Arkat was the single most important historical hero in Glorantha. 1200 years later, he’s still the subject of legends, romances, stories. If we think of him as a military figure, he’s beyond parallel – forging Brithini, Hrestoli, Orlanthi, Praxians, and trolls into a disciplined army that fought in Seshnela, Ralios, Maniria, Kethaela, Dragon Pass, and Peloria. As a heroquester, he was so prolific he even encountered and greviously wounded himself!
But the Arkat Romance of the Third Age is what fascinates me here. The Son of Humakt, wielder of the Unbreakable Blade, who became a Mistress Race Troll to be able to personally fight Nysalor. His children included Gerlant Fireblade and Talor the Laughing Warrior, and a band of demonic troll sorcerers. In war he was unstoppable – he experienced setbacks and even defeats, but always returned to the fray.
The Orlanthi, Malkioni, and Ralians all still tell stories about Arkat. The Dara Happans still curse him and blame him for destroying their cities and empire. But everyone knows of him and has a story or three. And they all contradict each other.
Obviously Argrath was in Arkat’s shadow, but so were Harrek, Ethilrist, Alakoring, and Verenmars.
We now make a big deal about his “betrayals”, but it is worth remembering that even as late as 446, Arkat was able to get an elite army of volunteers to go with him into Dorastor. Nearly all of them died in battle with Nysalor the following year, and only in 448 does Arkat become a troll and raise a huge troll army to conquer Dorastor.