Bell Digest v940614p1

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X-RQ-ID: Intro

This is the RuneQuest Daily Bulletin, a mailing list on
the subjects of Avalon Hill's RPG and Greg Stafford's 
world of Glorantha.  It is sent out once per day in digest

More details on the RuneQuest Daily and Digest can be found
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From: SMITHH@A1.MGH.HARVARD.EDU (Harald Smith 617 726-2172)
Subject: jannisor story
Date: 13 Jun 94 02:48:00 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 4542

(The following story is told in Imther and includes common Imtherian 
terms.  Neal is the Imtherian term for village.  Marl is the Imtherian 
term for clan.  Marec (pl.marex) is the Imtherian term for the noble 
leader of a clan.)

Jannisor and the Gargoyle King
by Harald Smith

In the days when Aranor was Marec of the Wilktar marl and that marl lay 
north in the Vale of Tork, people came to Aranor's hall fleeing from a 
great enemy.

Aranor was disturbed to see these people come, so he asked their leader 
to come before him.  "Why have yhou come to the lands of the Wilktar 
marl?" he asked sternly for he hoped to intimidate the man.

"Oh, mighty lord," the refugee answered, "a great foe, an army of 10,000 
madmen, cursed by chaos, pursues us."

"And have you not tried to stop them?" asked Aranor gruffly, though this 
news certainly concerned him.

"Oh, yes, mighty lord.  The army of Brankaar marched against them 
bearing the Raining Arrows, the River Flails, and the Shields of 
Thunder.  But the Raining Arrows could not pierce this foe.  And the 
River Flails could not blunt this foe.  And the laughter of the madmen 
broke the Shields of Thunder.  The army of Brankaar then fell before 
them.  They used their Evil Eyes to cripple Brankaar's men.  They used 
their Hell Sickles to cut the jewels from Brankaar's men.  And they 
laughed again and again so that the army of Brankaar fell deaf and dumb 
and died."

Now hearing this, Aranor was alarmed and he asked the refugee if he knew 
of anyone who could stop this foe, but the refugee did not.

Aranor then brought this tale to his marl and after recounting the 
story, he asked the members of the marl if they knew of anyone who could 
stop this foe, but they did not.

But when Aranor was about to tell his marl to pack up all their goods 
and join the refugees in flight, he heard Sonsio the Fool laughing.

"Why do you laugh when we must flee," Aranor asked angrily.

"Because our marl is not the only marl.  Among the Laramite, though our 
bitter foes, there is said to be a hero named Jannisor who can do 

Now Aranor, though he hated the Laramite marl, recognized the truth in 
this and the voice of Khelmal counseling him to stand firm.  Though 
filled with misgivings, Aranor sent a message to Gelton, Marec of the 
Laramite marl telling him of the foe which approached and asking of this 
hero Jannisor.

The next day, a rough-looking hunter arrived at the hall of Aranor.  He 
was bearded after the fashion of Khelmal with great blond curls around 
his chin.  He was garbed afer the fashion of Gordaval with leather 
jerkin, bow skirt, and hard-worn sandals and bore a mighty bow of ash.  
He was cloaked as a fisherman with a net around his broad shoulders and 
weights upon his belt.

Aranor looked over the hunter and said, "How are you called and what 
message does Gelton send to me since he does not send his warriors?"

The hunter was in fact Jannisor, but he told Aranor, "I am called 
Sonnajir and the message from Gelton is that Jannisor will come to your 
aid if you help my messenger (that is myself) to enter the hall of Tor 
Gargoule and return therefrom."

When Aranor heard this, he was troubled, for Tor Gargoule was the haunt 
of the gargoyles and their terrible song.  "Surely you have no need to 
go and enter there.  Do you not know that the song of the gargoyles 
destroys the souls of men and that the king who lives within those halls 
devours those who enter?"

"That may be," the hunter, Jannisor, replied, "but that is what I have 
been asked to do."

"Very well then.  I shall have my boldest warriors accompany you, those 
who bear the Spear of Hope, the Staff of Arahar, the Sandals of Teliska, 
and the Song of Khalana.  Further, I shall have my marl pray for your 
return.  But if you do not return within two days, then it is clear that 
you have failed and we must find another means to bring Jannisor's aid."

The hunter smiled, "If I fail, then do not count upon Jannisor, but flee 
instead to other lands."

So Aranor called for his four boldest warriors to join the messenger and 
for his marl to pray for the spirit of Sonnajir.

That very day, Jannisor led the warriors across the rolling hills until 
the dark mount of Tor Gargoule could be seen.  With their keen eyes, the 
warriors could see gargoyles crawling up and around the highest towers 
and flying in the skies above.  The warriors were ready to continue on, 
but Jannisor halted them.

"First, we much each share a round of cheese.  In this way, we are 
linked together like a hearth.  Second, each of you shall take hold of a 
weight that ties to my cloak.  In this way, we are linked together like 
a neal.  Finally, each of you must take these plugs of wax and place 
them in your ears so that you do not hear the song of the gargoyle king.  
And you must hold tight to my cloak, so that I, though I hear the song, 
am not lost to you.  In this way, we have formed a new bond because we 
are from different marls, a khelix of those who dare to enter Tor 

The warriors followed Jannisor's instructions, though did not want to.  
After all, they thought he was just a hunter and they were four brave 
warriors.  But the hunter had a way about him and followed the ancient 
ways, so the warriors agreed.

So with all ears plugged but Jannisor's and all linked by the cloak of 
Jannisor and the sharing of cheese, they approached Tor Gargoule.

They looked at the dark citadel in amazement.  Towers rose up hundreds 
of kingsteps into the air to end in graceful pinnacles or tree-like 
platforms.  Winged and crawling denizens graced each and every tower, 
alike in their deformity and ugliness.  In the midst of these lofty 
towers stood a massive gate of darkest stone held upright by two 
gigantic gargoyles, so tall that their feet were higher than a man's 
head and their wings, if spread, would darken the greatest villa.  
Twenty or more kingsteps their bodies rose to reach heads so large they 
could swallow a man whole.  Their mouths were open and they sang songs 
of age and power, which could turn a normal man's strength to weakness.

But the brave warriors did not hear that song for their ears were fully 
stuffed with wax.  Only Jannisor heard their song--a song which spoke of 
lost fathers and ravaged mothers, of withered lands and blasted plains, 
of death without rebirth, of doom without protection, of the void of 
utter emptiness.  Only Jannisor heard the rumbling voices like falling 
stones that thundered in his ears and made him feel as if his head would 
burst.  Only Jannisor heard the high, grating sound of stone grinding 
stone that shrieked in his ears and tore at his spirit.  Jannisor wailed 
and flung about like a floundering fish, but was held fast within the 
cloak.  Jannisor felt his strength depart, his legs weaken under him, 
but was held upright within the cloak.  Jannisor's spirit sought to 
leave his body far behind, but was held to the body by that net-like 
cloak of his own devising.  And his companions did not release him, 
bonded as they were, until that passed that dreadful gate.

Then they stood in a great hall of darkest grey, so dull that light 
would not reflect.  Great arches soared to the top of the vaulted 
chamber.  Long windows drapped the walls like tapestries.  Great 
buttresses held the heavy walls in place.  And at the far end, wearing a 
crown of black obsidian, the gargoyle king sat upon his haunches and 
hungrily watched the five approach.

"Who are you and why do you dare enter my hall?" the gargoyle king 
asked, the hall shaking with his thunderous voice.

"I am called Jannisor, and I come to warn you of the chaos which comes 
and to call upon your aid."

"You puny being think that I fear chaos?  I who led my folk into the 
Dawning and beyond?!" exclaimed the outraged king.  "You deign to ask 
for my aid, I who aided the Earthwielder in his day, I who aided Khelmal 
when he limped across the quaking land?"

"Yes, I ask for your aid.  For the chaos folk who come have heard the 
screams of the Bat and will ignore your song as did I.  They have 
stopped the Raining Arrows and will stop the petty darts of your 
children.  They have shattered the Thundering Shields and will shatter 
your thundering halls.  And you will meet the death without rebirth, the 
doom without protection, and leave your father to face the void alone.  
Only together, bonded as Khelmal bound the earth, can we halt these mad 

Then the gargoyle king laughed at Jannisor's impudence.  The laughter 
shook the hall again and again, reverberating from wall to wall.  The 
laughter shook the floor so violently that Jannisor and his companions 
fell to their knees in dismay.  "I shall feast upon your flesh," the 
gargoyle king cried, "and on that of your fellows.  And from your flesh 
I shall tear your spirits and toss them into the earth well--that is how 
you shall be bound to the earth!"

The gargoyle king then stood and unfurled his stony wings.  He moved 
forward to eat them then and there.  Jannisor retreated into a corner, 
afraid now that he had failed.  But in that corner, one of the warriors 
pointed to a small struggle with his spear.  Jannisor saw that struggle--that of a fly caught within a spider's web.  Jannisor smiled and drew 
his bow.  He quickly tied lines to each arrow and to his cloak.  Then he 
fired those arrows up and over and around the gargoyle king so that the 
net quickly covered the giant foe.  Then the warriors pulled mightily 
upon the lines so that the gargoyle king was bound and tied.  Weights 
were placed upon the net so that the king could not flee or move.

"Like the flyin the spider's web are you bound.  I would slay you now 
for your haughtiness," said Jannisor.

"Spare me," replied the king, "for I will do as you ask for my 
children's sake.  They would be lost without me."

Jannisor asked the gargoyle king to pledge upon his father's existence 
to aid them and the king agreed.  Jannisor then asked the gargoyle king 
to take him to the well of the earth and, still dressed in his net-like 
chains, the gargoyle king did.  From the well, Jannisor pulled great 
black gooey strands of earthblood and placed those strands in four great 
cauldrons for the warriors to carry.

As they set to leave, Jannisor released the bonds upon the gargoyle king 
and said, "There will come a time soon when I shall call upon you again 
to aid me in binding this chaos foe.  Do not fail me, lest you shall be 
bound again and this time to your final doom."

The gargoyle king agreed and Jannisor with his four companions departed.

When Jannisor and the warriors reached the Wilktar marl, there was much 
rejoicing.  Aranor approached Jannisor and said, "I did not expect your 
return, but could only hope it would be so."

"Know that your hope was enough and all that was asked," replied 
Jannisor.  "Know also that I am Jannisor and that I answer the prayers 
of those who give me aid.  Now gather your marl so that we may work the 
stuff of the earth and then go together to face this army of madmen.  
Each of you bears within you the hope to succeed and we will make a new 
bond so that no one is alone."

So with the Wilktar marl and the Laramite marl, Jannisor prepared to 
meet the chaos horde and preserve the land of the great vale.  But that 
battle is another tale.