Esrolia

From: Jeff Richard (jrichard@cnw.com)
Date: Mon 23 Feb 1998 - 17:51:36 EET


In a fit a schizophrenia, I debate my British alter-ego regarding Esrolia.

>Agreed, up to a point. A male deity the Orlanthi would recognise as an
>emasculated and enfeebled version of their own proud warrior-stormgod
>is worshipped in Esrolia.

I believe that the Esrolian storm god is called Orlanth. I don't believe
that he is "emasculated and enfeebled" - but he is not the proud king of
the gods that the Heortlings recognize. Politically and culturally, the

cult of Orlanth is "emasculated and enfeebled" - not the god. I'm sure
when a terrible storm boils overhead, hurling lightning and booming
thunder, the Esrolians say - "ooh, there's Orlanth". However, unlike the
Heortlings, the menfolk don't then make sacrifices to the Thunderer and the
storm voices don't hold ceremonies celebrating Orlanth's power - but
instead they ask their Earth Priestess what to do. She probably then tells
them to sacrifice a sheep to the Thunderer so the storm will calm. And
then it does.

>He is not a sovereign deity, and the Esrolites
>proffer equal amounts of worship to gods of the rivers, the darkness,
>and the sun. Outlanders think of these as "River God/Magasta", "Argan
>Argar" and "Yelm/Yelmalio/Elmal" cults, respectively. But the cult write-=
>ups are all wrong...

I don't disagree with this. As I have said, in Esrolia Orlanth is not the
King of the Gods, but simply one of several powerful gods competing for the
favor of the Great Esrola (the goddess of the earth's great bounty,
manifest as food, children, sexual desire, and blood).

jr> Acknowledge Orlanth & his six companions as the Lightbringers;
nb>In my subversive way, I would rephrase this: "acknowledge the Seven
>Lightbringers". I am not sure the Esrolites would agree that Orlanth
>was the "leader" of the LBQ. I am not sure they think he is present
>for any other reason than that, as the "typical bloke" who slew the
>Sun God in his jealous and possessive desire for Esrola, his presence
>in Hell is required to heal the world and bring back the Springtime.

This I disagree with. I strongly believe that the Esrolians recognize the
Lightbringers' Quest as established by Harmast Barefoot and share that
panoply of myths. The difference is that the LBQ isn't the most important

spring-myth for them.

>I agree, of course, that the Esrolites are familiar with the LBQ myth.
>I do not think it is overwhelmingly important to them, such as to propel
>the local "Orlanth" cult into a superior position vis a vis the other
>Husband-Cults of Esrolia. (Because that would be boring).

It may even be that there is a Seven Lightbringers cult (similar to the
Seven Mothers cult in the Provinces) which is worshipped separately from
the Storm God. I don't think that Orlanth Lightbringer is even a Husband
of Esrola. The cult might be magically important but is definitely
socially and politically irrelevant.

>Yes, the Lightbringers journeyed long and hard to be in Hell for the
>Mending of the World -- but that's not the important part of what's
>going on.

I agree with this. The Esrolian acknowledge the LBQ, they agree that it
ended the Darkness, but unlike the Heortlings and the Ralians, they don't
dwell on it. The important thing is that the Great Goddess has returned.
 This mythic ambivalence towards the LBQ seems to be reflected in Esrolian
history. King Heort saves their bacon at the Unity Battle and tells them
of the saving of the world. The Esrolians benefit from this but don't
accept him as their High King. Harmast Barefoot and Arkat bring about the
collapse of Palangio's occupation - once again the Esrolians benefit from
this, but don't dwell on it.

>For the Esrolites, of course, Esrola saved the world. She is
>why they are. IYSWIM.

Or more precisely, the sacrifices and worship given to Esrola by the
Esrolvuli persuaded Esrola to put an end to the Darkness.

>BTW, I am happy with the Orlanthi/Heortling/antiquarian use of the word
>"Esrolvuli", but truly hope it doesn't catch on!

Nonesense. The word "Esrolvuli" contains much more information that
"Esrolian". "Esrolian" simply connotes "people of Esrol(i)a", while the
name "Esrolvuli" tells us that they are a "tribe of Esrol(i)a," who trace
themselves to the Vingkotlings but were formed in the Darkness following
the Shield and Helm tragedy. (Yep, -vuli contains that much information)

NB>While I agree with the outline of what Jeff is saying, I feel obliged to
quibble with the details. If Esrolia turns into "an Orlanthi country except
with the women and goddesses on top", why bother?

Given that the term "Orlanthi" to me is such a broad term (containing
everything from Sylillans to Umathelans), Nick's protest doesn't mean that
much to me. If Nick's concern is that Esrolia should not be a "Heortling
country except with the women and goddesses on top" - I agree. The
all-important cultural cult in Esrolia is Esrola and her sisters, not
Orlanth, not Argan Argar, not Elmal, and not [fill-in-the-blank]. Each of
her many husband-consorts have great deeds that they can boast of, but they
are all dwarfed by the Great Esrola.

Jeff

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