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Who is the Devil in the Second Age? Who is the Hero?

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One thing I've never really been able to figure out about Glorantha, assuming every age ends with a reappearance of the Devil (according to KoS) and that Devil is opposed by some mortal hero... how'd that work out at the end of the Second Age?

Assuming that:

Dawn/Wakboth Original Recipe/Orlanth (but maybe Heort?)

1st Age/Gbaji/Harmast

2nd Age/????/????

3rd Age/The Dark Emperor (looks a lot like Ralzakark on GoGII 786)/Argrath

So who nearly destroyed the world in 1042 (or whenever the SA really ended?) Who was the face of the Devil? Who defeated him?

Possibility 1. The official end of the age is the fall of the EWF, but who was Wakboth? Some unnamed EWF ruler? Maybe Ingolf? Peranal? Was Alakoring the Hero of the Age?

Possibility 2. Or was it Zistor? Zazistor? The Machine God is destroyed in 917 but seems to fit the role of the Devil better than the EWF. Orlanth himself is credited with the destruction of the Machine God, but presumably this was actually achieved by some Orlanthi hero or collection thereof.

Possibility 3. Was the Devil a product of the God Learners? Certainly Aringor is the best candidate for the Hero of the Age, since he performed the LBQ to defeat the God Learners. So who took the role of Wakboth?

Thoughts?

Edited by RHW
Fixed some stuff
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I think the Second Age is intentionally made out to be very vague and half-forgotten; it's even the only Age where there isn't really a consensus for where it starts and ends. The Guide to Glorantha, for example, says that suggested end-points are 920 (when the Boat Planet disappeared and the Closing began), 940 (when Jrustela was lost), 970 (when the Closing was completed), 1042 (when the EWF was overthrown), 1049 (when Seshnela sank), and 1120 (the Dragonkill War). The end of the Second Age isn't marked by any one, single mega-event that defines the whole thing, but a series of big, regional catastrophes strung together in a relatively short timespan as great empires fall like dominos. In that way, the Second Age is probably the most historical of the Ages of Glorantha (prior to the 4th, I suppose), and it might intentionally mirror the Late Bronze Age Collapse of ~1200-1100 BC, during which a whole slew of once-powerful cultures collapsed for reasons that are still up for debate but probably encompass a whole range of factors from fundamental changes in warfare to shifts in the Earth's climate.

Perhaps the identity of the Devil and the Hero of the Second Age is a lost secret, known only to the likes of Argrath. After all, Argrath was the first to make the claim of the Devil reappearing every 600 years; the normal people of Glorantha speak of "Ages" the same way we talk about them, as easy ways to break up history into more digestible chunks.

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>  assuming every age ends with a reappearance of the Devil (according to KoS) 
It's one of many things I prefer not to take too definitely, as a firm assumption.

But sure, yes, basically it was the excesses of the God Learners, which caused cataclysms.  Does that mean there has to be a being taking the role of Wakboth?  Shrug.  In Middle Sea Empire p. 42, there's a suggestion that 3rd age Western scholars say that it was Gbaji who led the God Learners astray, working behind the scenes.  Gbaji is the entity for which *they* use the epithet The Devil, but Gbaji and Wakboth have different mythologies.

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27 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Plot twist: He, Zzabur was both Gbaji and the Hero of the Second Age.

I believe the first part.

Not going to presume to share Illuminated Argrath's understanding but the West takes pride in having a different devil, I'd look for his hoofprints on their wreckage. The Dragons may not have even seen the end of EWF as a failure at all.

Who banishes the Western Devil? Hard to say. From a theist POV the West was the devil (see also: "I believe the first part") and everyone who helped end the empire played a heroic role. The Second Age Collapse may not really even end in the north until Snodal so his role is interesting.

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"Who banishes the Western Devil?"

Since Aringor completes the LBQ and defeats both the "God Learners" (including maybe Zzabur?) and the Autocracy (including maybe Arkat/Gbaji), he seems like a legit candidate, at least from the Orlanthi POV.

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8 minutes ago, RHW said:

"Who banishes the Western Devil?"

Since Aringor completes the LBQ and defeats both the "God Learners" (including maybe Zzabur?) and the Autocracy (including maybe Arkat/Gbaji), he seems like a legit candidate, at least from the Orlanthi POV.

The trouble is the dating.  The Shadow Empire disappears relatively early (740 ST) at a time when the other Empires have yet to put on their Doc Martens.  It's also unclear whereabouts he was active (Lankst or Delela?) and his position viz-z-viz the Dragon in the Room.  At the very least, I think he was active before the EWF reached into Ralios causing Alakoring to respond with force.

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The best date for the end of the Second Age is 1120 which is not only the Dragonkill but the War in Heaven (which overthrew Shang Hsa may-his-name-be -cursed in Kralorela).  Since the participants on one side were the dragons (who are rather less than transparent in their history), who's to say the Devil didn't appear then and was devoured as an afterthought?

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46 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Shang Hsa may-his-name-be -cursed

May well be a good candidate for the "Devil" - doesn't say he has to arrive in Dragon Pass per se.

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Well, if the devil is indeed reborn every 600 years or so like Argrath claimed, were there any important events that happened around 975? Considering that Nyaslor was born in 375. Or course, you could claim that the devil really appeared sometime after Nyaslor's birth too.

All in all, I think the second age isn't a part of the regular hero/devil cycle. It was an intermediate age between the first and third, an age of mortals like Argrath claimed the fourth age would be, unrestricted by the godtime and defined by humanity's ambitions. In fact, it's my theory that the fourth will be a repeat of the second, the fifth a repeat of the third and first, the sixth the fourth, and ad infininitum. An age of gods and an age of man, cycling for eternity until the day when Chaos finally reclaims its own.

Edited by Richard S.
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2 hours ago, RHW said:

Also Aringor's name has an "Ar" in it, which seems necessary.

The Hero must be... a pirate?

Stunning insight!  But... it fits startlingly well.

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3 minutes ago, g33k said:

The Hero must be... a pirate?

Stunning insight!  But... it fits startlingly well.

Arrrrkat, Harrrrmast, Arrrrringol, Arrrrrgrath, Jarrrrr-eel.

I rest my case.

If Kallyr had just spelled her name Kallarrrrr, she would have probably won out.

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If I may be so heretical, our one source that the Devil reappears every 600 years is a disreputable sage's attribution of a quote to Argrath in "Argrath and the Devil". It does have a nice periodicity roughly in synch with the ends of the Ages, but that's all that speaks for it..

Besides, the date for the re-appearance of the Devil appears very much off. Gbaji appeared when? In 375 when Nysalor was hatched/Arkat was born? Earlier, when the Pseudocosmic Egg was found?

Let's play with 375. 975 has no special events in either EWF or Middle Sea Empire, and 1575 saw Tarkalor becoming King of Dragon Pass.

The Red Goddess was born in 1220, and she re-appeared from the Underworld on the Crimson Bat in 1235 after her self-confessed confrontation/union with the Devil. This would date the Second Age appearance of the Devil to 635, roughly the appearance of the Abiding Book, and the Dawn Age appearance to 35 ST, the arrival of the cult of Humakt in Prax (at the Block). Is that the cycle we are looking for?

Or let's assume that Argrath was self-absorbed enough to make his personal confrontation with the Lunar Empire his arrival of the Devil. That would be some time after his Lightbringer's Quest and his defeat of Sheng, when things become vague. Say 1650. That gives us 450 and 1050 to deal with.

But hey, 450 and 1050 are the years of the solution of the troubles of the previous ages, not the appearance of the big ultimate trouble.

 

No, this text is the confused report of a sage who writes down a heroic hyperbole. Taking it too seriously will lead us on very thin ice.

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Another possibility: there is no cycle. We have three ages of Glorantha which we know about, that's not a lot. Just because the third mirrors much of the first could mean nothing, and in all honesty most of the third age, historically and culturally, is completely different than the first or second.

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33 minutes ago, Joerg said:

No, this text is the confused report of a sage who writes down a heroic hyperbole. Taking it too seriously will lead us on very thin ice.

Says the noted Gloranthan Scholar....    Jarrrrrrg !

☠️

 

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34 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

Another possibility: there is no cycle. We have three ages of Glorantha which we know about, that's not a lot. Just because the third mirrors much of the first could mean nothing, and in all honesty most of the third age, historically and culturally, is completely different than the first or second.

Or alternate Ages' structure & tropes.

1st/3rd similarities, and then the GodLearner'ism of the 2nd Age echoed in the 4th...

 

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17 minutes ago, g33k said:

Or alternate Ages' structure & tropes.

1st/3rd similarities, and then the GodLearner'ism of the 2nd Age echoed in the 4th...

 

Yeah, that was my other theory. But really, I do think it's kinda stretching it to say there are these cycles when all we know is the first through third ages.

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16 hours ago, Richard S. said:

Another possibility: there is no cycle. We have three ages of Glorantha which we know about, that's not a lot. Just because the third mirrors much of the first could mean nothing, and in all honesty most of the third age, historically and culturally, is completely different than the first or second.

I guess I like the idea that the cycle repeats as a ticking clock for campaigns set near the close of each age and a way to add truly epic scope to the story.

"Tick tick tick. You idiots need to get your shit together soon because...

WAKBOTH COMIN'!"

CUT TO: Wakboth taking a drag on his cigarette and striding down the street with his shotgun.

Edited by RHW
Additional goofiness added
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My vote is Delecti - a god learner turned EWF who mastered both sets of magics and who knows what other vile powers sufficiently to survive the dragons. He is now contained rather than destroyed.

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18 minutes ago, EricW said:

My vote is Delecti - a god learner turned EWF who mastered both sets of magics and who knows what other vile powers sufficiently to survive the dragons. He is now contained rather than destroyed.

But wouldn't Delecti still be the Devil, in that case? And what's more, I don't think he's ever presented the kind of individual threat to the world itself that the Devil is meant to.

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19 hours ago, Joerg said:

The Red Goddess was born in 1220, and she re-appeared from the Underworld on the Crimson Bat in 1235 after her self-confessed confrontation/union with the Devil.

The 3rd Age Devil may in fact be Ralzakark the Monster Emperor - although he is present beforehand, it is this event which fully incarnates the Devil once more within the world.

[Or an alternate is Jar-eel and her apotheosis/return upon the Crimson Bat marking a rebirth of Chaos.]

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

The 3rd Age Devil may in fact be Ralzakark the Monster Emperor - although he is present beforehand, it is this event which fully incarnates the Devil once more within the world.

[Or an alternate is Jar-eel and her apotheosis/return upon the Crimson Bat marking a rebirth of Chaos.]

Yep, like I said, my money is on Ralzakark the Monster Emperor fully apotheosizing as Wakboth some time in the late 1600s. But I figure the Devil isn’t officially “born” until he manifests. I don’t think either Nysalor or Arkat was Wakboth at first any more than Rufelza is (or Moonson or even RalzakarK cica 1620).

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23 hours ago, Joerg said:

This would date the Second Age appearance of the Devil to 635, roughly the appearance of the Abiding Book,

This makes sense to me.

This is what Greg wrote in The Middle Sea Empire, p.42: 

"They used the Abiding Book as a source, a “cosmic grimoire,” and cast great magic that did bad things. They did not know it but the entity that had led them there was Gbaji, the Deceiver. It led many, including some of the greatest and most powerful people among them, to do evil and to worship Malkioneran, revealed later to be the Devil."

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