Submitted by Jeff on Sat, 16/07/2011 – 13:21
On the World of Glorantha YahooGroup, there was recently a discussion about Orlanthi wyters – the divine guardians of individuals, temples, clans, cities, and tribes. On many occasions, an Orlanthi hero has founded a community and given that community a divine guardian, which upon his death was revealed to be the hero himself. How to explain this?
Greg’s as-yet unpublished Harmastsaga provides an example of this from an Orlanthi perspective. In one scene, the great Orlanthi hero (later villain) Lokamayadon returns with a powerful divine ally (which is an extension of his own soul) and then later that divine ally merges with a powerful storm god, granting Lokamaydon in turn god-like powers.
Bearded Storm and Hagodereth
At age 28 Lokamayadon performed the Hagodereth Heroquest. It was the year 339. He was already an accomplished Orlanthi at that time, as he had proved on his initiation when he returned with a powerful divine ally.
When Lokamayadon was initiated his clan’s patron spirit, Hederl the Listener, had sent him flying to the top of Mount Umatum, which is the southernmost of the Great Mountains of Yolp. There Lokamayadon met the part of his soul which became his beloved wind, whom he called Bearded Storm. The Bearded Wind formed from the wind, hovering in the open window. It seemed to be a powerful ram before and a fluffy cloud behind. Bearded Storm was so powerful that he once made a snow fall on the midsummer High Holy Day of the Sun God, and another time raised a blast of wind that knocked down a herd of cattle and, another time, a regiment of men. It could cause clouds to cover any sky for a week or more. So Lokamayadon was well helped and ambitious and undertook the heroquest.
Lokamayadon followed the instructions of his intimate wind. A cousin donned an ancestral ewe hide and invoked her 500-grandmother. That was the golden goddess Hethana. She came but resisted speaking secrets until Lokamayadon and Bearded Wind made great promises. Then she told how she got to the land of humans from Sadar’s mountain. This had been lost to humans until that time, and is still a secret of the clan.
Lokamayadon, with his closest friends, followed those instructions and reached Seder’s Mountain, which is a pit surrounded by a river. It was well guarded but thanks to the support of his companions he defeated the five guardians and the secret sixth. He then flew upon Bearded Wind to the frigid mountain top and there his dear wind submitted itself to Hagodereth, the way an old ram submits to a younger, more powerful one that has come into the fold.
This quest would have been impossible for ordinary men, but Lokamayadon had guessed or calculated that he had many factors in his favor. First, he knew that Bearded Wind had been on this journey before and though that minor ram god could not tell Lokamayadon what to do beforehand, it was an invaluable aid during the journey. Secondly, Lokamayadon’s own clan was descended from Hagodereth, and so the warrior had been on a journey just like this one before. Every boy who became a man had done this when he was initiated into adulthood. So when he went to meet his Great Ancestor Hagodereth, Lokamayadon performed a variant of his clan’s initiatory rites. Rather than being an exploration into the unknown dangers of the God World his journey was really another run of the clan’s “How We survived the Darkness” story in which the Ram God is brought home. And finally, Lokamayadon’s calculations paid off because Bearded Wind was, from the start, a part of the god Hagodereth. It required Lokamayadon’s cleverness, insight and courage to reveal this though.
Lokamayadon returned with his ancestor in the form of a supernatural golden ram which he put with his herd, and the ram blessed the herd by mounting the ewes. As a result the newborn lambs all grew gold colored fleeces. That wool required no dying, and was warm as if it had its own heat inside it. Every several years a lamb was born whose fleece was actual, real gold. The clan grew famous and mighty, and people deferred naturally to the folks in the glowing tunics.
Previously mighty, Lokamayadon was hereafter heroic. He commanded singularly great powers, and many men and women came to compete to be among his companions. Thereafter wherever Lokamayadon went he was urged to tell of his deeds, and he was entertained by princes who wished him to follow them. So many spear thanes wished to swear loyalty to him that he chose only the best, and soon led a mighty war band.