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Telmori and Wolfrunners


jeffjerwin

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Joerg commented that the Wolfrunners were somehow created out of the Telmori through Argrath's intervention in the Bithos discussion.

I always understood it that the Telmori were massacred and their wolf-skins decorated one of Argrath's hero bands (which suggests at its root a betrayal, since Sartar's promise was to end the Telmori curse, not end the Telmori).

This action by Argrath or his allies has always sat uneasily with me, though it may come from hero forming Arkat, who was the foe of the Telmori (Arkat is the archetypical imposter, after all). I have harbored some doubts that Argrath's genealogy and claim to the throne are fully legitimate, and part of me suspects that Argrath had to kill the Telmori because they were the royal bodyguard. This also fits with Jane Williams' apprehension that Kallyr's death was somehow suspect as well.

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3 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

I'd like to discuss this, but it's off topic. Can we start a new thread on the wolf runners? This is the first I've heard of this. I thought Argrath simply extirpated the Telmori.

Basically the description of the Wolf Runners in the Dragon Pass boardgame tells us that they are Telmori subject to Gbaji's curse to become uncontrolled monsters on wilddays. King of Sartar tells us how White Bull and allies exterminated and skinned the Telmori, wearing their furs afterwards, and gaining the name.

p.19 in the hardcover edition says:

Quote

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 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 Wolf People was dispersed, and only bands of them were found anyplace, and then were hunted down.

Footnote 80 : This refers to a war against the Telmori.

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 honored band of warriors wherever they were recognized.

All the later scenarios in the boardgame give access to the Wolf Runners. That might be a historical inaccuracy, or it might be read as a way the magic was conserved.

According to CHDP Kallyr has the support of the Telmori, even though she probably had been among those from the Kheldon who fought against them in 1607. Minaryth Blue mentions Argrath's quarrel with the Telmori in the same year that Argrath married the FHQ and Minaryth Blue (and possibly Argrath) fought and killed Dinacoli.

 

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

 

According to CHDP Kallyr has the support of the Telmori, even though she probably had been among those from the Kheldon who fought against them in 1607. Minaryth Blue mentions Argrath's quarrel with the Telmori in the same year that Argrath married the FHQ and Minaryth Blue (and possibly Argrath) fought and killed Dinacoli.

 

Yes, and isn't it interesting that there's a person missing from the list of Kallyr's ring...? (see: http://www.jane-williams.me.uk/glorantha/kallyr/complist.cfm). The picture in the Glorantha Sourcebook (p.42) makes it clear that Jar-Eel manifested at the moment the web of AS was spun, which is also where Eurmal let go of the net/web (his final act of treachery). The picture shows someone in a hare costume letting go (thus giving the mythic gap that the Lunar heroine could exploit) before Kallyr flees. I think Elusu "high Trickster priest", one of Argrath's oldest companions, was the culprit. This of course doomed Kallyr. (This is just my Argrath the Villain theory, by the by...)

I think Argrath created his various genealogies synthetically by hero questing. But the Telmori could smell him correctly, and they had to be disposed of. This also served the purpose of drawing many tribes onto Argrath's side. The later Wolfrunners/Wolfskins might have stolen the skins of the dead Telmori wolf-brothers and were shown by Argrath how to dominate their spirits - kinda like Harrek, as it happens.

 

Argrath of course knew that to tear down the Moon he had to fuse the Heortlings and the Kethaelans and the Praxians into a single force. This required deception, treachery and real-politick along with heroism and diplomacy.

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19 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

Yes, and isn't it interesting that there's a person missing from the list of Kallyr's ring...? (see: http://www.jane-williams.me.uk/glorantha/kallyr/complist.cfm). The picture in the Glorantha Sourcebook (p.42) makes it clear that Jar-Eel manifested at the moment the web of AS was spun, which is also where Eurmal let go of the net/web (his final act of treachery). The picture shows someone in a hare costume letting go (thus giving the mythic gap that the Lunar heroine could exploit) before Kallyr flees. I think Elusu "high Trickster priest", one of Argrath's oldest companions, was the culprit. This of course doomed Kallyr. (This is just my Argrath the Villain theory, by the by...)

I think Argrath created his various genealogies synthetically by hero questing. But the Telmori could smell him correctly, and they had to be disposed of. This also served the purpose of drawing many tribes onto Argrath's side. The later Wolfrunners/Wolfskins might have stolen the skins of the dead Telmori wolf-brothers and were shown by Argrath how to dominate their spirits - kinda like Harrek, as it happens.

 

Argrath of course knew that to tear down the Moon he had to fuse the Heortlings and the Kethaelans and the Praxians into a single force. This required deception, treachery and real-politick along with heroism and diplomacy.

That's some mighty speculation! I like it.

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6 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Wolfrunners were somehow created out of the Telmori through Argrath's intervention in the Bithos discussion.

I always understood it that the Telmori were massacred and their wolf-skins decorated one of Argrath's hero bands (which suggests at its root a betrayal, since Sartar's promise was to end the Telmori curse, not end the Telmori).

I thought the Wolfrunners were the Cinsina tribe. @Ian Cooper do you know or remember if that's the case?

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Wolf Runners

Type

Light Infantry

Armor

Werewolf hide

Weapons

Javelin, broadsword

Morale

Regular

4

Patron Deity

Telmor

Notes

Sartarite; ½ are skirmishers, ½ fierce dogs.

Magic Factor

Low

3

Missile Factor

1

Melee Factor

3

This unit was founded in 1628, from the victors of those Sartarites who destroyed the Telmori. They wear the pelts of the defeated Telmori and gain magical powers every Wildday. The wolfskins cover their heads and shoulders, fastened by crossing and knotting the forelegs over the chest.

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There is of course another reason that Argrath couldn't allow the Telmori to persist: Rufelza as the Moon has taken over Wild-day and was also in a sense Rashoran[a] - they, in the end, could not be trusted.

We know from the "Eleven Lights" that the Cinsina were (canonically) in Argrath's camp...

This is rough, because I know from the backstory of my own campaign that the PCs will have witnessed the heroics of the Telmori bodyguards in Kethaela defending the last survivors of the House of the Sartar, and fought for Broyan and Kallyr. At some point the moral crux comes: join with the man who displaced and perhaps arranged for the deaths of your kin, or sit the Hero Wars out?

Argrath's kingship, also, is a different sort of kingship, new, imperial, matching the Lunars rather than hearkening to Vingkotling/Orlanth Rex archetypes - that is, Broyan.

Does Argrath sacrifice Orlanth and Ernalda themselves against the Moon? I suspect so.

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2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

There is of course another reason that Argrath couldn't allow the Telmori to persist: Rufelza as the Moon has taken over Wild-day and was also in a sense Rashoran[a] - they, in the end, could not be trusted.

Are you talking about the Argrath who uses Lunar magic and illumination as one  component of his new-fangled warlock units?

 

The Telmori wildday rampages are the result of a gift from Nysalor (who may well be seen as an avatar of Sedenya) which granted them the impervious skin alongside with their ability to take that in-between shape at will, and then a curse of Talor which compellled them to take that shape on wilddays, and to let go of all rationality.

 

2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

We know from the "Eleven Lights" that the Cinsina were (canonically) in Argrath's camp...

For a certain period. The Eleven Lights and the Eaglebrown Warlocks were Argrath's ace in the hole at the Battle of Sword Hill. The Eaglebrowns continue to appear in the muster of the Magical Union. The Eleven Lights aren't there in the boardgame (which precedes first mention of the Eleven Lights by at least 12 years, though).

 

2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

This is rough, because I know from the backstory of my own campaign that the PCs will have witnessed the heroics of the Telmori bodyguards in Kethaela defending the last survivors of the House of the Sartar, and fought for Broyan and Kallyr. At some point the moral crux comes: join with the man who displaced and perhaps arranged for the deaths of your kin, or sit the Hero Wars out?

The Telmori bodyguard was one reason the uneasy peace between the Telmori and their neighbors held while there were Princes of Sartar.

Telmori are cursed with a gift that may register as chaotic. This puts them into a similar position as e.g. cave trolls with their ability to regenerate damage. Outside of Wilddays, they are powerful, exotic beast-warrior teams, almost fighting as a single entity in two bodies. On Wilddays, they retreat in order to keep the peace.

We know that Ostling Four-Wolf both was a Telmori, and somehow wasn't. It would be interesting to know whether the Helkos Brothers were subject to the curse, and whether Salinarg's queen was a normal cursed Telmori woman, or also a descendant of Kostajor possibly free of the curse.

 

2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Argrath's kingship, also, is a different sort of kingship, new, imperial, matching the Lunars rather than hearkening to Vingkotling/Orlanth Rex archetypes - that is, Broyan.

I don't think so. Argrath aims higher than Broyan. For all the talk about Broyan instituting a Vingkotling kingship (which in the end he failed to do, not leaving a dynasty behind him), Broyan never had the chance to step forward and seek the greater Kingship of Dragon Pass that individuals like Arim, Sartar, Tarkalor and Moirades had. Argrath goes for that within two years after becoming Prince of the Quivini. For comparison: It took Sartar two years of contest to win over the Feathered Horse Queen in addition to significant preparatory efforts to win the contest for her hand. Tarkalor became King of Dragon Pass in his sixth year as (Vingkotling dynasty) Prince of Sartar.

Argrath gets his first Sacred Kingship within four years of his return to Dragon Pass, and then he goes on to get recognized by the Kethaelans and enters a second such contest (more arduous, it appears) for Sacred Kingship of Saird.

 

What does this Sacred King ship mean?

There was no office of King of Dragon Pass at the Dawn, but there was the equivalent of it: the Bearer of Kero Fin's Necklace. The individual who held this office at the Dawn was Aram ya Udram, not a Heortling, but an Earth- and Darkness-worshipping human whose offspring went to become the Tusk Riders. The Heortling tribes at the Dawn had three higher authorities that they would accept - the High King of the Heortlings, the Only Old One who ruled the Kingdom of Night, to which the Heortlings confessed, and the sacred spouse of Kero Fin. Given the overall harmony of the first 150 years of history, summons to war by any of these three authorities would have been rare, and eagerly sought out by those hungry for glory in battle.

Argrath Saga never has Argrath claiming the title of the High King of the Heortlings. I think the last individual who may have done so could have been Finelvanth the Flyer. But he does don the mantle of the succession of the Only Old One and Belintar after he fights Harrek to a stand-still in the Rightarm Islands (the second time he survives a direct confrontation with that superhero). Two out of three ain't bad.

 

Does Argrath become an Emperor? His dealings with the Lodrili (as far as I am concerned, two l are enough for these people) might be seen to push him in such a role for Peloria outside of Saird, but the insistence of calling their overlord emperor comes from the Dara Happans, not the Pelorian peasants, who had accepted rulership of the Shahs of Carmania with little military persuasion (most of that went to their Dara Happan overseers and whatever resistance they could cough up).

So, does Argrath have to face the Alexander conundrum? I don't think so. When he "liberates" Peloria from Lunar Liberation through bringing Sheng Seleris back, he has no authority in Peloria outside of Saird (and just maybe Talastar).

When he overcomes Sheng and sends him back to from where he rescued him, he genuinely liberates Peloria, and even though he had brought the monster back, I suppose that the Pelorians are genuinely grateful for removing Sheng again.

 

I notice the absence of speculation about how Sheng affects the lands east of Pent. I don't see him extend his influence all the way beyond the Snow Line into Beast Rider territory, or to Teshnos, but northern and central Kralorela and Ignorance would be as logical targets for Sheng, at least after re-taking the Lunar Empire. From the Kralorelan section, Godunya most likely already has left this world by then, with no clear successor. (How many Kralorelan emperors named their successor?)

2 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

Does Argrath sacrifice Orlanth and Ernalda themselves against the Moon? I suspect so.

Interesting speculation. Although one might phrase it differently: does Argrath lead Orlanth and Ernalda through utuma to a transcendent existence, alongside Sedenya and possibly the other major stakeholders in the highest levels of Gloranthan magical authority?

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One caveat to Joerg's commentary above: Broyan certainly does become High King as the last Vingkotling - the High Kingship of the Heortlings even shares the same title: High King. And of course Bad King Rastagar did summon all the tribes, like the Heortling kings could do later. So until Broyan was slain, Argrath was his inferior. But Argrath has no interest in being another Vingkotling or Hendriki; Broyan's death proved they were bound by too many oaths.

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It's also interesting that Argrath's rivals for rulership of Sartar might have even included Telmori. I do think the Helkos Brothers were wolf runners and descendants of Sartar - it's explicit in the Red Cow campaign, after all. The Sartar descendants seem to have been wiped out during the assassination of Temertain, but how could Argrath be sure? Best to kill them all, before a pretender appeared...

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

His dealings with the Lodrili (as far as I am concerned, two l are enough for these people) might be seen to push him in such a role for Peloria outside of Saird

This is really a great line in a great thread. The community has spent a lot of time over the years pondering who the highland sun was before the Council, but maybe a little more clarity on "lowland storm" would be useful. Who got dragged into the Orlanth role and killed the emperor before the Pelorians recognized the Heortling culture radiating out of the south? Where are the children of "the historical Umath?"

I guess that last one is partially a trick question -- some God Learner thought it made sense to call the Manirian storm tribes deported to Pamaltela the "Umathelans," but I don't know if they were really wrong. "Lodrilela" may have been extant before the Mislari emerged and then the separated parts evolved separately into Everyman in the north and whatever weird Lodril survivals (volcano twins, lowfires, etc.) carry on in the south. But in the north whenever the mob of common men assert their rights, someone like "Umath" is there to lead monsters in revolt, threaten emperors, participate in highland rites, marry an earth goddess. Maybe there's a transitional stage where the Death of [Yelm] is overtly fratricide, struggle between the brothers. 

Back on thread, I vaguely recall speculation elsewhere that the massacre of the werewolves might've also been motivated by the need to eliminate rival heirs on the Salinarg line, or even the possibility of pretenders on that side. Since Argrath's legal claim isn't exactly regular, that particular conspiracy theory always struck me as oddly viable . . . clear the wolves out of the "house" and consolidate power.

Edited by scott-martin
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15 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

This is really a great line in a great thread. The community has spent a lot of time over the years pondering who the highland sun was before the Council, but maybe a little more clarity on "lowland storm" would be useful. Who got dragged into the Orlanth role and killed the emperor before the Pelorians recognized the Heortling culture radiating out of the south? Where are the children of "the historical Umath?"

I guess that last one is partially a trick question -- some God Learner thought it made sense to call the Manirian storm tribes deported to Pamaltela the "Umathelans," but I don't know if they were really wrong. "Lodrilela" may have been extant before the Mislari emerged and then the separated parts evolved separately into Everyman in the north and whatever weird Lodril survivals (volcano twins, lowfires, etc.) carry on in the south. But in the north whenever the mob of common men assert their rights, someone like "Umath" is there to lead monsters in revolt, threaten emperors, participate in highland rites, marry an earth goddess. Maybe there's a transitional stage where the Death of [Yelm] is overtly fratricide, struggle between the brothers. 
 

Surely Mount "Matu" in the Yolp Mountains is connected to all this. Of course, Mountains have as much to do with Earth (- Lodril's other element) - as they do with Air and Sky. And volcanos can "blot out the sun" with smoke...

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18 minutes ago, scott-martin said:


Back on thread, I vaguely recall speculation elsewhere that the massacre of the werewolves might've also been motivated by the need to eliminate rival heirs on the Salinarg line, or even the possibility of pretenders on that side. Since Argrath's legal claim isn't exactly regular, that particular conspiracy theory always struck me as oddly viable . . . clear the wolves out of the "house" and consolidate power.

Yes, and perhaps not all the assassins Argrath faced at Boldhome - and not all the opposition - was rooted in pro-Lunar sympathies.

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

This is really a great line in a great thread. The community has spent a lot of time over the years pondering who the highland sun was before the Council, but maybe a little more clarity on "lowland storm" would be useful. Who got dragged into the Orlanth role and killed the emperor before the Pelorians recognized the Heortling culture radiating out of the south? Where are the children of "the historical Umath?"

What a nice idea for a digression.

Jar-eel relates the murder of the Emperor in a syncretic myth featuring Orlanth, Sedenya, Tolat (aka Shargash), and Artia.

However, the question is a bit difficult, because you are dealing with the Jenarong dynasty here, or maybe three dynasties (Hyaloring and two different horse warlord lineages, over time merging into one people (at latest after their defeat at Argentium Thri'ile). Urban Dara Happan lore surely was fed into the Jenarong emperor cult, and so the Murharzarm and Ovosto lore may have been present.

The Dara Happans call the slayer Rebellus Terminus, and there isn't really a need for this person to have been identified with the specific son of Umath at the time. The last rebel, or the rebel ending the golden reign of Yelm, is just one of many rebels, the one who brings the power of Death.

So, how is Death identified in Peloria? The wasp-headed version of Humakt found in Pelanda? The Bat of Rinliddi? Or was it the one,  Unbreakable Sword to the Dara Happans?

At least two of the rebels shown by Jar-eel are "planetary sons" of Yelm, Sedenya and Tolat. The entire affair may have been a fratricide. Both of the Planetary Offspring had gone to Hell and back. Artia the Bat surely had done so, too, but I cannot really identify her with one of the original eight planets. And then there is the fourth rebel.

Was there a fourth rebel in the first place? And could it have been Lodril?

 

One could think that Peloria was a bowl of irregular storms after Umath was disintegrated in the Crater at the White Camp at the hands of Shargash emerging from Hell. Maybe these fragmented storms were slowly integrated by the sons of Umath.

There was the Vadrudi host, lots of small and often nameless storms who followed Storm Tribe's best fighter and raider. A Wild Hunt ravaging land and sea. 

Entekos, the Gentle Air, was the only planet holding to its original position when Umath invaded.

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

I guess that last one is partially a trick question -- some God Learner thought it made sense to call the Manirian storm tribes deported to Pamaltela the "Umathelans," but I don't know if they were really wrong.

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

"Lodrilela" may have been extant before the Mislari emerged and then the separated parts evolved separately into Everyman in the north and whatever weird Lodril survivals (volcano twins, lowfires, etc.) carry on in the south.

Esrolia - Land of 10k Goddesses has a different Sky God emperor instead, Harono, and remains with a local Vestkarthen whose sons nevertheless are all around, like Empty Mountain in the Mislari.

 

There is a weird co-dependence between the Storm and the Mountain-Maker tribe. Some giants or mountains get killed, but most get co-opted.

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

But in the north whenever the mob of common men assert their rights, someone like "Umath" is there to lead monsters in revolt, threaten emperors, participate in highland rites, marry an earth goddess. Maybe there's a transitional stage where the Death of [Yelm] is overtly fratricide, struggle between the brothers. 

If you subscribe to the Dara Happan take of the event - Murharzarm killed, Yelm disintegrating - then the co-conspirators from among the Planetary "Sons" would be fratricides.

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Back on thread, I vaguely recall speculation elsewhere that the massacre of the werewolves might've also been motivated by the need to eliminate rival heirs on the Salinarg line, or even the possibility of pretenders on that side. Since Argrath's legal claim isn't exactly regular, that particular conspiracy theory always struck me as oddly viable . . . clear the wolves out of the "house" and consolidate power.

There appears to have been a prophecy that one of the descendants of Sartar would absolve the Telmori from the Werewolf Curse. Exterminating the tribe surely did end the curse, but...

I wonder what brought Salinarg so close to the Wolfmen. Harsaltar was eight at the Fall of Boldhome, so Salinarg has to have been dallying with the werewolves already in the middle of Terasarin's reign. Quite likely the contact was limited to the Boldhome Telmori, but still it is an unusual thing for an openly acclaimed member of the Sartar dynasty to mingle with this uncomfortable bunch of bodyguards, and to take a wife from among them.

I guess Kostajor's lineage through Onelisin wasn't exactly well advertised among the Sartarites.

 

In a way, Kostajor's branch of the family was the closest part of the inofficial dynasty to Argrath. Onelisin and her offspring disappear from the public view as if she was dis-inherited. There was some speculation that Onelisin stepped up as successor of Saronil after Sarotar's untimely death, and that Jarolar may have had to remove her from the dynastic court in order to attain his father's throne. It cannot have helped that Saronil died rescuing one of Onelisin's daughters, even if the feud with the mostali was started when he used dwarf technology to build a temple to Orlanth.

Somehow, paternal descent became the norm of all Princes of Sartar up to and including Kallyr. Argrath is the first to claim maternal descent, and that through three generations. Kostajor's descendants had only one generation of female descent.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Joerg said:

 

Somehow, paternal descent became the norm of all Princes of Sartar up to and including Kallyr. Argrath is the first to claim maternal descent, and that through three generations. Kostajor's descendants had only one generation of female descent.

 

I find it interesting also that Onelisin's husband was named Jostharl. Very soon after her her three triplet daughters by Jostharl were born (1539), Kostajor was (1541). What happened to Jostharl? Did she divorce him? Did he die? Did she break her marriage vows (she is a Cat-witch, after all)?

Jostharl Dangmarsson is a name that appears as a king of the Colymar from the Arnoring clan, who apparently died in 1535, and was the father of Dangmet, who avenged his father's death fighting "the Lunars". They may be different men - the dates are a little off (though this could have come about by scribal error - 5 versus 9) - but it's worth noting that Argrath was himself of the Colymar tribe. It's not impossible that they are identical. Certainly it would explain how Minara's descendants ended up in the Starfire Ridges.

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If you have a powerful female-descent lineage, the descendants can spread over well over a dozen clans in multiple tribes within the third generation in a patrilocal society like the majority of the Quivini. There is some back and forth, so a great-granddaughter has some likelihood to appear in the same clan as the ancestress (that's the Triaty sequence), but generally the direct female lineage will be extended over many clans. The more magically powerful a lineage is, the greater the probability that these women will be married to unusual clans to cement a peace.

As to Onelisin's marriage, she was named Cat-Witch. That indicates the morals of a Yinkini, and frankly makes it surprising if her three daughters (likely born over the course of five years or so) all have the same father. That man would have to offer quite some status and yet considerable tolerance.

The Ostling Four-Wolf incident reads as if Onelisin and her daughters chanced upon the Telmori king in an isolated location, away from most other human habitation. This could be a place where Onelisin retreated to practice herbal lore and similar, or it could indicate that her relationship with her husband's clan had soured, and that she did live away from its center although still somewhere on the tula. (Her having her three daughters with her indicates that she hasn't been divorced out of the clan.)

 

The alternative would be that Onelisin was powerful and prestigious enough to be able to demand matrilocal marriage, leaving the offspring with her rather than with the father's clan. The problem I see here is that apart from the royal dynasty, she has no clan.

On the other hand, if she still resided in Boldhome, there would have been opportunity to interact with the wolf-men, and the scene with the wounded wolf-king could move from a back in the woods encounter to an obscure wing of the royal palace. But that's not the vibe I get from the story.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/3/2018 at 4:40 PM, jeffjerwin said:

Yes, and perhaps not all the assassins Argrath faced at Boldhome - and not all the opposition - was rooted in pro-Lunar sympathies.

You are of course free to handle this anyway you like in your game, but in the 11L we pretty much pick off the Telmori heirs one-by-one until their blood-ties to the dynasty are done.

So why does Argrath wipe them out. Well, this is my speculation, unless it appears in print, but to fulfill a prophecy Argrath has to hunt Aurochs in Dragon Pass. Of course there are no Aurochs, but the Red Cow clan often quest for them on the Other Side, though they only get the red cows. In return for Argrath's agreement to kill the Telmori, the Jonstown Federation clan agrees to join a mass effort of the Stealing of the Giant's Cows heroquest, and instead of using the Red Cow secret, launch a full scale frontal assault on the giant's steading. The result returns the aurochs to DP.

You might surmise that the Wolfrunners have their origins in that act of ethnic cleansing.

 

 

 

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