Now we all know this guy – the son of Malkion in most stories, and the First Wizard. Supposedly he’s been around for more than five thousand years and is the master of the Brithini sorcerer caste, and his sorcery is said to have destroyed entire nations, closed off the seas, and twice nearly changed the very nature of the world.
He’s kind of a Pandelume figure from Vance’s Dying Earth. Like Pandelume, Zzabur possesses knowledge of many things which are otherwise lost or unknown to mortals, “including the method of creating artificial life, of all the spells which have ever been invented, and of mundane sciences such as mathematics.” But like Pandelume, Zzabur is a mortal (if ageless). He is not perfect nor infallible, although he never admits an error. And like Pandelume, Zzabur no longer exists in this world, as he and his island of Brithos have vanished from the mundane world, to no one’s regret.
I imagine Zzabur is incredibly alone, removed from even his fellow Brithini. He remembers interacting with the gods, views them as beings like himself – but he is not a god. He was a first hand witness to many of his father’s pronouncements, at least to begin with. But Zzaburi rejected his father’s second revelation – that of Solace and he did not accompany his father when he departed Brithos. Some claim Zzabur was a parricide and was even responsible for Malkion’s death, but most say he turned his back on his father and made his own arrangements to survive the end of the world.
Greg never liked Zzabur and what he stood for (and thus in all of Greg’s stories, Zzabur comes over as an unmitigated arrogant prick), but he was an important part of Glorantha and one of its earliest characters.
Given that there is not even consensus as to whether Malkion departed to make a place in Beyond or was murdered by the rebellious gods, I think cannot help but have much less consensus in Malkionism than in religions like Christianity. Saying the cosmos is knowable and understandable is an invitation to people trying to know and understand the cosmos.
Greg always hated Zzabur and that comes over in everything Greg wrote from his perspective.
If Zzabur is also a specific person and not “just” a title, I would imagine he would be both mortal and very alien to us. Older than any other Brithini, and very very alone. He’s mortal though – even if undying. More of a Pandelume and Brithos has become Embelyon.
Are all of Zzaburs contemporaries (Horal, Talar, Waertag etc) dead? Horal is dead, Talar is dead, and Dronar is dead. Waertag as well. Vadel is long dead too. Just lonely Zzabur, the last brother.
Zzabur is pure ego – he is the great objectifier. He is the intellect that stands between Us and Things. He seeks to survive at whatever cost, knowing that as a mortal his ego is all there is to him – the soul is sentimental drivel and spirit is merely an animating energy. Egoism is his drive – a very personal egoism. “I AM that I AM.”He is also a very very very old mortal who lives alone in a tower and knows lots of things.
Good old Zzabur is usually claimed as Malkion’s first or second son with the goddess Britha. Zzabur was given the Great Gift of sorcery from his father, who was a mortal beings, not a god.