was his way, Argrath did not do what everybody expected him to do.
He did not wish to hazard the lives of all the best beings of body
and spirit against the gods of entropy, as if this was another Battle
of Doom. Instead, Argrath called upon all the powers of his left hand,
which he had used only once. With whomever would help from each direction
he did the Dragon Move, and in that way called into his presence Shakharzeel,
which was promised freedom in return for its honest and true assistance.
then shared with all beings which were present the secret of the ceremonial
utuma, and there came into being from the ends of the universe
the Seven Dragons. Then Argrath gave them their instructions...
[exciting description of the destruction of the physical
Red Moon by draconic forces omitted]
shape of the world was changed. The way that nature works was changed.
The way that men and women relate to the world was different. The
way that the gods and mortals communicated was altered.
is the thing that Argrath did, to serve his people, to shape his god,
and to make the world a better place for us.
Argrath! Bless us!
- King of Sartar, p.38f
The northern, pro-Lunar manuscript of Argrath's Saga concludes
with a scrawl in a different hand: "So
they say. But it's still here! And now it's invisible instead!"
So the key to the "destruction of the Red Moon" is the secret of the
ceremonial utuma, whatever that may be. To find out, I turn to:
The Dragonewt Creation Myth
was Chaos. Within the infinite realms of Chaos, the Empty Void, lay
the Power of Disorder. Deep in the heart of Chaos the Disorder stirred,
and within its stirrings was formed a sleeping egg.
egg hatched, and out crawled the Grand Ancestral Dragon. It sat and
meditated within the Silent World, planning its growth. The halves
of the eggshell were made into the servants of the Grand Ancestral
Dragon, and they were called Inside and Outside.
mild waves of Disorder lapped back from the Void and the Oozing Chaos
was born, returning now to thwart Creation and reclaim its own to
the Void. The first sluggish waves of Chaos burbled at the feet of
the meditating Dragon, interrupting perfect plans. To combat the distraction
the Grand Ancestral Dragon took the Disorder Power and used it upon
the Chaos. This made a new Power, which drove off the Chaos and held
it at bay. This was the race of Darkness, formed from the feet of
its meditations were complete the Grand Ancestral Dragon cut open
its loins and from the blood that ran forth was born the power of
the Oceans, seas, and all liquid things.
its belly the Dragon created the power of the Earth and all things
which lay within it.
the head of the Dragon came the fiery beings which are the Sky and
the Aetheric powers, and each of the Dragon's eyes became a noble
god of that realm.
brains of the Grand Ancestral Dragon, hidden deep inside and outside
the worlds, hatched secretly among the fledgling races of immortals.
These were the Ancestral Dragons, wise teachers of deities, who met
once for a mating dance in the place now called Dragon Pass. They
completed their mysterious dance, laid the first dragon eggs, and
disappeared from the world.
- Wyrms Footnotes #4 and #14, Wyrms
The myth is footnoted as follows in the article on the Dragon Pantheon,
Wyrms Footnotes #14.
dismemberment, called utuma in dragonewt philosophy, is the
result of the Grand Ancestral Dragon's willingness to accept the duty
of entanglements which his actions had brought about and resulted
in his full integration into the world. By dying he re-entered the
world to fulfill his duties. To have done otherwise would have resulted
in a fatal weakness which would have destroyed the basis for draconic
So, the secret of the ceremonial utuma appears to be that it is a voluntary
act of ceremonial suicide by self-dismemberment, which fully integrates
the participant into the world. If we rewrite the note above for the
Red Goddess at the end of the Third Age:
dismemberment was the result of the Red Goddess's willingness to accept
the duty of entanglements which her actions had brought about, and
resulted in her full integration into the world. By dying she re-entered
the world to fulfill her duties. To have done otherwise would have
resulted in a fatal weakness which would have destroyed the basis
for Lunar existence.
But this should come as no surprise. The Lunars know that the Lunar
Empire is just a transitional stage en route to the healed Lunar Cosmos,
an 'incubator' or 'egg' for the Lunar Way. And the Orlanthi have always
"defeated" their vilest enemies by making them into an integral part
of the fabric of the world: remember the Ritual of the Net, where the
Great Compromise which recreated the world is sworn upon Time, the son
of Kajabor and Arachne Solara, Entropic Chaos and Nature, who is the
omnipotent ruling god of the new world-age of History.
The Ritual of the Net
Solara's] child is the Pledge of the Gods, and all of existence swore
upon it to uphold their agreements... This is called the Great Compromise
or the Immortal Pact, and it is the oath which recreated the world...
Solara stood upon the Gate of Time and cast her net across the universe,
catching each surviving thing and binding it into the new world. Her
child was born then, concealed by the net and protected by the strands.
The child was called Time. The gods marched across the barren world,
bringing warmth, light and flower to awed survivors. The new world
was created. Time reigned. History began.
- Cults of Terror, King of Sartar, Wyrms
A bit more background:
God-time, Kajabor was slain by Wakboth and went to Hell where he confronted
the last of the gods, massed in their final stronghold. Arachne Solara
there enmeshed him, wrapped him in her legs and struggled mightily,
and at last devoured him alive. The resulting combination of entropy
and existence synthesised into the god Time, who rules the cosmos.
- Prosopaedia, in Gods of Glorantha
is nowhere worshipped as a deity, but almost everyone acknowledges
its omnipotence. Before the advent of Time the divinities were free
of constraints and acted as they wished. These actions destroyed the
world, which was saved only when Arachne Solara arranged the cosmos,
devoured chaos, and gave birth to Time. The Red Goddess, reborn within
recent history, sometimes claims to have special powers of Time, but
such boasts have never been backed by action.
- Prosopaedia, in Gods of Glorantha
So the Orlanthi defeat Chaos by making an entropic god into the omnipotent
ruling deity of the Cosmos, eh? And in the Third Age they defeat the
Red Goddess in a suspiciously set-up manner: the Lunars planned it;
the inscrutable, unfathomable Dragons executed it; and even one of the
versions of Argrath's Saga ends its account of the destruction
of the Red Moon, "But
it's still here! And now it's invisible instead!"
The Zin Letters
Finally, the Fourth Age Zin Letters (in King of Sartar)
include a page of interesting speculations on What Happened to the
Moon. Without going into too much detail, the author's own preferred
was destroyed, but only in form. Although the physical body of the
Red Goddess was destroyed, the spirit is eternal and lives on. In
fact, say Lunar thinkers, such was planned. The goddess simply went
the next step in her divine liberating style. I myself favour [this
explanation], of course, since the world certainly seems worse of
late than it was in the old stories, without any silly old moon in
the sky to make it worse.
Food for thought, eh? (Any Orlanthi out there: ever feel you've been
 Given my Freudian Lodril theories, you can
guess how I'll interpret a spider-goddess who "wraps
someone in her legs and struggles mightily, then devours him alive."
King of Sartar's account of the Ritual of the Net is even more
blatant: "She wrapped the Chaos god in her legs
and her web, and with every orifice she sucked everything out
of the Devil and filled herself with it." Yuk.