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davecake

Talor

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All non-canonical supposition, mainly material from the Guide glued together with speculation, two subsections taken from the sequel to The Armies and Enemies of Dragon Pass.

It is probably not correct.

Talor the Laughing Warrior

The Hero Talor[1] was born in Akem, and rose to be its greatest military commander, fighting not only the external forces allied to the Bright Empire but also internal enemies seduced and corrupted by the promises of the New God.

Talor[2] is also claimed by some to be a son of Arkat. Defending his native land of Akem in Fronela, Talor suppressed the Hrestoli Telendarian School of Akem as Chaotic, for their magics included the powers of Tarumath, the ‘High Storm’, a god invented by Rasarus’[3] priest Lokamayadon[4].

The Eleven Beasts Alliance had encouraged the Hsunchen clans to worship the Lightbringers, and later many to worship Rasarus. The tendrils of Rasarus’ Bright Empire spread his corruption, reaching even into the heart of Akem, and the barbarian horde led by Varganthar the Unconquerable destroyed most river land settlements and threatened the borders of Akem, until Talor met him in battle.

Even more so than in Ralios, the forces fighting for Rasarus were local; this was a war by proxy for the Bright Empire, its native armies led or advised by his priests and missionaries. The wars in Fronela were far distant from the core territories of the Bright Empire.

Talor slew the wizard Arinsor[5] and the Chaos monsters he had summoned, which included the infamous Tarjinian Bull, and then closed the terrible Gate of Banir which it was said had permitted the Rasarus cult to enter Akem.

In revenge, Talor was slain or was trapped in the Underworld by a curse sent by the Chaos God plunging Akem into utter anarchy.

Seeking aid, after Arkat had become the Dark Destroyer, a troll, abandoning the cult of Humakt for that of Zorak Zoran, Harmast had set off again to find an end to the war and he obtained the Keys of Castle Kartolin. This second quest was not as successful as the first, for he was wounded but returned to Hrelar Amali the City of the Gods with the New Light of Talor the Laughing Warrior who had been trapped beyond the Gate of Banir. Talor's experience of his Lightbringers’ Quest was the ‘Eastfaring’, the journey out of Hell.

The device on Talor’s shield was said to consist of a black dog’s head on a gold background[6], with a thin horizontal red bar behind the dog’s head.

 

The Armies of Talor

In 448 ST Harmast Barefoot left Dragon Pass on his second Lightbringers’ Quest and in 450 ST, returned from the Underworld bringing Talor with him.

Journeying north, they came to the aid of the temple-city of Ulros, a refuge and center of resistance against the Bright Empire, winning the Battle of Giants against Rasarus’ supporters. Talor defeated and virtually exterminated the supporters of Varganthar the Unconquerable and his Eleven Beasts Alliance who had allied with the Bright Empire.

The two marched to Akem, bringing allies from the south with them. They ended a war between the local Orlanthi and Akem, demonstrating to all the nature of their true enemy, and then led an army of Akemite horali soldiers and Men-of-All and combined southern talari and Men-of-All heavy cavalry, Orlanthi warriors, and Hsunchen scouts and skirmishers[7] unsullied by Rasarus’ gifts, to drive the god’s minions from Fronela.

The army was then forced, lacking allies in the east of the Janube valley, to march south into Ralios to attack Kartolin Pass, and then entered Dorastor for the Final Battle.

Unifying the disparate Fronelans, Akemites, and Ralians into an army was perhaps Talor’s greatest achievement after his ascent from the Underworld.

Aided by a band of heroes from many lands, Talor commanded armies, led secret plots, plundered ancient secrets, and slaughtered all the foes who dared defy him. Some say he used the keys found by Harmast to break through Kartolin and so entered Dorastor to slay Rasarus’ evil priests, even as Arkat the Kingtroll met Nysalor in battle.

Throughout it all Talor maintained a wry (some say insane[8]) sense of grim humor which failed him only twice, giving him his sobriquet as the Laughing Warrior.

Afterwards, Talor returned to Akem where the rulers of Nenanduft joined with him to form the Kingdom of Loskalm and he was acclaimed as its first king. After many years of reigning as king, he was buried at Parche. He banned the Stygian darkness that overcame Ralios from his land, instead shining for all his people as a beacon of pure Light and hope.

One of his Companions who had fought beside him at Kartolin Pass founded the Kingdom of Dakal, in the hilly lands between the Janube River Valley and the snow-capped Nidan Mountains, known then as Syanor[9].

Later, Talor was venerated by the Hrestoli as an Ascended Master.

 

[1] Talor is viewed by many Hrestoli sects of the Third Age as an Ascended Master, and is worshipped in Jonatela as a demigod. The New Hrestoli claim that his song of battle enables them to achieve strength through Joy.

[2] The similarity between the hero’s name and that of the talari caste causes some to wonder if he was of that caste instead of the soldier caste.

[3] Rasarus was the name by which Nysalor was known in Fronela.

[4] He himself was not Chaotic. However, for the Orlanthi after Harmast, Lokamayadon’s heretical Tarumath cult is joined together with Nysalor’s which is categorized as Chaos. The era of Lokamayadon and Harmast was a defining period for the cults of Orlanth.

When initiated into the cult of Orlanth he met the part of his soul which became his beloved wind, whom he called Bearded Wind. A minor Storm God, it took the form of a ram partially composed of clouds, and manifested many powers. With the aid of this powerful being he performed the Hagodereth Heroquest in 339 ST, first learning the secrets of the golden sheep goddess Hethana and then flying upon Bearded Storm to find his great ancestor Hagodereth. Lokamayadon returned with his ancestor in the form of a supernatural golden ram which he put with his herd. Previously mighty, Lokamayadon was hereafter heroic. He commanded singularly great powers, and so many spear thanes wished to swear loyalty to him that he chose only the best, and soon led a mighty war band.

[5] Arinsor was a priest or sorcerer in the service of Rasarus. He spread the cult across Fronela and summoned Chaos monsters to fight and terrorize his enemies. He is described as a tall brooding man with hooded eyes who used a staff of human bone decorated with jewels.

[6] Suggestive of an ancestry in the talari caste.

[7] Talor’s army included Lion Men from the south, and some Pure Telmori, Redeli and Enjoreli from Fronela.

[8] His apparent bouts of insanity may have been a slur propagated later by the God Learners, or caused by the many horrors he witnessed and fought.

A common Hrestoli proverb of the Second Age: was “Why was Talor laughing? Because he had experienced Joy and knew what awaited him.”

[9] Syanor was the name of the region south of the Janube River and north of Samita Lake, including Charg, Jonatela, and Oranor. In the First Age it was the northern half of Telmoria, homeland of the Wolf People.

 
 
Edited by M Helsdon
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3 hours ago, davecake said:

What do we know of Talor’s story?

Beyond what everybody knows? There are two pieces to the answer: what we know we don't know and what we can find out.

He is surprisingly peripheral to many of the key texts. The Second Quest is not a narrative concern in any of the Barefoot Sagas I've seen. Greg simply isn't interested enough in that phase of his career and the Heortling chroniclers don't really care. Likewise, at least one of the extant Arkat Sagas ("Pseudoarkat" or the Tale of Seralos Deguy) is completely silent on Arkat's "sons" and posterity as well as Fronela and other topics.

IMG this reveals two truths, one exoteric and one not. Talor is not really a universal saint cult so much as a regional hero. He didn't save the world. He simply made a deep impact in this particular corner of the mythic landscape. And because the Fronelan documents are so scarce (lost in various archives if they exist at all) the gnostic truth is that this history has been more thoroughly suppressed than the main Arkat epic or even the life of Gerlant in the south. It's worth a little meditation on why this would be.

But the syncretic Book of Gbaji preserves a few fragmentary accounts, including some dates (413 arrival, 415 fall of Nenanduft, 417 for the final Telmorite curse, 419 he takes Kartolin) and a few contradictions. Some say he landed with Ar[k]at from the beginning. Others have him setting out from Brithos in 412 as a kind of imitator or echo inspired by the crusade on the mainland. And of course the original Prosopaedia insists that he was from Fronela all along. There's also an apocryphal, perhaps allegorical account of how he finds a wife, a best friend and a home in Baustin and witnesses the death of Ar[k]at . . . but it's riddled with inconsistencies with what everybody knows today and ends on a cliffhanger that may never be resolved. An enigma, a mystery story locked for someone's privacy and the key has been lost. 

There might have been multiple Talors drifting in and out of historical focus to suit the requirements of Fate. What's left behind are what IMG are the endless Talor stories, basically Nasruddin gags that corrode epistemological certainties in pursuit of some deeper antilogic. You have to laugh.

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3 hours ago, M Helsdon said:Talor suppressed the Hrestoli Telendarian School of Akem as Chaotic, for their magics included the powers of Tarumath, the ‘High Storm’,

The Telendarian school is the ancient exploring magic of the Viymorni, inherited by the Vadeli - so it predates Hrestolism (though was popularised with them through Akem), and it is probably considered Chaotic for  Vadeli connections. It is mostly travel and disguise magic, though includes Tap POW. It is very handy if you want to sneak about and steal the magical secrets of others, which I think is where it’s bad reputation in the First Age and later comes from largely? I don’t think it has much do with Tarumath, which is more ‘Storm worship meets Nysalor’. 
I have quite a few ideas about Telendarian magic. 

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Questions about Talor:

THE THREE WEAPONS.  Rather than three magical weapons, I've interpreted them allegorically.  The flail is obviously the commoners of Loskalm, the Sword is the Orlanthi and the Axe might either be the Elves or the Dwarves.

TALOR"S HUMOR FAILURES:  Talor's sense of humour failed him twice.  One was probably the sight of Dorastor in its last days from Kartolin.  I thought the other could be a atrocity which impels Talor on his heroic journey.  Or it could have been the Gate of Banir.

TALOR"S FIRST DEATH:  I think Talor closed the Gate of Banir by going through it and closing it from the other side.  This however leaves him in a chaotic place rather than the Undeworld.

THE SECOND LIGHTBRINGERS QUEST:  There's a couple of mysteries about this.  One is its persistence description as not working so well or a partial success.  Was Talor incomplete?  Did he have to wear a strait-jacket and hockey mask after being freed?  Or was Talor simply not just as powerful as Arkat?  Another issue is that Jeff recently indicated that Talor and Harmast fell out.  What was all that about?

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23 minutes ago, metcalph said:

THE THREE WEAPONS.  Rather than three magical weapons, I've interpreted them allegorically. 

While that’s not something I’d previously considered (as they are referred to as literal weapons), its one of those ideas that, regardless of its ‘truth’, almost certainly is believed by some. 

Ive been thinking of them more as representing three different wargods - probably Humakt (sword), Babeester Gor (axe), and Vorthan (flail). 

23 minutes ago, metcalph said:

TALOR"S FIRST DEATH:  I think Talor closed the Gate of Banir by going through it and closing it from the other side.  This however leaves him in a chaotic place rather than the Undeworld.

Sounds plausible. As does it being one of the times his sense of humour fails him. 
 

23 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Another issue is that Jeff recently indicated that Talor and Harmast fell out.  What was all that about?

My theory is that both were Illuminated and they fell out over how to deal with that in their spiritual legacy, but that’s just because I have particular ideas about what I’d like Talors legacy to be. 

Edited by davecake
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3 hours ago, scott-martin said:

the gnostic truth is that this history has been more thoroughly suppressed than the main Arkat epic or even the life of Gerlant in the south. It's worth a little meditation on why this would be.

Well, that kind of leaves it open for us to make up Talor’s secret mystic doctrines. Which is exactly what I was hoping for. 
 

3 hours ago, scott-martin said:

What's left behind are what IMG are the endless Talor stories, basically Nasruddin gags that corrode epistemological certainties in pursuit of some deeper antilogic

So that’s what you’d have in the Talor apocrypha that form part of the sacred texts of New Loskalm?

I kind of like the idea of Talor introducing a Sufi strain of thought into the much more straight Platonism. 

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10 hours ago, davecake said:

I kind of like the idea of Talor introducing a Sufi strain of thought into the much more straight Platonism. 

yeeeeeeesss!

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12 hours ago, metcalph said:

TALOR"S FIRST DEATH:  I think Talor closed the Gate of Banir by going through it and closing it from the other side.  This however leaves him in a chaotic place rather than the Undeworld.

I like the idea, and it has a nice mythic feel to it.

12 hours ago, metcalph said:

THE SECOND LIGHTBRINGERS QUEST:  There's a couple of mysteries about this.  One is its persistence description as not working so well or a partial success.  Was Talor incomplete?  Did he have to wear a strait-jacket and hockey mask after being freed?  Or was Talor simply not just as powerful as Arkat?

If we go to Jeff's recent comments on the LBQ re: that it is not about bringing a person back, but restoring the Cosmic Order, then I think it allow us to reframe this question.  The question is not about bringing back Talor vs. Arkat.  The question becomes: what was necessary to restore the Cosmic Order in each case.  First, it was Darkness to counter the excessive shift to Light brought on by Nysalor's birth.  In the second case, I think it must be either Life or Harmony to counter the excess of Death and Disorder (or perhaps Laughter to overcome Fear and Hatred?).

It may have been less successful because so much had already been destroyed. Or perhaps we are focusing too much on ONE PERSON.  Perhaps what Harmast restored was this element of Life and Harmony.  Talor was only one manifestation of this - there may have been other manifestations elsewhere and they may not have been individual but systems of belief or other impersonal aspects carried by many.

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14 hours ago, davecake said:

Which is exactly what I was hoping for. 

Yeah, you have a green light all the way unless some lost trove gets discovered elsewhere. I can't wait to see where you end up! 🤣🤣🤣

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1 hour ago, jajagappa said:
14 hours ago, metcalph said:

THE SECOND LIGHTBRINGERS QUEST:  There's a couple of mysteries about this.  One is its persistence description as not working so well or a partial success.  Was Talor incomplete?  Did he have to wear a strait-jacket and hockey mask after being freed?  Or was Talor simply not just as powerful as Arkat?

If we go to Jeff's recent comments on the LBQ re: that it is not about bringing a person back, but restoring the Cosmic Order, then I think it allow us to reframe this question.  The question is not about bringing back Talor vs. Arkat.  The question becomes: what was necessary to restore the Cosmic Order in each case.  First, it was Darkness to counter the excessive shift to Light brought on by Nysalor's birth.  In the second case, I think it must be either Life or Harmony to counter the excess of Death and Disorder (or perhaps Laughter to overcome Fear and Hatred?).

One thing that Nick Brooke's character Garundyer had to endure during the first run of Rise of Ralios was going on the Lightbringers' Quest twice during the first run of Rise of Ralios. I think Greg's thinking at the time was that you could undergo the real godworld heroquest only once in a given role, but as he had come disguised, his first participation had been as the Flesh Man rather than Orlanth.

No idea if that is still anywhere close to the canon, but if so, it might have handicapped Harmast's second endeavor, as his first one quite likely saw him in the role of Orlanth.

 

One thing that Harmast needed to right the world again was a capital H hero who could unite Orlanthi and Westerner forces behind him, now that Arkat had become a troll and worse. Talor was that rallying point.

Whether Talor was a character of light I can''t say. Gerlant with his flamesword may have had some Enerali claim to Ehilm. Talor appears to be more of a mystic than Gerlant.

In the end, Talor left a powerful chaos curse behind himself, much like Arkat did. I can only assume that Harmast was not amused at either.

1 hour ago, jajagappa said:

It may have been less successful because so much had already been destroyed. Or perhaps we are focusing too much on ONE PERSON.  Perhaps what Harmast restored was this element of Life and Harmony.  Talor was only one manifestation of this - there may have been other manifestations elsewhere and they may not have been individual but systems of belief or other impersonal aspects carried by many.

Argrath Saga makes it look like the quester can ask for a specific boon which the assembled gods of the compromise will grant if it is in their power. Talor may have been the manifestation of that boon rather than the object of Harmast's desire.

 

Another reason why his second attempt was more hardship may have been that Harmast's own "shadow" or HQ rival may have grown in power as an effect of the first LBQ. Jajamokki, right? Sounds like a Bad Dog or something like that to me. Possibly with a dose of Jagrekriand mixed in, as the breaking of the chariot wheel suggests.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

One thing that Harmast needed to right the world again was a capital H hero who could unite Orlanthi and Westerner forces behind him, now that Arkat had become a troll and worse. Talor was that rallying point.

Your comment actually makes me think that the cosmos had become too Monstrous, and what was needed to right the balance was a Human (or Humanity, however you see that).  Talor then is the epitome of Humanity (vs. the Bestial/Horrific/etc.) and all that encompasses including Joy and Laughter.  A Man-of-All from Fronela then makes sense.  And of course he would be "less" successful because to be Human means to NOT become Monstrous.  But there must have been some success because the Middle Sea Empire was very much a Human empire and continued the fight against the Dark Empire (and the EWF could be seen as an effort to balance the Human and the Monstrous).

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