Cults of Balazar and the Elder Wilds



Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 14 February 2001
Last Updated On 14 February 2001
Copyright © 2001 Simon E. Phipp

This area has many different cultures, not only the Balazar or Votanki Cultures. Here, I will try and describe the major deities worshipped by each grouping and, perhaps, to give a short description of the cults. Where no cult description is shown here, I will try and add a cult description at a later date. [1]
 

Groupings

Native Votanki

Balazaring

Elven

Troll

Chaotic

Water

Dara Happan

Lunar

Local Spirits

Other

Descriptions

 

Votank (Native Votanki)


Votank was born during the Darkness. As was the custom among his people at the time, he was Abandoned on the plains to see if he would shrivel and die or survive and prosper. He was found by Grandmother Sky, who the hunters also knew as Hearth Mother. She fed Votank the Three Hearty Meals and he grew to be a healthy and vigorous man. Votank looked around him and saw that the people were hungry. He asked Hearth Mother what was to be done and she said to look outside for help. He travelled through the forests and plains and asked for help for his people, but everyone turned their backs as they had their own problems. Eventually Brother Bear told him that he could not help but that he had asked Rigitania for her help. Votank went to find the Hunting Nymph and, after much effort, found her and obtained her help. She reached into her Red Pot and brought out a handful of carved figures that she put into a leather bag and gave to Votank, making him promise to return to her that which she had given to him. He agreed and left for his people. When he returned he showed the people the bag that he had been given but they laughed and asked what use that was. He reached in and brought out a clay figure of a bison and breathed on the figure, painting a picture of a bison on his chest and on the floor. He ran to the plains and brought back a slain bison that he gave to the people to eat. This was how Votank invented hunting, but for every creature he killed he made a prayer to give back the soul of the creature slain to Rigitania. From that day onwards the people of the area thought of Votank as their Chief and called themselves the Votanki.

Votank and Grandmother Sky had several children, one of which was Firshala. He also sired a daughter on Rigitania, the first of the Wild Women. He sired a number of children on Firshala, each of whom founded one of the clans of the Votanki.

Votank performs a number of functions for the people of Balazar, he is the Hunter and the Chief. He is the role model for all Votanki Hunters and his myths give examples of how Votanki should live.
 

Brother Dog (Native Votanki)

When Votank had gained the Leather Bag and began to feed his people, he saw a new animal that was a competitor to him. Knowing that he would have to fight this new growling creature, Votank hailed it and asked it to come closer. He said that he had to feed his people and that he had a Leather Bag full of figurines which he could kill and eat for food and that the New Creature's visage was already in the bag. The New Creature whined and cowered in front of Votank, begging him not to kill and eat him and offering to help serve him in return for the scraps from his meals. Votank agreed and whistled for Brother Dog to follow him. Thus was found the first of Votank's Companions.

Brother Dog is the deity involved in the training and control of the Votanki Hunting Dogs found in Balazar. He is worshipped in two ways, as a subcult of Votank and as a deity in his own right. The subcult teaches dog training and spells allowing communication with dogs. The full cult is the cult of the Dog Hsunchen that live within the Votanki. They are the descendants of those Hunters who loved their Companions so much that they asked Brother Dog for permission to marry them. These Dog Hsunchen were the result of those matings and worshipped Brother Dog as an ancestor and a founder. Since Brother Dog was one of Votank's Companions this was not regarded as bestiality as long as the Hunter Quested to Brother Dog first. Worshipped in this way, Brother Dog is a normal Hsunchen cult.
 

Grandmother Sky (Native Votanki)

Grandmother Sky is a goddess of unknown heritage. She has Hearth Powers and some Sky Powers and is also called Hearth Mother. She found Votank and raised him according to the local customs. Her mythology is normally concerned with helping Votank and the others of Votank's Hearth.

The Grandmother Sky/Hearth Mother cult is not a standard one. Following the example in Griffin Island, the cult is only open to women. It grants no Divine Magic but every Sacred Time there is a festival where all the initiates of the cult gather in their sacred tents and summon spirit servants of the Goddess who teaches them Spirit Magic. The cult is engaged in teaching skills useful for home-making such as cooking, gathering, clothes making and child rearing.
 

Rigitania the Hunting Nymph (Native Votanki)

Genert and Gata, the Earth King and Earth Queen had many daughters together. One of these was Rigitania. Whereas many of their daughters were pretty and plump, rounded homemakers, Rigitania was beautiful and slim, a lean runner who loved nothing more than running naked across the plains and forests of what became known as Votankiland.

Genert and Gata decided to give their daughters gifts when they became women. All the sisters came to a cave beneath the earth and were shown by Genert two piles of clay pots, some painted green and some painted red. Esra, Ralia, Kralora, Pela and most of the other Sisters chose pots of Green but Rigitania, Frona and Pent chose pots of Red. Gata then produced two bags of clay figures, some were of grains and fruits but others were of animals and birds. Esra chose Wheat, Pela chose Barley, Kralora chose Rice and Ralia chose Oats but Rigitania chose a healthy Bison. Thus the Goddesses chose their future forms.

During the Golden Age Rigitania saw her Sisters grow prosperous and wealthy because of their grains, but her bison grew weak and thin. She asked them why and they said they were hungry and wanted grass to eat. She saw that all her sisters had grass except her and she was upset so she asked her father. He laughed and said that all grass was like hair, all women had it above and below and that she only needed to think of the grass and it would grow. Soon afterwards the plains of her lands became covered in a lush rich grass and the Bison became fat and healthy. Rigitania took many lovers through the Golden Age and each gave her a clay figurine as a present. Thus, she gained Cattle, Giant Sables, Brontosaurs, Triceratops, Hares, Rabbits, Pheasants, Honey and all manner of small creatures, grubs, roots and tubers. Soon her Red Pot became filled with figurines and she became rich and happy as her Plains and Forests became rich with life.

Then the Sun was slain and the world became Dark. Other deities came from Hell and devoured much of the food and the people became hungry and afraid. Rigitania did not know what to do, apart from growing her hair long and feeding her creatures with her grass. Then a young God named Votank came to her and tracked her through the Forests and Plains. He saw where she ran naked and set a trap for her with swathes of sweetmeats and small things that she loveed to eat. She stopped her running to eat and he leapt on her and wrestled her to the ground, but rather than taking her there and then he asked for her help to feed his people. She agreed and took him to her Deep Cave, showing him her Red Pot and giving him a leather bag full of figurines. From that time onwards, she helped feed the people of the surrounding lands.

Some time afterwards, Rigitania was visited by Hearth Mother who was Votank's adopted mother and wife and had found out how he had fed the people. Hearth Mother said that her people were still hungry as there was not enough food for everyone and that she was afraid that the fod would dry up and the men would become tired of hunting all the time. She begged Rigitania for help, but the Hunting Nymph said that she could not give her what she had given Votank as Men and Women should not do the same things. Instead she reached into her Red Pot and dropped a number of figurines into a small grass bag and gave this to Hearth Mother. She thanked Rigitania and left for Votank's Hearth. She looked into the bag and saw figures of fruits and berries, roots and tubers, nuts and grubs, birds eggs and small animals. Hearth Mother taught her women how to gather the food that was in the bag and their people became well fed. In this way, Rigitania became the Nymph of the Hunters and the Gatherers of Votankiland.

Rigitania is rarely worshipped directly but is worshipped in subcults of both Votank and Hearth Mother. She is worshipped by the Wild Women and her Nymph Daughters and by those who would gain her blessings directly. She is the focus of a number of HeroQuests where hunters or gatherers try to gain permission to hunt or gather new foods, essentially gaining a pick from her Red Pot as those foods and animals not found in the Leather or Grass Bags are taboo and may not be hunted by the clans of Balazar.
 

Firshala (Once Freed) (Native Votanki)

The daughter of Votank and Hearth Mother, Firshala was the mother of the Founders of the Clans of the Votanki. She inherited her mother's Fiery nature and became known as the Burner for her appetites, but she was no Oakfed and did not lay waste to the lands of the Votanki. Instead, she restrained herself and became a controlled form of Wild Fire, used to clear areas of Forest in order to regenerate growth and produce fresh hunting and gathering lands. She had only a little history except that she became the enemy of the Aldryami of the Elder Wilds and was defeated and bound by Nysalor when he reached the area and answered the pleas of his Aldryami friends. Since that time, the memory of Firshala was wiped out from Votanki Mythology and she was simply not known. The clans could also not summon ancestors through the female lines and had to rely on Votank's male lineage for their ancestor worship. This weakened the clans and made them less likely to rise up against Nysalor.

Although the memory of Firshala was wiped from Votanki Mythology, not every trace was removed. Certain myths had a figure of a wife or mother that was ot named and had no properties, for instance Yinkin slept by Votank's Hearth and was fed burnt food by a kind woman. Also, the women of the Clans had a kind of medicine bundle that represented the Burnt Woman and was a grass figurine of a woman but rolled in smouldering ashes so that the outside was burned black. She was always paired with the Golden Man who was a grass figure of a man and they were the object of a story where the Burnt Woman was put away by the Golden Man for her unfaithfulness until she was rescued by a handsome youth who was also known as the Golden Man but was young and virile against the original figure's dry sterility.

Firshala is not given worship until she is discovered, freed and released as in the Griffin Mountain/Griffin Island scenario packs. When she is freed she will exhort her rescuers to help her rebuild her cult. This should be achieved through missionary acts and HeroQuesting. When the annual Sacred Time Rituals are performed, she will ask her worshippers to take the part of the Kind Woman, the Burnt Woman and the Golden Haired Woman in order to reinforce her position in Votanki Mythology. Hopefully she will become reintegrated in the Mythology as an Ancestress, if this happens she will restore the Woman's Lineage and allow ancestors to be summoned through the matrilineal descent.

The cult of Firshala grants fire-based magic and some ancestor magic, although not as much as Daka Fal does. I prefer the Griffin Mountain version rather than the Griffin Island version as that includes Ancestor Worship.
 

Yelmalio (Balazaring)

This god was brought to Balazar by Balazar himself. His cult was set up in the Beehive Temples of the Citadels, no Golden Domes here, the Temples were given this form for reasons unknown but the Elven Shrines in the Forests of Balazar and the Elven Wilds often have beehive forms, so perhaps it was another example of Balazar's flexibility and foresight. It is known that he HeroQuested to show that Yelmalio was the Golden Warrior from Votanki myth and that he was the Forest Sun from Elven myth, so Yelmalio was accepted by the Votanki.

When the DragonKill War happened, Balazar and the rest of the Yelmalians marched away down the throats of a million dragons and only a handful returned. The power of Yelmalio was broken for many generations and only the old, infirm and very young remained. The Beehive Temples were maintained as was the worship of Yelmalio, but the form of worship changed. The cultists knew they were in difficult territory as the Votanki were still not sure of the horse-riding cultists, so they went back to the roots of the Votanki Yelmalio. They abandoned the horse and used Dogs as Yelmalio had used dogs in the Votanki tradition. They became more influenced by the Elven Yelmalio and took on many of his properties. They also looked back at their own teachings and became more traditional than their fellows. Unlike the Praxians, they did not absorb many of the local Spirit Cults but went their own way.

Now, the Yelmalio cult in Balazar differs from that in Prax and Dara Happa. It has properties that the others think quaint and odd but all recognize it as a valid part of the cult. Each Citadel has its own worship of Yelmalio with the High Priests descended from the Founder of the Citadel. Elkoi is the Chief Temple as Elkoi was the first born son of Balazar, but the temples fall under the direction of the Kings of the Citadels.
 

Balazar (Balazaring)

This was a mercenary from Dara Happa who was a member of the Yelmalio cult. He had gained fame fighting the Empire of the Wyrms Friends and needed to expand his personal power. He entered Votankiland and HeroQuested to prove himself. First he showed that Yelmalio was the Golden Warrior of Votanki Myth. Then he gained the piglets of the Sow with the Golden Bristles and Silver Tusks for the Votanki and married the Queen of Beasts, Rigitania herself. In doing this, he showed himself to be a powerful leader. He founded the three Citadels and bound the Votanki to him. He used his Dragon-Slaying Quests to drive the Dragonewts from Votankiland. He stopped the Troll Raiding and also proved himself to be part of the Elder Council and thus not an enemy of the Trolls. He proved himself a friend of the Elves and showed that he could sit on the Council of the Forests. He prepared to perform the Yelm/Oslir Rite for the major rivers in Balazar and to introduce irrigation and agriculture there and prepared to search for the Burnt Woman as he wanted to take the part of the Young Golden Man. However, the Call came and the True Golden Horde marched to Dragon Pass together with Balazar and the lion's share of his army, all except the old, the sick and the weak. All fell and were devoured by Dragons, all except the Ten Burnt Ones who returned years later scarred and shamed. Even Balazar himself had died and did not return, although he could be contacted at his shrines.

Balazar is the Ruling God in Balazar. He grants little magic but is the Culture Hero of the Balzarings. All the Kings of Balazar must be descended from Balazar.
 

Citadel Gods (Elkoi, Trilius, Dykene) (Balazaring)

When Balazar wen to the DragonKill he left behind his three infant children in the care of their foster mothers, three Ernalda Priestesses. They were raised without him and became members of the Yelmalio cult. They reinforced the Citadels and carried on some of the deeds that their father had started, but they had neither the wisdom nor the powers of their father and failed in most of their tasks. However, they did succeed in establishing the Citadels as focus of the worship of Yelmalio and establishing their own children as the rulers of Balazar.

The Citadel Gods grant standard City God magic and act in the same way as most minor City Gods.
 

Firshala (When Freed) (Balazaring)

The Mythos of Firshala is given above but there are also hints of a relationship between her and the Golden Warrior, it is said that he taught the use of his spear to a Golden Haired Woman when he visited her hearth. Firshala wants to make her cult an associate cult of Yelmalio on the basis of this relationship and will ask her cultists to HeroQuest accordingly. This is relatively easy to do and to bind the two cults as this story has a basis in myth.

The Balazarings will treat Firshala as a companion in arms to Yelmalio. Those women who want to follow the Warrior Tradition but do not like to worship Yelmalio or Yelorna will be able to follow Firshala instead. This will eventually result in two forms of Firshala worship, that of Clan based Ancestor worship and Citadel based warrior worship, both of which apply to the original Firshala. This could result in some interesting role-playing and political activity.
 

Vrimak (New, for the Hawk Riders) (Balazaring)

When Skilfil HeartPiercer performed a HeroQuest and brought his Giant Hawks to Balazar he also brought the worship of Vrimak. There is a single shrine to Vrimak that is in the quarters of the Hawk Riders. The god is worshipped by the Hawk Riders and their tenders and servants and just about makes up a Shrine. As such it has no political or spiritual power here and merely acts as a focus of the Hawk Worship.
 

Ernalda (Balazaring)

Ernalda was brought to Balazar with Yelmalio. She is his wife and the Goddess of the Fields. Balazar had intended to turn much of Balazar into fertile farmland with irrigation projects, but he died before he could continue. So, Ernalda is seen as an imported deity, subservient to the Hearth Mother. Amongst the Clans she has no presence, in the Citadels she is only important amongst the Yelmalian people. There are some farmers in the Citadels who scratch a meagre living from the surrounding lands but they are few and poor.
 

Aldrya (Elven)

The Forest Mother covered the lands with her children and the Forests of the Elder Wilds was one of the biggest. During the Darkness the Elder Races met in a Council and held the Elder Wilds together. Aldrya provided the wood that supported the Council. Votank cam to Aldrya and asked for her help in the Darkness but she was too preoccupied with her own kind to help him. Afterwards he returned and offered peace with her kind. This time she listened and the Votanki were offered shelter in the Forests.

Aldrya is worshipped here as she is elsewhere. High King Elf sat on the Elder Council and there are HeroQuests to ally the Aldryami with the Trolls and Mostali but they are rarely used now. The Votanki do not trust the Elves following their perceived treachery during the First and Second Ages.
 
 

Yelmalio (Forest Sun) (Elven)

The Votanki recognize the Golden Warrior or the Shining God who was Votank's kinsman and who protected the Forests of Votankiland during the Darkness. They speak of his love of his dogs and of how he helped the Elves. The Elves have their own myths of the Forest Sun who helped them in the Darkness and was also a friend of the Hunters.

The Elves worship the Forest Sun in much the same way as they do elsewhere. However, his shrines have beehive shaped roofs and his worshippers carry a yellow flower as a token of their membership.
 

Flamal (Elven)

Flamal is worshipped by the Aldryami here in the same way as elsewhere. He has no mythology particular to the area and is treated as the Father of Plants. Rigitania knows that he was one of her lovers and gave her access to many of the berries of the Forest but the relationship is not manifested by Associate Cult status or Divine Magic.
 

Kyger Litor (Troll)

The trolls of the Elder Wilds worship Kyger Litor as their Ancestress. The Votanki had no relationship with her except through her children but she does have an honorary seat on the Elder Council.
 
 

Zong (Troll)

This troll hunter deity raided Votankiland during the Darkness and showed the trolls how to hunt and kill. They did not return the souls of their prey to Rigitania and the souls were lost to her. She wept and went to Zong to ask for his help, but he refused her. Three times she tried but each time she was beaten and left bruised on the ground. Then she hardened her heart and opened her Red Pot, covering the figurines there with black ash and hiding them from all who sought them. Votank asked her where the food had gone, but she just said to wait and ask Zong. Eventually, Zong came to ask her for the food but he did not trap her as all the others. Instead he came to her Dark Cave and spread a picnic containing all the souls of all the creatures he had taken from him. He gave these to her and offered to do this as a favour. She agreed and removed the black ash from the Red Pot. So, Zong has her permission to hunt in the Elder Wilds but his cultists show her respect otherwise they know that the hunting will disappear.
 

Other Troll Gods (Troll) [2]

There are many deities that are worshipped by the trolls of the Elder Wilds. These include Haakko the Swimmer who bested the monsters of the Elf Sea and found a way to kill the Giant Water Snakes of the Aldryami; Jeset the Boatman who also sails the Styx ferrying the dead souls to Hell; Tokton who invented Trollball and is a friend of the Giants of Giantland; Yurrg who wrestled with Dinosaurs; Tapaka who is a stealthy warrior and who stole figures from Rigitania's Red Jar; Bina Bang who seduced a Demon and is a friend of the Moon Lovers; Herka the Bonegnasher who set up the Elder Council and ruled the Elder Wilds; Gorakiki Mantis who is worshipped by the Beetle Hordes of the Elder Wilds and Swems who Votank pulled from the ground and was poisoned but who was tickled by Hearth Mother and gave her the right to eat her grubs.
 

Cacodemon (Chaotic)

Many demons came to Votankiland during the Darkness and one of these was Cacodemon. Votank wrestled with him and threw him down on the Plains. Where he fell his flesh burned the ground and left an imprint of his form. He flew away and never bothered Votankiland again.

There is a figure of Cacodemon on the Plains of the Elder Wilds that acts as a Cacodemon Shrine. Ogres often gather here for rituals and this is the centre of their cult. Luckily for the other inhabitants their activity is kept in check by the Votanki and the trolls so this is a very minor cult in the area.
 

Thed (Chaotic)

There are broos near Festering Island and several other areas in the Elder Wilds. These worship Thed as their major goddess. Thed worship is as elsewhere as she has no Mythos particular to Balazar.
 
 

Mallia (Chaotic)

Mallia is worshipped by the broos of the Elder Wilds and also by certain Votanki Shamans who know her of old. Mallia crossed the lands of Votankiland before Votank was born and the Votanki feared her, but some brave shamans followed close behind her and plucked pieces of dead skin from her back. They carried those pieces of dead skin back with them and found that they could use the pieces to summon Spirits of Disease against their enemies. Although these practices are not within the Votanki Tradition, they are tacitly accepted as a necessity and the shamans that can summon these spirits are known as Black Skin Shamans and form a Sacred Society.
 

Elf Sea (Water)

The Elf Sea was one of the water deities that invaded the Pelorian Basin during the Gods War. When the Spike exploded and Magasta and the other waters leapt to fill the void the Elf Sea remained behind like many of the inland seas so that all the waters would not be drained into the Void. There are few myths linking the Elf Sea with the Votanki except as a source of Water Creatures and Powers. During the Darkness many sea elves made their home in the Elf Sea and the Aldryami traded with their cousins. It is said that great floating trunks plied the waters of the Elf Sea but nobody remembers this now. Some say the Trolls cleared the elves from the Elf Sea, others say they were blown away by the Storms that racked in during the First Age and still others say that the Elves were eaten by the monsters that still live in the Elf Sea but it is known that no elves sailed the Elf Sea after the First Age. During the Second and Third Ages the Elf Sea has been quiet, not disturbing those who use its waters. There are settlements on the shores of the Elf Sea but these are generally not large or important.

The Elf Sea cult is a typical Sea Cult that is worshipped for the bounty that the Elf Sea provides as well as to prevent the Elf Sea from destroying the settlements on its banks. There are monsters within the Elf Sea that will destroy ships that sail across the Sea. This is not related to the Closing but has a similar effect, although those people wishing a safe passage may sacrifice a sentient being to the Elf Sea at the start of a voyage and the monsters will not attack.

Black Eel (Water)

The Black Eel is a tributary of the Oslir and is a powerful river in its own right. There are some myths relating how the Black Eel came to pass near to Balazar and how it protected Tarsh from raiders from Votankiland and Pent and there are some stories of how Votanki Chiefs and Heroes gained wives from the Black Eel's daughters.

The Black Eel cult is very similar to the other river cults such as Zola Fel, although it has different local associated cults and HeroQuests that are Pelorian in nature.
 

Other Rivers (Water)

These rivers are children of the Elf Sea or the Black Eel. There are some myths detailing what the rivers did but they are fairly generic. These are wild rivers and have not been tamed for irrigation or farming. They support fishing by those who have sacrificed to or worship the rivers shamanically but some rivers do not even provide that service.

Each river has a deity who takes the form of the river but very few are worshipped directly. Some are worshipped shamanically and some are honoured as Water Nymphs. The Votanki and Balazarings often engage in HeroQuests or rituals that enable them to obtain powers or wives from the rivers but very few of these give reciprocal benefits to the rivers.
 

Lokarnos (Dara Happan)

The God of Carts and Trade is an imported deity brought by the Dara Happan settlers who traded with the Balzarings after the DragonKill. With the Lunar invasion of Elkoi the Dara Happans have tried to gain influence but slowly as the Lunars prefer to promote the Etyries cult. However, many of the Balazaring Yelmalians will only trade with the Lokarnos cult so its place is fairly secure, at least for the time being.

Durbaddath (Dara Happan)

Votank's Father abandoned Votank during the Darkness as was the custom at that time. When Votank had proved himself and became chief of the Votanki Durbaddath tried to reclaim his son as his own but Votank spurned him. Three times Durbaddath tried to make amends and three times he was spurned. Later Durbaddath was beheaded and Yelm replaced his head with that of a lion. In return Durbaddath offered Yelm his son Votank as a slave as revenge for his being spurned by Votank. Obviously, this was not honoured by Votank himself, but the Dara Happans have often taken slaves of the Votanki because of this relationship.

Strangely enough, the custom of Abandonment is still practised by the Votanki and they will abandon their first-born infants in the Forests or Plains to see if they will live and grow strong or be weak and die. Many infants are found by wandering clans and the Grandmother Sky cultists are ritually obliged to take the infants in and rear them as their own. Sometimes the infants are raised or protected by animals, this happened to the son of Blueface the Shaman who was abandoned by Blueface and guarded by Greyrunner Runefang until he was found by a wandering clan. The Votanki do not see this strange and would be appalled if they were spurned by their offspring as their taboos maintain that they should not try and claim their offspring even though they may act as patrons.

The Durbaddath cult is not strong in Balazar although it has always been there and is not a recent import. When someone abandons a child and tries to reclaim him afterwards and is spurned then he can join the cult of Durbaddath.
 

Yelm (Dara Happan)

The Dara Happan nobility have been eyeing Balazar for some time. They would like to see a Yelmic High King to rule Balazar under the control of the Red Emperor. They dislike the idea of Yelmalian Kings and are trying to displace them ritually. However, Yelm played no part in the mythic history of Votankiland [3] and they are hitting many obstacles. The cult of Yelm has only a few members in the citadel of Elkoi and they have come with the Lunars. It is a minor cult in the region with influence only in parts of Elkoi as the Yelmalian Kings are resisting the Yelmic challenge with vigour.

Dendara (Dara Happan)

The wife of Yelm is worshipped where he is, in the Citadel of Elkoi. She is only present because the Yelm cult is in Elkoi. She is opposed by the Yelmalians and the Ernaldi as a serious rival. Once again there are no myths linking Dendara to Votankiland or Balazar but the Priestesses are looking to change this.
 

Lodril (Dara Happan)

There are some Lodrili farmers in the valleys of Balazar, scratching a living from the poor farming there. However they have had a little more success than the Yelmites and there are a few shrines to Lodril along the Black Eel. Lodril has no mythical connection to Votankiland or Balazar and the Priests of the cult have no wish to change this.

Seven Mothers (Lunar)

This cult was introduced when the Lunars took over Elkoi. The only temples to the cult are in Elkoi and the cult has no real influence in the rest of Balazar. However the Priestesses of the cult are trying to curry favour with the other Balazarings and Votanki. As with many of the introduced cults, the Seven Mothers have no mythical connection to the Votanki or to Balazar.
 

Etyries (Lunar)

The Lunar Goddess of Trade is being used to expand trading links with the Citadels of Balazar, even though the Yelmalians will not trade with her and will only trade with the Lokarnos cult. However, Etyries has been surprisingly successful in making trade links with the Votanki. Some attribute this to the cult's deviousness but there is a more subtle reason. Etyries herself traded with Rigitania in the Darkness and gave her a clay figurine of the Giant Sable Deer in return for her friendship. The Etyries cult is trying to find a way across the Rockwoods in order to trade with the Praxians. They have heard of a route via Gonn Orta's Castle but have not been able to verify this or even to find the castle.
 

Yara Aranis (Lunar)

The Horse Eater is trying to make inroads into Balazar for several reasons. She wants a second front against the Pentian Nomads who have been known to attack Peloria through Balazar. She also wants to be able to extend the Glowline and is looking to site a Temple in one of the Citadels of Balazar, possible Elkoi, in order to put Balazar within the Glowline. She has no mythic links with Balazar but is keen to exploit some of the myths of the Votanki against the Pentian Nomads.
 

Brother Bee (Local Spirits)


This son of Gorakiki Bee fought Votank when both were young. Votank won and was about to kill him when Brother Bee offered Votank a new food in return for his life. Votank refused so Brother Bee offered him something he could use to keep darkness away. Again Votank refused, so in desperation Brother Bee promised that his mother's children would not harm Votank's children in return for his life. Finally Votank agreed and the two swore friendship and smoked a pipe together and Brother Bee became sleepy and forgot to sting Votank.

His cult is described further here.
 

Brother Bear (Local Spirits)

Brother Bear was one of the inhabitants of Bear Woods during the Golden Age. When Raven brought his Bag of Treasures and gave all the people gifts, Man and Brother Bear traded many of their gifts, giving each a share to the other. So Man and Brother Bear became brothers and friends. Brother Bear proved a good friend to Votank's people during the Darkness, he showed how to find and extract the best honey and wax from the wild beehives, how to search for healing herbs and how to grow huge in anger. In return, Votank gave Brother Bear the clay Bear figurine he had been given by Rigitania and agreed not to hunt his kind unless the bears attacked his people.

Shamans contact Brother Bear for knowledge of healing herbs, forest craft and secrets of the earth. He is considered a friend of the Votanki.
 

Tornado Spirit (Local Spirits)

When the world was bad and everything died or nearly died, many spirits walked the land. One of these was Gagarth the Wild Hunter. This Storm God swept in from Pent, where he sometimes lived, and roared through the Wilds and started destroying things. He tore up trees in the Forest and shattered all who opposed him. First Votank wrestled with him and was thrown to the ground. Then Yelmalio cam forth and was thrown into the tops of the trees where he belonged. Finally a spirit known only as the Whirler came and danced with Gagarth. They span out of the Forest and across the Plains until Gagarth was spun away into Pent. But where he had been was formed a new Spirit, born of the Wild Storm and the Spinning Dance, this was the Tornado Spirit, the first Tornado, and he shared his father's love of violence and destruction.

His cult is described here.
 

Inora (Local Spirits)

The Winter Goddess lives on a Glacier high in the Rockwoods to the West of Balazar and the Elder Wilds. During the Darkness she followed her father as he covered Peloria with his blanket of ice and she settled on her Palace in the RockWoods. From there her realm included the lands now known as Balazar and the Elder Wilds. The people of Votankiland banded together with their friends and allies and fought the Winter Goddess, pushing her back slowly but surely until she was banished beyond Giantland. Every Winter Inora leads an assault on the people of Balazar and the Elder Wilds but every year she is forced back again. In the past the contest has been more even but with the Lunar domination of Elkoi the locals can call on the cult of Kalikos as well as the Lodrili and Yelmites and this has helped their cause. Even Votank and his Clan fights Inora when she tries to enter his lands. Balazar tried to re-enact the Hill of Gold ritual between Yelmalio and Inora in order to try and befriend her but failed in his attempt.

Inora is not worshipped in Balazar but many shamans contact her for her spells and her abilities. There is a HeroQuest that the Inora cultists perform each Winter, called Wintercome, that attempts to make winter stronger for that year.
 

Strelite (Local Spirits)

Strelite was a member of the Storm Tribe who was befriended and adopted by Votank. He was shown all the secrets of the Hunt and learned a new power, that of the Hail of Death that allowed him to bring down groups of prey at once. He desired Rigitania and laid a trap for her, giving her a feast of many souls, but he took her with force and the souls were already promised to her so she cursed him to remain a bachelor.

His cult is described here.

Orlanth Adventurous (Other)

Introduced by the friends of Yalaring Monsterslayer, this cult is only known amongst the Adventurers in Trilius. Orlanth visited Votankiland during the Darkness but only as a raider and he is not remembered fondly there. His brother Yinkin is better known and is remembered as the Lazy One, the Deceitful One, Stealer of Breath and the Outcast. This does not endear him to the Votanki and the Orlanth cult is having a hard time here, especially as the Yelmalians of the Citadels have a mythical rivalry at the nearby Hill of Gold and bear one hell of a grudge.
 

Notes

1. Oliver Bernuetz has a great deal of Balazar information on his website but this is quite different to my own. Although I would like to only have one point of view so that Glorantha is consistent and not too confusing I feel that there is room for several versions of areas such as Balazar and Prax. Perhaps people can take some of his ideas and some of mine for a better view of Balazar.

2. Many of the troll deities are taken from The Book of Drastic Resolutions Volume Darkness. I did not have these in my campaign, but they are too good to pass up.

3. However, in my campaign I played that Balazar was actually a Yelm cultist but that had been forgotten. As part of that campaign Solarus wanted to become a Yelm cultist and HeroQuested to prove that Balazar was a member of the Yelm cult, so Solarus could qualify as a Yelmite as he was the descendant of a Yelm cultist, High Priest of the cult of a Yelm cultist and had HeroQuested and performed the Yelmic Kingship tests as a member of Yelm Imperator.

[End]