Death of Orlanth

From: Peter Metcalfe <metcalph_at_...>
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 2004 23:49:43 +1300


>Peter, let me start with a bit of an overview of my take on the Kill
>Orlanth project. I think that it is more interesting, more fun, and
>creates more opportunities if the Lunars have been planning for some
>time to Kill Orlanth.

But everything previously (Fortunate Succession, Glorantha: intro and even Heroquest Voices: Talking to the Moon Woman "he resists the Goddess's liberation and suffers because of it, but with compassion Sedenya reaches out to him and will prevail. We shall free him!") indicates that the Lunars were not planning for some time to Kill Orlanth.

To have Orlanth's death result as a conscious decision by Tatius to alter an ongoing ritual allows for another point of division in the Lunar Camp ("Your mission is to terminate Tatius Kurtzakum with extreme prejudice").

>As OiD states, "killing Orlanth" is a
>necessary precondition for the Reaching Moon Project (see sidebox
>pg. 45).

It doesn't. It merely says that "[w]hen Whitewall fell, they met the conditions
for killing Orlanth". This is written with the knowledge that Orlanth's death will happen. It is silent on the question whether the Lunars actually planned his death nor does it explain why the Lunars were still able to consecrate the Temple despite Orlanth coming back to life.

>Although I don't think that Whitewall was initially
>identified as where Orlanth must die - something allowed the Lunars
>to identify the fall of Whitewall as the Death of Orlanth.

Which as I said is because everywhere else, concerted Orlanthi resistance had ceased by 1620. It is only then, that the Lunars know for sure this is the crucial place for Orlanth's death. Tatius may have had some insight into this before this time.

>I prefer that not to be some sort of petty vengeance for the insult
>of killing the Crimson Bat

The Crimson Bat was not killed and any insult rendered to the steed of the Goddess cannot be said to be "petty".

>- but some big aspect of a big Lunar
>plot: the Reaching Moon Project and the final victory over the Rebel

But such does not require Orlanth's death. The Lunars are known not to have intended it. It is not necessary for a conflict to have been planned for it to become titanic and epic. Amida only became epic because of a sniper's actions. Stalingrad became epic because it was conveniently named.

The Lunars did have a plot but the precise details of that plot was always going to be open-ended. What I'm suggesting is that somewhere along the line, Tatius goes rogue and commits the might of the Lunar Empire to a course of action that will ultimately destroy it.

>The idea that the Hero Wars is some sort of Barbara Tuchman rip-off
>bores me.

I haven't read Barbara Tuchman and I don't intend to start. What I do object to are notions that the Lunars have planned all the details decades before it ever started when such a thing is contrary to what we know about how the Lunar Empire operates.

> > But if the Death of Orlanth was crucial to the success of the
> > Reaching Moon Project then how come the latter goes ahead
> > despite the Battle of Iceland? Methinks there's two different
> > magical rituals at work.

>Because the Death of Orlanth is what we lawyers call a condition
>precedent - an even that must happen or be performed before the
>agreement becomes effective. You have to Kill Orlanth before you can
>begin construction of the Reaching Moon Temple.

Considering that Orlanth wasn't required to be killed in Tarsh or any other place where the Reaching Moon Temples are, I strongly doubt this statement. It's also relevant to note that the Temples are dedicated to Yara Aranis who has nothing against Orlanth. Moreover if the condition ceases to occur, then that's more than likely to screw up the process. Hence I believe that Orlanth's death was not necessary.

> > At the very earliest, the Reaching Moon Temple was planned during
> > the reign of Ignifer (1598) and executed by the governor general
> > (it isn't a Dara Happan plot as the Tarshites invested major
> > magical resources in their own temple).

>OiD contradicts this. Here's the relevant paragraph on Pg. 45:
>"The Reaching Moon Temple (near the Old Wind Temple) is being built
>upon a new design. The whole Empire is solidly defended by a series
>of Yara Aranis temples that are strictly regulated in design,
>personnel, and calender.

Looking at the Lunar Map, one can see that this is not so. The temples of Oraya and Jillaro have reaches of 75 miles which is one and a half times longer than the reach of the Tarshite temple at 50 miles. OiD claims that the Sartarite temple has a radius of 250 miles yet only a radius of 130 miles is needed to link up to the glowline from the temple based at Furthest so it seems that somebody confused radius with diameter.

So while I concede that strange and exacting circumstances must be present for a Temple of Unusual Size, I find it hard to see why that these circumstances should include the death of a Great God given that the the temples at Jillaro and Oraya apparently required no such sacrifices.

>The Sartar temple is an experiment.....
>The designers first proved that it would work to many priests and
>bureaucrats; then to high priests and administrators; and finally to
>the Emperor himself, who in 1580 S.T. ordered the plan funded and
>implemented. Worship groups were seeded and linked to the process,
>and it has continued since then, stalled more often by politics than
>by enemy action, but never stopped."

So the propaganda has it. However at that time, the Lunars had not even explored Sartar so where were they intending to put it? The Mask Militaris, after defeating the Orlanthi at Grizzly Peak two years later, does nothing further with the plan even though he lived for a further four years.

Moreover during the subsequent reigns, such non-functioning projects are raided for assets wholesale in the competitive environment that is the Lunar Empire. So the initial impression is that the 1580 date was the approval of a concept with a time and place to be decided upon later.

It is far more likely that the Mask Ignifer dusted off the plans for such a project when he plotted the conquest of Sartar. But that plan too fell into abeyance when he was grievously wounded (1602) and retired to recuperate elsewhere. Nothing is done for another twenty years.

Contrast this with the conquest of Tarsh. HonEel seduces Pyjeemsab in 1490. Their son is born in 1491. Despite initial unrest, the foundations are laid 4 years later in 1496 when there is still significant Orlanthi resistance which isn't suppressed for another 80 odd years. Yet in Sartar, the foundation isn't laid until 1622, twenty years after the initial conquest and nine years after effective Sartarite resistance was crushed.

Furthermore the timing of Tatius's decision upon the site is odd. According to the p40 sidebar of the Genertela Book, Tatius was a compromise appointee as Dean of the College of Magic by Icilius and Fazzur. Since Icilius has been in office for only three years (same sidebar), Tatius was appointed after 1618. His known employment before then was on Euglyptus's staff which terminated in 1613. So Tatius is scouting out the site for the temple which was done "many years earlier" (KoS p150 at a time when he was likely to be out of a job? That doesn't sound good for a well-organized plan supposedly backed by the Emperor in 1580.

>"The Assiday Family has its entire fortune riding on this, and it
>looks like it will prove a worthy gamble.

An entire fortune yet they did nothing when Euglyptus, also from the Assiday family, was governor-general.

>Tatius has the resources
>and now the command to complete it. This success will prove them
>superior to all the rival families in Dara Happa and will catapult
>them to importance in the Empire.

Except they are the leading family in Raibanth and related to the Imperial Family which means they should be importantly superior already. That fact that they are gambling their fortunes on this suggest that they have taken a major hit in the past and are on their way to extinction through dart competitions. Again it tells against a conscious plan by the Emperor to kill Orlanth and establish the Temple to the Reaching Moon.

In conclusion, I think that Tatius dusted off the plans for the Temple of Unusual Size as a result of his sterling victory at Whitewall and his appointment as governor general. Prior to that, I don't think anybody was interested.

>So here's my theory: during the initial invasion of Heortland in
>1619, Whitewall was simply an important Heortling Rebel fortress -
>like Runegate. Fazzur bypassed it, but left Jorkandros and a
>significant force (including the Bat) to reduce it so that it did
>not disrupt his rear. Jorkandros prepared a text-book assault - and
>somehow Broyan defeated the Bat and the assault! I think that
>Broyan managed to identify himself on a mythic level with the king
>of Orlanthi people (Vingkot) to do this.

A couple of observations - an assault by the bat isn't a textbook assault. In light of the anticipated slaughter, I doubt that Jorkandros is actually prepared for battle and if it wasn't for the bat damage, the whitewall Orlanthi would have overwhelmed his forces.

>Tatius the Bright seizes this opportunity - Whitewall is the Stead
>of Orlanth! He has Jorkandros removed and takes over the
>preparations for the assault on Whitewall, with the intent to kill

Tatius may have made a lucky guess as to the correct location of the showdown with Orlanth but I don't think it's something any Lunar magician would know until the conquest of the rest of Heortland had removed all doubt. I do not believe that he was intending to kill Orlanth at this stage. Likewise all that he may have done to remove Jorkandros is show up with his much larger forces and pull rank.

>The Assidays are very creative and brilliant
>innovators. However, they are Dara Happan in perspective - I think
>they do not in some fundamental manner understand the Orlanthi

Which distinguishes them from other Lunars (such as JarEel) in what way?

> > Why did the Emperor declare a Extra Full Moon Year
> > in celebration? So why is the Emperor upset when he
> > hears the news about Broyan's escape?

>Once Tatius takes over the siege, the ritual of killing Orlanth has

Well Tatius takes over very early in the siege AFAIK which does suggest that the progress of the siege is big news in the Heartlands.

As per my previous objections, I would say the ritual of the enslavement has entered its final stages. The Fortunate Succession makes it clear that it was a major reason for the invasion of Sartar.

>Prior to that, I don't think the siege is that big of a
>deal. The Emperor is upset because Orlanth might not be dead -
>which means that the condition precedent might not have been

I doubt that Orlanth's death was required in any way for the construction of the temple while the nature and degree of his enslavement may have helped it in some unquantifiable way. However Tatius suffers a much worse setback to the progress of his temple from Harrek and co. than from the return of Orlanth which doesn't sound right.

>Sorry, I should have said that Tatius's ritual assault on Whitewall -
> on Orlanth's Stead (or whatever we say this is) - is the
>culmination of decades of planning.

Okay. We just disagree on what the planning is about. You say it's to kill Orlanth and establish the Temple of Unusual Size while I say that the plan was to enslave Orlanth which was transformed by Tatius at a critical stage to kill him instead and that the Temple was a seperate project.

> > I wouldn't describe it as a Kill Orlanth project but an Enslave
> > Orlanth project. And Whitewall's identification was enabled
> > by its continued defiance long after the rest of Heortland had
> > fallen.

>No, I think Orlanth must be killed to start construction of the
>Temple of the Reaching Moon.

Previous Temples have not required the deaths of any big god nor is Yara Aranis's mythology centered upon an opposition to Orlanth. In light of numerous Lunar statements about what they plan to do to Orlanth, I doubt very strongly that Orlanth's death or enslavement was essential to the Temple of Unusual Size.

> An enslaved Orlanth is dead.

I don't think that follows. Orlanth under the influence of Arangorf could said to have been enslaved yet he was not dead. You could argue that the lunar ritual will kill Orlanth but we both agree that it's best to have the death to be intentional. The scope of disagreement is who intends the death - I say Tatius, you say a lot more.

> > At the same time, his frustrations towards the city's
> > continued defiance is worsening (a RW parallel is Alexander meting
> > out a much worse fate to Tyre than he actually did to the Persian
> > capital). His heart hardens and he begins to warp the ritual into killing
> > Orlanth.
>I disagree. See above. Frankly, Tatius does not need to earn

Yes, he does. The Assiday Family is not that powerful (it isn't even one of the Satrapal Clans).

>I think he is a much bigger player in Imperial politics than
>Fazzur or Sor-Eel or his kinsman Euglyptus.

He cannot be a bigger player in Imperial politics than his kinsman Euglyptus. Both are representatives of the Assiday family. When Euglyptus was governor general, Tatius assisted him in some way which is like BorEel serving his half-brother SorEel. When Euglyptus is killed, Tatius has nothing to do until he gets made Dean a few years later. And even then, his appointment is made by Icilius and Fazzur.

--Peter Metcalfe

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