Brithos & Foreign Policy
Zzabur: Sorcerer Supreme, sank whole Land of Vadeli Infidels and Spike,
horde of Demons from Hell....brought back Ehilm to the Sky, had assassins
take Hrestol's Life, sank the whole fleet of Emperor Miglos, helped God
Learners conquering Glorantha (See Glo: Intro HW p.45) , betrayed them and
moved Brithos to somewhere unknown otherside aside from Closing, made a
plot to sank whole of Fronela, (but later it was stopped by the act of Prince
Snodal and Syndics Ban, or he insisted so,.....)
I think, Brithini Leader was very powerful, and don't know restriction
except their fear to lose their Immortality in Mundane World, but simply
they haven't dared to use their power, but let their pupil God Learners to
I think the Brithini are more subtle than that. After all, most Gloranthans
fear death but their rulers still aspire to take over the world.
IMO it needs to be borne in mind that the Talars, and not Zzabur,
rule Brithos. Secondly I like to suggest that the Talars have
usurped much of leadership functions that other castes have had
in order to create a Talarcracy rather than the ancient republic
ruled jointly by all castes.
An example of the Talarcracy in action is the structure of the Brithini
army. Although Horals do the actual fighting, the Talars are its generals
and officers. Surely when Malkion defined the original castes, the Horals
would have had their own leaders? Likewise the Dronar farmers are
probably similarly checked by Talar stewards.
The Zzaburi present a difficult problem because Zzabur and his colleagues
are so great. IMO the Talars have insulated the Zzaburi from the Brithini
and vice versa. Instead of dealing with the Horals and Dronars directly as
might have been done in the old days, the Zzaburi live in remote towers
and are heavily dependent on the Talars to tell them what's going on and
what should be done.
I do not believe that the Talars dominate Brithos solely for its own power.
Instead they have memories of life during the Gods War when the Castes
were all in confusion and squabbling with each other. Only the Talars
imposition of order enabled Brithos to survive the great darkness. Because
of this, the Talars view their social order as ideal and that any tampering
with it inevitably sows the seeds of Brithos's destruction.
Zzabur and the Talars probably keep in touch with each other so that
both sides have a rough idea of what's being done (Zzabur plans
to close the Oceans this week while the Talars are putting the finishing
touches on a treaty with the God Learners) and if necessary make
other arrangements. Neither can interfere with each other, one due
to lack of power and the other due to lack of awareness so both work
together in harmony.
I don't think Zzabur is at all concerned with the defense of Brithos
any more than Orlanth is responsible for the defense of Dragon
Pass. Instead he pursues his own schemes which the Talars
dimly understand. In defending their realm, the Talars rely on the
Horals and lesser Zzaburi although they do have a valuable weapon
in that they know what Zzabur will do.
So what is the aims of the Talars of Brithos? For a start, they are
concerned with maintaining their social dominance in Brithos. Being
Zzabur's henchmen is probably one of the safest perpetual jobs in
glorantha. Likewise they have an interest in minimizing foreign contact
with Brithos so that the Brithini are kept away from new ideas.
From time to time, members of other castes challenge the Talars'
rule. This isn't intentionally done but arises as they try to understand
what it means to be a soldier, farmer or wizard. If the Talars allow
them to do so, then they risk eroding their power. It may not be
immediately obvious but with their long life spans, they can see
the inevitable outcome in other Malkioni nations.
Because of this, the Talars concede as little as possible and instead
prefer to exile the troublemakers. I don't think Brithos is a land of
secret police, but rather than the Talars convince the troublemakers
over the years that it's best for both that they leave Brithos. The exiles
have the freedom to do what they feel they should be doing while the
Talars see their wisdom of their order confirmed when most exiles grow
old and die.
The need to maintain their own dominance compels the Talars to
restrict the spread of strange ideas. If concepts like every village
having its own wizard, great generals that rose from the ranks or
belief in an afterlife became public knowledge in Brithos then
their control over Brithini society would be much weakened. This
is the primary reason why the Talars do not like wars of conquests
as the Horals will become exposed to strange ideas with potentially
disastrous results - martial law being the least of their fears.
On the other hand, isolationism is not an option for the Talars. If
they do not keep the neighboring lands and seas peaceful, then
they risk invasion and foreign ideas being forcibly introduced into
For this reason, I believe the Talars maximize peaceful relations
by encouraging their neighbors to be good, civilized Malkioni.
Gifts of knowledge, magic and occasional exiles go a long way
in spreading knowledge of Malkioni ideals and encouraging respect
for Brithos. Ideally the Talars would like to see the whole world
malkionized which explains their support for the Waertagi and later
the God Learners.
So why did the God Learners go to war with Brithos? IMO the
Talars had been allies of the Waertagi because they felt it best
to allow only one power that to control access to Brithos.
But the Talars seriously underestimated the growing power of the
Seshnegi, the Loskalmi and later the Jrusteli. When the battle of
Tanian's Victory was fought, the Talar's were left foolish because
a hostile power united by a doctrine hostile to Zzabur (the Abiding
Book) was now capable of reaching Brithos.
I think the Talars put off conflict with the God Learners as long as they
could with concessions like Open Ports on the Brithini mainland. In
the meantime, they were trying to find some way of persuading Zzabur
to assist without letting on that they cocked everything up. When
Emperor Miglos's Fleet was sunk, the Brithini used the Fireberg crisis
to force the God Learner Empire into making concessions and an
Why did Brithos close the Oceans? I don't believe the Talars had
anything to do with the Closing as they were probably quite happy
with the God Learner Empire as it was (cf similar blindness and
happiness with the Waertagi alliance). Rather it was Zzabur acting
on his own initiative because the God Learners were abusing his arts
and that he could feel the consequences.