A History of Malkionism
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The Kingdom of Logic was a perfect realm that existed in the West before the Great Flood. Most of it is now beneath the Western Ocean; the last remnant was the Island of Lost Brithos, now removed from the realms of men. The ancient and powerful race of the Brithini are the last surviving heirs of the Kingdom of Logic.
This magical land was inhabited by the first Men shaped by God the Creator. They lived perfect lives, following His Law in the intelligent understanding that there was no alternative. This happy state was possible only in the days before the Devil brought the Sins of Pride, Doubt, Fear and Ignorance into the world.
Yet while the Brithini recognised the undeniable fact of the Creation, they grew to deny that there was any entity known as the Creator. When the whole world was perfect, their rigid Logic formed a workable institution. But sadly, everything devolves and diminishes over Time and must needs be reaffirmed, while the material world naturally diverges from the spiritual. When various sinful flaws manifested themselves at the edges of the growing world, Logic alone was not enough to sustain their creed. Through their fear and ignorance, people forgot the Creator.
The Ice Age was a time of terrible strife and destruction which came about because the mortal races abandoned their Creator. Some fell into despair, others turned to the Devil or empowered False Gods through their fear and ignorance. Like their souls, the world became dark, cold and harsh. This was just punishment for the evil and folly that had been loosed within it. Great floods engulfed the Kingdom of Logic; mighty glaciers ground and crushed the life from the world.
The Prophet Malkion had been a Founder and Lawgiver in the ancient Kingdom of Logic. His sons were the exemplars of the Dutiful Life he expounded to that people. They lived forever obedient to the Immutable Laws he had proclaimed in the Age of Logic. When the world fell into ruin during the Ice Age, Malkion brought new teachings from the Creator to his descendents, telling his people how to deal with this new catastrophe. Yet some scorned his offer of salvation through Solace, obstinately holding to the Old Laws even though though they had plainly been superceded. These were the ancestors of the modern Brithini. In their arrogance, they banished the Prophet from their lands.
Exiled from Brithos, he crossed the Raging Sea to the land of Seshneg. He founded the city of Malkonwal, which became his holy city. Although, as in the old days, the residents could not see their God, his Prophet was ever-present and taught them how best to dwell and how to turn weakness into strength. The land became known as Malkion's Kingdom, and was an island free of battle during the Ice Age.
Solace of the Body was the secret Malkion taught in his New Laws. This enabled people to use the resources of the world to obtain liberation from their troubles. Regardless of the flaws and follies of the world, it was possible for those who obeyed the Laws of Malkion to obtain perfect preservation and protection after their physical demise, in the spiritual haven of Solace in Glory. Solace of the Body taught that there is more to existence than this one life; that a man who lives in accordance with righteousness will not perish utterly from this world.
Seshneg was the kingdom founded by the exiles who followed Malkion's New Laws. It was divided into many small city-realms; at the Dawn, the foremost among these was Frowal, the City of Golden Gates. These remained in contact with other Western lands through the assistance of the Waertagi, though by land they were beset by bestial savages, descendents of those fearful individuals who had abandoned the Creator and regressed to a more primitive state.
The Dawning was an era when old certainties were overturned. Malkion himself had ascended to Solace after bestowing upon the whole world his final, transformative vision, known as "I Fought, We Won". In this, the Prophet's direct, personal revelation of the Creator was given to all the spiritual entities of the cosmos. A return to cosmic peace prevailed: the elements and spheres were brought into harmony, subject to the control and dominion of the Wizards.
Prince Hrestol was the son of King Froalar of Frowal. After the first year of Time, Hrestol beheld the angelic prophet Malkion in a vision, and was taught the methods whereby an individual can seek and attain oneness with the Creator. Hrestol took upon himself a great quest, breaking all social bounds to institute the class of Knights. Although his bold deeds had saved the kingdom, he offended his new stepmother, Seshna, and was forever exiled from her land. After journeying through the Brithini and Vadeli isles, he came at last to the land of Akem and its City of Brass, where he was gloriously martyred at the hands of its evil Brithini Sorcerers.
Joy of the Heart was the second revelation of the Prophet Malkion, given to his descendent Prince Hrestol. This taught that there was more to righteous living than the scrupulous observance of the Laws; that the Creator was more pleased by the intention in a man's heart than by the formal correctness of his actions. A "sinful" act performed in a good cause need not in itself banish the "sinner" from the eventual attainment of Solace. In a sense, Hrestol discovered and liberated the human conscience from the (at times over-literal) legalistic preachings of the Wizards.
The self-evident truth of his revelation led to the rapid spread of this new and optimistic method of worship; before the first century was out, there was an established Hrestoli Church in Akem.
The Serpent Kings were descended from King Froalar and Seshna Likita, pagan high priestess of the land of Seshneg. The first of their dynasty was Prince Ylream, who had serpents' tails in place of his legs; his successors were similarly and variously malformed. With overt assistance from their powerful ancestress, said by some to be a goddess, they took possession of all the lands where her power was recognised. After a hundred and fifty years of steady expansion, the whole peninsula of Seshnela was within their grasp; at this triumphant point the dynasty died out.
In the next half-century, the Hrestoli Church established itself in the Kingdom of Seshneg. A revisionist movement called the True Hrestol Way was predominant; angered by Seshna's treatment of their founder, they condemned the corrupting pagan ways of the Serpent Kings, whose temple-tombs were sealed over.
The Silver Empire was founded when the new Kings of Seshnela extended their power beyond the safety of Queen Seshna's borders. The peoples expanded towards the darkened land of Ralios, driving away or converting the savages who lurked there. Inland, they settled Tanisor (the rich valley of the Tanier River), and Safelster (the fertile coast around Felster Lake). Overseas, the Empire included all of the Fronelan coastline and Akem, and planted the first colonies in Jrustela. The unity of the empire ended when a naval assault on Brithos was crushed. The newly-free kingdoms of Tanisor and Safelster went their separate ways, and the unity of the West was lost.
Ralios is the highland region surrounding Safelster, a haunt of savages and monsters of all kinds. Beyond Ralios lie lands where the truth of the Creator had never held sway. And from these lands there now came false missionaries, who claimed that a Living God in the land of Peloria could bring a truer unity with the Creator. This "god" was called Nysalor by his followers, but we know him as the Deceiver, an agent of the Devil. He was in truth no god but a mortal, as events were to demonstrate.
The Deceiver inspired the uttermost depths of evil in his followers. When a great plague broke out in Tanisor and spread into Seshnela and Arolanit, his missionaries proved miraculously able to heal its victims, and so won acceptance among those peoples. But Brithini sorcerers discovered that the cult had actually spread the plague in the first place. Such treachery earned Nysalor the new name of Gbaji, the Deceiver. Despite this, the king of Tanisor was seduced into his worship, and sent his armies to conquer Arolanit for the glory of the Living God. An army was sent from Brithos to drive them forth.
Arkat was a soldier in that army. His noble spirit refused to be confined by the stultifying Brithini way. When his fellows suffered defeat, he recognised that the Old Ways of Brithos would be unable to succeed against this new foe. He renounced their restrictions to embrace the higher truths of Malkionism. Through his fanatical dedication, Arkat rose to become a perfect Knight of Hrestol, and led the forces of Seshnela in a grand crusade against the Kingdom of Tanisor.
The Chaos Wars were a terrible and wasteful conflict, lasting whole generations and claiming many thousands of lives and souls. The most terrible thing was that the followers of the Deceiver lost touch with their common humanity, and became warped creatures, vile in soul and body. We call them the krjalki. In Tanisor, the King and his Knights became soulless Vampires. In Ralios, the highland tribes were twisted into Werewolves. The longer the struggle lasted, the worse this corruption became. Against these abominable foes, Arkat accepted aid wherever it was offered, and this proved his downfall.
After suffering greatly in the service of the West, Arkat fell from the path of virtue. His obsessive hatred of the Deceiver led him to abandon the Malkioni way, embracing instead the pagan gods of death and destruction. The King of Seshnela banished him; his Wizards excommunicated him from the Church. His war (no longer a crusade) continued, but few men of the West would follow the man they saw as a traitor. Like those he fought, Arkat is said to have lost his very humanity, becoming a black-hearted Troll. When he returned, claiming victory over the Deceiver, there was no welcome for him in the West.
The Dark Empire was the state founded by Arkat after his wars were over. Forged from a league of the Safelstran cities he had liberated, this powerful and dangerous country was ruled by Trolls using black magic and evil sorcery. Cruel and ruthless when provoked, it threatened Seshnela for many centuries. The people of Arkat's Dark Empire followed his Stygian Heresy, revering dark gods and arcane secrets. The Stygian heretics do not accept that Arkat fell. They say that after leaving Malkionism he climbed to higher secrets, which he taught his followers. They claim that these secrets allow them to combine the worship of other deities with that of the Invisible God. Though these other gods are usually worshipped as servants of the Creator, some particularly virulent forms of the heresy claim they are his equals.
Jrustela was a continent in the Central Oceans of Glorantha, which was first settled in the Dawn Age by Seshnegi colonists. It became a haven for radical sorcerers, traditionalist wizards, banished philosophers and exiled noblemen from all over the West: anyone unwelcome in their homeland could find a new life in the Jrusteli Colonies. Together, these forces formed a powerful new school of thought, which dedicated itself at first to the reunification of Malkioni thought in the wake of the Deceiver's lies and Arkat's defection.
The Return to Rightness began as an intellectual movement, born in reaction to the spread of heresy throughout the West. A group of wise and pious scholars collected together all the prophecies attributed to Malkion and Hrestol, searching for their inner meaning. Through the use of pure reason, they stripped away many of the false accretions that had grown around true doctrine. For their dedication to this task, they are known as the God Learners. Armed with righteous zeal, they launched a great crusade to liberate the other nations of the West from their heretical errors and subjugate their false gods to the One True God.
The God Learners overthrew the Waertagi naval monopoly, using the demonic power of the Firebergs to defeat that sea-born race. Through the pious purity of their faith, they defeated every foe, and in every clime they preached the truth of the One Supreme Invisible God. They liberated the kingdom of Seshnela from its barbaric overlords, and drove out the unrighteous rulers of Loskalm. They destroyed the Stygian Empire, shattering its shadowy cult of Arkat into a thousand splintered forms. On the Dark Continent of Pamaltela they founded cities and built empires. Yet in this greatness lay the roots of their downfall, for in glorying at their success they forgot the simple faith which had brought them power and dominion.
The Middle Sea Empire stretched across every Ocean, to the farthest Eastern Isles and the uttermost shores of the South. But the insatiable curiosity of the God Learners was never satisfied with the truths they had discovered. They sought ever greater knowledge and power. They transgressed the limits set by piety, and pried into unholy secrets. In seeking to understand all things, they came to comprehend nothing. Some lapsed into decadence or fell into the worship of demons; others commanded that they themselves be worshipped as gods. By the tenth generation, they had completely forgotten the Laws of the Invisible God and his Prophet Malkion which their pious ancestors had rediscovered.
The Downfall of the God Learners is universally attributed to the Wrath of God. Outraged at the blasphemies committed in His Name, the Invisible God unleashed curses and destruction upon the Jrusteli. Foul demons which they thought they had imprisoned or destroyed were loosed against them; kingdoms were wracked by fire and storm; catastrophes of every kind struck them by land and sea. The proud towers of their cities were cast down; their rule was everywhere overthrown. The oceans devoured first their fleets, then their homeland, as the Waertagi returned to send Jrustela beneath the waves of death. The ancient land of Seshnela, the heart of their Empire, was shattered by earthquakes then drowned by floods. None of the God Learners survived.
The Closing of the Oceans was the last nail in the coffin of the Middle Sea Empire. Zzabur of Brithos, the Sorcerer Supreme, wrought a great curse that swept the Oceans clear of all shipping. Even the Waertagi lacked the strength to combat this curse. Their city-ships were sunk, wrecked or driven beyond the bounds of this world. Most of them are said to have taken the Death Currents, sailing by their own choice down the great Whirlpool into the Underworld. For more than five centuries, no mariner could successfully brave the ocean waves: the continents were cut off, the islands isolated. Not until the voyages of Dormal the Sailor was this curse driven back.
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