Re: Treack Markhor

From: Sandy Petersen (sandyp@idgecko.idsoftware.com)
Date: Mon 20 May 1996 - 18:38:19 EEST


Jim Chapin
> What nationality is Treack Markhor? Atyar's skull is described as
>being left in a niche of a temple in the East Isles; Markhor as a
>traitorous priest of LHankor Mhy who then takes it to Kralorela.
>Isn't this a bit far afield for a LM priest?

Sandy P
>Treack Markhor is, of course, a God Learner -- LM is one of the
most important >GL cults. He found it in the East Isles as a spy
(GL's weren't permitted openly >there) -- the temple in which he
found it was not, in fact, a LM temple.
>He took it to Kralorela because the False Dragon Ring were allies
of the GL and >could protect him more readily than the Middle Sea
Empire, which, after all, >was far to the West.
>The cult of Thanatar, like the cult of Caladra & Aurelion is, in
essence, a >successful God Learner experiment.

Jim Chapin
>Sandy, this seems to contradict one of our printed sources --"For
centuries,
>Atyar was worshipped in Kralorela as a patron of occult thieves.
The cult
>spread westward in the First Age, when it was united (or reunited)
with the
>deity Than to form the cult of Thanatar." Lords of Terror, page 64.
>Now it is possible that this is another example of God-learner
alteration of
>history, but I must say I am a bit happier with Metcalfe's
explanation that he
>was a Riddler fleeing Arkat. Else we end up a bit too much with
what I can't
>help suggesting is the "machina ex deus" explanation that every
God was a
>creation of the God-learners!

I am no adherent of the God Learner explanation for all weird god
constructs.I had forgotten that LoT had claimed it was united in the
First Age.
        I categorically deny Metcalfe's claim that he must have
been a Riddler and instead hold to my own theory, slightly altered:

Jim Chapin has pointed out that Treack Markhor could not have been
a God Learner, as the cult of Ah-Tyar was known in Kralorela in the
First Age. The First Age was noted for the initial expansion of the
Theyalan folk, bringing light and wisdom to all nearby peoples.
Treack Markhor was one of these fellows; a LM priest who traveled to
the East Isles. There he found Atyar's skull in a temple which was,
of course, not dedicated to LM, but to a local god of wisdom.
Remember that the early Theyalans were just as prone as the God
Learners to recognize cognates of their own deities in foreign lands
- -- and less likely to twist the facts in doing so.
        Treack took the skull to Kralorela and founded the sect of
Ah-Tyar, which remained small and obscure (even more than it is now)
until the height of Chang Hsa's reign. Naturally enough, in the
imperium of Chang Hsa's Who-Burnt-The-Books, knowledge was at a
premium, and the cult prospered, gaining many adherents from
desperate librarians, scribes, scholars, and philosophers whose
livelihood and way of life had been destroyed under the new regime.
        During the last part of the First Age, the knowledge
thieves had expanded to the point that their agents entered Teshnos
and the Wastes, where they encountered the headhunters of the
primitive Than cult, whose volcano-city at Than-Ulbar was founded
before the Dawn. Certainly the initial encounters were hostile, but
after the rulers of Than heard the history of Ah-Tyar's cult from
the severed heads of the skull's priests, and the Ah-Tyar leaders
learned the secrets of Than by sucking the headhunters dry of lore,
they realized that they were _both_ remnants of the same entity, and
became close allies.
        I still maintain that the cult of Thanatar is probably a
God Learner experiment. Note: lest I be seen as giving aid and
comfort to the parties who consider most Gloranthan faiths (up to
and including Chalana Arroy) to be God Learner experiments, I do
_not_ consider the God Learner influence to be as strong in the
religious field as do most Digestors. I _do_ consider their
influence to have been vast both culturally, technologically,
architecturally, and socially. Anyway, until the renegade God
Learners began meddling with the cult, I believe that "Thanatar" was
just a pair of allied cults who often shared the same temple. No
doubt the fact that Treack Markhor was a LM priest made it much
easier for the GLs to foster the cult's unification.
        I believe that the unified cult was made successful in the
westernmost areas of the cult's existence. As the new religion of
Thanatar moved east, it encountered the older, not-yet-unified,
religion, and the three faiths combined into a whole, described
adequately in the Thanatar writeup in LoT and sadly never fully
reprinted.

Sandy P.

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