The Spiritual Legacy of Lake Spendlowe and the Proto-Olman"
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The spiritual beliefs of people inhabiting Berghof today, in the southwestern potion of the Hold of the Sea Princes, have been greatly affected by Lake Spendlowe. Although it is known to only a few, the first human inhabitants of the valley were Proto-Olman. They undoubtedly migrated into the area through the Gateway of Berghof in the Kamph Mountains eons before the Twin Cataclysms and the later construction of Adlerweg Keep to guard the pass from Jeklea Bay. It is impossible to pinpoint precisely the timing, but they would have settled its shores at approximately the same time Proto-Olmans settled in Hepmonaland, after expanding up the coast of the Amedio from their homeland to the far South and East.
Upon the shores of Lake Spendlowe, the Proto-Olman were able to continue their littoral culture and adapted their totemic theology to the native flora and fauna. It is worthy of note that totemism so strongly permeated the beliefs of the Proto-Olman in general that it influenced the “discovery” of the Olman gods in Hepmonaland, manifesting in their zoomorphic forms. The totemism also survived the absorption of the Proto-Olman living on the Amedio coast following the Olman migration from Hepmonaland. Bear, Coyote, Jaguar and Eagle were still independently revered as gods at the time of the fall of the Olman Empire, notwithstanding other divinities associated with all but Coyote, as evidenced by cultural artifacts found in the ruins of Tamoachan. Although not conclusive, the worship of Coyote in Tamoachan, may indicate that the Proto-Olman of Berghof were in direct and substantial contact with the Olman, over or around Jeklea Bay, as such animals do not live in the Amedio, but do live in Berghof. It can only be speculated that the name “Adlerweg,” translated from the local and obscure Oeridian dialect as “the way of the eagle,” is not merely coincidence, but rather a cultural survival directly related to the worship of Eagle by the Proto-Olman of Berghof.
Although with quite a different result from that which arose in Hepmonaland, the strength of those totemic beliefs facilitated the predominance of the worship of Ehlonna in Berghof, following the assimilation of the Proto-Olman by the Flan who later moved into the region. As the strange and evil disposition of the Olman gods was in part a result of harsh jungle climate in Hepmonaland, continued after their migration to the Amedio, acceptance of the benign Ehlonna is commensurate with the mild climate of Berghof which is strongly tempered by the waters of Lake Spendlowe. Totemism as a religion is not known to be practiced in Berghof in this modern day and age, but among the mixed-stock Flan inhabitants, various animals are seen as supernatural spirits in the service of Ehlonna and feature prominently in local folklore. This may not have been the case had not the temperate shores of Lake Spendlowe appealed to the littoral Proto-Olman.
Citations: The Rhola and the Toli: the Battle for Jeklea Bay
, at www.canonfire.com
, by Samwise and divers comments and forum posts related thereto and the Olman generally; C1, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
; UK2, The Sentinal
; UK3, The Guantlet
; The Scarlet Brotherhood
, by Sean Reynolds; World of Greyhawk 1983 Boxed Set.