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Elmal/Yelmalio in Holy country


Ironwall

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Just now, Jeff said:

I recommend a careful reread of King of Sartar:

"The withdrawal of the nomads revealed a greater threat: the native Dara Happan Solar religion which covered all the regions previously occupied by the nomads. The impact upon the Theyalans is recorded, but the crushing splendor of the great golden towers of the Dara Happan Sun God was especially strong upon the Elmali.

The Theyalans recognized that Yelm, the Dara Happan Great God, was the manifestation of their own Emperor, an enemy of Orlanth. The Orlanthi also realized that Yelm was also the Sun God.

Although no battle was fought pitting Yelm against Elmal, the overwhelming material and magic from the lowland religion slowly enriched the upland cult. The enrichment was at first in ways which did not matter at all, for the Orlanthi ways said nothing about them. So gold was the metal most used among them for non‑decorative items.

Later, some of the Elmal clans adopted lowland ways because they were more effective, such as when they started using the heavier Lod‑plow, or began weaving gold threads into their tapestries.

Once the Eyetooth Clan brought in the antesmia statue. They did it because they were rebelling against their king, and they wanted to be able to bring a Sunspear down from their god, and were willing to pay eternal worship and tribute to a foreign deity in order to succeed.

 

Tarkalor was the youngest son of Prince Saronil, who was very old or already dead at this event. He was looking for a way to make a name for himself, and had been dragged into a feud with Kitori clans. He sought allies among the enemies of his father, and promised the disgruntled Elmali that they could have their own lands, and the chance to make their own rules, if they would help him in his task against Darkness. They did, and as a result of their powers the Kitori were smashed, and their survivors ran away into the waste places. The conquered lands were divided among the victors. The best were given back to the beastmen, and the rest to humans. The Volsaxi Tribe was begun, and the Sun Dome Temple too. Monrogh, the first Son of Yelmalio, swore loyalty to Tarkalor when he became king, but no other count has.

Monrogh Lantern was the son of Jarosil, the son of Venharl, of the Running Fox Clan. As everyone knows, he had the Peculiar Vision at his initiation, but unlike all before him he saw the portents come true, recognized opportunity, and risked all to achieve it. He alone of hundreds since the Dawn succeeded and established the Temple.

Monrogh is the one who traveled to the Sun God to find the truth which was needed. He traversed the worlds, and met with the elf lords and the wandering souls who had still been seeking the vision. They were assembled as the Witnesses, who have brought their magics to the cult.

Monrogh did not know the name of the god for whom he searched, but when he returned to this world he brought back Yelmalio. This deity was already known among the elves, and was said to be the wounded body of the Sun limping across the sky (perhaps even the immortal part, since it was not in the Underworld with the Emperor.) He recited the List of Visionaries, whose works had prepared the way for the liberation of Yelmalio among humans.

The success of Monrogh at attaining the truth attracted the rest of the Elmal worshipers who wanted to join the new Sun religion. They were the first converts.

The number of converts grew quickly, and Monrogh organized a band under Varthanis Brighthelm to accompany Tarkalor’s kinsman, Dorasar, to the ancient city of Pavis. He was so much more popular than Dorasar (and successful against the trolls of the Big Rubble) that half the surviving tribes asked him to lead them.

Varthanis also chanted the List of Visionaries which included Arinsor Clearmind, a famous lord among the dragonfriends.

 

The old religious/social conflict of the traditional and innovative Sun worshipers had weakened many kingdoms throughout Peloria before. Tarkalor managed to disarm it and strengthen his position at the same time. Whether Tarkalor was conscious of what he was doing we do not know, and he did not tell."

Elsewhere Greg confirmed to me that:

"Prince Jarosar was fourth, who was called Hothead. He was the son of Jarolar. He found the Stone of Two Colors. He built a great road. He fell to poison, from a friend’s hand."

Referred to the Elmali. The Prince was killed by one of his own Elmali bodyguards (similar to Indira Gandhi being killed by two of her own Sikh bodyguards.

Now I am emphasising this stuff more strongly because thanks to KoDP and Storm Tribe people started imagining Elmal as the "Friendly Paladin" cult. Which the above passages definitely are not. Or this one as well:

"Jarosar Longarrow, also called Hothead, was easy prey for the wiles of the Lunar king. Treachery among the tribes came to the fore when the Elmali clans refused to help him. He reigned only four years, from 1565 to 1569. Yet even in this short time he followed dynastic tradition by building a permanent road from Jonstown to Isle Dangerous."

Or this:

"Compare the Grazer’s conservatism with that of the Sartarite Sun worshipers. Their original god Elmal was crushed under the culturally rich and materially successful Pelorian Sun religion, which eventually proved itself so enticing to the Sun‑worshiping hill folks of Sartar that the Tanahart Clan destroyed itself with kinstrife during the reign of King Jarolar, fighting to say which god was their god."

There is some clumsiness in the Making of Gods essay above, as it does not make it clear we are dealing with two waves of contact between Elmali and lowland Peloria. The first is in the First Age in the wake of the defeat of the Suns of Son, the second is in the Third Age after the foundation of the Kingdom of Sartar. 

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Carry the sequence of events through though. The ones who were seduced by Pelorian ways, caught up in their own aggrandizement, coveted gold, rose in rebellion, all that  - they marched off South and became the Sun Dome County Yelmalions. The remainder who did not march off to Vanntar would be those who were  happy in their communities and families, dedicated to the realm; actually Loyal Thanes - that's who would be left in Sartar proper. After many decades since the schism, few living in the 1620's would remember when local Elmali were anything other than how they were described in the games.

That matches the picture you gave us in SKoH & SC anyway, with 3k Yelmalions mostly at the Vanntar and Alda-Chur  communities, and 2k Elmal+Redalda initiates a few hundred at Runegate and the rest scattered throughout the realm. You clearly prefer a different model now, but that doesn't make the old one wrong or a mistake in any objective sense. There's not some actual Glorantha out there you can compare the concepts against to be right or wrong. Chaosium's Gloranthas vary just like everyone else's, and that's healthy.

If you don't want to write about distinct and culturally/regionally varying Little Sun interpretations any more, that's OK. I'll continue to miss that though, because I thought you did a great job on them. 

If we can put this Sun Horse out to pasture though, I'd love to hear more ideas anyone has about what the Sun traditions in Esrolia looked like before refugees from the Lunar occupation of Sartar and Sun Domers started flowing into Nochet. 

Edited by JonL
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31 minutes ago, JonL said:

Carry the sequence of events through though. The ones who were seduced by Pelorian ways, caught up in their own aggrandizement, coveted gold, rose in rebellion, all that  - they marched off South and became the Sun Dome County Yelmalions. The remainder who did not march off to Vanntar would be those who were  happy in their communities and families, dedicated to the realm; actually Loyal Thanes - that's who would be left in Sartar proper. After many decades since the schism, few living in the 1620's would remember when local Elmali were anything other than how they were described in the games.

That matches the picture you gave us in SKoH & SC anyway, with 3k Yelmalions mostly at the Vanntar and Alda-Chur  communities, and 2k Elmal+Redalda initiates a few hundred at Runegate and the rest scattered throughout the realm. You clearly prefer a different model now, but that doesn't make the old one wrong or a mistake in any objective sense. There's not some actual Glorantha out there you can compare the concepts against to be right or wrong. Chaosium's Gloranthas vary just like everyone else's, and that's healthy.

If you don't want to write about distinct and culturally/regionally varying Little Sun interpretations any more, that's OK. I'll continue to miss that though, because I thought you did a great job on them. 

If we can put this Sun Horse out to pasture though, I'd love to hear more ideas anyone has about what the Sun traditions in Esrolia looked like before refugees from the Lunar occupation of Sartar and Sun Domers started flowing into Nochet. 

There are no remaining loyal thanes. The old Elmal cult is gone. My population estimates in SKoH and SC were wrong and based on an error that Greg corrected me about.

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1 hour ago, JonL said:

I'd love to hear more ideas anyone has about what the Sun traditions in Esrolia looked like before refugees from the Lunar occupation of Sartar and Sun Domers started flowing into Nochet. 

My uneducated hunch is that the Little Sun tradition of Esrolia is basically as a well behaved show dog for the ruling Earth priestesses. I mean, in terms of Fire/Sky, they have the much more fun, lustful, and powerful Lodril-adjacent people next door. And they don't really need too much protection in general (they have Babeester Gor for that), nor do they need much Darkness-fighting abilities, since they probably deal with the shadow plateau trolls on an Argan Argar/husband basis. So Yelmalio is probably seen as that rebound/fling that the Earth Goddess had in between more "proper" husbands. Sure he was cute and had nice blonde hair, but he probably doesn't have a very big role.

The cult's numbers in terms of very well trained warriors isn't to be ignored though, so I'm sure the ruling priestesses stay in good terms with them with marriages and some place nearby during ceremonies. These guys come in handy when there's a war, or when relations with the trolls are strained somehow. If anything, these Yelmalions might realize they haven't been treated as well as they "deserve" once they realize how much better their Sartarite, Grazelander, and Pelorian cousins have it. But they just don't have much leverage except as a military force, so it all comes down to politics, and show their value compared to unruly Orlanthi, troll armies where half the infantry are trollkin, and Maran Gorites who aren't exactly subtle... or easy to stop once they get started.

Edited by lordabdul
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2 hours ago, lordabdul said:

My uneducated hunch is that the Little Sun tradition of Esrolia is basically as a well behaved show dog for the ruling Earth priestesses. I mean, in terms of Fire/Sky, they have the much more fun, lustful, and powerful Lodril-adjacent people next door. And they don't really need too much protection in general (they have Babeester Gor for that), nor do they need much Darkness-fighting abilities, since they probably deal with the shadow plateau trolls on an Argan Argar/husband basis. So Yelmalio is probably seen as that rebound/fling that the Earth Goddess had in between more "proper" husbands. Sure he was cute and had nice blonde hair, but he probably doesn't have a very big role.

The cult's numbers in terms of very well trained warriors isn't to be ignored though, so I'm sure the ruling priestesses stay in good terms with them with marriages and some place nearby during ceremonies. These guys come in handy when there's a war, or when relations with the trolls are strained somehow. If anything, these Yelmalions might realize they haven't been treated as well as they "deserve" once they realize how much better their Sartarite, Grazelander, and Pelorian cousins have it. But they just don't have much leverage except as a military force, so it all comes down to politics, and show their value compared to unruly Orlanthi and troll armies where half the infantry are trollkin.

The Little Sun tradition in Esrolia is just one of many smaller cults that fills a niche. Esrolia has lots of them - remember this is a densely populated land with a diverse population. Heck there are 1500 adult Teshnites in Esrolia as well.

Edited by Jeff
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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

remember this is a densely populated land with a diverse population

Oh yeah, which is why my small write-up above had the Yelmalio cult as a small fish in a big pond. But it's a small fish that is very well trained moving as a school and using a long pike, so that's probably the one card they play at the political table. When the Esrolian grandmothers are moving their pieces across the chessboard, one of those pieces is the Yelmalio cult (*)

(*) of course the usual disclaimers apply: it's my personal take as of today, it might change, I haven't read the Stafford Library, etc.

Edited by lordabdul

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19 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

LOL I read "cheese" board, made me think of Wisconsin cheese head hats. I envisioned the Yelmalians wearing cheese hats! As they make great cheese in Sun County?

 May only eat deep fried cheese curds should be a geas

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11 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Oh yeah, which is why my small write-up above had the Yelmalio cult as a small fish in a big pond. But it's a small fish that is very well trained moving as a school and using a long pike, so that's probably the one card they play at the political table. When the Esrolian grandmothers are moving their pieces across the chessboard, one of those pieces is the Yelmalio cult (*)

(*) of course the usual disclaimers apply: it's my personal take as of today, it might change, I haven't read the Stafford Library, etc.

Yelmalio has advantages for the Earth Priestesses. He is a husband-protector and thus associated (and subject to her magic like Inviolable). He's pledged to defend them. He's in competition with Orlanth for the privilege, which gives a counterweight against Orlanth. But his cult is small enough that it has no independent power base that make the cult a "peer" (like Orlanth, Lodril, Argan Argar, Issaries, Lhankor Mhy, and even Humakt).

One way of looking at Yelmalio is that he is a secondary husband to Ernalda, of lower status than Orlanth, but a rival for her attentions.

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On 5/10/2022 at 5:00 PM, Jeff said:

You could create a nice handy relationship map that visually displays this all.

Illustrated with portraits, e.g. by Kalin or Katrin. Take our money, please...

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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Going back to the maneuverings between Esrolian Queens, Yelmalio's cult is a good support for any ambitious queen. Not a critical faction, but probably loyal as long as you keep the top hierarchy happy, and a good counterbalance to the Lightbringers, so that means they probably supported the Red Earth faction. Not numerous but with a disproportionate military bent, as they probably can count on many Northern mercenaries as well, or bring them south relatively fast.

What that means after the defeat of the Red Earth is for us to explore, but as they are not really Lunarized they can switch sides once the Lunar support breaks after the Dragonrise.

If there was a multiplayer con game of Esrolian queens, a single male character and easy to manipulate with sex / marriage, but useful if you go for a military win. 

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On 5/11/2022 at 9:07 PM, Jeff said:

There is some clumsiness in the Making of Gods essay above, as it does not make it clear we are dealing with two waves of contact between Elmali and lowland Peloria. The first is in the First Age in the wake of the defeat of the Suns of Son, the second is in the Third Age after the foundation of the Kingdom of Sartar. 

Yes, that timelessness of the Making Gods essay made it almost useless as any event not tied to a member of the House of Sartar or Monrogh could have happened any time between Argentium Thri'ile and the Lunar invasion.

The identification of Jarosar as the victim of Solar treachery is not that obvious, either, and neither can Tarkalor's activities in the Kitori conflict be dated with much confidence.

About the only date I am fairly confident about is a joint visit of the heirs of Sartar (possibly even including Onelisin) at the Big Rubble in 1539 or 1540, following the Dragonewts Dream and the release of the troll seal on Old Pavis. While Old Man Sartar was out there at Badside by 1490, forging a peace between the Pol Joni and the Paps tribes, this is when his heirs and their followers get to meet the Zola Fel Yelmalians inside the Rubble and down at the Sun Dome.

Is there a history of Zola Fel templars being hired by the Kingdom of Sartar? Or even earlier by Twins dynasty Tarsh (who had their own templars in Goldedge)?

 

On 5/11/2022 at 10:50 PM, lordabdul said:

The cult's numbers in terms of very well trained warriors isn't to be ignored though, so I'm sure the ruling priestesses stay in good terms with them with marriages and some place nearby during ceremonies.

IMO it isn't the cult which has the warriors, but the temples and the shrines that serve as recruitment and hiring places. The Templars are mercenaries who predominantly are initiated to Yelmalio, but who include non-initiates (to Yelmalio, that is) as well, with birthplaces all over southern and central Genertela. The Yelmalio mercenary bands are trained to temple doctrine and leech off the templar reputation even if their only tenuous connection to a sun dome temple are their officers, and perhaps a few veterans' initiation places.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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7 hours ago, JRE said:

Going back to the maneuverings between Esrolian Queens, Yelmalio's cult is a good support for any ambitious queen. Not a critical faction, but probably loyal as long as you keep the top hierarchy happy, and a good counterbalance to the Lightbringers, so that means they probably supported the Red Earth faction. Not numerous but with a disproportionate military bent, as they probably can count on many Northern mercenaries as well, or bring them south relatively fast.

What that means after the defeat of the Red Earth is for us to explore, but as they are not really Lunarized they can switch sides once the Lunar support breaks after the Dragonrise.

If there was a multiplayer con game of Esrolian queens, a single male character and easy to manipulate with sex / marriage, but useful if you go for a military win. 

I suspect they support whoever is Queen, without being faction-oriented.

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