Descriptions of Tanelorn

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The King of the Swords

(Mayflower ©1972, 1977 reprint)

Book Three, Chapter 3, (p121)

It was a blue city and it gave off a strong blue aura which merged with the expanse of the blue sky which framed it, but its building were of such a variety of shades of blue as to make them seem many-coloured. These tall spires and domes clustered together and intersected and adjoined each other and rose in wild spirals and curves, seeming to fling themselves joyfully at the heavens as if silently delighting in their own blue beauty, in all their colours from near-black to pale violet, in all their shapes of shining metal.

'It is not a mortal settlement,' whispered Corum Jhaelen Irsei as he emerged with Jhary-a-Conel from the tall grass and drew his scarlet robe about him, feeling insignificant beneath the splendour of the city.

'I'll grant you that,' said Jhary almost grimly. 'It is not a Tanelorn which I have seen before. Why this is almost sinister, Corum...'

'It is beautiful and it is wondrous, but it might also be some false Tanelorn or some counter-Tanelorn, or some Tanelorn existing in an utterly different logic...'

'I hardly follow you. You spoke of peace. Well, this Tanelorn is peaceful. You said that there were many Tanelorns and that they have existed before the beginning of time and will exist whenn time has ended. And if this Tanelorn is stranger than some you know, what of it? Jhary drew a deep breath. 'I believe I have some inkling of the truth now. If Tanelorn exists upon the only area in the Multiverse not subject to flux, then it might have other prposes than to act as a resting place for weary heroes and the like...'


They crossed a lawn made blue by the light from the city and they stood at the beginning of a wide avenue lined with blue plants and breathed air which was not quite like the air of any of the planes they had visited.

And Corum began to weep at the sight of so much marvellous beauty, falling to his knees as if in worship, feeling that he would give his life to it willingly . And Jhary, standing beside his friend and placing a hand on his bowed shoulder, murmured: 'Ah, this is still truly Tanelorn.'

To Rescue Tanelorn...

(various ©1962)

p1 [of story]

Beyond the tall and ominous glass-green forest of Troos, well to the North and unheard of in Bakshaan, Elwher or any other city of the Young Kingdoms, on the shifting shores of the Sighing Desert lay Tanelorn, a lonely, long-ago city, loved by those it sheltered.

Tanelorn had a peculiar nature in that it welcomed and held the wanderer. To its peaceful streets and low houses came the gaunt, the savage, the brutalised, the tormented, and in Tanelorn they found rest.

Now, most of these troubled travellers who dwelt in peaceful Tanelorn had thrown off earlier allegiances to the Lords of Chaos who, as gods, took more than a mild interest in the affairs of men. It happened, therefore, that these same Lords grew to resent the unlikely city of Tanelorn and, not for the the first time decided to act against it.

The Vanishing Tower

(Grafton ©1970, 1990 reprint)

Book Three: Three Heroes with a Single Aim, Chapter 1)


Tanelorn had taken many forms in her endless existence, but al those forms, save one, had been beautiful.

She was beautiful now, with the soft sunlight on her pastel towers and her curved turrets and domes. And banners flew from her spires, but they were not nattle banners, for the warriors who had found Tanelorn and had stayed there were weary of war.

She had been here always. None knew when Tanelorn had been built, but some knew that she had existed before Time and would exist after the end of Time and that was why she was known as Eternal Tanelorn.

She had played a significant role in the in the struggles of many heroes and many gods and because she existed beyond Time she was hated by the Lords of Chaos who had more than once sought to destroy her. ...... Those who dwelled in her had loyalty neither to Law nor to Chaos and they had chosen to have no part in the Cosmic Struggle which was waged continuously by the Lords of the Higher Worlds. There were no leaders and there were no followers in Tanelorn and her citizens lived in harmony with each other, even though many had been warriors of great reputation before they chose to stay there.

The War Amongst the Angels

(Millenium/Orion ©1996, 1996 TPB)

Chapter 17: The Kiss


It is poor country, even by the standards of the region, and begins to improve only when you reach the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and the Taureq citadel of T'aan'-al'Oorn, which their legends say is the oldest city in the world. Only in recent years have these blue Berberim opened their gates to their fellow Christians. Previously all trading was done outside the tall red and green walls, which, of course, led to every kind of fanciful and greedy speculation about what the walls protected. This speculation had inevitably led to many failed raids as the stories of the cities treasure grew.

Like other Berber cities, T'aan'-al'Oorn's battlements enclosed a seroentine arrangement of narrow alleys, courtyards and covered souks, through which a press of animals and humans perpetually struggled. Behind high walls and hedges there were churches and mosques, mansions, towers and palaces, their flowery gardens exploding with vines, cedas and olive groves, their pale walls crammed up against crumbling shrines to Moslem, Christian and pagan saints, public buildings and hostelries which had existed for so long they had become indistinguishable from the earth into which they had sunk. Fountains, their source the great navigable caverns known by the French as Les Caves du Paradis and by the Arabs as Wadi-al-Chait', and on which the city's wealth and security are based, endlessly poured cool water into carved stone basins and ornamental troughs. The buildings around the wells were so old that whole trees grew in and out of their walls and gave the place its enduring strength.

The Dreamthief's Daughter

(Simon & Schuster/Earthlight ©2001, 2002PB)

Book Two, Chapter 12


We had certainly not expected to come upon Tanelorn so soon after finding our way down from the hills. We had expected to cross a desert before we found any form of civilization. We knew it was in the nature of this city to manifest herself occasionally in another place, so we did not challenge our luck. Without hesitation, we led our exhausted horses down towards the city walls. We were grateful for sight of the ancient, welcoming buildings, the gardens and tall trees, the red brick, black beams and thatch, the orchards and fountains, the twisting timbers of the gables

Earl Aubec of Malador

(Del Rey [Elric In The Dream Realms] ©2009)


...which is a city on the edge of the Sighing Desert. Tanelorn shelters many outcasts and has a peculiar nature, in that neither the forces of Law nor Chaos have any influence over the inhabitants

The Quest for Tanelorn


'Come, I will show you some history,' said the child.

And he led the men through quiet streets where people greeted them with friendly gravity. If the city shone, now, it shone with a light so subtle that it was impossible to identify its source. If it had one colour, it was a kind of whiteness which certain kinds of jade have, but as white contains all colours, the city was of all colours. It thrived; it was happy; it was at peace. Families lived here; artists and craftsmen worked here; books were written; it was vital. This was no pallid harmony - the false peace of those who deny the body its pleasures, the mind its stimuli. This was Tanelorn.

This, at last, was Tanelorn, perhaps the model for so many other Tanelorns.

'We are at the centre,' said the child, 'the still, unalterable centre of the multiverse.'

'What gods are worshipped here?' asked Brut of Lashmar, his voice and his face relaxed.

'No gods,' said the child. They are not required.'

'And is that why they are said to hate Tanelorn?' Hawkmoon stepped to one side to allow a very old woman to pass him.

'It could be,' said the child. 'For the proud cannot accept being ignored. They have a different sort of pride in Tanelorn -and that is a pride which prefers to be ignored.' He took them past high towers and lovely battlements, through parks where excited children played.

'They play at war, then, even here?' said John ap-Rhyss. 'Even here!'

'It is how children learn,' said Jehamiah Cohnahlias. 'And if they learn properly, they learn enough to abjure warfare when they are grown.'

'But the gods play at war,' said Oladahn.

'They are children, then,' said the child.

Hawkmoon noticed that Orland Fank was weeping, but he did not seem to be sad.”