More Death

From: Michael Raaterova (
Date: Sat 11 May 1996 - 05:29:41 EEST

I guess people's fascination with Death never ceases...

Pam on humakti initiation:

> I see people (by which I mean farmers, of course!) joining Humakt when they
> are desperate for vengeance or combat magic. Given pantheon initiation, I
> think many Humakti are folk who join after great trauma - (like most Clint
> Eastwood characters). They dedicate to Humakt for a specific purpose.
> They take restrictive geasa as part of their vows, giving them extra power.
> Because the situation is only expected to last for a short time, geasa like
> "never sleep" become somewhat manageable. Once the vengeance is achieved,
> the purpose is over. The initiate either dies, or (possibly) undergoes an
> intense ceremony to return to his old life. Some may remain closely tied to
> Humakt, but their lives are usually violent and short. I think a Sword of
> Humakt is a very, very rare indiviual.

This is a good description on how i think the Sword of Orlanth (or Axe of
Ernalda) works within orlanthi society. Most people who want powers for a
specific purpose Geas themselves to accepted gods, such as Orlanth or
Ernalda, but for those hell-bent on their sacred mission it might not be

The would-be initiate pledges himself to Humakt for a sacred cause and gets
temporary or permanent powers from Humakt to succeed by sacrificing parts
of himself as temporary or permanent geasa.

The sacred cause is usually vengeance, but could also be a pledge to defend
a person or place, or an imminent war.

Geasa could follow the usual formula of "i will not [do certain things]
until i [achieve my goal]" which grants temporary powers. Failure to honour
the vow breaks the geas, which is an oath-breaking. And we all know what
Humakt does to oathbreakers.

Such desperate vows of vengeance could also be made to Storm Bull, Wild
Hunter, Valind, Maran Gor, Gorgorma, Zorak Zoran and even Chaos Gods such
as Cacodemon or Krarsht. Of course, the price you pay for your vengeance
can be truly horrible.

The powers granted are sought for the sake of power - they are a means to
achieve a goal. No sane person would impose such forbidden geases upon
themselves just to receive a one-shot or temporary power. It is for persons
under the influence of overwhelming desperation and passion. It is not a
communal thing - it is very personal.


Death in the service of Society is righteous war and punishment.
Propitiatory sacrifices, like the Scapegoat, are to protect the community
from evil.

Death in the service of Life is sacrifice of life for the rebirth of life.
The Year Kings, the Sun Horse, the White Bull and the [cereal] Twins are
all sacrificed to make the earth fertile.

Death in the service of Harmony is to ensure the harmonious order of the
world. Sacrifices for peace make agreements of friendship or the hunter's
pact with the prey more powerful.

These three Deaths are of course interconnected. It is God Learner folly
trying to separate them as i just did. You can argue that Society is Life
and Harmony (or any possible combination of the three) and you will be
right, but as usual, there is no one Truth (with the possible exception for
that statement).

All three have the survival and harmony of the community as its goal. Other
Deaths are bad for society unless unleashed upon the enemy. They are
accepted as a tool of society but not as a part of it.

Death for Disorder is destructive rebellion and anger. Zorak Zoran is the
Bad Son, unaccepted within uz society but can be useful when unleashed upon
the enemy. Storm Bull is marginally more accepted.

Death for Death is murder and a capital crime in most societies.

Death is an extremely powerful rune, which is why it is invoked even in
rituals whose purpose is Life and Harmony. Bloodletting, amputation and
sacrifice of all sorts invokes the rune, for sacrifice is separation.

Chaos would be an even more powerful rune to invoke, but it is also
extremely dangerous to use, which is why the use of it is forbidden or
highly restricted. But it has been used by truly desperate persons to
achieve their goals.


- -------
Michael Raaterova <Sig omitted on legal advise>


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 16:31:19 EEST