Pretty much every Gloranthan spiritual tradition says that the bright and hot Sun was killed by the Storm God, ending the Golden Age. The Orlanthi particularly emphasise this myth, as it was Orlanth who used Death on Yelm. Yelm died, and went to Hell, which the trolls still curse.
And yet there was still Light in the Sky. Light brighter than the stars that maintained Truth and refused to be polluted by lies and foul corruption. This Light dimmed in the Greater Darkness, but never was entirely extinguished. Called Kargzant, Yelmalio, or Elmal, this Light defended mortals when other gods had died or left the world. It kept Light in the sky until Yelm returned with the Dawn. Many consider Yelm to be little more than the Sun Disk, and that Little Yelm is more likely to aid mortals than the Sun Disk (unless you are a Dara Happan or Pure Horse People directly descended from Imperial Yelm) and thus far more useful.
Pretty much everyone knows this story, especially after the Orlanthi and the Dara Happans got to check each others’ notes in the later First Age. You can call your frontier Sun God what you want, but keep in mind that:
- the core myth is the story,
- you can worship at the Little Yelm’s temple regardless of what you call him, and
- most people use Yelmalio as the title for this entity.
It is pretty explicit that the Orlanthi recognise Yelm is the Sun God. Like this bit:
“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.”
Are Elmal & Kargzant the same being? Different names and stories, but the worshipers of Elmal would recognize Kargzant and vice versa.
They are the same entity in the way that Lodril and Veskarthan are. Or for that matter Orlanth Thunderous and Orlanth Adventurous are.
At the Dawn people only had little scraps of the stories from the God Time. So the Storm God did kill the Sun God, but the Orlanthi of the Dawn didn’t even realise that the Sun God was the Sun God! They thought the little scrap of the Sun God that survived the Sun’s Death as the Last Light was the Sun God, who of course couldn’t have been killed. Once they were exposed to folk who knew a broader set of Sun God stories, everything fell into place.
A similar thing happened to the little scraps of Storm lore the Pelorians had. All that nonsense from Plentonius got discarded once the Dara Happans joined the Second Council.
Elmal is Yelmalio. Pretty much every person in the 1550s agreed, and that is even more true in the 1620s.
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.
Elmal cultists of Sartar in the early 1500s were exactly as sexist, classist, egotistical, and bigoted as Yelmalio cultists of Sartar in the 1620s.
The Yelmalio cult in Dragon Pass are the Elmali of a few generations before, so they also love horses. But phalanx warfare is far more useful and practical for them than being a marginal cavalry force. Which funnily is exactly what happened to the Elmal cultists in Dragon Pass – they love their horses, but never ended up being able to muster a cavalry force – most of the Runegate militia are footman after all.
The Dundealos and the Pol-Joni served as the cavalry for the Sartar Dynasty. Better horsemen (especially the Pol-Joni), better warriors, and more of them.
I mean honestly do people think that the solar cultists around Runegate just stopped revering horses when they experienced the bigger picture of Yelmalio? They were largely foot militia anyways, and they learned to fight with sarissa just like the Macedonians did under Philip II, and in about as much time.
But they still love horses and revere them. But just like in the time of their great-grandfathers, most of them don’t fight from horseback.
Yelmalio is about as important for the Pol-Joni as he is for Sartar as a whole (so including the Sun Dome Temple). Humakt is a shockingly important god for the Pol-Joni, but given the reality of constant war and combat to prove their right to be in Prax, it isn’t that surprising once you think about it.