Where Be Yon Ducke Counterculture? -- an essay in anatoform contrapuntalism

From: Stewart Stansfield <stu_stansfield_at_iYHS9wIs8jx0-2gSSgxxskgdbId3JKBeVy-biP1jizh9K4QwuXfN6gYwkBBJS>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2006 14:09:22 -0000

I was going to post this on the Glorantha DIGEST, but have long-since believed that this is the only list of any true hermeneutic merit.

> And I hereby compare Delecti and the Ducks to be similar to Adolf
> Hitler and Jews in the special ghettoes that the Germans "kept" for Red
> Cross inspections. This declares the Duck Thread finished, by the
> Internet Adolf Hitler rule.

While David's analogue in it's own way is an interesting one, this late shot from the bow-chasers does have the effect of promoting an 'unfortunate' resurgence in anatophilia, as Malk noted.

Ducks, in the form of that nebulous, indescribable little corner of Gloranthan lore, have always promoted mystery (and rightly), but for many (as I noted before) they are indistinguishable from their oft-perceived cultural trappings: Humakt, Delecti, undead, fractious banditry, altimetric subdual, speech impediments, cigars (okay, the last two are sub judice).

People like this, I know, and it is fun; and perhaps some would like ducks to stay that way. But for me it's also so prevalent that I'm growing, well, not bored (which might be the wrong word), but let's say less-than-inspired with
the possibilities open. Okay, I'm bored. I'm more interested in those contrapuntal ideas that
are thrown up by such a paradigm.

For example, to link in with what David wrote above, and the common cry from those who would like to see ducks taken a little less sillily that ge... anatocide (as perpetrated by Fazzur in the Duck Cleansing) is not altogether a barrel of laughs, and should be explored with greater pathos (well, for me, killing Gloranthan ducks can actually be quite fun, and yes, I do experience sexual pleasure in it, so it is snuff).

Genocide: surely, given our sad experience of such in the RW, we know that greater resonance and horror is inflicted when a group -- be it a 'race',
culture or smaller social grouping -- is complicit in its own destruction. Ducks are supposedly a fractious and quarrelsome bunch, so... where are the duck collaborators?

All we hear of are the brave bandits, the sad refugees; but what of the various clan and nest conflicts exacerbated by the pogrom? This, I fear, is obfuscated by post factum duck propaganda. What of those driven -- by fear, necessity, greed, malice or sheer opportunism -- to aid the Lunars in eradicating their fellows, and perhaps now run great algae farms as latifundia, manned by slaves?

What of the ill-favoured duck scouts that led Lunar soldiers to nests quivering
in fear? What of the duck bands that themselves gained immunity by hunting and murdering their fellows, that gain information by pimping poor young ducklings to the depravities of avianophiles? What of the toga-clad Lunarised ducks that, in great "Friends, Lunars, Durulz..." speeches, informed their kin of the sad necessity of the Empire's actions, and "Don't worry, it's for your own good, and you'll all be looked after."

Where are the quislings... or quacklings? Elements of this revisionism have found good hold in the Delectiite theories, but not so far with regard to the Lunars. People like Benedict Arnold make history more interesting.

To move to another example, Helering ducks. De Immod will like this one. I mean, Borderlands makes no especial favour over Humakt, and also mentions Heler as being one of the duck deities of choice. Where are the blue-feathered, sexually ambiguous ducks who, sundered from the skies, instead enjoy a freedom of life beneath Heler's wet embrace, carefree and gaye? Where are the ducks worshipping Yuhurol of the Golden Showers?

And if there was ever a note that most formative ducklore was written pre-KoS, it is the absence of Elmal. Or, even forgetting Elmal, if you wish to expand upon these solar and avian links to Vrimak, as some do, what of Yelmalio? They'd be a fitting counterpoint to Helering ducks, at least. Duck shieldpush: repressed duckosexual action.

And then the feminine. Since the change that means ducks lay eggs, the protection of such is imperative -- what greater manifestation of the security of their race? What of the Earthy bits? Esrolian Babeester Gor ain't got nothin' on the duck version. I don't mean in simple or humorous swipes at the Esrolian Earth pantheon, but duckish mystery cults of their own particular brand, with evil sexy lesbian duck priestesses (okay, I might want to take a step back, there).

If the humans can have the Torkani, why not the ducks their own Darkness-worshipping elements? If there are 40,000 ducks in Maniria, what of those that live in the cold lands under the embrace of the Shadow Plateau? What of these ragged, dank albino ducks that follow the Darkness rune, live in ponds and streams that wind beneath the Plateau farming glow-grubs, have appropriated the troll practice of eating human flesh, and ride giant cliff toads?

What of the cannibal ducks that dwell in the hydrothermal pools of Caladraland, using crude steam-technology; that use obsidian-tipped spears to hunt the offspring of the Twelve Soul Birds that exist in abject mockery of their curse? They dwell hidden in the misty waters, before being suddenly propelled high into the air on the plumes of volcanic geysers to strike down flocks of birds and roast them in grim sacrifice.

What of those ducks that have taken up the Atroxic life, snipped their feathers to a rough stubble and clad in iron ride the demon horses of Sir Ethilrist? What of those ducks that worship and fear Blacksting, the great manticore, propitiating him under the guidance of the scorpion-stinger-topped staff of their duckish shaman? They believe, that in time of peril, a great duck hero must go and awaken the manticore, and embody its form with his spirit... but little do they know what is actually involved.

What of the perverted duck broo existing in Snakepipe Hollow, whose pustulated bodies writhe with small chaos eels; and who raid out into the Dwarf Run clad in troll-hide armour and mounted on swimming chaos goats, all under the leadership of a great Walktapus chaotic condottiere?

Oh, and, less seriously...

WHAT OF THE DUCK NASOBEME-RIDERS OF THE PRAXIAN WASTES? [Or, in short: why are ducks so bloody monomythic?]



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