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Explorers of Shanri: The Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne

PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:34 pm
by Nihilistic Mind
The Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne are mentioned in many texts and the references have always been vague about how they worked and what they did.

Works such as 'Guthrin Bannin of Iblin: A Life' (ref. 1), 'The Winter Althua of Godfren Yvarai' (ref. 2) and 'Trials and Tribulations of an Elk Ytola in the Wolf's Garden' (ref. 3) strongly suggest that the Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne were special spirit guides and servants of the not-so-famous Suaven, Blooded of the Falcon. They were patronized by nobles under special circumstances, usually after a lengthy bureaucratic request with the Temple of Ashthuura Thorne in the Capital City. Often times, if not consistently, the Blooded patron would not follow the ways of the Suaven and it is suggested (page 364, ref. 1) that there is no expectation as such. Other peculiar reports about the cult can be found among other sources but they are not as significant as the work I wish to speak of in this article.

The little mysteries surrounding the cult of this particular Suaven have prompted famous Historian and ven Scholar Nicolas de la Porte du Theuil to research it further.
Recently, he has published a lengthy essay about the strongest source on the Q'Val themselves, including translation of the ven texts, annotations and quotes from other sources paralleling and supporting his facts, and of course, his usual long and thorough bibliography on the subject at hand.
The source itself is a series of scrolls found in carved stone cases with metal inlays; the lot itself, found in the underground of a small house in Palmyra, Syria. Scientific study of the physical finds is still undertaken by Dr. Alice Sheffield, of the Institute of Ismaili Studies. Needless to say that her reports on the provenance of the metal inlays and stone, as well as carbon dating on samples of the scrolls themselves are impatiently awaited by many ven scholars.

Additionally, a translation of Nicolas' Essay into English is being worked on now (to be later published by Cambridge University Press, UK) and I'm happy to share the broad strokes of what the texts reveal until the translated work is finally published.

What we find in Nicolas' Essay 'Explorers of Shanri: The Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne' (ref. 4) are the reports of the Q'Val to some obscure governing body of their Cult, although this branch belonged to Guunald'inir City, not the Capital branch of the cult.

The Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne were essentially explorers for Blooded ven who patronized the Suaven they followed. The order of their Suaven was a bureaucracy and among the Q'Val, there were clear hierarchies of leadership based on a merit system that is described and quantified in the scrolls discovered in Syria.

The Q'Val of the cult would travel at the request of their Patron, who paid generally in food, metal and other practical offerings as determined by the nature of the service the cult rendered. Sometimes, the Patrons of the cult would simply have a shrine or temple built upon their lands, as a show of good faith, even if the Patron himself was never expected to attend.
The Q'Val themselves did not deal with the bureaucratic bookkeeping aside from their individual reports.

Several of these 'reports' detail the exploration of newly acquired castles in search of any passages and ways the new Lords wished to make use of. There are also some rare and rather extravagant reports of dealing with a variety of rooms possessed by Spectres, or Regions infested by particularly nasty and resistant tribes of ork. But the most fascinating is the groups of Q'Val 'hired' to explore the Ruins of the Sorcerer Kings. These explorers would bravely deal with anything they encountered there and some of their reports are truly amazing to read. It would be commonplace for the Q'Val and their Patron to determine what the cult kept and/or gave to the Lord who hired their services based on what their losses involved and the general competency of the group of Explorers. For that reason alone, sometimes men who belonged to the Hiring Lord would come along, not to help, but rather simply to ensure things are distributed in a fair fashion based on the reports of both the Explorers and the Hiring Lord's Accountant.

Thus far, we know that the cult rose quickly over the course of 160 years, then seemed to actually dismantle overnight. While the reason is widely speculated at, the common concept behind the end of the Explorers of Shanri came when the Suaven Ashthuura Thorne was destroyed.

Reference 1: 'Guthrin Bannin of Iblin: A Life', Essay written by Prof. Hotemi Mirumoto, Tokyo University Press.

Reference 2: 'The Winter Althua of Godfren Yvarai', translated by Prof. Evelyn Quintanel PhD., Private Collection, though currently on special loan to the Shanri Research Institute.

Reference 3: 'Trials and Tribulations of an Elk Ytola in the Wolf's Garden', translated by Prof. Andrew Hugolin, Private Collection.

Reference 4: 'Explorers of Shanri: The Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne' (Original Title: 'Les Explorateurs de Shanri: Les PrĂȘtres d'Ashthuura Thorne'), Essay written by Nicolas de la Porte du Theuil, Editions Maison Nocturne (Nocturna Press), France, 2009.

Re: Explorers of Shanri: The Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne

PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:40 am
by JohnWick
*Approved by the Shanri Research Institute.

Re: Explorers of Shanri: The Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:12 pm
by Nihilistic Mind
An excerpt from my own research on "Explorers of Shanri":


A note on pronunciation: Ashthuura
The pronunciation of all ven language is hotly debated and the opera fragments are the only source for the rhythm of language the ven used. The opinions vary wildly from scholar to scholar, not to mention the countless dialects, accents, variations and fashionable new uses of certain words and expressions in the courts every season.
As a scholar myself, I prefer to use the pronunciation of the name Ashthuura as found in the guide,
Basic Understanding of Ven Language and Scripture, volume 2 (ref. 5), written by the remarkable italian scholar Jania DiValia.
In her guide, she explains that Ashthuura is actually pronounced Ash'ura. The "thu" part of Ash'ura is sometimes used to mark a slight pause or emphasis, depending on the part of Shanri it is used. Since this is consistant with the "Order of Ashtur" pronunciation, I have chosen to adopt Mrs. DiValia's way of pronouncing the Suaven's name.
Other scholars may suggest other ways of saying the name of the Suaven herself, such as AshTTura or Ash'i'Kira. Feel free to adopt your own way of saying it. As a scholar yourself, you are entitled to your own research and opinion, after all. I won't pray for Ash'ura's Wrath upon you, I promise.
You will note that I maintain the spelling Ashthuura in order to stay consistent with the original texts concerning the Order of Ashtur.


Reference 5, 'Basic Understanding of Ven Language and Scripture, volume 2', written by Prof. Jania Alexandra DiValia, UniversitĂ  degli Studi di Firenze. (please note that the second edition, 1st printing was used, not that the editions have differed too much as far as I can tell).

Re: Explorers of Shanri: The Q'Val of Ashthuura Thorne

PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:03 pm
by Nihilistic Mind
Another short excerpt from my own research on "Explorers of Shanri", from an article on the prominent figures of the suaven mystery cults and the q'val influence on noble ven society.


The q'val in ven society


It was Lady Ecks, High Priestess of Talia in Western Shanri who saved the Province of Ashkelmar from Emperor Jaymen Steele. In many pillowbooks it is told that she seduced him, Talia's Blessings upon them, and that they spent an idyllic summer together. In other tales however, in the epic Operas of the high courts, it is told that she boldly threatened the Emperor himself, claiming that if his Imperial Guard marched on Ashkelmar, his heart would be fleeting and frivolous, but that the hearts of those he so loved and longed for would be cold to his romantic advances. In other words, she poetically warned him of Talia's Wrath, should he follow through with his plans of conquest.