Zatesh of Doorways is the most powerful of the alternate Lunas. There was a conflict between hundreds of potential spirits-of-the-moon to see which would survive. At the end, Zatesh and Luna outlived all of their "brothers and sisters" to face each other. The details of how she defeated him were unclear, but the win must not have been entirely complete, for Zatesh is such that he yet exists within her. It was he who carries a falcastra (gigantic reverse-blade scythe) that pulls and cuts the Wyld, and his namesake "Doorways" has rather ominous connotations to it.
But I digress—you missed one very important point about the idea. None of the alternate Lunas were real. Each was fighting for the right to be born, to be made true and given form and power. The Primordials likely could not have realized all of them for true, but between Cytherea and Oramus, conceptualizing countless numbers of them within the Beyond was easy. So none of her alternates escaped, because none were truly made, except for all of them that survive within her as a part of who she is.
Well I love talking about Luna. I put so much heart into writing her, that I am proud to share my insights on her. Had the aspects run longer, I would have been able to tell you quite a bit about some of her alternate selves. Cattalesta, for example, became smitten with Luna, and gave herself up to be consumed, adding her power to Luna's so that Luna would have a better chance at surviving.
As with all the alternates, I knew that I would not have time to write them up fully, so I wanted to give you the best idea about them I could in as little word count as possible. One of the best ways of doing that was to give them evocative names, names that would confer not only personality, but also potential appearance and theme; forex, Phrye, the Third Eye Pyramid, Beloved Cattalesta.
Abraxus I named for a powerful word in magic lore and the occult, one with several astrological connotations. I wanted Abraxus to feel like an incredibly powerful sorcerous entity, one more deeply steeped in magic than Luna. Her title, Premises of a Dark Star, was to create a very ominous contrast to the Unconquered Sun. If she had been born rather than Luna, rather than the unique argent perfection of the moon, which is unlike anything else, we might have had a dark star flying compliment to the sun—some immensely powerful being set all polar to the Unconquered Sun, but neither as original as Luna, nor even nearly as complex. As for actual deities that inspired her, there were a few. Hecate was the main one. Abraxus shares her tri-horned tiara.
Another poster was wondering how to imagine the "other Lunas." There are a lot of clues within their names and what little is written about them to tell you that they were vastly different from Luna, most particularly Zatesh, whom Luna has sealed inside her with one of her wholly original aspects. But to help you along—yes they were mostly very different beings vying for the right to be born, and Luna absorbed all of them to become what she is. Some may have been silvery and similar to Luna, and obviously, many of them have qualities which Luna still carries today, so even the very different, most powerful and unique alternates shared some strong conceptual basises with Luna; each could have qualified for spirit of the moon, although each might have made a vastly different impact on Creation (see Abraxus) or represented the moon in a much different way.
In the very end Zatesh and Luna swindled, cheated, seduced, and out-fought all of their rivals until it was only them, and then Luna defeated him…but her encounter with Zatesh still effects her to this very day.
True & she is undoubtably strengthened by Zatesh's nature. On the other hand, his own survival as a self-willed force within her seems a distinct exception to her usual nature & unique from the other possible moons.
This is absolutely correct. Zatesh is a part of her now. For the most part, that means he shows up in her mien and her personality; sometimes she is seen carrying his scythe, and perhaps even speaking in his voice.
In Glories you see that her most powerful alternates live on inside her to the degree that she is able to engage them in subjective discourse, and if she is able to take any shape she chooses, they might do more than just kick around inside her head from time to time. Zatesh is the most forceful of all of these, and by turns you can expect that he is both a great help to Luna, but also quite troublesome to her. However, all of these separate spirits are now Luna, they belong to her and are a part of her, flow from her, so it is not so much that she has a number of extra passengers, except that her own power, dreams, and imagination are such that she might make them real within herself, or for herself, if she is not careful. You won't really see Zatesh take control of Luna…but Luna is crazy; you might see her externalize Zatesh to the point that he does.
It is 100% likely that the Maidens have approached her throne at Silver Chair and had to address one of her alternates, asking permission to speak to Luna, or that they summon the Silver Lady to form so that they might carry out business…and if it be Zatesh on the throne at the moment, then woe to the Maidens, for it would take quite a lot of grief to get him to relent.
The Sublunarian Deep of Silver Chair is sort of like a sluice for all the dream-stuff Silver Chair is pulsating into reality. It's where the stuff gets really sticky, builds up, and becomes real. Luna's essence is so heavy flowing through those cooridoors that it sometimes spins the Wyld into the shape of people, things, monsters, etc, from Luna's mind. Sometimes these things echo her most powerful alternate personalities, but again, the moon itself is dripping with Luna's essence. I designed the Sublunarain Deep to be as close to walking through the mind of Luna as I possibly could.
So to answer Inugami, you could potentially encounter and interact with Zatesh in several different ways.
Zatesh makes her much stronger, but like many great heroes, she has to keep that power on a leash.
Who is to say, with all that Luna personifies, that she isn't waging a constant war to survive with powerful new concepts emerging within, either born from her own essence, or the shadows of those beings who she had to strangle in the womb in order to be born herself? If Luna is in a constant state of evolutionary trial, if she is ever-tested by premises-beings that seek to take her place, and if this has gone on for millions of years since her creation, and she has triumphed from then until now, then Luna is truly the greatest survivor in all of existence.
Yeah, but all that thunder and noise means she must be terribly distracted and weakened by an endless internal struggle.
Not really. She is defined by the contradictory forces inside herself. They serve to make her fickle, ever changing. She has a few constant traits that yet remain: she is mighty; she is seductive. She may have moments where she grows weary, times when she wishes to be someone else, but what good hero doesn't?
You are also discounting times when all of her aspects fall into line behind her and are in complete synchronization with her psyche. "Central to all of these aspects is Luna."
Is she in a state of chaos? Yes. Is she hobbled by it? Fuck no.
The originals aspects (Bloody Huntress, Silver Horned Watcher, the Bride, the Navigator, the Walker) leave me in a pecuiliar position, because they were invented by another writer. I had to bring them forward, update them a bit, but otherwise they kind of operate on my feelings in accord with what was written about them before. I introduced the concept of alternate Lunas to give you a basis behind why Luna might have all of these alternate personalities or identities, and HOW she might have come by them, and to give you enough of an idea of how it works to come up with your own. She has many aspects, alternate selves, secret identities, etc, so that players can have fun expanding and designing her.
As for the alternates themselves, all of the names except for Abraxus and Samesshana were pure invention on my part, (Holden gave me the name for the latter). I will more fully discuss these characters in a later post, as I need to go for awhile.
For the most part, Zatesh is just a part of Luna's mind now, yes, but I would not put it past him to be dangerous because Luna herself is dangerous, and powerful enough to make him real for herself. Luna takes on aspects that are influenced by the presence of her alternate selves, to show that she has become something born out of myriad other things and those things together help to express what she is, she being an almost unnamable quality of perfection that is always shifting and has only a few definite, never-changing traits. But in those scenarios, Luna has taken the shape of some aspect contrived wholly of her own imagining, and is merely touched by the presence of her contemporary selves.
I would not guarantee that Luna taking on the full form of Zatesh is ever a good or safe thing, because, whether she is giving him free reign, or is pretending to be him and has convinced herself she is him, Zatesh is different from Luna in major ways, with his own set of values and ideas on how the domain of Luna should be conducted.
The alternates were left pretty broadly open for interpretation, as I had no room to really expand them, so whatever you impose upon them yourselves is absolutely valid. I can share a few of my personal thoughts on each however.
Zatesh was inspired by Loki, Janus, and the Grim Reaper. I imagined him as the "Moon God of Chaos" who was more interested in the Wyld and its effect on the world, on sowing chaos and keeping the world unpredictable and harsh. Like Luna he was very interested in creating survivors but his terms for survival were much more harsh and he seemed disassociated with mankind while yet retaining necessary interest in Creation, because so much of his time was spent looking toward the Wyld. He was also supposed to pull double duty as a moon deity in its associations with death and grave omens, and likely would have had quite an interest in the border-grounds of the Underworld, Shadowlands, and the dark side of the moon (where Luna may summon the Ebon Dragon). I came up with the name Zatesh because it has the heavy tone of something Biblical and associated with death or eschaton. When at peace with Zatesh, Luna gains his far-seeing, his wise and fearless approach to the horrors of the Wyld and the Underworld (Zatesh feels himself master of the other/outer realms), and many of her chaotic connotations come from him. Her deviousness and penchant for shenanigans and tricks are all original to Luna, although sometimes Zatesh may aid her in more sinister or devastating jokes from time to time.
As for Phrye, I picked a name that I felt would confer supernal wisdom. Her title was indeed a reference to the Great Seal of the United States seen on the one dollar bill, which features the Eye of Providence floating over an unfinished pyramid. I have personally found that image to be by turns mystifying and creepy since I was a kid. It's funny where inspiration comes from. As I understand her, Phrye was a rumor amongst the alternate Lunas, a whisper of something that waited at the end of eternity. Most were so concerned with fighting one another that they discounted her existence. Clearly at some point during the conflict, Phrye began to move and a number of contemporaries began to vanish at an alarming rate. It was revealed that Phrye had cut down dozens of the other potential spirits by means none of the other gods-to-be could comprehend. More alarmingly, while they were busy consuming one another to grow stronger, Phrye refused to absorb her kills, wanting to rise to prominence untainted. Only after she was the sole survivor would she claim the others into herself. Worrisome also was that Phrye never really appeared, but made herself known through signs and disembodied voice, making her very difficult to defeat. Eventually an alliance of potentials (including Luna and Zatesh) journeyed through the Beyond to a place of desolate sands at the end of eternity (I believe it to be the sands of Cecelyne's Endless Desert long before it truly existed) and found Phrye, which appeared to be this living monument obscured by the swirling sands. She was so unlike the other spirits and so supernally wise and deadly that she struck fear into a number of the other potentials, and they struggled in vain to find some way to defeat her. It was Luna who took the shape of some animal, possibly a wolf, who infiltrated the monument to encounter the truth at the heart of the mysterious and terrifying moon spirit. She conferred with Phrye for a number of hours and Phrye took her on a journey of the cosmos to honor her for making it that far, and to share with Luna some of her wisdom, before attempting to kill her in a place that had yet-to-be, possibly with the still-unrealized Maidens looking on. Luna defeated her there, and was the only alternate to see what Phrye really was. She reconciled instances of Phrye into her guise of the White Navigator.
As for Cattalesta, I picked a name that sounded like a type of bow. I knew that the Bloody Huntress was probably an Artemis archetype, so I imagined the Arrow Sentinel as a peerless archer huntress and incredibly martial being who protected Luna in several bloody battles and eventually gave her life so Luna could survive, which gave her the "Beloved" part of her name.
Samesshana, the Silver Mirror, has even less to it than Cattalesta. I recognized in the Bride a number of potential sources, mostly lunar associations with fertility and cycles, which could point to Diana or Ixchel or a number of other more obscure deities. Not seeing a direct correlation between the Bride and any certain aspect, it was decided that the child the Bride is carrying should be the get of one of the alternate Lunas who laid with her during the conflict and was subsequently destroyed (probably by Luna herself). I imagine Samesshana as a gender changing being that is somehow a reflection of whatever one sees in it, and has strong ties to using the moon as an oracle, or drawing omen from the phases of the moon. Samesshana also serves to represent the unknown, and aids Luna's aspect as a walker between worlds, usually bearing the tidings of a mystery.
Abraxus, I have already talked about in this thread.
The Chthonic Baara is set outside all of these aspects, and is an example of Luna's Creation-shattering power; as she draws upon all things she can percieve in and out of existence to become this terrible unbound monster. She did not have this power during her struggles with the alternates, having only gained it in the time since her birth. I'm sure they would have all shat a collective brick to have seen it. Some posters have compared it to Godzilla, I believe. Definitely not far from the truth. Chthonic is self explanatory. As for the name Baara, I picked it because it sounds beastly and predatory at once.