Chapter Four: Guilds and Organizations

Keepers of the Past

Siyal Marrain

The Horse Watchers, Tairnadal druids; see Keith Baker's article…

Kel Gryfaen

Tairnadal Warbands

The Tairnadal population of Taer Valaes is organized into warrior societies which pursue glory and honor according to their traditions. There are literally dozens of warbands which come through the City of Thorns, some staying permanently and some merely passing through once or twice each year. They vary in size as well, from a half-dozen individuals to large groups which border on military forces. The smallest of the warbands are created and disbanded at the convenience of the members and usually only serve to provide the Tairnadal warriors who ride in them with partners in their exploits. The larger groups, however, are unified by philosophies both social and religious and endure over decades with new members joining and leaving with a loyal core which carries on the warband’s work.

A warband is led by a War-Leader, or Raethalast, who determines the direction and objectives of a warband from day to day. Though this leader has a rank and associated privilege, he holds these only so long as his followers support him. At any time and for any reason a member of a warband might leave, and such a decision does not even reflect a negative opinion of the leader unless the Tairnadal makes it clear that is his reason for leaving. If enough leave that the warband's numbers collapse, the group simply disbands and the War-Leader is no more than a lone warrior like any other. While he leads, however, the War-Leader appoints Thaliaens to act as his or her right-hand soldiers. A Thaliaen is trusted with important aspects of a band's mission or to act in the War-Leader's stead, though they too require the support of the warband since a War-Leader is unlikely to risk their position appointing a Thaliaen that will be unpopular with those in the band. In a normal-sized warband, there is usually only one Thaliaen serving under a War-Leader though the larger warbands of Taer Valaestas have four or five.

The majority of the warband holds one of two ranks. Those new to the band who have yet to prove themselves are called Arilthaels, warriors with curved blades who are learning to work together with their new brothers. Once they have gained the respect of their brothers and given their blood for the band they will be granted the title of Iringael by their fellows. This title carries a spiritual weight and it often means a full agreement with the band's particular philosophy.

One other important term for Tairnadal warbands is myal, a word meaning something between "pilgrimmage" and "territory." Warbands claim a myal as their own, though this claim isn't an exclusive one. Some myal are paths constantly patrolled by warbands, while others are territories traversed and monitored by the band. For a few bands, wide myals are claimed and explored with a random freedom as mood and opportunity dictate. Perhaps the only constants for a warband's myal is that it is a physical space and that it is the area where the band can generally be found. Beyond that, the shape and character of the myal depends on the particular warband.

The largest of Taer Valaes’s warbands, accounting for about a third of the city population, are described below.

Valenar Military Ranks

The traditional ranks of Tairnadal war bands are not formal ranks but marks of prestige due to achievements and honors. A war band determines which members carry what rank by a mixture of democracy and spiritual meditation.

Title Rank Equivalent Rough Common Translation
Arilthael Private Crescent Blade
Iringael Corporal Blade of Fire
Thaliaen Sergeant Blooded Blade
Raethalast Lieutenant War-Leader or War Chief

Ranks from p. 82 Forge of War.

Aisyladi Shal

Translation: Ironmade Band
War-Leader: Kolim Cal the Rising Blade
Myal: South along the Orien trade road to Jal Paeridor, Pylas Maradal, and back.
Members: [8% population] Ironmade.
Philosophy: The king is more than the first among equals, we should have a kingdom worthy of our ancestors.
Allies: Caedas si Sys
Rivals: Kyrdol Celaes

When Shaeras Vadallia declared Valenar independent and raised himself up as high king of the Tairnadal, he thought of the position as simply the war-leader of Taer Valaestas and comrade of all other warbands' war-leaders. His vision of Valenar was (and according to him remains) one of allied warbands keeping a homeland safe. The Aisyladi Shal see this as a half-measure and want to see Tairnadal culture and cities spread thoroughly throuhgout Valenar. They want the humans and half-elves of the countryside gone or properly integrated into Tairnadal traditions and Shaeras Vadallia raised up to a status befitting a monarch who can speak with authority and make the other nations of Khorvaire understand the might of the Tairnadal. The war-leader of the Ironmade Band, Kolim Cal, has not managed to convince Shaeras Vadallia of this plan yet though not for lack of trying. Rumor has it that she also attempted to win the war-leader's heart but was firmly rebuffed. Whether this is true or not, it seems clear that Kolim Cal is growing impatient with the high king and seems to be deciding that if Shaeras Vadallia will not take the necessary steps then someone more worthy should be wearing the Darkwood Crown.

The Ironmade Band finds common cause with the Keepers of the Thorns, though they represent opposite poles of Shaeras Vadallia's supporters in some ways, but they are at odds with the Goblin Hunters. The Hunters are furious about the concessions made in the Treaty of Thronehold and to them the only thing worse would be to get even more firmly entrenched in Khorvairian politics.

Caedas si Sys

Translation: Keepers of the Thorns
War-Leader: Valoral Talaraes the Bronzewood Mage
Myal: North into the Blade Desert along the border of the Talenta Plains.
Members: [9% population] Thornkeepers.
Philosophy: What use have we for the humans in the countryside? The City of Thorns is a pinnacle of Tairnadal culture and deserves to be made into a suitable image for our ancestors.
Allies: Aisyladi Shal
Rivals: Jhaelaer ossi Shol

Another band who feels that Shaeras Vadallia's vision for Valenar doesn't go far enough, the Keepers of the Thorns think that Taer Valaestas should be more than a waystation for Tairnadal warbands. The City of Thorns is the only thing in Khorvaire, they argue, which is fully of the Tairnadal: it was created with the magic of the Siyal Marrain, it is defended by the might of the warbands, and it even affords more autonomy than the Tairnadal territories on Aerenal. Still, the Tairnadal are not a sedentary people and a land of trade routes and towns and castles would kill the spirit of the riders. They do not want Valenar to become just like the other nations of Khorvaire, but a wild and untamed land with warbands riding as they will and Taer Valaestas in the center as a shining jewel of Tairnadal strength. Though they disagree on the design of the future, they work well with the Ironmade Band and they struggle with the Leaves on the Wind for the same reasons as their allies.

Jhaelaer ossi Shol

Translation: Leaves on the Wind
War-Leader: Byst Aeladolaesi the Fiery Shield
Myal: Nearly everywhere in Valenar but especially the northwestern desert and western plains around the Starhaunt.
Members: [2% population] Windfliers.
Philosophy: In coming to this land, we are forgetting ourselves. Let us rid ourselves of the restraints of these Thorns and ride free once more.
Allies: Kyrdol Celaes
Rivals: Pasyr Shadaer, Aisyladi Shal, Vodaes ail Jhol

The Windfliers have many enemies in Taer Valaes where they are seen as threats to the city’s wellbeing. They rarely get along with the Darkwood Blades, the symbol of High King Vadallia’s strength and influence, and they have frequent altercations as well with the Ironmade Band who are pushing the Tairnadal in the opposite direction of the Jhaelaer ossi Shol. Though they have common ground with the Goblin Hunters, who also want to bring the Tairnadal back to their roots, they disapprove of that warband’s alliances with the Twilight Riders. The Windfliers see the eladrin as a symptom of the changes to the Tairnadal now that they have come to Khorvaire and oppose their inclusion in Valenar society as equals.

Kyrdol Celaes

Translation: Goblin Hunters
Leader: Saelia Kydyrdolm Paer the Panther's Eye
Myal: Most of the band's myal is in the nation of Darguun but the portion that they are currently active in is eastern Valenar near the Endworld Mountains where there are orc tribes and goblin tribes to fight with.
Members: [5% population] Hunters
Philosophy: Valenar was founded to avenge the warriors of the past who battled the treacherous goblins’ empire. It is time we forget other distractions.
Allies: Solol Vodaes, Jhaelaer ossi Shol
Rivals: Vodaes ail Jhol, Caedas si Sys

The Kyrdol Celaes was formed during the Last War, but it's roots go back much farther than that. The Goblin Hunters remember that the original motivation for claiming a land in Khorvaire was to avenge the atrocities commited in the Age of Monsters by the Dhakaani goblinoids when they fought to retake the Green Kingdoms during the chaotic Dagec-Khar Dynasty. During the war, there were many small warbands willing to fight and kill goblins but when the Lhesh Haruuc declared the nation of Darguun independent in 969 YK, these smaller bands all coallesced into the larger Kyrdol Celaes and specialized as effective mercenaries against goblin forces. Valenar had already declared independence in 956 YK and the Goblin Hunters were seen at the time as just another expression of Tairnadal political unity.

Of course, the truth was far different. The Kyrdel Celaes were hostile to Shaeras Vadallia's plans to make Valenar a formal kingdom and they remain so to this day. Though they have pledged themselves to righting ancient wrongs, the Hunters recognize that the downfall of the Green Kingdoms was not entirely due to the goblin armis of Dhakaan. They have no interest in holding land, which puts them at odds with the Keepers of the Thorns, and no interest in entering this new world of strange peoples and customs, creating friction with the Riders in Light and other innovators. They are especially infuriated with the War-Leader of Taer Valaestas's agreement to the Treaty of Thronehold which legitimized Darguun as a sovereign nation and agreed to a cease in hostilities. The Goblin Hunters, like the Leaves in the Wind, resent these legal shackles but they have not breached the peace yet with a full-scale invasion of the goblin nation. Small groups of Hunters do make incursions into Darguun but War-Leader Saelia Kydyrdolm Paer claims she is not sending these groups. The tension caused by this bending of the law may lead to a conflict between the Panther's Eye and the Darkwood Crown in the future, as might the raids by Kyrdel Celaes riders into the Endworld Mountains to kill orcs and goblins on land nominally belonging to Q'barra.

Pasyr Shadaer

Translation: Darkwood Blades
War-Leader: Shaeras Vadallia the Darkwood King
Thaliaens: Bestaes Systal the Nightcloak, Kostae Shysylia the Moon's Voice, and Aestaes Aedaelyl the Falconrider
Myal: A tight triangle from Taer Valaestas towards Jal Paeridor, then north to Kasserine, then east to Moonshadow and back south the City of Thorns.
Members: [2% population] Blades.
Philosophy: Protect the Darkwood Crown and defend Taer Valaes from its enemies.
Allies: Aisyladi Shal, Caedas si Sys
Rivals: Jhaelaer ossi Shol

Shaeras Vadallia's warband was strong and well-respected during the Last War, and they stood by him when he declared Valenar independent and raised up Taer Valaestas to claim the lands around it. They are well-versed in the histories of the Green Kingdoms and they see Taer Valaestas as a new capitol where the Tairnadal can rule themselves again and achieve the glory and power that their ancestors have worked towards through scion after scion. The Darkwood Blades are more than a police force for the city and they don't really even have special authority over other Tairnadal in their lands unless those elves commit a crime according to the ancient Tairnadal codes. They are lords over outsiders in the city, however, and can freely punish anyone who violates their laws and traditions. They also can protect anyone they wish and an outsider Tairnadal who kills a resident of Taer Valaestas without the blessings of the Darkwood Blades has commited a grave mistake indeed. The Pasyr Shadaer obviously have a lot in common with the Ironmade Band, though many Blades think that the Aisyladi Shal riders go too far in their claims. They also have common ground with the Keepers of the Thorns and these two affiliations represent a slight rift among the Pasyr Shadaer riders. On the other hand, all of the Darkwood Blades oppose the anarchic views of the Leaves in the Wind which directly oppose Shaeras Vadallia's vision of a Valenar homeland.

Solol Vodaes

Translation: Twilight Riders
War-Leader: Celaesol Sys the Starhelmed
Myal: Varied paths through the Ravar Orioth in the south of Valenar and all of the feyspires of Khorvaire.
Members: [3% population] Spireriders, including most of the eladrin in Taer Valaes.
Philosophy: The eladrin need a place in this world and allies they can trust. Who better than a nation of fey cousins with a noble and free history?
Allies: Kyrdol Celaes, Vodaes ail Jhol
Rivals: Jhaelaer ossi Shol, Caedas si Sys

Some in Valenar are not as quick to accept the eladrin on equal footing, including many among the Jhaelaer ossi Shol. Though they share a common ancestry, the eladrin have a more disaffected outlook from their time in the Feywild. Though this is changing now that the feyspires are trapped on Eberron, the eladrin wizards can be as passionless as the necromancers of the Aereni and the driven heroes of Valenar often have trouble relating. Despite the very different demeanor between the groups, the Kyrdol Celaes have organized a number of joint raids with the Twilight Riders and Goblin Hunters against the goblin siege of Shae Joridal in Darguun.

Vodaes ail Jhol

Translation: Riders in Light
Leaders: Mylaelol Vyleis the Mindfire
Myal: East of Taer Valaestas to the coast, then north to Aerie and west to Shivairn before following the Redwater River south back to the City of Thorns.
Members: [3% population] Dreamriders.
Philosophy: The heroes of the past live on in our dreams and the visions of our seers. It is foolish to suppose that the paths of this connection are arbitrary.
Allies: Solol Vodaes
Rivals: Jhaelaer ossi Shol

The Vodaes ail Jhol follow a very different path than the other Tairnadal bands of Taer Valaestas, though they claim that it is firmly rooted in the heroes of the past. The Riders in Light practice psionic arts instead of magics and wield psionic items in their battles. The Dreamriders are a mystery, something deeply disliked in Taer Valaestas, and even the reason for their myal route and the origin of their knowledge are mysterious. The War-Leader of the Riders, Mylaelol Vyleis, says that he received his first guidance in a dream when he was contacted by a great elven psion of the past. This figure taught psionic fighting arts to Mylaelol and made him into the psionic warrior known as the Mindfire who has gathered a following of passionate riders around him. Though relatively small, the warband has proven itself time and again and they are willing to trade their riding and combat expertise for new psionic knowledge. As a result, kalashtar and other outsiders ocassionally ride with the band, although the Tairnadal are careful to explain that they are still not of Valenar. As innovators, the Dreamriders do not often get along with the Windfliers but they do work well with the Twilight Riders as warbands who stand apart in some way.

Blood of the East

Dragonmarked Houses

House Lyrandar

House Medani

House Phiarlan

Taer Valeastas: City of Thorns
Mynas Kalori'Cor (Granite Hill) • Taedas'Cor (Cedar Hill)
Rose Valley (Bali os Vyri) • Thornshadow (Sys'adyrn)
Visitor's Guide add-content
Life in the City add-content
Politics High King Shaeras VadalliaThe Eilaras TylorForeign Powers
Organizations Keepers of the PastSiyal MarrainTairnadal WarbandsBlood of the EastDragonmarked Houses
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