The differences between Vinga's woad and Orlanth's

From: Alexandre Lanciani (
Date: Fri 10 Mar 2000 - 13:12:55 EET

        Vinga was a brave weaponthane of Orlanth, as good as any other thane of his
household. She was also his beloved daughter. Nonetheless, some say that she
gave him his most famous son, Vingkot the King, but that's another story

        As I said, Vinga was a weaponthane of the Storm Tribe, and like all the
warriors of the tribe she marched in battle naked but for the blue woad they
all painted their bodies with. But she was a woman, and her naked voluptuous
figure (with which she seduced her father, some say - but not I, of course)
distracted her allied warrior's attention away from the fight, while it
excited her foes' desire to capture her. The Solar tribesmen wanted to
capture her for her immodesty, the darkmen to give her to Zorak Zoran, the
mermen to avenge their sisters... Only Elmal, her loyal friend, was not
enthralled by her looks and stood by her side, shielding her with his Light.

        At last, fearing for her daughter's life, Orlanth ordered her to guard the
stead instead of coming in battle with him. But she didn't want to guard the
stead. She had to fight so hard before the other thanes accepted her and her
message that she wouldn't surrender now! So she went to Ernalda and asked
the goddess to make a set of clothes which would not disrupt the woad's
magic. Unfortunately, Ernalda could not do it, because she understood
nothing of war magics. But she knew who could help determined Vinga: her
bloodthirsty sister Babester Gor.

        So Vinga went to the Axe Maiden and asked her the same thing she asked
Ernalda. And the Axe Maiden gave her the same answer that Ernalda had given.
"Such is the magic in the woad", she said. "And it cannot be changed."

        "But", she then added as Vinga was about to leave her hut, "I can make for
you another type of woad, better than the Warrior's, which will protect you
not only from blows and magic but also from the only thought of which man is
capable, so that you shall be judged only for your skills and not for your
being a woman."

        The Axe Maiden dropped a tear of Vinga's blood in a pot of blue woad, and
the paint turned red. Then she added a spark of Elmal's light, and the paint
began to shimmer. Finally, she taught Vinga a rhyme and commanded her to
sing it over the woad.

        The Red Woad of Vinga was ready. When she smeared it over her body, the
paint would become as if alive, and would radiate heat as embers, and would
cloak her with a mantle of haze which confused sight, making her not

        And this is the Story of the Vingan Red Woad, which can be used only by an
initiate of Vinga, and must be prepared starting with a normal pot of
blessed woad, to which is added a drop of blood from a devotee of Vinga and
another from a devotee of Elmal, while the Vingan chants the secret rhyme
that the Axe Maiden taught to Vinga before History.

        What says my audience? Have I ransomed my head, or shall I lose it?



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