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jeffjerwin

Elemenoria, the Great Temptress

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I'm brainstorming on this character, who I was reminded of by the 13G adventure that recently came out (https://escalationfanzine.blogspot.com/2019/05/escalation-special-under-pressure.html)

The 'Great Temptress, who can grant any wish for a price'. Sounds amazing! Unfortunately we have same sentence reprinted verbatim in almost every source on her and the Falling Ruins.

The Falling Ruins includes of course Dinkat's broken ladder to the Heavens, which seems to be a failed project of the EWF period. Elemenoria would likely also derive from that time...

Her name: Elem- is an Esrolian or South Theyalan form of Yelem or Yelm, seen also in the early Nochet queen Elemara. -Oria is likewise a primitive root meaning 'mother', 'earth', 'girl' as seen in the Pelorian Mother Goddess, 'Oria' and in the Theyalan Voria. The people of Ben Bolar, the former name of the Falling Ruins, were Maranites, an Earth culture that worshipped the Shaker and Dancer, mother of the Gazzam. These probably make her origins as linked to the Earth cults, but the 'temptress' and 'wish granting' nature of her power suggest Nysalorean illumination; is she a remnant of the Bright Empire? It's interesting that her primary prefix probably means 'Sun', though it could also have the sense of 'bright'.

Why are her gifts so perilous? Does she behave like a Jinniya, literal-minded and malicious? Or does she ask for a part of one's soul or some awful promise, like the faeries, demanding a first-born child? She is evidently immortal and impervious to the dangers of the ruins itself. In any case she would be a Master of the Fate Rune.

It would be symmetrical to have her wish granting powers themselves gained through some awful bargain as well, with some other entity. If she is a Faerie/Jinniya like creature, then she is perhaps a pre-Time Nymph, manifesting Desire (wish itself), possibly damaged by Chaos. Or she could be a great spirit, once a bearer of prayers, now trapped on the Earth. The other option is that she is a potent magician from before the Dragonkill, but that is a little too much like Delecti.

Elaboration? Contradiction? Misgivings?

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3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Why are her gifts so perilous?

The gifts (wishes granted) themselves wouldn't be dangerous, but the balance is terrible.

If the people were Maranites, then blood to the earth will be a likely answer, and Maran is hungry, so potentially lots of blood. And if it is a price to pay, probably blood you wouldn't normally want spilled.

3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Does she behave like a Jinniya, literal-minded and malicious? Or does she ask for a part of one's soul or some awful promise, like the faeries, demanding a first-born child? She is evidently immortal and impervious to the dangers of the ruins itself. In any case she would be a Master of the Fate Rune. 

I think I would go for the nymph/genius loci explanation. Granting wishes at a terrible price sounds like some Balancer entity, and the entire temptation stuff fits into the non-illumination insight school of arduous mysticism. Not really draconic mysticism, either. Nysalorean riddles appear to be a non-meditative form of mystic insight, planted on you by riddlers and waiting to be realized.

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If she is a Balancer, then, is she some sort of analogue of Natha, who surely has an Earth component?

Natha [JagaNatha], of course has some intriguing similarities to Maran Gor, Ana Gor, and Babeester Gor, as a goddess of retribution. Though there is nothing retributive implicit in "granting wishes". So maybe not...

(Artmal, dead son of the Blue Moon, also had the Fate rune.)

From her location, if she is a Genia Loci, she absolutely would have a draconic aspect, being a component/child of the body of Sh'hakarzeel, the Mover of Heavens, dragon-lover of Kero Fin. Note that Dendrog slew Shalanvar, an Ice Dragon, on her site. This suggests then the draconic illumination of learning the proper interaction with the material and with desire; she is therefore I think a remnant of the choice that all mystics are faced with: Materialism or Spirituality. She represents Materialism, like the Buddhist Māra, embodiment of desire, death, and sensuality. Elemenoria would be from an EWF standpoint an entity they awoke as the embodiment of Sh'hakarzeel's obstacle to enlightenment, whom Orlanth cut out of him so he could unite with the Cosmic Dragon.

I think therefore she is not so much evil as a necessary teacher to those mystics who wish to transcend their rootedness in the World. Few do so in that spirit in the Third Age; she is only the 'wish-granter'.

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If you insist on Elem being a celestial title, she could be some kind of forgotten Feminine Sun, as opposed to the mainstream Sun Patriarch going around since (at least) Time. Not sure what the earth connection would be then, though, nor why they'd be offering wish granting.

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45 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

If you insist on Elem being a celestial title, she could be some kind of forgotten Feminine Sun, as opposed to the mainstream Sun Patriarch going around since (at least) Time. Not sure what the earth connection would be then, though, nor why they'd be offering wish granting.

Well the dragon she inhabits, the Dragonspine, is the 'Mover of Heavens'. The Earth connection is perhaps through Kero Fin, the 'Mover of Heaven's' mate.

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I like the description of Telektios Ascendant out of "Blood of Orlanth"

Quote

 

Telektios Ascendant

The Man Who Became A Dragon

This cult does not yet exist in Glorantha – it springs into being only if Telektios Ashbringer successfully merges with the mythic representation of the dragon Sh’kaharzeel during the HeroQuest.

The cult is effectively a short cut to draconic illumination and preaches that men should behave as rapacious, power- hungry dragons and take what they desire. Most initiates of the Wyrm’s Friend Empire try to find the draconic nature within their own souls; the cult turns this around and says that one’s soul already has draconic nature and it is only by unfettering the soul and acting on one’s own emotions and desires that this draconic nature can be expressed.

The Cult of Telektios is seen as a hideous aberration by the dragonewt allies of the Empire. Dragonewts behave in strange, random ways but always in accordance with Right Action (see Dragonewts: Guide to the Eravsshar). Humans have no such conception of Right Action – and this bizarre cult claims that all human desires are Right Action. To those humans who struggled with draconic illumination before, the cult’s easier way proves very appealing.

 

From Greg Stafford in 2001;

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Falling Ruins. Notorious ruin on the Dragonspine Ridge, overlooking Dendrogi Pass. Site of an ancient city and fortress called Intan, it was ruined by the EWF. It was where Dinkat's Ladder was raised, and maybe also a breeding place for human/dragon hybrids, or perhaps a monastery for nonhumans, or maybe a laboratory where the metal animals were forged. The ruins have an allure that many find irresistible even from the pass far below it. The three roads that approach it cast promises to tempt anyone upon them, and within the ruins lives Elemenoria, the Great Temptress who can grant any wish, for a price. 
Intan. A former city, now called Falling Ruins. (KoS 184) It was settled in the Dawn Age by Stravuli tribesmen. It overlooks Dendrogi Pass and its strategic position has caused it to be occupied by every subsequent power trying to control Dragon Pass. However, it was cursed and has been unoccupied since the EWF. See Falling Ruins.

If Elemenoria is a failed EWF experiment, she could be a perversion like Telektios Ascendant, providing a dangerous shortcut to unspeakable powers, at who knows what awful price. 

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If Elemenoria was summoned or created by the EWF and it was a perversion/mistake, it was because they wanted to formalize a critical mystic step on their draconic path: the place where the mystic must either embrace or reject materialism. The problem is in 'automating' it I think, not that it exists at all: every mystic must do so.

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Given the utter lack of involvement of Greg in the writing of MRQ (except for Dara Happa Rising), I am dubious about most that was written about the EWF in the early MRQ publications, like Blood of Orlanth. The treatment of the EWF basically was what convinced me not to play MRQ. It was to what I had learned about Glorantha what the Flat Earth society is to our world.

The EWF leaders of the Third Council were mostly "short cut" mystics following follies like the Path of Immanent Mastery or Isgangdrang's variation thereof. These did gift them with Great Dragon bodies, but they did not achieve the draconic consciousness necessary for ascension to full dragonhood - despite or possibly because they were directing energies of draconic worship to themselves from all over the Empire.

That cult from Blood of Orlanth certainly is one of those paths doomed to fail. There are other, proven ways to turn a human into a beast - the Praxians have a rune spell for that.

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

Given the utter lack of involvement of Greg in the writing of MRQ (except for Dara Happa Rising), I am dubious about most that was written about the EWF in the early MRQ publications, like Blood of Orlanth. The treatment of the EWF basically was what convinced me not to play MRQ. It was to what I had learned about Glorantha what the Flat Earth society is to our world.

The EWF leaders of the Third Council were mostly "short cut" mystics following follies like the Path of Immanent Mastery or Isgangdrang's variation thereof. These did gift them with Great Dragon bodies, but they did not achieve the draconic consciousness necessary for ascension to full dragonhood - despite or possibly because they were directing energies of draconic worship to themselves from all over the Empire.

That cult from Blood of Orlanth certainly is one of those paths doomed to fail. There are other, proven ways to turn a human into a beast - the Praxians have a rune spell for that.

Blood of Orlanth was very clear that the cult of Telektios Ascendant is a perversion of the true path. Telektios is introduced as a desperate wannabe, powerful, dangerous, no longer entirely human. The horror of Telektios' ascension is he finds a way to pollute a true dragon with his madness, the Blood of Orlanth cult is presented as one of the few means (maybe the only means) by which humans can directly access dragon myths in a HeroQuest.

Quote

 

Telektios Drinks The Blood

If Telektios is allowed to drink the Blood of Orlanth, the effects are even worse. He cements his relationship with Sh’kaharzeel, effectively merging with the dragon. Telektios’ soul is a mere mote compared to the awesome majesty of the divine dragon but this pollution of one of the true dragons is deeply offensive to the dragonewts. The Cult of Telektios quickly springs into being; Telektios retains enough self- awareness to offer a short-cut to enlightenment, as he is a human soul in touch with a dragon.

 

Obviously everyone can take a view, but I thought Blood of Orlanth / Telektios was an interesting idea of how EWF ambition and draconic research could go horribly wrong.

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18 hours ago, EricW said:

If Elemenoria is a failed EWF experiment, she could be a perversion like Telektios Ascendant, providing a dangerous shortcut to unspeakable powers, at who knows what awful price. 

Or she might be the original inhabitant that made the EWF set up an experimental site there in the first place.

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15 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Or she might be the original inhabitant that made the EWF set up an experimental site there in the first place.

True. The EWF is more about remaking the lost and old and awakening the mystic and draconic nature of a thing than making something utterly new. Even the Stitched Zoo was a 'reconstruction' of the Green Age.

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