Orlanth and the Red Goddess

From: Jeff Richard (jrichard@cnw.com)
Date: Sun 18 May 1997 - 20:07:15 EEST


Ahoy -

Hopefully I have been victorious in the fight against the Unreal Jeff. A
healthy change from the "myths are what you make of them" conversation is
definitely in order. What better way of changing the subject than to talk
about the Lunar Empire.

>> Mainly, the Red Goddess never pledged to destroy the Heortling god
>> Orlanth. Period. The ire of the Red Goddess and her followers were
>> not directed to the kingdoms of southern Peloria (rampant Orlanth
>> worshippers), but against Carmania.
>I think that's perfectly true, but there are now pressing reasons
>the Lunars to go barbarian-squishing. The "rivalry for the Middle
>Air" thing is part of it, I think, albeit that's couched in
>uncomfortably (or delighfully, according to taste) GLish terms.

Actually Alex, I think the "rivalry for the Middle Air" thing is not a God
Learnerish monomyth, but rather an Orlanthi perspective established by
those wonderful masters of knowledge, the sages of Nochet and their
associated temples of learning. The other alternative is that it is a
provincial interpretation of the conflict between the cult of the Red
Goddess and the Orlanth cults IN THE PROVINCES. Remember, the western
provincials (Tarsh, Holay, Aggar) are Orlanthi, not Dara Happan or
Lodrilli, in culture. Their popular local interpretations of the Red
Goddess and the Seven Mothers is probably formed in the context of
Heortling culture and IMO is somewhat different from that in Heartlands.

>But more to the point is that the Red Goddess has in many ways taken on
>the mantle of a whole raft of Solar preconceptions, both mythologically
>(Rebullus Terminus isn't the god of freedom, he's a Very Naughty Boy),
>and pragmatically (we've _always_ made war on (assorted sets of) those
>nasty unwashed types in the South).

Yes, but the Solar obsession with order, purity and the untrammeled
authority of the One True Emperor, is quite different from the "rivalry for
the Middle Air" nonesense. This, in part, leads me to believe that the
Middle Air agenda is a provincial or Kethaelan interpretation of the Red
Goddess.

>The reasons, too, for this are both practical and mythic. Firstly,
>lots of the Lunar Types _are_ Solar Types as well. And the Goddess
>herself has taken on many solar attributes, and the very fact that
>she manifests with her Red Mask puts her at the most Celestial stage
>of her Cycle. All these things lead her to Choose to make Orlanth
>her Enemy. Which doesn't necessarily mean she can't Unchoose later,
>I wouldn't think.

At least in the South during the 16th and 17th centuries. Now, I'm less
convinced that during the 14th century (Hwarin Dalthippa), the same
mind-set was in play. Further, I think the great cultural enemy of the
Lunar types is not the southern Heortlings, who last occupied Dara Happa as
mercenaries of the EWF (and before that occupied Dara Happa when they
allied with Gbaji in order to destroy the Golden Empire), but rather Mr.
Mean himself - Sheng Seleris. Since my own campaign is set in the
mid-fourteenth century, I get to look ahead to the absolute terror that
Sheng brought to the Pelorian bowl. If I recollect, the Tarsh king and the
Syllilan Lunars even cooperate to keep the nomads away.

>As for how to overcome the above minor obstacles to romance, I'd say
>a marriage between Yer Actual Orlanth(TM) and the RG would only be
>possible in the context of an Overall Peace Settlement. However, in
>the meantime, she can certainly wed aspects, heroes, and surrogates
>of the Big O. (either to herself, or to her own Aspects). For example,
>an obvious ploy would be to marry Barntar.

Of course, having witnessed Barntar cultists in action (in ToDP, the
characters Illig, Baranthos, and Venharl all are active supplicates of the
Plough God), I think they might be more difficult to deal with than
ambitious Storm Voices and Kings. IMO, Orlanthi farmers are far more
terrifying than their thanes and kings - talk about independent!

Jeff

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