Re: True Golden Horde; Chivalry and Sorcery

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Wed 18 Feb 1998 - 11:26:34 EET

Simon asks:

> On re-reading Uz Lore- I noticed that in describing the invasion
> of Dragons Pass by the Invicible Golden Horde it mentions them
> committing unspeakable crimes of rape and genocide. Whilst I
> suspect an incomplete understanding of Gloranthan history- this
> struck me as odd. I've found a couple of references- but they
> just suggest that the Horde was Sun worshippers (except for the
> Sons of Javinu out of Talaster). Is this anti-Solar bias from
> the hand of Minaryth Purple or not?

It's fair comment. The aim of the Invincible Golden Horde was the
systematic destruction of the race of Dragonewts. That's what we
call "an unspeakable crime of genocide" (where I come from). The
backbone of the army of the True Golden Horde was made up of some
of the downright nastiest troops Glorantha has ever known, inclu-
ding amok Shargashi from Alkoth (cf. "Enclosure" for insights into
their magnificent Sumerpunk culture by Martin Laurie, Pam Carlson
and others) and their allies, the Carmanian Hazars of the Golden
Lion Empire under their last great Shah, Haran the Great. Where
you get huge armies of professional, hardened warriors invading
and deliberately despoiling a land where they consider the human
inhabitants to be 'sub-human' (tainted by their draconic connect-
ions), you probably get occasional rapes. Unspeakable, of course,
and we usually don't dwell on it. (The word could also be used
metaphorically: "they raped the once-fair lands of Dragon Pass";
I only offer this as a sop to those who don't believe Gloranthans
can be as horrible as Real World racist genocidal murderers.)

Joerg balks at:

> A Seshnegi fleet, while the Waertagi ruled the waves... I never
> really got over this. The orthodox assumption would be that the
> Seshnegi hired a Waertagi fleet to ferry them over.

I'd champion orthodoxy. I'm unwilling to believe that the Waertagi
"monopoly" had already been broken in the middle First Age. Also,
the invasion's more fun if it lands and breaks stuff before being
repulsed by the Brithini: wounds taking longer to heal, lasting
damage to the eternal structures and settlements of Brithos, etc.

> How close to the current Loskalm model were the [First Age Sesh-
> nelan] idealists?

IMO, they needn't have looked anything like my write-up of Siglat's
"New Hrestoli Idealist Church". Any more than worshippers of YHVH
from Biblical times would look like the Jehovah's Witnesses today.

I believe the New Hrestoli Idealist Church of Loskalm is a pious
attempt to recreate something which perhaps never was, and surely
wasn't anything like *that*! YGMV, but I could not for the life of
me see how such a clunky, artificial, insulated and unworkable sys-
tem could flourish under anything other than the womb-like isolation
of the Syndics Ban. That is to say, if the First Age Seshnelan Idea-
lists *were* anything like the current Loskalm model, I would pile
on the "corruption" towards which that model naturally tends (semi-
hereditary "opportunities" for the sons of upwardly-mobile families,
and the like), and banish the "ideal" aspects as soon as convenient.

>> CoT may be long outdated, but it suggests a conflict between the
>> knights of Hrestol and the wizard adherents to an older way. These
>> wizards seem to have been allies of Brithos. =

In my Malkioni writings (cf. my homepage), "these wizards" conflate
two or three Western trends which Knights don't like.

One is their rulebook scriptural literalism, hemming proud and lusty
knights in with "Thou shalts" and "Thou shalt nots" and "Never on
God's-days" and the like, with which Knights can't be bothered; and
threatening them with Penances and Excommunications and Inquisitions
and the like for stepping out of line. This is what Wizards you know
do -- it's why a Vandervasse might dislike Old Wizard Marlet. These
Wizards needn't have anything to do with Brithos, except that Malkion
(who wrote the rulebooks) came from Brithos -- but Malkion was the
Prophet, and *he's* all right: it's the petty skirt-wearing pointy-
hatted types who know every word he wrote but understand none of his
message that we have no time for! They want religion to make every-
one afraid to wipe their nose without priestly sanction: Hrestol
showed that true Malkionism is a liberation and a joy! So you can
stuff your Grey Age mumbling back in the darkness where it belongs:
we have Hrestolism, now, and you can keep your scriptures to your-
selves. (To which the Wizard answers: "Ten Hail Malkions, and don't
forget to put a shilling in the roof-fund box as you leave").

One is the martyrdom of Hrestol by rulebook Zzaburi judges, condemning
the Second Prophet himself to death for petty, trivial transgressions
when *everyone* knows that Hrestol, First Knight, was the saviour of
his people (and of Malkionism Everywhere-that-matters). These are the
archetypal "Stubborn Brithini" of Western legend: presented with the
messenger of God's Word, they hardened their hearts and sentenced him
to excruciating death in Sogolotha Mambrola. (Much as their ancestor,
Zzabur, pronounced the banishment of Malkion from Brithos). This, to
a pious knight, "proves" that the Wizards' reliance on books is wrong:
everyone knows that the Brithini live by the Law of Malkion, and if
they can cock it up so badly that they exile one Prophet and murder
another, there's something *seriously* wrong with their approach.
(And, unsurprisingly, Wizards [pro-Brithini or otherwise] can get
rather shifty and defensive when challenged on these matters by a
tall lad with a well-used sword and an aggressive attitude...)

One is the way Sorcerers can zap even brave, bold and lusty Knights
with cowardly and underhanded spells. This makes the Knights scared
to go up against Sorcery, and Knights don't like being scared of
anything, so they naturally see any wielder of arcane arts as hostile
to them. I emphasised this aspect of Malkionism in my writeup of Old
Seshnelan Chivalry -- the one which explored Western history as the
battle between Chivalry and Sorcery. (While Sorcerers are rightly
annoyed at six-foot strapping bullies wearing magic-resistant Iron
armour and wielding spell-cleaving Iron snickersnees, following the
orders of pig-ignorant Kings and cutting them down *just* as their
work is about to reach its fruition...)

And so the West goes.



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