The Stormwall was a massive defensive fortification extending over 100 leagues (350 miles) along the Dead Shore, on the northwest coast of Korel Island. The wall was built of colossal fitted stones to protect the continent from attack by the Stormriders, the sorcerer-spirits of the Ocean of Storms, whose attacks were ceaseless and brutal during the winter fighting season.
Along its length were five greater named towers and at least fourteen minor towers known only by number. Within the walls was a maze of corridors, barracks, guard rooms, holding pens, and cells. The top of the wall was fifty paces across and accessed through circular staircases in the towers which led to marshaling areas. From these points defenders climbed another set of stairs up to the front face of the wall. Watch towers and curtain walls were lit with iron braziers and torchpoles and wall-mounted giant crossbow scorpions were not unknown.
Nominally, the Wall was defended by the Stormguard, a fanatical religious military order who worshipped Our Lady the Blessed Saviour. But defensive positions on the Wall were more likely to be manned by draftees from the Lands of Fist, slaves, criminals, debtors, and prisoners of war. At least twenty thousand people were needed to man the Wall at minimal levels although a full complement required twice that number. Volunteers for the wall were of a special breed and were treated with respect, fear, and admiration. Those defenders who were especially skilled and cooperative with their captors were given a suite of rooms that was luxurious by Wall standards.
Prisoners were forced to defend the wall in pairs shackled at the ankle, each pair about a stone's throw apart. One of the pair carried a sword or spear while the other held a shield. They wore cobbled together pieces of armour that often showed signs of their last owners' deaths. Though some chose to die rather than fight, most struggled to fend off the Riders. New prisoners who showed exceptional skill on the wall in their first engagements were transferred to areas where the fighting was heavier. The most exceptional were known as Champions. Prisoners who displayed magical talent were hobbled with otataral laced collars or bracelets to prevent them from escaping.
Overall command of the Wall was the responsibility of the Lord Protector of the Stormwall, followed by the Wall Marshal, and individual Section Marshals.
- Faradan Sort
- Hagen - Champion
- Iron Bars - Champion
- Traveller - Champion
There were indications that Faradan Sort was once among the defenders, and she finally admitted as much in The Crippled God, noting that she had not survived the Wall simply to die on the trek through the Glass Desert.
Ereko was already a prisoner on the Wall when Traveller was captured attempting to break the Korel blockade. As Traveller was chained to the Wall, Ereko heard the Queen of Dreams say that the man would bring Ereko's deliverance. Traveller acquitted himself well against the unearthly Stormriders, long outliving others placed on the wall at the same time. Once, Ereko was horrified to see him cast aside his weapon and converse with one of the Riders. That night Ereko broke his chains, retrieved Traveller's cold numbed body, and carried him on his shoulder as he swam to shore.
Inspiration to build the wall was given to Temal by the Lady 3,411 years before Burn's Sleep (4,574 years before the events of Gardens of the Moon). His people were newcomers to Korel and beset by attacks from the Stormriders. The Lady granted him a sarcophagus containing a portion of her flesh and told him to drag it along the coastline, building a great wall in its path. In return she would offer his people her protection. The Wall was completed 400 years later.
By the time of the Malazan Expeditionary Force's invasion of Fist, the Stormwall was in poor condition. Master Engineer Stimins determined that the massive cracks appearing in the wall's foundations were due to extremely cold weather conditions which caused the moisture to freeze and suddenly explode. Such cold was not a result of natural processes but came from Stormrider magic. Additionally, the sea level below the wall was rising. In some sections it even flowed over the wall under the right conditions.
A millennium previously Lord Protector Ruel had visions that the wall would collapse, and the indigenous people of the island told of the Stonewielder who would one day bring the "stone's revenge against the wall." These prophesies came true when Greymane plunged his sword into the wall's foundation and channeled the Warren of D'riss. The wall collapsed in a series of earthquakes followed by large tidal waves.
Notes and references
- ↑ Stonewielder, Map
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 1, UK TPB p.45
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 8, UK TPB p.439
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 10, UK TPB p.509
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 3, UK TPB p.177-178
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 2, UK TPB p.109
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 1, UK TPB p.74
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 8, UK TPB p.438-439
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 8, UK TPB p.444
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 4, UK TPB p.216
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 1, UK TPB p.73
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 7, UK TPB p.350
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 4, UK TPB p.210
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 3, UK TPB p.180
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 2, UK TPB p.107
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 3, UK TPB p.177
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 4, UK TPB p.214
- ↑ Dust of Dreams, Chapter 11
- ↑ The Crippled God, Chapter 14
- ↑ Return of the Crimson Guard, Book I, Chapter II, UK PB p.43
- ↑ Return of the Crimson Guard, Book I, Chapter II, UK PB p.79-81
- ↑ Return of the Crimson Guard, Epilogue, UK PB p.696-698
- ↑ Stonewielder, Prologue, UK TPB p.18-22
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 1, UK TPB p.49
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 9, UK TPB 473-474
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 2, UK TPB 109
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 11, UK TPB 574
- ↑ Stonewielder, Chapter 12, UK TPB 576-578