Monday 7 May 2012

Sacred Sites in Balazar

Where is Where

The various Clan Hearths are holy sites where mighty ancestor spirits dwell and important historical things have happened. According to Shamanic Lore there were many more, but their sites fell out of use or were destroyed in past conflicts. Three locations are known – the Citadels – but the rites to contact the Hearth Spirits there are unknown. Following a Hearth Spirit gives you access to various lesser servant spirits, common magics and heroic abilities.

Halberd Games Map of Balazar, from the Glorantha Wiki

A long mound shaped like a winding snake or wyrm from the mouth of which springs the stream that is the source of the Redwyrm river. The soil around it is red ochre on the days of the full moon, black ochre on other days and magic warpaint can be made from it. The kings of Elkoi used to muster their clans here before raiding the lowlands, but now the Redwrym warriors serve the lowland Lunars as scouts.

Flint Hill
A great hill that has always been a source of good quality flint, and the gravel beds here about are a source for many other kinds of stone, many of them magical, such as Sunstone, amber, God's Blood Crystal, Magnetite etc. A cottage industry chipping obsidian knives for export operates here and the Lunars are setting up some kind of shaft mine with slave labour, much to the annoyance of the traditional flint miners and workers.

Elder's Rock
A monolith on a bluff overlooking the Elf Sea marking the spot where Votank himself died resurrecting his dead half-brother, the Sun, and where the Sun went up into the sky. Also the place where Balazar was crowned King after his conquest of what was then Votankiland and his defeat of the Trolls. The spirits here supposedly impart wisdom, judgement and good advice, but of late the spirits seem to argue amongst themselves as much as the Shamen do, what with the differences in doctrine between the old Votank and Grandmother Sky Shamen and the new Five Moons and other shamen from around the Empire who have taken up residence.

Morak's Mound
Traditionally Balazarings leave their dead on platforms in trees in a form of sky burial, but the fallen bones are later collected by Shamen and put in barrows and burial mounds. Morak's Mound is the biggest, a huge artificial hill with many passages and chambers that act as ossuaries for the bones of many clans, some now extinct, and individual tombs for many mighty heroes long forgotten. The Shamen here can summon more ancient ancestors and know more songs and sagas than anyone else, and are very good at taming the unquiet dead.

Pure Hearth
This fire was lit by Grandmother Sky herself and has been kept burning since before the beginning of time. It was used to kindle the newly reborn sun on the First Day. The Pure Hearth followers do not like Balazar or Tharkantus, nor the cities he built, believing that Votankiland was better of with its traditional gods and ways. They are good healers though.

Crow Stone
A great rock like a huge flint knife sticking out of a plain littered with bones and broken weapons, the Crow Stone is the site of many ritual battles and the Crow Warriors are creators of much human carrion for the Crow spirits. A place to swear vengeance, fight duels and end feuds with payment of blood, though the current Crow Shaman is trying for a more peaceable approach to conflict resolution.

Another burial mound, but better known as the former site of the Master Hunter's lodge before Yalaring had it moved to Trilus. Many hunting spirits here, and many masters of hunting lore. If you need to know how to take down a Hadrasaur, or the best way to butcher a Walktapus, this is the place to go. Hunters who follow Tak can even pursue prey into the spirit world and track them by the imprint of their breath upon the forest leaves. There is still a yearly Great Hunt here during the Sacred Time, but the Trilus one is more popular as it is the only chance to be made Master Hunter.

Once an Aldryami totem, now tamed and used by men. The only place men can find readily useable tree spirits and, it is said, meet the lesser Aldryami such as runners and pixies on friendly terms. The Shamen here perform strange rites and consort with Dryads and Hunting Nymphs, and are a distant and peculiar bunch. More conventional types warn against the danger of being turned into an Elf, and say the Old Tree must be chopped down lest they re-establish their rule over the land.

Gravel Stand
Another site yielding flints and magic stones, and also the site of a hill fort and temple where in the White Goat and Griffin clans kept the memory of Dykene alive during the years the citadel lay ruined. The streams near here yield gold dust and nuggets, the source of Dykene's wealth, and the Dwarves have set up a smelter and mint for Balazar's first native coinage in 500 years.

Two Stone
A haunted and disturbing site where a permanent cloud lowers over a stone monument. Supposed to have been three stones, set up by the three sons of Balazar to signify their unity, Elkoi's has fallen, toppled by giants. The site is guarded by a huge dog spirit, and the spirits here are his offspring. Recently there has been much kerfuffle over the stones with interest from Dragonewts and Dwarves.

Tuno's Cradle
Here Votank turned himself into a bear and wrestled and defeated the giant Tuno, ousting the mountain spirit that had possessed him and turning him back into a man. Great place for bear spirits, wrestling matches (occasionally with bears) and finding healing herbs and honey.

A small hill that continually glows with an inner fire and occasionally spurts great geysers of flame. Around it are pools of bubbling mud and hot springs. If he can endure the painful ordeals a shaman can gain the service of fire spirits and elementals. The fact that the greatest geyser spouts once a week on nights of the full moon has made some traditional shaman suspicious of the spirit here however. It is also a site for dramatic suicides and has a number of ghosts.

Two posts in two days - yup, it's a Bank Holiday weekend.

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