So let’s talk a little about some of the Third Age Malkioni movements. The Second Age broke Malkionism. Let’s say that again – the Second Age broke Malkionism. Most of the intellectual centers of Malkionism – Jrustela, Seshnela, and Brithos – were sunk, broken, or disappeared. The Oceans – long the highways of the Malkioni were closed to humanity.
Hrestolism – the mainstream of Malkionism since the early Dawn – had been delivered a catastrophic blow. Not just in numbers, but in self-confidence. The Invisible God had struck against the God Learners and the Middle Sea Empire.
That is not the rallying cries of the enemies of Hrestolism – that is what mainstream establishment Hrestoli agreed. Something had gone terribly wrong in Malkionism – and mainstream Hrestolism was to blame.
And so the Third Age opened with Malkioni intellectuals – especially among the zzaburi and talars – trying to figure out how things went wrong. In Loskalm, the Irensavalists said it was because the so-called Hrestoli worshiped Makan the Demiurge instead of the Invisible God. They deeply inspected Hrestoli’s life and deeds and the New Idealists came up with a radical form of Hrestolism that Hrestoli himself would not have recognized.
In the ruins of Seshnela and Tanisor came another answer – the problem was Hrestol himself. He twisted Malkionism so that he could murder the daughter of Seshna Likita and conquer the Pendali (who happened to be claimed as ancestors of the Tanisor talars). Hrestol betrayed Malkionism and if the Malkioni were to survive they were to try to figure out how to adapt Malkionism to the world of Time without going down Hrestol’s path. This is the origin of Rokarism.
In Ralios, many concluded that Arkat was likely not the villain the God Learners claimed he was, and a myriad of sects claiming to know the secrets of the Dark Empire sprouted up.
This is the context in which Malkionism developed in the Third Age. In Tanisor (which now claims the ancient Serpent Crown of Seshnela), the Rokari movement is backed by the talars and nearly all Zzaburi publicly ascribe to it. They have excised the errors and corruption of Hrestol, Arkat, and the God Learners from Malkionism – the proof has been a strong and powerful kingdom, the Opening, and the defeat of their foes.
The only remnant of old school Hrestolism I can think of offhand is the Castle Coast. Which we often romanticise, but let’s think about what it is – the dwarf made fortress of Rhis, and the ruins of Frowal and Laurmal, plus a few heavily fortified strongholds. I kind of imagine it like the later Crusader states, after the loss of Jerusalem.
By and large, I don’t think the Castle Coast Hrestoli are filled with optimistic self-confidence. They are at best like the inhabitants of Gormenghast, performing rituals they no longer know the purpose of. At worst, they are the Vadraigh, hiding away in castles, wilfully oblivious to the changes over the last six hundred years.
There also just are not all that many folk in the Castle Coast – maybe 50,000, which is about the population of The Far Place (the area around Alda-Chur plus Alone).
Slontos, once the gem of the Middle Sea Empire, was also sunk. The rulers of Ramalia are wracked with fear – and the cruel lords grasp onto power with the aid of amoral sorcerers, who Tap all who oppose the rulers. It is a police state of lords and sorcerers, backed by sadistic soldiers.
Groups like the Manirian Merchant Princes or the Aeolians are not particularly influential on the development of mainstream Malkionism. They are too far removed, too influenced by the Orlanthi (heck, many consider them to be just Orlanthi with some sorcerers – which is not entirely wrong).
In short, the Castle Coast is a melancholic place, dreaming about a past it no longer believes in, but rejecting a future it cannot be a part of.