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After the Prophet

Worship of Other Gods

Prophetic/Exilic Malkionism was one of the "harsh survival myths" of the Darkness: follow this Law in every way, without question, and you may just survive. So Malkion's Kingdom in the Ice Age was essentially monotheistic - under siege! - but subsequently united with everything else in Creation after "I Fought, We Won". This was when the Malkioni learned about and accepted the existence of all the other deities.

New problems immediately arose, as the Prophet's followers now knew that the other non-Chaos entities and peoples of the world had contributed just as much as they did to its salvation. They knew that there were other "good guys" out there, all mutually indebted to one another. Their grim, austere monotheistic religion started to become pantheistic.

The Malkioni Wizards of the Grey Age and Dawning periods knew all of the gods from their own personal experience, and taught their flocks which of them should be prayed to under which circumstances.

The Grey Age (post-IFWW, pre-Dawn) Malkioni simply used the gods - not theistic worship, but not God Learner exploitation. It'd be one of those Arkati "respect" things, hard to put into words. In this Age, a Malkioni "priest" was an underqualified wizard, but he did love and in some sense worship the gods he used. These deities are, however, a degree more abstract and less mythological than theistic deities, a process which accelerates through history to culminate in the Elemental Schools of Wizardry (probably already present in the late First Age).

The Problem of Age

Of course, while everyone was living under the perfect guidance of the Prophet, nobody was erring or ageing. But devolution etc. rears its ugly (and wrinkly) head again as soon as he is gone from his followers; and the excess of wizardly legalism is in part an attempt to find a cure for the renewed problem of Age.

After the "I Fought We Won", there were no longer any immortal/unageing Malkioni: all those who were worthy were swept up in the Rapture which removed the Holy City of Malkonwal to Solace (and Hidden Castle status).

Bereft of the Prophet's guidance, and inadvertently trespassing against His Laws, all the relict Malkioni were now starting to age. Their godlike ancestor Malkion had left them, and while supposedly a joyful event, this is a source of grief to the Malkioni: "Oh, Father, why hast thou forsaken us?" They viewed the disappearance of the Prophet with great anguish and remorse because they knew that by ageing they were not living up to the ideals of the Castes. Some came to despair of achieving Solace, while the Wizards' grasp upon the Laws and their interpretation grew ever stronger (if nothing else, then from a sense of professional self-protection!).

The message of the wizards to their now-ageing populace was: "Fear not! Live your lives perfectly according to the Law, and you will not perish utterly when your mortal frame expires." Unlike the earlier Malkioni of the Prophet's era, the wizards now accept that almost everyone will die, slowly, from age. The promise of Solace needs to be broadened out to cover everyone, but there have as yet been no miraculous revelations to show this is possible. Malkioni become fearful: "If I commit one tiny act against the Laws, will my soul be extinguished utterly upon my death?"

So we have a strictly legalistic (but pantheistic and deeply confused) religion, one which feels remorse and loss at the death or disappearance of their Prophet/God Malkion, and is under the rigid rule of the Wizards' literal interpretation of scriptural laws, at the moment of the Dawning.

When other, pagan gods are revived by the Great Compromise and the Birth of Time, the Malkioni are to some degree "left out": their corresponding weakness in the face of Basmoli attacks leads directly to Hrestol's need for a new revelation - Joy of the Heart.

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