From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Sat 07 Oct 1995 - 15:30:07 EET

Charlie asks:

> What can anyone tell me about the River of the Stxy in Glorantha?

And provides a very handy compendium of lore. I'll hit the high spots, and see
if there's anything else I can add.

> It's the river that you can cross to get to the underworld.

You *can* cross the River Styx to get to the Underworld, but you don't *have* to
do this. As well as being a river, Styx can also be a pool, well, lake, sea,
etc. as need be. Styx is one of those kinda amorphous, indeterminate Darkness
entities you find a lot of Down Under.

> The water is black.

It's also slow-flowing and heavy.

> There is a ferryman with some connections to Danfive Xaron of the
> Seven Mothers cult (CoP). Charon is his name in ancient greek mythos
> is it the same?

A bit confused, here. Jeset the Ferryman is an ancient trollish Styx-crossing
deity, one of the Seven Sacred Uz Ancestors. Danfive Xaron (whose surname we at
Tales pronounce "Khar-own", just like the Greek, rather than the 'official'
American "Zare-on") works as a Ferryman of the Dead for the Lunar Pantheon, and
is a gloomy underworldly type to boot. (Ask me about the galley slaves of the
Lunar Black Sea Fleet some time at a Con). Anyone keen on Charon should read
Aeneid book 6, and Aristophanes' comedy "The Frogs" (ideally the Penguin
translation, or see a stage production).

> To get to it requires a heroquest.

Whatever that means! Turning this statement on its head, perhaps you might
realise you're on a heroquest when you get to the River Styx? These hard'n'fast
divisions between real/mundane and magical/heroquest geography don't cut much
ice with me.

> I've seen a map that has a location called the Styx Grotto located in
> some troll infested hills located in the Holy Country.

Water-eroded caves where the Dragon River used to run down to the Mirrorsea Bay
before its flow was blocked by the dead Beast, whose body makes the Lead Hills
and whose brains seethe in Blackwell. Way too many trolls live down there, in
the cold damp darkness, chewing on blind cave fish and worse things. Probably
you can slip between and find you're on the REAL Styx in the REAL Underworld, if
you make a wrong move.

Another important thing about the Styx is that its waters make you forget
things, just like the classical Lethe. (We had fun here batting around ideas of
why heroes are dipped in the Styx in infancy: because they don't lose so much
that way!). Being near to the Styx can have creepy effects on your mind: you
forget why you're there, or what you're doing. Makes it hard to collect the
water: splash yourself once, and your whole trip could be wasted. (Or you forget
the use of language, or your sword skill, or the way out, etc...).

I once heard that the spirits of dead elves swim across the Styx and emerge with
blank minds on the other side, ready for rebirth as One In Aldrya. But this may
be wrong, or misinformed.

There's a guy in Pavis with a jarful of Styx water, he says. Caveat emptor.



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