Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories
Blueface finds Balazar
Hey, listen up and I'll tell you a story. Back before your uncle was born, and before his uncle was born, even before his uncle's uncle, uncle was born Blueface was troubled. No matter where he went he found foes. No, not the Redwyrm hearth. They're not foes, they're just our sometime rivals for food. We may war on them now and then but they're not our foes. By foes I mean the darkmen, the treemen and the stonemen. They are all terrible beings. The stonemen with their skins of smooth stone and their mighty magic can make people die at great distances. Stay away from their burrows though and you're usually safe from them anyway. The treemen, they sneak through the forests that they love and cover us with showers of arrows. As long as we stay away from their trees we're safe, from them anyway. But the darkmen, they're the worst. The other two types of people will just kill you but on top of that the darkmen will eat you too. Every one of them from the little ones slaves to the bigger ones, which the greenest hunter can slay to the great ones which are as strong as ten men and nearly as big will eat you if they can. They are all, each and everyone tainted by the spirit of Cannibal. And they used to be everywhere.
Now Blueface like I said before was troubled. He was then as he is now the bravest and most widely roaming of us all. He was troubled because everywhere he went he found our foes. He turned over a rock to find some stuff he needed for his magic and there was a stoneman. The stoneman tried to use his magic on Blueface but he was too quick for him. Quicker than you or I can think Blueface tossed a spirit at that stoneman. The spirit chewed his face off and away he ran to die. He stepped behind a bush to make water and there was a treeman. The treeman tried to shoot arrows at him but Blueface threw a woodpecker spirit at him that pecked him full of holes. Thud he fell down dead. He stepped into a shadow and there was a big and a little darkman. Well he tossed a hearth spirit at the big one and that one ran off in flames screaming. The little one he ran through with his spear.
This sort of thing happened over and over everywhere he went. Whenever Grayrunner Runefang was with him he leapt upon them and ate them or ripped them into splinters or shards of stone. But both of them were getting tired and Blueface thought, "I'll run out of spirits before I run out of foes. And what about my people, they aren't as powerful as I am. They don't have as many spirits as I do. What are they to do? Our foes will surely kill us all." And he listened and on the wind he heard our people crying for aid. So he was very troubled and as he always did when he was troubled he asked the great spirits for advice. First he asked Brother Dog who was as always easiest to find and eager to please. Well he snapped and he growled and he told Blueface to rip their throats out. Blueface rolled his eyes and shook his head saying, "My teeth would wear down to nothing before I killed all of them." Brother Dog whined but Blueface thanked him by throwing a bone spirit to him.
Next Blueface went to Foundchild who was not so easy to find. He went to Foundchild's camp but he wasn't there as usual. He wandered over hill and mountain and through forests and bush looking for him and finally after a long look he found him. He asked the great hunter what he should do and Foundchild told him that the Votanki must hunt their enemies down and slay them with their javelins. Blueface shook his head and said, "We will wear down our feet to nubs and run out of javelins long before we run out of foes." Foundchild grimaced and shrugged and went off to hunt again. So Blueface went to the Hearthmother's camp and asked her what they should do. She suggested that they should seek peace with their foes. Blueface grimaced and remembered all the wrongs the Votanki had done to their foes and how weak we were compared to them. He said, "To live in peace is always my dream but we would need to be stronger before we could have peace with our foes. Peace won't work. Not yet anyway. First we need to be strong." Hearthmother bowed her head and wept for her children.
Blueface then decided to ask the Wild Mother what they should do. He walked proudly along humming and whistling. As he got closer to her lair he felt unfriendly eyes watching him and the plants grew wilder and more twisted and the path got harder to follow. He felt uneasy and stopped humming and whistling and walked slower with less confidence. When he was within sight of her lair he stopped and looked at the pile of human bones towering over the entrance to her cave. He shook his head and thought, "I know what she would suggest we do, perhaps I'll seek another way first." So he snuck away instead.
Finally Blueface went to find Grandfather Votank to ask his advice. He went to his camp where he found him lounging by his fire eating wild carrots. Greeting him as he would his best loved uncle Blueface told Grandfather Votank why he was troubled. Grandfather Votank frowned and slowly nodded. "This troubles me too. Soon I fear there will be no one left to call me Grandfather." He slowly chewed another wild carrot thoughfully. Blueface squatted patiently on his heels to wait for what he would say next. "But I have thought long upon this matter and I don't think our traditional ways are going to help us, unless we were to flee these lands. But then where would we go?" He shook his head sadly. Blueface sighed and said, "Well then if our old ways don't work maybe I need to find new ways." Votank nodded and replied, "I think that would be best. But remember we tried the dragon ways and they didn't work. Be careful whose ways you try and adopt. Make sure that they are prepared to take at least as much as they give. And beware because one day soon the followers of the moon will come and offer us their truly strange ways." With that Grandfather Votank went back to thoughtfully chewing on his wild carrots.
Blueface wandered off deep in thought. He wandered aimlessly for quite some time before he spotted a strange light in distant hills near the lands where the Stormfollowers live. "What can that be," he thought, "It doesn't look like a fire." He decided to check it out and ran that way. After a short run for him he came to the light. He found it coming from a outlander tent. He approached it and standing before the flap he called out, "My name is Blueface, shaman of the Votanki, whose tent is this?" The flap lifted and a strong voice from within said "Enter". Stooping, Blueface entered the tent and was blinded by the light within. He was invited to sit down on a stool equal in value to that of any clan chieftain. He did so and when his vision cleared he saw before him an outlander men and three short haired man in strange clothing who had the look of Votanki returned from slavery among the Stormfollowers. Or were they the slaves of this strange man? The light was coming from a spear standing beside the strange man's stool.
The three short-haired Votanki looked at the strange man as if asking permission to act and he nodded. They then rushed over and greeted Blueface like a shaman should be greeted. After the greetings were done Blueface looked at the stranger. He sat straight and tall on his stool and looked honest. "Who are you?" asked Blueface. "I am Balazar Lightson and my god has led me to this land to be your friend," said the stranger. Blueface was amazed, was this the solution to his people's needs? He remembered Grandfather Votank's warning though and decided to carefully test this outlander. "If you wish to be our friend you must respect us," he said, "do you respect us." "Of course", the stranger replied. "Are these three your slaves then that they must look to you for permission?" "No, " replied Balazar, "they are my followers. They look to me for leadership." "Among the Votanki we follow our leaders due to their worthiness and they lead by example. It is right to allow your elders and leaders to speak first but we needn't ask their permission first." "I will remember that," replied Balazar.
"And what do you bring us, your new friends. Why are you worthy of our friendship. Are you a great hunter, do you gather food like the women or make things like the crafters among us?" "No," replied Balazar, "I am neither a hunter nor a gatherer. I cannot make things. I am a warrior and a leader of men. That is what I offer your people." Inside Blueface was shouting his joy, a strong warrior and leader was just what his people needed right now. But outside he kept his face impassive. "Oh, can you show me how mighty a warrior you are?" Balazar nodded and the five of them left the tent. Balazar and his Votanki followers marched close together each grasping their long spears. Balazar carried the glowing spear from his tent though with a word he had muted the glow.
As they walked along Balazar would point here and there casually and his followers would rush into the bushes or behind a tree and there would be a scuffle and the sounds of a brief fight and the follower would come back out with a dead darkman on the end of his spear. But always the little ones. But then a horde of the bigger darkmen with their little slaves, brought by the news of Balazar's follower's victories over the little darkmen gathered. They blocked a valley with their numbers, pounding on their drums and chanting. They grew braver and a great darkness gathered over their heads. Balazar and his followers watched impassively. Blueface started gathering spirits and watched the mob of trolls nervously. "Aren't you going to defeat them?" he asked. Balazar replied, "When the time is ready." So Blueface watched nervously as the darkmen got more and more frenzied. Finally just before they were going to charge Balazar nodded and he and his followers started chanting to their god. The sky above the darkmen opened up and rays of light shone down on them. The little ones were terrified but the big ones kept them from running away. A huge darkman bigger than all the rest charged forward and Balazar called fire down from the heavens which killed him in his tracks. His followers called fire down as well and the little darkmen ran off screaming. Then wielding bright lights and sharp spears the four charged the darkmen and slew those who didn't run away. And then they chased the ones who escaped and slew them too. And then they just stood there and offered quiet thanks to their god.
Blueface's mouth dropped open. "You've won a great victory and you just stand there? That's not how we Votanki celebrate." And he showed Balazar and reminded the former slaves of how Votanki celebrate victories by doing a wild victory dance. The followers remembered quickly and joined Blueface in his dance. Balazar watched stone faced for a while but then all of a sudden he joined in. He was clumsy and stiff but soon he too was dancing a proper victory dance.
Well Balazar showed Blueface that he was a great warrior and leader. He kept us away from the stonemen and made peace with the treemen. He showed our warriors how with his god's aid they could use light as a weapon against the darkmen and we drove them out of our land. He wasn't perfect but we made him our leader. He showed us how to live behind walls in the same place and some of us did to their loss. But most importantly of all he always listened to us. He told us of his ways and we told him of ours. He didn't like or accept all of them but at least he listened. Even today our leaders and followers keep to the path that Balazar showed us but they remember to do so as Votanki, not outlanders.
This page last modified April 24, 2002
Last updated September 25, 2016
Glorantha is a trademark of Chaosium, Inc. Gloranthan material on this page is copyright ©1997-2016 by Oliver D. Bernuetz or by the author specifically mentioned on an individual page. Glorantha is the creation of Greg Stafford, and is used with his permission.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org