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    The Olman Invasion of the Suloise Imperium: Cause of the Twin Cataclysms?
    Posted on Wed, March 22, 2006 by Dongul
    wolfsire writes "Vellip, I attended this lecture on a lark, half drunk I will admit, thinking it was a spoof. Everyone knows Master Norgyr is something of a crackpot. But sitting through it, I was quite sobered and seriously think it could have been true. The Olman may have invaded the Suloise Imperium and caused the Twin Cataclysms! Thankfully, my valet was there for transcription.- With Lendor’s Patience, Zeba.

    The Olman Invasion of the Suloise Imperium: Cause of the Twin Cataclysms?
    By: wolfsire
    Posted with permission. DO ot repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Vellip, I attended this lecture on a lark, half drunk I will admit, thinking it was a spoof. Everyone knows Master Norgyr is something of a crackpot. But sitting through it, I was quite sobered and seriously think it could have been true. The Olman may have invaded the Suloise Imperium and caused the Twin Cataclysms! Thankfully, my valet was there for transcription.- With Lendor’s Patience, Zeba.

    “The Olman Invasion of the Suloise Imperium: Cause of the Twin Cataclysms?” a lecture by Master Segor Norgyr, Royal University of Niole Dra.

    The title of this lecture should not be taken too seriously. It is very probably true, but it should not be thought that the Olman Empire ever amounted to anything that could compare to the glory and might of the Suloise Imperium or that its contribution to the greatest events in Oerth’s history was anything but incidental; a likely necessary, but insufficient factor.

    Notwithstanding the fact that it concerns ages long ago for which the accountings of history are sparse, much is actually known about the relevant events. They have only needed to be brought together. As students here, you are all aware of the history of the Suel. The accounts of expeditions by such as Rhialle, Matreyus, Tikul and others have added much to our understanding of Olman history.

    Nearing the seventh century before the common years, the Empire of the Suel was at its lowest point at the same time the Olman Empire reached the height of its expansion. In -805 CY the Olman, having fled Hepmonaland two hundred years earlier, established themselves sufficiently in the Amedio to declare themselves the “true” Olman civilization. Following the hubris and defeat of the Suloise “God” Emperor Zinkman ad-Zol in -1079 CY, the Imperium became a shadow of its former glory for centuries. In -728 CY, the so called the Plague Years begun. Many Suloise towns were devastated and defenses weakened, until populations fell by over forty percent. It was not for another one hundred year that the Suel began to recover. The spread of the plagues into the Bakluni lands was believed by the Baklun to be intended by the Suel. This greatly contributed to tensions. Wars of succession within the Imperium followed; relations further deteriorated with the Baklun; and eventually disaster was unleashed.

    Few know of it, but it was a result of Tikul’s ill fated expedition that we discovered that there exists, connecting the Amedio Jungle and the Sea of Dust, a tunnel somewhat similar in nature to that of Slerotin’s in the Yeomanry. Clearly, the former inspired the latter as Slerotin constructed his while the other was operational. Frescos within the southern tunnel show that at either side of the mountains existed a city, named respectively from east to west, Terabar and Westgate. Unfortunately, the depicted architecture has not been documented. All the same, there is evidence that these cities and the tunnel itself were the result of Olman expansion with Suloise cooperation.

    Near where Westgate once stood there is a temple within the ruined village of Aumata-Perion. There can be found certain names, for which I have only been able to speculate as to their linguistic origin. Also there are certain other cultural artifacts that must be considered.

    An inscription in the archaic Suloise language can be found within this temple. It was made by the priest who established the temple. This happened at the time the twin cities, as well a portions of the tunnel, were destroyed by the ignition of the Hellfurnaces as a result of the Twin Cataclysms. The name of this priest was Teaxacotl. Although it is only speculation, I am very confident that his name was of Olman origin. The inscription provided in part:

    My people, the Kepta, were proud. We build great monuments and our armies spread like summer fire over the dry plains. Soon all we surveyed was ours. All except the land beyond the mountains. The great king, Teraszel lusting after further conquest commanded a great tunnel to be bored through the earth. With the aid of the dark mage Kahoatep this was accomplished, but the price was high. Under Kahoatep’s influence the Kepta turned to evil ways and the gods were angered. Fire poured from the earth, the heavens screamed in black anger and the mountains moved from their foundations.

    The history that the inscription describes corresponds with the expansion of the Olman through the Amedio Jungle and onto the plains south where now sits their only surviving city, Xamaclan. Note the warlike emphasis in the inscription with the use of the phrases “armies spread like summer fire” and “lusting after further conquests.”

    To my untrained ears, the names “Kepta” and “Kahoatep” do not sound either Suloise or Olmani. I have yet to establish it for a fact, but I believe they are Touvish, for I have acquaintances in Hepmonaland that have informed me that these words are very similar to the Touv’s words for “shoulder” and “peaceful essence,” respectively. It is far from inconceivable that one of the several Olman nations would have absorbed Touvish bloodlines and language before or during its exodus from Hepmonaland. “Shoulder” as a metaphor for strength would be an appropriate name for a tribe.

    It may not be possible to determine with absolute certainty to whom the temple in the village of Aumata-Perion was dedicated, but I believe it was a place of worship for the Olman gods with particular emphasis placed upon Huitzilopochtli, the God of War. If that is true, it is understandable that a mage epitomizing peace could be seen as evil and the cause of divine rejection, particularly if the peace was that of the dead offered by Mictlantecuhtli, the Olman God of Death.

    Two statutes in the temple can be strongly identified as Olman gods. In the Hall of the Ancestors is a twelve-foot tall, four armed, green copper statue of a naked woman with an eagle’s head. Lowering the arms of the statue activated a secret door leading to the Tomb of Teaxacotl. Notably the secret door is behind the statue. This statute appears to be a representation of Chimamatl, also known as Chimalma, the Shield Hand and the Naked Goddess, who was the mother of the prominent Olman gods Tezcatlipoca and Quetzalcoatl.

    In the Spring Room of the temple is a ten-foot tall stone statue of a large piranha-headed man. In the head of the statue was stored a Decanter of Endless Water. This statue appears to be a representation of Apanecatl, the Water Headdress, who is particularly associated with canals, rather than natural fresh or sea water. In Olman symbolism, the element water was represented by a fish, as earth was by maize, air by a vulture and fire by a lizard.

    Neither Apanecatl nor Chimamatl were or are traditionally worshiped in their own rights. Although they had other roles in the pantheon, they were both servants of Huitzilopochtli.

    As a personal treasure laid to rest with Teaxacotl, there was a small jade statuette of a panther headed man. Panthers are not typically associated with Olman divinity, but on occasion they are substituted for the more typical jaguar. That animal is most often associated with the Tezcatlipoca. However, this is not exclusive, nor is he typically depicted as having only the head of the animal. Tlaloc, in addition to other facial characteristics, has had his head described as being that of a reptile, a deer or a jaguar. While he is the Feathered Serpent, Quetzalcoatl has been known to wear a jaguar bonnet. Given the other statues in the temple, a more likely explanation can be found in the fact that at the height of its military expansion across the Amedio, the Olman Army was mainly divided into Eagle and Jaguar Knights, each of which wore headgear depicting their totem animal. The statuette, thus, may simply represent a warrior, and as such be a symbol of Huitzilopochtli. Such may correspond with the eagle head of Chimamatl and her possible military role as “Shield Hand.”

    Interestingly, until very recently, in the temple there survived descendants of some of the founders of Aumata-Perion. They were described as being of pale complexion, something that is distinctly Suloise over Olman, particularly over any Olman with Touvish ancestry. Because of the devastation caused to both cities and the land that is now the Sea of Dust, in all probability the paleness of complexion is not something that was introduced after the Twin Cataclysms. Again, the inscription read earlier was in archaic Suel. Thus, in all likelihood, the twin cities were trading towns linking the two empires in commerce and culture, rather than being solely from one or the other. Ongoing relation between the empires would inevitably have lead to the introduction of the diseases for which the Amedio is so notorious. The Plague Years probably resulted from this commerce, minor as it undoubtedly was for the Imperium.

    Few will gainsay the notion that there is now a general animosity between the Suel and Olman. In the southern jungle, Amedi Suel and Olman have been at war for almost a thousand years. Efforts to incorporate Olman liberated from the depredations of the Sea Princes into Keoish society through the Duke of Gradsul’s Amedi Corps only underscored some of the Olman’s more savage and alien characteristics. But such animosity was not always the case. Indeed, it appears that they were once allies; for more than three hundred years between c. -728 CY and -422 CY. That did not turn out too well. Perhaps this should be considered by those who say the Lion, rather than the Jaguar, should be King of the Jungle.

    Notes:

    1. This article is based primarily on the Module UK6 All That Glitters …. The Greyhawk Modules Locations Index, available at www.canonfire.com, notes that it was opted as canon by Team Greyhawk and that it was mentioned as part of the description of the Sea of Dust in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. More accurately, part of the module, the tribe called Hek, of unknown origin, was alluded to. For this article, the only thing I changed from the module is the description of the inscription language from archaic common to archaic Suloise. For the exact location of the places referenced in the module see Braggi’s maps at http://harvestersheroes.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=305. They are beautifully rendered.

    2. For the meaning of “Kahoatep,” or rather “Kahotep”, see Ancient Egyptian names and their meanings at http://www.geocities.com/wally_mo/names.html. For the meaning of “kepta” see, Semitic etymology at http://www.indoeuropean.nl/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=config&morpho=0&basename=%5Cdata%5Csemham%5Csemet&first=2121. “Kepta” also means “fried” in Lithuanian, and is the name of an apparently prominent Kenyan official, Kepta Ombati. Perhaps it means something else in one or more of Kenya’s thirty or so different language and dialects. “Tikul” is the name of a town in the Yucatan.

    3. Material concerning the Olman gods and culture that was not otherwise provided by Greyhawk gaming sources was Googled from various sources on the internet too minor, numerous and consistent for citations. It appears that Apanecatl and Chimamatl were very minor gods. Looking back, I have not found anything pertaining to the gods to be my original idea. I would provide the qualification that South American mythologies, so late and long in living, are anything but standardized or thoroughly documented.

    4. Other sources relied upon include: The Scarlet Brotherhood; Oerth Journal 1, "The History of Oerth"; Oerth Journal 4, "Green Nightmare: The Amedio Jungle"; various forum discussions at CanonFire!; The WORLD OF GREYHAWK® Deitybase; the Greychrondex; and "The Rhola and the Toli: the Battle for Jeklea Bay." All save the first, with authorship, can be found directly or by link at www.canonfire.com.
    "
     
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    Re: The Olman Invasion of the Suloise Imperium: Cause of the Twin Cataclysms? (Score: 1)
    by Cebrion on Thu, March 23, 2006
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    This makes we want to get hold of that UK6 module, but then again I like the other UK modules for the most part.

    The link to Barggi's maps on harvestersheroes is dead.   

     




    Re: The Olman Invasion of the Suloise Imperium: Cause of the Twin Cataclysms? (Score: 1)
    by GVDammerung on Thu, March 23, 2006
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    Wolfsire,

    This is an exceedingly well written article, IMO.  I love the way you've framed the module via the lecture, second hand even, establishing a classic "unreliable narrator," while tying theory to setting to place the module firmly in a GH context.  Your sourcing at the end is also first rate and a nice touch.  First rate stuff! :-D

    Glenn




    Article Link Update (Score: 1)
    by Braggi (braggi@greyhawk.gates) on Fri, March 24, 2006
    (User Info | Send a Message | Journal)
    Hi folks.

    Sorry for the dead link. Harvester's Heroes underwent a complete redesign which finished about two weeks ago, so the link Wolfsire had became broken at that point.

    Here is the updated link to the Atlas entry his article refers to:

    http://www.harvestersheroes.com/cms2/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=viewtopic&t=31

    Once th page loads, scroll down to the "Amedio Coast" section for more information.

    (Also note that due to the resdesign, you need to be logged in to the site to download the maps. If you already have a user name and pass, no problem. If not, create one and then you should then be able to access the Downloads area.)

    Thanks very much for inlcuding a reference to the Atlas in your writing Wolfsire. Your article is well written and creative!





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