Esrolia - Land of 10,000 Goddesses

From: jorganos <joe_at_MQFzvrHay1mgjltg3LODfTivw2KNMDkmbCTlqtcWBUApWSqx8PlP_72GzPrMUss9aGGOo6Eq>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 08:47:05 -0000

This year's official release at Tentavles - Esrolia - the Land of 10,000 Goddesses - volume 10 of the Stafford Library - debuted not in an extremely limited luxury edition, but in a generally available preliminary convetion edition, breaking a trend which delayed the previous two publications in that series by a year each.

The material expands the couple of pages devoted to Esrolia to a booklet of 58 pages, covering three major sections:

Esrolia - 16 pages, half of which deal with how the Esrolians live and are organized, the other half is devoted to Ezel, the greatest temple of Ernalda on the Surface World.

The Great City - 30 pages about Nochet, following its history from a "Green Agey" beginning through history up to Belintar taking over, with city descriptions for various ages.

We learn about the survival of Nochet under the protection of the Only Old One, of the Silver Age reconstruction of Nochet under Great Queen Mernarga, and of Nochet in history. There are maps accompanied by short gazetteers for various times.

Finally, there are the Other Esrolian Matters: seven pages on other notable places in Esrolia, like the great Necropolis on Malthin River, the cities of Pedastal and Rhigos, various shorter tidbits, and under the heading "The Shadowlands" some more information on the Kitori and the Only Old One in the Dawn Age.

The Tentacles edition has no Index to speak of, yet. (There will be page references in the Index at soonish.)

Production quality is quite high. Metal ring-binding, a plastic sheet to stablilize the cover, and - unlike the earlier publications that make up the Stafford Library -.good illustrations and maps throughout the booklet.Add a decent index and perhaps a short glossary, and page count will be up to par with the earlier works.

Some of the texts are reprints - What My Mother Told Me appeared already in HeroQuest Voices, and some passages of the Esrolia annex to the History of the Heortling Peoples have seen little editing or expansion. It does make sense to put them together into a single volume, though.

Getting in some gazetteer of modern Esrolia would be desirable.

This book tells you almost enough to run a game of high intrigue between Esrolian Enfranchised Houses of Nochet and outsiders. It has less to say about rural Esrolia, ordinary people of Esrolia, or Esrolian males, but having an agent of a house and her followers as troubleshooters would work out well. Unlike with the Wenelian Trader Princes, there is ample opportunity and precedent to get really, really nasty. Esrolian houses might be well prepared to enter Lunar Dart Competitions.

To me, the most interesting items were the role and identity of Imarja in Esrolian society, the suppression of their Vingkotling history, and the quite detailed Darkness and Silver Age survival tales of Nochet.

It would be nice to have a bit more of the context the Rastagar snippet hints at - family relations and the prequel that led to the Kodigvari kinstrife. The story starts with "Rastagar was still angry at his sister," without ever naming the sister and the other traitors involved.

One of the quotes which really had me is "The story of Belintar is too well known to repeat here." It isn't.... We get a few snippets distributed all over the book. Still, the story remains untold.

There is a strange trend whenever numbers (other than 10,000) are involved. The sums don't calculate right. That seems to have mythical importance.

One item I really missed - and usually what I miss about durulz in Glorantha is their absence - is the connection between Imarja and the durulz. There just has to be one...

What we get is the sudden appearance of Isbarn the Goose Girl presenting an egg to the inhabitants of future Nochet, which incites them to set up the Charter of Law, defining urban civilization. Later on, Goose Girl attempts to have her daughters study the mystical truths, which they fail at, arrive at a different, more immediate magic, and kill her, to become the Immortals. This story could very well have Vithelan origins.

It might also help explain why the durulz were cursed...

That aside, that Imarja has a dark side to her that might even overshadow Sedenya. Apparently Imarja is receiving the sacrifices of males by the Grandmothers. Officially starting with Kalops, but I cannot help wonder whether Rastagar and his army were the first to be sacrificed to the demonic aspect of this goddess. It would explain where she got the vitality to supply the city of Nochet with goose meat when everything else went dead and deader.

Now, who's game for a discussion whether the Imarjan Creation Story is a phony later addition, an import from elsewhere, or genuine Green Age material from Esrolia?            

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