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The Illearth War - Chapter 18 Doom's Retreat
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 7:25 am    Post subject: The Illearth War - Chapter 18 Doom's Retreat Reply with quote

Troy, Mhoram, and the Bloodguard had just spent the night on Kevins' Watch, listening to Tull's ghastly tale of murder and betrayal.
Kevin's Watch, the pinnacle of the Land, 4000 feet above the plains,so named because it was said that Kevin could see the doings of all the Land from that lofty perch.

Troy eagerly awaited the dawn,anxious to see what his Land born sight would show him. His sight was farsighted and he was desparate to see the status of Hiltmark Quann and his forces, who was heading for Doom's Retreat with the army of the Despiser at his heel.

It is essential to Troy's plans that Quann slow down the enemy enough for Troy to arrive to the Retreat first, where his army can best hope to win this war, as has been done in the past.

Troy seemed incredibly, from his arrival, eager to accept the Land's need,and the challenge of Warmark.
Covenant warned him that Foul would take pleasure in that.

A quote from chapter 11,War Council:
Quote:
"Listen!" Covenant demanded. "I'm trying to warn you. If you could hear it. It's going to happen to you, too. One of these days, You're going to run out of people who'll march their hearts out to make your ideas work. And then you'll see that you put them through all that for nothing. Three hundred leagues marches - blocked valleys - your ideas. Paid for and wasted. All your fine tactics won't be worth a rusty damn."
"Ah, Troy," he sighed wearily. "All this responsibility is going to make another Kevin Landwaster out of you."


And so, with the dawn, Troy gazed out at the Land. And tasted the folly of his plans.
Quote:
What he saw staggered him where he stood. Horror filled his eyes like the rush of an avalanche. It was worse than anything he could have imagined.
He made out the Warward first. His army had just begun to march; it crept south along the mountain wedge. He saw it as hardly more than a smudge in the foothills, but he could gauge its speed. It was still two days from Doom's Retreat.
Hiltmark Quann's force was closer to him and farther from the Retreat.But the horsemen were moving faster. He estimated their numbers instinctively,instantly; he knew at once that they had been decimated. More than a third of the two hundred Bloodguard were gone, and of Quann's twelve Eoward less than six remained. They hurried raggedly, almost at a dead rout.


Foul's army is huge- so huge that after seeing 10,000 kresh being ridden by Ur-Viles Troy thinks thoughts like
Quote:
Yet even that was not the most crushing sight.


And
Quote:
The Giant striding at its head was the least of its horrors.


Yikes!

The Despiser's army was so big it was unfathomable. Utterly unbeatable. Even if Troy's plans had worked perfectly, they were hopelessly outnumbered and couldn't have won at Doom's Retreat.
Quote:
Like jagged hunks of rock, these facts beat Warmark Troy to his knees. "Dear God!" he breathed in anguish. "What have I done?" The avalanche of revelations battered him down."Dear God. Dear God. What have I done?"
He did not understand how the Despiser's army could be so big. It surpassed his most terrible nightmares.
Wildly, he surged to his feet. He tore at his breast, trying to wrest enough air from his unbreathable failure for just one cry. But he could not get it; his lungs were clogged with ruin. A sudden loud helplessness roared in his ears, and he pitched forward.
He did not realize he had tried to jump until Terrel and Ruel caught his legs and hauled him back over the parapet.


Lord Mhoram.
I'll try not to quote everything he says. (Though my work here will be made much easier if I did.)
He is witnessing Troy's meltdown, and instead of feeling the hopelessness Troy does, shakes and slaps him to bring him around and calmly says:
Quote:
"Warmark! Hile Troy! Hear me! I understand - The Despiser's army is great. And the Warward will not reach Doom's Retreat in Time. I can help!"

He reaches Troy, who is able to begin to think clearly once again - and Troy conceives a plan to save his army. It means yet another march for a half dead army and a secret that Troy won't reveal just yet. Anything would be better than being the one responsible for the Land's army being slaughtered.

And now some quick highlights that have import later:

Troy says to Mhoram, I'll need your help If This army is to be saved, I will need you to do something for me. Mhoram promises.

Mhoram sends a message to Lord Callindrill,bespeaking the need for more time.

Mhoram gives to Triock a lomillialor rod, the high wood, as a sign of good faith.

And so Mhoram and Troy ride to meet up with Quann, who has been valiantly (that word doesn't suffice) leading the Giant Raver's kresh on an expensive goose chase to buy time.

The Rayhnyn are bold, intelligent, perhaps the essence of the Land. Yet
Sometimes, for no reason apparent, they don't choose a Lord. And no-one questions the decision.
Center stage in this chapter is Lord Verement. He would have joined his wife Shetra on the mission to Seareach, had he been chosen by the Rahynyn.
But Lord Shetra falls in the Sarangrave, and Verement recieves the sad news, here, at the edge of Doom's Retreat.
He demands to be allowed to do what must be done, defend a Word of Warning at the entrance of the Retreat, so the army can escape by running through the Retreat to, well... whatever comes next.

And so, Hile Troy's army is marching through the Retreat, Lord Verement and his Bloodguard Thomin On the outside Of the Word of Warning, waiting to defend it as long as possible.

Enter Fleshharrower.
Quote:
When the Giant came forward, kicked his way through the wolves to confront the Lord and the Bloodguard, his size alone made the two men appear puny and insignificant.

Quote:
Fleshharrower stopped. "Ah, a Lord,"peering down at Verement as if the Lord were too tiny to be seen easily.


Oh,man, how moksha must have been enjoying himself!
Possessing a GIANT! I believe he even showed a bit of a sense of humor,peering down as though the lord was tiny! I can almost see him squinting!

But I don't think he was having it all his own way.
Quote:
His face was twisted, and his leer gave him an expression of acute pain, as if his flesh could not disguise the hurt of the rabid presence within it.

Spoiler:
Here we see evidence of the Giant within, putting up a fight for control of himself. We see this other times, as well.


The Raver asks Verement what is he doing out here alone? Perhaps to surrender and join him?
Quote:
"You speak like a fool!" Verement barked. "No friend of the Land will ever surrender to you, or join you. Admit the truth, and go. Go I say!Melenkurion abatha!" Abruptly, he caught his staff in both hands and raised it over his head." Duroc minas mill khabaal With all the names of the Earthpower, I command you! There is no victory for the Despiser here!"

The words of power have been discussed extensively here on the Watch. I always thought there were seven but could only find six. And I recall others posting similar things. But for what it's worth, Here's Lord Verement saying he's using them all. ?


Fleshharrower flinches from the powerful words, but no real harm done. Then he asks Verement how he thinks he could possibly resist ?
Quote:
"Because you have killed Shetra my Wife!" The Lord cried in rage. "Because I have been unworthy of her all my life! Because I do not fear you, Raver! I am free of all restraint! No fear or love limits my strength! I match you hate for hate, moskha Raver! Melenkurion abatha!



Beautiful words! Who would think such emotion could lose?
But sadly, Verement does lose. His blue Lord's fire is no match for the green Illearth stone.
And sadder,still,The Raver will not accept Verement's death as victory, he wanted more. With the power of the Illearth stone:
Quote:
Triumphantly, Fleshharrower cried, "Now Verement - Shetra Mate! Where is your defiance now?... ...Repeat these words- 'I worship Lord Foul the Despiser. He is the one word of truth.'"
Lord Verement's lips remained clamped shut. Within the paralyzing fire, his cheek muscles bulged as he set his jaws.
"Speak it!" Fleshharrower roared. With a jerk of the stone, he tightened the corona around Verement. A gasp of agony tore the Lord's lips apart. He began to speak.
"I - worship - "
He went no further. Behind him, Thomin jumped up to carry out his last duty. With one kick, the Bloodguard broke Lord Verement's back. Instantly, the Lord fell dead.


WHAT............. JUST............. HAPPENED??????

What happened?

Thorim was sworn to protect Verement.
Why not attack the Raver?
Verement was not chosen by the Rahynyn - Is this why?
Did Thorim take Verement's last hope away?
Or did he do the right thing?

My God, pages could be written on this alone!
But Thorim would not have to answer to the Lords or his own people for this one.
Quote:
Thomin's face was taut with murder as he sprang at Fleshharrower's throat. He caught Fleshharrower, dug his fingers into the Giant's neck. For a moment, the Giant could not tear him away. He ground his fingers into that thick throat with such passion that fleshharrower could not break his hold.


(Note to self: never piss off a Bloodguard)

But ultimately, Thomin had to lose; the Illearth stone destroys him, leaving Fleshharrower free to send his forces into the Retreat.
The first creature who tried to enter triggered the warning, causing a huge landslide,slowing the Raver's army enough for Troy and his Army to escape.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderfully written! That really does sum up the whole chapter.

Moksha was, of course enjoying himself immensly. I nearly laughed when he acted as if Lord Verement and Thomin were far away. But then, I noticed what was on the next page.... Shocked Thomin's death is, if possible, one of the most horrid things in that entire book.
Dromond wrote:
(Note to self: never piss off a Bloodguard)
Quite true! Shocked Smile
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thomin's last act shows the essence of his duty to the Lord - by killing Verement before he is forced to swear allegiance to the Despiser (he would have been killed afterwards anyway), he preserves the Lord's honour.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the chapter when Troy comes face to face with the fact that he badly miscalculated. The thought occurs to me while I write this that Troy's character is essentially one of a scientist. He measures in his mind the "science" of war. He analzyes everything like a scientist.

This approach to the Land is insufficient. The Land is beyond measurable definitions. It cannot be pigeon-holed. It will take a approach from the "heart" to find the means to succeed in the Land.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dromond wrote:
Mhoram sends a message to Lord Callindrill,bespeaking the need for more time.
One of my favorite moments in all TCTC. Revelwood spends how much time coming up with this way of communicating over distances. Not just anyone can do it, and you need lomillialor. Yet, despite the fact that the lorewardens didn't come up with it despite much research, with no experience in it, with no plan, Mhoram sends the message to Callindrill, who does not have lomillialor. The kind of thing that leads Foamfollower to say, "The son of Variol is a man of many resources. Much that may appear impossible is possible for him."

Dromond wrote:
WHAT............. JUST............. HAPPENED??????
Yeah, wasn't that an interesting moment??? Wow! Remember that the Haruchai are very emotional. They normally are in such control that they are able to use their own rage in productive ways. But this was too much. Yeah, if he had attacked Fleshharrower, it might have broken his hold on Verement, who would have then helped Thomin's attack. But Thomin was too appalled by it to think very clearly.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Masterfully done, Dromond! Very Happy

And yes, the shock of seeing the state of Quaan's command was completely over-ridden by the shock of seeing a bloodguard kill his Lord! Surprised

Mind you, Thorim knew by then, did he not, the fate of the mission to Seareach? Which means he knew that niether he nor Verement was a match for the Giantraver and the Illearth stone...in which case his actions typify the honour of the Haruchai and the depth of their Vow!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Murrin wrote:
Thomin's last act shows the essence of his duty to the Lord - by killing Verement before he is forced to swear allegiance to the Despiser (he would have been killed afterwards anyway), he preserves the Lord's honour.

But is it that simple? Who's to say Verement wouldn't have spent his last strength to say - "I worship - the Land - or Earthpower, who can say? Thomin took that away.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't remember if Thomin would have known the fate of the Giants. We learned that Shetra died in one chapter, and the fate of the Giants in another. Did Verement & Co. learn about Shetra but not the Giants? I don't remember anything specific that would tell us one way or another.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually niether do i F&F, but i think it unlikely that they would know of Shetra and Hyrim's deaths without knowing the rest of the tale.

And you make a great point Dromond Very Happy - by making Verement's desicion for him, Thomin takes away his freedom of choice, his free will. Kinda reminds me of the dilema Linden has with possession...
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gotta give Thomin the benefit of the doubt. Being a bloodguard, I'd say he deserves it. Even if Verement had resisted, they would still both be dead, and Thomin would have gone through that much more pain. If I was being tortured and had no hope of being saved, I'd hope the guy at my side would do the same.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2003 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Earthfriend wrote:
Actually niether do i F&F, but i think it unlikely that they would know of Shetra and Hyrim's deaths without knowing the rest of the tale.
Did they know of Hyrim's death? I should skim through the book, and likely will when I have the time in a couple of hours. But does anybody remember off hand?

As for what Verement might have said, there's no question in my mind. As far as the words themselves go, yes, it could have been anything. But I think SRD intended us to understand that Verement was losing the struggle over himself, and Verement would have wanted Thomin to do just what he did, rather than let Verement complete that sentence. (Of course, as we've said, Verement might have preferred that Thomin attack Fleshharrower, breaking his concentration, allowing Verement to attack again.)
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2003 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, ive just gone over the text, and it appears that no-one is told of the fate of the giants on HT orders - he's worried that the news will break the Warward's already sorely used spirit. (p.368)

Mhoram does tell Verement of his wife's death, but not the fate of Hyrim and the rest of the mission, though it is possible the Verement intuits this knowledge by the way HT and Mhoram specifically avoid the issue at the council meeting on page 374.

And i think perhaps both Verement and Thomin had accepted the inevitability of their death's once they strode out to meet Fleshharrowers army. All Verement had left was his honour, and i think he would have thanked Thomin for keeping it intact by killing him before he could be coerced into betraying his beliefs.[/quote]
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2003 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Earthfriend, I'm sure Thomin and Verement Knew they were going to die, but- I wonder what the reaction of the other Haruchai would have been if Thomin lived or at least this story was to somehow make it back to the Lords. (There were, of course, no witnesses to this sad end.)
I'll need help with this one (Fist!) but I am under the impression the Bloodguard were to protect the Lord's life at any cost.
Does Thomin break his Vow, at the bitter end? Confused
I mean, yeah, he probaly did Verement a favor, but did he break his Vow?
And what would Mhoram have said about it? I think it's probably best this tale doesn't become known in the Land.

(P.S. maybe it does, I'm not sure.)
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What we know of the Vow is:
Quote:
We are the Bloodguard, the keepers of of the Vow - the keepers and the kept, sanctified beyond decline and the last evil of death.
Was there more that just wasn't shared with us? Or is that it? If that's it, there's a whole world of ways to interpret it. I don't think it would mean that the Bloodguard were to protect the Lords' lives at the cost of everything the Lords hold dear.

And if there is more to the Vow that we don't know, and it says that they are, indeed, to protect the Lords at all costs, then Thomin obviously saw the flaw. Letting Verement be treated that way, and letting him finish the sentence, are clearly not in keeping with the things that inspired the Vow in the first place.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... that's alot to think about. Good answer! let me meditate on it awhile and get back to you.
(there's just something that's not setting well with me about this... I can't get my finger on it.) Confused
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dromond wrote:
(there's just something that's not setting well with me about this... I can't get my finger on it.) Confused
Maybe this:
The Vow was flawed. Shocked
I've discussed problems with it in the past, and here's maybe another one. But we see injustice in having such perfect and painful fealty tied to this flawed Vow. Their innocence was both the reason they forged the Vow, and the reason it was not as perfect as their passionate fidelity. Pride and folly.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, Fist, the Vow was flawed.
But... my thoughts weren't running that subtle.
Something is flat out wrong with Thomin. I searched back and Found this, Bannor talking to Covenant about High Lord Kevin (LFB)
Quote:
But he saved us - the Bloodguard. We who swore to preserve his life at any cost.
Does this not apply to all Lords in their care?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the "at any cost" part, meaning at any cost to the Bloodguard, is absolute. But the "preserving their lives" part is based on the innocence of the Haruchai at the time they took the Vow. A couple millennia later, maybe Thomin realized that Verement's life was not the most important thing. I'm sure he would have done anything to preserve all that Verement held dear. I'd bet no other Bloodguard was ever faced with that choice.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, F&F, I do think you're right. It was a situation like no other and probably needed such unique action.
If we ever get another chance to question SRD, however, that would be my query.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the Haruchai mindspeech, I am certain that all of the Bloodguard knew of what had happened at Seareach, even if all of the Lords and the rest of the warward did not.
Thomin certainly knew the risks of facing the Giant Raver -- can you imagine the other Bloodguard not letting him know?

I have often wondered, too, after reading Gilden Fire and seeing how Hyrim's Bloodguard seems to be very aware of his physical and mental state, if the Bloodguard have a deep-rooted tie with the Lords that they watch over. If so, Thomin might have known that Verement was being metally taken over...
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