Horse, Wyvern & Raven; Storytelling

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Mon 20 Jan 1997 - 11:32:05 EET

Thomas asks, re: Argrath and the Cradle:

> Was it Wyverns or Griffins? Griffins seem unlikely to me because
> of their link with the Yelmalio cult. BTW, are Griffins related
> with Dragons? They do not seem like a draconic race to me. But
> Wyverns seem unlikely too, because of their links with Lunars.
> Unless, of course, if it was the Lunars' Wyverns that Argrath
> summoned to his help.

Very perceptive. Griffins are in fact related more closely to Horses than
Dragons: Hippogriff (later mutilated to Hippoi, the Ancestral Horse) was
the favourite daughter of King Griffin. (I may have a story about her by
Chicago; you can find the original Descent of the Horse myth in "Wyrms
Footprints"). Though, of course, a God Learner taxonomist would tell you
all beasts are descended from Hykim, King of Beasts, who takes the form of
a Dragon (NB: in the RW Persian epic of Rustum, heroes' horses are often
compared to dragons - mind you, the heroes are said to be so huge this is
probably necessary!). I agree that Griffins are unlikely; your point about
Giants' animosity to Dragons is also well made.

In the published Cradle scenario (a *big* part of the long out-of-print
Pavis pack: sorry!!), the final assault by the Lunars at Corflu employs
wyvern-riding soldiers and priests. The Cradle is brought to a dead stop by
the vast Watchdog of Corflu (mentioned in recent Dailies), and the aerial
troops circle down and attack. There is no suggestion that the wyverns are
on anyone's side other than the Lunars: they do not turn and fight their
former masters when Garrath Sharpsword (aka Argrath) returns sylph-borne
from his HeroQuest and reactivates the Cradle's magical defences.

What *seems* to have happened is that Argrath's later hagiographers, who
(unlike so many of us) weren't on the Cradle themselves, have heard about a
battle early in their hero's career which involved wyverns, and knowing his
later EWF revivalist connections have wrongly assumed that they were
fighting on his side. What our PCs saw is what really happened, as usual.
How the griffins crept in, none of us know. (Maybe Garrath's HeroQuest
involved going to Griffin Mountain for some reason?).

FWIW, there are grounds for believing the core of the Arthurian legend
comes from similarly dubious source-readings: "The Battle of Camlann, in
which Arthur and Mordred fell" (our earliest account in Welsh annals) does
not, in itself, imply that the battle was *between* Arthur and Mordred...

Raven Myth-Associations

In an old Tales "Notes" box (recently reposted by MOB, qv.), there was
something about heretical Ralian Humakti (or would one say "Humathi"
nowadays?) being associated with ravens, which struck a neat chord given
the 'Celtic' feel of the area and the bird's traditional associations.

This also tied in nicely with my old, old theory of the "Path of Yelm"
(i.e. that the Solar religions are strongest in the East - Vithela,
Kralorela, Pent, Dara Happa - and almost non-existent in the West of

Genertela): west of Dara Happa, horses and birds are not considered 'Solar'
creatures. Horses have a taxonomical/Hsunchen descent from Galinin rather
than Hippoi (or Arandyla or whatever she's called nowadays), while birds
could be associated with gods of the Air rather than the Sky.

I suggested to Greg about three years ago that *all* the Ralian Storm Gods
might have birds as familiars; IIRC he enjoyed the idea. (This is also a
neat origin for the Orlanthi 'cloak of feathers', cf. PB:G, though plenty
of others spring to mind). Thus we could associate (using the names from my
in-house Ralian notes - I was going for a Celtiberian feel, rather than the
now-familiar "Pagan Shores" Irish model used by David Dunham):

        Orlanth/Orlando Eagles Kingship
        Humakt/Umado Ravens Battlefields
        Storm Bull/Torombo Condors Clumsy Brutes

Vadrus or Gagarth might have Vultures, and the local form of Elmal (who he?
Ed.) the ubiquitous Vrok Hawk.

FWIW, Stephen P Martin's suggestion that the Humakti might also use Wolves
seems unnecessary, confusing, and even dangerous, given the strong local
presence of the Telmori in Ralios. Unless we're looking at "post-Telmori"

bandit tribes, maybe similar to the Wolf Princes of Syanor (mentioned in my
Carmanian Anabasis notes, on the webpage).

Any takers?

==== The Gloranthan Ephemeris is available from my homepage:
Nick <>
==== along with lots of other goodies: songs, stories, etc.

PS: better get practicing for the STORYTELLING CONTEST at RQ-Con Chicago:
it happens next weekend! Any Gloranthan myth, legend, saga, epic, tale,
joke, song, poem, dance, or other work of performance art will be welcome,
as long as you can produce it for an audience in ten minutes or less. Your
entries can come from any time or place across the breadth of Glorantha's
mythology, history and geography: the more variety we get, the better! Cf.
the Folk Tales on my homepage for an idea of how long an entry should look
if printed out, and previous Con Compendia for some *winning* stories from
RQ-Cons past. Get inspired! And get writing!!


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 16:56:24 EEST