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After losing a religious/civil war in Loskalm to the heretical supporters of the Middle Sea Empire, Syranthir Forefront, Duke of Jorri [1] and a General of the Royal Army of Akem, led his force of ten thousand men into the Fronelan hinterland. They escorted the head of the Malkioni Church, the Ecclesiarch of Southpoint, on whose behalf Syranthir had fought and lost his war. The march of the Ten Thousand essentially followed the line of the beautiful blue Janube, with occasional tactical hikes up out of the valley, until they reached the Sweet Sea.

The army had a lot of trouble from Wolf People (generally this appears to be rulers claiming descent from wolves, or bandits known as wolves, rather than werewolf Telmori per se), who were one of the main reasons the Ten Thousand didn't settle a few days' or weeks' march from Loskalm: whenever they tried to throw their lot in with a local backwoods leader, the Wolves would make trouble and they'd have to leave. [2]

Poetic accounts make a great deal of one particular Sending by the Sorcerers of the West against Syranthir: his traitorous wife and brother sent the spirits of his murdered children to follow and destroy him. Only by cutting himself off from his past life with an iron blade was Syranthir able to turn their attack, but this left him rootless, with nothing to return to. [3]

There was a Battle on the Ice one winter, where the Ten Thousand narrowly escaped being drowned. The Singing Serpents in the marshes of Porlos would have lured them all to their deaths, but for heroic efforts by Syranthir's scouts. The most famous attack by the Telmori was when the Wolf Prince ambushed the army in the high forest of Sladvan, and only one man in three of the rearguard survived his onslaught.

After all this journeying, they arrived at a port called Beda, on the west shore of the Sweet Sea. Here they sorted out a little local bother with raiding Bearwalkers by a brave journey into their forest to steal the Bear King's cubs, then took ship across the Sweet Sea to the eastern land of Peloria in the east. [4]

The Ten Thousand arrived at Lake Oronin just as the last free city of Pelanda was about to be seized by the Empire of Gloom. Syranthir called his Hundred Captains together to ask whether they should intervene on the side of the beseiged or the beseigers. His own sentiment was that, if they did nothing, the beseigers would win: they would therefore owe nothing if the Ten Thousand joined in on their side. But their intervention could turn the course of the siege in the defenders' favour, after which they would be in the debt of the Ten Thousand, and would give them everything they wanted. This inspired leadership is cited as an example to Carmanian children today: the stuff legends are made of!

The story of Syranthir's battles against the Spolite Empire can be read on at least two levels: as straightforward military history, and as a mythical HeroQuest wherein a liberated city becomes a magic castle, and the welcome offered by the Pelandan people is made concrete in the form of the mysterious goddess Charmain, lady of Castle Blue. [5]

All of the old tales agree that Syranthir disappears mysteriously, though whether he was secretly murdered by Pelandan foes, apotheosized as a saint or god, or returned to Castle Blue in search of his beloved, no two versions agree.


[1] Syranthir Forefront was formerly the Duke of Jorri; the first land he was granted by his Pelandan allies was the rocky eastern slopes of the Brass Mountains, which he named after his homeland: they are now the county of Jhor, and home to the archetypal Carmanian virtues of survival in a harsh land. There is, of course, a Carmanian childrens' song which begins:

The Grand Old Duke of Jhor
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill...

[2] Syanor (Fronela south of the Janube) had been, in the First Age, the northern half of Telmoria, homeland of the Wolf People. The High Llama Pass (previously known as the Wolves' High Pass) across the Nidan Mountains was a centre of Telmori power. The enmity between the Telmori peoples and the Basmoli - later the Bashkars, the Lion Guard of the Golden Shahs - of Syranthir's army is another manifestation of Gloranthan cat'n'dog rivalry.

[3] This may be similar to the Humakti 'divorces' known among some barbarian peoples.

[4] Historians think the Ten Thousand were recruited in Beda to fight for the last free Pelandan cities against the Spolite Oppression. But historians will believe anything.

[5] Most of these details come from a tenth-century Carmanian poem, written by a Pelandan poet, called the Anabasis. It's one of our most coherent sources for the March of the Ten Thousand, though scholarly opinion is divided as to whether or not it preceded Shah Nadar the Avenger's famous march on Eastpoint. The Fronelan local details could have been recorded by those accompanying the expedition, or they could have been researched before it left so as to increase its chances of success. Certainly, the Shah in this instance notably whacked certain cities and peoples along his line of march, and this may have been to avenge the tribulations of his ancestor, or this may have been the later 'cover story' - "Sorry, guys, but it was mythically necessary for us to smash your city to pieces and sow its fields with salt!"

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