Slow day at work meant busy fingers. I don't know how interested people are in comparative/particular mythology, but I've been running this through my head for a while now. I've mostly been caught up on the apparent lack of a trickster figure within the game's mythology. One reason for this lack might be that FFH's mythology is not a straight-up pantheism, but a pantheism wrapped up in a monotheism--there is one god, heaven and hell and everything in between, and a good/evil duality. For the most part, monotheisms lack a trickster figure, partly because they don't take well to their god being subverted, but more so because the one god is supposed to provide everything humankind needs, meaning that there is no need for a trickster/cultural hero to steal the amenities of the gods for humankind. If we're going to look for a trickster, we should look in the pantheon of the angels. Why am I looking for a trickster? Personal affinity, but as one will find among the myriad trickster myths across the world, the world is the way it is because of the trickster. He (they are very rarely female) may not have created the world, but he shapes it. The most common monomyths we find for the trickster are: -Rearranging (as opposed to creating--stealing from gods, inventing), -Deceiving, -Traveling (lives in thresholds, never belonging to one place), -Penetrating (finding pores in boundaries, turning one's strengths against them, finding a third path when facing two options), -Imitating and parodying (including obscenities), and -Making, maintaining, and traversing gaps between the worldly and the divine. All of these are ways in which trickster makes the world what it is and keeps it that way. I hope to describe how Agares does this, and how he follows the trickster's path in his actions. We'll look at some classical and some, well, Kaelian examples of the monomyths in action, and some different directions in which Agares takes the archetype. Let's follow Agares' timeline. He is first distinguished when he refuses to let his powers of creation be taken away. He goes on to steal the gems of creation from heaven. Stealing is perhaps trickster's first role in most myths; the action in itself is a one-time action that shapes the world, whereas most of his other roles are constant or repetitive actions. Like Prometheus, Coyote, and Opossum stealing fire, Hermes stealing cattle, baby Krishna stealing butter, Agares' theft is the catalyst that leads to increased independence for those for whom the quarry was stolen. Usually it's humankind, but not so with Agares. Agares' intention was to steal them for himself. He couldn't give up creating, and that desire mirrors the hunger and lust that drive so many other tricksters. Creating "not in the fashion of heaven but as he desires," he makes "a shadowy reflection of heaven." Free from any artistic limitation, he makes a parody of heaven, for himself, in secret. It's an act of self-amusement and quiet rebellion against the One. It may be "as he desires," but in his spiteful motivation he is still creating the same thing, only a reflection. Despite his rebellion, he is still trapped in the same framework he hoped to upset. Other tricksters have proven able to invent a third path, an example is Raven stealing food from a trap, preying on his predator, in effect breaking himself from the predator/prey game by becoming both. It's an aspect that Agares needs to, and will, improve on if he wants to be his own god, as Hermes aspired to become an Olympian when he invents sacrifice in his Homeric Hymn. The next milestone is when the other angels, followed by the One, find out about Agares' mischief. The One expels all 20 of them to Erebus and this is when heaven becomes separated from earth, a split that exists in all mythological worldviews. Tricksters such as Legba and Eshu are responsible for creating these, and others such as Hermes and Raven are able to move between them. At this point, abandoned, all the angels resume creating using the power that Agares stole (I assume, because it seems more likely than the One granting it back to them). They become the benefactors of Agares' theft and all except Agares create archangels. Why he doesn't create one is a mystery, but is explained in retrospect when he later creates Hyborem as a perverted reflection of Cernunnos. Again we see again his tendency not to create, but to mimic and parody. Why would Agares steal the power of creation, yet never truly create? Trickster is not a creator. He invents fishing nets, mimics others' ways of hunting, steals fire, and lives in crossroads and thresholds. He has no possessions, no methods, no home--nothing but cunning and an empty stomach. This is the path that Agares takes to achieve his goals. Instead of join the creation arms race of the Godswar, he would rather steal the others' angels. Instead of eat either meat or plants, Coyote and Raven eat carrion, which is meat acting like a plant. When everyone else is being impressed by the invulnerable Baldur, Loki finds mistletoe and kills him. Trickster's way is to copy others' ways, or find holes in their ways. "To this day Agares has more angels in his service than any other angel, but none of them were created by his hand": Greatest return for the least amount of effort. It must be around this time that Agares and the evil angels create hell. I say "create," but it is still a parody, much more elaborate this time. This is a parody of creation that turns it upside-down--the demons are made from the bottom up, from death to life. Before he was stuck between having no power to create and having nothing to create. Now he's made for himself a third domain, in which his reflections aren't parallel and mirroring, but rebalance heaven and earth. His final action in shaping Erebus was upsetting the balance once again by whispering to Bhall. It would create a domino effect of fallen angels, but we still don't know the final consequences of this. It does, however, echo Loki targeting the invulnerable Baldur, as Bhall was the source of the Order's power. His whispers also echo Hermes, who sings to the multi-eyed giant Argos and puts him to sleep. Agares is the trickster in these ways. He falls short in a couple aspects that are essential to tricksters, though: Traveling and Deceit. We hardly ever hear of the angels in any sort of physical form, wherever they are, and so it's hard to know where Agares is or where he goes. All the angels seem to live in trickster's realm on the edge of existence, and we are told that Ceridwen is in fact the angel of the threshold. As for deceit--the angel of despair has little to lie about, as lying would defeat the purpose of despair. Are there other candidates? Loki the Balseraph is surely a trickster, but we know nothing of him in the mythology of FFH so we can’t give him much consideration. The jesters and carnival-folk of the Balseraphs certainly embody a prominent form of trickster, that of parody, mimicry, and chaos, but have nothing beyond that. Likewise the liars and thieves of Esus with a different aspect of trickster. For all these reasons, I believe Agares is the most satisfying of any likely trickster as shaper of the world in FFH.