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Grey Swords

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The grey swords by dejan delic

Interpretation of the Grey Swords by dejan-delic

"Courage almost inhuman, defying mortal limits... These soldiers humble us all."
―Ganoes Paran[src]

The Grey Swords were a mercenary cult[1] of warrior priests sworn to Fener, the Boar of Summer. Their order was dedicated to Fener's Reve.

Originally from Elingarth, they were hired by Prince Jelarkan of Capustan to supplement his own forces, the Capanthall. By city law, the Capanthall was capped at 2000 soldiers, so Jelarkan hired the mercenaries to strengthen the city's defences in the face of an invasion by the Pannion Domin. The Grey Swords originally numbered over seven thousand, but supplemented their numbers with 1200 largely female recruits from Capustan.[2]

Jelarkan's rivals in government, the Mask Council, sought to rein in his increased power by invoking a law preventing the Grey Swords from any engagements outside the city walls. This severely restricted what they could do in the event of a siege.[3]


Overall command was held by Mortal Sword Brukhalian. The highest ranking priest was Destriant Karnadas. Itkovian was Shield Anvil, a position that "demanded both scholarly pursuits and military prowess". He studied history, philosophy, and religion in order to formulate tactics and strategy based on an accurate understanding of both enemies and allies.[2]

The Grey Swords were broken into two kinds of units: Manes (infantry) and Wings (cavalry). A Wing was made up of fifteen soldiers who were trained to arrange themselves in multiple formations such as the inverted crescent and the crooked wing shape of the raptor formation. The Wing soldiers were armed with swords, lances, and bows, as well as lassos with which they could pull down larger foes.[2] Grey Sword warhorses could be heavily armoured for combat. They were trained to bite and stamp opponents, spin in place, and respond to their rider's verbal commands and touch.[4]

Manes were trained to fight in various formations including squares and lines. They could lock shields together when facing massed numbers. They carried long serrated pikes and swords.[4]

In large scale engagements, Wings and Manes fought in groups of three under the command of an officer known as a Trimaster. For example, a Trimaster might be in charge of the First, Sixth, and Seventh Manes or Wings One, Three, and Five.[5]

Grey Swords were skilled in the healing arts and had access to High Denul through their Destriant, even when he or she was not present.[2]

Grey Swords recruited from amongst local populations and their training followed the tenet of "Train the soldier in the real world". New recruits were taught the minimal skills to ride and given weapons and armour to accustom them to their weight. Only after observing the recruit's ability to follow the example of others would they receive weapons training. If a unit with a recruit found itself in combat, two veterans would remain at the recruit's side at all times.[2]

Grey Swords despised blind obedience, and officers were willing to listen to the advice and recommendations of subordinates.[2] Both male and female Grey Swords were referred to as "Sir".[4]

In Memories of Ice Edit

Demonic Apparition by Spindrift

Interpretation of K'ell Hunter fighting the Grey Swords in Memories of Ice by Spindrift

They defended Capustan during the siege but they were betrayed by Rath'Fener, the high priest representative of their own god, which left all but a handful dead. Later, the Shield Anvil Itkovian exacted retribution for this betrayal. He also learned at that time that Fener now walked the mortal earth and Rath'Trake offered to take over the blessing of his vows. Itkovian refused.

After the siege, Itkovian decided that the survival of the Grey Swords called for drastic measures. He led Captain Norul and the former recruit Velbara to a gathering of Barghast elders where the Grey Swords swore allegiance to Togg and Fanderay, proclaiming a new reve, the Wolf's Reve with Norul as the new Shield Anvil and Velbara the new Destriant.[6]

The grief of Anaster was taken by Norul, leaving the former leader of the Tenescowri a shell. This was done with the blessing of Ganoes Paran.[7]

In exchange for Toc the Younger's sacrifice of his body, Togg helped to place his soul within Anaster's now empty vessel of a body, granting Toc a second chance at life. Toc-Anaster became the new Mortal Sword of the Grey Swords.[8]

In Reaper's Gale Edit

When Redmask, the Awl leader, returned to his people after a long exile, he found that the Awl had betrayed their allies, the Grey Swords, during their fight against the Letherii, and had been entirely decimated since they chose to stand and fight rather than flee unlike their Awl allies.[9] The Malazan, Toc the Younger, who was the Mortal Sword of the Grey Swords, was the only known lone survivor. He had been imprisoned by the Awl leader Hadralt. He was later released by Redmask and accompanied him to the battles against the Letherii.[10]

In Dust of Dreams Edit

When the Barghast arrived to help the Grey Swords in their fight against the Letherii, all they found was the dead of the Grey Swords.[11]

Members Edit

See also Edit

Notes and referencesEdit

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