Greg Sez: The Southpath Gods (Jul 1999)

by Greg Stafford, July 1999

Q: Are the Southpath Gods related? I am pretty sure that the Twin Stars are lunar heroes; but is there a relation between Artia Nightsdotter (from King of Sartar) and Tolat? Both have periods based on the Theyalan calendar. Could Artia be a daughter of Tolat (and Xentha?)? Are there any Orlanthi myths about these planetary bodies?

A: Yes, the Southpath planets are usually held to be related, but not in the way you think. First, let me clarify one point: Artia and Tolat do not have periods based upon the Theyalan calendar. Artia is visible crossing the sky for 8 weeks at a time. However, although she is invisible during Theyalan Sacred Time, she continues to move across the sky, and so does not always rise on the first day of a season. Similarly, Tolat’s period is 4 weeks, which is possibly used in some Gloranthan cultures, but again does not directly correspond to the Theyalan calendar.

Second point: although the Twin Stars are recognized now as Lunar heroes, they predate the Lunar Empire by at least 1000 years. We know from “The Last Song of Horned-Ulf” (in Wyrms Footprints) that they were known before the Sunstop. The Lunars state that the spirits of this planet were liberated by the Red Goddess and recognized their Seventh Souls, and this is why the nature of the planet changed at the time of the Sable Conversion. But, this does not mean that all of Glorantha now recognizes them as Lunar heroes. Some Dara Happans still recognize them as the twin sisters Injerina and Bosjerina, who are visible on the Gods Wall as III-4 and III-6.

Every culture in Glorantha holds unique views about the stars and planets. Although many have been influenced by Dara Happan beliefs, all mythologies recognize their own deities in the various planets. In the East Isles, these planets are known to be servants of the High Gods. In Dara Happa, Shargash/Tolat is the greatest war god of the Empire, whereas Artia is a little-known and greatly-feared demon of the underworld who haunts the sky. The only relation between them in Dara Happan mythology is that Artia was defeated by Shargash, and bound into her place in the sky.

In Orlanthi mythology, all three of these planets are seen as enemy gods, who were bound into the sky as punishment. All three planets continuously try to break free of their bonds, which is why the Southpath planets move so erratically. In Orlanthi mythology, Artia is an evil goddess and an early rival of Orlanth’s, though not of his tribe. Some claim that she was the original Moon Goddess that Orlanth fought.

Among the Orlanthi, Tolat is called the Binder, the son of the Emperor (Yelm) who bound Umath between earth and sky. He is sometimes named Jagrekriand, and he was finally defeated and bound in turn by Orlanth when he was on his Lightbringers Quest.

The Twinstars have many different names among the Orlanthi, for different tribes blame local enemies for them. Thus, as unlikely as it seems, one tribe in Dragon Pass says that they are the troll heroes Gore and Gash. Another tribe says they are more sons of Yelm who were punished for kidnapping Ernalda. The only common feature among all these tales of the Twinstars is that the twins were punished by Orlanth (or possibly Elmal).

The nature of these planets in most other Gloranthan cultures has not yet been explored.


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