Strange bit of Art Description going in the Guide

Here’s the art description for a piece that Jeff Laubenstein is doing for the Guide – fourteen panels on the Lightbringers Quest. It is based on a cryptic diagram that Greg Stafford gave me some years ago and was allegedly based directly on the testimony of Harmast Barefoot.

Picture: Here’s my hand-drawn sketch:

Lightbringers Quest

Text: This set of fourteen small panels is carved out of stone and adorns the temple to the Seven Lightbringers in the temple town of Tarvel in Surkorian. Each panel symbolically depicts a scene, part of the mythological Lightbringers’ Quest through the Underworld. The panels are not naturalistic or realistic, but stylized and symbolic.

1. The Rune of Rausa, the Goddess of Dusk. To enter the Underworld, the Lightbringers traveled to the Lands of Dusk at the Western edge of the world.

2. The Fortress of Dusk. Each night, the Sun enters the gates of this magical fortress to descend into Hell.

3. A “square” mirror made of obsidian. The mirror is the portal into the Beyond and the conduit to the supernatural powers of the Underworld.

4. The Guardians of the Underworld.First Guardian. The first guardian has a dog’s head with bulging eyes, a scaly body, a snake-headed tail, the talons of an eagle, and four sets of wings. The demon is obviously male and carries an axe and a mace.Second Guardian: The second guardian is a female monster. Her face is dread and awful, and glares terribly. She has the fangs of a snake and the tusks of a boar, naked breasts, a hairy body, hands stained with blood, long fingers and claws, and the talons of an eagle. In her hands are writhing snakes.

5. The stone spiral staircase down the Underworld.

6. The Judge of the Dead.

7. The Bridge over the River of Swords. On top of a bridge made out of stones is a giant skeleton holding aloft an immense bone staff. The giant knocks perjurers and oathbreakers off the bridge into the River of Swords.

8. A round mirror. The mirror has the outline of the spider’s web that tie together the living and the dead.

9. Twin newborn gods in swaddling clothes. These are the promise of rebirth.

10. The feast of the Dark King. At a table sits the Dark King wearing a crown of rulership. At his left, the murderous Trickster reveals that he has killed the son of the Dark King. At his right, the Trickster’s liegeman, the storm god Orlanth, reacts with horror and outrage. The Dark King himself is outraged at this breach of the sacred laws of hospitality.

11. The Seven Lightbringers are in a little boat riding the turbulent waters of Darkness. Sea monsters assail them.

12. The Hellmouth devours all, leaving only fragments and shreds that float further down into the Underworld.

13. At the top of the panel are flames that burn away everything.Beneath them is a band of purest gold.Beneath the panel are five dead gods, all upside down. They are from left to right:Magasta the Sea God, Kyger Litor the Darkness Goddess, Ernalda the Earth Goddess, Orlanth the Storm God, and Yelm the Sun God.

14. The final panel depicts the World Spider, Arachne Solara as she weaves her web that binds the world and the otherworld together. Beneath Arachne Solara is the web that binds Creation together. Beyond that is the Void.