Peter Metcalfe wrote once in Tradetalk the vadeli were indeed seeking to follow Malkion's true way : since He was destroyed, they work as hard as they can to destroy the world, which is indeed a bloated corpse that needs destruction.
I'm pretty sure the vadeli don't see themselves as evil. As you implied, they were cut off their mainland by zzabur's shattering. They had to adapt, and they did.
My copy of Revealed Mythologies has gone missing, but my gut feeling about when the Vadeli lost their Talar caste (if it happened at all, of which I am not completely convinced) would be the transition of that people from being Viyamorni to being Vadeli.
According to the western myth maps on the Glorantha website I see that the first mention of the Vadeli as a people was in the early fourth action. This was when the followers of Vadel were separated from Danmalastan by the waters of the Rushing Churkenos. At that point there were Viyamorni in Danmalastan and Vadeli in Bamatela - a great time for the Vadeli to complete their slide into error! Perhaps they even had an axe to grind over being abandoned.
In the middle Fourth Action the Mostali built the Great Bridge to the area where the remaining Viyamorni lived, which became a Vadeli island separated from the Castle of Logic by the Senbanth Sea. From this point forward the Viyamorni are no longer mentioned.
This was also in the middle Fourth Action when the Malkion the Prophet's Expulsion Walk occurred. I hadn't noticed before how early that happened. Most of the conflict between the Vadeli and the people of Zerendel (proto-Brithini) happened after Malkon left. This raises the possibility that we have two cultures that have fallen into error fighting it out instead of a simple Good (Zerendeli) vs Evil (Vadeli) conflict. A completely blasphemous idea would be that the Vadeli (friends of the ever logical Mostali) were the *true* followers of Malkion - after all, the Vadeli weren't the ones that kicked Malkion out of Danmalastan were they?
Taking this heretical idea further (like a proper Vadeli) the Vedeli could see themselves as instruments of Malkion's plan. They become the opposite of the Zerendeli/Brithini (and therefore "evil") in order to prevent them from freezing the world as it was instead of allowing it to change according to the continuing plan of Malkion. Then, when Malkion needed to be sacrificed the Vadeli were there to help. (I can't recall if it was Zabbur or Vadel that slew Malkion). Since the Dawn, the Vadeli have been more or less quiet because they lack purpose, but when Malkion needs them again they will rise again!
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