>a)Is "Hon-eel" no longer correct, or is it an example of two different
>writing systems? Some of the "Eels" seem to be related, but HonEel isn't,
Different writing systems. HonEel is the Pelandan (and thus influential) way. All the Eels are part of the same clan, the Eel-Ariash, and connected in some way to the serpent Berneel Arashagern, the Divine Seed of Yelm.
>b)She (and her priesthood) seem to have it in for the Red Emperor; is this
>part of her nature (she sounds like an unplanned result of the Emperor's
>hiding during the Sheng occupation), a response to the Emperor interfering
>with her maize rituals, or something else?
I really don't know the full details of this (or even why), but a philosophical division among the lunars seems to have occurred when HonEel inaugurated the corn rites.
As is described in the Glorantha: Intro p199, corn actually comes from Bliss in Ignorance (imagine the Kralori reaction!) and requires blood sacrifices to grow well on the barren soil. IMO these rites are presided over by the Wizards of Gore dressed up as Xipec Toltec, our lord of flayed skins.
In the fertile soils of Peloria, corn grows exceedingly well, but they still require blood. HonEel's rites are a far less bloody version but they still require a human sacrifice. No problem says HonEel. Convicted criminals, madmen and down-and-outs will be used as a sacrifice considering they don't do much else for the Empire.
This PoV however arouses deep revulsion among other Lunars. As a result of the wanton butchery of Sheng Seleris's reign, they are horrified by the concept of killing people because somebody thinks they are useless. They thus agitate against the corn rites, and eventually the Red Emperor supports them*. The corn rites are modified (corn women are used instead of human sacrifices) which lessens the bounty of the corn harvest and the protesting priestesses are exiled to Oraya. This is the origin of the grudge against the Red Emperor.
Since the Red Emperor has become a drunkard and caring for little else other than his parties, the Emperor's prohibitions have been become ignored as many lunars desire the wealth of the corn harvests.
But if the current mask dies, the next mask might be active and once again condemn the corn rites and priesthood. So the Emperor's death could be a plot to remove the Emperor permanently from the scene. OTOH it could be a simple accident in which the Emperor wants to play the bad guy for a change and is killed with unfortunate results. Or even that his death was mundane but the Emperor decided not to return for reasons of his own choosing.
*This is described as foolish in the glorantha: intro but that's the priestesses PoV and a relic of an early draft in which sections about the government praised the Emperor for his wisdom, and the sections about religion condemned the Emperor for his foolishness.
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