Elmal and Yelmalio
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Orlanthi and Elmal
"Most" Orlanthi have always included their Loyal Thane, Elmal, in clan worship. The specific groups we know of that might not do so include:
Now, it seems to me that the above list could easily include any "established" part of your campaign where nobody knows who "Elmal" is. It also covers the Orlanth/Yelmalio "tribes" described in the Cult of Yelmalio write-up. (Sun County: "Some entire tribes are Yelmalio cultists, simply replacing Orlanth with Yelmalio in their social system" - an inspired use of the word 'simply', in my opinion).
And, most importantly, it definitely includes most of Sartar, the one Orlanthi land we can claim some familiarity with, which we know doesn't worship Elmal in any RQ2-era sources.
Sun County and Yelmalio
Then, flipping the coin, we have the Sun Dome Temples. These don't look like anything the Orlanthi would have built; they look like a legacy from First Age Dara Happan military colonisation, say around the time of Nysalor's Bright Empire in many cases (the "Cold Sun" temples occupying Orlanthi tribal lands). These temples aren't found inside Dara Happa, for the same reason Roman legionary camps aren't found in Italy. And we know these suffered the vagaries of history; in particular, the Sun Dome Temple in Dragon Pass spawned a brother Temple in Prax during the Second Age, and thereafter was scragged in the Dragonkill War and left ruined for most of the Third Age.
Third Age Developments
In the Third Age, the growing Lunar Empire brings Dara Happans back to the southern Orlanthi kingdoms. Some of these have always had "Yelmic" aristocracies - Vanch certainly looks to be leaning this way. The local, degenerate form of Yelm-worship is recognised as a Son of the Sun God, "Yelmalio", and his followers receive a boost from their Dara Happan connections. Wherever there are strong "Solar" rulers near the Empire, they are chosen as its preferred allies - "most favoured despots". (This kind of interaction eventually leads to Harvar Ironfist seizing power in Alda-Chur, and the Cold Wind Rebellion of the Far Point. Ironfist, as a semi-Yelmic type, gets help/sympathy/support from the Dara Happan elements of the Lunar administration, as "one of us").
Meanwhile, in Sartar, we know there are stirrings among the Elmali, restive as the rich golden Empire of the North reaches out to them in seeming welcome. Disgruntlement builds to near civil war between Elmali and Orlanthi, resolved when Tarkalor offers his loyal friend Monrogh the chance to re-establish the Sun Dome Temple of Dragon Pass, south-west of the Kingdom of Sartar, and peopled by Sartarite Elmali who leave their clans to live free of Orlanthi rule.
Monrogh in Sun County
Where did Monrogh get the idea? Well, leaving aside any HeroQuest Visions of Many Suns, on his famous overland trek to Teshnos it seems only reasonable to suppose that Tarkalor's party (including Monrogh) twice passed through the Sun Dome Temple of Prax, which had been worshipping Yelmalio since the Second Age. If the Elmali of the First Age were impressed by "the crushing splendour of the great golden towers of Dara Happa", it's easy to imagine Monrogh's awe on witnessing Holy Sun Dome, especially if he had previously only known the overgrown ruins of the Dragon Pass Sun Dome - it'd be like a vision of a holier, perfected past, under the ever-present eye of the watchful Sun God.
Following his (hazia-smoking?) religious ecstasies in Teshnos, he must have seen that this would be a possible solution to the rise in tensions between Elmali and Orlanthi, and after years of planning, Monrogh could loyally propose this to his liege-lord, the new king of Sartar: Tarkalor Trollkiller! The Sun Dome Temple, not a Dara Happan political pawn but a seemingly-indigenous tradition with its own native "Prophet", allowed Elmali to indulge their primary loyalty without "selling out" to the Dara Happan Empire. Its rituals were imported from the Praxian Sun Dome, albeit with certain local changes to suit the new location and worshippers.
So we establish the "Orlanthi" residents and worshippers of the Dragon Pass Sun Dome Temple, sharing a common history and links with the Praxian Temple (and, thereby, with any other Sun Dome Temple you care to name), but nonetheless recognisably Sartarite and Elmali in their origin and custom.
(There are other interesting interactions between Monrogh and the Yelmalions of Pavis, both on the outward and return Teshnan expeditions, and when Monrogh sent Varthanis' band to New Pavis. And, of course, the impact of this visitation - especially the return from Teshnos - on the natives of the Praxian Sun Dome; kaftan-wearing drug-taking dropouts. But I'll leave those to the experts: the authors of The Secret History of Sun County).
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