What Terra's referring to is the nature of Fonrit before Garangordos came along. Missing Lands portrays it as being a land of:
"...simple "blues", survivors of the near forgotten Artmali Empire. They owned magnificent boats, worshipped crippled gods,
and ate snails, worms and fish but flesh from no animal or bird."
Missing Lands p64
To me this description is completely off. If the noteworthy features about them were boats, munted gods and diet then why would Garangordos need to even get Ompalam to conquer them? That's why I feel the need to play up the worship of Jraktal so we would have a somewhat colourful conflict redolent of Cortez versus the Aztecs.
> /// One thing I'm pretty sure is that Fonritans, or at least their upper class, are EVIL (as in old D&D alignements). They enjoy cruelty for its sake and view all other people, including their lower status brethen, as tools, cattle or pets. They deal with demons, sacrifice human lives, etc. etc. Most of this is the product of the vadeli's corruption of their myths and societies. Garangordos himself was a vadeli tool.
Part of the purpose of my Kareeshtuan writeup was to attack head on the view that because the Fonritans practice slavery they must be evil. Even with the revelation that Fonrit has been influenced by the Vadeli, I think that to write them off as evil is just lazy and that Fonrit would be a more interesting place if the Fonritans were mostly virtuous actors. Not so much as "They are not bad, just misunderstood" but rather the "Evil Empire of Good Intentions".
I've already described in the Tradetalk article how the cult of Ompalam could work in being an intended force for good and absent the Guide, it's pointless to update it for now. Seseine, I feel, is a (chaotic) reaction against the oppressive nature of Fonritan society. Jraktal is a cipher at best while the name of the fourth god is unknown (Gark? Krarsht? Pocharngo? Yran? Ikadz? Enquiring Minds offer Blood and Souls for an advance copy of the Guide).
So what I'll focus on is the Vadeli influence and how it might work in turning Fonrit into the hellhole.
The Vadeli insights aren't a matter of choice in the sense of "I believe X, therefore I'm evil". They are like gunpowder or hard drugs, they exist whether you like them or not. The Malkioni, Lunars and Kralori are aware of these insights but their Gods prevents them from exploiting them. Other societies simply lack the critical mass in population and literacy to maintain common awareness of these truths. But the poor Fonritans lack any defences against these truths and so are forced to cope with their malign influences.
The rulers of Fonrit are oppressive not because they want to be but because they are terrified of the unrestrained use of Vadeli insights. Their history and mythology is littered with examples of horrible things that have happened in the past - the demon city of Kalabar, the Yranian Leapers to name a few. All these things happened because they believe because somebody wanted to be loved rather than feared.
The rulers of Fonrit are in a prisoner's dilemma against themselves. There is an endemic lack of trust among the rulers that worsens with social and physical distance. They are aware that the Vadeli truths encourage acting in bad faith and are sick with worry about what their rivals might be up to. Not even their gods can unite them because the insights have destroyed whatever faith they may have in their moral nature.
The rulers of Fonrit are fighting a losing battle. The days of adjuring any use of the Vadeli insights are long gone. Those who followed that pious path met with grisly ends at the hands of those who did not. Some usage and toleration of the insights is essential for survival against their rivals. But they lack any consensus about what might be acceptable. Differences in practice have fueled accusations of bad faith to the extent that the rulers err in plotting against each other than curbing the use of Vadeli insights as much as they could.
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