Malkionism, unlike other major Gloranthan religious experiences and philosophies, is based on the teachings of a mortal about the nature of the cosmos, the origin of the universe, the place of man in it, and what is the good mortal life. Gods are completely optional, as this approach lets us bypass them. This is radically different from cults like Orlanth, Yelm, or even the Red Goddess.
To be a good Malkioni starts with that. So if we look at a map of Genertela, there’s a band of humans from Loskalm to Seshnela, reaching into Ralios and Fronela, who are united by the teachings of Malkion. Let’s call that the Malkioni ummah. This very community was formed by Malkion, and no doubt his teachings include something like the Constitution of Medina.
But we have difficulty agreeing on what were the teachings of Malkion. Unlike an Orlanthi who gets to participate in these myths (and our experiences and myths are true even if they disagree and conflict), we Malkioni have to rely on recorded teachings (unless we are Hrestol who managed to talk with Malkion directly). That means disagreements, schisms, splits, and heresies.
Our first big split occurs right after the Dawn between those who accepted that Hrestoli was in communication with Malkion and received the Pure Message, and those that did not. We call those that refused Brithini.
Within those that ultimately embraced Hrestol, we get a split between those that supported the Serpent Kings (with lots of hadiths and new sutras), and those that wanted a stricter adherence to just what Malkion and Hrestol were recorded teaching. Around 220 ST, the self-proclaimed True Hrestoli Way seizes leadership of the “ummah”, convenes a council that bans Tapping, removes Seshna Likita from the “state cult”, removes her cult from the “ummah”, and forms the Silver Empire. This lasts about 50 years, and then falls apart.
A hundred years later, the cult of Nysalor (“Nieby”) becomes part of the “state cult” of Seshnela and his priests become incredibly powerful. Those that oppose Nysalor suffer from disease, those that support him receive immortality, secret knowledge, and other blessings – until this is revealed to all be lies and Nysalor is exposed as Gbaji the Deceiver. A Brithini hero kills the priests of Nysalor and then embraces the teachings of Hrestol. The “ummah” unites around the goal of destroying Gbaji, and this hero Arkat is chosen to lead that effort. Arkat dives deeply into the powers of Darkness and Death in his war, becomes an incarnation of the god of War and Death, and later even becomes a troll. Arkat is victorious over Gbaji and returns to Ralios with his companions and followers, and establishes his own school.
The “ummah” is convened, and it is decided that Arkat and his followers are outside of the teachings of Malkionism. Arkatism is proclaimed a heresy and expelled. However, there is still great disagreement within the ummah as to what are the teachings of Malkion – they are able to agree what is definitely not Malkionism, but rarely what is (beyond a few core principles). This sets the pattern for the next thousand years or so.
Fast forward to now. Rokarism is a movement seeking a return to the True Teachings of Malkion, and not all the accretions from within Time. It holds that Hrestol could not have received new teachings from Malkion inside of Time, and thus Hrestolism must be a lie. This school is dominant in most of Seshnela and parts of Safelster.
Meanwhile in Loskalm, a radically different school has established itself, holding that not only did Hrestol communicate with Malkion, but so did Talor and Siglat. Not only that, but Siglat’s father Snodal glimpsed secrets taken from Zzabur, which are superior to endlessly transcribed texts. This New Hrestolism school is dominant in Loskalm and parts of Fronela.
Neither school commands a majority of the ummah, and similarly both schools are too big to be expelled without causing a permanent schism within Malkionism.
You can see from this that the Malkioni are worried about “falsehood” being accepted as part of Malkionism. First the Serpent Kings brought in a dynasty of demigods and even human sacrifice to the powers of Earth. That was bad enough, but paled compared to Nysalor, who brought in diseases, vampires, and mind devouring magics. And God Learnerism clearly went off the rails, as it resulted in the Closing, the Sundering of Slontos, terrible war, and collapse.
Given that this is a series of notes, I wouldn’t read too much into it, other than by Brithini I mean folk whose understanding comes from Brithos. No doubt there were folk who accepted the teachings of Solace but rejected Hrestol, but they died out pretty quickly, while the folk that rejected both stayed around.
Carmanians? Nowadays? They don’t fit in to this. They are too far removed. They are like the Druze, Sikhs, or Manichaeans.
The Malkioni heroquest. but they tend to be much more of the quest into the Otherworld realm of mythology and magic, and not about gaining the magic of your deity.
Malkion’s deeds weren’t important – his thoughts were. Remember, Malkion was not a god. He was raised in a land now lost, whose folk, remnants of the Kingdom of Logic, all adopted his message, as did many inhuman races nearby. He studied under the Celestial Court, but he then traveled across the realm of creation. The strength and weakness of Malkion were that he was but a mortal man. In adversity he fled, in pain he suffered, and in fear he was vanquished from senses and mortality. When all form and reason was stripped from his Being then did his unthinking instincts, unbidden and uncontrolled, lead him through mystery and wonder into the Citadel of Thought.
So the ideal heroquest is to make your way to the Citadel of Thought, but that’s not an easy quest. You need to flee across Limbo, have your form and reason stripped from your Being and make your way there. And even then, you don’t get to talk to Malkion, but have the chance to experience the Invisible God.
Now the God Learners sought to create a map and find paths there, and maybe they even pulled it off once.
Now the Hrestoli claim that’s what Hrestol managed to do, but he did not teach people that path. Others claim Talor did it, while lost in the Underworld. Still others claim that this is what Snodal and Siglat managed to do, but Snodal denied it.
So Rokarism is almost a return to Brithinism? It is analogous to Restorationism or an Islamic mujaddid. It is a movement to cleanse Malkionism of extraneous elements and restore it to its pristine purity. Then again, New Hrestolism justifies itself the same way.