Border Legion (Shannara)

Border Legion (Shannara)

The Border Legion is the army of the fictional country of Callahorn, ["Sword" Pages 590-591] in the epic fantasy [cite web |url= |title=Terry Brooks' official website|accessdate=2008-05-02 |last= Speakman |first=Shawn |authorlink= |year=2008 |publisher= ] novels of Terry Brooks' "Original Shannara Trilogy". The Border Legion played a significant role in two novels of the trilogy: "The Sword of Shannara" and "The Elfstones of Shannara".

Role in the Novels

"The Sword of Shannara"

In "The Sword of Shannara", the Border Legion played a central role. They were the army that was tasked with stopping or slowing the Warlock Lord's army that was marching down upon them from the Northland. ["Sword" Pg. 422] They met them first at the Mermiddon River, killing many trolls and others before they were forced to pull back to a small rise a couple hundred yards back. ["Sword" Pg. 601] Balinor, the commander of the Border Legion, ["Sword" Pg. 413] then decided to attempt an extremely difficult and unusual maneuver: he split his army into two and had them attack the flanks of the enemy as it was getting dark."Sword" Pg. 602] The troops harassed the army's flanks until they brought them into a half-circle--then they feinted so that the two halves of the enemy met each other. Unfortunately for them, they thought that this was the enemy they had been pursuing for the better part of the night, and they immediately began attacking one another. ["Sword" Pgs. 602-603] The Border Legion then retreated back to Tyrsis and began making preparations for defending the city. ["Sword" Pgs. 602 and 632-633] They were eventually beaten back after much bloodshed and treachery ["Sword" Pgs. 633-645 and 659-686] , but at their last stand, ["Sword" Pgs. 684-685] the army besieging Tyrsis apruptly stopped all hostilities ["Sword" Pg. 702-704] after Shea Ohmsford defeated the Warlock Lord in the Northland. ["Sword" Pg. 702]

"The Elfstones of Shannara"

:"See below for additional information"

The Border Legion in its entirety does not play any role in this novel,"Elfstones" Pg. 286] but individual units of the Legion do, including the "Free Corps" and the "Old Guard", numbering 600 and 250 ["Elfstones" Pg. 362] horse respectively.

The Free Corps

The Free Corps are the legendary ["Elfstones", Page 284-285] shock unit"Elfstones", Page 285] of the Border Legion. They were formed about 30 years before the events of "The Elfstones of Shannara". [cite web |url= |title="The Elfstones of Shannara" Timeline |accessdate=2008-05-15 |last= Gong |first=Minnie |year=2007 |publisher=The Shannara Files] They are commanded by Stee Jans.cite web |url= |title="The Elfstones of Shannara" character list |accessdate=2008-04-08 |last= Gong |first=Minnie |authorlink= |year=2007 |publisher=The Shannara Files ] cite web |url= |title=Author's note--"The Elfstones of Shannara" |accessdate=2008-05-02 |last= Brooks |first=Terry |authorlink=Terry Brooks |year=1991 |publisher= ]

Role in "The Elfstones of Shannara"

The Free Corps was a unit quite similar to the French Foreign Legion. [cite web |url= |title=A Review of the Elfstones of Shannara |accessdate=2008-04-29 |last= Sammons |first=Steven |authorlink= |year=2005 |publisher=Amazon ] In "Elfstones", they are described thusly:

Being the "shock unit" of the Border Legion, the Free Corps has always had the highest casualty rate among all of the units of the Border Legion, and this novel was no different:

The Free Corps was also the linchpin of the forces who managed to keep Arborlon from the Demons long enough for Amberle Elessedil to return to become the Ellcrys, throwing the demons back into the Forbidding. [cite web |url= |title=History of the Wars |accessdate=2008-04-08 |last= |first= |authorlink= |year=2007 |publisher=Druids of Paranor ]

Stee Jans, Commander

His role in "Elfstones"

Shannara character

name=Stee Jans
nickname=the "Iron Man" [ "Elfstones", Pg. 295 ]
hair=Rust-colored/Red [cite web |url= |title=Review of "The Elfstones of Shannara"|accessdate=2008-05-02 |last= Hart |first=Chris |authorlink= |year=2001 | ]
appearance="The Elfstones of Shannara"

Stee Jans was the commander of the Free Corps. He was originally thought up by Terry Brooks to fill the same role as Balinor Buckhannah did in "The Sword of Shannara". He fought alongside Eventine Elessedil ["Elfstones" Pg. 445] and Ander Elessedil in different parts of the novel.


Pre-"Elfstones" and how he acquired his nickname

About ten years [cite web |url= |title="The Elfstones of Shannara" Character List |accessdate=2008-05-02 |last= Gong |first=Minnie |authorlink= |year=2007 |publisher=The Shannara Files ] before the events of "The Elfstones", Stee Jans acquired the nickname "Iron Man" after he and a patrol of 23 soldiers ran into a rear guard of several hundred Gnomes.

This reputation stayed with him even as he rose up through the ranks of the Free Corps, eventually becoming its commander. ["Elfstones" Pgs. 284-285]

During "Elfstones"

In the book, Stee Jans led the Free Corps to Arborlon as part of the small contingent of men sent by Callahorn to aid the Elves. ["Elfstones", Pgs. 286-287] During the battle for Baen Draw, Stee came up with a plan to hold the pass, and in the subsequent battle, " [his] plan [was] successfully implemented and the Elves [were] able to hold the pass, which result [ed] in a large-scale loss of Demon life."cite web |url= |title="The Elfstones of Shannara" Timeline |accessdate=2008-06-26 |last= Gong |first=Minnie |year=2007 |publisher=The Shannara Files] After Kael Pindanon was slain, he was asked by Ander Elessedil to lead the army that had been assembled ["Elfstones", Pg. 335] to slow down the Demons. During various battles of the novels, including the three day. siege of Arborlon, he performed many heroic acts, including the slaying of a massive lizard"Elfstones", Pgs. 411-412] and a stand with his Free Corps that allowed everyone else to retreat to their last line of defense, the Gardens of Life:

cquote|To either side along the bluff rim, the defenders' lines had collapsed and were pinching in upon the ramphead. In moments, all would be caught in a vice from which none would escape. They had to fall back at once, to reform their lines at the perimeter of the Gardens of Life where they might consoliate their strength and gain the support of the Black Watch. But they needed time to do that, and someone must give them that time.

Red hair flying, the Free Corps Commander snatched the crimson and gray battle standard of his company and rammed it between the ramp stones. Here the Free Corps would make its stand. Rallying his Bordermen to him, he formed a narrow phalanx at the center of the ramphead. Then he ordered the Elves and Trolls to fall back. No one questioned the order; Stee Jans had been given command of the army. Quickly they abandoned the Elfitch, moving back toward the ranks of the Black Watch that ringed the Gardens of Life. In moments, the remnants of the Free Corps stood alone.

"What is he doing!" Ander screamed to Allanon, horrified. But the Druid did not answer.

The Demons attacked. Up the amp they charged, howling with rage. Incredibly, the Free Corps withstood the assult and thrust it back. All the while the Elven defenders continued to slip free of the noose that threatened to snare them. Again the Demons came up the Elfitch, and again the Free Corps thrust them back. No more than two dozen Bordermen remained alive. At their head stood the tall figure of Stee Jans. Regrouping before the Gardens of Life,the defenders who had fled the Elfitch looked back, watching the tiny knot of men who still held against the Demon rush. A silence settled over their ranks. They knew how this must end.

Now the whole of the Carolan lay open. Stee Jans wrenched free the battle standard, lifted the gray and crimson pennant high above his head, and the Free Corps battle vry rang out. Then slowly, deliberately, the little band began to move back across the Carolan, back towards the Elven defenders who ringed the Gardens of Life. Not a single Borderman broke formation. Not a single Borderman ran.

Ander's breath escaped from his lips with a sharp hiss. It was a hopeless retreat. At his elbow, Browork's battered face shoved into view.

"It's too far, Bordermen!" he muttered, almost to himself.

A wave of Demons edged over the lip of the ramphead, snarling. North and south among the Carolan, they began to mass.

"Run!" Ander whispered. "Run, Stee Jans!"

But there was no time left to run. Shrieks filled the morning air, and the whole of the Demon army swept forward. [excerpt from Brooks, Terry (1982) "The Elfstones of Shannara" Pages 531-532]


Stee Jans was one of the very few members of the Free Corps to survive the War of the Forbidding. ["Elfstones", Pg. 558] It is unknown if the Free Corps were reassembled before the Border Legion was disbanded after the events of "The Wishsong of Shannara", but before his departure, Jans was offered the command in the Elven army by Ander Elessedil, ["Elfstones", Pg. 558-559] now King of the Elves. Whether he accepted the command or remained with the Legion is unknown, but no known trace of his bloodline remains 300 years later when the Four Lands are threatened by the Shadowen. It is rumored that he may have later changed his identity, becoming a similar seemingly invincible warrior known as Garet Jax, but it does not seem to be true. [cite web |url= |title=Customer Review |accessdate=2008-05-02 |last= Small |first=Alexander R. |authorlink= |year=2001 | "...the alleged connection between Garet Jax and Stee Jans..."] [cite web |url= |title=Armies of the Four Lands, a Druids of Paranor page that has disappeared off the internet|accessdate= |last= |first= |authorlink= |year=2007 |publisher=Druids of Paranor ]

ee also

*Free Corps


*cite book |title= "The Sword of Shannara"|last= Brooks|first= Terry|authorlink= |coauthors= |year= 1977|publisher= The Random House Publishing Group|location= The United States of America|isbn= 0-345-31425-5|pages= 726
*cite book |title= "The Elfstones of Shannara"|last= Brooks|first= Terry|authorlink= |coauthors= |year= 1982|publisher= The Random House Ballantine Publishing Group|location= The United States of America|isbn= 0-345-28554-9|pages= 564


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