So if we think about the farming people in the River of Cradles, let’s start by remembering that those that Dorasar encountered (and made himself ruler or overlord of) were the descendants of settlers that had been isolated from Dragon Pass for over 400 years. Think of them like some of the Greek communities in Central Asia that survived the collapse of the Hellenistic empires, or like the Crimean Goths. Isolated, tenaciously defending their identity from the Praxian nomads and the trolls, refusing to become another “Oasis people”.
They succeeded, and the Yelmalio cult was key to that. But during the long period of solitude and isolation, that cult dwindled and diminished. Perhaps only about 1000 cultists survived to great Dorasar and Varthanis Brighthelm. By that time, the Yelmalio cult was little more than a Spirit Cult, associated with a Grain Goddess, who he defended from nomads and trolls, and friendly with the local river nymphs. They had a big temple they could hardly maintain and stories of Yelm the Sun God, whom Yelmalio defended and was the son of.
Varthanis brought them the Yelmalio of Monrogh Lantern. With gifts, geases, more spells useful for fighting trolls, and brought them into contact with Dragon Pass – which meant bronze and allies. The Grain Goddess became recognized as Ernalda, but that also brought in rivalry with the Orlanth cult brought to Pavis by the Sartarite settlers. The population of the farmers grew and the Yelmalio grew to dominate Sun County.
But this area was a periphery. Contact with Dragon Pass was largely through Pavis, not Sun County, and even Pavis is a frontier settlement. If Pavis is our Wild West town like Santa Fe then Sun County is even more remote, one of our more successful Spanish missions.