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The Runes are symbols which have power inherent in them. They serve as are the building blocks of Glorantha. They are symbols, archetypes embodiments, and actual matter or energy of the mundane world. Runes originated with the very creation of Glorantha. The Runes are more than just written symbology. When a Rune is written or inscribed, the real power of the magical image is present within it. Repetition of a rune does not weaken it, but strengthens its presence and firm reality in creation.
Their precise origin is unknown, and believers in particular runes always insist that theirs was first-made. Tales link the gods of the Celestial Court with the runes, each god embodying a rune. Their interactions led to the births of the Young Gods; these newer deities are often associated with one or more parental runes as a result.
The Runes can be divided into several types. Minaryth the Purple, the great Jonstown Librarian, stated at one time that there were four types of Runes in his Hero Wars period, and we have accepted that as definitive in this article. According to this division, the Runes fall into the following four classes: Powers, Elements, Forms, and Conditions. Each god has one or more specialties within the forces described by the Runes. These are the areas in which the particular god, and therefore his or her priests, are most effective and versatile. To say that a god is a Fire Rune god, an Illusion god, or whatever, is to say that priests of that god specialize in that area.
The Elements are what Glorantha is made of, the raw and lifeless essence, unintelligent and inert except for their primal urges. They are what form the ground you walk on, the air you breathe, and the warmth that you feel. During the Hero Wars period in Dragon Pass, five elements were recognized.
Said to symbolize the members of the Celestial Court the Power Runes are unique in that they are formed in mutually antagonistic pairs. There are several other theories about the Power Runes besides this dualistic one, but we know that this theory was popular during the Hero Wars period. Some said that all of the "positive" attributes came first, while the later "negatives" were generated quickly during the War of the Gods. Some other philosophers claimed that there was a gradual step-building pattern among the deities, which follows the established Creative Devolution theories. Regardless of the truth, it is important to remember that most people, including the magicians of the time, knew very little about these Powers except the rudest beginnings of their spiritual potential. Expressions and Experiences dealing with their inner natures are tasks for the greater deities, and not the races of men. Still, no one would deny that every person knows something of each of these Powers, and may tap them in varying degrees.
This Rune is said to represent the Divine Harp with which Order was separated from Chaos. It is quite ancient and revered throughout the world. She is the power of Healing and Community. She is now manifested as Chalana Arroy, the goddess of Healing
Disorder is the First Born of the Powers, and so is the foundation of the universe. The symbol itself is of unknown origin. It is manifested as Eurmal the Trickster.
This Rune symbolizes the Ancient Cup from which the whole world was poured at the dawn of creation. It is the symbol of growth and life. It is now manifested as Esrola the Uleria, sister of Great Ernalda.
The most ancient Rune, the First Born, the Waker from the Void, from whom all other Elements were born or descended. Darkness was the first Element to arise out of the primal chaos. Darkness is traditionally most potent against Chaos. The mace and the rock are the weapons of Darkness and lead is its metal. The Darkness Rune is manifested as Subere.
Water was born of Darkness, set to floating over the sprawling sea like a pool surrounded by darkness. As an Element, it is called Son of Darkness, Pathway to the Underworld, and Supporter of the Earth. The whip, the flail, the net and the trident are the weapons of Water and quicksilver is its metal. The Water Rune is manifested as Magasta, King of the Water.
Meaning: Earth, physical things, agriculture, solidity Earth is the third Element, Queen of Life, Mother of Many, Supporter of All. She fills the central portion of the world, both physically and spiritually, and because of this, her surface is the primary manifestation of the physical plane. The ax is the weapon of the Earth Rune and copper is its metal. The Earth Rune is manifested as Ernalda, Queen of the World.