Re: Lodril in Caladraland

From: Stewart Stansfield <stu_stansfield_at_2yz2JK18DXOPSIkPyQ7xOn7gnFS2k7u9HTj4Pk98nsvyJ2xbDfH3KfLTtF_w->
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 2008 10:42:01 -0000

Dear all,

> Maran beat up Veskarthen.

And, to be somewhat crude, Veskarthan shagged the Earth and took its stuff.

This is a general point, not really in response to Peter's comment, but in response to the myth he refers to.

For a good while now, Glorantha has enjoyed a more pluralistic, localised investigation of myth. I like such investigations, and their results. I appreciate the variety and seemingly contradcitory variations, and have no need in my Glorantha to attempt to rationalise them or suggest primacy. In good part these myths have focused on the stories of Storm- and Earth-focused peoples.

Thunder Rebels states (p. 54):

"... the Vent ... formed when Vestkarthen struk deep into Esrola's flesh. Maran defended her weaker sister. She snapped the spear, then from the wound showered Vestkarthen with molten rock that imrisoned him inside the volcano. He now serves her."

I have no problems with that, even if the last sentence is occasionally somewhat wishful thinking. It is evocative, and an interesting myth. I do worry, however, that sometimes folks see a greater truth in something like this, and use it to impinge upon other mythologies without regard to them, or a bigger picture.

Myth is full of conflicts. Otherworld entities are exceptionally powerful forces. Often conflicts are relative to particular points of interest, with 'little defeats' and 'little victories', as opposed to a far more pervasive subdual relating to a greater contest.

What do the volcano-defeating myths of Maran Gor and Urox tell us? In essence, they reinforce why there are no volcanoes in Esrolia or on your local tula. Veskarthan could be a wild and raging god; he sought to expand his realm, and was defeated in his attempts. Do they hold power? Can their worshippers use them against Fire within Earth? Certainly.

Yet they must be set against greater myths of defeat, which do impinge upon the fundamental make-up of, say, Caladran myth. Of these there is one: the defeat and chaining of Veskarthan by Argan Argar. This is a myth of such power that it created links to Darkness that have fundamental consequences through to the Third Age. Veskarthan's defeat not only stopped his expansions but also weakened him on his own turf, and paved the way for centuries of subjugation beneath the Kingdom of Night.

In the context of Caladraland, the most important elements that impinge upon their mythic framework are Darkness and Sea (which came close to inflicting a similar defeat). With the excellent efforts of two or three contributors aside, we don't tend to hear much about these myth-cultures today, and thus little of these conflicts.

What we also haven't heard much of are the 'little victories' won by Veskarthan. And they most assuredly do exist. It is well that we tell, for example, of the actions of Maran Gor in securing the defence of Esrola. Very important, very powerful; a good myth to use in defending Earth from Fire. Yet it should also be remembered that, prior to this, Veskarthan came down to the Earth, inhabited, took great swathes of it as his own and sired his numerous children upon it. It's not all one-way traffic.

Likewise Urox. Storm has defeated Veskarthan. And Veskarthan has defeated Storm. I'm somewhat surprised that, to my knowledge and in all the years, no-one's asked if Veskarthan has Storm powers. He has a Breath in his volcanic gullet; the ability to suck the Air in and down to his depths, mixing it with his Heat, coughing out a great raging Storm of burning gas and ash. It's limited, and syncretised with his Heat, but it is there. It's not Fire within Earth; it's Fire within Storm/Air.

Where did he get this from? Polite exchange, perhaps? Other myths might vary, but the Caladralanders quite simply believe that Veskarthan defeated a Storm god, taking its Breath and power.

I'm obviously partial to Veskarthan; biased, even. But given the focus in the past decade and more, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. It'd be nice to give Fire a voice for a while.



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