Kallyr Starbrow: links with the Telmori

Version 2: with some of the wilder ideas packed off elsewhere, since they were declared Untrue by Greg. If you want to know more about the Telmori in general, try Thomas' Telmori's Forest. I look here only at the relationship of the Telmori of Sartar with the royal house.


Early history

(Source: KoS p134)

The Telmori entered Sartar by crossing the Creek in 1460, driving the Torkani tribe out of their ancestral homes and into the Indigo Hills. They also attacked the Culbrea, Maboder and Cinsina tribes. In 1680 they were the cause of a war which united the eastern tribes against them.

Their history prior to this is described only in the vaguest terms in CHDP ("had once worshipped... Gbaji... had been wandering the earth without peace"), but more detail is given in "Dorastor".

The bargain with Sartar

(Source: KoS p134)

In 1480 Sartar made peace between the Telmori and the confederation of Sartar tribes that opposed them by bribing the humans with the offer of one of his magical cities.

He then approached the Telmori, whose leader and his family had just been killed in the battle, and interrupted their mourning ceremonies. Their first reaction was to threaten to kill him, but after his persuasiveness had had its effect they agreed to be friends if he could revive their slain chieftain. This raises questions in my mind as to whether this was intended to be an impossible condition, or whether Sartar had a White Lady among his companions and they were simply asking to have a Ressurection done. This is of course harder in the "real" Glorantha than the RQ rules would suggest, but it is not uncommon.

In any case, Sartar answered their challenge by doing something different. He produced a new chief for them: Ostling Four-wolf. "No-one had seen the man before" - does this include Sartar himself, or does it just mean that the Telmori had not met him? The latter, I suspect. Ostling had four wolf-brothers, not just one, and as well as passing the leadership tests (do I need to find out what these involve?) he "showed the Telmori chiefs some secrets of their changing, and offered hope of their curse being broken". Ostling became the new Telmori chief, and "was a good friend to Sartar".

It seems likely to me that Ostling was one of Sartar's companions. As to his origins, the obvious conclusion is that he could have been a Telmori himself, but from another area: Dorastor, or Ralios. If he was a Pure One, that would offer hope of breaking the curse to some extent. Possibly he knew a quest whereby the curse could be removed, though if so, it clearly can't have been an easy one.

Sartar appears to have exchanged promises with the Telmori, though we only know of the land grants given them. Unpublished but reliable sources suggest that he promised to help free them of their curse if they stayed loyal to the royal house. From that time onwards, the Telmori were friendly to the Sartar dynasty, though still did not trust other humans. We may get a hint from Sartar's dealings with the other beast-folk of his kingdom, the ducks. Again, very little is known, but we are told that afterwards he never ate another fowl of any kind, and the ducks were sworn to be loyal to his family.

The Kingdom of Sartar: 1480-1602

We hear little more of the Telmori until 1565 (KoS139), when Kostajor Wolf-Champion "a warrior of the Telmori tribe" saves Jarosar at Dwarf Ford. He is noted as having his wounds tended by Minara and her sisters at some point: their mother Onelisin would have been born around 1520, making the daughters adult by around 1565, so presumably this is after saving Jarosar.

Then in 1582 Kostajor does a repeat performance, saving Terasarin at Grizzly Peak. (KoS140).

No mention is made in CHDP of their part in the events of 1602. Yet the Telmori were the royal bodyguards before the Household of Death was formed in 1600. The Sartar High Council write-up mentions that Hofstaring Tree-leaper feels that the Telmori deserted the kingdom in "the last battle": 1602, presumably? Hofstaring may have been wrong. Or the Telmori may have been insulted by the Household of Death usurping their place.

The Telmori Wars: 1607

According to CHDP p143, the Telmori started raiding and being raided by other tribes in 1603. In 1607 they annihilated the Lunar-supporting Maboder tribe, and the Maboder ghosts demanded vengeance from the Lunars. "The Lunar army was aided by all the tribesmen who hated the Telmori, but many outlaws and rebels helped the Telmori too." CHDP then goes into raptures over the brilliance of the Lunar leader, Jomes Hostralos, and we can deduce a little about the nature of the Telmori-supporting opposition from his deeds. At one point he is picked up by a sylph: clearly some high-ranking Orlanthi were on the Telmori side. He captures two of the Helkos brothers and executes one - unfortunately we are given no idea of who these brothers are. Finally he kills the beast-brother of Kostajor Wolf-champion, who by then is King of the Telmori.

My guess would be that those "rebels" included Kallyr. This would help explain their loyalty to her later, (and I really can't see her missing the chance of fighting the Lunars and losing, given her later record). I suspect almost anyone who wanted an excuse to fight the Lunars joined in on this one, knowing the reprisals would fall on the Telmori, not on their own clans and tribes.

After Kostajor's wolf-brother was killed, "the Telmori negotiated with Jomes, and accepted his terms. Hostages were given, their territory was reduced, and some of their numbers were outlawed from Sartar." We know that Jomes took much of their old territory for himself, and built a fort there. I have no idea what became of the hostages, but I would guess that Kostajor was one of those banished.

Starbrow's Rebellion: 1613

(Sources: KoS p145, WFp)

KoS tells us that among the orignal rebels, after the attempt to forge the Ring had failed, were "some outlawed Telmori tribesmen". They are not mentioned again.

The High Council scenario shows that at that original council meeting, intended to discuss the attack on the Hill of Orlanth Victorious, at least some of the leaders present preferred to attack the Telmori rather than the Lunars. Kallyr seems to have stopped them.

After the Lunars: 1625-163x

1625: the Telmori were among Kallyr's earliest supporters. (CHDP)

Minaryth Blue's "Events of my Life" gives for 1629: "Telmori promise revenge, quarrel with Argrath of Pavis." It is worth remembering that Argrath of Pavis was not the same Argrath who became King of Sartar, but they seem to have been allies at the time Pavis fell.

Argrath's Saga: p26-27

After Harrek has sacked Boldhome (which we know from M Blue is in 1630, and included Kallyr's death), the Lunars sent an assault of chaos monsters , "aided now by enemies within Sartar". "The werewolf folk turned against Argrath, plundering the herds of the folk to make Argrath's men stay at home." A description of Argrath's fight against the Lunars follows, including help from Gunda (killed by Kallyr in 1630) and ending with the battle of Bagnot. Then, "King Argrath would not tolerate the wolfmen's attacks. He worked with all the priests and holy men who could do it, and they sniffed out their foes in the night and through dreams. They guided their men into battle, and sought out the wolves through the most impossible lands. The fight against the wolfmen was arduous, and many good men died. But in the end Argrath was victorious. Afterwards, the tribe of the wolfpeople was dispersed, and only bands of them were found anyplace, and then were hunted down. The human victors of Argrath's battles against the wolfmen were called the Wolfskins, for they wore the pelts of their victims, and they were a very highly honoured band of warriors wherever they were recognised."

This is the Saga, and as usual it does seem to be confused. The plundering of herds sounds more like an attack on Praxians: the quarrel with Argrath of Pavis, perhaps? Some of the details of wearing skins sound as if they were borrowed from Jomes Wulf: and for all we know, he was there, as an ally of Argrath. But the basic idea seems inescapable: immediately after Kallyr's death, the Telmori turned against Argrath, and he wiped them out as soon as he had the forces to spare.


Kostajor Wolf Champion

One figure keeps appearing throughout this story, and we know very little about him. Kostajor Wolf-champion, saviour of princes, who lost his wolf-brother in 1607. He seems to have been active for a remarkably long time. He was known as "wolf-champion" back in 1565. Suppose he was a remarkably precocious young man, he might have reached this level at the age of, say, 25. (In fact Greg tells me he was already a Hero with his own Saga even then). That would make him born in 1540. He would have been 42 at Grizzly Peak, and 67 in the Telmori wars. All in all, this would seem to be stretching things a little too far, unless the Telmori are known for their longevity, which I do not believe to be the case. All could be explained however if Kostajor was a heroquester: long life is one of the known benefits. In that case there would be nothing to stop him still being active in 1613 and even 1625: in fact, since his death is never reported, only his exile, it is most likely that he would still be alive. So where did he go after 1607? What heroquests has he done? He is known to be fanatically loyal to the House of Sartar, and if he was still around in 1613 and 1625, would almost certainly have been one of those supporting Kallyr.

Another thought: could he be Pure Telmori, one of Ostling's descendants? He does seem to have stood out among the other Telmori of the time, so this would fit.

After his wolf-brother was killed and he was exiled, where would he go? His over-riding motivations seem to have been the preservation of his race and the protection of the Kingdom of Sartar. And "Dorastor" makes it clear that to lose a wolf-brother is devastating: a loss of status and identity. Thomas suggests that at this point he left, heroquesting for a cure for his people's curse. The only idea I had has been ruled out of court by Greg. I'm pretty sure he stayed in touch with the Resistance, and helped Kallyr in 1613 and 1625, but can provide no supporting evidence.

My final point about Kostajor takes us back to 1565 and KoS. Both in CHDP and as a separate document, Argrath gives his ancestry from Minara and Onelisin. And the wording is subtly different in the two cases. CHDP (KoS156) mentions only that Minara "was one of the three sisters who staunched the wounds of Kostajor Wolf Champion". The separate "Argrath's Mothers" (KoS172) gives a fuller version: "Minara was one of the three sisters who staunched the wounds of Kostajor Wolf Champion. She did not poison him, and she did not use the wrong bandages, and she did not fall in love with the wolf-man." It also gives more detail of Minara's grandmother Sorana Millstone, saying that "no queen was more beloved by her people than she was".

Now on the face of it this is a standard "three sisters" story: given a task, the elder two sisters make mistakes and the youngest gets it right. Unless, of course, you can count up to three. Three mistakes are listed, not two: poisoning, wrong bandages, and falling in love. Falling in love with the patient does not normally prevent a cure! I believe this was added into the story at a later date, and was in fact about an entirely different lady. The snippet about no queen being more loved could also be a jibe at the same person. Could Kallyr have fallen in love with Kostajor? At least, could there have been rumours about it strong enough to worry Argrath?

How would Kallyr have felt about Kostajor? They might have met during Terasarin's reign, when she was a child and he was the champion who had saved the Prince (and also saved her great-uncle Jarosar). This looks more like the basis for awed hero-worship than for a romance to me. They would have met again in 1607: by now she was a heroquester in her own right, but not yet a ruler. There might have been respect on both sides this time, but Kostajor is likely to have still seen her as a child to be protected. But by the late 1620s, when she's Prince of Sartar and has done a (stationary) LBQ, things would be getting more equal. A truly trustworthy ally would have been a rarity to be valued. At this point I can see the rumours starting. In fact I doubt if there was anything behind them: by Telmori law, mating with a human is beastiality, punishable by death. To get round that one would require some of my wilder ideas not to have been contradicted by Greg.

We are never told how Kostajor dies, but we do know that once Argrath was firmly established on the throne of Sartar, he put a great deal of effort into wiping out the Telmori. I think we can assume that Kostajor was on Kallyr's side of the muted civil war, and may have died with her facing Harrek in 1630. Without his protection, the Telmori would have been easy prey.

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