Waertagi, Brithini

From: Nick Brooke (100656.1216@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Mon 13 May 1996 - 18:47:25 EEST

Jean posted:

> Thanks to Sandy's description, I think that the Waertagi are the
> only seafaring nation who doesn't need the Open Seas ritual. Their
> dragon ships are like floating tree trunks.

This isn't so, per "Spirits of the Sea" (cf. Wyrms Footprints, or the equivalent
section in "Les Dieux de Glorantha"): the Closing is presented there as a
terrible blow to the Waertagi, and explains why they haven't been seen at sea
throughout the Third Age. OTOH, there may well be a "secret" behind it. Two
oddities connected to the Closing include:

1) The Waertagi Armada is said (in the Second Age timeline in the Glorantha
Book, G:CotHW book 1) to have sailed to sink Jrustela AFTER the Closing reached
that continent.This might indicate they were invulnerable to the Closing; it
might, OTOH, reflect either a superhuman effort on the part of the Waertagi
sailors, or an error in our sources' dating (I'm happy to believe both of these

2) The Waertagi were said in the Seshnela chapter of the Genertela Book to
ally with the Brithini on their return and assist in a Brithini invasion of the
mainland. As we've already discussed here, there are explanations of this that
don't involve the rediscovery of Brithos: the Return of the Vadeli is my
favourite, while Peter Metcalfe has some odd story of his own (as usual). But if

the Waertagi did side with the Brithini, they presumably don't see the Closing
as a genocidal (fratricidal?) Curse directed against them by Zzabur, whether by
design or unforeseen accidental side-effect.

If taken at face value, these two sources could indicate (contrary to "Spirits
of the Sea" and common sense) that the Waertagi are, indeed, immune to the
Closing. So why haven't we seen them throughout the Third Age? Because they
didn't want to be seen, and we couldn't go to sea to find them!

(The Sog City Blues -- not a musical form! -- are my own invention, so I won't
cite them as evidence of Waertagi vulnerability, tho' I'd be sorry to lose them
and their Dragonbone Quarter of Sog, not to mention the Boat Race).

> I like the idea that old Brithos is still inhabited by Brithini so that
> the Vadeli can teach them how to live without their skin.

I don't *quite* see what you're getting at, but as long as it's cruel, nasty and
horrible I'll happily accept it. Reference to the Blue Book, maybe?

> Once the Blue Vadeli are around, things will become very interesting
> in the world.

This is, of course, one of the best reasons for them to return!

The Brown Vadeli I play like sleazy Carthaginian or Phoenician traders, or a
mediaeval anti-Semite's view of rich Jewish merchants, or Frank Herbert's dirty,

stinking Tleilaxu; the Red Vadeli are inhuman monsters; what do you suppose the
Blues would be like?

PS to Sandy: do you have any RQ stats for the Red Vadeli beyond those in PB:G?
Without those, I'd have assumed they weren't human-normal...

On the Warfare of Immortals

> The death [Brithini soldiers] fear is their final death. Usually if
> they have an accidental death, a zzaburi can heal or restore the link
> between the body and the soul. Because of this possibility, their
> training is as harsh as possible.

In Greg's draft Ms. for Arkat's Saga, the Brithini narrator fears and hates
death, even although he's experienced it (ending in resurrection); he also knows
and fears that something could always go wrong with sorcerous Resurrection and
lead to the Forever Death. The soldiers don't play silly games with death during

That said, they also don't need to bring back complete bodies for resurrection.
With appropriate use of sorcerous Regeneration spells, they can recreate the
body of a dead soldier. Apparently the severed head is the most efficient load
(best Resurrection or Regeneration success chance vs. least weight to carry from
the battlefield).

> If the dwarves find a new weapon, they have to build new iron dwarves
> to use it.

Definitely the right way of looking at it!

> On the battlefield both armies are terrifying.

In the unlikely event you ever got the iron dwarfs to come out of their holes in
the ground to fight, this would be true. "In its prepared positions, a dwarf
army is horrifying" might be nearer the mark. On the battlefield, it would be
somewhat odd... their preferred form of warfare is for opposition to march into
an abattoir; their preferred enemy commander would be General Haig.

> A dwarf thinks of himself as a machine, a horali has a life insurance <g>.

A dwarf *IS* a machine, for what it's worth, and an Iron Dwarf is a killing
and/or mincing machine. As for Brithini, I disagree. They fear Death, and know
that (if defeated) they may be gone FOREVER. And Brithini armies have been
defeated, within living memory of their current commanders, with catastrophic
consequences and comrades-in-arms lost FOREVER. They certainly won't want to
risk it!

> Brithini and dwarves try very hard not to fight battles they aren't
> certain to win, and avoid guerilla warfare like the plague.

Agreed, completely. The KoW, on the other hand, tend to *win* battles that
nobody expected them to *fight*, and are masters of guerilla warfare (and,
indeed, every other form of warfare, including plague!).

Garry wrote:

> When you are standing on a battlefield looking at a bunch of guys to
> whom death is a opportunity to drink with your God forever, I think
> these guys [Brithini or dwarfs] would have a serious morale problem.

While interesting, much of this argument is theoretical and irrelevant unless
and until the KoW takes on the dwarfs or the Brithini, which doesn't seem to be
imminent. And since only the Loskalmi think that the "War To End War" will be a
walkover for their side ("It'll all be over by Malkionsmas"), while everyone

else recognises that their untested, Chivalrous army is outclassed (pretty much
by definition), that pretty much covers the factions currently embroiled in the
Fronelan conflicts.

I don't think what's "special" about the KoW is *just* this Spirit of the Jihad
- -- there is surely more to them than that. They don't expect to win by
attrition: they expect to win, Full Stop. But certainly the Brithini or dwarfs
would find any form of self-sacrificing heroism inexplicable: "DOES NOT




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