Vingkot's Holy Country
As readers of my previous works may recall, I promised a manuscript on the true nature of the Vingkotling Empire of the Antediluvian Era. Of its organization, rather than just its history.
Having recently recovered from an unjust period of imprisonment, I am now able to once again put pen to papyrus to explain.
|First Age Fresco of Nochet|
My educated interpretation is that Vingkot's Empire was far from that, being a form of "amphictyony", an alliance of states around a single permanent location, in this case the city of Nochet.
While I have been unable to travel to that city, I have received detailed descriptions of it, and together with the histories and mythologies of the area allowing me to note the following fact:
One important aspect of Ernalda is called Esrola the Earth Queen (much in the same way as our own farmers worship Oria as queen of the land.) In this aspect she has had many kings, although keeping them for only a year and cycling between them. Husbands I have found have prominently been Orlanth, Heler, Lodril, and Deshlotralas.
It is clear to me that these marriages refer not to individual deities, but to alliances between rulers. I have already discussed the marriage of alliance between Vingkot and his "summer wife," who is obviously the ruler of Nochet. Equally the reference to Heler refers to that tribe who had joined the Vingkotlings and the Durevings.
This leads to the remaining identities of Lodril and Deshlotralas' tribes. The first are the most simple. It is well documented that near to Esrolia lies a great forest known as the Western Jungle filled with primitive lodrilite barbarians. From what I have been able to find out, they are so primitive they do not even use the plough or hitch up oxen, instead living more like the primitive lodrili of Arir. This may seem a strange group to be allies with the civilized people of Esrolia, but it seems they possessed great martial power, and lived around a great mountain filled with dwarves, well known as followers of Lodril. It may even be that the lodrili acted as go betweens between the dwarves and the other races, and this provided their right to rulership, as flimsy as it was.
The other tribe, those followers of Deshlotralas are most peculiar. While there is the Desert of Fear well attested to on our maps (also known as the Haunted Lands), and a great city of the dead, most of my queries about the nature of these death worshippers did not come to a fruitive end.
|Esrolian plinth to Deshlotralas|
I believe this may be the Deshlotralas spoken of in their histories, certainly I have found records of other names for Deshlotralas there, including Arganum, Nontrayum, Kitor (although I have found no connection between this and the great city of Carmania), and simply the First Elder. It is possible that this may in fact be a title for the greatest of the digijelm. Certainly some traders spoke of the First Elder as if he were a recent figure, although they claim he has been gone ever since the king of the Holy Country emerged.
Further we must consider this: the digijelm are not nearly so foolish as tales would have you believe. I have encountered the digijelm myself in the city of Vaskoli, where they walk alongside men as if everything were normal, and even the men have abandoned gods of light in return for worshipping the trolls' strange ancestors. And as monstrous as they are, they could speak New Pelorian, and even make scratchings in tradetalk. It would not be impossible for them to conceive of the benefits of marriage and alliances.
Before my readers scoff in the name of good taste or other such morality. I remind you that not all peoples described as Orlanthi are as civilized as those in our great Empire. And of course the great destroyer Gbaji was said to have walked in the form of both man and digijelm when he destroyed Nysalor.
Now, as mentioned before, the Earth Queen takes a husband for just a year before replacing them. While many lesser queens and kings do this amongst the Orlanthi hill tribes, they all claim it was started by their goddess.
In fact this seems to be the basis for the kingship of all Orlanthi hill clans, who elect a king, chosen from their households. And yet despite this apparent position, much of the clan's history is instead held by the Earth Queen, the high priestess of the earth. Given the importance of farming amongst these hill clans, there are few kings who can rule without the blessing of the Earth Queen. Likewise, the ceremony of the king's enthronement may even be said to be a form of ritual marriage with the queen.
This indicates to myself (and I'm sure those wise among you will agree) that the queen of Nochet was the true power in the Vingkotling empire. Most likely Vingkot's rulership was a temporary position, with his people taking the dominant role only through his reign.
At the end of each year, the leaders of each tribe, now remembered as deities, would meet in Nochet for the Earth Queen to choose a new king. This would be a great period of feasting, of celebratory games and contests, much as weddings are today amongst the hill tribes. This is likely what the Sacred Time contests were, before the great darkness changed so much.
Many will ask why the Vingkotling's dominance lasted for so long, especially given the rulership is supposed to only last for a year. Firstly I must point out that the year used here is most likely one just in metaphor, for the hill folk often say there was no time before the darkness ended, and scoff at the Plentonic dating system used by scholars. The actual period of rulership may have lasted for a decade or more.
Still this would not explain their dominance, and given the description of Orlanth's House, I have concluded that although their position was intended to be temporary, Vingkot likely seized control as a despot, attempting to unify the amphictyony into a true empire, likely inspired by realms such as the Dara Happans to the north.