Trolls are the descendants of humans who survived the cataclysm of the Great Wars above ground, and were directly exposed to the dangerous radiation unleashed across this time. In the Genesis of Shannara trilogy, their precursors were known as the Lizards, beings that developed either scale like or bark like skin, featureless faces, and in some cases the inability to talk in the English tongue.
In the rest of the Shannara series, Trolls live in various regions across the Four Lands, and there are several species. The Shannara saga so far outlines four; Rock Trolls, Mwellrets, Forest Trolls and River Trolls. The different Troll Races have no allegiance to another, and in particular the latter two species are sworn rivals of the Rock Trolls (Jarka Ruus). There are several characters who fall into the Troll species.
Rock TrollsEditRock trolls are the largest and most formidable fighters in the Four Lands. They stand 6–7 feet tall, have barklike skin, and lack little fingers, and have no hair. The Rock Trolls are principally a race of tribal nomads that live in the deep Northland, especially in the Kershalt and the Charnel Mountains. Rock trolls are the finest and most feared fighters in the Four Lands, and typically wear heavy armour and carry large heavy weapons. Despite a stringent code of honour and a history of warfare and invasions into the Southland, they are a relatively peaceful people with little desire to expand into other territories. The Rock Trolls are allies and trading partners of the Freeborn of Callahorn, the Elven Kingdom of Arborlon, and the Druid Council of Paranor. The Rock Trolls played a role in the coalition of Races that formed the First Council of Paranor, pledging their support to an international force of scholars, peacekeepers and loremasters. The Rock Trolls fought against the Southland separatists of the Race of Man, in alliance with the other Races, in the First War of the Races. They are traditional enemies of the Federation, Gnomes, Urdas, beings of evil magic and Lesser Trolls. The tribal nature of the Rock trolls, combined with their deep distrust of magic, made them easy victims for the Skullbearers. In both the 2nd and 3rd Wars of the Races, the Rock Trolls were united as the backbone of the Northland Army of the Warlock Lord, and sent to war against the Men, Elves and Dwarves. In the 3rd Race War, Brona tapped into the Trollish fear of the undead by promoting himself as the Spirit King; a returned hero from a bygone era. The Warlock Lord and his Skull Bearers attacked the Troll city of Norbane, quelling all resistance to his dominion, and again mobilizing the Rock Trolls for war.
With the defeat of the Northland host the Rock Trolls were seriously weakened as a force. The Skull Kingdom became a taboo land, and the Rock Trolls became again more cosmopolitan in outlook. The forges in camp cities such as Taupo Rough are some of the best in the Four Lands. The Rock Trolls of the Kershalt allied themselves with the Elves in the War of the Forbidding, and with the Freeborn in the Shadowen War. Rock Trolls occasionally live in the Borderlands, despite a history of invading and fighting the Border Legion. Newer Northland cities such as Anatcherae feature an interracial makeup of Rock Trolls and Men. With the invention of the airship, Rock Troll armies took to using large troop transport vessels to speed their advancement.
With the inception of the Third Council of Paranor, the Kershalt declined Druid training; but instead pledged themselves as a defence force for Druid's Keep. This force was disbanded when Ard Rhys Grianne Ohmsford disppeared, but were instrumental in retaking the fortress from insurgents within the order, pending an attack upon the forge city of Taupo Rough.
During the War of the Forbidding, Amantar is the Maturen of the Kershalt territory Rock Troll army. He comes to Arborlon to pledge his services to Eventine Elessedil, putting an end to centuries of conflict between Trolls and Elves. His army stood alongside the Elves, Dwarves, and Bordermen in the final battles of the War, and Amantar survived to depart Arborlon with pride.
During the War against the Shadowen, Axhind is the Maturen of a Troll army who wishes to side with the Free-born. He and several of his advisors come to the headquarters at the Jut, where they help the Free-born battle a Creeper. Axhind's forces later join the Free-born and the Elves as they battle the Federation in the Valley of Rhenn.
In the years during which the Third Druid Council was organized, Kermadec became a friend and protector to Grianne Ohmsford. He served as the first commander of her Druid Guard, and selected his successors after his term was up. Kermadec alerted Grianne to activity in the Skull Kingdom, and they both witnessed the visage of Tael Riverine. Shortly afterward, Grianne disappeared, and the Trolls were banished from Paranor. Kermadec also had a brother, Atalan, who was killed while fighting alongside Grianne and Kermadec against Shadea 'a Ru and Pyson Wence.
The Mwellrets are a species of Troll who adapted to live in the swamp land of the deep Eastland. They are mostly resistant to magic and have evolved reptilian physiologies and the ability to contort and alter their body size and shape. They returned to civilization much faster than the other races, and subjugated the Mountain Gnomes of Ravenshorn Mountains. The Gnomes believed the lizard people to command powerful magic that they could not withstand. Some Mwellrets such as Stythys (Wishsong of Shannara) commanded powers of great persuasion and manipulation, probably aided by some form of magic. The Mwellrets used their powers to coerce the weaker human races or 'little people' as they referred to them. They forced their slaves to build a mighty fortess in the Ravenshorn called Graymark, as the capital for their empire. They condemned many thousands of slaves to death in the Caves of Night below Graymark.
The Mwellrets remained an insular people and played no role in the politics of the wider Four Lands. They did not contribute their knowledge and powers to forming the 1st Druid Council of Paranor along with the other races. The lizard people were all but unknown by most of the races, although Dwarves such as Elb Foeraker (Wishsong of Shannara) viewed them with extreme distrust. They typically concealed their unsettling appearances with cowls and cloaks.
During the Second and Third Race Wars, the Mwellrets bargained with the Warlock Lord to provide some of their Gnomes for his army in exchange for their power remaining untouched. However, they later fell prey to the Mord Wraiths, who caused them to sicken to a handful. The Mwellrets were driven from Graymark. The survivors established themselves at the fallen Dwarf citadel of Dun Fee Aran where they ruled the Gnomes who resided there. Their attempts to command the dark magic of the Ildatch were thwarted a few years after the War of the Ildatch by Jair Ohmsford (Indomitable). A number of Mwellrets later served as aids to the warlock known as the Morgawr.
Cree Bega is the direct subordinate of the Morgawr. He was dispatched as commander of a group of Mwellrets meant to serve under the Ilse Witch. The Witch particularly disliked Bega, because he was more resistant to her magic than most and considered her inferior. The tension between them continued until the Morgawr himself came and brought Bega back under his command.
Following the Jerle Shannara to its hiding place on the island of Mephitic, Bega accompanied his master into the ruins of the magic fortress there. He boarded the nearly abandoned Jerle Shannara, and there confronted Ahren Elessedil. However, thanks to his combat training from Ard Patrinell, Ahren overcame Bega, wounding him fatally with his sword.
Stythys was a Mwellret living in the time of Jair Ohmsford. He was one of the few to survive the onslaught of the Mord Wraiths, who stole the former domain and subjects of the rets. Stythys was found by a Dwarf patrol near Capaal, and imprisoned in the fortress in case he could prove useful. That time came when Jair, accompanied by the Gnome Slanter arrived at Capaal on the way to Graymark, the former home of the Mwellrets.
The company's troubles with Stythys began after he detected the magic in Jair's voice, that of the wishsong. Using his natural shape-shifting abilities, he escaped his cell and kidnapped Jair during the confusion of a Mord Wraith attack. Taking the Valeman to the Gnome prisons of Dun Fee Aran, he attempted to obtain Jair's magic. However, just as Stythys was about to discover the magic Jair had obtained from the King of the Silver River, the Valeman was rescued by Slanter and Stythys was captured by Garet Jax.
Traveling towards Graymark, the company had Stythys guide them into the Caves of Night, where Stythys could summon magic to guide them through the dangerous Procks. However, Stythys' determination to possess Jair's magic led him to surprise the company and grab Jair, holding a knife to his throat. However, thanks to the power of Jair's wishsong, Slanter's quick action in attacking the surprised ret and Garet's severing of the rope that bound Stythys to him, Stythys fell to his death in the crushing jaws of a Prock.
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Forest Trolls and River Trolls are aggressive and nomadic peoples who have had little civilized contact with the other Races. They fought in the Army of the Skull for the Warlock Lord in the 2nd and 3rd Wars of the Races, although it is conceivable that some tribes fought for the Druid Army of the Races in the First Race War. The Lesser Trolls acted as rank and file foot troops for the Warlock Lord, of greater combat prowess than Gnomes, but much weaker than Rock Trolls. Unlike Rock Trolls, these Races did not become trading partners and allies with Men, Elves and Dwarves after the Wars of the Races. In the Northland, they remain dangerous rivals of their larger cousins.