get a huge boost of Magic (like, +8) at the cost of a hit to your relations with the Vingkotlings (and the "cost" of getting a cool nickname from them; the Ghostfriends) that you can fix later by ritually severing your ties to the ghosts at basically no cost anyway, so I highly recommend it, as Magic is much harder to get a surplus of in Six Ages than it ever was in King of Dragon Pass.

Given the way the Samnali creating a kingdom can be what drives the Hyalorings to seek closer ties to the Vingkotlings and leads to the creation of the Berennethteli (hopefully through your Beren rather than his rival, also named Beren), the message of this myth is probably among the most resonant with the events of the game: even if you have good relations with the Samnali (I usually have at least one or two I'm friendly with by the end-game), there's a very clear undercurrent throughout the game that part of the problem is that the Samnali are quite similar to the Hyalorings in some ways, but that this only emphasizes and radicalizes their differences.

Also the fact that the Samnali are kind of total assholes who do stuff like capture and ritually blind worshipers of Hyalor, or burn their captives alive in fire cages if you don't pay ransom for them. Then again, the Hyalorings sometimes do stuff like ritually torture and murder a captive when Raven demands it, so... Yeah.

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11 hours ago, Leingod said:

Actually, the Andam are also referred to as "Rams" in-game and in fact are probably the origin of that name (being followers of Varnaval the Storm Ram). In the game, the Hyalorings show a tendency to conflate different Storm peoples and lump them all in together. You know, like every other culture does.

This is interesting. It was always my impression from reading the Glorious Reascent of Yelm that the Pelorians considered the Ram People and Andam Horde to be two different groups, who attacked at different times, and that more specifically, the Rams were named or associated with that Big-ass Iron Ram they used to besiege cities.

Always wondered how they got so much iron to begin with, but I guess this is the God Time, so who knows.

11 hours ago, Leingod said:

On her third expedition, she asked Osara to lead her escort, accompanied by seven fighting noblewomen. They took the story of the fight against Thengist south to the Ghost City. The restless dead of that place hated Rams and delighted in the tale. So, they gave us bone shards of the dead god Umath. These could be fashioned into bits, bridles and blades.

That's a neat way of describing bronze.

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6 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

This is interesting. It was always my impression from reading the Glorious Reascent of Yelm that the Pelorians considered the Ram People and Andam Horde to be two different groups, who attacked at different times, and that more specifically, the Rams were named or associated with that Big-ass Iron Ram they used to besiege cities.

The distinction might have been made sometime later as they learned more about the Orlanthi; I'm not really sure.

7 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Always wondered how they got so much iron to begin with, but I guess this is the God Time, so who knows. 

Well, it's the metal of Death, and it was a brother of Orlanth who discovered Death; occasionally when you fight Vingkotlings in a raid you'll even fight a champion in a duel who sounds suspiciously like a Humakti.

Which is as good a segway as any into talking about the Hyaloring healing goddess Erissa, and her myth "Erissa Denies Her Suitor":

Quote

Erissa first dwelt at the Celestial Court, among distant and lofty deities who took no interest in the affairs of humankind. She gracefully attended these gods as a cupbearer.

One day a wisp of a thought formed at the far reaches of the court, where she was picking berries. It whispered in her ear, its voice gentle and beguiling. “I am not born yet,” it said, “but when I am, I would do anything if you would accept me as your husband.”

Erissa could not help but find this flattering. But wisdom took hold of her and she said, “You are no fit husband for me until you exist.”

Young Gods arrived at the Celestial Court, and the distant celestial deities delighted in the change they brought. A lissome youth dressed all in black appeared to Erissa as if he were one of them. He said, “I have been born now, and am amore enthralled by you than ever. What must I do to win your hand?”

Erissa saw that none of the other inhabitants of the Court, young or old, could perceive this being. So, she said, “You are fair to look upon, I will grant. But if I were interested in marriage it would not be to someone who has yet to become himself.”

Young Gods began to contend against one another. Some invented swords, others spears and still others arrows. Violence broke out between them. They injured one another, and Erissa saw her purpose: the ability to seal up cuts, to reknit bone, to reverse the damage from bruises.

More handsome than before, the young man came to her said, “I told you we were meant for each other. My name is Pain, and I made those injuries possible. Existence is more complete now, and you are too – by learning to balance what I do, you have made yourself into one of the Young Gods. Now we honor that balance by entering into marriage.”

Erissa thought to give Pain a taste of his own cruel gift, but then saw that it was against her nature. But her refusal wounded him more than any blade could have done.

Another of the new gods, Soldier, came to Erissa to say that Pain had given him a gift. She warned him not to trust Pain, but saw that the gift was Soldier’s unrevealed nature, and that nothing she could do would stop him. So, Soldier used the gift on Grandfather Mortal, the first human. Grandfather Mortal collapsed and before Erissa could reach him to heal his wounds, he did something unprecedented.

He died.

And when Erissa’s suitor came back to her, he smiled and said, “I have become myself completely now. Do not call me Pain anymore, I am so much more than that. And I have increased your importance a thousandfold, now that it is possible to die when bad injuries go untreated.”

Erissa felt his pull. Although she loved everyone, her love for him stood above the rest. The paradox stung her bitterly. She did not wish to feel this way about anybody, least of all him.

“Don’t worry,” Death said. “I can end all others. Eventually. But you I will never hurt.”

“Now that we both know who we are, you must realize that can never be.” Erissa found this hard to say.

Death wept, and his tears landed at her feet. She gathered them up to make into medicines.

When the Rebel killed the Emperor and darkened the sky, Death sought her again. “See what I put into motion? Now all the mortals will wish to worship you. Because much more of my gift is coming.”

Instead of saying yes, Erissa went to the sky gods, who were deep in mourning after Yelm’s murder. They tore at their garments and laid down their weapons and refused to eat. She saw that the name of this sickness was despair. Using this insight, she cast it out, healing their will to live.

“You shouldn’t have done that,” Death said. “I did that on purpose.”

“Are those words meant to woo me?” Erissa asked.

Death sighed. “If you marry me, I will let you determine who will be spared and who will die. Though you cannot pick the number of deaths.”

Instead Erissa went to the Golden City to join Elmal’s household.

When Hippogriff fell from the sky and a troll god loyal to Death ate her wings, Erissa was ready. She granted to Hyalor a healing blessing, and he used it to show Hippogriff that she was now Gamari.

Death was drunk the next time he showed up. “You helped them make something new. That isn’t supposed to happen anymore. Please marry me, so that I may guide you to use your blessings only in accordance with the great ending.”

“Is that kumis on your breath, or the ale the Rams drink?” Erissa asked.

“I made a thing called war and wished to celebrate.” Death hung his head and slunk away.

“In any war,” she called after him, “I will heal both sides.”

When the glacier, also loyal to death, came to crush the city, Erissa told the Riders she would go with them.

Death appeared, sober and composed, with a hundred cows and a dozen horses. “Here is my final offer. You heal all kinds, but you especially favor these Riders. If you marry me, I will spare them. Many terrible deaths otherwise await them. But I will see to it that no Rider ever dies, not until all else does.”

Erissa almost gave in then. But the words “until all else does” rang in her head like a bell, and she saw it was a trap. Her suitor, who did love her, had not intended it as such. But all he could weave was destruction. Accepting his proposal would kill her, hastening the final end Death pursued.

Saddened, she touched his face. For the merest instant this contact began to heal him. Then the force of this contradiction threw him halfway across the world. She climbed onto her horse to leave with the Riders, knowing he would keep coming back.

And every time she said no, it would increase her peaceful might.

It's interesting because Chalanna Arroy never shows any special relationship with Death (or Humakt) in Orlanthi myth, except maybe that one time she heals Humakt so that he'll spare Heort. I think that's really the only mention of the two interacting I've ever seen. Yet here, Death comes to Erissa as a suitor, and the relationship defines them both.

Also note that it is neither Humakt nor Eurmal here who slays Grandfather Mortal, but someone referred to as "Soldier" (though I suppose it could be referring to Humakt anyway).

It's also interesting that they don't equate Erissa with Harana Illor except by suggestion (i.e. having her be a cupbearer in the Celestial Court), even though the Hyalorings recognize enough similarity between Erissa and the Ram goddess Chalanna Arroy that you can even have a healer invoke the latter name when fighting Rams to secure a ceasefire to heal a wounded chieftain.

Also an interesting optional thing that can happen in the game is that your clan's Beren will be captured by the Samnali and have his eyes put out; this is a variation on a similar random event that happens to some random member of your clan. Like in the normal version, having a follower of Erissa try to heal him will only partially work, but in this case you can give a message to Redalda (who has met and fallen in love with Beren by this point, but the two can't yet get married), and one of her followers, a worshiper of Chalanna Arroy, will heal Beren's blindness.

And in fact later you can claim divine sanction for the marriage between Beren and Redalda when you argue on his behalf to the chief of her clan, and one of the options if you've had the event is to bring up how their goddess Chalanna Arroy healed his blindness. The chief will actually agree: indeed, Chalanna Arroy has healed Elmal's blindness (because Beren has Heroformed as Elmal multiple times by this point).

In another interesting potential event, when Redalda is born representatives of her clan will go around the valley bringing the news of this auspicious birth (much as you can do with Beren and a similar Samnali descendant of Elmal will do). One of the options you can offer as a blessing to the young girl is to offer to bind a spirit to her to guide and protect her. If you pick the option not to get the first available spirit but to look far and wide for the best, a horse spirit will agree to protect her and will whisper the girl's name in her mother's ear, leading to her being named Redalda (I think, but may be mis-remembering, that if you don't do this exact sequence of events she will instead be called Redayle).

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It turns out there is a much more explicit reference to Vadrus, though not by that name or by Ovadorudus, in "Zarlen's First Wander:"

Quote

One day Elmal returned from a raid with more than treasure. On the back of his fiery horse rode a boy whose hair shone just like his. The people stared in amazement. No mortal could stand to ride Elmal’s horse, wreathed as it was in flames. Yet here was this boy, whose flesh did not burn, whose brows did not singe, hands clasped around Elmal’s waist.

Nyalda was never a fool and when Elmal returned to their home she looked hard at the boy, whose nose was as straight and bold as her husband’s, whose eyes glittered with an eager intensity she recognized all too well.

Before Elmal could hide him from her sight, Nyalda demanded to know who this boy was. The child, who had not shrunk from the heat of Elmal’s horse, withered under the force of Earth Mother’s words.

“This is Zarlen,” said Elmal. “I found him among the Chariots. Although they pay me homage, and although I commanded them to treat Zarlen well, they disobeyed. You can be sure that I punished their disobedience. For ten seasons I shall afflict their fields with drought. And also I have taken this boy away from them.”

Nyalda frowned. “Drought will kill the barley I have blessed. And this boy, it seems the Wheels do not want him. Who are you punishing – them, or us?”

Elmal grew hot. “I am chieftain, and if I say the boy stays, he stays.”

“Well he can stay in someone else’s home.”

So Elmal took the boy to live with Hyalor, who was like him in many ways. Hyalor’s latest young wife, Vashya, took pity on the boy. She saw him for what he was – a divided being, neither god nor mortal, neither Rider nor Wheel. Vashya, who had not yet borne a child for Hyalor, treated him as her child. She coaxed him into speaking of his mother, the Wheel Witch. The Wheels had disdained and feared her. Afraid to abuse her, they had bullied her son instead, refusing to let him anywhere near their chariots.

Zarlen tried to fit in among his new clan. Hyalor kept the boy at a remove, as he had learned to do in a long life in which he outlived more sons, grandsons and great grandsons than he cared to count. He told Gamari to grant Zarlen a fine mare, Wandering Star, then left him to fend for himself.

Nor would the gods of Nyalda’s retinue acknowledge him. Busenari made sure he was the last to drink from her bowl, Pela gave him only crusts. When Inilla dropped berries into his hand, she left the stems and worms in.

He fared no better with the Fire side of his family. Relandar said he lacked a place in the heavens. Osara wanted no half-brother. Verlaro feared that Zarlen would outshine him, and so encouraged him in laziness and dissolution. Zarlen saw this false friendship for what it was.

So he embraced his solitude.

“The freedom of a Rider is the freedom of the clan,” said his horse, Wandering Star. “But you will find your freedom away from your clan.

The two of them journeyd far from Elmal’s lands. Zarlen learned to keep the world in his head, memorizing landmarks and distances. He recalled the Far Provisioning secret, which the Wheels tried to keep from him. It allowed him to take as much on a horse as his mother’s people would on one of their carts. He enlarged this secret, changing it to the Pathfinder blessing.

With Wandering Star he went into troll holes and climbed up dwarf hills. Horse and rider penetrated deep into elf forests; they found a secret route into Demon City.

One day they even discovered a secret withheld from the rest of the Sky Court: how to ride upon the dark clouds churned up by Rams. Wandering Star occulted her cloak of light, allowing them to sneak into the encampment of Hurt-Everything, a powerful Ram lord, brother to the Rebel himself. They heard him planning to destroy Elmal and tear apart his solar mantle. Zarlen shot an arrow at Hurt-Everything. It struck him but lightly at first. The Ram lord laughed, until the arrowhead wandered further into his flesh, toward his heart.

Zarlen knew even this would only slow such a fearsome battle god and fled at speed. Hurt-Everything’s children gave furious pursuit. Freeze-Everything tried to fix him to a glacier. Chase-Everything sent ravening beasts to nip at Wandering Star’s hooves. Worst was Hide-Everything, who led him into a maze of fog.

All of these he escaped, to arrive at Elmal’s fort.

“I thought we were rid of you,” Verlaro sulked.

“I imagined you had joined the ranks of my outlived descendants,” Hyalor said.

“There is still no place for you here,” Relandar chimed in.

But Osara detected the fire in his eyes and asked what sights they had seen. Zarlen told her, and together they rode to Elmal’s side to deliver the warning.

Elmal made a ditch of fire and a wall of light. When the Hurt-Everything Clan arrived to kill him, all the Sky Court was ready to fight. They drove off the Rams, who howled and yowled but could not get in.

Nyalda then enfolded Zarlen into her arms, saying that without him, her husband would now be as dead as Yelm. “In gratitude, I shall relent, and invite you to join my household as if you were my blood son.”

Zarlen shook his head. “I have found the place where I can best serve.” He gestured in the four directions. “Blessed Mother, it is everywhere else.”

Obviously, Hurt-Everything is Vadrus, and his children are mostly just as easy. Freeze-Everything is Valind, Chase-Everything is Gagarth, and Hide-Everything is probably Iphara, though I guess you could argue for Molanni. Demon City refers to Alkoth (who can enter the valley under the auspices of the Dara Happans and cause a lot of trouble; performing "Elmal Guards the Sunpath" and asking for strength against them is the only way I've found to consistently deal with them without losing a lot of resources).

Zarlen's treatment really sucks in this one; pretty much everyone except Elmal and maybe Hyalor (and his wife Vashya) comes off pretty badly here.

I unfortunately don't know what opinion the Samnali might have of Zarlen, as his Heroquest isn't one you can actually perform. Then again, I think we can guess that they don't really pay him much worship given both his portfolio and position in the pantheon. They probably view him as a vagrant, or even a thief.

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So Zarlen is the god of scouting, I take it? Or is it more complex than that?

Also, yeah, this myth does do a good job of showing us the biases and prejudices of Hyaloring society. None of the people in Glorantha can really be said to be "good guys" except in specific contexts.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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40 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

So Zarlen is the god of scouting, I take it? Or is it more complex than that?

Also, yeah, this myth does do a good job of showing us the biases and prejudices of Hyaloring society. None of the people in Glorantha can really be said to be "good guys" except in specific contexts.

Zarlen is the "Bright-Tailed Wanderer, god of explorers." Exploration being an important and dangerous task in the Storm Age, as you might imagine. He's also a guardian of travelers in general; his Safe Travel blessing protects all of your missions from being ambushed.

With one exception, the last three myths are about Hyalor, so I'll get the exception out of the way, "Relandar's Ranking."

Quote

In the early days of the exodus, when there was only one clan, Ostalar served as chieftain, because Hyalor wanted Riders to prepare for the day when he would die. At this time it was also the custom for gods and mortals to ride together. When gods were present, Ostalar and everyone else did as they said. But as the One Clan showed they could survive such enemies as Goldtalon the Wheel, Yenfar the Sorcerer and Thengist the Ram, the gods left them more and more to their own devices.

The Riders who left the city had mostly been cavalrymen, who despite complaints from the charioteers had always enjoyed the status of nobles. They took their wives with them, and a few servants. But to ride away you had to own a horse, and to own a horse you had to be a noble.

That’s how the trouble started. Everyone wanted to be on the clan circle. No one waned to do the work that servants performed back in Nivorah. Even those few who had been servants said that the rules of freedom that applied out on the trail meant they should be excused from lowly duties.

Soon no one would go anywhere or do anything, even if it meant they went hungry or cold. When raiders struck, matters became clearer. But as soon as the One Clan won a victory, squabbling would start again, over who would gain the spoils.

People went to Hyalor but he only held out his blank golden tablet yet again and said people must make their own rules. He was no help.

(A Hyalor priest might say different but it’s not a Hyalor priest telling you this story, is it?)

So when Relandar next rode with the One Clan, it was up to him to sort everything out. This made sense, for he had always been the god of nobles.

First of all, he sorted the One Clan into seven families, as that was a holy and sensible number. He showed this by splitting into seven parts. Each chose a family head who had distinguished himself in battle and exemplified a key virtue: shrewdness, courage, charm, wisdom, husbandry, holiness, or learning.

Then the Relandars sorted out the lines of kinship, determining who would join each noble’s family. Mostly they followed the blood times people knew, but when needed Relandar showed them connections they had not noticed before. Then he revealed the ritual for joining bloodlines through adoption.

The seven Relandars rode off to seven glades, each with one of the families.

Each of the seven Relandars split into three Relandars of different ages: a youth, a man and an elder. He showed the people the duties each had: to learn, to act, and to teach.

Then the Relandars showed how a household would work, joined by blood and with an elder at the head of each. Other elders would advise the family head. These heads and their descendants would be nobles. They would make war and fill their honor belts. Others would perform the tasks that used to belong to servants.

Those he designated to perform vital but less than glorious functions rose up indignantly. To show them where that nonsense would lead, Relandar split into two hundred Relandars. They did battle with each other until all lay dead. From their remains he reformed into one Relandar (that is, seven Relandars in total) and said, this is what will happen if no one leads and no one follows.

And he explained how an elder might or might not be a noble, and some nobles were not yet elders, and there were the doughty ones who would fight, using the gifts of Elmal.

And Osara appeared, weapons ablaze, to say that some nobles might be women, including the warriors.

Relandar had always admired his niece. Now he admired he clever way she had waited until he was tired from splitting from one into many to surprise him with this suggestion. So he said, yes, quite evidently, what Osara says is right.

The seven Relandars rode with the seven families, joining them back together into one clan, and rejoining himself to become once more the one and only Relandar.

And the people were amazed that his wisdom had such power, and asked him if he had anything else to share with him before he and Osara went back to the sky together.

Yes, he said. My lesson is not just how you should all rank yourselves, but about splitting. The day will come when One Clan will have to become many. Perhaps not seven, but many.

And that day will be good, even if it seems to be bad. So when it comes, call on me, and I will explain.

As I always have, and always will. Clearly, and in as many parts as necessary.

(Unlike Hyalor with his damn blank tablet.)

I think this one is my favorite with how grouchy Relandar is about Hyalor's tablet. Relandar, incidentally, is the "wise sage and teacher" of the pantheon, so he has some aspects of Lhankor Mhy (but not literacy or divination, which is Buseryan's thing).

The part with Osara definitely feels like a later interpolation, by the by.

The Samnali are mentioned not to worship Relandar, and in his place worship what the Hyalorings describe as, "a stiff-necked god of nobles." And yet Relandar is said in this myth to have "always" been the god of nobles. I guess the Samnali interpretation is sufficiently different that the Hyalorings are willing to claim that he isn't even Relandar anymore?

Also, is it just me, or is Relandar repeatedly dividing himself into seven, and doing things like "showing people connections they had not noticed before," kind of... reminiscent of something? Something, uh, important in Glorantha's Third Age?

Edited by Leingod
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9 hours ago, Leingod said:

Also, is it just me, or is Relandar repeatedly dividing himself into seven, and doing things like "showing people connections they had not noticed before," kind of... reminiscent of something? Something, uh, important in Glorantha's Third Age?

I'm wondering if it's just superficially significant, since Sevening in the Lunar context is a step towards enlightenment (as far as I know), and not much else, whereas this seems to have a different kind of significance.

I'm not sure though, it could share in something common.

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16 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm wondering if it's just superficially significant, since Sevening in the Lunar context is a step towards enlightenment (as far as I know), and not much else, whereas this seems to have a different kind of significance.

I'm not sure though, it could share in something common.

It's probably not really indicative of anything deeper, I was sort of just making a joke. After all, the typical clan ring of an Orlanthi has 7 positions (and similarly the Hyaloring clan circle has 7 as well).

I actually forgot one myth, so we have 3 left, not 2. The first is "Hippogriff Reborn." As you might guess, this one is the story of Hippogriff becoming the first horse and Hyalor becoming the first Rider.

Quote

Gamari Horse Mother used to be Hippogriff, a winged goddess who flew around the world in the company of Yamsur, a brother of Elmal. Hippogriff and Yamsur, then called Yamsur the Splendid, called no one place home, but if they did, it would be a faraway green lushness known as Genert’s Garden. They distinguished themselves in many Gods War battles. Yamsur flickered hot, always saw to it that his exploits were well noticed and took his pleasures with the same zest he showed in combat. Sometimes his appetites would take him to Nivorah, the city guarded by steady Elmal.

In her comradely love for Yamsur, Hippogriff did not see that she too would one day bear the brunt of his inconstancy.

It happened first when they fought a bullying Ram, Storm Bull. When Yamsur rushed to battle lesser foes he could more impressively defeat, Storm Bull tore Hippogriff’s fangs from her mouth.

It happened again when Yamsur offended Maran Gor the Earthshaker, and Gamari paid the price. Maran Gor broke Hippogriff’s legs and crushed her bronze claws. Yamsur fashioned hooves for her afterward and said he would never let her down again.

But when they were visiting Elmal’s city, where Yamsur said the finest women dwelt, the troll god Zorak Zoran burst up from below. He devoured a grain house, a herd of cows, and a battalion of warriors. Elmal and Yamsur fought him, but when he gored Yamsur, Yamsur flickered away. Hippogriff tried to follow, but Zorak Zoran seized her, tearing off her golden wings. He threw her aside to die. Elmal pursued him through the streets, into the fields, and into a wood, until the troll finally plunged into the ground, where Elmal could not follow.

It was not Yamsur the Splendid but a mortal who went to Hippogriff’s side. This was Hyalor, who saw that she would never be who she was and whispered into her ear a new way for her to be. Maddened by pain, she could not see it. So, he climbed on her back to calm her. She bucked and writhed, shrieking in fury over her abandonment by Yamsur. Hyalor held onto her, staying on her back, until she accepted his tenacity. If she wanted a loyal sun to follow, Hyalor told her, she would find it not in Yamsur, but in his patron, Elmal. In exchange for this, she would receive the protection of a new tribe. Its gods would defend her from attack. Its people would tend to her offspring. She would no longer be able to fly as a matter of course but would gain dominion on the surface. The partnership between horse and man would grant her greater influence over the course of events than any adventures she could get up to with the so-called Splendid God.

Though divine, Hippogriff had never entertained the possibility of receiving mortal worship. Other gods had done so, but it had always seemed a burden to her, a rein on her freedom. Now she saw the necessity of this moment, understanding that the bull god, the earth beast, and the troll had shorn away the parts of her that obscured the full truth of her being.

I am no longer Hippogriff, she thought.

“You are no longer Hippogriff,” Hyalor said.

I shall rename myself Gamari.

“-so I will name you Gamari,” Hyalor said.

And I will change everything.

“And you will change everything.”

And that she did.

She showed this right away by performing the Birthing Miracle, drumming with her hooves on the receptive earth. From the meadow on her left sprang a herd of strong stallions. From the one on her right arose a herd of silky mares.

Then she performed the Riding Feat, which gave us the right to ride these fine horses, as Hyalor had ridden her.

Some city warriors opposed to Hyalor haughtily refused this gift. This cursed them, so they later had to become Wheels, sending their god Samnal the Thief to raid Gamari’s herd. The chariots Samnal made imprisoned their drivers and their stolen horses alike.

Gamari proved her loyalty to Elmal. When the demon army came, she rode around them so many times that General Yaralka lost all but two of his heads.

During the exodus, she granted the Kumis Gift, giving us cheer against the cold, and bravery against our many trials.

Gamari never had cause to regret her transformation. She and Hyalor rode together across the earth until he died, and now ride together in the heavens.

In-game, the Hyalorings actually aren't aware that Hyalor is the son of Yamsur unless you pick the right option during the Ritual and Gamari mentions it off-handedly, which your clan is very excited about since Hyalor's divine parentage had been unclear to them. Given the mention of Yamsur enjoying dropping by Nivorah to party, I'm willing to bet that Hyalor was fathered by Yamsur on some Nivoran girl. Hyalor might have been talking from experience when he spoke to Gamari; I can imagine "Splendid Yamsur" made some promises to take care of his son and then acted like a total deadbeat, leaving him in Elmal's care.

I should note that by the Third Age, the legend of Hyalor told by the Orlanthi refers to the first horse as being named Hippoi rather than Gamari, and the tale ends by saying that Man got the better deal, because Horse does more work in this partnership. Technically that's also illustrated in the ending here, but rather than being wry about it the Hyalorings love and celebrate Gamari for all she provides.

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