I love this idea, btw. (And it's true in my Glorantha from now on.)
I just want to make sure I'm remembering it right.
Jeff Richard wrote:
> Because you asked for it, here's another short essay Greg and I wrote
> from "Esrolia: Land of 10,000 Goddesses" (this is the last essay I
> will post from that book - try and pick up a copy at Continuum, or
> wait until it comes out from Warehouse 23):
> The Secrets of the Darkness
> There is great power in the Darkness – and the Darkness holds the
> secrets of the Underworld. During the Great Darkness, Ezkankekko – a
> powerful Darkness entity - offered his protection and friendship in
> exchange for tribute and acknowledgement. He offered more as well -
> Ezkankekko offered to teach people the secrets of the Darkness so that
> they could survive in the Darkness.
> Few people took up this second offer until Varzor Kitor accepted and
> learned at the feet of Ezkankekko the deepest secrets of the darkness.
> Varzor then taught others – humans, dragonewts, wind children, and
> anyone else who would learn - how to pray, make sacrifices and learn
> these secrets. Kitor's followers learned prayers that halt uz, dehori
> and anything born of the Underworld (as long as it is of the dark).
> They learned the secrets of the darkness of night and the darkness
> after death. These initiates of the Darkness formed a separate people
> who – regardless of their origin – were called the Kitori.
> Ezkankekko greatly favored the Kitori and allowed them to reside with
> him in the Palace of Black Glass. Ezkankekko made the Kitori his
> envoys to the peoples of Kethala and Kerofinela and gave them the
> privilege of collecting the Shadow Tribute – tribute owed to
> Ezkankekko from every tribe, settlement and group in Kethaela and
> Kerofinela for their survival in the Great Darkness. The tribute was
> not onerous and was fixed by ancient tradition. Failure to pay the
> Shadow Tribute meant swift and deadly retribution from the Kitori –
> and because failure to pay was oathbreaking, the guardians and tribal
> gods would not protect the community.
> The peoples subject to the Shadow Tribute were called the Shadowlands
> or sometimes the Kitori Empire. It was an empire of
> tribute-collection, without governors, government, central laws or
> rule. The tribes and cities paid the tribute owed Ezkankekko and
> Ezkankekko offered them protection from the Darkness – especially the
> Darkness creatures loyal to him: the many thousands of uz of the
> Shadow Plateau and in the handful of uz trading posts. The Shadowlands
> coexisted and overlapped with other kingdoms and empires – the
> Heortling kings and high kings, the Esrolian Grandmothers, the
> Arstolan Forest and the Gemborg dwarves. But all acknowledged
> Ezkankekko's sacred authority: a carefully circumscribed and ceremony
> authority, but authority nonetheless.
> The Kitori were the most visible representative of Ezkankekko's
> authority, and they were commonly called the "Shadowlords". They wore
> distinctive garb so that all knew their status: black fur-lined cloak
> and hood, leaden mask, and ebon spear; and they were often accompanied
> by trolls or even more frightening darkness entities. Feared and
> respected as sorcerers and magicians, many viewed the Kitori as the
> rulers of Kethaela.
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