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Tell me about Elmal and Yelmalio


Eagle Talon

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  • 3 weeks later...

After reading a lot of Ride Like the Wind lore, I see it more as a St. Patrick's trinity thing. Elmal is Lightforce, Yelmalio is Lightforce etc, but Elmal is not Yelmalio. One solar son per city-state of Dara Happa. What was important is that all these Lightforce stories can be mixed together to some extent and so Elmal the Orlanthi god of the sun was less "pure" in his mythical retellings than Yemalio, which kept more of the core Solar mythology and hence was seen as more of the god than Elmal was to Monrogh.

Not-withstanding all the various talk of Yelmalio being a Unity Council stich-up (of solar sons/Lightforce), which I don't know if it was canon or just speculation.

Edited by Kettlehelm
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2 hours ago, Kettlehelm said:

After reading a lot of Ride Like the Wind lore, I see it more as a St. Patrick's trinity thing. Elmal is Lightforce, Yelmalio is Lightforce etc, but Elmal is not Yelmalio. One solar son per city-state of Dara Happa. What was important is that all these Lightforce stories can be mixed together to some extent and so Elmal the Orlanthi god of the sun was less "pure" in his mythical retellings than Yemalio, which kept more of the core Solar mythology and hence was seen as more of the god than Elmal was to Monrogh.

Not-withstanding all the various talk of Yelmalio being a Unity Council stich-up (of solar sons/Lightforce), which I don't know if it was canon or just speculation.

Elmal is Yelmalio. Pretty much every person in the 1550s agreed.

I don't know how often I need to repeat this, but let me try again. By the 1540s, the Elmal cult in Sartar was spiritually disintegrated under the influence of the Lunar Heartlands and the Yelm cult. Yelm IS the Sun. There's just no way around that - the Yelm cult can prove that, have massive resources for proving it, know the mythic pathways of the Sun a thousand times better than any Orlanthi sun worshiper, and so on. And so many Elmali embraced Yelm. These Elmali waged war against their clans and tribes, murdered a Prince of Sartar, etc. Really bad stuff that nearly destroyed Sartar. 

This is all straight out of King of Sartar by the way.

Monrogh righted all of that, by showing that Elmal is just a name for YELMALIO. Who is not Yelm. Who has his own myths and paths that Yelm does not know. Who persevered in the Darkness and was never extinguished (unlike Yelm). Monrogh could prove this and you could experience this as well. This wasn't some syncretic religious argument - you would start the ceremonies to Elmal and Monrogh would show you how to go further into the rites and have the clouds cleared, the haze removed, and see the brilliant true light. This went fast - by the 1560s there was a Yelmalio cult in Sartar that fought the trolls, supported the House of Sartar, supported the rights of the Earth Temples - you name it. 

The name Elmal was by then a byword for treason, murder, and kinstrife. 

So now, the Yelmalio cult is how Sartarites worship the Light. Yelmalio is a frenemy of Orlanth, which is not uncommon in polytheistic pantheons. But the Orlanth cult supports Yelmalio, and Orlanth Rex has built him fine temples (include the Sun Dome temple). And that basically is the end of the story. 

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24 minutes ago, Kettlehelm said:

So how are the Hyaloring Triarchy then seen in wider Sartar? I had an idea of a character whose father had died at Runegate Fort and so was being raised by his mother's family in Apple Lane.

They aren't a triarchy anymore (that got busted up about two centuries ago) and are usually just called Colymar, or Runegate clans. Some Lonisi or Enhyli might recall old stories about the "Hyaloring Triaty" - but the Taraling have no connection to that. The main legacy of the original settlers is a nice big Yelmalio the Horse temple, continuing horse worship, and horsey elements in their architecture. 

Horse worship is in the background with a lot of Orlanthi, even if they aren't noted for being great horsemen like the Pol-Joni or Pure Horse People. Think Hayagriva, the horses used in divination according Tacitus or at Arkona on Rügen, and so on. A wealthy Orlanthi cavalry warrior might well be a lay member of Yelmalio for the horsey-ness (plus the cheap training in Ride probably pays for itself pretty quickly).

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I think it was in one of the Sartar Rising adventures that they made Ulanin the Rider an Orlanth subcult. Has that been retconned?

Edited by AlHazred

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1 hour ago, AlHazred said:

I think it was in one of the Sartar Rising adventures that they made Ulanin the Rider an Orlanth subcult. Has that been retconned?

That concept of subcults has been taken back a couple of notches. Ulanin still works as a hero cult of Orlanth, as much as he did for Elmal back in the days. (If his rider god wasn't Yamsur instead.) There is also the possibility to approach him via ancestor worship. Quite a lot of the Orlanthi in Heortland have Orgovaltes roots, as far as I can tell. Possibly as many as have Hendriki roots, or after centuries where inter-marriage could have happened, both.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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18 minutes ago, Joerg said:

That concept of subcults has been taken back a couple of notches. Ulanin still works as a hero cult of Orlanth, as much as he did for Elmal back in the days. (If his rider god wasn't Yamsur instead.) There is also the possibility to approach him via ancestor worship. Quite a lot of the Orlanthi in Heortland have Orgovaltes roots, as far as I can tell. Possibly as many as have Hendriki roots, or after centuries where inter-marriage could have happened, both.

Well, a lot of Sartarites probably claim Orgovaltes roots in particular because that ancient tribe lived in the area and thus there are a lot of ruins and sacred sites to them. It's a chicken-and-egg scenario as to whether they came to Sartar because of their ancestry or "discovered" this ancestry after coming to Sartar, either to protect themselves from ghosts or spirits associated with the Orgovaltes or claim benefits from them.

After all, unlike the Hendriki, the Orgovaltes were an ancient tribe that dissolved more than a thousand years ago. Just about anyone who lived in Heortland probably had at least one ancestor from that tribe if they went back far enough, and ditto for several, if not all, of the Vingkotling tribes. It's just a matter of what's magically relevant and thus emphasized in your myths and rites.

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17 hours ago, AlHazred said:

I think it was in one of the Sartar Rising adventures that they made Ulanin the Rider an Orlanth subcult. Has that been retconned?

Ulanin the Rider appears in The Pegasus Plateau & Other Stories (page 32) -  A small cult worships Ulanin here as the Horse Lord. It should be noted that in Heortling Mytholgy (2010), Ulanin is a Hero of the Orlanth cult. Gathering Thunder (2004) did indeed have Ulanin as a subcult (page 72), but even there it said - only a few rebel bands still call on him. So although a subcult under Hero Wars rules, didn't really have the numbers. Hero Wars did really over detail the small points.

Overall Ulanin seems to be a tiny hero cult of specialist and localised interest. 

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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

So although a subcult under Hero Wars rules, didn't really have the numbers. Hero Wars did really over detail the small points.

Yes. Massively so. Things that might only consist of a single adventuring party got written up as if it was some important or significant cult.

Ulanin is not particularly important in Sartar, but he has a local shrine. If you ever read Pausanias Description of Greece, you get all sorts of details on local cults and heroes that are are unimportant or even unknown elsewhere in Greece, but HERE are their shrines. So for example:

[2.16.6] In the ruins of Mycenae is a fountain called Persea; there are also underground chambers of Atreus and his children, in which were stored their treasures. There is the grave of Atreus, along with the graves of such as returned with Agamemnon from Troy, and were murdered by Aegisthus after he had given them a banquet. As for the tomb of Cassandra, it is claimed by the Lacedaemonians who dwell around Amyclae. Agamemnon has his tomb, and so has Eurymedon the charioteer, while another is shared by Teledamus and Pelops, twin sons, they say, of Cassandra,

[2.16.7] whom while yet babies Aegisthus slew after their parents. Electra has her tomb, for Orestes married her to Pylades. Hellanicus adds that the children of Pylades by Electra were Medon and Strophius. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus were buried at some little distance from the wall. They were thought unworthy of a place within it, where lay Agamemnon himself and those who were murdered with him.

 

And that's the tomb of Atreus. No other mention elsewhere, but in the ruins of Mycenae are a bunch of ancient tombs of those famous heroes.

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I don't have any opinion on the Elmal/Yelmalio thing (I came to the lozenge through GtG, GS, and RQG), but I had often wondered about the quick turnaround from one worship to another. So FWIW, these are the exact bits that made it click for me (emphasis mine):

On 8/8/2021 at 8:45 AM, Jeff said:

And so many Elmali embraced Yelm. These Elmali waged war against their clans and tribes, murdered a Prince of Sartar, etc. Really bad stuff that nearly destroyed Sartar.

[...]

Monrogh righted all of that, by showing that Elmal is just a name for YELMALIO. Who is not Yelm. [...] This went fast - by the 1560s there was a Yelmalio cult in Sartar that fought the trolls, supported the House of Sartar, supported the rights of the Earth Temples - you name it. 

The name Elmal was by then a byword for treason, murder, and kinstrife.

What I had previously vaguely understood as "Monrogh showed up and asked the Elmali to update their rituals to Elmal 2.0" seems to be, in fact, "Monrogh got the Elmali out of a bad spiraling situation by showing them a win-win solution out of it". No wonder everybody rushed to the Sun Dome...

Edited by lordabdul
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6 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I don't have any opinion on the Elmal/Yelmalio thing (I came to the lozenge through GtG, GS, and RQG), but I had often wondered about the quick turnaround from one worship to another. So FWIW, these are the exact bits that made it click for me (emphasis mine):

What I had previously vaguely understood as "Monrogh showed up and asked the Elmali to update their rituals to Elmal 2.0" seems to be, in fact, "Monrogh got the Elmali out of a bad spiraling situation by showing them a win-win solution out of it". No wonder everybody rushed to the Sun Dome...

Yes. Had Monrogh not had his vision, the Elmali would have broken the Kingdom of Sartar, been destroyed themselves in feud and vengeance, and the Lunar Empire would have conquered Sartar probably in the 1570s if not soon.

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So, how exactly was Jarosar murdered? Jarolar fell in battle, and so did Tarkalor after the establishment of the Sun Dome Temple. Or was it Saronil who was targeted by the Elmali?

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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This particular kin strife sounds somewhat new, or I missed it. It doesn't come across that way in published sources... simply proselytizing.

Is there somewhere in The Guide that I can read about it? Looking in the Sourcebook, I only see that open violence emerged between the two factions.

SDLeary

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4 minutes ago, SDLeary said:

This particular kin strife sounds somewhat new, or I missed it. It doesn't come across that way in published sources... simply proselytizing. Is there somewhere in The Guide that I can read about it?

SDLeary

Making Gods, from King of Sartar. Also hinted at throughout the History of Dragon Pass materials.

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

And that's the tomb of Atreus. No other mention elsewhere, but in the ruins of Mycenae are a bunch of ancient tombs of those famous heroes.

Remember, sir, that Leto has his Tomb of the Skull, Paul is revered as a liing god, and Leto the Second is the God Emperor of Dune.

Mock not the Atreides.

Seriously though, there were associated cult shrines throughout what had been Achaean Greece and Crete.  Simply because Atreus only had a dedicated shrine at Mykenae doesn't mean that he wouldn't receive associate worship at the temple of Menelaus and Helen outside Sparta, for example.  I would be amazed if he didn't.

The present generalisation and simplification of cults does history, and players, no favours.

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1 minute ago, Jeff said:

Making Gods, from King of Sartar. Also hinted at throughout the History of Dragon Pass materials.

So from a Sartarite Orlanthi perspective, the Sun Domes are those Solar mercenaries that live between Sartar and Volsaxiland. They fight as mercenaries, generally hold themselves aloof from most festivals, except to show up at the big Ernalda ceremonies. Some are friends, some are enemies, but generally we are neutral towards them. Trust them when they agree to do something for you, but don't assume they will do the right thing unless they have already agreed to it (which usually means paying them).

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OK, I see the things that I've read before... yes, proselytizing successfully a group that was unsatisfied with their faith (and had started to worship a foreign god, Yelm), a group that was so disaffected that they were an insurrection, and caused a Clan to disintegrate. Establishment of the Sun Dome, and so on. The rest of the Elmali "who wanted to join the new Sun God" (KoS p169) doing so.

Nothing shows to the level of threatening the Kingdom, unless the Elmali at that time were MUCH more numerous than they appear to be. Yes, some (a large proportion?) did refuse a Kings request for aid, but I imagine there were others (from other clans) that did muster at the request.

"The Yelmalio cult has now eclipsed the native Elmal cult." (Sourcebook p118), but has not eliminated it. Still not seeing where they murdered a Prince of Sartar.

I do note though that some things have changed. KoS 1e states that it was the Elmali that were rewarded by Tarkalor, and Yelmalions in 2e (and Guide). Yet both are called out as separate deities in the Guide, only Elmal being the Sun God of the Orlanthi. 

🤷‍♂️

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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2 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Nothing shows to the level of threatening the Kingdom, unless the Elmali at that time were MUCH more numerous than they appear to be. Yes, some (a large proportion?) did refuse a Kings request for aid, but I imagine there were others (from other clans) that did muster at the request.

Still, refusing a Prince's call is generally bad for your image. See how well the Maboder did after pulling the same kind of stunt. Worst case, you could frame it as the Elmali rebranding themselves as Yelmalio worshippers as a way to escape the social stigma of their decisions.

 

2 hours ago, SDLeary said:

"The Yelmalio cult has now eclipsed the native Elmal cult." (Sourcebook p118), but has not eliminated it. Still not seeing where they murdered a Prince of Sartar.

I suppose it's not eliminated because there's still the Runegate people keeping its cult alive, and there are probably a handful of people in each tribe clinging to it all around Sartar. "Eliminated" would mean there's exactly zero Elmali left, which we know isn't true.

As for Elmali murdering the Prince, it's a bit of "conveniently filling the blanks" in King of Sartar. Prince Jarosar is said to have been "killed by Lunar spirits" on p154, but poisoned "from a friend's hand" on p30. We know that KoS is being vague and contradictory on purpose, so you can go with whichever option you want, I guess, but we know Jeff goes with the second option. And we know that he attributes this "friend's hand" to a treacherous Elmali:

I don't know if there's any other published source that favoured option 1, or any published source that had already attributed the "friend's hand" to someone else.

Whether this is "tying up loose ends nicely" or "egregious retcon'ing" is an intellectual exercise to the reader. As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy that it gives me a good historical framework to work with for my Glorantha.

 

2 hours ago, SDLeary said:

I do note though that some things have changed. KoS 1e states that it was the Elmali that were rewarded by Tarkalor, and Yelmalions in 2e (and Guide).

KoS 2e p115 says he "gratified the Elmal worshipers by seizing new territory", but that they formed a "new tribe" called Sun Dome Temple there. On p169, it says Tarkalor promised rewards to the "disgruntled Elmali", and that when he rewarded them with new lands, the Sun Dome Temple was begun. So this all happens around the time of the shift, but it's clear he called onto the Elmali for help.

The Guide however seems to be written, ahem... "pre-retcon" (let's say it just "simplifies things") and indeed says Tarkalor asked his "Yelmalio allies" for help.

 

2 hours ago, SDLeary said:

Yet both are called out as separate deities in the Guide, only Elmal being the Sun God of the Orlanthi.

KoS has a full write-up of the "Elmal-is-Yelmalio" story. And remember that KoS is a "collection of in-world documents" and as such, you get these sweeping lists of things with questionable "authenticity". For instance, that list of deities (p39-42) that has Elmal and Yelmalio listed separately also has Heort and Geo and Autero/Goldentongue and so on -- all heroes and minor gods that are modelled as sub-cults in RQG. So Elmal being modelled as a sub-cult of Yelmalio in RQG doesn't seem out of place.

Edited by lordabdul
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I hadn't considered that Elmal was the Orlanthi name for the Hot/Big Sun god, or rather that the Elmal cult that existed in the Third Age around the time that Sartar gets settled etc. is a syncretic confusion between the Cold Sun and the Hot Sun. This clears up just about all of my lingering confusion on the matter. (Also, good lord the Elmal cult must have been a nightmare ritually, since all the hot fire magic consists of calling upon the Little Sun to call upon the Big Sun for you because you don't practice the ritual purification necessary to chat with the Big Sun directly, which puts me in mind of having to be put on hold with a bureaucratic agency because the person with the authority to authorize your request is currently on vacation...) 

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

Still, refusing a Prince's call is generally bad for your image. See how well the Maboder did after pulling the same kind of stunt. Worst case, you could frame it as the Elmali rebranding themselves as Yelmalio worshippers as a way to escape the social stigma of their decisions.

Oh, most certainly not good for image. And, as far as rebranding, those that did become disaffected and worshipped Yelm do seem to have come out of it OK in the end (as a group), with their own autonomous region. They were the initial source of the Clan's troubles though, and seem to have caused tribal trouble far in excess of what their numbers probably were.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

 

I suppose it's not eliminated because there's still the Runegate people keeping its cult alive, and there are probably a handful of people in each tribe clinging to it all around Sartar. "Eliminated" would mean there's exactly zero Elmali left, which we know isn't true.

As for Elmali murdering the Prince, it's a bit of "conveniently filling the blanks" in King of Sartar. Prince Jarosar is said to have been "killed by Lunar spirits" on p154, but poisoned "from a friend's hand" on p30. We know that KoS is being vague and contradictory on purpose, so you can go with whichever option you want, I guess, but we know Jeff goes with the second option. And we know that he attributes this "friend's hand" to a treacherous Elmali:

I don't know if there's any other published source that favoured option 1, or any published source that had already attributed the "friend's hand" to someone else.

Thank you for that thread link, I'll go check it out. 

Filling in the blanks is OK, I suppose... but the "friend" could be anyone. Even someone who is trying to further their own interests in helping to cement the position of the new establishment of a faith in a new land.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

KoS 2e p115 says he "gratified the Elmal worshipers by seizing new territory", but that they formed a "new tribe" called Sun Dome Temple there. On p169, it says Tarkalor promised rewards to the "disgruntled Elmali", and that when he rewarded them with new lands, the Sun Dome Temple was begun. So this all happens around the time of the shift, but it's clear he called onto the Elmali for help.

And the Sourcebook completes the transition, as it states that it was Yemalions that were rewarded (p26).

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

The Guide however seems to be written, ahem... "pre-retcon" (let's say it just "simplifies things") and indeed says Tarkalor asked his "Yelmalio allies" for help.

Yes, in the section on Volsaxiland on p259. But it doesn't say that they are the Elmali, only that they are his allies. And the rest of the guide seems to imply that Elmal is still the Orlanthi Sun God (please correct me if I've missed other sections... the guide being a massive tome with very tiny print! Though a PDF search really hasn't come up with anything else).

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

 

KoS has a full write-up of the "Elmal-is-Yelmalio" story. And remember that KoS is a "collection of in-world documents" and as such, you get these sweeping lists of things with questionable "authenticity". For instance, that list of deities (p39-42) that has Elmal and Yelmalio listed separately also has Heort and Geo and Autero/Goldentongue and so on -- all heroes and minor gods that are modelled as sub-cults in RQG. So Elmal being modelled as a sub-cult of Yelmalio in RQG doesn't seem out of place.

Yes, that's always been the issue with Stafford Library titles, but one that I like. They almost? always contain more than one document, and included documents are from the perspective of the writer. This is where all the little oddities and contradictions flow from; and to me its one of the things that makes the inhabitants of Glorantha feel more real. 

I'm not really ticked that Yelmalio has replaced Elmal. I'm ticked that a god of Mercenaries (and a light god of Aldryami), a minor god of an enemy pantheon, one that has no loyalty to the clan or tribe, has managed to displace The Loyal Thane and Guardian of the Stead for over 1500 years, in the space of 80 years. There HAS to be something more going on here that we haven't even had a hint of, or (yes I'm going here) a part of the story that is of the future and hasn't been revealed yet.

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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Reading this thread ive been struck by an idea i might toy with Yelmalio isn't a god he is a phalanx of gods all the other names he goes by are actually individual members of the godly phalanx of light and each sun dome actually worships a different member of said phalanx 

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