An Esrolian scribe in Prince Argrath’s service:
“Of all the many crimes committed by the the Poisonblood Witch-Queen of the Lunar Empire (a commonly used venomous title for Jar-eel the Razoress), perhaps the greatest crime was when she assassinated Belintar the God-King and ended the divine proximity of the Holy Country. A crime boasted of by the Lunars, serving no purpose except to facilitate their imperial conquests. Belintar was a gossamer thread between the Sixths of the Holy Country and the proximate divine realm. He brought mortals and gods together, and brought us as close to the blessed God Time as mortals can experience.
Lunar apologists point to Harrek’s destruction of the City of Wonders, and the assistance given to him by King Broyan, to deflect from Moondaughter’s crimes. But Harrek is like a wolf or bear – he kills those things that are already weakened and sickened. His destruction is like Humakt’s or Umath’s – he destroys a broken and corrupt world, so that a new one might be built. He ended the fading dream of the City of Wonders, but it was a mercy killing and it woke us up from the delusions that somehow Belintar might return (a delusion spread and encouraged by the Empire!).”
As an aside, although I love Jar-eel, I imagine that countless people view her as a horrid witch who wades through seas of blood – that she spilled – while smiling sweetly and playing her harp. The Orlanthi might well hate her more than even the Red Emperor himself.
I should have said, “countless people RIGHTFULLY view her as a horrid witch”, as she really has spilled rivers of blood.
What do countless Pelorians in the Fourth Age rightfully view Argrath as, in your opinion? The Destroyer, the Monster, the betrayer of men, the barbarian, the War Lord, bringer of dragons, and all sorts of terrible titles. We know that – and even emphasise that many Orlanthi have trepidation of his rise.
Within the Lunar Heartlands and Provinces there is a lot of sympathy for the Lunar Empire. Within Sartar, Prax, and the Holy Country there is a lot of sympathy for Argrath.
In short it is reasonable for countless people to hate and fear Jar-eel the Razoress. It is also reasonable for countless people to hate and fear Harrek White Bear. Both are harbingers of the end of an Age.
But we know that – from time to time it is worth remembering that Jar-eel is the public face of dark side of the Lunar Empire. So we all know and love her as the patroness of civilization and art. But outsiders fear and hate her as the Poisonwitch or the Blood Queen or whatever.
Harrek is surprisingly sympathetic. I heard once he went through Apple Lane and overheard a tenant farmer worrying about how he’d get enough apples collected now that his son is gone and his leg crippled. Harrek went off the trade road and demanded of the farmer if that was truth or just an exaggeration? The terrified farmer said it was truth, he had no idea how he would gather enough apples to pay his share of the harvest and have enough to support his family. And so Harrek spent the day gathering apples.
And afterwards, they went to the Tin Inn, and Harrek drank the place dry, stiffed Blueberry, and killed Pramble for irritating him with bad poetry.
As an aside, among the things Harrek is known for is the following:
- He never forgot his common origins and
- never let a poor man starve.
That is a key part of the Harrek myth and has been since WBRM.
Harrek lives in the present and might not be so good about cause and effect.
But it is worth remembering that even the most prosaic of descriptions of Harrek felt that ‘He never forgot his common origins and never let a poor man starve’ was worth including. So I expect there should be lots of examples of that are told and retold. Just like their are lots of tales of his piracy, his adventures, and his bloodshed.
I expect Harrek is an awful lot like the Heracles out of the epic poems. A mighty warrior, touched with the divine, who is also largely amoral and unpredictably dangerous to know.
The Only Old One was a pretty benevolent ruler as well. Many claim he never really recovered from the Gbaji Wars and couldn’t really adjust to the Empire of the Wyrms Friends or the Middle Sea Empire. Others claim that it was inevitable that the humans would replace him with one of their own, even though the OOO was a fair and wise ruler, whose tribute was never so much that it beggared them. That’s just how humans are. Sooner or later they always betray the uz.
Doesn’t matter if the humans worship Orlanth or Ernalda or whoever. Humans always betray the uz at some point, and do things like bring Light where they should only be Shadow, or bring Fire where there should be Cold. Even Belintar was not the villain here – the dark truth is that you can be fair and friendly with humans, but never ever trust them. And you must always assume that sooner or later they will betray the uz when you least expect it.
Looks at the Unity Council, founded by the Only Old One. The uz aided the humans and the dragonewts against the hateful humans of the Sons of the Sun, giving up their peaceful ways and bringing up Zorak Zoran and his Legions of the Demons of Death. And what did the humans do? They brought Fire and the Sun into the Unity Council and broke the unity. Typical.
…if she hadn’t killed Belintar, it is likely that Harrek and Argrath would never have met. And as there would have been no Lunar invasion of the Holy Country in 1619, there also would have been no Wolf Pirate fleet involved in said non-existent invasion. Whitewall never would have fallen, the Lunar Temple of the Reaching Moon never would have been consecrated, no Dragonrise, and no Hero Wars. Argrath would end up a dangerous Praxian warlord, and maybe Pavis would fall, and maybe even the Revolt in the Redlands would permit Sartar to be freed from Occupation, but that’s only a remote maybe. You can definitely view Jar-eel’s assassination of Belintar to be the event that triggered the Hero Wars.
My goal here isn’t to make Jar-eel a “black hat”, but just to remind that all of the protagonists of the Hero Wars have done great and terrible deeds, both good and bad.