Friday, September 12, 2003

The Orlanthi sun-god

(There is a later draft of this).

Greg Stafford asked an interesting and correct question over a decade ago, when asking about "who is the Orlanthi sun god?" - but the answer he got is one that caused a lot of confusion, until it was hammered into a compromise, such as this summary by Nick Brooke.

Unfortunately, I think Greg's answer was wrong in part. Elmal is the night watchman who stayed behind when Orlanth went on the LBQ - his aspects are twilight and the watch-fire. The reconciliation with Yelmalio as per Nick is an identification of the twilight aspects, which presumably rejected the contamination by the Lowfires that the watch-fire implies. Corollary - Elmali are able to use some minor fire magic appropriate to a night watchman's role, while Yelmalions are not. That aside, any deity that was around during the Great Darkness really, by definition, cannot be a sun god.

At about the same time that Greg dropped his bombshell, Neil's RQ game almost stumbled across the right answer, when the PCs stumbled across a remote Orlanthi tribe who partook of very austere ways like the Solar monks of the far northern Empire of long ago. Their Orlanth is, I think, much more likely to be the real Orlanthi sun-god.

The Orlanthi Sun-God is Orlanth in his aspect as the successful completer of the LBQ, Orlanth Lightbearer, or Orlanth Lucifer if you rather. Not the static Sun of the old sterile Emperor, but a sun that follows the storm spiral, around and around the world, sometimes to the north, sometimes to the south. And in the same way that the adventurer aspect of Orlanth has a separate name, so would this, the Orlanthi New Sun - and Ehilm sounds the most plausible name, but the cult of that name in HeroQuest is actually that of Elmal, the night watchman.

I shall have to think about what the appropriate keyword description would be for this.

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