A few last notes on the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death. There’s a lot in this one, so I recommend reading it carefully and digesting each piece!
The Tournament recharges the magical energies and possibilities created by Belintar’s exploratory heroquests in his struggle against his Shadow and keeps the Holy Country in a constant state of magical potentiality. This magical creativity enabled such transformations as the human resettlement of Dragon Pass, the Opening of the Oceans, Sartar’s unification, the Yelmalio cult, New Pavis – and that’s just the cast-offs. In the Holy Country proper, the Tournament kept the Gods World close to ours. The Holy Country can be thought of as a gigantic temple to the Gods of Glorantha, where we mortals can exist in close proximity to the divine (and likely a reformation of the Proximate Holy Realm of the Second Age). The energies gathered and released by the Tournament holds this proximate realm in suspension – Belintar draws upon its potential to work wonders. Think of it a little like a magical nuclear reactor.
This magic energy is too great for any mortal to wield indefinite, and again the Tournament is an answer. When the mortal form of Belintar expires, the Tournament creates a new Belintar, who again wields the magical potential of the Holy Country. The Tournament draws participants from all over the lozenge (no doubt resulting in plenty a lost weekend and weird memories), but the locals have channels that make it easiest for them to participate. Belintar expired in 1616 because of the magical strain holding things together with the double whammy of invasions by the Western Barbarians and the Wolf Pirate – think of this like the Sea People and Ramses III. Jar-eel had prepared for this and entered the Secret Paths and killed any hapless contestants that came across her at the Gate. Anytime the Tournament is begun, She is now there, a roaming hunter-killer who prevents the game from being complete. The Tournament cannot be completed. Each time it has been attempted, the magical energies were summoned and released, and could not be held in suspension.
Some philosophers hold that the Hero Wars is the result of this. That potentiality is being released, but is now outside of the framework of the Tournament. The huge feedback loop has released all that magical energy, powering things like New Gods, strange spirits, the White Bull and the White Bear. Much of it was harnessed by Argrath for his Sartar Magical Union, but it also brought Androgeus to the scene. None of this is a repetition of the past, although there are many who try to impose order on these energies by calling on the past.
One trick to understanding the government of the Holy Country is that there isn’t really a government of the Holy Country. There is Belintar, who is re-invented roughly every generation for that generation.
That’s not to say there aren’t governments in the Sixths, but those are most built on local traditions.
As you can see, the Tournament of the Masters of Luck and Death is far more important than “just” a means of producing the new Belintar when the old Belintar’s mortal body has died. It is one of the Thelemic batteries powering the Third Age (another floats over the Crater, but that is for a different chat).
One might say that the Tournament and Belintar enabled the God Time to be in proximity to the mortal world and the Gods War held in suspension, existing as a potentiality. You can see that reflected in comparatively lesser role of Orlanth in Kethaela. Sure everyone acknowledges him as Storm King but Ernalda is a larger focus of cult activity and the other lightbringers are near peers. However after 1616 Orlanth comes roaring as he begins his cosmic dance of destruction to end the age.
The Holy Country under Belintar functioned much like the sanctified space during a worship ceremony – the gods are present and easy to contact. Hence its name of course. And not just the ones who are subject to cult, but lots of minor gods who have no cults.
Who says Belintar is supposed to be from the future? Greg said that once in jest at a con, but quickly regretted saying that. He MIGHT be from a different Time or he MIGHT be someone who had wandered the Secret Paths for an Age. Or he he MIGHT be something that was always present but nobody had found before. Remember, the Only Old One and all Hell try to figure out who and what Belintar was – and they failed. Or maybe, they were asking the wrong questions. That lack of a past is a key part of Belintar and to understanding him.
Something very important to emphasise – Jar-eel is not and cannot become Belintar. She represents a very different path. If she could, she would have failed at being Jar-eel. She is on a VERY different path. As an aside, if anyone wants proof of Jar-eel’s incredible prowess at heroquesting, here it is.
A lot of stuff stems from Jar-eel’s action here, but you can’t create a Moon Goddess without breaking a few eggshells.
Androgeus, she’s present of course. The Maker and Taker in conflict with himself. Possibly incarnated as a result of the broken Tournament.
Whatever Harshax is in whatever future Harshax is present, Harshax is not Belintar. The Harshax the Zin Letters refers to is but an echo. If in fact the Zin Letters are from the future of Glorantha instead of a side trip. Or in fact whether they exist at all.
Yelmalio keeps getting mentioned as something new but Sun County in Prax dates to the Second Age. I’m confused. Or was it just the Elmali who were confused and needed correcting? Yelmalio has been around since the Lesser Darkness. But it took until the Third Age for the rest of the Orlanthi to recognise him.
So, Monrogh must’ve participated in the Tournament? or experienced something happening in it. The Holy Country got very close to the divine realm during the Tournament.
So Belintar achieved what the Nysalor experiment was trying to achieve? No, not really.