From Boatsheds to Battlefields 74 Great Omelette Feast

End of 73rd Entry: Cautiously the fifteen men representing the five sections of the troop crept up the dune – from the summit they looked down on the Police Station standing still and ghostlike in the lunar rays.

An hour passed then slowly the night began to change to day but no signs of movement could be seen in the buildings. The sun rose flooding the desert with waves of red. The stillness of Death reigned.

“I want two volunteers to gallop up to the buildings and draw the Germans if they still there,” said the Lieutenant at last. “Rhodesia will go I know, eh Osmond?” Mick and a young Dutchman volunteered.

“Get your horses and keep well apart” ordered the Lieutenant. “If they’re still there I’m afraid you lads are going to certain death, but it won’t be forgotten. If they’ve evacuated the post they’re sure to have laid mines or set some devilish trap according to their pleasant little customs so be careful. Don’t enter the building or ride right up to them unless you’re certain the station is deserted. Gallop around and give Jerry a chance to show his hand. If you see anything or hear a sound turn and gallop like hell for the scrub or back to the Dunes.”

The Lieutenant shook hands with the two, took down the addresses of their next of kin, and whispered to Mick that Rhodesia would get full details if the worst befell him.

Returning to the horses the two mounted, said brief prayers trotted around the dune and driving in their spurs raced for the buildings.

The ground seemed to fly past beneath their galloping horses, the wind howled in their ears Mick, yelled Tipperary to the silent threatening mass before them. On the dune summit, the troopers laid fingers on triggers.

Round the buildings swept the two but it was all silent. They halted before the doorway – then carefully examining every inch of ground for suspicious signs Mick dismounting walked up and opened the door.

Once more the elusive enemy was gone.

The others now rode up and for a while, every man except two, who were sent scouting around the vicinity, busied themselves in search of loot. Ample evidence existed that the Germans had been at the station the previous day evidently departing in great haste at the news of the approach of a strong British Patrol.

Related image

Many interesting souvenirs were collected Mick unluckily missing most as he and his mate who had been with him in the dash on the station, wasted an hour blowing the office safe open to find it empty.

After an hour’s halt, the Lieutenant once more moved the troop in the direction of a fairly large German town.

That afternoon a big encampment of half-caste Hottentots, the famous Bondelswarts was encountered. These deadly foes of the Germans, well armed and travelling with waggons, flocks of sheep, goats, and herds of splendid cattle had been moving about the Kalahari in bands strong enough to defy any but a powerful body of troops.

Image result for bondelswarts namibia

The Germans with many bitter memories of former clashes had not attempted to molest them and so far the Half-castes had refrained from participating in the War. They were ready and eager to give any information regarding the movements of the Germans and to offer unbounded hospitality to British troops.

From them the Lieutenant gathered that the Germans were drawing in all small bodies of troops, clearing the country of civilians and evacuating frontier posts, concentrating on the town of Keetmanshoop. One interesting item of news given by the Bondelswarts was that a large convoy of civilians including some English was only fifteen miles away under a small German escort.

The Guide who knew several of the Bondelswarts personally found that his wife and family were amongst the refugees and earnestly pleaded for an attempt at their release. A Council of War was held but the Lieutenant though itching to have an opportunity to do something material felt it his duty to point out the impossibility of conveying civilians amongst whom were women and children back to the road the troop had come.

Eventually, after much hesitation, it was decided to abandon any idea of attacking the convoy and to resume the patrol.

Shortly after leaving the Bondelswarts a nest containing twenty ostrich eggs was found and a great feast of omelette followed.

Another day was spent in riding along the border but the farmhouses encountered were deserted and eventually the horses’ heads were turned homewards.

When the camp was reached it was found that troops, mostly Boer Commandoes were pouring in and that an immediate move was to be made.

The rebellion shattered and finished, Generals Botha and Smuts were intending to push forward the campaign against the Germans with all the rapidity and vigour they possessed.

Image result for general botha and smuts german southwest 1915The only photo of the meeting
of General Botha and General Smuts in the field

General Botha himself took command of the Northern Army operating from Walvis Bay. General Smuts directed operations from Swakopmund against the strongly entrenched German position at Aus which blocked the road to Windhoek, the Capital. Colonel Berrangé with picked men rode through the Kalahari to attack from the landward side. General Van Deventer was to advance from the South.

D Squadron hailed Mick’s return with enthusiasm for he was very popular and every man was needed. That very evening the column was advancing to the attack on Ukamas, a German strong point which was supposed to be heavily garrisoned.

 

The Feet of the Young Men by Rudyard Kipling

Bernard Leffler refers to the Red Gods fascinated I did the Google search:

The Feet Of The Young Men

Now the Four-way Lodge is opened, now the Hunting Winds are loose —
Now the Smokes of Spring go up to clear the brain;
Now the Young Men’s hearts are troubled for the whisper of the Trues,
Now the Red Gods make their medicine again!
Who hath seen the beaver busied? Who hath watched the black-tail mating?
Who hath lain alone to hear the wild-goose cry’
Who hath worked the chosen water where the ouananiche is waiting,
Or the sea-trout’s jumping-crazy for the fly?

He must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

So for one the wet sail arching through the rainbow-round the bow,
And for one the creak of snow-shoes on the crust;
And for one the lakeside lilies where the bull-moose waits the cow,
And for one the mule-train coughing in the dust.
Who hath smelt smelt-smoke at twilight? Who hath heard the birch-log burning?
Who is quick to read the noises of the night?
Let him follow with the others for the Young Men’s feet are turning
Too the camps of proved desire and known delight!

Let him go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

I

Do you know the blackened timber — do you know that racing stream
With the raw, right-angled log-jam at the end;
And the bar of sun-warmed shingle where a man may bask and dream
To the click of shod canoe-poles round the bend’
I is there that we are going with our rods and reels and traces,
To a silent, smoky Indian that we know —
To a couch of new-pulled hemlock, with the starlight on our faces,
For the Red Gods call us out and we must go!

They must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

II

Do you know the shallow Baltic where the seas are steep and short,
Where the bluff, lee-boarded fishing-luggers ride?
Do you know the joy of threshing leagues to leeward of your port
On a coast you’ve lost the chart of overside?
It is there that I am going, with an extra hand to bale her —
Just one able ‘long-shore loafer that I know.
He can take his chance of drowning, while I sail and sail and sail her,
For the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

III

Do you know the pile-built village where the sago-dealers trade —
Do you know the reek of fish and wet bamboo?
Do you know the steaming stillness of the orchid-scented glade
When the blazoned, bird-winged butterflies flap through?
It is there that I am going with my camphor, net, and boxes,
To a gentle, yellow pirate that I know —
To my little wailing lemurs, to my palms and flying-foxes,
For the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

IV

Do you know the world’s white roof-tree — do you know that windy rift
Where the baffling mountain-eddies chop and change?
Do you know the long day’s patience, belly-down on frozen drift,
While the head of heads is feeding out of range?
It is there that I am going, where the boulders and the snow lie,
With a trusty, nimble tracker that I know.
I have sworn an oath, to keep it on the Horns of Ovis Poli,
And the Red Gods call me out and I must go!

He must go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world he’s overdue.
‘Send your road is clear before you where the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

How the Four-way Lodge is opened — now the Smokes of Council rise —
Pleasant smokes, ere yet ‘twixt trail and trail they choose —
Now the girths and ropes are tested: now they pack their last supplies:
Now our Young Men go to dance before the Trues!
Who shall meet them at those altars — who shall light them to that shrine?
Velvet-footed, who shall guide them to their goal?
Unto each the voice and vision: unto each his spoor and sign —
Lonely mountain in the Northland, misty sweat-bath ‘neath the Line —
And to each a man that knows his naked soul!

White or yellow, black or copper, he is waiting, as a lover,
Smoke of funnel, dust of hooves, or beat of train —
Where the high grass hides the horseman or the glaring flats discover —
Where the steamer hails the landing, or the surf-boat brings the rover —
Where the rails run out in sand-rift . . . Quick! ah, heave the camp-kit over,
For the Red Gods make their medicine again!

And we go — go — go away from here!
On the other side the world we’re overdue!
‘Send the road is clear before you when the old Spring-fret comes o’er you,
And the Red Gods call for you!

From the Rudyard Kipling Society

Notes on the text 

(by Mary Hamer drawing on various sources, in particular
Ralph Durand, “A Handbook to the Poetry of Rudyard Kipling” 1914.)

 

Fourway Lodge

‘They were constituted by adherence to the basic rules of the cosmic system, with sunken hole as receptacle for the hot stones, seating protocols, spirit directions, tobacco thank offerings, prayer flags and special songs to the spirit helpers of the owner. The sweat progressed through four sessions of sweat, appropriately to the spirits of the four directions in the cosmic structure, each of which ended by opening the flaps of the lodge to allow for the spirits to leave and the devotees to cool.’Earle H. Waugh,Dissonant Worlds, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1996 pp 56-7.

 

The Red Gods

‘The Trues in the verses are – well, the Trues – the old original four or five head-deities of the Red Man’s mind –the old Beast Gods I think they were – Buffalo –Beaver – Elk/Coyote – or something of that nature. At any rate they are the Red Gods of the hunting grounds – earth spirits waking man up in the spring.’

THE RED GOD AND HIS ANCIENT INSPIRATIONS.

THE RED GOD AND HIS ANCIENT INSPIRATIONS.

Many authors draw on real world inspiration for aspects of their fantasy world. George R.R. Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, is known for doing this.  Many of the religions he has created draws on aspects from the religions of our world.  Some of them have multiple inspirations all combined together. The faith of the Red God is one such religion; combining aspects of Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism.

The faith of the Red God emerged 5,000 years before the beginning of A Song of Ice and Fire in a city called Asshai.  Assai is at the end of the known world in Essos. It is shrouded in mystery because of its distance and its inhabitants use magic, discouraging people to visit. [1]  From there, the religion spread through many of the trading cities such as Volanatis, Lys and Braavos where the great temples are located. There are few temples in Westeros, like in Oldtown but are mainly for the sailors from Essos.LordOfLightProtectUs_JZee

The followers of the Red God believe that there are two gods: The Lord of Light, The Red God or R’hllor and the Great Other, whose true name is forbidden to say. R’hllor is the god of life and heat, opposite to him, the Great Other is the god of death and cold.  The two are locked in an eternal battle that will determine what happens to the world.[2]  A priest of the red god, Melisandre, comments on the Great Other with, “These little wars are no more than a little scuffle of children before what is to come. The one whose name must not be spoken is marshalling his power, Davos Seaworth, a power fell and evil and strong beyond measure. Soon comes the cold, and the night that never ends.” [3]     Throughout the books there is a fear that because of the long summer there will also be a long winter. Winters are always harsh and now there is the threat of the White Walkers moving north of the Wall.  Until recently they were thought to be mythical, but the member of the Night’s Watch and the wildlings know better. The White Walkers are thought to be agents of the Great Other. [4]

Within the sacred texts, there is a tale of a great hero that will fight against the Great Other.  Azor Ahai was the chosen hero of the Lord of Light during the Long Night.  He along with others defeated a great host of White Walkers and banished the darkness. [5]He had a sword named Lightbringer that was forged over one hundred days and quenched in his wife’s blood. When he drew it, it was aflame and became a beacon of hope. The followers of the Lord of Light believe he will return and save them from a great darkness.[6]

The use of fire is very important to the faith of the Red God.  It is involved in many of their rituals and is used to see visions. The rituals are used to pray to R’hllor to bring back the dawn every night in fear that the Great Other will take over.  The visions are thought to be R’hllor showing priests the future and what they should do. The temples have large fires that never go out and are a centre for their rituals. Some priests are gifted with the power to raise the dead, conjure fire and understand the visions from the flames. [7]

The two major characters following this religion are Thoros of Myr and Melisandre of Asshai. Both were sent to Westeros to convert kings and gain support for the fight to come.  They have both demonstrated their powers through the visions they have and Thoros raises one of his friend from the dead seven times. Melisandre forcibly converts the inhabitants of Dragonstone when she burns the idols of the Seven and burns people who will not convert or are planning to undermine her. [8]

[9]The religion of the Lord of Light draws inspiration from Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism.  Zoroastrianism originated with the prophet Zoroaster around 1,500 BCE.   Through him, the god Ahura Mazda wrote seventeen hymns called the GathasThe Gathas were gathered with other texts that outlined rituals into the text called the Avesta.[10] The Avesta was written before the sixth century BCE. Before it being written, the rituals were known in oral culture reaching back to the time of Zoroaster. The spread of Zoroastrianism was helped by the three Persian Empires of Achaemenid ( 550-380 BCE), Parthian ( 250 BCE- 224 CE) and Sasanian ( 224-651 CE) where it was the state religion.  These empires spread across the Middle East with its heart in Iran.[11]

Those who follow Zoroastrianism believe there is one god called Ahura Mazda, who created the universe and is linked with light.  He is described as the “Lord of Light”, “Creator of the World”, and “the Ones who Knows”. [12] Working with Ahura Mazda are the Yazatas, also known as the divine sparks. There are six of them that represent different features of the world like the sun, moon, earth, fire, water and wind.[13]Opposite all this are the aspects of destruction and evil. The Daevas are described as false gods and the source of evil. They hold power over people through their actions and are the cause of things such as greed, gluttony, lust, wrath, envy, envy and sloth.

The reason for having aspects of evil in the world is to show that people have a choice. If everything was good, then people would have no choice in their actions.   Evil is created by people when they make decisions that are harmful and are extensions of Deavas and Angra Mainyu.

Atashgah_fire_temple_2010

Zoroastrians believe that fire is a representative of Ahura Mazda in both a physical and metaphorical sense. With this, Ahura Mazda is present in the fire. [14] They built temples to hold sacred fires that are used in rituals.  The highest out of the three orders of fire is called the victory fire or Atash Bahram. It consists of sixteen different fires from varying origins like fire from a goldsmith, fire from a potter, and fire from lightning. Once each fire is collected, they are consecrated separately and then eventually combined. It is then enthroned in the temple and is never allowed to go out.[15]

Many religions have saviour figures that will save humanity at the end of the world.  The events that happen is called eschatology.  For Zoroastrianism,  Zoroaster’s third son, Shah Behram Varzavand,  is the saviour.  Him and his brothers are conceived after their father’s death through the use of his seed in the Lake Kansaoya. When woman baths in it she becomes pregnant. Shah Behram Varzavand will be born with signs like stars falling and others to let the world know. He will perform a ritual for Ahura Mazda and begin the rising of the dead. With this, he begins the healing of the world.[16]

[17]The faith of the Red God is not a direct parallel to Zoroastrianism but instead draws influence from it. There are similarities in the dualism with the forces of good and evil, the use of fire, and aspects of the eschatology.   The main connection with Zoroastrianism is the use of fire which is sacred, being an extension of Ahura Mazda. The followers of the Red God never actually state why they put such importance on fire other than it keeps the shadows away.  Melisandre has a constant fire going in her room and maybe a parallel to that belief and that relating to fire temples. [18]   Being a priest of the Lord of Light, they have the ability to see things in the fire.  Some say this could be the voice of R’hllor guiding them from the flames and that he is part of the fire. [19] Azor Ahai is meant to directly fight against the agents of the Great Other while Shah Behram Varzavand is meant to heal the world.  One is the leader of a great battle while the other will directly help humanity.   Both have nothing to say on the discussion of matter and spirit being evil or good.  There are some religions that believe the material world is inherently evil and that the spiritual word is good.  Zoroastrians believe what makes up good and evil is up to the individual and their choices.

The other inspiration is Manichaeism. It has more parallels with respect to the dualism.  Manichaeism was founded during the Sasanian Empire ( 224-651 AD) in Iran. The Prophet Mani was born in 216 AD. He composed seven writing and even presented one to the king at the time.  The religion spread quickly thought the empire as the kings were religiously tolerant.  Mani used many teaching from before found in Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Christianity. He thought that many of these teachings were unfinished and elaborated on them through his works.[20]

Mani saw the spiritual world of light as good while the material world of darkness representative of evil. The light that was originally used to create the world is slowing being leached out and returning to where it came from. Eventually, all material things will die.  The forces involved in the dualism are The Father of Greatness, who is a not omnipotent good power and The King of Darkness who is the evil power that is semi-eternal.  Building on this, Mani addresses the origin of evil.  A person is both influenced by good and evil powers and they battle inside everyone. No person is intrinsically evil simply because they have a physical form. The Cathars in the Middle Ages may have drawn some of their beliefs from this.[21]

[22]There is more of an overarching parallel with Manichaeism than with Zoroastrianism.   The dualism between the Red God and the Great Other is similar to that of The Father of Greatness and The King of Darkness in Manichaeism.  Both sets are equals who are in constant battle for the fate of the world.  There is nothing about the importance of fire and the eschatology is simply the world dying with the souls of the dead returning to The Father of Greatness.

George R.R. Martin drew aspects of the Faith of the Red God from Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism. From Zoroastrianism, he used the importance of fire and some of the eschatology.   From Manichaeism, he used the dualism between good and evil to create  R’llor and the Great Other. All of this combined created the Faith of the Red God.

[1] George R.R. Martin, Ellio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson.  The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones. (New York: Bantam, 2014): 308.

[2] R’hllor. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last modified December 14, 2014.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/R%27hllor

[3]George .R.R Martin.  A Storm of Swords. (New York: Bantam, 2000): 500.

[4] The Great Other. A Wiki of Ice and Fire.  Last Modified March 8, 2015.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Great_Other

[5] Martin, Garcia, Jr., and Antonsson.  The World of Ice and Fire, 11.

[6] Azor Ahai or clash of Kings 118

[7]  R’hllor. A Wiki of Ice and Fire.

[8] G.R.R.  Martin, Clash of Kings. (New York: Bantam, 1999): 111.

[9]  Vengrence.” Game of Thrones Lore Extra – the Lord of Light.”  Youtube video. 3:39 February 17, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXtUTNqKOjw

[10] Jenny Rose, Zoroastrianism: A Guide for the Perplexed. (New York: Continuum International Publishing Group,

2011): 71-74.

[11] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 77.

[12] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 23-25.

[13] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 33.

[14] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 29.

[15] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 131-133.

[16] Rose, Zoroastrianism, 55.

[17] TwoBinc. “The Zoroastrian Journey”. Youtube video. 9:19. April 30,2009.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K83F4URTS9I

[18] George R. R. Martin. A Dance with Dragons. (New York: Bantam, 2011): 448

[19] R’hllor. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last modified 14 December 2014. http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/R%27hllor

[20] “Manichaeism”. Wikipedia. Modified April 15, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

[21] “Manichaeism”. Wikipedia. Modified April 15, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

[22]  Hyperrealpda. Manichaeism. Youtube video. 9: 44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otYwkIa_qIM

Works cited

Azor Ahai.  A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last modified December 14, 2014.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Azor_Ahai

Hyperrealpda. Manichaeism. Youtube video. 9: 44. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otYwkIa_qIM

Martin, George R.R.  A Clash of Kings. New York: Bantam, 1999.

Martin, George R.R.  A Dance with Dragons. New York: Bantam, 2011.

Martin, George R.R.   A Storm of Swords. New York: Bantam, 2000.

Martin, George R.R., Ellio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson.  The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold

              History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones. New York, Bantam, 2014.

Melisandre. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last Modified March 30, 2015.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Melisandre

“Manichaeism”. Wikipedia. Modified April 15, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism

R’hllor. A Wiki of Ice and Fire. Last modified December 14, 2014.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/R%27hllor

Rose, Jenny. Zoroastrianism: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Continuum International Publishing

Group, 2011.

The Great Other. A Wiki of Ice and Fire.  Last Modified March 8, 2015.

http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Great_Other

TwoBinc. “The Zoroastrian Journey”. Youtube video. 9:19.  April 30,2009.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K83F4URTS9I

Vengrence.” Game of Thrones Lore Extra – the Lord of Light.”  Youtube video. 3:39 February 17, 2014.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXtUTNqKOjw

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