Deity of Love in the Azolin Pantheon
Member of the Central Pantheon
As beautiful and capricious as the sea that birthed her, Glorantha is impossibly gorgeous no matter what disguise she puts on. Men and women fall in love with her the moment they lay eyes on her. Glorantha herself falls in love with equal fervor - only to come crashing out of love a few months later. She is fickle, demanding, and fascinated by intelligence yet never really seeing its use. She represents all facets of love - the deep passion and purity of true love, the capricious and fragile love of youth, the anger and hurt of betrayed love, and so on. Her is sometimes known as the Lady of Love, and the Princess of Passion.
She appears as a human woman (though sometimes a man) of phenomenal beauty, dressed in a simple gown and adorned with jewelry. She is usually smiling and in fact is often called “smile-loving” or “laughter-loving.” True to her nature, Glorantha has not only inspired other deities to acts of passion (with each other and with mortals), but has indulged in several affairs of her own.
Glorantha herself is said to be benevolent and sometimes whimsical, alternating between deep passions and shallow flirtations. She has been romantically linked with many of the Azolinan powers in the myths of the world, although she has never borne any love at all for the gods of fury and many of the dark gods, since their functions posit the destruction of many beautiful things, both living and inanimate. Currently, she is rumored to be rather smitten by the noble Ramman.
The Gloranthan church’s organization is loose and informal, and its leadership changes regularly with the whims of its clergy. The most charismatic clergy are usually the high priests and priestesses. Little is thought of a priest dropping everything and going bounding off into the wild, particularly if the goal is some object or individual that has ensnared the passions of the priest, and such behavior creates little scandal in the church.
Glorantha’s clerics are matchmakers, dispensers of advice to the lovelorn, and general meddlers in other people’s personal business. They are also prominent hedonists, seeking out every opportunity to enjoy what pleasures this world offers before moving on to the next. Most are gentle and peaceable, and few find any reason to adventure. Those that do adventure generally do so out of a belief that their actions can improve the world, making it a more peaceful place where love can flourish in the absence of violence and evil.
Troubadours of Passion: Love is the ultimate form of expression. Through the crafting of sculpture, song, poetry, paint, and dance, the Troubadours seek to revel the world into a dance of consuming passion and love. Bards, artisans, druids, and various others seek this fellowship to prove their loyalty, desire, and devotion to lovers across Azolin. To own, take part in, or witness such works brings favor upon a relationship, if only for a night or for a lifetime. The Troubadours find themselves constantly following and passionately seeking the followers of Oghma.
Order of Sanguine Ardor: The Order provides counseling and conviction to the fellowship of lovers. They spend the entire year devoid of pleasuring the body. In their studies and travels, they speak with the troubled of the heart. All they ask in payment is a simple smile or hug. The order includes a majority of women, though men have begun to join in recent years. They remain in shrines to the Lady of Love. These shrines are homes with beautiful gardens, natural springs, and other natural wonders. Once a year, when Glorantha takes the form of a man, she visits the shrines to bless her chosen with love, granting them an evening of passion.
Eyes of the Beloved: Although loves are won, more times than not they are lost. The Eyes seek justice for lovers who have been spurned, hurt, or killed in their passions. They speak to those who are found as victims of painful love, those who remain after raids by bandits, attacked on streets, forced into working in brothels, or withered in the courts of royalty. At times, they seek the ghosts of the fallen heroes and loves lost. For each of these, they seek a clearing of crimes, balancing the scales between the victim and aggressor. The goals and actions of the Eyes differs between each follower, becoming a personal quest between the victim, the faithful, and Glorantha.
Glorantha’s temples are beautifully decorated with fine art and precious implements. They are usually found only in cities, though the goddess herself is revered wherever the concept of love is treasured and marriage is the covenant of the family. Her temples are monuments to the architectural arts, and her followers are asked to demonstrate love through an unselfish act every day.
Ritual of Passion's Flame
One of the most insidious rituals of Glorantha's clergy is the Ritual of Passion's Flame, which seeks to create artificial love in the subject(s) for another target, usually the priest(s). The ritual is a form of powerful mind-control, which exerts a form of charm upon the targets replicating a powerful and obsessive love. The ritual is considered an abuse of Glorantha's power, though the deity does not seem to object when her more dedicated subjects use it to control others. It is not true love, but Glorantha seems to not distinguish - to her, all love is sacred, no matter what the type.
The church of Glorantha has begun to adopt the traditionally elven holiday of the Day of Hearts as their own, a time when love is rich and warmly celebrated.
The deity of love takes many forms, always attractive but mostly evocative of love, passion, attraction, even obsession. She is the mistress of all that is love and thrives on the most tender of emotions. Many deities, from Pelor to Hextor, have become smitten with the goddess of love, but she remains aloof (though flirtatious), reserving her love for the mortals who revere her name. The worship of Glorantha is prevalent in cities and among the aristocracy, where people have the time to give proper attention to values such as romantic love. She does not have enemies in the obvious sense of the term, but she does oppose Tharizdun and Loviatar both for their desire to destroy everything (and by extension love) and the perversion of passion and love for pain and suffering, respectively.
A common manifestation of Glorantha's presence or favor is a gentle, phantom caress or kiss, usually accompanied by a soft crooning that only the goddess and those truly loyal to her can emit. This sound is performed endlessly in most temples of the goddess and is familiar to all faithful worshipers of the Lady of Love. Alternatively, Glorantha can manifest as an unseen surge of excitement in the air that makes all beings in a locale passionate, more energetic, and forcibly attuned to the sensual — that is, made acutely aware of the smells, tastes, and feel of their surroundings. Glorantha also shows her favor through the appearance or presence of fire doves, flame poppies, rubies, roses or rose petals, chestnut horses, satyrs, slyphs, nymphs, and dryads.
Myths and Legends
Rise to the Pantheon
Glorantha was a lovely girl born to the rural outskirts of an ancient civilization. Saddened for having a daughter, not a son, her parents thought their lives would be doomed without an added pair of strong arms for the chores of logging. But Glorantha was strong in other ways. At a young age, she had a touch of the earth. With murmured prayers and thanks to the world, flowers bloomed and sickened trees did not wither but grew strong. Her parents were proud of their child...until tales began of the witch. Glorantha was a child of nature, of the druidic faith. None questioned her passions until she feel helplessly in love with a lad. Strong and tall, he could fell a tree with a few mighty swings of his ax. But his eyes were not hers to have.
Scorned, she entered the woods to search out the roots needed for love. The very wilderness around her felt the tricky stirrings of desire, passion, and anger. Watching, the deities of the wilds noted the girl and wondered how love could drive one so. Tales of the witch grew, one who haunted the woods and stole the hearts of young male woodcutters and hunters that entered. Fathers gathered to find and burn the witch. Glorantha, distraught and terrified escaped further into the wood. Here she fell into a slumber under an ancient oak. During the night, whispers assailed her. And what she thought was dream was real.
She awoke to find that around her neck was a pearl and opal heart on a thin chain of rubies. It was warm and hummed with a power to will her to her feet. A new purpose filled her as she left the wood. Upon leaving, she cut a lock of her hair, burying it and her possessions as a final farewell to her family. She traveled the world to see all she could. And one day, while sipping wine at a lovely garden park, a green-eyed gentleman stopped to visit. They spoke for hours on end of the fickle ways of love. They embraced and lain with each other the evening through. From that day and night, she was fully the goddess of Love, as the gentleman was Obad-Hai and sponsored her rise into the Pantheon.
"The heart burns with need and ache setting to fire the skin and alighting the eyes. Electric as storms in a nighttime sky, high above forests of silvered leaves and a dove’s call. As potent as any brew that heightens the senses and tickles fancy. Love is the longing to be and to be had." -Orlando de’Lievan, Troubadour of Passion’s Embrace
Glorantha's lair is in Amoria, in Elysium. The lair is in a roughly circular clearing in a forest. The clearing has green grass on the ground. At the center of the clearing is an unassuming cottage made of stones & mortar, logs & tar, and a chimney. However, when one enters the clearing in the forest, one can feel the love emanating from the cottage. The cottage, and the green grassy clearing that surrounds it, is protected by very powerful magic which reduces the power of any magical attacks to a minuscule fraction of their original power and reduces the size of weapons and intended attackers to the size of mice. With the exception of attackers, being within the clearing causes any wounds or other ailments to slowly heal. Being within the cottage itself causes any wounds or other ailments to rapidly heal.
Glorantha embodies the joy of passion, freedom, and whimsy of love. Her brand of passion creates rather than destroys life, and she celebrates the love of life in all forms. Laughter-loving Glorantha urges her followers to take whatever pleasure can be extracted from life without allowing social strictures to squelch their freedom, their compassion, or their lust for love and life. Though she promotes the ideals of good, she does not demand that anyone take up arms to promote it. Though her own actions have provoked great conflicts, Glorantha would prefer to see mortals make love rather than war.
Novice Gloranthans receive the following charge: “Love none more than yourself save Glorantha, and lose yourself in love of the Princess of Passions. Perform a loving act every day, and seek to awaken love in someone new each day. Respond to love at least once in a day."