The original “homeland” of the Yelmalio cult was Saird, a border land between Dragon Pass and Dara Happa. In the early First Age, this was a mixing ground of settlers from Dragon Pass, Pure Horse People, and various other groups such as the hunter-gatherer Jajajarings. It became part of the World Council of Friends by 150. Between 375 and 425, there was an incredible mixing of cults and cultures in Saird. The Orlanth Thunderous cult was suppressed, many of the Wind Lords worshiped a mortal demigod as the incarnation of High Storm – we all know the story. Rebels like the old Berenething tribe were exterminated in Saird and their lands given to those loyal to the Broken Council. But outside of the Orlanth cult was a tremendous exploration of the paths of Light, encouraged by the Broken Council (and their new Light God). The Sons of the Sun were powerful and popular, and later given rule over Dragon Pass, with its unruly tribes, trolls, and dragonewts.
Arkat and his troll, Orlanthi, and Praxian allies defeated the Sons of the Sun and rule was given to the trolls. The Yelmalio cult (which were the spiritual heirs of the Sons of the Sun) overthrew the trolls in Saird. Although they initially fought against Dragon Pass, they soon joined the Empire of Wyrms Friends and became an important military arm of the EWF and aided in the conquest of Dara Happa. Sun Dome temples were built from Fronela to Prax.
But the Empire of the Wyrms Friends was forced out of Saird in 956 by a coalition of Carmanians, Dara Happans, and Orlanth Rex warlords, ruled by cadet branch of the very heterodox Karvanyar Dynasty. For almost 200 years, Saird was a melting point of Yelmalion, Orlanthi, Dara Happan, and Carmanian cultures. Chaos and dragons were identified with Ganesatarus the Devil, the Lodril cult was imported but Dendara did not take, every man was the Last Light against the dragons, and Yelm and Orlanth were viewed as the Rival Brothers – who would naturally quarrel unless held together for a greater purpose (usually by Yelmalio). Real world analogies – the Mitanni, Seleucid Syria, Lydia, etc.Then came the Dragonkill War of 1120. The dynasty was extinguished, and Saird was briefly conquered by Dara Happa. When Dara Happa was dissected by the Carmanian Empire, Saird became dominated by Orlanthi and (to a lesser extent) Yelmalion tribes. When the Mad Sultanate showed up, the tribes were horrified by the Chaos brought by the new Lunar Empire. Many Sairdite tribes followed Jannisor in his Great War against the Lunar Empire (1270-1275) and were defeated at their moment of victory inside Glamour.
As the Lunar Empire marched south, conquering Sylila in 1309, the Sairdite tribes unified into the Kynnelfing Alliance, but were ultimately defeated by Hwarin Dalthippa in 1347. This sent the most anti-Lunar groups south across the Death Line into Dragon Pass. In Saird, the Seven Mothers and Hwarin Dalthippa became important cults. Over the next century, Saird became a battleground between mostly Orlanthi Tarshites and the Lunar satrapy of Sylila. A stable Provincial system didn’t really come into existence until 1555 (Phargentes was the first Provincial Overseer). Hon-eel early had came to Saird with her maize en route to Tarsh, and by now (1625) about a third of the population follows the Lunar Way. The Yelmalio cult is still important, although secondary to the Seven Mothers and Ernalda, and the Orlanth cult holds on with surprisingly large numbers, although largely subsumed into Barntar. Many peasants are descended from Pelorian colonists and worship Lodril instead.
Now Monrogh only shows up into this story after around 1582 or so. The Provincial Kings, seeking military allies, encourage the local Yelmalio cult to organise along Monrogh’s lines and into Sun Domes, thus returning the cult back to where it was in the Second Age, as valuable mercenaries for whoever is the regional ruler.
But you can see from this, Yelmalio has been around in Peloria since the beginning.
The only weird thing was the Hendriki Tribe that worshiped a limited and constrained version of Yelmalio. But now the Sartarites are the cultural centre of a reinvigorated Yelmalio cult.
When you tell the story from this perspective, the Praxian Sun Dome Temple is just a weird footnote (“did you know that Yelmalio made it all the way to Prax in the Second Age, and there is a weird little colony of them still there! Wow!”), and the whole Elmal-Yelmalio thing becomes another footnote (“did you know that the rebellious Hendriking tribe had a weird little Yelmalio variant that was tolerated by the trolls and the Only Old One, but it died out in the 1550s when they embraced the larger Yelmalio cult?”).
Now that’s a badass second age what with the Carmanian reach opening up into something like an intellectual diaspora. yes, and worth thinking about how different Second and Third Age Peloria are from the First Age version described in GRoY.
Also remember, the Carmanian-Dara Happan-Orlanth Rex coalition that liberated Saird would be made up of weirdos, experimenters, hyper-pragmatists, and all sorts of desperate folk willing to work together because otherwise it means extinction.
One can think of the Seven Mothers and the early Lunars as being within that tradition, just this time they are focused against the Carmanians (and the horse nomads).
They just managed to pull a much bigger rabbit out of their hat.
And even more ironically, we can think of Argrath and his merry band of Tricksters, magicians, and Praxians as being the newest version of that same desperate experimental tradition. Except this time, dragons are GOOD!
The south too. As for the inquisition, one thing I really love about this open model is the way Carmanian sorcery comes around hardcoded to really hate the monomyth. Dragons come and go. And of course Dragons are pretty much the same damn thing as Chaos. Equally evil, equally the minions of the Devil.
And this Long History of Peloria is askew to the Comprehensive History of Dragon Pass. The Hero Wars is a meeting of tectonic plates.
So I encourage you to imagine Saird as a. densely populated and very urbanised place with three large cities (including one metropolis) but also with many rural tribes who often play kingmaker in city politics. The Daughter’s Road runs through it on its way to Jillaro.The three large cities are all within 90 km of each other (Mirin’s Cross and Fyllich Kwan are only 50 km apart). It is a melting pot, with Lunar missionaries, bureaucrats, and officers, Yelmalion Sun Domers, Earth Priestesses, other Lightbringers, Dara Happan nobles and Lodrilli peasants, all jostling against each other.
Although Yelmalio is associated with Yelm, the Yelmalio cult is autonomous. Within the Lunar Heartlands, the Yelmalio cult is of course subject to the Red Emperor and his satraps, but so is almost every other cult (Red Goddess, Seven Mothers, Lodril, Dendara, Polaris, even Shargash). In the Lunar Provinces this gets a bit trickier. The Provincial Overseer has rule over the Provinces, and many Sun Dome Temples have treaties of alliance with individual provincial kings. Plus there are likely some long-standing contracts between the Lunar rulers and individual Sun Dome Temples.But the Provincial Overseer is dead. Many provincial leaders lack the coin to pay their contracts, and besides the Lunar Empire is a bit preoccupied right now with a Pentan invasion and a White Moon uprising.
Thus in the Hero Wars, individual Sun Dome Temples will go their own way, fight both for and against the Lunar Empire. But Yelmalio dislikes the Red Goddess, so the Lunars need to pay extra.
what is the mythical origin of the dislike between Yelmalio and the Red Goddess? Is it Yelmalio’s association with Orlanth? Yelmalio hates Chaos.
But didn’t Yelmalio throw in with Nysalor/Gbaji? And is Yelm down with Chaos? Yelmalio supported the Broken Council. He also hates trolls and is none too fond of dragons. To tell the truth, he might hate trolls EVEN MORE than he hates Chaos.
Is Yelmalio no longer the son of Yelm? Or did they have a (big) falling out? How many times does Son of the Sun or Yelmalio (Little Yelm) need to be said. Or that Yelmalio is associated with Yelm?
In the Lunar Heartlands Yelmalio has been sidelined by Yelm. But Yelmalio is the frontier cult, and in the Lunar Provinces the rulers are not Yelm cultists. Maybe if the Red Emperor personally showed up as the ruler of the land he could invoke his Yelm status.
But in Dragon Pass, Talastar, Zarkos, Ralios, and Fronela, the Red Emperor is not the ruler, and so does not get to play the Yelm Imperator card. Associate cult does not always equate to being able to order around.