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Elmal Yelmalio thing

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4 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Didn't Elmal's fire remain burning on Kerofin throughout the Great Darkness?; he was there when the Lightbringers returned and the Sun rose. I don't think the Elmali sacred fire is supposed to go out.

It's a good question.  But, if I was a Yelmalion and wanted to overcome and defeat the Elmali, I'd go on a quest and prove that it was Yelmalio and not Elmal that remained atop Kero Fin through the Great Darkness, that Elmal was simply the fire that was stripped away and went out beforehand.

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9 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

It's a good question.  But, if I was a Yelmalion and wanted to overcome and defeat the Elmali, I'd go on a quest and prove that it was Yelmalio and not Elmal that remained atop Kero Fin through the Great Darkness, that Elmal was simply the fire that was stripped away and went out beforehand.

For this to be true, Yelmalio would have to have toddled along with Orlanth back to his stead and joined it (perhaps under the "assumed name" of Elmal) quite freely after he "died" at the Hill of Gold. Elmal kept people alive at Kerofin; his "Protection in the Darkness" aspect seems to call for light and heat (in opposition to Darkness-Cold).

There's also the matter that the summit of Kerofin is clearly mythically connected to Inora's snows, yet Elmal remains awake (eternally awake = burning in a yogic sense) on her body.

I actually (in my varied Glorantha) believe that Elmal was the fiery heart of Yelmalio, stolen from his body by Eurmal (who is mythically the fire-stealer and the "other" of Elmal/Yelmalio: Er-mal versus El-mal) after Yelmalio died at the Hill, who was reconciled to Orlanth and brought to Kerofin. Ultimately the Yelmalians would benefit from "consuming/incorporating" Elmal, who is a fundamental part of Antirius/Anatyr (Anatyr = Elmal), but their mythology fetishizes sacrifice and loss - and Yelmalio would cease to be distinct from his "father" (and in fact be reconciled to Orlanth) if he was truly merged with Elmal. (Sorry, just a farrago of God-learning for you all). The gods are the same but from different perspectives/moments in the God-time. But God-time moments are eternal, not consecutive. 

Edited by jeffjerwin
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I hope RQG Yelmalio’s magic would be more powerful than RQ3. More than Catseye and Sunbright. I remember once Greg said “Yelmalio has powerful magic”. it does not mean “Elmal has weeker magic than Yelmalio”.

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3 hours ago, mallion said:

I hope RQG Yelmalio’s magic would be more powerful than RQ3. More than Catseye and Sunbright. I remember once Greg said “Yelmalio has powerful magic”. it does not mean “Elmal has weeker magic than Yelmalio”.

Works for me. Based on what we know, they ought to be good at "what they do" and not good at "what they don't do". Elmal defends the stead, rides horses, and controls fire; Yelmalio fights in disciplined formations, extends justice, and shines as a pure light. Since RQ3 was based around adventurers and not military formations maybe we just saw part of Yelmalio (I'm agreeing with some people on the earlier page here...).

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On a slight tangent...

I think the random gifts of Yelmalio as presented in Cults of Prax is a reflection of the tough struggle for survival that the Sun County faced during the Solitude of Testing.  Rather than have initiates spend time in meditation to achieve their desired gifts as was done previously, the Priests debased the rituals of the gifts so their initiates would have more gifts in less time.  

I do think it is necessary that Elmal be found wanting in relation to Yelmalio as Yelmalio is currently ascendant in Dragon Pass and elsewhere.  I don't believe my gift suggestion is the cause of that.  I prefer to see things mythically.  When Elmal joined the Storm Tribe, times were hard.  He was willing able able to suppress the natural rivalry between fire and storm in order to work with Orlanth so that both would survive.  The problem, I think, is what happens when times were good.  Then Elmal and Orlanth, no longer having a common enemy, start having arguments with each other.

Hence I feel that Monrogh's success was due in part a fight between Elmal and Orlanth occuring in the years before his awakening which ended with Elmal suffering a defeat and his followers dispirited.  Perhaps it was the Kingdom's friendship with the Grazers that was the cause.  The Elmali thanes envious at the gifts being given to the horsefolk set about trying to prove the superiority of their god, and failed dismally.

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In both areas where Yelmalio displaced Elmal (the Far Place/Alda-Chur) and on the Hendrikiland-Sartar border there were and are trolls. Is Yelmalio better at fighting trolls? That could also be a practical reason why the change occurred. 

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13 hours ago, jajagappa said:

It's the flashiest power, but on a day-to-day level, those gifts add a lot.  When the fires of Elmal die down and the hearth fire goes out and cold, the light of Yelmalio still shines.  (Which may also mean that Yelmalio's powers are more constant and reliable throughout the year.)

Actually I doubt Yelmalions would say Elmal is a different god from Yelmalio. Elmal was revealed by Monrogh to be Yelmalio. They aren't different gods, just a more profound understanding of the same god.

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4 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

In both areas where Yelmalio displaced Elmal (the Far Place/Alda-Chur) and on the Hendrikiland-Sartar border there were and are trolls. Is Yelmalio better at fighting trolls? That could also be a practical reason why the change occurred. 

Catseye and Sunbright are among the rune spells that make Yelmalio adherents highly formidable troll fighters, effectively negating the advantages trolls get attacking in darkness.  

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8 hours ago, Jeff said:

Actually I doubt Yelmalions would say Elmal is a different god from Yelmalio. Elmal was revealed by Monrogh to be Yelmalio. They aren't different gods, just a more profound understanding of the same god.

So, for me, there would be three types of cult:

  • Yelmalio - Elmal is just another name for Yelmalio, so just worship Yelmalio and you get better benefits, Elmal would be a subcult of Yelmalio
  • Elmal/Yelmalio - We worship Elmal, but can gain benefits at a Yelmalio temple, as the two gods are treated the same
  • Elmal - We reject Monrogh's revelation and reject the outlander Yelmalio cult, we worship Elmal in Elmali temples

Of course, worshippers of the third kind can always go to a Yelmalio temple and be accepted as worshippers of the Elmal subcult.

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8 hours ago, MOB said:

Catseye and Sunbright are among the rune spells that make Yelmalio adherents highly formidable troll fighters, effectively negating the advantages trolls get attacking in darkness.  

This makes sense. Monrogh and his converts fought specifically for Tarkalor against the Kitori. They were rewarded with lands in Forthanland and the Amber Fields... So the ascendency of the Yelmalians corresponds to greater conflict with trolls/shadowlords. Monrogh's closeness with Tarkalor also suggests that Yelmalians were favoured by the later House of Sartar because of this consideration, along with their military value.

Elmal is more valuable to clans and tribes that prize cooperation/detante with darkness, water, and other "stranger pantheons" that Orlanth brought into the stead (though it seems to be suppressed among the non-Torkani and Kitori, there is evidence (I think) that Darkness Woman and other spirits from Below were indeed living at the Storm Stead).

Just my two bolgs here.

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I don’t know about Sunbright (a case could be made either way, Elmal has some light magic to illuminate their surroundings but it might not be as good as Sunbright), but Elmal has the ability to see in darkness, so presumable also has access to Catseye. And Elmal has magic to burn trolls, so presumably has some troll fighting magic that Yelmalio doesn’t have. 

Both cults are excellent troll fighters, IMO. 

If Yelmalio has an advantage, it’s largely in their tight formation tactics, which admittedly work excellently with Sunbright. 

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I agree that the Yelmalions think Elmal is a misguided variant of Yelmalio. I don’t th8nk the Elmal worshippers think the same about Yelmalio, those weird Emperor lovers with no fire. 

As for Elmal being subservient to Orlanthi, it’s the cult with the most established set of chieftain rites besides Orlanthi. 

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27 minutes ago, davecake said:

I agree that the Yelmalions think Elmal is a misguided variant of Yelmalio. I don’t th8nk the Elmal worshippers think the same about Yelmalio, those weird Emperor lovers with no fire. 

As for Elmal being subservient to Orlanthi, it’s the cult with the most established set of chieftain rites besides Orlanthi. 

Yeah, Elmal was chief when Orlanth was outlawed, dead, or in the Underworld. That's a pretty big deal. Orlanth told the rest of the Storm Tribe to follow the strange Fire Tribe sword thane because he was reliable, unlike most of Orlanth's brothers (and no, Humakt is not a good chief).

Edit: But this also means that Elmali thanes can also attempt to gain the chieftainship or kingship of any Balanced or War Clan (Peace seems less likely to me) and by sending off ambitious Elmali to become loyal soldiers of Monrogh's weird Sun colony rivals they can be disposed of in an honorable fashion... I can't help but think that this weakened Sartar, even though it seemed logical at the time. The Sun Domers were neutral in 1602... so the whole point of a disciplined army being at the command of the King's friend at Vaantar backfired - though Monrogh did fight at Grizzly Peak in 1582, he died, leaving the County in the hands of men with no personal loyalty to the Prince. Elmali are all about being loyal to their king. Yelmalio serves the distant Sun.

Edited by jeffjerwin
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8 hours ago, davecake said:

I agree that the Yelmalions think Elmal is a misguided variant of Yelmalio. I don’t th8nk the Elmal worshippers think the same about Yelmalio, those weird Emperor lovers with no fire. 

As for Elmal being subservient to Orlanthi, it’s the cult with the most established set of chieftain rites besides Orlanthi. 

The remaining Elmali likely reject the Vision of the Many Suns, but they are few indeed. I suspect Elmal is seen by most outsiders (including most Orlanth cultists) as the weird Yelmalio subcult (and not vice versa).

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25 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The remaining Elmali likely reject the Vision of the Many Suns, but they are few indeed. I suspect Elmal is seen by most outsiders (including most Orlanth cultists) as the weird Yelmalio subcult (and not vice versa).

This new Yelmalio/Elmal relationship contradicts what I understood from S:KoH.

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1 hour ago, Richard S. said:

This new Yelmalio/Elmal relationship contradicts what I understood from S:KoH.

It shouldn't. I'd suggest reading the section Making Gods very carefully.

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I agree that most of the remaining Elmal worshippers reject the vision of the Many Suns. 

I don't think most Orlanthi really think of Elmal as a weird sub-cult per se, but they do think of it as a weird religious dispute between the sun worshippers. The important thing for most traditional Orlanthi is that the Elmal are worshippers with an odd religion, but the Yelmalio worshippers are guys with a whole weird lifestyle. 

Eg Elmal clans still have chiefs and fyrds and clan rings. Yelmalio clans have Counts and Templars and a more unified religious hierarchy. 

In the Coming Storm the Elmal/Yelmalio dispute is the cause of several feuds and deaths, and that seems to be how the Elmal cultists that remain are resisting, at the individual/clan level. But the Yelmalio cult is far more organised, and is operating at a more tribal level, creating a whole tribal level community in Sun County, and converting the whole leadership of the Vantaros/ 

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On 27/01/2018 at 4:16 PM, kaydet said:

I agree with @JonLAnd who cares if Elmal is subservient to Orlanth? So are all the other gods.

There's couple of differences in that Elmal is, on the one hand as pointed out earlier, a minority clan leadership cult, and on the other, pressed into the role of a ritual enemy, when an Evil Emperor surrogate is required.  Those are likely to conspire to create a sense of grievance that, say, Humakt  worshippers wouldn't experience.

I greatly enjoyed Jeff's piece on the clear objective superiority of Yelmalio over Elmal.  I was almost waiting for the companion piece from the Elmali POV!  I'll be a little disappointed if "official Elmal" just makes him straightforwardly worse, rather than "yes, I can see the magical, mythic, and political motivation for why most of them switched -- and why some of them didn't".

Some of the more overtly "low" fire powers ascribed to Elmali might be a bit much.  But shouldn't Elmal have at least some more overtly "sun" magic than Yelmalio?  Given the latter's status as "no madam, we don't have a sun god, but we do have something similar" cult.

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26 minutes ago, Alex said:

There's couple of differences in that Elmal is, on the one hand as pointed out earlier, a minority clan leadership cult, and on the other, pressed into the role of a ritual enemy, when an Evil Emperor surrogate is required.  Those are likely to conspire to create a sense of grievance that, say, Humakt  worshippers wouldn't experience.

I think Elmal devotees may take on the role of the Bad Emperor (as a member of the Fire Tribe, mythically speaking), but only in a ritual, play-acting sense. Elmali have families, connections, and can marry who they chose (Elmal, like Orlanth and Heler, is also "Hara" or "beloved" to the Earth). Humakti have turned their backs on Life. Elmal became capable of humility when Chalana Arroy healed his blindness, and thus the proper mythic role for an Elmali thane is to be loyal, steadfast, and brave. Not every Heortling man is turbulent, passionate, and moody: some are disciplined, fair, and dedicated to keeping their hearths safe and orderly. Through Elmal, like with Heler, Yinkin, and other gods, Heortlings who don't fit in get a place to shine (pun intended). The price of joining Yelmalio is that you walk away from the role of care taking man - not the Nandani type who does women's work - but still a vital part of the bloodline or clan. Instead, you become one of many, all sworn in obedience to a patriarchal officer. A sort of vague analogy is in being queer in America: many choose to move to the city to be with a larger subculture, while a lot of less visible people end up staying in their home towns, bound there by loyalties of blood and friendship. Either decision is understandable, and some choose the city after being ostracized, though the second choice is more accessible alongside happiness than it used to be.

In Glorantha, I think manifesting an unusual rune in a given culture often marks you out as different for better or worse, and has an equal impact on one's life as sexual orientation does in ours. Conflict with "others" in the clan and tribe may be overall worse because of all the friction of the Lunar occupation. Ironically, another contributing factor is probably has been the socioeconomic transformation of the disorganized Quivini into a proto-urbanising nation.

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It strikes me that Gloranthan gods are a bit like the elephant in the parable of the Blind Men and an Elephant, with mortal worshippers being the blind men. Each cult can perceive something of a god, but not its entirety, resulting in the same deity being viewed very differently by different cultures. For the major gods who appear in different cultures no one mortal belief is completely correct, and so there is no single answer. Gods are just too big for mortals to fully comprehend, and so all are viewed through cultural and cultic filters.

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5 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

It strikes me that Gloranthan gods are a bit like the elephant in the parable of the Blind Men and an Elephant, with mortal worshippers being the blind men. Each cult can perceive something of a god, but not its entirety, resulting in the same deity being viewed very differently by different cultures. For the major gods who appear in different cultures no one mortal belief is completely correct, and so there is no single answer. Gods are just too big for mortals to fully comprehend, and so all are viewed through cultural and cultic filters.

There is the effect wherein powerful HeroQuests can influence the nature of the gods... but maybe they just influence the "cultural lens" through which the locals see the god...

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53 minutes ago, g33k said:

There is the effect wherein powerful HeroQuests can influence the nature of the gods... but maybe they just influence the "cultural lens" through which the locals see the god...

Sometimes I get the feeling that because the Godplane appears static to people within Time (even though it's "still going on") the gods people worship are momentary aspects of the gods, and that most if not all are quite complex, changing characters. Orlanth and Yelm are salutary examples: they have a quite complex and interesting biography, but the aspects that are worshipped are snapshots of the god at specific places and times. This is useful for recreating the power of the God that you need and want, but that power and personality may be quite different from the god at another place and time.

Of course, Elmal to me is Yelmalio after he was maimed at the Hill of God, and healed by CA. I tend to think of him as being a wiser and perhaps happier god. Orlanth's encounter and friendship with Elmal laid the seed for Orlanth's respect for his old enemy in the Underworld. Elmal also perserved the Theyalans so there were people to greet the Dawn. Hence Yelmalio may seem more powerful - indeed - he represents an undefeated god - but Elmal may well be wiser and kinder.

Orlanth of course is wisest and kindest in his Lightbringer aspect, as the seven parts of the combined Lightbringer wyter embody things like compassion, knowledge, equal exchange, creativity and humour, courage in the face of fear, and leadership.

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4 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Sometimes I get the feeling that because the Godplane appears static to people within Time (even though it's "still going on") the gods people worship are momentary aspects of the gods, and that most if not all are quite complex, changing characters. Orlanth and Yelm are salutary examples: they have a quite complex and interesting biography, but the aspects that are worshipped are snapshots of the god at specific places and times. This is useful for recreating the power of the God that you need and want, but that power and personality may be quite different from the god at another place and time.

Vaguely like Zelazny's fugue, but all the time.

4 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Orlanth's encounter and friendship with Elmal laid the seed for Orlanth's respect for his old enemy in the Underworld.

My ears are burning... :D

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19 hours ago, g33k said:

There is the effect wherein powerful HeroQuests can influence the nature of the gods... but maybe they just influence the "cultural lens" through which the locals see the god...

Perhaps within a set of parameters, based on the actual nature of the god. But perhaps not too far, otherwise divine nature reasserts itself, as the God Learners finally discovered to their ultimate misfortune.

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On 2018-01-27 at 11:39 AM, Jeff said:

There's never been a published RQ writeup for Elmal. I'm looking at what will be published and yes, Yelmalio has better magic.

Does either have a stronger myth cycle, something that should also be relevant? The defining myths are surely Elmal Guards the Stead and The Hill of Gold, respectively. It would make sense that Yelmalio has stronger myth support, but I'm not sure. Both are really good at not getting killed. The Yelmalio cult comes and goes like no other, but I'm not sure whether that's a sign of strength or weakness. Most likely, neither and both – it gets knocked down, but it gets up again.

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