[XXIX. 21-001] To quote an old God Learners proverb, it’s better to steal the Candle of Eternal Light than to curse the darkness.
[XXIX. 21-002] The Sedalpists are based in Enkloso and Vralos, and do not believe in killing other humans in warfare (they hire mercenaries). They are experts in killing non-humans, however, with spells such as Poison Troll, Wither Elf Bow, and of course, the various Smite Nonhuman spells.
[XXIX. 21-003] From the journal of the famous Kralori explorer and trader, Du Yan Long: “Among the awful, towering heights of the Jankley Bore we came upon a spire on which was carved “YBB loves LJJ”.
[XXIX. 21-004] An old curse of the Heortlings: “May the Darkness refuse you solace/ May the Waters refuse your thirst/ May the Earth refuse your bones/ May the Air the Earth refuse your breath/ May the Sky refuse your soul.”
[XXIX. 21-005] This is a mystical explanation of the universe, popular among the Earth-rune cultists of the Holy Country and cosmologists like myself. It is disliked by the Lunar authorities (who have officially “disproved” it), probably because they have not managed to insert a verse in praise of the Red Moon. Columbus Mercator, Grey Sage.
“In the beginning there was only Chaos, eternally consuming. That which could not be consumed by Chaos was gathered together, and became the Darkness. That part of Darkness which was lighter flowed upward, and was called the Primal Ocean or First Waters. That part of the waters which was solid floated to the top, and became the Broad Earth. That part of the Earth which was not bound was lifted up and placed above the Earth, and became known as the Sky or the Primal Flame. That part of the Primal Flame which was impure was cast out of Heaven, and was later called Umath the Destroyer, who started the Godswar and ended the process of creation.”
Alternate last verse: “The Earth seduced the Sky, tarnishing the dome of the Heavens. It cast off impurities, which were later called Umath the Destroyer, whose final act was to separate Earth and Sky forever.”
[XXIX. 21-007] The use of eunuchs as court functionaries has long been a practise in the theocratic queendom of Esrolia. The custom was taken from the East, and, over many centuries, expanded upon; there are now 33 distinct grades.
[This entry is regrettably no longer legible. It listed, in graphic detail and with diagrams, the distinctions between the 33 various types of eunuch, ranging from the enigmatic “false” eunuch, through to the most extreme measure – the eunuch who has had all his privy parts removed; a split bamboo tube is inserted into the bladder so that unfortunate may pass water. Theo. P.]
[XXIX. 21-008.a] The operation itself is cheap, quick and simple, though not without a fair measure of pain (particularly if the patient is mature). The cost of the procedure is fixed by matriarchal statute at 5 taels* of silver and can only be carried out by a eunuch-priest of the Asrelia cult. Though the statute forbids a higher fee, this charge does not include the return of the actual severed parts, for which the canny surgeon may demand upwards of 150 taels. As no eunuch may serve at court without a sealed jar containing his missing organs, it is imperative that he get them, and so must pay the price. There is a flourishing black market in these organs: frantic eunuchs will pay any price to get their parts back – indeed, anyone’s parts – if theirs go missing or are stolen.
*An Esrolian tael – an ancient unit of measurement no longer used except a payment for these operations – is worth approximately 23 guilders, Theo. P.
[XXIX. 21-009] One of the most curious customs of the Esrolian city of Willford is the day, once a year, when the men dress up in women’s clothes and perform women’s duties, in the hope the earth-mother will not punish them for being men. This custom was once observed here in Nochet in ancient times, but has fallen into disuse. An attempt was made to revive the festival by the last matriarch but one, my mother, the blessed Eudoxia II (whose tongue, it was said, was sharper than her axe maidens’ halberds), but this was not successful. EUDOXUS, deputy chief librarian.
[XXIX. 21-010] Paramount among the shamans of Pent is Little Dog, who studied under Sheng Solaris. This primacy is contested by Joloi Maskoss, also called Always Awake Twice, yet she lacks the prestige that Little Dog’s connection with Sheng Solaris brings him. Other shamans of note include the Grandmother of Horses (who is nearly a goddess), Too!Kay, the red-haired chieftain of the Shengites, and Pintoff, the repulsive leader of the Teetons.
[XXIX. 21-011] The Origin of Humanity – excerpts from conversations with Monastavrolakhos, once of the Brick House in Karn Ramal: “According to our oldest records, the Brithini once claimed to be descendants of the only “true” humans on Glorantha. According to K’rzalis this is partially true, but certain other races, including the dreaded Ogres, are also descended from the First Men and thus are distant cousins of the Brithini. In any case, it is well known among Western scholars that the Brithini refer to almost all non-Western races as “animal-men”, or, more precisely, “animals with human form”. Most people think of this as an insult or metaphor based on our shorter lives and or our lack of “proper” [ie. Brithini] human behaviour. In fact, during the Golden age, when they were much more open, the Brithini claimed that as they had travelled around the world they “awakened” various animals and taught them to assume human form. This was apparently their explanation for the origin of the Hsunchen, and no-one knows if it is true. Some of these animal-men then proceeded to lose touch with their beast-selves and attempted to imitate human ways and even civilization, especially the ape-men and monkey-people. So if this ancient Brithini claim is true, then they are correct in their reference to us as “animal-men”; if they hold this belief, it explains much of their behaviour toward us, including their horror of mating with normal humans.
[XXIX. 21-012] The Westerners of Seshnela and other former Brithini colonies present another puzzle. Perhaps the orthodox Brithini view them as “devolving” into animal-like behaviour and lifespan; who knows? The Brithini became increasingly close-mouthed during the Darkness, and since Time have been practically mute on these questions.
[XXIX. 21-013] The Book of K’rzal, of which we had only a partial summary in the House, claimed that the early humans separated into the Tribe of Law and the Tribe of Chaos. The Brithini are supposedly the descendants of one branch of the Tribe of Law; the Tribe of Chaos took on many forms. According to the same Book, they quarrelled, leading to the open break between the Tribes. In other sources they are described as “twins”, “brothers”, “siblings”, “half-brothers”, or even as “mirror-selves” in the Dark Book of Gharkor. No living man knows the truth of these claims save perhaps those who in the councils of the Brithini or among the Hidden Wakbothi – most deities are younger than this split. Perhaps Dread Subere could shed some – er, light, on the subject.
[XXIX. 21-014.a] There are, it is said, supposedly ten thousand myriad deities of the Vormain and the East Isles, of which I, Goliard the Peripatetic, after a decade of travel in that region (including, to my displeasure, three years on a prison-isle of Golden Mokato and nine months as a galley slave in the service of Haragalan Commonwealth) can name but a scant few:
[XXIX. 21-014.b] The aboriginal inhabitants of the Ulithi atoll worship their own lagoon god, Mogmog, yet hold that the magic of any foreign deity is always more powerful than their own. This has of course emasculated Mogmog and enabled privateers from Haragala to enslave the populace. The Haragalans promote the myth of Mogmog’s weakness, and may have even started it.
[XXIX. 21-014.c] The natives of the isles of Tl loc present a most fearsome visage, what with their filed teeth and scarified bodies. What is more, these savages regularly practise human sacrifice to feed and appease their ever-hungry god Ta’atapec. Yet it is perfectly safe to visit these isles, for only initiates of the religion are ever seized and slain, for Ta’atapec only eats his own. However, never eat meat on Tl loc, for the natives cook and eat what their god does not want and they consider partaking in such a meal tantamount to joining their religion. This three of my comrades learned at the cost of their own lives.
[XXIX. 21-014.d] The inhabitants of the neighbouring Ranga atoll also practise cannibalism, although they would recoil at the suggestion. For they only consume outsiders, who they consider less than human and thus fit for eating. Their goddess, a gentle nature spirit known only as Lagoon Green Woman, apparently deplores the practise, but the people of Ranga have no other source of meat.
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