Godunya, King of Sartar, August Dragon, Knight Fort

From: Stephen Martin (ilium@juno.com)
Date: Fri 30 Jan 1998 - 06:28:36 EET


Peter Metcalfe
>There are several extant writings which you have publically referred
>to at the Victoria Lore Auction that indicated that Kralorela in the
>first age (or before the God Learners came) was full of primitives
>and hsunchen. Given that these lands are now heavily urbanized it
>follows that their culture is closer to the society under the God
>Learners/New Dragons than it was to the Good Old Days.

OK, again I was being imprecise, and again I apologize. This is a VERY
LATE First Age, and early Second Age, situation, and this is the period
to which I was referring at the Lore Auction. In other words, the 200-300
or so years before the God Learners came. Why do you think the God
Learners were able to take over the land so easily? There was no Dragon
Emperor, and fuck-all of Exarchs around to coordinate the defense of the
land.

Most of the First Age is completely unknown -- the ONLY event we really
hear of anywhere is that bit in Cults of Terror (and the Gloranthan Web
Page) about the Kralorelan Empire meditating upon the object called the
Dragon's Eye, and being released to a new level of consciousness at the
same time as the Sunstop.

Certain maps imply that First Age Kralorela was filled with hsunchen
tribes, but that is only maps, and maps probably drawn by central
Genertelans, and so not to be counted upon too heavily for cultural
information.

>Secondly the idea that the Exarchs after the War in Heaven turned
>the clock back to arrive at first age style government seems to me
>implausible. The Third Republic never returned to France nor the
>Weimar Republic to Germany after the Second World War (not even at
>1989). And yet the interregnum those countries had was far shorter
>than the Kralori under the God Learners.

Unless, of course, the difference was that they again had a divinely- and
draconically-inspired Emperor to lead them in proper ways. I think this

is the primary importance of Greg's ideas about Godunya -- if he was
Emperor for most of the First Age, and then came back at the beginning of
the Third Age, this gives a continuity to the government which could
easily** wipe away any problems and changes caused during the
interregnum.

>Dara Happa is no poorer for having had
>foreigners being acclaimed as Emperors on the Footstool and indeed
>we can trace many changes to these foreigners.

Yes, and GRoY is full of times when foreigners were allowed to worship
the Dara Happan gods, and betrayed them instead.

>Barbarians have sat
>in the thrones of Seshnela and Fonritans lorded it over the Umathelan
>cities.

Kralorela is not Dara Happa, Seshnela, or Umathela. Kralorela is perhaps
unique among large Gloranthan nations in that its inhabitants consider it
to be the Perfect Land. Dara Happans know their land is not perfect --
the Sky World is much better. For Kralorelans, the mundane world IS
Heaven, it IS the Perfect Land. Sometimes there are problems, but

perfection within the material world is possible. I deny that any other
major culture in Glorantha believes this -- that is why they all have
distinct afterlives. I don't think the Kralorelans believe in an
afterlife per se -- when they die, they wait for the Emperor. When he
"dies," they all pass on to a new level of existence.

>Why should Kralorela somehow be ultimately pure and
>untainted by the foreigners?

Because it is Kralorela.

>Wouldn't it be more _interesting_ if
>people knew but rarely discussed the possibility that the Dragon's
>Awakening Shudder was caused by the Old NDR Emperor passing on >having
ruled wisely for many years. After all the Malkioni have similar
>hangups with their Church Fathers being God Learners and the Dara
>Happans have left several people of their list of Emperors.

If you think it would be more interesting, by all means have it that way.
I am merely offering my opinions, based on what I know of Kralorelan
history and philosophy, and on a few brief discussions with Greg.

** Easily, since Godunya is divinely- and draconically-inspired, and is
additionally the Perfect Ruler of the Perfect Realm. How difficult could
it be?

Michael Schwartz comes up with a very good answer to my Kralorelan
question about the Third Temptation of Shang-hsa-may-his-name-be-cursed:

>The Third Temptation is thus the same temptation
>which faces all Illuminates since Nysalor's birth -- Chaos!

Sounds Perfect to me, at least if you believe that
Shang-hsa-may-his-name-be-cursed was in fact the Emperor of Kralorela at
the Sunstop.

Hmm, an idea, to merge Sandy's excellent beliefs into my own. If
Shang-hsa-may-his-name-be-cursed was somehow enlightened at the Sunstop,
but changed instead into Godunya-may-his-skin-become-ever-golder (rather
than Saintly Yanoor), this would allow for a period of strife without an
Emperor until the GLs came, yet still allow for Godunya to have been
around before, thus uniting the Empire of the First Age with that of the
Third Age. I like it -- that's my version from now on, and it lets me use
Sandy's awesome Temptations ideas. Cool.

Michael Cule, Actor and Genius, is a Genius:
>Then he started to see the meaning of the book. The title was: KING OF
>SARTAR by Greg Stafford. It purported to be a history of the future. He
>managed to read as far as the beginning of Annotated Argrath's Saga
before >passing out from the strain.

And nobody on the Digest ought to be able to object to this, since there
is Gloranthan precedent: Good old Snodal of Fronela found a map of the
future made by Zzabur, and set about trying to change the fact that most
of Fronela was under water.

However, you now have an obligation -- the results of this discovery IYG
need to be as dramatic and earth-shattering as were Snodal's!

Nils responds to me:
>> An only marginally related question -- does anyone think that the
August
>> Dragon of Kralorela is either a previous emperor in retirement, or a
>> future emperor waiting for his turn?

>I think he is neither, but rather a being who turned
>down being emperor, but progressed to dragonhood
>anyway. Maybe, it is even older than the dragon
>emperors. A wild idea just occurred to me. What if
>the August Dragon is Aptanace the Sage turned into
>a dragon?

Nah, I don't think so, if only because Aptanace is revered as the
Ancestor of all Humans, before they had draconic connections.

But, what if the August Dragon is actually Daruda, the first Dragon
Emperor? I am reminded of Ursula K. LeGuin's fourth novel of Earthsea,

Tehanu, where a well-known dragon of the original trilogy turns out to be
an even more well-known Creator Deity of Earthsea.

This possibility does fit the nature of the August Dragon, from my pov.
And of course, the Secret is either that he was never a human who became
a dragon, but was always a dragon; or that he is not a human who became a
dragon, but somehow a being who is (or can be) both a human and a dragon.

This would imply that he is walking around as a human in the times when
everyone thinks the August Dragon is peacefully asleep in his cave, er,
palace (haha), dreaming of the fortunes he will give out when he awakens.

Yeah, I like this, too. I am really enjoying this Kralorela discussion,
it is giving me lots of cool ideas.

>Once you have seen past the Paradox of the Void, you
>will know beyond knowing that honorifics are just
>added layers of the illusion. But you are right that
>they may be educational to the un-enlightened.

Having seen past the Paradox of the Void to what lies beyond, I remain
firmly in the honorific-using category. The Empty Void is not the only
one!

>The Kralorelan way is to disarm
>foreign influences by assimilating them and having
>them dissipate in the huge mass of the native stuff.
>I'm loathe to bring up real world parallells, but look
>at Chine: there were the mongol and manchu dynasties,
>but the culture and religion remained

Of course this is true -- Genertela seems fairly secure in saying that
the God Learners who invaded Kralorela ceased being God Learners when
they created the later-named False Dragons Ring. What did the GLs in
Kralorela do but accept Kralorelan magic, religion, and mysticism as
their way? So, the FDR ruled Kralorela in the same way the Dragon
Emperors always had.

Hell, I'm sure that even Sheng Seleris was more Kralorelan when he left
than he was Pentan. Maybe.

Jim Gould asks where and when is Knight Fort:
I don't think anyone knows exactly when it was built, though it has to
have been sometime in the Third Age. The map in RuneQuest Companion
labels it as "Marcher Barons."

The only actual map showing Knight Fort is very canonical, the map in Les
Dieux Nomades, the French version of Nomad Gods (which I am told will be
available again from Wizard's Attic soon).

Cheers to everyone!

Stephen Martin
ilium@juno.com
- -----------------------------------------------
The Book of Drastic Resolutions
drastic@juno.com

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