From: Stephen Martin <>
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 15:45:22 EDT

In response to Alex' comments about the Southpath.

BTW, the comment that 54 = Deneron 47 + Lunar 7 is very interesting. I wonder what Greg would say to that?

As currently envisioned by Greg and myself, the Southpath is so difficult to predict for the following reason.

The Eastern Mouth moves at a regular (or regularly changing) speed with a period of 4 weeks. Planets "take off" from the appropriate place on the edge of the Dome. Because of this timing, the planet Shargash/Tolat actually _always_ launches from the exact same spot on the horizon, thus accounting for his early recognition by the Dara Happans.

The Western, Dodging, Gate, is the one with the suggested 27 year period. It moves one direction along the Dome, then the other, in an apparently random but merely complicated mathematical formula. About 5/7 of the time it is on a certain portion of the arc, 1/7 of the time anywhere a fair ways "north" of that arc, another 1/7 a little "south" of this arc.

Now, the tricky part is this: when the planets are launched, they travel in a perfectly "straight" line (noting that it is actually an arc across the sky) to the point where the Western Gate _will be_ when it gets there. They do not travel to where it is currently, and they don't bend their path as it moves.

As each of the planets have a different period to cross the sky (3 days, 14 days, or 56 days), if all three rose at the same time, from the same point, each would be crossing the sky in a different direction. Given the doubling back of the Western Gate upon itself over a possibly small period (as little as 3 or 4 days), such a pattern would be fairly obvious, eventually, but nearly impossible to figure out to the point that you could predict it.

That is the key -- many Gloranthan cultures know there is a pattern to the Southpath, I won't deny that. But, only the Buseri (and maybe the Kralorelans) have kept records long enough to actually figure out the math behind it, and thus to predict what direction Shargash will be going in when he rises, for example. Note that they may not actually know the math, but have kept records long enough that they know the period, and so can simply look up the record from 6696 years ago to get this information. This is all based on GRoY dates, obviously, and falls apart if you don't believe the Buseri's claims about themselves and their records.

Note also that the length of arc these planets travel across the sky will vary depending on the positions of the Eastern and Western Gates, and so the planets have a different speed each time they cross the sky. Another reason it is hard to figure them out.

Sorry if I've bored anyone with this.

An explanatory note on Artia
I originally interpreted Elder Secrets to mean that Artia was not in the sky during Sacred Time, so that her cycle would have been 2 years. I think this was the original intent, at the time of publication. When I asked Greg for confirmation of this, he disliked this interpretation precisely because it made her too regular. So, he settled on the alternate, which is a little better, though not much.

As it was, I fumbled my math roll originally, and thought her cycle was 21 years, not 8. This persisted for a year before I thought it through and caught it, luckily in time for the publication of Drastic Prax, which mentions it.

It does appear that, while the entire sky stood still at the Sunstop, as the world got darker and the stars started appearing, many people were terrified to see that this tiny red star (which they had not noticed before) was moving! As no one saw her until sometime after the Sunstop started, it is unfortunately not possible to figure out the "duration" of the Sunstop from her movement.

Shargash Holy Days
I like Nick Brooke's suggestion of having two "High Holy Days" for Shargash, one for the Red King, one for the Green King. Though I dislike the naming of the cult levels as Kings, surely there's a more appropriate title for Shargash's high priests?

Stephen Martin

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The Book of Drastic Resolutions

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