Return to Carmanian Sources The Red Moon
Return to Home Page

Gloranthan Folk Tales

Gloranthan Songbook

Moonie Madness

Carmanian Sources

Malkioni Scriptures

While Shah Carmanos had been served by the finest soldiers in the world -- from the army of his father -- his son Surandar had to choose his own officers and noblemen. He selected the bravest and finest men among the Carmanians to be his Sirdars -- captains and officers -- and recruited to the ranks of his war-band those native-born Pelandans who could demonstrate strength and stamina -- though, following Western custom, these never went into combat mounted, but bore the lesser weapons of footmen. The mounted warriors of Carmania, the feared Hazars, had their origin in the Founder's reign, though as yet they were mere raiders and skirmishers, not the terrifying armoured cavalry they were to become.

Surandar was first to make the journey to the Mines of Kitor, and there he offered up tribute (prised from Spol) to the three-eyed ruler and his dwarfish slaves. In return, he received the first of the brass-scaled coats that would make Carmanian horsemen all but invincible in battle. Armoured in this gift beyond price, Shah Surandar was many a time to emerge unscathed from the thickest press of battle. He was only ever wounded in war when he lifted his mask-visor to command his forces -- visitors to Carmania cannot but notice that all his statues are disfigured by facial scars.

The warriors the Shah led personally into battle had first to prove themselves worthy, by hunting and slaying a mountain lion, alone and unaided, then drinking its blood. This created a common bond between the Bashkars (the Lion Guard, as they were more commonly known), who could be recognised by the skins each of them wore. After his testing, every man of the corps knew himself to be imbued with the strength of the lion he had overcome.

In battle, the Bashkars always followed the personal lead of the Shah, who emulated his heroic and noble ancestor Syranthir by being at the forefront of every charge. The Hazars were despatched to the wings, where they guarded the host against its foes. The Pelandan levies, known as the "Friends and Supporters," served dutifully against the enemy, obeying in all things the directions of their lords. But the warfare of Surandar was not that of Daxdarius: the press of armoured battle-lines took second place to the sudden shock of armoured horse.

Send in your Lions!

Shah Surandar was renowned as a builder of fortifications. In every city of Pelanda that came under his rule, whether through alliance or by victory in arms, he placed a Carmanian garrison of "Defenders," with one of his loyal Sirdars as "Advisor" to the city rulers. As the liberation of Pelanda sped on, there was less and less time to consider the desires of these councils of citizens, more need to consolidate gains and maintain the momentum with which the Bashkars struck against their stumbling, headless foes. Cities which had at first welcomed the Carmanian army within their walls still longed for the freedom they had known before ever the Gloom had spread. They feared they had changed one master for another.

It was then that a leader emerged among the liberated cities. A general of Ulawar, Marconius by name, having cast the Grey Host from his city through his own efforts, raised his own battle-line and purposed to set about freeing the nearest occupied cities by his own strength. Surandar could scarcely complain at this apparent assistance, though it clashed with his own plans for dominance in Pelanda, and so offered to join his mounted forces to the footmen of Marconius for a campaign to crush the Spolite remnants around Enthyr. Suspecting nothing, the General agreed.

That battle was fought strenuously between the men of Ulawar and their opponents of Enthyr. The Shah sat with his Bashkars behind the infantry of Ulawar, waiting for a decisive moment to intervene. It came. A runner from Marconius arrived at the Shah's pavilion and found Surandar before a board set for ravenkaaz. The line of Enthyr was buckling, he cried: now was the time for it to be broken. The Shah made a move upon the board, and his white pawn removed a black pawn: he did nothing else.

Another herald came running, crying that the men of Spol had regained their strength and were pressing strongly against those of Ulawar: the Shah must send in his Lions. Again, the Shah made his move upon the board, and a black pawn removed a white pawn; but he did nothing else.

A third time a messenger came: Marconius was forced into the fray himself as his line hung on the brink of collapse; the Bashkars must charge now, or all was lost! But the Shah did nothing, save make his last move of the game. The black king was taken and Marconius fell slain. The battle-line of Ulawar was broken in rout, the soldiers of Enthyr pursuing them from the field of battle.

With that the Shah leapt to horse and sounded the charge. With all order gone from the infantry lines, his Bashkars crashed against the Spolites, slaying wherever they could. Elation changed to despair, as the victorious pursuit was itself broken and turned to retreat. Behind, at the royal tent, the messenger saw the ravenkaaz board and realised what had been happening: through the whole game, Shah Surandar had moved both black and white pieces, letting the pawns of both sides kill each other until the finish of his game.

The Rape of the Pelandan Women

The collapse of the Spolite Empire of Gloom is over by the end of this reign: Surandar gets to sack Enthyr, though perhaps not too badly. Some troubles with Brolian and Baloris barbarians. Carmanians expand through Naveria and Suvaria to meet the Dara Happans, but peacefully (Surandar's son Carshandar is sent as envoy, and shows his character early on by bringing back peace not confrontation).

Ritual Theme: Surandar as military founder must commit the three functional sins: treachery, cowardice/laziness, and rape. He then dies horribly for his impiety.

Rape: the "Rape of the Pelandan Women"!! (c.810). Except there is no reconciliation after this one. The polite fiction that Carmanians are allies or servants of the Pelandans perishes.

Death: probably consumed from within by worms while he still lived, though this may change.

Valid HTML 4.0! Glorantha, HeroQuest, Hero Wars, and Issaries are trademarks of Issaries, Inc. The contents of this page are copyright by Nick Brooke , 2001; any material derived from Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha is also copyright by Greg Stafford. Glorantha is the creation of Greg Stafford, and is used with his permission.

Return to Index