So let’s look a little bit at Sheng Seleris. He’s almost always presented as a villain, but that’s also because our sources are Lunar or Kralorelan.
Let’s try to think of the Pentan version of this tale!
Sheng Seleris was the greatest Horse Emperor ever. His entire reign can be viewed as giant ashvamedha horse sacrifice – one ultimately blocked and defeated by the Red Emperor. Sheng Seleris was Yelm, Govmeran, Yu-Kargzant, HeenMaroun, all made manifest. He was the Returned Sun – the Lunars like to call Sheng Seleris the Red Emperor’s Shadow, but it might be more accurate to call the Red Emperor the Shadow of Sheng Seleris!
Normally the Red Emperor overpowers his foes with raw power, ruthlessness, and pure destructive power – the Crimson Bat, the Crater Makers, the Moonburn, are all examples. But Sheng Seleris was more than a match for the Red Emperor in all of these categories. We hear the Lunar story as that is what is recorded in the Redline Histories, but the horrors the Red Emperor tried to unleash on Sheng Seleris goes unrecorded. Indeed, many enemies of the Red Moon loved Sheng Seleris precisely because he was willing to be every bit as ruthless as the Red Emperor.
The base of Sheng Seleris’ power was his tribes of horsemen who had once grazed their herds on the grasslands of Peloria – is it surprising that he rewarded his followers by returning the grasslands of Peloria to him? Sheng Seleris made use of many locals in Kralorela, Peloria, and Teshnos, particularly those belonging to Celestial cults (Yelm, Polaris, Shargash-Tolat, etc.). He accepted/promoted a school of Illumination (later suppressed by the Red Emperor). He made use of Praxians, Dara Happans, and others. He was brutal, no doubt, but more in the style of Timur – hated by his foes, loved by his supporters.
Now I present this not to whitewash Sheng Seleris but to remind folk that even his tale is not so straightforward. Sheng Seleris represented all that which had been usurped by the Red Goddess and her dynasty – the Imperial Light of Yelm, the Golden Empire. It is easy to see that if Orlanth needed to resurrect Dead Yelm to restore the cosmos, then Argrath needed to resurrect dead Sheng Seleris to restore the world.
By all rights, it should have worked. That it didn’t may have dispelled the final illusion that mortals could be freed of the Gods War by following in the path of the gods. If the world was to be saved, the relationship between mortals and gods needed to be changed.