Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Durulz Gods: A Mythographic Addendum

I know very little of mainstream semi-Orlanthi durulz, as John and Mike have described, but will offer a few snippets of my own Glorantha in case you ever go down into Caladraland (where Benedict will suffer the doom of being slowly devoured by the thousand bills of Gor-Gor-Ma!).

Throwing in a volcano doesn't just transmute to Caladraland standard durulz-mythology + volcano god IMG (and general thoughts on myth), so their thoughts on cosmology are a little different (but hey... you can't *not* have duck Humakti).

In my own Glorantha the Drulzekki of Caladraland worship Luak (a subsequent'Luak', as in 'Luak-Luak' is occasionally used; or the term Loueydril for fun games, if it doesn't bring apoplexy) as the big boss god, but don't really represent him in any artistic form, other than a burning sun, which was infinitely brighter than the false sun that currently blemishes the sky. Fire that will blind the sight of all was a bit difficult to achieve, so they tend to stick with a plain biggish circle.

The sarifice-hungry Nexarchs (read priests of Luak) claim to be the manifest representations of their chief god, and wear flaming volcanic headresses--the height of the headress representing the power of the priest and closeness to Luak's fiery grace... if providing the counter of a rather more unstable gait*.

Other gods do indeed allow more artistic representations of their glory... with the obvious exception of Drulzekka, mother of the Drulzekki. Her transition to Gor-Gor-Ma, the Hungry Dark and defender of her children, has proven problematic: how do you draw a durulz with a thousand razor-billed maws of terror? Some vine-shrouded shrines to Gor-Gor-Ma, frequented only by the matrons of the cult, do seem to make a good attempt, however.

Other gods are better depicted. Kuaktxulub the Eviscerator** is probably most described, appearing as a durulz happily drunk with death, cloaked inthe protective rainbow-hued feathers of the firebirds, holding the klanth he captured from the Lizard King and with his belly slit open to reveal half his guts hanging out.

The art of the Drulzekki has suffered somewhat in recent years, however, and few modern representations can match the strange, humongous 'Drulzek Heads' that litter the near-primeaval forest landscape of (parts of) Caladraland. They represent old Drulzek gods and heroes, many of the latter lost to current legends.

Kwala'ikki the Trickster makes his home in the Vent, under which Luak was imprisoned ages ago. He guards his father until the time when enough sacrifices have been made to Kuaktxulub that he can gather up their entrails and make his gut-wrought ladder to climb down and release the Creator.

The stupid humans of Caladraland think that when the bright fire-fountains of the mountain jet into the sky, it's their 'god' erupting. Bah! That's just Kwala'ikki poking his flame-feathered head up to get a break from hisfather's constant rumbling anger. He's taken to like being called a god by the Caladrans, and finds it hilarious. He is starting to develop airs and graces, mind...

There are not too many gods worshipped by the Drulzekki: Luak, Kuaktxulub and Gor-Gor-Ma are among the most common. But occasionally other deities arefollowed, such as Ghumba the Golden Hippo. The Drulzek War Hippopotamus is a strange creature, found in the steaming volcanic mudpits that lie close to the vent, and from which it draws its vigour. Its purplish-blue hide is broken by tens to hundreds of rock-hard irridescent glass orbs, which provide a 'studded armour' of sorts.

Ghumba is represented by the Guardian of a Drulzek hippo-rider regiment, appearing as a crude golden idol of savage god (who is reputed to have a hide of gold and armoured orbs of purest diamond). Captives are sacrificed to Ghumba in the horrid death dances, squashed to nothingness beneath thepouding feet and rolling forms of bloodthirsty, mud-splattered, ecstatic hippopotami... all to the background of the keening death yodels of the Drulzekki.

*Popoquackapetl XXXVIII, High Nexarch many years ago, claimed that his instabilities in movement were not something to be laughed at (or that he'd had too much palm wine), but a mortal reminder of the omnipresent powers ofthe Rumbling Earth to Luak's chosen.

**Kuaktxulub is (mistakenly!) called Humakt/Hueymakt by the durulz elsewhere, possibly from the phrase Huey Makt (meaning 'great warrior'). Evisceration Yodel Berserk is rather different to Death Song Berserk, however.

(Originally posted on the Glorantha Digest, 24 April 2004.)