The Story of The Summons of Evil (1992, 2015)

This originally appeared in King of Sartar by Greg Stafford.

This is the oldest story of this which we could find.

Orlanth and his council ruled peacefully over the world after subduing the vile sun tribe, water peoples, and even the rebellious storm gods. All was well.

Then a new tribe appeared from the north, so rapacious and ravenous that they ate even the dirt from the surface where they passed. Emissaries were sent to meet the newcomers, but they were so savage that they did not know the conventions of peace. After many important relatives had been killed by the invaders, the council met and determined to meet the foe with war. When the decision was made, Orlanth withdrew to the warrior’s ground. There he arranged his war band and held council with his leaders.

Then Heler armed Orlanth with all the apparel of war. A worthy host followed him. But after many days and then weeks, no fighting had occurred. The enemy was such that he loved frustration and madness, and so whenever Orlanth went to fight the new tribe, they were gone. After many attempts like this, Orlanth went to the Knowing God for advice.

The Knowing God sat alone through the night, with his head covered by a leather sheet, until he remembered the way that the ancient Spell of Summons might be used to bring an enemy forth too. And so, once again, the Storm Tribe created a new Transformation, and used it.

He remembered that Orlanth and his brother had, one time, made a ceremony which called them all together. Orlanth recalled that, but didn’t know what it meant. Knowing God spoke: “We will use that, which called together your beloved kinfolk, to call now that which is hated. It is surely a part of you as much as your brothers.”

Orlanth agreed.

Orlanth and his companions made a circle to contain their foe, and then the sign of the storm to attack it. They built inside the circle a great figure, as farmers use to frighten dumb birds, out of trees and whatever else they needed to summon a foe. It also grew by itself, and took on its own shape of the enemy as the gods continued to sing, dance, and drum it together. Behind the circle waited their loved ones and their supporters. It wasn’t still, but grew in stages. Each day it was stranger, and more frightening, than the previous. On the first day all the children hid. On the second all the cottars threw away their spears and ran. On the third the carls dropped their spears and shields, on the fourth the spear thanes fled, then on the fifth the champions ran away, on the sixth day the priests went, so that finally only the Summoner remained.

When all was done Orlanth’s foe was drawn into the center of the ring. There it came, despite its will, and though it bravely defied Orlanth and his tribe, the monster god was forced to reveal its origins and its nature. When these were revealed, it was killed, then burnt on the Undying Fire, as must all Predark.

Since then, this has been performed at every ceremony, so that we can see our foes, and strike against them with the strength of our god, Orlanth.

Other references to the Summons of Evil

  • Sartar Rising Part 1, Barbarian Adventures (2001), page 57.
  • Sartar Rising Part 2, Orlanth is Dead (2002), page 53.
  • The Book of Heortling Mythology (2010), pages 99, 116.
  • Sartar, Kingdom of Heroes, 2nd edition (2012), pages 93, 194, 203.
  • 2003 Sartar Companion, 2nd edition (2012), pages 212, 221.
  • King of Sartar, 2nd edition (2015), page 184.
  • HeroQuest Glorantha (2015),
  • The Coming Storm (2016), page 74.
  • The Eleven Lights (2017), pages 24, 33, 65, 103.
  • RuneQuest Glorantha (2018), pages 76, 270, 301, 345.
  • The Red Book of Magic (2021), page 95.

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