The Lightbringers Quest can be thought of as the monomyth of heroquests. It contains within it many quests – the Westfaring, the Descent into the Underworld, the Tests of Proof, etc. In the end, Orlanth and the Lightbringers bring back to the cosmos what everyone, gods and mortals alike, needs – the Cosmic Compromise which enables the defeat of the Devil. The result is necessary but unwanted – Time. The cosmos survives because of that and the Grand Order is restored.
That’s the trick to understanding the Lightbringers Quest. It is not some paltry resurrection quest – although that is a part of it. The purpose of Harmast’s Lightbringers Quest was not to resurrect Arkat, but to make possible the defeat of Gbaji (an incarnation of the Devil).
So why did Harmast quest a second time, a quarter century later? Well like most great deeds, there are many reasons. But a big part was Harmast’s fear that he had failed. Arkat had become a troll and had raised an Army of Darkness. The terrible Light without End was in danger of being replaced with a terrible Darkness without End.
And so once again Arkat quested to restore the cosmos. Again pacts and compromises were made. But this new army could at least laugh.
So did the cosmos get what it needed? Was Harmast successful both times? Did Arkat hijack the first quest or was the second quest a mere echo? The answers really depend on your view of history and the cosmos. But in the end both Gbaji and Arkat the Destroyer were gone, so perhaps Harmast did get what we needed.
And it is reasonable to think of the Lightbringers Quest as a direct parallel to Sacred Time.
Are Arkat and Gbaji really gone, though? Again the answer depends on your view of history and the cosmos. But what was very clear is that Nysalor was no longer there at the Tower of Light, and Arkat was no longer the Destroyer. Good enough for me!
In short, the Lightbringers Quest is not about resurrecting a person or god – it is about bringing life to a broken and dying cosmos. The result changes our relationship with the divine realm – we and our world is different afterwards. But the tools to save our world are there.
The only thing comparable is the Godquest of the Red Goddess, which changes us and our relationship to the cosmos – thereby changing the world. These are the grand competing mythic narratives.
Why did he ask for Sheng Seleris? it is funny that people take that part of the Argrath Saga as a foundational truth, but ignore so much else in the Argrath Saga.
I think more disturbing to think is that Sheng Seleris is what the cosmos needed if Gbaji was to be defeated. How would we even know that Sheng was needed? Even assuming that Argrath’s Saga is an accurate recounting of events and not an Alexander Romance, even then, without Sheng Seleris could the White Moon have ever emerged from the Red?