Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Hells of the Malkioni

All pious Malkioni know that when they die their souls will ascend to Solace to be with Malkion and the Invisible God. But how does this happen, and what happens to the impious ones?
Those who die in Glorantha begin a week long journey into the depths of the Underworld, recreating the journey of Malkion from the Tower of Reason, crossing such features as the Emerald Lake, the River of Blades, and the Roaring Bridge. Those who become lost are said to eventually make their way back to Glorantha as the unquiet dead, to harass the living until they can be sent to their proper destiny.
Those who successfully make the journey end up at the court of the dead. Here sits Malkionaru, Malkion the Sacrifice, surrounded by many of the Ascended Masters. When the dead kneel before him, Malkion hears all the sins and good deeds of their life, and judges whether they are worthy of going through the gate to Solace that he sits before, or if they must be sent to one of the hells for cleansing.

The Burning Hell
The first hell punishes the prideful. It is a seemingly endless desert of baked earth, beneath a harsh sun, where sinners must crawl from one end to the other in search of water to quench their thirst. All the while birds and harpies dog their steps, rending and tearing that their bodies, leaving unhealing wounds on their undying bodies.
Those who do make it across the desert find a river, made not of water but fire, which burns all who attempt to cross it. Those who do will often claim to be in paradise, for across this burning torrent lies a garden of flowers.
However, these merely illustrate the folly of pride, for the body of the sinner is unable to move even the smallest blade of grass, which cuts into them like a razor, showing them that for all their deeds, they mean nothing compared to the might of the Invisible God.
Even the errant True Beings are not safe from their pride. The lord of fire, Ehilm was imprisoned here, chained to a mountain in the middle of the river of fire. Here he burns eternally as his followers beg him for aid he cannot grant.

The Flaying Hell
The second hell punishes the wrathful. Here the winds never stop moving around a mighty hollow mountain, the air filled with the howling of the storm, and of the agonised cries of the realm's inhabitants. Here they struggle to move, their unjust rage pushing them forwards while the knife like winds push them back. There is no succour for those who are sent here, but people struggle to find shelter behind each other, or the broken rocks covering the mountain
Many try to find the way into the mountain, seeking out the large crack on one side, only to find it is filled with giants and their bulls, which tear the bodies of the unworthy apart, to build screaming buildings to hide them. But these are rent by the winds soon, and even the giants find no shelter.
Worlath the hateful was sent here, but is not visible to those in the Flaying Hell, since he has been torn to nothingness by the winds he sought to master. The eternal howling that fills this hell is in fact his screaming, and the frequent hails his bitter tears of rage.

The Buried Hell
Those whose hearts are overcome with greed and desire are sentenced to the third hell. Consisting of nothing but endless caverns within the earth, the damned wander these endless catacombs looking for something of true value, but the glittering jewels and shining metals within crumble to dust at their touch. The halls are also home to the serpentine guardians who protect the false treasures, and feed on those who dare touch them. The Underground Men called dwarves are also said to have come from this realm, but in their lust for the treasures of the Middle World, they escaped, to plague us with their greed.
Here lies the body of Likita, queen of the Earth Serpents, who lies coiled amongst the treasures she so desires, but weeping for their lack of value. She tempts men into damnation for the chance to lie with her, but cares only for the gifts that they might offer her.

The Drowning Hell
The fourth hell punishes those who betray their masters, family, or people. The hell is composed of many oceans, some of water, whether brine, boiling, or freezing; others are composed of less pleasant substances. Fire, acid, blood, or other fluids. The damned are tossed into these oceans, where the waters are ever flowing and changing, and there is no solid land to cling to. If sinners find each other in these oceans, they hold each other fast, providing the only piece of safety amongst the waters which attempt to destroy them. Some wizards have said, while viewing these realms, that they have seen the ghosts of the Waertagi lost in the closing, still piloting their dragonships through the abyssal depths, searching for a way back home.
Down at the bottom of the abyss lies Wakata, chained by the sea of darkness known as the Styx. Here he remains for his crime of attacking the Land of Logic, although his eternal thrashing churns the seas above him.

The Sightless Hell
The deepest hell is for those who knew no kindness in their hearts, who cursed their friends, and made deals with demons simply to make others suffer. Here these damned crawl amongst the bones of the fallen, forever seeking refuge from the horrors that wait in the eternal darkness. The dark men, the trolls, were imprisoned here originally, but were let out by soulless sorcerers to plague mankind. Still many of them remain here, and their blind searching for food is a constant hazard to all who are sentenced here.
While directions are meaningless when one cannot navigate, it is said at the centre of this realm sits Dadamus, the True Being who sacrificed his soul to rule all that was impure. Here he reigns as its prisoner king, lord of all he sees in a realm without sight.

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