Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Rise and Fall of the Vingkotlings

Part 1 of the Realist Papers

The Realist Papers are a blasphemous text kept in the Mirin's Cross knowledge temple. Other copies are said to lurk across the Lunar Empire.
The texts are the work of an Occluded sorcerer named Ormaliol the Denier, a former Sylilan scholar who became part of the perverse Dara Happan sect known as the Mundanists. These sorcerers claim that the gods were nothing more than humans, and that their miracles have a simple, and usually mundane origin. As such, they are not welcome in any land, and must hide their existence.
The Realist Papers would ordinarily be destroyed, but by the grace of the Red Goddess, the works of Illuminates are granted dispensation, and even heretical and blasphemous works are worthy of record -- even if simply to learn from their errors.

The Rise and Fall of the Vingkotlings - A reassessment on the Antediluvian Era

Conventional lore holds the opinion that Orlanth was a divine being, born from the winds and mountains themselves, and that Vingkot was his half-mortal son, who led Orlanth's people during the later Storm Age period of myth.
It is this scholar's assessment that they are in fact the same being, with Orlanth being a deification of Vingkot.

Many of my readers will ask how this can be so, when Vingkot only ruled after the flood? I would argue this fact, for maps from Second Age Heroquesters of the Early Storm Age show the Vingkotlings as a rising power when the sky was orange, before the rise of the waters. As well as this; Plentonius' great work, the Glorious Reascent of Yelm, describes Vinakotal the Barbarian as one of the rebel gods who united to bring down the sun. Other myths speak of Vingkot leading his people during the great Downward Migration from the Spike.

Vingkot was likely already an established ruler during this period.

Using this assumption, we can then take the established details of Vingkot's history, and determine the likely events of his reign.
Sylilan Bear vessel, showing Pelandan influence

Vingkot's first great deed as king was to defeat the Sky Bear, who interrupted his kingship rites. The Sky Bear is the title of Odayla, the Orlanthi god of bears and hunting, making this an obvious reference to the god; or more likely his people, the Sylilans.

Of note, in northern Aggar there is a peak known as Bear Mountain as part of the Autumn Mountain chain. This is sacred to the Sylilan bear god, and the Heortlings know of it as part of the gods' wall.

This is presumably the story of an invasion by the Odaylans to the north, who try to claim Vingkot's lands for their own. They are pushed back, and the invasion halted, proving the Vingkotling's right to existence. The Autumn Mountains become the border between the Sylilans to the north, and the Vingkotlings to the south.

After his northern border was secure, we then come to the matter of the south.

The Vingkotlings are said to have been one of three great tribes, one of the others being the Durevings. These were a peaceful agrarian people who worshipped a great earth goddess. They dwelled to the south of the Vingkotlings in a land named Envorela.

They would make useful allies for Vingkot.

Sources imported from Esrolia have described Orlanth's conquest of their mythic ancestors, who would be the Durevings (Although they call them Oraneo. The mythologies I have acquired also refer to Durev and Orane as husband and wife.)

These texts describe Kodig, who is elsewhere recorded as a son of Vingkot, attempting to invade Envorela's great city of Nochet, and when turned back calling upon his god Orlanth to do it. After destroying the defenders, Orlanth marries Ernalda, and a house is built to the god within Nochet. In comparison, the Heortling texts instead describe this as far more peaceable, but with them ruling Nochet.

While I have never visited that city, I have talked to traders who have. Their descriptions of Orlanth's house (called Storm Hill) fit with those Vingkotling hill forts I have seen. It is not too great a leap to imagine that Storm Hill is in fact a citadel, likely built there after the Durevings and Vingkotlings were united.

The Marriage of Vingkot and the Queen of Envorela (or his Summer Wife, or Ernalda) is a marriage of political convenience. It provides the right for Vingkot to take control of the Durevings, bringing them into his empire, and to build his hill fort as a citadel. It provides the Durevings with safety and protectors.

Astute readers may recall I mentioned three great tribes, but have only described two.

The third were known as the Helerings, and their history is one of great interest, even to the Pelorians.

At first, this tribe seems to have been an enemy of the Vingkotlings and Durevings, raiding their southern shores. They were a littoral people, ranging up and down the coasts on their great boats, and worshipping all number of sea entities. These include a great sea dragon known as Heler or Aroka.

Jrusteli depiction of Orlanth slaying Aroka and freeing Heler
The Helerings fought many battles against the Vingkotlings, but eventually peace was created. The circumstances of this varies by story. Some tell of a great battle known as Trembling Shore, where Vingkot slew their god. Others tell of the same battle, but instead Orlanth and Heler sat down to talk and negotiate peace. The most common tell of Orlanth slaying the great dragon Aroka and freeing Heler.

In either case, peace came between the two peoples, and the Helerings became part of Vingkot's empire.

But the stories do not end there. It is mentioned that after slaying Aroka, Orlanth sent part of it north to attack his enemies. We know of this serpent as Oslira.

What does this mean? It is this scholar's opinion that in the creation of peace, many the Helerings were assigned land which was not Vingkot's to give. He gave them the lands of his enemies and sent them north.

This matches up with Oslira' invasion of Dara Happa. She was tamed by the Emperor and  made to serve the Empire. In other words, the Helerings invade the Dara Happans, but are defeated.

The Helerings are therefore the ancestors of the Weeders and Feathered Boat people, who have long been slaves or servants to the Dara Happans.

This brings us back to the Dara Happan myth of the rebel gods, and what was one of the most influential periods of Vingkotling and Dara Happan histories.
Dara Happan Depiction of a Vingkotling

At this point, the Dara Happan and Vingkotling Empires (actually the latter was more of an amphictyony, see my forthcoming manuscript on the subject) were the predominant states of the age. With the Helering invasion having taken place, the two states were uneasy and needed little other reason for war.

What is seen as a conspiracy of various deities is in fact a series of wars. The inclusion of Sedenya the Changer indicates that Mernita rebelled against the rule of the Emperor, and likewise Kargzant's presence suggests that Nivorah had also broken away. Combined with the Naverian myth of the First Bad King (a concealed reference to Yelm) we can see the peaceful myth of the Golden Age as the fiction that it is.

With Dara Happa torn apart from within, it would be relatively easy for a barbarian army to invade, and further fragment the Empire.

Vingkot and his forces would lay siege to the Emperor's great city (recorded as Yuthubars) and eventually an attack would slay the Emperor, setting in motion the rise of the Ovosto Dynasty.

Glutted with the treasures of the Empire, Vingkot returned home. But this victory had given rise to his personal fall. His realm had become too great.

After Vingkot's death at the hands of the Devil, the Vingkotling Empire started to crumble into several smaller kingdoms. One in the south, and one in the north.

The sothern kingdom, the Kodigvarings, consisted of a Vingkotling nobility ruling over an increasingly turbulent Dureving subclass. As their kings became increasingly tyrannical, many smaller realms broke off. In Esrolia, for example, Kodig Vingkotson is remembered as the paragon of unjust rulers.

In the northern kingdom absorbed many of its former enemies; most notably the Nivorahns, fleeing from the collapsing Dara Happans. The Sylilans also joined this kingdom, which is most often called the Berenethteli, after the most important tribe within it. The Berenethteli became a stronghold of foreign gods, such as Elmalus, Odayla, and Oria.

In the end, neither kingdom lasted long, being brought down by their own hubris. They fractured still further, with new kingdoms and tribes forming. Thus did Vingkot's empire rise on his greatness, and fall by it too.