Observations of the Magical Traditions of Fonrit

Copyright ©1998 Peter Metcalfe. Written 26 August 1998.

The author of this document, Srimplatus, was a Scholar of Pithdaros whose speciality was the lore of his ancestors who landed at Seshnela in 719 ST. Shortly after Mulliam had repelled the Tanisoran invasion of 1616 ST, he was sent to Fonrit to seek among other aims, the renewal of trading privileges that had been granted to the Duke of Nolos before the Closing. Since Srimplatus was born in Pithdaros and was of Agimori stock, it was hoped that the Fonritans would be more friendly towards him.

His mission was unsuccessful in that the Servants of the Jann refused to meet with him due to Tsanyano rioting. However the Grand Tond of Golden Kareeshtu had expressed an interest in meeting him and as a result of the audience, Srimplatus was allowed to travel freely within the possessions of the Grand Tond. He did so for the better part of the year and paid much attention to their customs. This document was written on his return for the archives of the Duke of Nolos and the annotations are by an Sedalpist visitor to Nolos some five years later.

On Ompalam

The God of the Fonritans is Ompalam, which means "All Mighty" in their tongue. At first, they were a simple people who knew the world of spirits as the home of their god, much like the Hsunchen do. Because of this, they were classified as Naturalists by Therophis of Jrustela. When they were contacted by the God Learners, they grew jealous of our Wisdom and in their envy, they created tales that their god had created the Sun, the Stars and even Glorantha itself.

The worship of Ompalam seems to be confined to the Agimori and the Torabs. The Umathae who dwell among the Fonriti do not worship Ompalam, prefering instead the worship of barbarian gods. The Fonriti explain this by claiming they are incapable of feeling his presence for they were made of ice and lack feeling. The Blues do not worship Ompalam for they practice their own traditions.

The Fonritans perform their magic by use of spiritual disciplines by which they term palam or Might. This word seemed to have more than one meaning in their tongue as it was also capable of being used to refer to their soul. In the City of Katele, they shun the word palam in favour of pamal after Pamalt, their Great Father. Thus they claim to have recovered the pure worship of their fathers from the edifice of lies created by the God Learners. They do not even write pamal in their flowing script, and instead prefer to use instead the rune of the spear. I knew their claims to be delusions for among the writings of my ancestors and those who met my ancestors in the reign of the Liar King Ulmal, none of them have mentioned the arts of pamal.

The measure of one's palam can seen supposedly be determined by the unaided eye although I had to use envisioning spells to see what was claimed. Upon talking to the Umathae who had long lived among the Fonriti, they too were unable to see unaided this palam. It is my belief therefore that practice of palam allows one to ascertain the measure of palam within others.

The capacity to measure palam in others this was due to the Fonriti belief that one's palam is a measure of one's goodness or as the proverb has it "Palam makes Right". To be strong in palam means that one has been following the Strictures which were revealed by Garangordos as being the Pillars of Palam. By breaking a stricture, one commits a malfeasance and so a weak palam is regarded as proof that one is an evildoer. Having no palam on the other hand is a sign that one is an Umathae, a Blue or an Outsider. I myself was astounded that Fonritans could correctly deduce that I was a foreigner despite my best efforts in adopting their dress and speech. Since the the Umathae and the Blues are prevalent in their society, the absense of palam does not arouse feelings of hostility for most Fonritans as it might, but suspicions remain for most.

Having examined several of their strictures, I note that they do not require people to act with goodness in their hearts. For instance, a stricture may require one to give charity but it does not say that he does it with good grace. Another may require one to appear proper in public but it does not prohibit him from committing loathsome vices at home. Many of the strictures are not outright prohibitions of an act but restrictions on when an act may be performed. For example, a most curious stricture states that "defecating on a grave is forbidden unless one intends to defile it".

The importance of the strictures is such that it has a hold over the action of a Fonritan. They cannot simply decide to do an act if it is prohibited by a stricture. They must first overcome their palam producing a spiritual crisis that can be painful to watch if they had strong palam in the first place. Thereafter overcoming their palam and breaking the stricture, they experience no qualms on breaking the same stricture on another occasion, but their palam is flawed and in need of purification. This is usually done by performing an abstinence which I shall speak of below. I must confess that I caused much grief when early in my travels, I attempted to bribe some officials who had appeared to be asking for them. It turned out that to take a bribe is a violation of stricture but to accept a donation to ease the pain of a poor sick mother is lawful and in some cities, the acceptance of such charity is even compulsory!

Furthermore there are many sets of strictures, each written with different ideas as to what is good and what is not. In Fonrit, there exist academies which teach one how to interpret the many strictures and to see how the strictures make up the pillars of the palam. The scholars of these schools are called Suffetes or Judges in the tongue of the Fonriti. They are often consulted to determine the proper action that should be taken in a given circumstance for through their training, they are able to perceive the relationship between the strictures and one's palam and thus give the answer that maintains the integrity of the palam. I am told they are aided in this task by the learned ability to scrutinize the palam of another to see what flaws reside therein. This ability is not an easy one and requires the questioning of the subject at length.

Through their mastery of the strictures, a Suffete is capable of issuing their own code of strictures. For the privilege of following such a code, a tithe is customarily paid to the author and for most codes such tithes are required. Even the most austere Suffete has enough followers to support a modest lifestyle whereas the authors of popular codes are among the richest in Fonrit.

I have questioned a Suffete at length about the nature of these strictures. When I asked him why instead of having seven different strictures regulating the consumption of alcohol, he does not ban the consumption of it altogether, he gave me this reply. If he was too strict, then his followers would fail to reach Ompalam because they have failed to fulfil their strictures. If he was too lenient, then although the stricture would be obeyed, it would not allow his followers to reach Ompalam. So he has to balance the two in order to ensure that the strictures are both effective and obeyed.

However a Suffete does not have complete freedom to set his own strictures as each city maintains a court of Suffetes that decides which strictures are compulsory, which strictures are acceptable, which strictures are not acceptable and which strictures are forbidden. A compulsory stricture is one that every code must have. Most of the strictures in this catergory are to be found in the Garangraphas or other holy works although these vary from city to city. An acceptable stricture is one that is permissible for a Suffete to include in his code. No stricture may be included in a Suffete's code unless it is either compulsory or has been declared acceptable by the court. Unacceptable strictures are those which have been found wanting in upholding palam. They are worthless and thus no Suffete includes these strictures in his code. The forbidden strictures are effective in upholding palam but require acts that are obscene or contrary to compulsory strictures or both.

There exist Dark Suffetes who are found at forefront of evil societies and bands of robbers. They are condemned utterly for they promulgate codes that use forbidden strictures and require the commission of wicked acts to gain palam. The penalties for even following such an code is grim. Nevertheless the attraction of committing evil acts and yet appearing a worthy member of society means that there are always such groups in every city.

With especial effort, a Suffete can utter an ultimatum. This alters the strictures of another from afar thus impelling him to perform an act by his own palam, even to kill another. These ultimatums can override even a compulsory stricture and its public usage causes great consternation. Some ultimatums can even ruin one's palam and condemn him to the life of a Umathae. The effect of most ultimatums are usually temporary in effect and is justified by the Suffetes that in extraordinary circumstances, they may require a act to be performed in order so that the community of followers come to no harm. Nevertheless in order to prevent the pronouncements from being abused for personal gain, the City Suffetes may review the circumstances in which an ultimatum was ordered and, if necessary, order restitution or punishments. Not every ultimatum is so reviewed, only those which cause an irreversible act, a public act or an act that has brought great shame.

Lastly the greater Suffetes are claimed to be capable of deeds that are truly miraculous. They may command one to die or find one's death to be unjust and thus order him back to life. They may issue ultimatums that may last for centuries. The very world is theirs to command and they can order plagues, famines, floods and locusts to punish the wicked. Some ancient Suffetes are even claimed to have Closed the Seas or made the Sun Stop. But although I have heard many such stories, not once have I been able to confirm them.

Of other gods

For most Suffetes, their studies of palam gives them great spiritual happiness from the mere possession of it. However most Fonritans are not able to draw the same happiness from possession as the Suffetes do. To fill the void in their hearts they turn to the Gods. Accordingly their palam is used to void their moral selves so that their Gods possess them. They claim the divine presence gives them comfort to such an extent that it is better to be unhappy with their presence then to be happy and free of them. Such a reasoning taints their perception of freedom that they regard it as being a state of damnation. Thus their entire philosophy is centred on the subjugation of their selves to some higher purpose, be it the Strictures they follow, the gods who inhabit them or the commands of their masters, so that their capacity to make a decision through free will is extinguished or kept under control at the very least.

The presence of the God confers its own strictures upon the worshipper. These strictures act in a manner similar to the strictures of the Suffetes. However the nature of these strictures is dependent on the God and the strictures of that God followed by the Divine or Priest who blessed the worshipper. A Divine who was skilled in the arts of the Suffete could promulgate his own code. However such prophets are rare to such an extent that a City is counted fortunate to have even one irrespective of the god he worships. For this reason, the strictures of the Gods of Fonrit are more uniform than those of the Suffetes.

The strength of the presense of the God is determined by the palam of the worshipper. Most Fonritans are capable of modest magics and claim to be able to perform more powerful magic but to do so would drain them of the presence and disperse their palam. To repair this would require many seasons of devotions and abstinences.

Most worshippers seem to follow only one god at a time. In some cities, the worshippers remain faithful to a single god for their lifetime. In other cities, the worshipper follows whatever god is best for him at the time. Some worshippers are so filled to the brim by the presence of their god, that it has suppressed their own souls. For this feat, they are called Divines and act as the priests for their gods. They still have the personalities that they were born with but the presence of the God means that it is not possible to break their own divine strictures unaided.

As I have said before, the Suffetes do not normally seek the status of Divines for their knowlege of palam is alone provides them with the spiritual comfort. Nor are there Divines to Ompalam for every Fonritan's palam is said to be the manifest presence of Ompalam. In some cities, most Suffetes enjoy the presence of a god as is customary for their citizens while in other cities, they refrain from doing so to preserve impartiality among the many faiths.

Some slaves do not take pleasure from the presence of the Gods but claim to be imbued with the spirit of their Masters. For this act of piety, they are the most favoured slaves for they never do any act contrary to their Masters. They are also capable of feeling their Master's mood from afar and can tell if he is in trouble. They are not however capable of receiving concious thoughts from their masters and cannot perform any of his magic. They are known as worshippers of Tentacule after the slave of Garangordos.

The Divines have an unusual power that I have only seen performed once. They can make others Divine for a time. But since these others usually lack the required palam to contain the divine presence, their minds are stilled and they are under the guidance of the Divine. This power is used at their most holy ceremonies to remind their followers of the Gods. But these ceremonies are forbidden to outsiders by the City Suffetes for the unseemingness of the displays of divine presence can be disturbing.

I however have seen it performed on the field of war. It happened at the City of Quarash in the Isles of Kumanku when the Governor was capturing Lucans and Myrmidons elsewhere for use in his army. The natives upon seeing the weakness of the garrison, for we were only twenty, had hoped to seize control and expel the Kareeshtuans from the Isles altogether. Surprised, we and the garrison were entrapped inside the City Fortress. However the commander had in his retinue a Divine, a small dark man to whom the soldiers bowed. He came from Mondoro and worshipped a demon whose name I choose not to recall but it had the face of a jaguar.

When the nature of our desperate plight became known, the commander selected five men and bade them go to the Divine. They waited outside his dwellings until a harsh voice cried out 'I am ready! Enter!!'. I had heard the Divine speak before and I can state that it was not his voice that I heard nor could someone of his small statue have produced such a frightful voice. They went in and I heard a low sonorous chanting. At first the chanting was produced by many voices then their voices merged and it became impossible to tell whether any other than the harsh voice was chanting.

I was about to prepare a spell to determine whether the soldiers were alive or dead, when the Divine left his dwellings wearing the most frightful iron mask of his jaguar-demon and chanting in the harsh voice that I had heard earlier. That was nothing compared to what I was later to witness. The soldiers then emerged with curious gait and distorted faces. With a shudder I realized that their faces were mimicing the face of the demon as depicted on the iron mask and they too were chanting in the same harsh voice. This alarmed me but their bewitchment was not the worst thing that I observed that day.

Upon seeing the Divine and his bewitched soldiers emerge, the captain blanched and motioned for the gate to be opened. The mob outside poured in and made to slay us all before they noticed what was waiting for them. They then attempted to flee but they were not fast enough. Within the blink of an eye, the soldiers had leapt howling into the crowd at least a hundred times their number. At once terrible screaming arose above the howling of the demon as the poor wretches were rent tooth and nail. By the time the mob had been cleared from the fortress, there were ripped limbs, organs that had been gnawed on and other detrius that once had been human strewn over the ground. Neither I nor the garrison slept well that night for the screamings and the howling pervaded the city throughout the night. At dawn, the Divine returned but not the soldiers. He told us that he had been pleased with the measure of the sacrifice and so the soldiers were permanently blessed. When I left Quarash several days later, they could still be heard howling in the wilderness.

Since that time, whenever a Fonritan has performed magic, I always took the care to observe their face. I swear I can see the faintest disturbance of features as their spells took effect. Presumably different gods will show different faces but I knew all too little about the gods of the Fonriti to be able to identify them.

On the Abstinences

In addition to following the strictures laid down by his Suffete, a Fonritan may increase or repair his palam by performing Abstinences. Most commonly these are periods of self-imposed deprivation from comforts such as food, water or marital intimacy but acts of exceptional charity or periodic flagellations are not uncommon. The heightened palam lasts as long as the abstinences are observed and the saying 'one in every seventeen' is often used to determine the period between the observance of the abstinence be it one hour in every seventeen to one in every seventeen years. Most cities that I have visited make the observances of some abstinences compulsory in order to improve the moral well-being of their citizens.

On the Spiritual Organs

Although the best way to increase Palam is through the observance of the Strictures and the performance of Abstinences, the Fonriti have ever sought to increase their Palam. The most significant path involves their beliefs about their souls. The Learned among the Fonriti claim that there are seventeen organs in the spiritual body. By removing one of these spiritual organs, they claim to remove a connection with this mortal world and enhance their communion with Ompalam.

Most organs are removed by removing the corresponding physical organ by doctors. For some spiritual organs, this is not possible and so special sorcerers called palamic surgeons are hired to remove the organ directly. For most amputations, the excised organ is not used to enhance one's palam but to direct the mutilated spirit into manifesting an effect opposite to the function of the removed organ.

The ends to which they put this to use are truly staggering. A few examples among many shall suffice. Their eunuchs, in losing their generative powers, have become fearsome in the arts of war. The Great Tond himself, as having learned the art of a torturer, is said to have no heart. He displays this by wearing no clothing over his chest and is said to be inhumanly cruel. There exists a guild of doctors in Kareeshtu who have removed their warlike organs. They are incapable of harming even a mouse. The cult of Silence has removed all organs related to communication in order to attain the Silence in order to protest their existance.

Lastly and most commonplace, it is widely ordered by the Suffetes when they punish a criminal. Instead of ordering his impalement, they claim to be humane and so order an arm or a leg to be amputated, or a tongue to be removed or an eye cast out. The reasoning is that in coming to terms with the lost organ, for no surgeons are used for this task, the criminal will increase his palam, adhere to the strictures better and thus reform himself into a better person.

On the Sorcerers

A minority of Fonritans do not use palam to fill themselves with the presense of the gods but instead use it to impose their will upon the world-spirit. They are known as sorcerers and are widely regarded as people of no good. They encompass many disciplines and do not follow the Suffetes for they have their own occult code of strictures that marks them out as unclean in Fonritan society.

The most common are the Palamic Surgeons whom I have already mentioned in passing. Their arts relies on the knowledge of the Razor of Humct, an invisible blade which can cut the spirit. With this, they can cut unclean spirits out of the patient and so cure disease, melancholy and insanity amongst other maladies. The most skilled among them can excise the organs spiritual without harm and are paid richly for this skill. But they are despised for their strictures are most loathsome and the surgeons are forbidden to clean themselves, their robes are most ragged, their irises are unnaturally pale and festering sores are visible on their face and hands. In addition to their foul appearance, they are widely detested for their arts were created by the God Learner arts and perfected by the Cult of Silence. Most Fonritans curses the day that the Umathelans expelled Humct from their land for they have never been able to rid Fonrit of their pestilential existance. The arts of the surgeons are not wholely good for they surgeons can void a portion of their soul to make room for an excised organ, the spirit of a dog or whatever demon they can capture. By digesting these occult substances, they hope to acquire some unclean power or to increase their palam. As a result of such repeated digestions, they are able to build their palam to obscene heights. Because they prefer the digestion of human organs best, they are said to pay richly for the opportunity to feast upon humans.

One such surgeon, at the urging of several bystanders, demonstrated for me that he was capable of killing a horse at ten paces by a mere glance. I watched under the influence of magical vision and saw a small knife strike out and sever the connection between the horse and its spirit. The effort must have exhausted him, for the bystanders then drew scimitars and smote the sorcerer who was quite unable to defend himself despite having just dispatched a horse and so quickly succumbed. They then cut off his hands and head, removed his viscera and threw those to the wild dogs.

Another type of sorcerer is the Tapper, one who invokes the power of the diabolical Jraktal. They are even more despised than the palamic surgeons for their spells are only of benefit to themselves. I have never seen one for their arts are punishable by an agonising death and so they live furtive lives. Their arts were created by the Men of Kalabar to bring woe unending and suffering eternal to the blues after they were thwarted in their attempts to enslave the Beyond Gods.

They dwell amidst the blues and through occult powers, they leech the physical essence of their herds in a manner calculated to bring torment. To avoid detection, most exercise restraint and afflict their hosts with a dull pain. Even this infuriates the Fonritans for it robs the owners of the labour that is rightfully theirs.

I have seen the effects of the fury of a Tapper. A favoured blues slave of a host of mine had fallen afoul of the Tapper and was so cursed. He was not becoming stupid, nor was he weaker, nor smaller as I had assumed from the name for these vile sorcerers. He was becoming less solid and near his end, one could start to see through him. The curse apparently worked in pulses, for he was afflicted with chronic spasms and with every attack he screamed weakly and piteously as he lost substance. At first I thought his screams were weak because he lacked strength but then I realised from a chance comment that it was not the strength that he lacked. His screams would have been heard over the city had he but the substance.

It took six days for the poor wretch to die, even with the best efforts of whatever arcane help his master could find, including my own arts it must be said. In the end, the master drew a deep sigh and ordered his slave dispatched with a smother spell before breaking down and weeping. The spell was so ordered for by then no blade could have harmed the slave.

The only way to halt such vile magic, I am told, is to find the Tapper and to reverse him, an occult ritual that is most commonly performed by a Palamic Surgeon although there are other ways. Once the Tapper has been reversed, they actually tell me although I cannot believe their words to be true that he is turned inside out and kept alive so that what he has stolen, flows back into the world causing him extreme torment unto the end of his days.

Although the art of the Tappers were constructed through the evil geniuses of the Men of Kalabar, the Kalabites are a separate kind whose art persists to this day. They are reviled for their art of enslaving the Gods. Not only could they bend the will of the God to their very command, but they could likewise coerce those who worshipped the Gods that they had enslaved. They also tortured the gods to obtain power and those that worshipped these tortured gods felt their souls ebb away in sheer agony. After many centuries of evil, they were hunted and cast down and many of their secrets lost.

Nowadays their successors have neither the learning nor the power of their forebears although some claim the art was practiced in Garangordos's time in a pathetic attempt to gain respectability. Because of their lack of power, they are only able to command puny spirits and perform common cantrips for a few groats at the bazaar.

The Kalabite is prohibited by most cities from enslaving the Gods and in Kalabar, their original home, they are banned outright. A few cities regulate the gods that the Kalabite may enslave but these are mostly weak gods of the blues and the gods of enemy cities. Even then, most Kalabites in such a city are not strong enough to enslave a god.

Only in one City are the Kalabites supreme and that is the City of the Great Tond. By worshipping Tond, the men of the city claim to rule over the Sun, the Storm, the World Spirit, the Lord of Pain and the King of the South among others. They also claim to enslave the Invisible God but I have investigated their claims and it appears to be but a hollow lie created in order to counterfeit our magics. Because their City is supreme in Golden Kareeshtu, the followers of the Grand Tond are allowed to practice their arts anywhere. Outside Kareeshtu, they are hated and many cities forbid them entry upon pain of death.

On the Blues

The Blues of Fonrit once had a powerful empire which was cast down after their emperor was maimed. They fell to sacrificing their souls to Jraktal in a desperate bid to survive the Great Darkness. The Umathelan Universities paid little attention to them for they had nothing of worth to say. But since the rise of distant Yran, the secrets of the Blues occupies the best minds of Fonrit.

The Blues cannot know Ompalam for they have offered their souls up to Jraktal and so his infernal presence gnaws at them as a canker devours the body. Perversely the blues offer their children to be defiled by Jraktal and so his horrible presence can be seen in them down through the generations. When questioned about why they give their souls up to a demon, they told me that their gods fled through the Maw of Jraktal to avoid destruction. Since that time, they live Beyond and can never be found save through the Maw of Jraktal. But since the Maw gnaws at the hearts of the blues, they say they can reach through it and know that the Beyond Gods exist.

At the moment of death, Jraktal devours their souls utterly and they claim to join their Gods. Since their souls are not to be found in the Land of the Dead, most scholars dismiss their beliefs as sheer folly. The Men of Yran claimed otherwise, but when they attempted to prove it, they were destroyed utterly. Because of their beliefs, the Blues shun the use of powerful magic for they say it enmeshes them in this world. The more they enmesh themselves, the weaker their link with the Beyond Gods and so they fear they will not be able to go Beyond when they die.

Despite the evidence of Jraktal's manifestly evil nature, the worship of Jraktal is tolerated throughout Fonrit for it renders the blues passive and easily commanded. Only the Witch of Siwah El and her followers forbid the worship of the Maw but even then the Blues continue their ancient ways despite incurring their owner's displeasure.

In the days of the Artmali Empire, there were powerful Witch priests called Devourers. A better name for them is the Devoured Ones for Jraktal had consumed their souls such that they were but mere extensions of Him. They were leaders of the blues for being the Maw made Flesh, the Beyond Gods lay within them. They were capable of many fearsome magical acts and were Terrors that walked the Earth.

They are no more for they had been hunted ever since Garangordos came and the last one was murdered by the Men of Kalabar when they sought to enslave the Beyond Gods over eight hundred years ago. In fury at their failure, they developed the art of the Tappers to feed upon the blues and make their lives woe unending.

Garangordos defeated the Devoured Ones by reaching into their hearts and turning them Inside Out. This is the origin of the punishment for Tappers in Fonrit. However I am told by scholars that the Reversal was originally a rite in which the Witch Priests were initiated whereby their souls were pushed through the Maw before being turned Outside In. Additionally they pointed me to several ancient drawings which showed the Witch Priests performing the Reversal to remake the Cosmos. Such rituals are performed at the City of Barueli but most dismiss them as a clumsy counterfeit wrought by the Men of Yran.

Some witch priests among the Blues still exist. They are not as powerful as the Devoured Ones of Old for their souls are not consumed by the Maw and so they cannot reach the Beyond Gods. Accordingly they are condemned to worship the shrivelled husks and corpses that the Beyond Gods shed ere they left Glorantha.

It was once thought that the Blues claims of the Beyond Gods was but lies spread by the Devourers to maintain their unholy power. The Men of Yran said differently. By using the light of distant Yran which was then newly risen, they claimed to see invisible energies that pervade the souls of the blues. With their insights, they could manipulate these energies and in doing so managed to conquer the known world.

But they disappeared long ago as a result of a pledge made that they will prove their power by leaping into the Paradise of the Beyond Gods and return. They leapt but they never returned and to this day, the Fonritans hold ceremonies celebrating the Maw consuming the foolish Yranians.

The aged among the blue women have the gift or curse of oracular wisdom. It is not something that they know but they are forced at certain times to make announcements of some future event or another. Most dismissed their ravings as arrant nonsense until the Men of Yran. By listening to the oracles, the Men of Yran were able to conquer the known world and thwart every conspiracy against them there ever was. For this, the oracles are feared by most Fonritans and many cities order that no blues women should live beyond sixty summers. They further make the consultation of such an oracle punishable by death. Other cities remember the uses of these oracles and sequester the best to serve the City. Most aged oracles utter little more than mindless inanities and are left to wander aimlessly amidst the streets, chattering whatever they can for a credulous passerby seeking to know the future.

On the Idolaters and their kindred

To the south of Golden Kareeshtu is the land of Thinokos. The inhabitants are refugees from Sunken Thinobutu which I am told was drowned for its idolatry. The Thinokans still have not learned of their error and so populate their place with idols whenever they can. Their new home has not sunken yet for they have embraced Ompalam but many claim it is only a matter of time. I am further told the Kimotans, who are kindred to the Thinokans, are also Idolaters. But the Kimotans do not know Ompalam and so they are tortured day and night by hideous demons.

Curious of these Idolaters, I visited the City of Bulili. The tales of it being populated with idols was true. In every street, in every shop, in every stall, there was an idol. Most of them were small, a foot or so, crafted from wood and painted with blue faces. But the Thinokans did not prostrate themselves in front of these idols as I had thought they would do. Most of the time, they did not even glance at them. Occasionally a Thinokan would rest his hand on the idol and utter a few words by which they would gain some benefit. At the city gate, there was a well worn idol which weary travellers, upon entering the city, would command to refresh them.

Here and there, one could find larger idols that were hewn out of stone and painted with white faces. These were not commanded when I was in the city save once to impress me. Then a Suffete noting that I was witnessing his justice ordered a white idol to smite a nameless wretch. The very statue did move and with a single blow, broke the neck of the wretch.

The idols in the streets are not the only idols used by the Thinokans. A citizen can be expected to personal idol or two. Having seen the idols of a couple of merchants, they are small, about the size of a hand and crafted with precious or semiprecious materials. Their faces were not painted and when I pointed this out, the merchant laughed and said no one else was going to use his idols. He also told me the soldiers of Thinokos had similar idols for the pommels of their scimitars.

There are black idols in Thinokos but I have never seen them for they are secluded in the temples and treated with respect. I did not enter these temples as I was told that I would have to abase myself before these idols. I am told they are capable of mighty magics but I was not worthy enough for a demonstration.

Upon talking to their wisemen, I have learned the reason for their idolatry. The Thinokans believe that it is an error to pollute their soul with the presence of other spirits or gods because it should be kept pure for Ompalam. Since this belief is similar to the proposition that one should be free, they are despised by other Fonritans.

The Masloi who are distant brethren of both the Kimotans and the Thinokans are said to shun the Idolatry of their ancestors. They shun contact with unclean spirits altogether preferring to place their trust in the Kalabites.

On the City of Freedom

In the south is the City of the Jotokae. They are abhorred by most Fonritans for they embrace the vice of freedom. They teach that the purest form of contact with Ompalam is through the breaking of their palam. In other words, they set themselves to perform impossible tasks and rejoice in the release that results when their palam fails them. They are worse than the Men of Ebbesh for they seek to do not only things that are commonly accorded by most folk to be bad yet bring pleasure, and they stop not at doing things we ought never to speak or think about but they gratify themselves in doing things that no man should believe has ever happened among human beings. I have not visited their city but their citizens are found in Fonrit at large tying to kill some notable or to perpetrate some abominable crime.

"All Mighty" An imperfect translation it seems. Ompalam has also been rendered 'Power of All', 'Soul of All', 'World Soul' and 'Omnipotent World Spirit' by translators.

"Umathae" The actual term does not mean one of Wareran stock but one who worships the Gods of the Umathae, namely the Invisible God and the barbarian gods. Thus some Agimori are considered to be Umathae.

"Seventeen Distinct Organs": Actually eighteen. The unnamed organ is ignored or viewed as the source of free will. Attempts to remove it have rendered the subject incapable of posessing palam. As a result, it is often associated with the murderer of Garangordos.

"Reverse": Although in ancient times, this did require the body to be turned inside out, these days, it is done by flensing the victim and inserting the skin up him.

"counterfeit our magics": The Kalabites of Tondiji command their enslaved gods, although others say they are but mere spirits, to cast magic of various kinds for them, be it sun or darkness magic. The slave who they claim to be the Invisible God is an actual spirit which casts sorcery for them.

"Yran": The Red Moon but it is called the Red Sun in Fonrit. Most believe that it is a god that is half Beyond (the black half) and half reversed (the red half).

"are no more": Not true. The High Priest of the City of Barueli claims to be a Devoured One and he has demonstrated powers to support his claims. His position was created by the Men of Yran in order to restore the Ancient Artmali Empire and they were known to be disappointed with the results. Many use this to avoid acknowleging the High Priest as a Devoured One, even in official correspondance addressed to him.

Legal bits: Glorantha is a trademark of Issaries, Inc. and is used with their permission. Issaries, Inc. is a trademark of Issaries, Inc. and so on ad infinitum.

Comments, praise and criticisms to Peter Metcalfe.
Back to my glorantha page.
Back to my homepage.