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 Post subject: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 6:25 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
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With the release of Codex Geographa II: The Ssethgoran Empire, we received a piece of lore detailing the discovery of the Life Goddess, Belisarda. At the end, we get a really weird quote:

“Taken from me! How could He have been taken from me?”

Ok, so that is really weird. This opens up a whole bunch of new questions. What drove Belisarda Mad? Who is "He"? And what does this have to do with the Elorii?

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 8:07 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am
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vandom43 wrote:
With the release of Codex Geographa II: The Ssethgoran Empire, we received a piece of lore detailing the discovery of the Life Goddess, Belisarda. At the end, we get a really weird quote:

“Taken from me! How could He have been taken from me?”

Ok, so that is really weird. This opens up a whole bunch of new questions. What drove Belisarda Mad? Who is "He"? And what does this have to do with the Elorii?


What indeed? :-)

I look forward to reading your (collective) speculations and theories.

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:17 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
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Right, got somewhat busy, but lets get started with the first question: What drove Belisarda mad? Well, we got a pretty good idea: The Gods' War. During the Gods' War, battles ravaged the mythical eastern continent so badly that it wounded Saluwe, becoming the aspect of The Woman of the Barren Womb, patron of women unable to bear children. Of course, as Saluwe is a Goddess of the Land, it would only make sense that Belisarda, the Life Force of Onara would be similarly wounded, if not worse.

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
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Next question: Who is "He"? This is a bit more ambiguous, as we don't have any concrete material to work with:

1. It is an entity we don't know.

This is a possible answer, but I don't like it because it ends all further discussion. Knowing mythology (and Henry, you sly dog) its reasonable to believe that she is connected with some entities from the other pantheons.

2. The Other.

My go to answer. Also probably wrong, due to the fact that they met later on (before the arrival of the Pantheon of Man) and didn't recognize each other. Of course, you could argue that Belisarda forgot about him, but that is unlikely given the circumstances. It would also require lots of mental gymnastics and a retcon or two to make it work.

This topic is somewhat open-ended, so I can't make any conclusive theories right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:48 pm
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Finally, what does this have to do with the Elorii. As we know, the Elorii possess five Bloodlines: Kelekene/Fire, Bereokene/Water, Marokene/Earth, Osalakene/Air and Ardakene/Life (and depending on who you ask, Nyalakene/Death as the sixth).

Each of these Bloodlines have an elemental god connected to them, and many can actually remember walking alongside these gods.

However, due to the nature of "He" (name pending), no aspect of Him survives into the modern day. No name, no worshipers, no shrines, nothing. All that's left is the ramblings of a mad goddess halfheartedly listened to by Ss'koreth on his trek back to Yahssremore.

If this is anything to go by, only Belisarda knows who He is, and she's currently too busy enacting The Great Plan to answer questions right now.

I looked back into some of the older books, like the d20 Codex Arcanis and the Arcanis Players Guide, and I found no mention of Him, nor any reference. This means that Codex Geographa II: The Ssethregoran Empire is the first mention of Him. We can't make any conclusive answer now, but I imagine we are going to find out soon, whether we like it or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2020 10:19 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
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Ahhh, the eternal riddle that is Belisarda. To figure out what she meant when she was apparently in tortured pain deep in the earth, we should also try to figure out why she was there, and what had come previously. We have a few tortured hints that have arisen over time, but I have never been able to make anything I would bet money on about them.

From oldest (arcanis world chronology, not arcanis campaign chronology, from what I can tell)
A. Henry encouraged elorii players specifically to play "sacrifice of a generation" back during the first campaign with the implication that it had something to do with Belisarda. In it the players learn that the human gods somehow broke the continuity so they could come back and kill what we believe to be the first intelligent race on Arcanis. If that had not happened, the humans would never have existed here so how would their gods be able to come back and do it? But they did somehow, and defeated the gods of this crystalline race - allowing only two to escape - one into the plane of shadow where in the future/past Cadic would defeat him to become lord of the plane, and one Leeata of the Whispers, fate unknown. Later when asked about what it had to do with Belisarda I believe he replied something along the lines of, "I was too subtle with that one." Indicating at least a possibility that Leeata was Belisarda.

If so, that places Belisarda around since essentially the beginning - way before the PoM the Ssethrics, etc. What did she do with all that time?

2. We don't know, but from recent events we know that she must have spent time with some other goddesses, named Lyssandra and Nayal. How do we know this? Two ways -
A. The blessed lands Codex Geographica describes a temple the Hunai slaves set up with representation of the Three Sisters: young Lyssandra, fearsome Nayal and Belisarda, the Life
Mother Belisarda.
B. That may be a weird mix up by a strange human sect, except that recent occurances indicate otherwise - recent modules have indicated the presence of a new form of Elorii called Nyalakene who are... hostile to other Elorii. Following later we learned Lyssandra may be active in defending at least some followers of Belisarda, and that she is associated with the green moon in some fashion.

When asked about this association between Belisarda and these other goddesses, Henry thought about it, and then seemed to indicate (my take on it, could be inaccurate) that no, the Elorii know nothing about them, because it all happened, "before the Elorii's time." Therefore, if this is all accurate, this association was after her time as Leeata, but before her discovery by the Ssethrics. -- As a side note, I do not think that meeting even death wielding Nyalakene fairly shortly after meeting Deathwardens (perverted life wardens) from Malfea is a coincidence. We know from SP5-08 Xenophobia from the last campaign that they have fallen under the thrall of a being previously known as the Skinless Lady who a fanatical malfean priest named Magros found floating in the void and "knew" to be Belisarda. We also know that Henry created her and provided the backstory presented in that module, even though the module wasn't written by him.

3. Next in time we have her discovery, apparently insane and in agony in the depth of Arcanis, talking about how he took something from her, as you've already quoted. She was only "returned to sanity" after spending a year locked up with the 4 elemental lords. Did they really lovingly nurture her back to health? Or did they essentially mind-wipe her and convince her to do what they wanted? We don't know, but her memory after this time of insanity can be called into question, so it might be that when she meets Umor she still isn't really fully in her right mind. For some reason, I can't help but think about how it is said that Umor was looking for something and only Belisarda could calm him, and connect that with the statement that something was taken from her. Could he have been looking for whatever was taken from her?

4. Since the time of her encounter with Umor she hasn't been heard from much. The Elorii believe she is still alive but inactive. This is in strong comparison to the PoM gods who were active on Arcanis for a time, and then (apparently) mostly went off to actively fight oblivion.

There have been lots of supposition over time about whether Belisarda could be an Aspect of another god - just as players discovered Anshar=Yig in the previous campaign, but the inactivity of Belisarda compared to the other known gods (Aside from possibly Kassegore) makes it unlikely, though to be fair a strong Anshar=Yig=Belisarda supposition was put forward during the last campaign, but I believe (though I could be wrong I'm getting everything from then second or third hand) that that was eventually verbally shot down by Henry. The recent discoveries concerning Nyal and Lyssandra, however, open up additional goddesses to play aspect games with, and a whole new line of questions - are these three different goddesses? Or one goddess split into three parts? What happened that they split so thoroughly that even the Elorii were unaware of them. What happened that these human Hunai do know something about this three part aspect?

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 12:25 am 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am
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Have I mentioned how much I love reading about this type of conjecture?

Congratulations! You've both advanced to Arcanis 201.

I can't/won't say if the theories are correct, but I'm impressed by the thoroughness of your scholarly approach to this topic.

Please continue. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 4:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:17 am
Posts: 206
Quote:
If so, that places Belisarda around since essentially the beginning - way before the PoM the Ssethrics, etc. What did she do with all that time?

Belisarda is divine aspect of the planet of Arcanis. You could say she was created when the planet itself was created. In the far future of To Peel the Veil of Lightness and Dark the world was dying as Belisarda was already dead. Also I found it interesting that in ARPG there is a Tier 1 Deity spell for worshipers of Belisarda called Crushing Weight which is localized gravity. This shows she is more than just nature, or life, she can control the gravity of the planet and represents the planet itself.
I am reminded of Avatars from Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda. There were Avatars of the stars, for the moons, even black holes had Avatars.

Quote:
Lyssandra may be active in defending at least some followers of Belisarda, and that she is associated with the green moon in some fashion.

If we assume that Lyssandra is the avatar of the Green moon. Then it is only Nayal who we can't identify yet. Recall the Black moon wasn't present until after the Human Pantheon arrived. Nayal can't represent the Black Moon. Whatever she represents she hates Belisarda.

Quote:
Next in time we have her discovery, apparently insane and in agony in the depth of Arcanis, talking about how he took something from her, as you've already quoted.

You have misread the line. But I understand why.
The line as written is.
“Taken from me! How could He have been taken from me?”
This means Belisarda is missing a He, whether He was taken, or He left on his own is unknown.
In the original 3.5 book the line was different.
"Taken from me! How could He haven taken it from me?"
Not only is there an unidentified He who she assumes is the thief, but also an unknown "it" that was taken.
This could just be Henry fine tuning the story, like he did with the Issori description in early modules.

There were only so many Beings that we are aware of at this time in history. And only two are male.
Kassegore
Yig
Belisarda -avatar of the planet
Lyssandra-avatar of the green moon
Nayal
Leeta of the Whispers
Khi'faree god of Shadows
As far as we know the Issori gods were dead. Even many of the heresies, infernal cults, and other religions we are aware of don't date back to before the Elorii existed. Looking at you Thousand Eyed Man.
But as you mentioned the Human Pantheon did engage in time travel, and as any sci-fi fan knows that complicates things. Why stop at only 1 time period to kill the first gods? Playing with time has unforeseen consequences. Might need to make sure certain time periods stay the course to get the outcome you want. Like making sure the Elorii are created in the first place.
What relationship would cause Belisarda to wail at the loss of a He? A child, but her first children the Tree Lords were still alive. A mate, perhaps. This mysterious He could have been a con by the Human Pantheon to make sure Belisarda was distraught and in the caverns away from the protection of her divine sisters for Ss'koreth to find and capture.

Needless to say when you introduce the possibility of time travel it opens up more possible scenarios and what ifs. I won't share my speculations only because there is too many possibilities.

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2020 7:05 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:08 am
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The Vault wrote:
Quote:
This could just be Henry fine tuning the story, like he did with the Issori description in early modules.


Not quite.

The original in the Codex Arcanis, as was most everything in that book, was written from the POV of the writer's conceits, be they individual, national, or otherwise.

I was also trying to simulate the temporal drift associated with oral traditions.

So was the word "it" in the very first time the story was re-told (or presumably when Ss'koreth heard it)? Was it added because of an honest mistake later on or was it intentional?

Was even the original statement attributed to Belisarda through Ss'koreth apocryphal or a true and accurate account?

Arcanis 2.0 graduates. Quite the rabbit hole, isn't it?

Just an FYI - this is part of a "secret" I've been seeding in the story of Arcanis for almost 20 years now. After playing the long game, I think we're closer than ever to discovering the truth.

I can't wait.

HL

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 Post subject: Re: Belisarda, and the identity of "He"
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 11:15 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 11:17 am
Posts: 206
I thought that was possible as well. You have mentioned that about the Codex Arcanis specifically.
Excited to know another secret is coming closer to being revealed.

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