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on Friday, 12pm SLT (19hTU), Elf Dream Meetings and stories, in our virtual region Daur Lysaer (How to enter)
This text is a part of a larger plot. So it is better to read first «The Kiss of the Worlds», in order not to spoil it.
By Yichard Muni, elf bard
The wandering Elves, living on opportunities and moving on inspiration, were for millennia the main cause for culture sharing in the whole Nyidiath. They lived and travelled on boats, long ago in the ancient ages, and when they settled somewhere, they created long lasting elven realms.
But before, the Elves lived in the Blue Mountains...
So this is the moving story of the first wandering Elves, and how they started!
Seven thousands years ago, the Elves existed only in the Blue Mountains, their mother land. However things had become very difficult with the Human villages around in the low lands. These humans were doing hunting raids in the Blue Mountains, while the Elves wanted to make of this place an haven of peace for all living beings. Things went so bad that the Elves had to defend themselves into fortified villages. Soon their position became untenable, as the Humans were more and more numerous and aggressive, while using the first bronze swords and arrows.
The Elves had no metals in the Blue Mountains, and anyway they did not liked this life of fear, violence and constant watch. So, one spring day early, they all set up toward the south east, were it was said there was an infinite lake of salty water. They thought it was wise to move all together like a strong army, and in facts nobody dared to challenge them. But they soon had to face a more relentless enemy, which was never tired and had nothing to fear: hunger. As everywhere they went, all the food resources were already taken by human villages...
So, when they were safe from enemies, they separated into several groups, trying their luck into different directions.
Several tribes settled on forested plateaus without hunting resources, and thus deserted by Humans. They are at the origin of the most ancient black haired Wood Elves. Many others were lost, alas, or are unremembered.
But their continent, the Shartan, was not very large, especially in these times where the oceans were much higher than today. So many tribes ended to reach the «great salty lake», the ocean.
Here took place a wonderful event. This elven tribe was not very numerous, and they were very tired when they reached a beach, near one of the many villages of a large tribe of fishers, the Skriggs. This village also had some goats grazing around, and the Skriggs immediately thought that the Elves came to steal them. So they rang the alarm and readied for fight... But their chief, Gorlean, was sick since months, and he decided to differ the attack, hoping to be better the next day. So, he just placed sentries on the hills around the village, watching for the Elves who were setting a camp in a nearby glen.
The standoff lasted until the next midday, when the villager saw a very unexpected elven ambassy coming: two women and three children! They were wearing empty gourds, showing the spring with their fingers. At least their intent was clear, even if their language was completely unknown.
The Skriggs had hospitality rules, that they used among themselves. But this was an unexpected case, and Gorlean, sick and weak, had not the spirit to discuss, despite the anger of his warriors wanting to chase off the strangers. So he allowed them to take water, provided that they came only one per one near the spring. So it was done, and the children, then the ladies, filled their gourds.
It was a surreal scene: nice elves with long shiny jet black hairs, perfectly combed, passing one per one on the village street wearing their gourds, between two ranks of villagers, half angry half curious. They were rough people, wearing blonde or grey dishevelled hairs and beards, with stinking goat skin clothes... Many were ugly, sick from bad food, having lost their teeth or rigged with reddish skin diseases. And their village was all of bare grey stone and mud, without any attempt to make it nice.
The second day, Gorlean, astonished, ended to invite one of the elven ladies. She was named Meloween, and accompanied with two children, a boy named Marlik and her daughter Tellerin: Already in these times Elves had melodious names. Gorlean's grey stone house was small, with a low ceiling of raw logs blackened with smoke. Beds were above this ceiling, just under the straw roof. In the only room were a fireplace, shelves with jars for food, and a thick wooden table hollowed at places to make dishes. The ground was of rammed earth, and daylight was entering only through small holes. Gorlean's wife, family and children were all here. An old lady was sometimes moaning above, probably in the throes of some terminal disease. To the elven standards it was rather disgusting and stinking, despite it was the village chief's house. But Meloween had to bear worse, into her wandering life. The two children were half curious, half frightened.
But the Elves had not sent Meloween at random: she was one of their best magicians healers. She could not speak with Gorlean, but instead she started to concentrate and send healing energy to him. Soon, the common infection he had loosened its grip, and he felt much better. His permanent tooth ache also stopped. He was still tired and needing rest, but he was truly amazed! He started to speak aloud, very joyful and excited, and the hostile look of his warriors changed to amazement...
Soon, Meloween understood: they all had itching ulcers, painful teeth or other common diseases of bad food and no hygiena. She was soon asked to cure all of them... what she tried to do, but she soon had to make them understand that she was tired and could not do more than some!
So, Meloween was invited another day, with all the elves having healing powers. They soon had to take care of the old lady. It was too late for her, but at least she could be conscious until the end, and leave her body peacefully.
This is how this elven tribe became very friend with the Skriggs. They were allowed to install here, scattered among the villages. Enough houses were available, from a recent famine.
Meloween's second miracle was to plant this kind of Jerusalem Artichokes which sustained them in the Blue Mountains. They were growing well in the poor soils of the Skriggath (the Skrigg's land, as it was known later) and they much bettered the diet of the tribe.
The Elves learned the Skriggs to wash. For this, they gathered into small huts of sod and branches, and threw water on hot stones for making steam. The Elves carried special stones just for this purpose, as random stones would explode and injury them.
But the Skriggs were especially sailors. The Elves did not liked fishing, but they could not convince the Skriggs to stop. However, the Elves liked the sea, and this is how they learned to build boats, and sail. The Skriggs were not mastering bronze smelting, but they knew islands contained ore, so that the Elves could start their first metal tools.
The elven tribe stayed here for about one hundred years, and merged with the Skriggs, so that many married together, and many Skriggs became Elves too. It is said that this is how blond hairs entered the elven race, where they are so common today. In the time of the deportation, only the Sylvan Elves of the Shartan mountains were still having only black hairs. This is why some consider them as the only «pure» Elves, despite they somewhat became wild, away of the mainstream elven culture.
The new merged people went strong and beautiful, from much better food and basic hygiena habits. Once clean and healthy, the Skriggs were as beautiful as any other race. The villages too became nice, flowered and well tended. But above all, they were happy and cultivating songs and beauty, all these things the ancient Skriggs totally ignored. It is said that Shelenaë appeared several times, and it is at this occasion that she designed the method for becoming Elf through marriage. It was also the time for one of the much rarer appearances of MakTar, who told them to smelt bronze and build weaving looms.
They needed less fishing, and even the Elves managed to not eat fish at all. But those who were still Humans continued, as they needed much more food than the elves. Same thing went for the goats, Elves did not ate them, but they learned to take care of them. This was how Elves started to have domesticated animals, but they were already long ago friends with the wild animals of the forest.
Alas the same thing happened again... neighbouring tribes started to threaten the Skrigg villages, which were open and difficult to defend. So the Elves wanted to move to neighbouring islands, while the still human Skriggs preferred to defend their lands. The split was unavoidable, and the Elves left the Skriggs land, into clinker build skiffs which resembled small primitive drakkars. The remaining Skriggs, after some skirmishes, disappeared from historical records, probably assimilated by the new comers.
Later, the Elves learned to build larger ships able of withstanding the rough ocean, and they could explore it all. For a long time however, food remained their main limiting factor, until they learned to «fish» plankton: instead of nets, they put fabric pouches at sea, thus gathering a greenish pasta which was at least edible, if not really good. With time, they learned to make an interesting ginger bread with it.
But the apogee of the wandering Elves came some millennia later, when all the islands of the Shartan were densely populated, and organized with harbours and all. So the wandering Elves anchored in places, exchanging their skills against food, ingots or ship parts. When their holds were full with food, they left to some other places, or simply enjoyed their elven life. First the Elves were traders, and even bankers, in the way the Templar Knights were. But soon the Humans took the lead into these businesses, so that the Elves had to come back to their basic elven skills, where they were irreplaceable: art works, minstrels, healers. In this way they were living like ocean gypsies, wandering unpredictably and offering songs, tales, weaving, healing. Later, when they started to have some fixed lands, they became goldsmiths or instrument makers.
(On this video we can see a (simplified) Wandering Elves ship (in the background), with Ilianor singing and playing harp)
Later, increasing piracy forced the Wandering Elves to have only warships, and even to settle into elven kingdoms. But some of them were still sea faring in the time of the Exodus to the Dauriath, and they brought their shipbuilding skills in this endeavour. Even after, they were the only ones to disobey the deportation orders, cutting their hairs and clothing like Humans in order to keep unnoticed, but still keeping their elven hearts. They used to transport messages or endangered persons, or to secretly pass new Elves to the Dauriath.
Today that they are free enough to live in the open, the wandering Elves are playing a key role in the revival of elven culture and power into the modern Nyidiath. Recently, some even managed to set foot on newly emerged islands, against the ancient deportation treaties, thus re-creating independent Elven Lands!
Copyright… yes this text is copyright 2012 Yichard Muni, my identity in Second Life and Inworldz, or copyright 2012 Richard Trigaux, my identity in the physical world.
Scenario, graphics, sounds, colours, realization: Richard Trigaux.
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