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Richard S.

What was the Sun Dragon?

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In light of the recent solar threads, I was wondering where the Golden Sun Dragon fits into the whole mess. I know (or think I know) that it was an EWF mystic-turned-true-dragon (though not actually ascended, just physically transformed) who usurped the imperial family of Dara Happa and impossibly became the next emperor. I have also heard that it was the hidden draconic aspect of Yelm or Yelmalio, and was worshipped by both Dara Happans and Sun Domers under EWF control. Does it have any other importance beyond the EWF's time, or was it just a constructed god of theirs? Also, was it actually a god capable of providing Rune magic a la the gods its worship replaced, or was its cult just a path into the EWF's draconic mystic schools that didn't actually provide magic in-and-of itself?

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It's an interesting idea that the Golden Sun Dragon, or Dragon Emperor, was an EWF mystic who became a Dragon. I am not sure if that was the case, though. When it passed the Ten Tests, it is commented that it did so without having hands to do something and so on, if it had been an EWF Mystic, then it would have had hands and would have been able to fit the clothes. 

The Dragon Emperor was Emperor of Dara Happa, as it passed all Ten Tests. This means that it was an incarnation of Yelm and so became the Draconic Part of Yelm. Whether it was always the Draconic Part of Yelm that allowed it to become Emperor or the Draconic Part of Yelm manifested after it became Emperor is moot, to a certain extent.

It was definitely worshipped by the Dara Happans, as they always worship their Emperors. It still receives worship and gives out Runemagic, as the Sun Dragon is worshipped in Pavis as the God of Flying Creatures who want to be Yelmites (Presumably except Griffins, who worship King Griffin). I would expect that Sun Dragon and King Griffin would be rival cults, to a certain extent.

In my last Gloranthan campaign, Mello Yello incarnated the Sun Dragon and went against the Red Emperor, who was planning a Sun Dragon utuma ritual to rid himself of all the baggage that had happened, but Mello intercepted the utuma, sacrificing himself and leaving the red Emperor standing, he then became the Dragon Emperor and the Red Emperor exploded. I am not sure whether that is canon, though.🙂

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The best reference is the Cult of the Sun Dragon in Pavis and Big Rubble p104.  There are two known worshippers: Estangang Griffin Rider who was one of the Seventeen Foes of Waha and Windwhistler a wyrm living in the Rubble.

The writeup says that the Sun Dragon existed in the Golden Age and is the source from which the original sun came.  After a struggle between the Dragons and the Gods, the Gods took over the Sun and the Sun Dragon retired.  Hence the Sun Dragon is not a construct but a existing figure in Dragonewt mythology.

The ruler of Dara Happa is better known as the Dragon Sun and P&BR allows a distinction between the Sun Dragon and the Emperor when it says "The Sun Dragon - or its highest living representative - is the entity which actually sat on the thrrone of Dara Happa..."

There are two spells listed for Windwhistler.  One is Form Old Limbs which he uses to make magical arms (implying that Windwhistler once had arms and lost them when he became a Wyrm.  The other is Radiate which radiates an aura of 6d6 heat (and which Windwhistler uses as anti-arrows).

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4 hours ago, Richard S. said:

In light of the recent solar threads, I was wondering where the Golden Sun Dragon fits into the whole mess.

If you look at the figures in Sandy Petersen's Gods War, it suggests that the Emperor (presumably Murharzarm, son of Yelm) was in fact a Golden Dragon. And certainly the Kralorelan emperors such as Godunya seem to embody the Golden Dragon as well.  The whole EWF period suggests a replacement of key elemental roles by various dragons, but this seems to be an echo of both God Time draconic roles and a precursor to the latest group of dragons associated with the elements (though the Golden Dragon is conspicuously missing, unless it is Godunya).

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59 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

The whole EWF period suggests a replacement of key elemental roles by various dragons, but this seems to be an echo of both God Time draconic roles and a precursor to the latest group of dragons associated with the elements (though the Golden Dragon is conspicuously missing, unless it is Godunya).

Stuff like this has always been curious to me, as a major part of the dragon path as practiced by the dragonewts (and presumably their human students in the EWF) was that elemental connections were something to be avoided at all costs, yet many true and ancestral dragons seem to be associated with if not rulers over certain elements (GSD with the Sun, Green Dragon with Earth, Aroka with water, etc.). My personal theory is that True and Ancestral dragons are close enough to Ouroboros that they can interact with the illusion/dream freely without losing themselves in it, and their bodies reflect a personal preference or self-inflicted duty rather than a true affinity.

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All the elements have a True Dragon associated with them, but I am not sure about Moon.

Dragonewts don't worship anyone and don't have an elemental basis, but some True Dragons certainly are associated with the elements.

Edited by soltakss

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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

All the elements have a True Dragon associated with them, but I am not sure about Moon.

That seems to be the Red Dragon.

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21 hours ago, soltakss said:

It's an interesting idea that the Golden Sun Dragon, or Dragon Emperor, was an EWF mystic who became a Dragon. I am not sure if that was the case, though. When it passed the Ten Tests, it is commented that it did so without having hands to do something and so on, if it had been an EWF Mystic, then it would have had hands and would have been able to fit the clothes. 

While technically non-canon, Dara Happa Stirs says the Sun Dragon is the human mystic Hurarbargarten who unlocked a dragon form through the Yelm Dragon cult and his elevation to the Eternal Dragon Ring. Interestingly, it also says that the Sun Dragon as embodied by Hurarbargarten isn't actually a True Dragon at all but is just the body of one still with the mind and soul of a human.

24 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

That seems to be the Red Dragon.

The Red Dragon was one of those present at the Dragonkill and presumably existed before as well, so I wonder how the association could exist without a red moon to speak of. Of course, it could be a pre-existing connection from the godtime or just an example of dragons ignoring boundaries like death or time. It also seems to me that dragons are largely antagonistic to at least the empire if not the moon itself, considering how they aided Argrath against it and also how the dragonewts in the first age initially tried to resist Nyaslor, who the moon undoubtedly is tied to, until he enslaved them.

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3 hours ago, Richard S. said:

The Red Dragon was one of those present at the Dragonkill and presumably existed before as well, so I wonder how the association could exist without a red moon to speak of.

Perhaps the Red Dragon dreamed the Red Moon into existence!  (And perhaps the ancestral Red Dragon did the same in the Godtime.) The dreams of Dragons range far beyond what us mere mortals can comprehend.

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On 1/20/2019 at 7:49 AM, metcalph said:

The best reference is the Cult of the Sun Dragon in Pavis and Big Rubble p104.  There are two known worshippers: Estangang Griffin Rider who was one of the Seventeen Foes of Waha and Windwhistler a wyrm living in the Rubble.

The writeup says that the Sun Dragon existed in the Golden Age and is the source from which the original sun came.  After a struggle between the Dragons and the Gods, the Gods took over the Sun and the Sun Dragon retired.  Hence the Sun Dragon is not a construct but a existing figure in Dragonewt mythology.

The ruler of Dara Happa is better known as the Dragon Sun and P&BR allows a distinction between the Sun Dragon and the Emperor when it says "The Sun Dragon - or its highest living representative - is the entity which actually sat on the thrrone of Dara Happa..."

There are two spells listed for Windwhistler.  One is Form Old Limbs which he uses to make magical arms (implying that Windwhistler once had arms and lost them when he became a Wyrm.  The other is Radiate which radiates an aura of 6d6 heat (and which Windwhistler uses as anti-arrows).

As described in The Great Winter and Time of Two Counts, Windwhistler is one of the allies that comes, at the moment of crisis in the Windstop, the Sun Domers enact the 'Last Light' heroquest. The myth speaks of the 'false friend', but Lord Belvani was able to convince Count Solanthos that the wyrm was indeed a true ally.

Lord Belvani later proclaims himself Count at Moonbroth 2 and embraces the Sun Dragon:

Proclaiming himself the new Count there-and-then, Belvani immediately announced the Sun Domers would make a pact with Argrath White Bull, also known as the Dragonlord, leader of the Praxians. Proof of their fidelity would be shown in front of the walls of Pavis, he said, sealing the alliance. Furthermore, veneration of the Sun Dragon would resume, an aspect of the Yelmalio cult that had been suppressed for centuries. Windwhistler gave a rapturous flyby over the battlefield, trailing the Sun Dome banner, now stitched with a golden dragon.  The wyrm then flew away towards Vulture’s Country...

...

Several days after their victory at Second Moonbroth the nomads arrived at New Pavis, immediately laying a siege. The Sun Dome contingent appeared too, silently watching from the other side of the river (though vrok hawks were seen to pass back and forth from the Suntown enclave inside the city). 

Pavis’ defenses had been stiffened by the fabled Watchdog, brought up by the Lunars from Corflu. But on the very first morning it was destroyed by a gigantic golden wyrm that suddenly swooped in from the west. At this, the Sun Domers marched off downriver, and the wyrm was seen flying into the Rubble. 

The siege was finally broken a week later and the nomads poured into the city, intent on destruction, bloodshed and plunder. This was when the great wyrm appeared again, this time with a golden warrior perched on its back. The wyrm curled itself around the Sun Dome temple in Suntown. Its presence helped spare that quarter of the city from excessive violence or damage, although it tore the roof off the fortified Lunar headquarters (formerly the palace of Count Varthanis) to root out those taking refuge inside.

The golden warrior was none other than Rurik Runespear, the famous Light Son of Pavis. After his mysterious disappearance at the time of the Cradle three years before he had been feared dead. Unknown to the Sun Dome authorities, he’d instead been one of the heroic defenders of the Cradle and then became one of Argrath’s boon companions, sharing incredible adventures across the world. Leading a mixed band of nomads and Suntowners, Rurik led the charge into the Lunar Headquarters. He personally killed the hated governor Halcyon var Enkorth, who he found hiding in a privy. 

On being rebuffed by most of the temple hierarchy on his triumphant return to the Sun Dome Temple, Belvani sets up shop in the Old Sun Dome. With the Dragonrise, it once again becomes a place of magical potentcy: 

The great dragon continued to fly in great spirals around Dragon Pass, circling Kero Fin and obscuring the Red Moon. As it did so, strange draconic energies revived that had been quiet since the days of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. 

In Prax, the Old Sun Dome temple again became a true place of power, and its once-cracked dome now glistened as if covered in scales.

 

 

Edited by MOB
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On the subject of the dragons, my own theory is as follows.

The Elder Dragons who made up the world are each associated with an Element.  The names (ie Dragon of Being) are obscure enough to prevent confident identifications but we have five elements and the Moon and also the Cosmic Dragon.  When the Sun Dragon write-up talks about the Sun Dragon being the original source of the Sun, it is at this level they are talking about.

The next level of Dragon is True.  These are the greatest emanations of the Elder Dragons within the world.  There are other Dragons in the world, but they do not become True until one passes on.

Cosmic: Currently Godunya.

Fire:  August.  Formerly the Dragon Sun.  A chronological problem in that the August Dragon exists since the Dawn.  The Sun Dragon could represent the Cosmic Dragon instead but theta has its own problems.

Water:  Thrunhin Dal.  Used to be Aroka in mythic times.

Darkness: Black Dragon.

Earth: Green Dragon

Storm:  Brown Dragon

Moon:  Red Dragon.  The Moon is timeless and eternal and beyond questions about it not existing before the rise of the Red Moon.

Dragonewts acknowledge the existence of the elements in their mythology.  But they don't use elemental magics as they consider their use  use worldly whichinhibits spiritual contact with the transcendent element (ie the Elder Dragons).  They do divide themselves into elemental tribes/cults and express their elemental nature in subtle ways.

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50 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Fire:  August.  Formerly the Dragon Sun.  A chronological problem in that the August Dragon exists since the Dawn.  The Sun Dragon could represent the Cosmic Dragon instead but theta has its own problems.

Many suns 😉

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I don't know how relevant this is - but from what I can tell, the Seas that invaded the land and sky in the Golden and Storm ages are often referred to as dragons, and often consistently depicted as ones. It's something I've been thinking about a good deal, and I'm wondering if, for example, there are certain entities in Glorantha that can be counted as both dragons and not-dragons depending on the perspective? Ironically, a True Dragon or Ancestral Dragon is exactly the kind of being that would probably be able to transcend such categories, including draconicness, and/or jump rope with it at a whim. I suppose it would explain why there are so many gods that "conveniently" turn out to have a "secret" draconic side.

Of course, there's always the possibility that various cultures just called them "dragons" because they looked/acted superficially similar.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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Sh'hakarzeel the Mover of Heavens = which Dragon?

He is also the Bad Emperor, though in this aspect he is the step-father rather than the husband of the lover: he gains rule by mating with Kero Fin, Orlanth's mother. In as much as mythically, tyrannicide is patricide... this is pretty much the same thing.

Or is he the draconic part of Umath rather than the Tyrant per se? Consider that he 'moves the heavens' - i.e., the dome, which is precisely what Umath did. Though mythically speaking Umath is the Other of the Emperor, born, I think, from the movement of Brightface into the middle of the sky...

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As an addendum, what if the EWF was right? What if Orlanth is the son of the Mover of Heavens and he is born in Dragon Pass, next to the Dragon Nest for a reason...? What if the Alakoring movement wiped out a real and potent aspect of their own god?

I think Argrath may have asked these questions...

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7 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

He is also the Bad Emperor, though in this aspect he is the step-father rather than the husband of the lover: he gains rule by mating with Kero Fin, Orlanth's mother. In as much as mythically, tyrannicide is patricide... this is pretty much the same thing.

Or is he the draconic part of Umath rather than the Tyrant per se? Consider that he 'moves the heavens' - i.e., the dome, which is precisely what Umath did. Though mythically speaking Umath is the Other of the Emperor, born, I think, from the movement of Brightface into the middle of the sky

On this rock a new church. If the wicked stepmother in some fairy tales really only doubles for mom on a bad day and sibling conflict is the family dynamic that drives Sun / Storm, then this is a question that Glorantha up to this point rarely seems eager to address. Where are the fathers except conveniently absent, betrayed by people conveniently not ourselves?

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Yelm conquers the Dark Sky Dragon Burburstus - but that doesn't mean Burburstus is dead, it becomes Yelms Throne, Kelastan. This is a very similar myth to Orlanth conquering the dragon and wielding its head to show his power. The power of Burburstus is unleashed when the Emperor is not on the Throne, and Passion and Death are the result. But this means that when there is an Emperor on the throne, the Imperial power IS the dragon power, chained to the Emperors will. 

I'm sure the EWF, as they did with Orlanth, take this myth and turn it around to Yelm providing the sky dragon with utuma, and acquiring secret dragon nature, thereby. 

There is also BernEel Arashagern, one of the parts of Yelm - certainly the more orthodox Yelmic position would be that this is simply a serpent god associated with fertility rather than draconic, but this god is also associated with Star 12, which is where the dragon power of Burburstus lives in the sky, so there is a hidden dragon connection. This would imply, again, that the Dragon is part of Yelm. It was within the BernEel Arashagern cult that the dragonic consciousness first entered Dara Happa, the Golden Serpent Temples becoming the home for the Golden Dragon Society, and I think they claim that the draconic nature of BA proves that Yelm has always had a draconic nature. 

I think the Sun Dragon cult is more or less the cult of the Sun Emperor and the Dark Dragon as one being, united - when the Emperor is one his Dragon throne, and the Bright Emperor and Dark Dragon are thus united, Dragon becomes Man (and gains arms as necessary), and Dragon becomes Sun (and shines with Fiery power). When there is no Emperor on the Throne, the Dragon loses its connection with Light and its connection with Man, and Mankind loses its connection with the Emperor. 

Probably back in the EWF, draconicly illuminated nobles would be part of both the Yelm cult and the Sun Dragon cult at once. The Sun Dragon cult would be regarded as another part of Yelm. The Yelmalio cult is, of course, divided but I think the Sun Dragon cult is associated with Yelmalio, and shows that once you understand your inner dragon nature the Fiery power of an Enthroned Emperor can manifest through the Yelmalio cult (which is, of course, also Antirius, the Justice of the Emperor personified). 

 

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

Yelm conquers the Dark Sky Dragon Burburstus - but that doesn't mean Burburstus is dead, it becomes Yelms Throne, Kelastan. This is a very similar myth to Orlanth conquering the dragon and wielding its head to show his power. The power of Burburstus is unleashed when the Emperor is not on the Throne, and Passion and Death are the result. But this means that when there is an Emperor on the throne, the Imperial power IS the dragon power, chained to the Emperors will. 

I'm sure the EWF, as they did with Orlanth, take this myth and turn it around to Yelm providing the sky dragon with utuma, and acquiring secret dragon nature, thereby. 

Those are pretty concisely insightful paragraphs! Makes a helluva lot of sense to me.

Quote

I think the Sun Dragon cult is more or less the cult of the Sun Emperor and the Dark Dragon as one being, united - when the Emperor is one his Dragon throne, and the Bright Emperor and Dark Dragon are thus united, Dragon becomes Man (and gains arms as necessary), and Dragon becomes Sun (and shines with Fiery power). When there is no Emperor on the Throne, the Dragon loses its connection with Light and its connection with Man, and Mankind loses its connection with the Emperor.

.. but I'm not sure I'm following you here. And what if there's an Emperor on the throne who is having none of this Dragon nature business? Can he still be worshipped as part of the Sun Dragon cult or is there a disconnect (and the Sun Dragon is considered a separate, maybe utuma-created, part still hidden on some other layer that is not identified with the Emperor?).

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22 hours ago, Grievous said:
Quote

I think the Sun Dragon cult is more or less the cult of the Sun Emperor and the Dark Dragon as one being, united - when the Emperor is one his Dragon throne, and the Bright Emperor and Dark Dragon are thus united, Dragon becomes Man (and gains arms as necessary), and Dragon becomes Sun (and shines with Fiery power). When there is no Emperor on the Throne, the Dragon loses its connection with Light and its connection with Man, and Mankind loses its connection with the Emperor.

.. but I'm not sure I'm following you here. And what if there's an Emperor on the throne who is having none of this Dragon nature business? Can he still be worshipped as part of the Sun Dragon cult or is there a disconnect (and the Sun Dragon is considered a separate, maybe utuma-created, part still hidden on some other layer that is not identified with the Emperor?).

IMO the implication is that even an emperor who is anti-EWF and a notorious dragonslayer still has this dragon part he has to live with. It requires Illumination or draconic Enlightenment to deal with these opposites and draw strength from the contradiction.

There is something more going on here, though. Both when Orlanth leaves his pit at his initiation and at his final confrontation with the evil emperor, he is followed by a dragon he doesn't seem to notice. The Yuthuppan star seers did document that rising dragon behind the rebel.

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11 hours ago, Joerg said:

IMO the implication is that even an emperor who is anti-EWF and a notorious dragonslayer still has this dragon part he has to live with. It requires Illumination or draconic Enlightenment to deal with these opposites and draw strength from the contradiction.

There is something more going on here, though. Both when Orlanth leaves his pit at his initiation and at his final confrontation with the evil emperor, he is followed by a dragon he doesn't seem to notice. The Yuthuppan star seers did document that rising dragon behind the rebel.

From the 13th Age in Glorantha book, p.305. A dragon is behind the lovers and the Emperor.

Note the connections between the EWF and the Puppeteers, implicit in their use of EWF ruins...

Puppeteers.jpg

Edited by jeffjerwin
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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

A dragon is behind the lovers and the Emperor

Love it. "Behind you!"

Although some see a dragon, some of us need our prescription checked and see a Feathered Horse (queen or common).

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1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

From the 13th Age in Glorantha book, p.305. A dragon is behind the lovers and the Emperor.

Note the connections between the EWF and the Puppeteers, implicit in their use of EWF ruins...

Puppeteers.jpg

Weird. At first sight I interpreted that figure as a horse woman and not as a dragon, but you're right, the nose and beak are more draconic than equine. OTOH the horse as celestial being did have these features.

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18 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Love it. "Behind you!"

Although some see a dragon, some of us need our prescription checked and see a Feathered Horse (queen or common).

And... what's the difference? Horse had claws and feathers and so forth, kind of like a number of dragon images... And the Feathered Horse (Mare) rules... Dragon Pass.

Below is an image from a Scythian Horse blanket: a horned, winged horse (the article says it is a bull, but the build is all wrong for that). 

Edit: the dragon throne of the emperor is part of the same category of sovereignty-bestowing seats as a winged horse. It is the vehicle, or as they call it in Sanskrit, the Vahana of the Emperor. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vahana)

Scythian-Arts-3-An-embroidery-winged-bull.png

Edited by jeffjerwin
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I definitely think an Emperor that denies his dragon nature can still be worshipped as the Sun Dragon, to the Sun Dragon cult the Emperors dragon nature is implicit in the office. 

13 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

It is the vehicle, or as they call it in Sanskrit, the Vahana of the Emperor.

Very insightful, yes. It is both what underlies the Emperor and gives him power, and the evil the Emperor holds in check. 

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22 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

From the 13th Age in Glorantha book, p.305. A dragon is behind the lovers and the Emperor.

Is that a dragon? Looks more like a giant chicken on its nest.

It looks as though it was drawn to be ambiguous. 

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