Friday, 31 July 2015

Homeland: Esvular

Esvular Cultural Keyword
Bronze statue of an Esvulari Thane
The Esvulari are, much like the Esrolians, a civilized Orlanthi culture, dwelling on the southern Heortland Plateau and the neighbouring Bandori valley. Their culture is a mix of Heortling and the Brithini, and Esvulari are divided into three castes: the Carls, rich farmers and crafters, and the headsmen who manage the heortling cottars of the countryside; the Priests, who appease the visible gods, and work the sorcery of the Invisible God; and the Thanes, the nobility who rule and protect the others.
Descended from the Ingareens of God Forgot, the Esvulari are much shorter than their Theyalan neighbours, although centuries of interbreeding has resulted in their their skin being the same olive tone of the Heortlings and Esrolians. Hair is not braided, but instead cut at eyebrow level all around. Often beards and moustaches are shaved, although this is done merely to mark them apart from their neighbours.
While the Esvulari still worship Orlanth, Ernalda and their kin, they claim that their gods are emanations of the Invisible God of the Malkioni, and they mix initiation into Runic cults, alongside a priestly caste who use sorcerous grimoires.
The Esvulari speak a language related to Esrolian and Heortling. The Priest caste maintains a monopoly on literacy, and also know the ancient Brithini tongue kept from their ancestors which they use for their most sacred of mysteries.

Sample Female Esvulari Names: Aperenia, Earena, Elfine, Lisith, Mesinthe, Tathorine

Sample Male Esvulari Names: Aeoling, Andric, Banfred, Challath, Chotaran, Danshavlas, Durith, Eperandal, Haurstan, Parsovil

Heortling Cottars of Esvular:
Even in their home province, the Esvulari are outnumbered by their Heortling cousins, with the average village consisting of the clustered squarehouses of Heortling cottars being administrated by an Esvulari Carl in their longhouse. The free Heortlings of the north see these cottars as little better than thralls, slaving for their sorcerous masters; but in truth, life is little different for cottars in Esvular than it is in Heortland or Sartar.
The single great difference is that to be accepted as an Esvulari citizen and join the ranks of the Carls, one must join the Aeolian sect of Malkionism.
Few do so, preferring the faith of their ancestors, but the Aeolian temples are always open to those who wish to learn of Aeol and the Invisible God.
Heroes drawn from the ranks of the Heortling cottars use the Heortling keyword from HeroQuest: Glorantha (page 37).

Aeolian Malkionism
In the Gods War, the land which would become Esvular was dark and desolate, inhabited only by small groups of people clustering for warmth and life. Their god (later identified with Malkion, Umath, or Grandfather Mortal) had died, leaving them abandoned and without hope.
Many turned to the gods of the Orlanthi for protection, sacrificing to them in exchange for blessings, which enabled them to survive. To their regret, this also pushed them further away from their ancestors, leaving them merely one of the peoples who served the Vingkotlings for protection.
During the Great Darkness, a stranger came to them from the west. He claimed to be a companion of their slain god, and called himself Aeol. When he proclaimed he was there to bring the Esvulari back to their ancient ways, the Vingkotlings grew angry at the prospect of losing the Esvulari, and sent their gods to drive off Aeol.
Aeol used his magic to reveal the true nature of the gods through their secret names, showing that they were parts of the One True God, who had made himself manifest in the world as them, to provide for his people. He bade the winds halt their assault with the sacred name of Worlath, blunted the swords of his foes by commanding Humct, and brought forth Ehilm the sun to be his light.
The Esvulari, recognising the ancient magic of their ancestors, left the Vingkotlings to follow Aeol. He took them to a safe place in the south, where Aeol  gave them good lands, showed them how to raise their cities, revealed to them how to honour the Invisible God's manifestations, and taught them sorcery.
When the dawn came, the Esvulari existed on the newly named Heortland plateau. And though they were often conquered by others, they still persisted in their ancient and refound worship.

The Examples of Karatch
This grimoire is written in the ancient Brithini script used by the Malkioni, making it unintelligible to most Esvulari, who must rely on their priesthood to read and interpret its words. From their readings of this text, the priesthood have deciphered several spells:
  • Communicate Peaceful Intent: This spell summons the Communication Rune within the priest, allowing them to make hand signs revealing their peaceful nature to others.
  • Communicate with Foreigner: This spell combines the Truth Rune with the Communication Rune to allow the priest to understand the tongues of strangers, allowing for clear communication.
  • Curse of Miscommunication: This spell dismisses the Communication Rune within an enemy, causing their commands to go unheeded, and their entreaties to be ignored.
  • Endure Wind: This spell combines the Air Rune with the Law Rune, allowing the faithful to resist even the most mighty wind and feel only the lightest of breezes.
  • Harmonize Joyful Song: This spell summons the Law Rune to fill the priest's songs and chants with the essence of the Invisible God, bringing joy to all who hear it.
  • Resist Pagan God: This spell combines the Magic Rune with the Law Rune, allowing the priest to dismiss the magics of pagan gods and spirits, halting their power.
  • See Potential: This spell combines the Truth Rune with the Law Rune, allowing the priest to see into the heart of others and see their true nature, expressed by the runes.

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