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Let us meet for real! Name: Richard Trigaux. Artist name: Yichard Muni
Every friday, 12pm SLT (19hTU), Elf Dream Meetings and storytelling, in our virtual region Lysaer (How to enter)
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By Yichard Muni, Elf bard
This book is the continuation of a series of improvised stories «The Elves of the Dauriath», which were created in the Elven lands of Second Life, and later in Inworldz and Amaryllis, from 2006 to 2020. The theme is the relationship between Elfs and Humans, spanning a whole world and several millennia. You can read it as a whole story, but the best plot order is to start with «The kiss of the worlds», which provides the best introduction to this universe. This present story is chronologically the last created, in 2020, also leading to the latest events in the plot, 12 years after the Horiathon Battle. This makes around the 2000 year on Earth.
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.
Forest Elves were ancient tribes of Elves from the core Shartan continent, recognizable with their shiny black hairs and pale skin. In Iraen's tribe, many had a somewhat square chin, as Iraen himself had. Despite that, their visages remained simple and gentle like young children faces. They dwelled in steep forested hills and mountains, living of nuts and plants, in places where Humans could not cultivate or sustain themselves. Depending on tribes and places, they were more or less wild, and away from the mainstream Elves. A common opinion is that they considered the other Elves with some disdain, and fact is that they did not took part in high Elven councils. This made them unable of enough defence in front of the first persecutions, when poachers, loggers and miners started to destroy the forests.
But of course reality is more complex than that.
The first Humans turning Elves, in the Blue Mountains, by the time of MakTar and Shelenaë, they were of a race with shiny black hairs and pale skin, with somewhat square faces and chins. As Humans, they already were beautiful in their way, but Elvenhood gave them simple and pure features, like young children faces. Although still with the chin. When the Tankaor happened, the Elves were the only survivors into this part of the Shartan continent, and they remained isolated for two thousand years in the Blue Mountains, gaining some specific genes. Later, when the Blue Mountains, cradle of the Elven lineage, became unsafe under the assaults of the Humans of the plain, they decided to emigrate. This was the first Exodus. However, they were too numerous for their large troop to easily find food. So that they decided to break in several tribes, each trying its luck in different directions.
Little details are remembered from this sad epoch, so that there is even not an agreement over the number of tribes. Most likely they were between 12 and 20.
Of these tribes, only the fate of six is known. Modern genetics however found than the specific genes from the original Blue Mountains tribe survived in several other places, so that the most probable fate of the lost tribes is that they were assimilated by other peoples, put in slavery or other bad conditions, not allowing them to transmit elvenhood to their children. In some cases, only female genes were transmitted, indicating a dire outcome where men were slaughtered and women raped for reproduction. Yet most of the lost tribes could still transmit some wisdom, arts and techniques, as there is a blossoming of social progress, art and farming in this time in the Shartan. Many Human noble families boast an Elven lineage, from such or such of the lost tribes. Again modern genetics showed that many of these claims are true, save that the Marshi lords did not transmitted Elvenhood itself. Still they kept some elven ideals, and the basis of nobility life in the Shartan is about illustrating a divine life. What they were still doing until the Revolution. Although, based on the heavy taxation of poor farmers and workers, it was just a theatrical mock representation of elvenhood, with nothing authentical.
The most well known group of Blue Mountain escapees, which story is told in the Wandering Elves, encountered a tribe of fishers and shepherds, the Skriggs. The two tribes soon merged, all becoming Elfs in the process. But the Sktiggs being more numerous, most of the tribe children were more looking like the blonde Skriggs than like the original black haired Elf tribe. Since, their descendants exhibit all the variety of hair colours and face styles. The Elves learned farming and non-violence to the Skriggs, while the seconds learned the Elves smithing, sailing and caring of animals. However a new invasion forced the merged tribe to move again, toward uninhabited islands with metal ore. From here, they radiated by sea toward the many islands of the Shartan, forming elven kingdoms or Marshizath (In this case, a Marchizath was an Human kingdoms kindly and wisely led by real Elves. But no real Marshizath survived, true elvenhood being lost to power theft or wars, and the concept degenerated into some nice-looking dictatorship). The wandering Elves were for long the main spreaders of art and civilization in the world abroad, in a continent where Elves and Humans had each their lands, separated with vast expanses of uninhabited hills and forests.
The five other surviving tribes reached different high forests and plateaus, where they evolved each of their own, isolated from the other tribes by hundreds of kilometres of plains populated with hostile farmers, where travelling was dangerous. This is the origin of the some twenty ancient Elfs populations in mountains all around the Shartan. A superficial examination and some ready-made ideas finds the Sylvan Elves all the same, but any closer insight shows some important differences in lifestyle and philosophies between the tribes. For instance some engaged in symbiosis with horses and other animals, while others never did. Some integrated neighbouring Humans becoming Elves, others not. That makes that only four retained the pure original genes batch of the Blue Mountains tribe, while others went more or less mixed. We saw Milly small with curly brown hairs, probably resulting from an ancient Elf encounter with black skinned migrants from the southern continents.
Most common trait of the Sylvan Elves is that they do not make fields, and of course they never hunt. They cultivate, but you could pass near their work in the forest without noticing it. They sparsely use metal tools, only to build their houses, for music instruments or for defence. They pass spiritual pacts with their lands and its inhabiting spirits and animals, protecting them from natural imbalances and human attacks. In return, the lands provide them with food, shelter, and magical help against attackers. After six millennia of meditation and fervour, the magic had become extremely strong, and even operating of its own, automatically. This was so true that very few invaders dared to enter the elven forests, and still less survived to tell terrifying stories of night screams, strangling lianas, peaceful animals becoming enraged, fire nettles or razor brambles, stones and darts thrown from nowhere, abysses opening under their feet, snakes making people becoming mad, soldiers losing their way until they die of hunger, and many others. Today Human scientists say that they probably had hallucination and panic attacks, but accounts of these times were speaking of real injuries.
However, while Humans were becoming numerous and more materialistic, they more and more seek timber and mines in the hills and mountains. In this way, they ended submerging the magical defences: nothing worse than trash, tobacco smell, bawling and bad music to repel the sense of beauty of nature! After their passage, the terrible wounds to the forests ended killing the magic (as we observe in our own Earth world). This is how the Sylvan Elves ended to be pushed away, cornered, andn in some casesn slaughtered.
As it was said, some consider the Forest Elves as more arrogant, and in proportion weaker in defense. This is not to know them well. Living away from the Human societies, they did not engaged in compromises such as trading, selling, or trying to teach stupid people to read and count. Living in a pure realm of beauty and magic, love and altruism, they were not seeing advantages in technology or wealth, as long as their lands and forests provided them with what they needed. So that they were in facts more spiritual than the mainstream Elves, not wanting to engage in their worldly activities, especially not in their wars. This is why they were seldom seen in the High Councils of the other Elven tribes. They even disobeyed some of the Council decisions, but this was not retained against them: the Elven society is a free society, where everybody has his place.
This spirit made that, when the killers were coming, the Sylvan Elves often preferred to let themselves being slaughtered, to enter in the Elven paradise with a pure karma, instead of allowing violence and strategy to pollute their consciousness stream. But this is as with platonic love: the less we speak of it, the better it is. So the Sylvan Elves were highly esteemed by the other Elves, and despised only by the materialist and the ignorant.
However when the Exodus came, they like the others seized this occasion of permanently escaping violence, and being given a better future in the free world of the Dauriath, instead of being sooner or later wiped out of the Nyidiath.
In the relentless arms race engaged by the fast progressing Humans, the Elves in the Dauriath had to be ready, for the day the Horiathon would allow for travels in both directions. Inevitably, at this moment, the Human governments and banks would claim the Dauriath, at need by military force. So that, by lack of strong enough magic, the Elves had to be technologically and economically superior.
The Elven Council in the Dauriath naturally included the Forest Elves in their huge plan. The technology development, with its necessary large factories, would happen in the Arlit, the part of the Dauriath which cannot be seen from the Nyidiath, while the visible regions, the Undar, were purposely left in a more traditional way of living. For this, the High Council allocated the Sylvan Elves with large parts of the Undar, where any technology is still forbidden today, even the fly over by airliners. They at once started to rebuild their magical symbiosis with the lands, and many think that in some millennia the Elves will no longer need the technologies they had developed for fighting the Human attackers.
This is how the Human governments were lured into thinking that they would have only salvage tribes to fight. Indeed their telescopes were only showing vast expenses of forests, small Middle Age-like villages and wooden sail ships. This confidence made them attack sooner, with relatively weak forces. Had they known the real level of the Elves, they would attack anyway, but with much stronger forces, and even with nuclear weapons which they already had. So the Elves had an unique occasion to crush the Human military force, and to do it once and for all. Failure to do so would engage in centuries of war and extensive ecology destruction, ruining the spirit of the Elves until they all abandoned such an absurd world for their spiritual paradises.
The topic of the present story is that, in fact, this millennia long plan was engaged even before the Exodus. It is generally thought that the Exodus was an idea of the Human kings council. This is still what is taught in many Human schools today. But actually, it was suggested by seemingly innocent or simpleton-looking Minstrels telling stories in the great Human Kings courts, and by numerous other channels. Just that, the Elven Council wanted to appear as victims of the Exodus, for better negotiating its conditions. But their hidden rationale behind the Exodus is that the Elves would have the Dauriath for them alone, without the need to fight or to hide. This would allow them for the whole science progress they needed to definitively annihilate the Human military attempts.
So that this Great Plan which culminated in the dreadful Horiathhon battle, in facts started about a century before the Exodus, and sending rafts with animals was the first step of it. This endeavour had spiritual purposes of its own, which would make it happen anyway. But its strategic purpose made it secretly helped by the Elven Council, without the raft builders were aware of it.
The High Elven Council was able to foresee many things in the centuries ahead, like the terrible weapons of the modern times, or air travel, or Internet. But this story is about a much simpler and nearby forgotten feat, some tens of years before the Exodus. Yet it proved an invaluable help for the early establishment of the Elf civilization in the Dauriath.
This is why, centuries later, Iraen, who had become a renowned scholar and a philosopher in the Dauriath, was requested to put this story in the permanent memory of the Elf Internet. Another reason is to testify about the horrors which happened during the Exodus, in front of so many arrogant denier intellectuals who rewrite History, pretending that the Exodus never happened, or who put forward their «alternative facts». Well, of course idiots never learn. But at least their children will be taught at school.
So here is Iraen's story, in the first person, that he wrote some years after the Horiathon Battle.
I took birth eight centuries before the Exodus, in the Shamal Humak mountain range.
My full name is Shamal Malmoë Iraen.
My maternal great-grandmother Malmoë Bimigard knew Shelenaë in person, and I hold Her story directly from her.
This kind of things long make us the Sylvan Elfs feel well above the others, looking so special. I know that it looks incredible, that 9500 years of History were transmitted through only one intermediate. This makes us still very close to the original inspiration, while the other Elfs had moved and mixed a lot, especially with all these modern science and travels. But they barely remember the last 1000 years.
The life in the time of Shelenaë was incredible and full of magic. Some say these tales are later embellishment. But Grandma Bimi was remembering seeing all this, and even more. And we believe this, since this magic was still operating in our lands, until the Exodus to the Dauriath. And it restarted in the Undar, the part of the Dauriath purposely left free of modern technology.
When the flight from the Blue Mountains happened, we split from the main group to form the Sambao tribe, heading to the hills in the east. Since these hills were not very hospitable, we split a second time, heading more to the east, while the Irinaël Light tribe decided to settle in the hills. Nobody ever had any news of them. A third split occurred when we separated in the Arounal tribe, the Shamal tribe (both named this way afterward, after the mountains they each joined) and another unnamed small group heading to the Beyren Hills, south of the Shamal. Them also are lost, although they seem to be at the origin of the Beyrard Marshizath. This is what makes tracking the lost tribes so hard, as they split further, out of the knowledge of the survivors. Other complication, the Sambao tribe was sometime considered lost, while this name was simply abandoned when we split for the third time.
We also are of the pure race of MakTar and Shelenaë. For long we thought that our race was defining elvenhood, so that we considered mixed races Elfs as lesser Elfs. But, since the Dauriath Exodus and all the encounters, we had to admit that elvenhood is unrelated to race, and we see black skinned Humans becoming Elves today. We even learned a lot from the Great Elder Elves, mixed sons of the Skriggs, who are able to focus and control their magical powers, when ours were only operating automatically, like an egregore does. Yet our closeness to nature and to the original inspiration brought us in the first line for the restoration of the elven magic in the Dauriath, especially in the Undar. But with personal freedom and all the rapid changes in activities and focuses which took place, we today find Sylvan Elfs in the Arlit as well, taking part to the wonderful science and technology which are happening up there.
We also had to admit that the Plans of the Elven Council were wise and accurately organized from the very beginning, even before the Exodus, and we shall see further why.
The Shamal Humak mountain range is a large plateau, cut by several deep valleys with steep flanks and flat bottom. Humans lived and cultivated in the bottom of the valleys, where they created many hamlets along the brooks. Not being under a Lord, they did their law themselves. We Elfs lived on the top of the plateau, 800 metres above, where the climate is too rough for Human's cultivation. But we could still grow a variety of nuts, roots and fruits, well enough for our lesser food needs. Our plateau forms several kinds of islands, separated by the valleys, but still connected all together in a central point, the only place where we have visible installations: a larger temple and a flat meadow for gatherings, with view all around. Today, the colonists who chased us destroyed large parts of the forest and installed miserable dirty cow farms where we once lived in beauty.
The general map of the Shamal, is like irregular flower petals, separated by the deep valleys and united in the highest point in the middle. This makes that the tips of the petals are promontories well above the surrounding regions, where we have a fantastic view. East, I remember seeing the ocean, but since its level lowered, we became unable to see it anymore. West, we were looking at the central plains and hill ranges. The top of the Dauriath was also visible here in the morning, low on the horizon. South, seen from my home, the Humac mountain range continues beyond a large transversal valley, as the Beyren Hills. North and North-west, the Arounal Humac is bigger and more irregular than the Shamal. It also is inhabited by Sylvan Elves of the tribe we split from, called the Arounals from the mountain. We seldom spoke with them, because we needed to go through a large valley populated with hostile Humans. But we were seeing their fires in the Midsummer night festival, and we exchanged signals with manipulating clothes before the fires. We were still getting them occasionally in the Dharsham (shared dream), and they brought the pleasant vibe of long time not seen friends. Yet the steeper slopes in the Arounal did not allowed for meadows and horses, and it is entirely covered with deep impenetrable forests. The valleys are narrow and V shaped, so that they are not inhabitable, and obstacles instead of roads. The Arounal tribe built the same houses as us, but their food system was entirely different, mostly based on trees and mushrooms. Despite superficial similarities, they in fact had different customs and philosophies, and I suppose that this started even before the split.
The dark silhouette of the Arounal Humak, and the green shadows of its mysterious deep valleys, concealed an even more powerful magic than ours. I think even today it remained untouched, save the mines and tunnels the Humans did through.
Beyond the Arounal, the view extends to the snowy Tonnar mountains, with the mighty Barabundar massif, the elegant but stern Stendek, and the impressive Honsho. A fantastic view by clear summer days. So all this made a really powerful landscape, when we wandered in the edges of our plateau, or on the central summit. The later was left clear of trees, to enjoy the vision all around.
These strange names, which existed before we settled there, evoke a mysterious vibration of some deep green magic. This vibe existed naturally before any inhabitant, and it is still perceptible today in modern times, although much weakened since the lands have been registered and included in states. These wild mountains and forests were much more powerful before anybody pretended to possess and govern them. But the Arounal Humak was never really tamed, and it allowed only Elves to dwell up there. It even defended itself against miners and tunnel diggers, who had an exceptional rate of accidents, stepping into strange natural traps in the deep geological layers under the mountain. Today only hikers go up there, and there are talks of making a reservation of the place.
We also understood recently that the relative isolation of these mountains created specific ecosystems, and a biodiversity which exists only in these places. Even more, the Shamal and the Arounal are in fact very different, despite they look similar. This strongly contributed to the magic.
The top of the Shamal Humak is not totally flat, but strewn with hills and glens. The glens usually harboured springs and brooks, sometimes ponds with frogs making magical fluted notes at night: the song of the Shamal. These were wonderful places, under the trees. By the time, we just had to form a cup with our hands, to drink from the pure spring, under the emerald green canopy. Today the farmers poisoned the springs with nitrates and antibiotics, killing the unique bacteria and algae which allowed for this pure water, changing the fairy ponds into black rot pits, and forcing the farmers to bring costly bottled water.
Small rocky hills form castles, usually covered with trees. These were wonderful places too, with numerous small corners between the rocks, even sometimes small caves. The rock was firm, so that we could safely dig caves of our own, as winter shelters for our Dharsham (shared dream) evenings. We also did tunnels connecting several houses, and some places had extensive underground passages connecting a hundred houses. With that, we did not needed to get out by snowy weather (Snow was nonexistent one century before the events. But at the time of the events, it started to fall several times each winter, with climate change. Today the farmers have weeks of it.) The underground freshness was also welcome by very hot weather. Digging those tunnels in the hard rock was a huge work, but spaced over 1000 years.
Last, the relatively flat parts were covered with meadows, some stretching on hundreds of metres, where our horses roamed freely, living their horse lives. These meadows were special to our tribe, the other Sylvan Elfs in the Arounal Humak don't have these, only daurs, small luminous clearings in continuous thick forests with steep slopes. The reason why they happened in the Shamal and not in the Arounal, is because of the horses. Horses settled in the Shamal because it has flat places, nearby absent from the Arounal. And, as you know, horses selectively graze plants. Plants resisting to this constant grazing grow in meadows. But this selection makes that plants which do not bear grazing get more concentrated in protected places, like slopes, bushes and thickets. So these places see more varied trees, bushes, medicinal plants, spices and flowers, all naturally growing just before our door steps. Things were already like that when we arrived, and we changed them little, only adding some paths and favouring useful plants.
Of course no more than any other Elven tribe we kill animals for meat. But we learned to milk the horses, not as an exploitation, but as some kind of love bond, or symbiosis. We don't take much, only what the mares offer, when they have excess milk making their udders painful. Usually we do some cheese with it, which is another use of our caves. Many Elfs we encountered later gasped in disgust, considering us as retarded barbarians. Especially when we were getting out our Roquefort-like cheese, lol! But to start with, the mainstream Elfs also learned cheese, from the Skriggs. But today they cultivate wheat, so that they seldom gather the conditions to receive the free gift of milk. Being closer to nature and animals, we enjoy it without asking, and continue to do so in the Dauriath. In case of need, the mares offer much more, and cheese is what allowed Milly to live when she was stranded alone without enough other resources.
When we arrived, the horses were already here. Not being threatened, they already had a gentle and confident behaviour. Probably they were already tamed by Humans before, and they had escaped to the Shamal. They were of varied colours, as horses usually are. But 7000 years of our presence changed them a lot. We did not attempted to select them, but this happened naturally, by our magic. When I lived there, they all became white, with pearl grey or beige spots on their faces and backs, or the manes and tails. So, don't be astonished if we start to see some with pink or purple manes today in the Dauriath, hahaha, some mischievous young Elves used their noob's magic for that trick.
When I lived in the Shamal, our horses were already very smart and helpful. We mounted them bareback, and we just had to tell the right direction with a gentle push of the knees. When riding for long distance, we had saddles made of vegetal ropes. Most of the time, we just presented ourselves with the saddle in hand, near a herd. After some minutes, one presented himself for the saddle. When we arrived where we wanted to go, we just removed the saddle, and the horse returned to his start point, while another horse presented himself for the saddle. It was a common sight, horses using the same foot paths as us, for returning, or for their own business. Sometimes entire herds travelled along a path, for some of their own celebrations or ceremonies, and we heard their trampling at a long distance.
They also allowed us to travel all down the mountain to the Human inhabited zone. But when doing so, we had to shelter them from horse thieves, in barns if possible. In the open, we attached them bells, to warn us of theft attempts. They understood all this. Especially the theft part, that they really got, well beyond expectable: I saw one attempt one night, the guy was beaten to death by the prancing horses, even before we could get up. It was strange and scary to see so gentle and peaceful animals suddenly becoming screaming war thunders. When we arrived it was too late for the bloke, so that we hide the corpse and fled, to avoid retaliation if he had mates around. We were told later by Human friends that the guy had accepted a stupid challenge, and his buddies who issued the challenge were severely whipped by the villagers. They don't like horse thieves either.
Since our arrival, we engaged in meditations on nature, and pacts with animals, especially dangerous ones. There are bears and boars in the steep slopes of the Shamal. But with the Pact, we seldom saw them, so we never had problems. There also are poisonous snakes. We knew they were here, because we found molts, and even some pretty big ones. Otherwise encounters were very rare, or we were warned of their presence. Today the cow farmers broke the Pact by trampling on the snakes, and despite their frantic attempts to eliminate them, they have several deaths every year. The mountain itself refuses them! Centuries will be needed to repair all the evils they did to the mountain, but this will be their job, their assignment, since they stole the land.
The Pact also protected the horses, and this is why they became so helpful to us. Already by the time we said that they were elven horses, and today it is officially confirmed.
Another strange hazard of the Shamal were the oolongs. These were wells, chasms, of an unfathomable depth. Their mouths were not large, half a meter, one meter at most. But these narrow openings, hidden in the bushes, or with crumbling earth mouths, were treacherous traps. One of them was even more dangerous, with a slippery funnel entrance, while the bush was not letting see the gaping shaft until it was too late. We never had losses with them, as we were warned in the spirit. But still we put protective spells and fences around, to avoid animals or children to fall in them. Six were known in the beginning, and two more appeared later. They could open up anywhere, and one was swallowing a brook. Where that water was going, we had no idea, but the oolongs seemed able to absorb an infinite quantity of anything. Another was emitting a cataract sound. Of course there were stories as what these things were entrances to hell, with demons luring people in. I must say I did not believed this much, until the day where, out of fearless curiosity, I tried to look into one. To take no risk, I laid myself flat on the ground, and crawled toward one, to have a peek in safely. What I thought... I gasped with terror, suddenly feeling the ground moving as to push me in. My friends beside me saw no movement, but they realized that I behaved strangely, wriggling and rolling toward the hole, so they pulled me by my feet. I therefore understand the terror of the Human villagers, who think that the lips of these mouths actually move, in order to swallow them. Throwing a big stone in one was terrifying: we heard the stone whistling, bouncing off the rock walls, until it crashed with a scary thunder clap. Aftershocks continued for a minute, muffled by the depth, as if the whole mountain was screaming. Not having a single idea of what these things were, we found them utterly frightening, as if really some demons were waiting for a wrong step to catch us in some obscure hell. Sometimes we heard rumbles deep in the mountain, and we felt the ground slightly moving. Sure nobody wanted to know what was taking place in the underworld, and I understand the Human villagers seeing demon mouths in the Oolongs. So that they seldom went up, and they would live here at no cost.
In the Arounal, they had an even worse terror: the hornaks. Several closed valleys up there literally had no bottom. The unsuspecting wanderer, wading in thickets without visibility, realized too late that this slippery slope was leading him to an abyss. The hornaks were much larger than the oolongs, 50m for one. But as much obscure and bottomless, raising sheer terror at their mere evocation. There were stories of even stranger things, in the deep valleys: colossal ruins, gates to some underworld enigma. The presence of such mysteries contributed a lot to the magic of the Arounal.
Of course there were in the Shamal numerous species of birds, squirrels, insects, and myriad others. We respected them too, and in return they respected our food plants and houses. Wandering in the Shamal was a wonder, there were innumerable birds chirping all around, or organising whole symphonies of chords and melodies, depending on the place and hour. Their songs resonated in the glens, in the green light under the canopy, making an eerie and very beautiful sound texture. It was not uncommon that birds fluttered around our heads, or nested under our roofs. There were blackbirds too, and they seemed to prefer our villages than open nature, so that they treated us with their moving melodies at dawn. Squirrels and does used to approach us in total confidence, and I had several friend animals. But specific to the Shamal were huge dragonflies, near 10cms, black with rainbow reflection or gold, green or red. Dragonflies are the best measure of the magic of a place, and we used to see large swarms buzzing and dancing in a clearing, even swirling around us as to greet us. By sunny days, insects formed a haze of light spots in the clearing of the flowered forest, as in a fairy tale.
It was not rare, in the spring and summer, to see so many butterflies that they formed a shimmering rainbow around us. Walking in the high grass arose a fantastic fluttering tapestry of the most daring colours. We had hundreds of species, not even knowing the whole list. Many had strange names and tales associated with. A specific to the Shamal was black, of a totally unreal black, with spots of fluorescent red, purple, gold. We considered it as an expression of the Humak mountains. Many others had multiple vivid hues, or only one plain colour. Still others were more discreet, looking like bark or leaves, only showing colours in the underside of their wings. But all contributed to the merriness and beauty of the place.
Of course we also had multiple species of bumblebees, grasshoppers and crickets, and the summer afternoons were far from silent. But actually we had some sounds all year round, and even at night we had the frogs, crickets and some night birds singing lone melodies.
We sometimes too had the visit of mighty black crows, who cruised all along the Shamal, as guards would do. Their calls then resonated in the glens and between the hills, most often in the deep valleys, until they moved to another place.
And indeed, they are MakTar's birds for a reason: they warned us of hostile visits, and even attacked the intruders. Most often, it was youngsters from the Human villages under, who went up for the thrill, or for seeing «naked Elves». We knew they were here well before they showed up, so that we had plenty of time to prepare a lesson for them. A lesson which humour they appreciated only years after, ha ha ha ha! Usually they never dared to come again. In more, we threw ink on their faces, so that they had a second lesson when returning to their villages.
But sometimes were more serious visits, like horse thieves or hunters. Never do that. The crows warned the horses even before warning us, and such visits usually ended with broken bodies laying in the forest. One time, the vilagers went up our mountain, furious, to seize survivors of a large slavers raid. We had to comply, only requesting that death would be delivered to them in a non-painful way. But the angry villagers did as they wished. We had to avoid irritating them, in order not to strain the relationship.
We also had more discreet animals, like ants, earthworms and thousands of beetles. These humble beings also are integral parts of the magic, transforming dead vegetal matter into humus for new plants, and keeping the land clean of dead animals, faeces, dirt-related diseases. Horse dung usually disappeared in two days! Some of our ants were fairly big, 2,5cms, and they used to wander by swarms instead of living in nests. Sometimes by warm sunny afternoons, we heard them passing, with a creeping sound of thousands legs. Another species of ants cultivated mushrooms, and their nests were heaps of finely ground leaves covered with edible caps. In any case we avoided trampling on ants and other bugs. Our shoes of vegetal fibres limited the unintentional crushing of them.
Our earthworms were blue, an odd feature, seemingly specific to the Shamal, our friends of the Arounal mimicked jealousy of not having these. We loved them, and when earth drenched with rain made them go out, we picked them and did worm parties, dancing and wearing them as ornaments, before releasing them back. That was a lot of fun for us, and apparently for them too, as it was an unique occasion to meet. Sure the following month we had baby blue worms everywhere! This is why one of the main stakes for a secret expedition in the Shamal today was picking the blue worms to bring them to the Dauriath. The rafts business is not over, it is just becoming funny.
We used to live by groups of 20 to 150, each in its own little rocky hill. The trees were hiding our houses. Why hiding? Both an ancient reflex of defence, from the times of attacks in the Blue Mountains, or during the long painful migration from the Blue Mountains toward the Shamal, where we had to elude many hostile local Human tribes. But more officially, to disturb nature as little as we can. The layout of our houses made them easier to defend, even if we never needed this.
Contrarily to what some Human intellectuals are writing today, these hamlets did not formed clans, even not separate families. We were a continuous family living in a discontinuous habitat, and often people moved, spent time with others, married, etc. Just that the number of people in each hamlets had to more or less match the local food resources. And, since these resources were on the perimeter of each rock castle, a two time larger castle did not hosted four times more people, but only two times more. However people living in a big castle had more place for temples, meeting rooms, workshops for our diverse activities, etc. I personally had a small woodworking shop in the floor level of my home. Today in the Dauriath we tried to restart this organization, but since we did not found rock castles we had to do this differently than in the Shamal, like along a talus. Some of us built artificial hills above masonry tunnels, with some masonry towers emerging. But it was a lot of work, which took centuries to complete.
Of course stone and clay were widely available to build our houses. But stone is cold and hard, and clay dusty, so the largest part was of wood, and most stone walls were covered with planking. Since we had no sawmills, we had to use curved branches that we shaped with adze. This strongly limited the shapes of our houses, but we were pleased with them.
My own village was quite typical. From outside, it looked like a small wood, on top of which emerged two natural rock towers. It was linked to a neighbouring one, a bit larger, and when the exodus came, we were in the process of digging a tunnel between them, using a trench and a stone vault. At first, nothing indicated that this wood was inhabited. But coming close, it appeared that the bushes were cultivations, of nut trees and berries. Only when we entered the bushes, through some narrow passages, our houses became visible. This was a very charming space, if not big, 10 metres at most, under the shadow of the taller trees, that we called the tendel. It was free enough to see through and walk, although gardened with a variety of flowers, root plants, spices, compost heaps for mushrooms. We used this free space a lot for our daily lives, or to eat, unless we were taking care of the various plants. Often we could see Elfs or Elves lying there on straw mats, dreaming, or cuddling each other. With thyme, flowers, sunspots, the tendel also had a strong vibe, very different of the surrounding open meadows. It also was perfumed, in theory from the flowers, humus and tree sap, but the rare Human visitors told us that it had a very specific perfume, different of the plants, that they called «the Elfs perfume». This made us laugh, but it is quite possible that our magic was so strong as to be perceptible as a perfume, without any specific physical source.
A typical house, like mine, had a rainbow roof (lancet arch section) perpendicular and abutted to the slope of the mini-hill. The lower section had lateral stone walls, and I used if as a woodwork shop, violin making shop, and food storage. Some friends had larger houses to live in at several, and they used this space to eat. Above was a lancet-arched attic, where I had my bedroom, a sewing place, and a personal meditation space. I also had a small personal altar, since I am a MakTar priest. The arched beams were made of curved branches, often heavily sculpted with animals, fauns, satyrs, nymphs, sylphs and other nature spirits. We took a great care in the finish of the internal side of roofs and walls, with a smooth and polished look, nearby luxury. In more we had several sources of wood, a light brown one for the planking, a dark purplish one for the sculpted beams, and some others. We also added curtains for dividing this space, dyed with plants in the ochres, brown and greenish tones. This was providing with a warm coloured interior, which refinement contrasted with the nature look all around.
We called these dwelling hongars, or violin houses, and indeed violin is our preferred music instrument.
In fact, to be accurate, we call hongar only the upper wood part of it, the lancet roof. They are posed on top of the walls, but not in a permanent fashion. Indeed, living under trees exposes to dead branches falling. During tempests, they could totally crush several houses. To avoid that, we used to prune trees above our houses. But to do so safely, our houses were... portable. We passed several long poles under the floor, allowing for up to 40 people to haul one! Of course we were not going far that way, and we replaced the house atop their stone walls once the danger cleared. Or above other walls, before we had axes to cut threatening branches.
In the Arounal, their hongars were smaller and lighter, So that they could transport them much further. They also were posed on platforms, built around tree trunks, because there were no large spaces between the many big trees. Other reasons was to avoid bears and boars. The most elaborated platforms had several levels, along a slope, or sometimes a level was perched higher in the trees. These were also called tree houses.
The front end of a hongar has a flying gable, made of an intricate woodwork, leaning outside under an overhang of the lancet roof. Protected from the rain, the wood patinated in dark brown, while on the exposed parts it patinated dark grey. I know many here find these colours «not elvish», especially today modern Elves who swear only in pastel rainbow hues, painting everything like this, even their robotic fighter jets (in the Horiathon Battle). But we continue this style today in the Undar, and by the time it was giving a powerful shamanic vibe to the tendel, the doorstep space underneath the trees. We ended to understand why: our houses are the same colours as the surrounding tree trunks.
These gables also had the only windows (although some houses had skylights further on the slope). For long we had nothing approaching glass, so we used oiled paper, or snake molts when we found any. Since all this is fragile, our windows were divided in a lattice of small sticks. This sparse yellowish light was part of our lives, but you will understand why we finally bartered glass, when it became available in the Human villages bellow. Since these pieces of glass were not big either, we kept the same window style, just with larger holes.
The back end of a hongar, being narrower, usually received the bed. There was some hatch in the ground, as the only entrance, from bellow. Unless the hongar was posed on the ground, in this case the entrance was in the back. In the Arounal, the hongars being smaller, the inhabitants had to squat to enter, and arrive to the bed in the front.
In the Shamal, the lower stone part often was dug in the slope, to spare flat space in the tendel. If that slope was enough, it continued as a tunnel. The house where I lived had been rebuilt several times, and the underground extension dug deeper each time, until it joined a common tunnel. Those tunnels were also enlarged laterally, to form back rooms or cupboards. Here we stored our food, charcoal, and other implements.
The roofs were covered with… tarred paper, hidden under a thin layer of thatch or bark. We fabricated tar with charcoal ovens. It was a two week work every early winter, after sap descended from the branches, but before freezing weather. This abundance of charcoal explains why we burn mostly this in our stoves or kitchen fires. This makes that our chimneys emit nearby no smoke or smells. This also alleviates the risk of chimney fire. In wooden houses under trees, fire hazard had to be carefully accounted with, especially by dry and hot summers. For these reasons, our chimneys were only in the stone part, and not going through the wooden floors or thatch roofs. They went on the sides of our homes, and this is another characteristic feature of our villages, together with the outward sloping lancet gables and lattice windows of the hongars. Heating was provided in the upper level by rising hot air. This disposition also limited the risk of air poisoning if fires were left unattended at night. At this cost, we seldom had accidents, and most often our egregore warned us of the impending danger.
Building a hongar is extremely different of whatever you may imagine today, where you can go to the supermarket and buy straight and seasoned planks, perfectly square cut with a millimetre accuracy. But square plywood does not grow in the forest! So, in the beginning, the hongars were mere branches huts, and their curved shapes were dictated by the natural materials we had. Indeed when we arrived in the Shamal, we had only stone axes, with nothing resembling a saw blade. These were very far from allowing to cut a big tree, so that we used the young shoots growing around old dead trunks. This helped the trees too, by avoiding them to grow too close from each other. But these shoots all come curved! Hence the rainbow roof of our huts, as we used the strongest and most curved part of that branches for the frames. But the thinner parts, used as laths, were also gently curved, giving a hongar its distinguishing slight saddle shape (although the large ones were often in a barrel shape instead). Also a hongar is tapered toward the back, because we could never find frames with the exact same size. The roof overhang appeared because in the beginning we did not bothered to cut excess length in laths. The back side, which is narrower, was used to shelter food and tools.
Inside, the front part, with the window, was used for daily life and work: reading, sewing, meditating, etc. The back part, which is narrower with a lower ceiling, was the bedroom, separated with a curtain.
Some times after our arrival, we could barter bronze axes, and then iron axes, but they remained for long very rare, and more precious than the houses they allowed to build. We were very careful to wipe them out of sap or water after use, to avoid rust. With evolution, we got adzes, planes, chisels, and later on saw blades, all recycled from worn tools by our own smiths. But we were still bound to the same base materials. So that the hongars we had in the last centuries before the Exodus, were as well finished and sophisticated as a violin, but still with the shape of our primitive huts, because we were still using the same raw materials.
In the first huts, links were done with ropes. This was a constant source of problem, and we had to tighten them often. Later on, metal tools allowed for tenons, mortises and dowels, until the Exodus. In the Dauriath, with the huge availability of rust-free meteoritic iron, we replaced dowels with bolts, which are much better. Although for historical reconstruction purposes today in the Nyidiath, I recommend the dowels.
These constant progresses made that the dark grey shelters of the beginning, led, at the time of the Exodus, to prettily ornamented warm and clear residences, with exquisite wood colour variations, from purplish brown frames to clear yellowish laths, the whole nicely polished and waxed. But we keep to this shape, that we love, and is an essential part of our Sylvan Elfs culture. Today, of course, with all the modern tools and materials, we would be able to build entirely different houses. But we are still sleeping in hongars, because it is them that we love.
Walking around the tendel was showing many similar houses, big or small, with a simple or multiple gable, awnings for meals, also lancet arched like the houses, or sometimes a gambrel roof for a larger build. It was common too that hongars were assembled in a more complex building, connected all together by their behind part, and even on stilts, in several levels. Further up the mini-hill was accessible via winding paths, leading to other houses, for people seeking more privacy. Or there were dome-shaped meeting rooms, vents and chimneys from the underground rooms, or doors opening in the rock.
In mid-season of fair weather, we mostly lived in the tendel. But hot or cold weather was seeing us into our homes, or in the underground parts. The later were lighted in a clever way: small charcoal furnaces, emitting a flame similar to a big candle. Three were quite enough to see in our Dharsham rooms. In the rock, fire hazard was reduced, but air poisoning was still possible, so that we never left these things unattended, and we brought them outdoors when we no more needed light. In the beginning we were not aware of these dangers, and we had several air poisoning cases, and even of «fire thunder» (gas explosions). So that these devices were looked at with a religious care.
More recently, when we started to barter metal cans, we filled them with hot water, and left several in the room, for heating. This nullified both fire hazard and air poisoning hazard. Today in the Undar we use metal piping, which is still more practical than anything else. And also electric light. These cheats over our own laws were not visible by telescopes from the Nyidiath, ha ha ha ha!
Until the day the Surrender and Contrition Act was signed, after the Human Nations Council lost the dreadful Horiathon Battle. 45 days after the battle, with the official end of war measures and of our self-imposed curfew, the Humans in the Nyidiath could witness a fantastic spectacle: all the lights in the villages of the Dauriath switching up simultaneously, in some seconds. This stunning demonstration won us 12% more favorable opinions in polls.
Some protested of this intrusion in their night sky. We had an easy reply for that: we were seeing their own lights since a century, and they had never asked us if it was annoying.
Since, the Undar is still mostly natural, as this allows for the greatest magic. But some smart use of solar electricity, water pipes and tarred roofs don't harm it much, while making life so much easier.
We often astonished Humans when telling them that we had no lord or chief, and no kind of written laws. To the point that we even avoided mentioning this, as it often turned contentious. The Humans living in the Shamal valleys had no chiefs either, but they still had a set of rules, and they gathered as a council to decide what to do in case of a violation or issue. But still they were an exception, nearby all Humans have chiefs, lords, barons, despots, charismatic leader, etc. and they keep them even if they are incompetent or evil. The reason we can do without is that, as Elves, we know what is good or bad to do, for the others. Compassion and empathy is what allows for this, together with some smart thinking. So, I can state loud and clear that Humans cannot do that. Not because they would be unable, stupid or inferior, but because the day they get it, they become Elfs. So Humans really cannot do that, QOD, hahahaha!
We also don't have any kind of formal or written marriage. We consider people form a couple when they start kissing or sleeping together.
As to me, I was married in this way, and still am, with my lovely Amaleen. Although, you will be surprised that we did not lived in the same house, and even not in the same village. She had her own home in a close hamlet, with her parents, brothers and sisters. Still we slept together nearby every night, sometimes in my house, other times in hers. This needs some organisation, by cold weather when night falls early and we need to light a fire. But we did this well, and we lived as most lovers do. Today in the Dauriath we have a larger house, where we can really live together. But still it is common to see Elves moving from a place to another, for an activity, for friends, etc.
Despite there is no formal marriage, we know that breaking the link makes the partner unhappy. So that it is enough of a reason for not doing that. Beyond that, people do as they wish, and multiple marriages happened, sharing a large home. We also had same sex marriages. That too was an «elven secret», as highly frowned upon by Humans in this time. And still today, I must admit, despite their pretence of sexual freedom.
Today in the Dauriath we often have «big families», several couples living together to raise their children. This is done that way to avoid our very low birth rates to cause single-children. But they seldom are multiple marriages. In facts, we already had big families in the Shamal, and we called multiple marriages «big marriages» too. My Grandma Bimigard said that this existed even before, in the Blue Mountains, as soon as the time of Shelenaë. But She was not the inventor! There were other very smart Elfs and Elves by the time.
Of course our villages gathered closer friends. But if we moved, we were sure to find, everywhere we go, hospitality, friendship, support, social recognition, and soon a marriage if we were in search of that. So the reason why I was staying in my village, instead of joining Amaleen's, was my activities here: violin making, MakTar temple (I was responsible of the one in my village) and the care of sap trees.
Ah, sap trees. You want to hear of sap trees. Sap trees were a long hidden secret of the Sylvan Elfs: several species of trees produce enough sap to be collected and used as our secret food base. But the method to tap sap without traces is still well guarded, lol!
Another reason we do not disclose the sap secret, is that sap is an offering to the Elfs specially, by the Humak mountains themselves. Even its name must not be pronounced before Human ears. Well, the secret was spoiled in some way: Meilo. And it is not just sugar, but a magical elixir, flowing from the rocks to the Elves, via the trees. Of course we brought the sap trees to the Dauriath, but it took centuries for the new lands to really accept them.
Today the Human farmers in the Shamal Humac can sell bottled «elven elixir», but stolen from the mountain for money, it really is just sugar.
Recently we had a frank laugh: when an expedition went to the Shamal to bring back the blue earthworms, they also purchased a crate of this juice. It really was mostly water, with probably some diluted sap. But that dilution made is susceptible to rot, so that they added a lot of sugar and chemical preservatives, which masked the real taste of the sap. Actually only one ancient of the Shamal went to this trip: most of us preferred to avoid the sadness of seeing how destroyed it is today. Fact is, this expedition found a tourism syndicate in the place we had our Shelenaë temple, tarred roads, corrugated steel hangars, cows and barbed wire fences everywhere, and the smell of manure impregnating the whole plateau. No horses, few birds and butterflies, and only some small dragonflies who flew away as they approached.
In the seven centuries I lived in the Shamal, I had only two children. With a millennia life span, we don't need more. My first son, Anglar, became independent very soon, and he moved to a far part of the Shamal, to live his life there. We were still meeting at the summer community gatherings, and I rested in his home when I did my MakTar priest duties: circling the Shamal for protective rituals.
Our second son, Mandë, was just thirteen when the following events happened. Or the equivalent, since Elves grow slower than Humans. But imagine, being thirteen in and elven community is a wonderful experience: we are still in the magic of childhood, while discovering the enthralling stakes of adults life. What were mere games become activities of interest to everybody! Mandë was still looking for his life focus, but he was already interested in a lot of things: woodworking, gardening, MakTar service, birds, horses care, and of course the Dharsham, where he played an explorator of unknown countries.
One of my activities was woodworking. I was doing windows and sculpted beams, I knew to do all the 73 nature spirits of the Shamal, our 121 ancestors when they arrived here, and a dozen more prominent people of the Sambao tribe before we split. But most of the time I was requested fancy nymphs and satyrs, with funny shapes or very sexy looks. As soon as I was arrived in the Dauriath, I reproduced these sculptures, and wrote each their story. But necessarily the nature spirits are not the same up there, so that my writings saved them from oblivion.
My favourite however was violin making. Not the whole, but the wooden parts. Elvyn did the strings and metal fittings. I always had a violin in progress, and a stock of parts like necks, and planks in the process of seasoning (which takes years). These violins were less good than today concert violins, so that once in the Dauriath I had to re-learn everything! But our Shamal violins are still in demand, as a specific style of the Sylvan Elfs. People love their ancient name that we used: shkordzengo. Although that name remains attached to our traditional violins, it could not replace the «violin» name itself.
The sound of the shkordzengo, the dark brown rainbow gables and dark grey roofs, are the vibration of the Shamal. We often played late in the evening, keeping some silence at time, to hear the fluted sounds of the frogs, the other voice of the Shamal.
Playing shkordzengo also was a poetical metaphor for love: the Elf uses his bow to make the Elve sing. A funny expression, but also a subtle way to express our selfless conception of love. Concerts of these are a well guarded elven secret!
You may wonder where such a bizarre name comes from. In fact, we learned violin making from the people of the valley, who called themselves the Shkerxes. They had a very complex language, with many more words than really useful, and a lot of guttural sounds. After their lore, when the Tankaor happened, they were the only survivors of a much larger people. Modern genetics found that their people is indeed unique, and their language unrelated to any other. Why they did not tried to recover their whole country is a mystery.
Compared to violins, flutes are much easier to do, and we also played them a lot. We had a whole variety, both in pitch and in timbre, or tuned in different keys, each with a different name. Often people played while walking or riding, so that we just heard a flute moving somewhere in the trees. More echo in the trees, more mate in a meadow, we could follow the person with our ear. Or somebody was sitting somewhere, in a glen with a spring, and it was a common background sound, just like birds. They are still used today in the Dauriath, unchanged, together with various small drums. But when we arrived in the Dauriath, with all the other tribes, we discovered bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy and portable organs, which went very popular among us. More recently we had brass instruments and things like accordions, with a variety of timbres ans pitches. Not to speak of what is happening today with electronic synthesizers, lol, doing «Space Dharshams». But our violins and flutes are still in demand in our Dharsham evenings.
A Dharsham room also usually had a harp, too big an instrument to hold in a bedroom, or even to carry through the tunnels. Keeping them here for that use only increased their magic, and we used them to do arpeggios and soundscapes. Anybody could do the arpeggios, but skilled players did very elaborate chords and melodies. Bronze was so rare that we melted broken chords to do new ones.
A Dharsham session is quite extraordinary, on Human standards. Basically it is an improvised storytelling, each taking turn. What is specifically elvish, is that the different contributions always match, as the story unfolds in telepathy, in a kind of shared dream space: the Dharsham itself (this is the real meaning of this word. A mere storytelling meeting without this sharing is not a Dharsham). By the time of the Shamal, we found this quite natural, but the few Humans we interacted with since, were very excited, saying that it was an extraordinary parapsychological phenomenon. In fact, this happens each time people are on the same vibe and intent, without ego interference. Humour helps a lot too, and we often have irrepressible sessions of laughing.
Typically, somebody speaks, or sings, with a soft accompanying instrument, hand held drum, muted flute or violin. When that person stops, more instruments play, echoing the vibration evoked in the Dharsham. Then another person feels compelled to add something else, and the instruments become low again. And so on, the cycle can continue for hours, especially in long winter evenings when light is too scarce for any other activity. There seldom are contradictions or two persons taking the thread in the same time. Sometimes new attendees arrive while the Dharsham is already in progress, and they get in synch after only two or three turns. Some interventions are short, or another person adds some words completing the vision.
Depending on the day, the Dharsham can be adventures, a slice of life, poetical, mysterious, erotic, or just plain funny. But it is never boring, for sure. The stories seldom featured explicit fights or evil events, although some may be evoked in the stories. In this advent, the shkordzengoes were doing an unsettling vibrato on the lowest pitch string. But all this suspense usually was just to bring a very funny fall.
We used to never bring Humans to the Dharsham. Indeed, most being unable to control their ego, they cannot connect to the Dharsham, and they just hijack the story in their own direction, without accounting with the others. Although that today we sometimes have successful Dharshams with Humans. Things are changing, indeed, and for the good.
Most of our Dharsham stories were stereotyped. There were some new or rare ones from time to time. But when Mandë entered the Dharsham, at the age of 11, he started to bring several entirely new themes. Children are interesting, because they often add new elements or even whole new parts. But with this little fellow, it was well beyond the usual, he quickly created whole new stories from scratch, and even a whole universe of his own. This was the first clear hint that something special was going on.
As a MakTar priest, one of my duties was to make a circling ritual of the whole Shamal. That is, walking all around, while performing special meditations and singing MakTar incantations. Normally we should do that at the bottom, but given the danger, it was around the flat top. Since the Shamal is about 30kms per 25kms, and the flat top is flower shaped, we had to go around each petal separately, that is a total of some 220 kms. So that, it was a real effort, that we were supposed to complete in two weeks maximum. Our rule was that three circling always had to be going on in the same time, so that, with the number of priests, I had to do one every 2-3 years. We had a small foot path specially for that, sometimes on the very edge of the cliffs around our plateau. Anybody could also do short sections of the circling, usually near his village. In this way they also maintained the path.
This was a difficult task, but very interesting: each night we slept in a different house, sometimes made a pause of some days. In this way, we heard of the various activities and news, and also Dharshams.
When I became a priest, I had to learn to read and write, and take note of events. Unfortunately my notes were lost when we were expelled, but others survived.
We also used to do MakTar rituals every evening, before the Dharsham. Since some time, we were feeling something wrong: our magic was weakening. This was annoying, because we were more and more exposed to thieves, or worse to slavers raids. Indeed it was a very dangerous epoch in the Shartan, and only our reputation of deadly magic spared us attacks and fights. For this reason, MakTar rituals were more and more attended, and lasted longer. But to no avail. We were wondering if we were not doing some spiritual fault, like allowing our egos to take over our meditations. We knew that some subtle spiritual traps exist, like spiritual materialism (using magic for worldly purposes), or the ego mimicking spiritual activities, and even imitating the Light in a very convincing way. It knows to do this very well, and it can remain unspotted for many years. But of course, when this happens our spiritual practice yields exactly zero results.
My sweet Amaleen was also taking part in the rituals. As she was a priestess of Shelenaë, it was very nice to perform together. We incarnated the divine couple!
Shelenaë priesthood seems easier: no physical challenges, not strict commitments. However it was demanding too, in its way. First, to become a priestess, an Elve has to be a mother. She also needs to have a garden. We all had one, but a priestess garden was larger, and it had a list of mandatory plants. Amaleen was also involved in healing, especially when we descended to visit the Human villages. She used to do several such trips a year, and sometimes a priestess was requested unexpectedly by some sick or injured villager.
A curious attribute of Shelenaë priestess was love counselling. Well, we seldom need this, but even for an Elf and an Elve, some things may need to be arranged. Sometimes it was just young Elves too shy to declare what was obvious to everybody. Or she had to use her Shelenaë magic to arrange some body details.
Sometimes the real Shelenaë appeared to us. It happened only three times in the Shamal, as we seldom needed help. The first time was to explain how to preserve the springs, how to domesticate some natural plants living here, and for the sap trees. Yes the sap recipe was literally dictated to us, by Shelenaë in person! MakTar appeared only once, to spread various counsels to better our simple violins from the beginning. This explains why we have the same music notation than the other tribes, yet without contact. He also explained how lamps can produce air poisoning or fire thunder. This was the time He also requested the circling ritual, and He delivered several new incantations, as slavers raids were starting to happen. Thanks to Him, none of these ever reached our living place. And, without we told them, the Humans living bellow the Shamal were also included in the protected area. That did not prevented them to hunt the slavers to death, if they found any.
Seemingly, Shelenaë side, the magic was still going on strong, and our healing abilities were intact. This made the MakTar problem still more puzzling. Both always use to go hand in hand, even if Their activities are totally different. So any disagreement was worrying.
This withdrawal of MakTar protection was not the only source of worry, although it first appeared unrelated to what follows.
As I said, I often went to the Shkerxes Human villages under. Not that we were really friends, but we had to live together in some way, like it or not. After all, we were only one kilometre away from each other, even if vertically.
And sure they were not Elves, living in dirty houses, slaughtering animals, keeping their wives locked at home and other cruel laws. But often they requested magical help from our healers (remember there was no kind of scientific medicine by the time, and anyway magic is still superior, even today).
We used to barter this help. Not for the gain, but simply not to make them feel bad. They were holding to their laws, which requested payment for any action, so that they would take a gift as an insult. This is the way they were, and they resisted any change.
They were not dumb, though, and they played music too. Well before my birth, they learned us to make violins. They also used flutes and drums. But what they were doing with them was quite different, more prosaic folk music, and we did not attended their parties where they were getting drunk and spoke lewd to the Elves. So we avoided the party times, and the next morning when they were sick and ill tempered.
They had some religion too, keeping a cult of the Shamal spirits. They seldom went up, though, terrified by the oolongs that they though were the mouths of demons trying to capture them. They said that new ones appeared, what we actually saw too.
We hold the list of the 73 Shamal nature spirits from them, more the nymphs and satyrs. They had similar sculptures in the beams of their homes, but these homes were square without style. Yet they all had gable roofs, symbol of the Unique, the abstract master of all the Gods. Although they had no visible temple or practice, keeping that private.
There not really were villages, but instead hamlets strewn all along the narrow valleys. One of these was occupied by Mershana practitioners, friendly to the Elves. This is where we used to sleep when we went down, instead of being caught by the night in the narrow and treacherous forest paths climbing the plateau. They provided us with some news of the world around, and it was a bit disturbing.
We even had a crude telegraph, with panels indicating if they needed healing or something. We checked them several times a day, from the top of the cliffs, and this is how our healers could respond in a single day. By damp weather, when clouds were hovering in the valley, they played a huge horn, but from the top it could easily be missed.
I used to go down several times a year, sometimes once a month. This usually is a two days trip, and most of the time Amaleen was with me, for healing, or sometimes another Shelenaë priestess. Usually we provided health help, or spices, or we organized Shelenaë ceremonies for good crops. We bartered these services against metal tools or hardware like caldrons and stoves. This is how we got these. Since about 200 years, the increase of industry further down the plain produced more iron items, tools, cutlery, etc.
Glass was also available since about 20 years before the events. It was not large window panes as we see now, but thicker roundels, raw from blowing, about 25cms in diameter, showing rings and a lens in the middle. They also had a brown hue, sometimes green, but we took only the brown ones. This very advantageously replaced our fragile and inefficient oiled paper windows, providing more light and lasting much longer. We had to redo the wood lattice entirely, but once one of us had a glass windows, he would not want to get back to paper! I had invented a new system for the wood lattice: vertical members were in one piece, assembled with struts, the whole sculpted to make round holes. A solid rope encircled the whole, avoiding play between tenons and mortises.
Ceramic dishes and glass jars also appeared a bit before the events, and these two also were substantial progresses over our calabashes and wooden dishes.
But there were few of these new materials, and understandably the valley people served themselves first. I needed all my negotiating skills to still manage to do about a hundred windows, all along these twenty years.
Our Mershana friends told us how to do glass, and we started some.
But these things were all coming at a cost: more trees cutting. Iron furnaces and glass furnaces consumed a lot of wood, as we learned ourselves with our first own glass making. We would need to cut our trees at a much higher rate than they grow. How did the Human forge masters coped with this problem? They simply cut down the forests each year further away, without care for their future. For now, they were still far from the Shamal, but our Human friends told us news of disappearing forests turned into fields, also needed to feed the increasing Human population.
All this was making that more and more local lords and small kingdoms were claiming as theirs the free spaces still remaining between them.
Including places like the Shamal Humak and the Arounal Humak. Still worse, we were cut in two, between two different and enemy lords! This indeed was a very worrying trend, even if only in theory for now.
One day that we descended for our purposes, we found that our Mershana friends had been expelled by soldiers. These came with the new administrators of the region, sent by the Bubacar Duke to the west. (Duke was the highest nobility rank before a king, but often they had no suzerain. Contrarily to a Marshi, he had no pretence of elven way of life, and many were ruthless despots). The other villagers quickly warned us not to stay, because the new comers did not liked the Elves. Themselves were clearly humiliated, forced into submission and into abandoning their laws and autonomy. In some way the new comers also knew that we were here, as our telegraph and horn had been destroyed.
While climbing back, we found that loggers had started a road, aiming toward the plateau. For now it was just for transporting wood, but 300m per year, they would arrive on the top in 60 years, which is the immediate future for us.
So that we nearby stopped descending on the west side. We could continue visiting the villages on the east side, where the Tyron Queen Valeva III was not enemy of the Elves. But in both sides, from the top of our cliffs, we were seeing, year after year, several roads and clear cut areas advancing further, like an infection gnawing the living flesh of the forest. This was a sad view, and we stopped admiring the landscape from our vantage points.
First time we heard fire weapons, we wondered what it was. We were told about this evil things by the villagers east side. But on both side, hunters used them more and more, following the roads each year higher and higher.
The muskets were also used against Humans, as we learned. There had been a kind of revolt, west side. It just brought more soldiers, killing the militants and terrifying the others. East side we heart musket shots too, although seemingly not against a revolt. In both side the soldiers also brutally suppressed the gangs of thieves and slavers hiding in the forest. This was a good point certainly, but at that cost, it left a bitter taste.
Another worry which installed insidiously was climate change, reducing food yield of our land. As the last centuries passed, we had to request more and more from our farming, and we were arriving at the point where we should not have more children, and even that there would even not be enough food for the adults.
So the Shamal and the Arounal, sacred lands of the Elves, blessed with 6600 years of loving kindness, beauty and nature, had become the last islands of peace amidst a rising chaos. We were still safe on the top, but for how many time?
We literally implored MakTar to protect us.
Here is the reply we got.
Still today Sylvan Elfs had a repute of ignoring the Elven Council, not coming to the meetings, and even disobeying its commands. As usual, truth is more complicated.
Actually, by this time in the Shartan, travels were very difficult for everybody, and even more for us Elves. We had to go by horse through large expanses of hills and farm land, with few roads but many hostile aggressive people. This requested strong horse mounted groups, with a lot of money to buy food and fodder all along. But this money created the risk of being attacked by bandits, who gathering at a hundred in difficult passes. This very number allowed them to easily overwhelm strong parties, and even military squads. They had heavy losses, but for those desperados without faith nor law, death did not deterred them.
Stealth messengers were a more elegant solution. They could not be identified easily for what they were, but being alone they were easily killed, especially when they stepped on some ambushed hillbilly thinking he would steal his hens. And how to trust an unknown person claiming to be a messenger, but unable to show any seal or document?
Even successful, these trips lasted months. This makes that we indeed received messengers from time to time, claiming to represent the Elven Council. But we did not entrusted them with any secret, making their endeavor useless.
So that actual exchange occurred, but erratic and superficial.
Add to this some false information spread by the Council itself, to lure our enemies in believing than Elves were divided and unable of coherent decisions.
However, unknown to us, a new path had opened to the east. The Elfs had the best marine by the time, with the fastest ships, able to sail much closer to the wind than any Human ship, even pirate ships. The fine ears of skilled Elven sailors could literally follow the wind in the sails, so that each of them instantly knew what had to be done. This made them able to tack in three seconds, eluding any attacker. But if cornered, they also were the most dangerous and difficult ships to board, with their fortified castles and smooth outside not allowing for grapnels. The smallest even had oars, allowing a margin of manoeuvre even if encalmed, than the others had not. In more, the Elves were now possessing several islands, recently emerged from the ocean by the lowering sea level, which could serve as harbours. All this made that by the time of these events, it was much safer and easier for a messenger to go around the Shartan than through. From the east coast, the Humak Mountains were only at two days of horse riding on good roads, through the Tyron kingdom where Elves were relatively safe - for now.
This is how, one sunny day, a strong Elven Council embassy reached us.
We were first very astonished to see Elves like that, tall and strong, with standards and blonde hairs flying in the wind, rich vividly coloured embroidered clothing, elegant swords at their waists, and sophisticated harnesses on their horses. By contrast we looked miserable, without any weapon, our brown threadbare clothes ignoring dyes, our muddy fibre shoes made waterproof with a layer of tarred paper, and our dark houses without any paint or colour. We thought that, if there were Elves like these, then we were seriously backward.
We first thought they were soldiers of the Kingdom in the east. But they quickly proved they were Elves, with unmistakable displays of magic. To start with, a lot of dragonflies had gathered around them while they were climbing the slopes, while two raven went perching on their saddles. We had further proofs when they showed able to easily enter our Dharshams.
They explained us the situation, and what they expected of us.
Indeed, the problems we were seeing around were not local, but general all over the Shartan: Humans were becoming numerous, claiming the last available lands. Since not much remained, they were now speaking of confiscating the lands of the Elves, in order to «develop» them, this meaning cutting the forests before worse injuries. For this purpose, the ancient hate of the Elves was fuelled everywhere beyond any measure, and racist attacks were starting to happen again, after a 6000 years relative truce.
But the worse was new bankers and forge masters going against the old religious moral values which ran the Shartan since millennia. Without still daring to openly challenge the priests, they were ushering a world of personal interest, competition and materialism, against the altruism and respect of others fostered by the religion. Some arrogant heads were cut here and there, but this just made more arrogant heads to rise and sputter more and more radical attacks.
The problem was that these people were silently building more power than the Kings, Marshis or even the priests, by possessing all the industry, farming and transportation. Nothing could be done without them! And they had silently started the process of bending morals and culture to fit their interests, under the guise of a popular revolt against the privileges of the priests and nobles. They found complacent ears in all the poor people, lured by the empty promise to become rich in their turn. Of course this would never happen, but they were ensnared into thinking that competition gave them a chance.
Of course this was a very dangerous situation, condemning the Elfs within a century time span. We would be slowly overwhelm, cornered in our mountains, with increasing numbers of loggers reducing our vital space, constant attacks slowly lowering our number, if not planned invasion and extermination. Any fight in these conditions could only delay the outcome (or accelerate it, as we saw around us), and at an unacceptable cost: sullying our karma. Our death at fight could them lead us in hell, or in reincarnations as Humans. Imagine all the hardship and limitations of being a Human, with in more the terrible nostalgia of being an Elf…
But could not MakTar prevent all that? We asked the Messengers.
They took worried looks.
Even MakTar magic was insufficient.
Humans were simply too numerous.
The evil ones, of course.
But also the average ones, and even the «kind» ones.
Indeed, the most dangerous aspect of the new situation was not the weapons, but the insidious idea which propagated them: materialism, egocentricity, and the ridiculous fallacy that we can obtain happiness with just money. Even their victims were submitting to the rich class, thinking that the competition would also bring them up.
This mass of stupidity was creating a negative egregore, and it was getting stronger and stronger, feeding on the frustrations and injustices perpetrated by the feudal lords and by the priests. It would need centuries and several steps to get people disillusioned and revert that perverse energy.
And we were simply not numerous enough to counterbalance it, even with MakTar's magic.
So the later had taken a painful decision.
He withdraw His magic.
This would cost many lives, certainly. But it was the only way for all the scattered Elves to accept the Exodus to the Dauriath, as the only solution.
We were aghast.
So it was that.
We had to abandon all what was making our life, and even our very symbiosis with the land.
It was as if we were told we had to be amputated, as the only solution to save us from a cancer.
The Dauriath, we knew it. It was the World in the sky, the Other World. We could admire it everyday, from the morning to the late afternoon, until it blocked the Sun, making night fall in some minutes, one hour earlier than expectable. We knew, from our Human friends, that there was a passage, the dreaded Horiathon, the land of darkness. But none of us ever imagined to go up there some day, if even life was possible up there. As to cross the Horiathon, it appeared as pure foolishness. There was a permanent storm, permanent deafening lightning, and waves tall as mountains.
Patiently, the messengers explained us: telescopes allowed to see forests and water in the Dauriath. The birds were going there and back, in their migrations. As to the Horiathon, they already sent rafts with animals, who survived the passage. So sending persons was not totally impossible.
In more, once up there, we would be able to recover and develop without any threat of war. This would make us much stronger, when the grey Human egregore would revert and call for the Elfs again.
The messengers needed all their diplomacy and science to explain us why the things were like this, and why we had to accept the Exodus. Well, at this time, they brought a small lie, in case there was a traitor among us: they presented the idea as being from the Nations Council of the Human kings, who decided to expel the Elves. We know today that there was a hidden layer of plans behind this: the Exodus was in fact an idea of the Council, but they arranged things so that the Human kings thought it was their idea. In more an advantageous idea for them: expelling the Elves would be a lesser cost than any war. This was also a tall lie, lol, but it was very convincing, to these simple minds.
Actually, the Human kinds already took an officious position in favor of the Exodus, but no firm decisions on how it would happen. So that negotiations were starting, between the Elder Elves Council and the Nations Council of the Human kings.
The messengers spend a dozen day in the Shamal, before heading to the Arounal. These were twelve very busy and shocking days for us, as everybody had to hear their speech, or at least a simple version of it. Since we were thousands, it took all this time.
The messengers were also very interested in our animals, the dragonflies, the ravens, and the horses. They had horses too. But they were common horses, so that they were not kind with hours, and we had to separate them finally. Still the messengers examined our horses closely, how they behave and what makes them so special, compared to theirs. By the time, we did not paid attention to that, we already knew that our horses were unlike any others, and everybody confronted to them was amazed.
When they were gone, we stayed several days under the shock, looking at the Arounal where the same bomb was exploding.
Also looking at the Dauriath was bringing a totally different sensation: there was life up there. And it would be our home, some day.
The idea that we no longer had a future in the Shamal, first made us despaired and pessimistic: what for working to maintain this place, if we had to abandon it? Most of our activities were totally losing any sense. We stopped digging any tunnel from this day.
But the prospect of having no future is a dangerous one, which can lead to depression, despair, revolt. Even Elves could turn bad with that. We needed to react.
It was the Shelenaë priestesses, and children like Mandë, who proposed the solution: we should continue to live and work normally here, not for our own purposes, but as a visualization and offering ritual. So that we would still be creating good karma, instead of leaving depression gnaw at our good karma reserve. This somewhat put us back on track, even if with less enthusiasm.
Anyway our departure from the Shamal would be gradual, and along tens of years. Some started to wish to be among the firsts to leave, instead of seeing the land dying little by little.
The content of our Dharsham was drastically changed, and we understood why Mandë brought these entirely new elements of discovering new lands.
But Mandë was born well before this idea of exodus was floated around! There really was a magic in there, we were not abandoned by the Gods.
MakTar is the Master of high wisdom and spirituality, well before being the Teacher of techniques.
Likewise, Shelenaë is the Guilam of love and kindness, well before being the Discoverer of plants cultivation. This is why lovers sleep under Her protection.
Being a priestess of Shelenaë means much more than rituals. We decided to dedicate our entire life to the illustration of loving kindness, and to share this wonderful feeling wherever we go. Let me open this shirt for you, on those two breasts of love and kindness, enter the perfumed and pastel hued world of the most beautiful feelings. We are Shelenaë incarnated, one of Her numerous bodily receptacles, free and open to express Her wisdom and Love.
Being a priest of MakTar is an entirely different endeavor: keeping a constant awareness that we are a consciousness, and the world is a dream that this consciousness is experiencing. This certainly is in contradiction with what our senses show us, but it is accepting this contradiction which allows magic to operate.
This dream awareness also avoids to be stuck in the experience of the world, while the love of Shelenaë gives a sense to this experience. This is why we need them both.
I consider a great luck to share my life with a priest of MakTar. In a way, it is as if we were the Divine Couple Himself. It gives us much more strength and much more happiness than simply enjoying our life, as most Elves do. I would compromise this relationship for nothing.
Our life in the Shamal had be a constant progress in a wonderful symbiosis with the land, also helping numerous other species to thrive. MakTar helped a lot, by bringing new tools, new materials, making life much simpler. Shelenaë arranged relationships and brought beauty to the land and into our lives, from the very simple means we had. So we little by little built a paradise, supporting much more people than nature alone would do. Still while not spoiling this nature.
The changes to come are bringing considerable losses. This unfortunately is beyond Shelenaë's healing power, and even of MakTar's defense powers.
This unheard before situation brings a terrible frustration in our minds, because we grew attached to our comfortable way of life. The only way out of that dangerous feeling, is to accept and embrace the change. Does the brumbellow snake feel regrets when shedding his molt? No. For some days he is more vulnerable, but after he is larger and stronger. So, we are moving, yes, but to a much better place, where we shall be able to grow, to thrive and to be happy, well beyond what this small mountain had to offer. And in a far future, this marvel that we shall create in the Dauriath, will return to the Nyidiath world, encompassing every known land!
Our Dharsham will play an important role in this healing and growth. Already today, children of the future are taking birth, all their projects and hopes focused on our future life in the Dauriath. Probably the Exodus is being prepared for centuries, in the spiritual world. And ancient Elves who left this life millennia ago, are renouncing their ineffable paradise, to help us in the move. We built a sheltered marvel for a minority, but they understood that time comes to share it with many more people.
Our today paradise is to disappear. This is an excellent occasion to become more aware that life is a dream. It is this awareness which makes magic possible. With this awareness, the today loss will be repaid hundred times, in centuries when the Elves will come back to the Nyidiath, and heal the Humans of their bad tendencies.
For the time being, the Exodus is not tomorrow. Probably the first departure will not happen before 20 years. So that we still need to cultivate food, maintain our houses, help animals and plants, do our spiritual training. Life as usual. But now, we have to do all this in a very different perspective than just the search for our own happiness: as a visualization, as an offering. Yes, this is it, let us keep being wonderful Elves, let us continue this accumulation of good karma, not forgetting to dedicate this effort and creation to the future worlds in the Dauriath and in the Nyidiath. We already did that, but naively. So now let us continue in full awareness of what we are doing!
I must confess that myself I remained several days totally aghast, unable to do anything. Even the MakTar spiritual practice did not prepared me for a shock of this magnitude, and some of my mates remained prostrated for weeks before recovering. Curiously the children were the less affected, some even starting to play at exploring the Dauriath.
But the awareness that we could still lead an useful life quickly healed the shock. It even went well beyond in some months: we were all enthusiastically working for the future, first in the Dauriath where we shall have everything to rebuild, and later in both the Dauriath and the Nyidiath, when more and more Human will turn Elves. Our kids even uttered the word «science» as something very exciting. I had no idea of what it was, just the messengers had mentioned it here and then, as something important that the Elves had to learn.
We waited 22 years for the first departures. A lot of things happened during this time. More people climbed the Shamal Humak, than in the six millennia before. The Council had established an embassy in the Tyron kingdom in the east, and from there they regularly visited us. They needed a census, and other informations on our lifestyle.
They also brought a lot of news. Not all was good, and in some places slaughters had begun. This was another reason to hurry leaving to the Dauriath, but a lot of things had to be prepared. Especially the Horiathon crossing ships would be unable to return for other passengers, so that we needed an awful lot of them. But it was still feasible.
There were not only the messengers, but other Elves coming, and even staying with us for some time. The most noticeable group was led by Ellan and Mellanor, and it was nicknamed the Elmel group. They were introduced by the messengers of the Council. They told us that they needed to stay for about one year in the Shamal, with a group of some other Elfs and teenagers. They were here to study how to survive in the total wilderness, with only what nature can provide. As would probably need to do the first of us arriving in the Dauriath. (Note of the author: we shall call them the scouts. Of course there was nothing in the Shamal resembling boyscouts. But it is the English name which better conveys the idea). They had a commitment to stay in the pure nature, so that we should not try to interfere, in order to respect their mood and mindset. This made that we did not saw them much. In more, they stated that they would depart without warning, and we should not bother or try to know. Indeed they arrived some months later, and they were very discreet, spending most of their time on the uninhabited slopes of the Shamal, rather than on the inhabited plateau.
We even had Humans friendly to the Elves visiting us. Their reactions were varied, from finding our homes extremely beautiful, to regretting to see us so poor.
In the end, we even had strange visitors. They wandered among us, just looking at us without saying hello, blathering loudly between them, looking everywhere and even entering our homes. We learned later that they are called tourists. They don't do physical harm, but to kill an egregore or to destroy the poetry of a landscape, they are more efficient than muskets. We had to add locks at our doors, to protect our privacy. To loss Confidence was a worse pain than a serious illness.
This is how we discovered money too. We even had no idea that such a thing could exist, and what it is used for. One Human lady had a very worried face of seeing us living only with what nature offers. She gave Maren a silver cowry, saying he would be more happy with money. Maren hung the cowry to a necklace, but he ended up saying he was not happier. Later we learned that in early times, coins really had a cowry shape. But as this was not practical to mint, they soon were flattened, but still with the silhouette of a cowry. Later on, they were mere roundels, but the name cowry stuck, and many centuries later they still had a cowry image on the back side, until cowries were banned in the Revolution as religious symbols.
There were more serious visits, though.
They spent one week looking for minerals all around the Shamal, digging everywhere gaping holes that we had to fill after them, chipping stones out of our sacred rocks, or leaving their excrements without burying them. We warned them about the oolongs, but they replied that it was «a belief». After two of them were brutally swallowed by the funnel one, despite the fence we put around it, they came back to ask for the whole list. As a small revenge, we told them that others could open anywhere at any time, which made them terrified. They were arrogant, claiming to be sent by the Duke in the west. And indeed, they explored only the west part of the Shamal. They clearly made us feel that the mountain was not anymore our land.
Happily, the hard sandstone forming the top shield of the Shamal did not contained any useful ore. But under, they found several small coal seams, while a zinc and cadmium mine operated until near the Horiathon Battle.
Happily these unpleasant visits were spaced by years. We had more interesting appearances from other Elfs and Elf-friendly Humans, while the Ellan and Mellanor group remained around for about six months. They were indeed discreet, but still had some interactions with us. Especially I found that my son Mandë was visiting them, and even spending days in a row with them. At times, he introduced me to his new friend Tendar, and also yo Emlyn and Milly, two young small, slender Elves with blonde and brown curly hairs. I never saw hair like that before, and at first I thought it was a sickness. But when I enquired, they replied they were proud of their curly hair. However their rule, in this kind of scout training camp, was not to interfere with us, especially not accepting food, clothes or bed. So I saw them here and then, with Mandë, or while they were passing around.
They seemed interested in animals, especially the dragonflies, who used to swarm around their camp. Our elven horses also attracted their attention, and I often saw them riding bareback, and even having a lot of fun with them, laughing and running around. That was a bit puzzling, as usually our horses accept no strangers. But they were soon familiar with these, even allowing them to try crude saddles made of plant parts. Soon merry neighing used to announce the proximity of the strange scouts, who however remained hidden in the shrub lower in the slope.
Once every three weeks, I was doing a partial MakTar circling ritual. I then had a good view on the slopes. I saw them several times, not far away. They had built huts, near one of the brooks escaping from the plateau. How they managed to fall trees without iron axes, I have no idea. But they did, and also fire and many other things. In any case they were not skinny and they did not complained of the harsh winter, with two times snow. One day I saw them playing and laughing, while their educators were busy at something. They looked really happy.
Later on that day, they were riding toward another village. They went back only late in the evening, speaking as for sharing a funny story. Since they had requested discretion, we did not inquired on what they were doing, when we saw them passing here and then.
Some Humans I recently discussed with in Internet forums, asked me why we did not seek more control on this situation. «They were your children», they argued. The reply is that individual freedom is one of the basis of our elven culture, and of elvenhood itself. The idea is that free and positive individual will spontaneously fill all the needs of any society or situation, more efficiently than planning or centralized command. Even our later massive collective undertaking relied on individual agreement to accept strict hierarchical commands. The few who refused were not punished, just they were provided with other roles, like healing, teaching, etc.
For children specifically, we think as if they were emissaries from the future. Not literally of course, but it is a very good way to accept their own motives and purposes. These purposes is what themselves will need anyway, when our turn will pass.
So whatever these people were doing with our children and our horses was puzzling, but this was not a reason to oppose it. Anyway we had other priorities, like preparing for the Exodus, which took a lot of our energy. Never so much we meditated and attended spiritual ceremonies!
For this purpose, we also spent a lot of time learning: the Elven Council was very interested in our education. We had courses in History, geography, farming, carpentry, smithing, spirituality, and the culture of the other Elven tribes. The Council wanted us ready to engage into useful and relevant activities once in the other side.
We regularly had visits from the Elf embassy in Tyron, the capital of the east kingdom. Some of them stayed for months, living with us, and passing from village to village to tell us about the world at large. We learned a lot about the countries of the Shartan, and the problems brewing in the core of the Shartan society. This was interesting, but not really raising enthusiasm.
But they told us about other things, like science. By the time, it had very limited uses, like predicting the path of the planets in the sky, or doing some dyes. But the Council and many Elders expected a lot more about it. The race for science was already engaged by the forge masters, against the religious taboos. It would lead to terrible weapons and destruction, so that we had to beat them at this race, in the Dauriath, before the Horiathon opens again in seven centuries.
However in some way science was incompatible with magic. The messengers did not entrusted us with this secret by the time, but science would be studied in secret, and only in the Arlit, the part of the Dauriath which cannot be seen from the Nyidiath. In the Undar, the visible region, where we would go, we shall be able to fully restore our magic. The incompatibility would be solved several other centuries later, when science will unite with spirituality.
One day I awoke with a strange feeling.
Everything was silent.
Well, actually it sometimes happens, but usually we always had horses trampling or neighing somewhere. So I went up and started my morning as usual. My dear wife Amaleen was not here, adding to the silence. Usually, even if somebody is not speaking, we still hear some sounds, like steps, a chair creaking, and others. I lit a fire in the small chimney, and went to chipping some wood for a window, or checking the seasoning planks for making violins. One had split a bit, so I just broke it entirely, for smaller parts.
Later on, Amaleen arrived, asking where Mandë was. I replied, probably with the scouts. He had spent weeks in a row with them, sharing their huts, just appearing here every three days or so.
Because of this usual discretion, it took us two days to really understand what had happened with the scouts.
They were gone.
Really gone, all of them.
Huts empty and desert. Open bedding, as if they had be interrupted in sleep. Food tidied, but starting to rot in pans and in trunks. No personal belongings.
To make things even stranger, there was an odd smell in their camp, and brown stains of an unknown substance on the stones. It was as if they had been abducted by supernatural beings.
Ok, they warned us of that.
But the problem was that Mandë was gone with them!! And several other kids in neighbouring villages!
We needed one more day to find out that a lot of the horses were missing too.
That was incredible.
First, we spoke among us. Something odd had happened.
Theft is something totally unknown among Elves. Only a compelling motive could make us take what was not offered. So that we were much more astonished than angry. But which compelling motive, to take so many horses without asking, and then sneak away without any explanation?
We searched around, and asked the villagers in the valley. Sure a large herd of white horses could not be discreet. But they did not saw much more horses than usual, save a group of brown horses led by some people clothed as peasants. With all the social changes going on, they were no longer asking who they were to anybody passing in their land.
Later on, we asked to the Elf embassy.
The reply was very unexpected, and in short: shut up. Forget it. Never speak of this again, never mention it in front of anybody else.
So they knew something. But what? All this was very strange, and left us puzzled for many years. Some of the remaining horses foaled again, but they did not really replaced the gone ones. Probably they sensed the end of the Shamal too.
Twenty years later, time was closing, more precise plans were taking shape, on how the evacuation of the Shamal would happen. In the east Kingdom, the Tyron queen Valeva III agreed to let us transit through her harbour, and from there travel by boat around the Shartan, toward the west side, where the Horiathon crossing ships would be built. Here we would take part in this building, before boarding one.
This looked good, but the embassy also issued us discreet warnings: the Tyron queen would not let Elves from the west part of the Shamal through her land. Elf friendly she was, but not too much. She knew she would have to feed us, find accommodations, etc. She had done a census for a reason. In more the hate of the Elves also found a way in her own people, so that the most discreet we would be, the better.
So that, the west part of the Shamal would have to evacuate by the west, through the hostile land of the Bubacar Duchy, and further they would walk all through the Shartan, and exhausting several months journey through a lot of places, most of them hostile and not wanting to feed us. Problem, the Duke of the west had issued no plan and no indications so far, not even a single messenger, and we had no idea of when and where to go.
So the abstract boundary that unknown administrations had draw on a map twenty years sooner was now becoming a deep wound in our land.
Some of us cheated a bit, starting to move to the east part. But the land resources, already strained by the climate change, could not feed twice more people, so that we had to continue cultivating in the west part.
The first evacuations started to the east, through the valley between the Shamal and the Arounal. This place was populated with dangerous people, the ones who forbade the communication between our two tribes. The first evacuated village was from the Arounal. At this occasion, the Elves of the Council told us of a miracle, which just happened in another Sylvan Elves tribe: an appearance of Shelenae. A young Human of the valley and an Elve of the mountain, Fahrad and Mithylia, had fell in love, but both their parents were refusing this union between their two peoples. Shelenaë scolded them a bit, and showed us the new path: Elves would not overwhelm the Humans, but Humans themselves would develop the qualities to become Elves. The tone was set, for the centuries to come. And it was raising enthusiasm!
Two, then three evacuations happened, going as planned, while the next to depart moved to the abandoned villages closer to the evacuation point, deserting the westernmost villages.
Still without any directive west side, we did the same, people in the west of the Shamal started to move closer to the evacuation point in the east. One, then two points were opened.
We should all have moved east side sooner, but half of the Shamal could not feed its entire population.
We brutally learned what was the plan of the Bubacar Duke in the west: one day, we suddenly heard screams and bawls, and several hundred soldiers quickly overwhelm our two villages. They were shouting insults in an unknown language, entering our homes to force us out. What to do but to obey, or to be killed? At this point, all of us choose the first option. We had no kind of weapons anyway, and no way to protect ourselves. Some of us could escape through the tendel of other villages around, but most were surrounded before realizing. We dearly regretted our unfinished tunnel. As to these soldiers, how could they hate people they did not knew? That was beyond our understanding.
They quickly gathered us in a meadow, while others were searching our homes for the gold they imagined we had. We heard noises of crushed furnitures and broken dishes. Then they went out, and soon smoke started to rise above the wood: they had set fire to our village! In minutes, the hongars, the shkordzengoes, the satyr sculptures, the sap trees, our lives, our dreams, were gone in smoke before our terrified eyes!
Soon they commanded us to walk, with only what we had on us, without letting us take any luggage, not even food.
This is the bitter way the Exodus began for us.
Our own local protective egregore had lost a lot of strength, because mostly of tourists. But it was still here, even without MakTar help. While we started our descent, I had a strange idea: «beware of the oolong!» I said. This was useless, because that oolong was clearly off the path, and they had no need to go there. But of course one of the blokes became defiant, saying that oolongs do not exist, they are a legend, etc. Seconds later, he got proof that they do actually exist. A brief terror scream, and the muffled echoes of a dislocated body bouncing off the rocks deep under, brought a sudden silence in the blathering troop. Today I regret having done that. But clearly he killed himself, from extra-pure grade of stupidity. That thing even became funny, as I learned later from my friends, as THREE of us did the same thing while the file was moving on, and none of them learned the lesson. Finally, a sergeant had the wit to put a sentinel near the hole. The bloke set himself his feet apart of the hole, laughing with that trick. But when he wanted to quit this posture, he had no grasp on any of the sides. Then guess what happened. I imagine the demons under the Shamal had a lot of fun that day. Hence the nickname we gave to the oolongs: idiots eaters.
Two other times we heard desperate screaming, from snake bites. We realized how our Snakes Pact had been wise and useful: we walked everyday unscathed for 6000 years just besides this horrible death. We would never live in the Shamal without the Pact.
But all this was unfortunately too little, and too late, against a troop of several hundreds.
We walked without rest for two days and a night, to be parked in a kind of cloister, with straw beds, scarce food, dirty latrines, and no information on what would happen to us. There also were a lot of fleas, as if these soldiers had cultivated them especially for us. Happily, we joked, fleas biting an Elf were becoming Elf fleas, and they preferred to die, to escape their horrible blood suckers condition. Fact is that they soon disappeared!
Worse for me, I quickly found out that Amaleen was not among us. I hoped she quickly made it to the east, when learning what had happened.
Then... nothing. We remained in this cloister four months! No evacuation, no exodus, no explanations. Only insults when they came bringing us food, once a day. At times, they brought other Elves, whom they were searching and arresting. Or supposed Elves, hate is not a good discriminant.
The worse was that we were still in sight of the Shamal! So what was the use of that?
We were told later what had happened. The Duke wanted to do a coup, a show of bravado: «Here is how to deal with the Elves. No need to all this stuff of progressive evacuation, just take them off, and get rid of them». Problem, he was thinking we were some dozens, maybe hundreds. But in real, evacuating 27,000 Elfs from the Shamal, more 8000 in the Arounal, needed a lot of planning, administration and logistic, not bravado. This idiot had commanded that after a drinking evening, and before asking the permission to the many other governments on the long road to the Elf harbours. So we waited for four months in this rotten place, still in sight of the Shamal, simply for the other lords to grant us a free passage. What they finally did reluctantly, on the threat of having more Elfs to deal with. To add to the trouble, the Duke's own soldiers refused to climb the Shamal again, terrified by «all the sorcery up there». As a result, the Duke refused to evacuate any more Elfs, and all our remaining friends were later evacuated by the East. At a cost: the Tyron Queen Valeva III in the East claimed the Shamal and the Arounal entirely, from the Duke, as a payment for the supplementary work. Go feed the oolongs, replied the Duke. You are the specialist, ended the Queen.
This is how we were the only ones engaged in the several months exhausting walk toward the west Elven harbours through the whole Shartan. The reactions of the populaces were diverse, from guards of honour booing us, to well heartfelt humanitarian help. But whatever, it was overall an ordeal, and several of us died from diseases, our magic becoming unable to regenerate our bodies in front of so much hate and tiredness.
The final leg of the journey was through a deserted plateau (described in The Kiss of the Worlds): the Tears Trail. Here the effect of lowering ocean level, and the resulting climate change, were clearly visible: this lush orchard had become uncultivable, while the river had dug a deep gully with dangerous crumbling edges. Further, it was swallowing a whole town, a former harbour now suspended mid-slope by lack of water. We were flabbergasted, seeing abandoned ship hulls rotting, while the ocean had retreated so far that we could no longer see it. Nowhere else the changes were so dramatic.
After a perilous descent on a narrow path bordered with fences bearing anti-elves insults, we arrived in a long plain, in the process of emerging from the ocean. Here was one of the several elven harbour where the Horiathon crossing ships were being build!
This place was astounding: it was a huge production line, from raw planks to the dry docks, with a hierarchical organization which looked so alien to the spirit of the Elves. Indeed, we all are independent, attached to freedom and individual initiative, balanced only by our innate respect of life. But we quickly understood that in this instance, this very freedom requested this organization, precisely the tool for our freedom in the Dauriath.
You may think, my carpenter skills were useful. They were not, as the Horiathon crossing ships had to be mass produced at the least cost possible, while remaining sturdy enough to bear the shock of the fall on the Dauriath. So the frames were made of complex trusses of planks, raw from sawmills higher in the hills, assembled together with metal staples.
My first work assignment was unexpected: there were tar springs here, also producing gas allowing to melt that tar in huge caldrons. We then dunked planks in the boiling tar, until they were soaked with it. These furnaces were burning 24/7, as some hell filling the workshop with noxious fumes, blackening the walls and encrusted everything in. Work here was dangerous and unhealthy, even with masks, so that we did not stayed long, we were quickly replaced.
My second work assignment was even more curious: we prepared a mixture of lime, sand, glue, and some kind of hemp fibres. And with that, we... covered metal ingots. Bronze, copper, tin, iron, brass. The results were something closely resembling sandstones, even irregular, I remember doing strata and other stone features. Their weight was that of stones. I only learned later what that was for: as any sail ship, the Horiathon ships needed a large ballast in their keels. But the treaties forbade us to bring metals, tools or technical books in the Dauriath, only personal belongings. So this is how we foiled the inspectors into still importing useful metals and tools, by showing those fake stones in the keels. Actually, they never thought at checking the keels, and after some years, the inspections were becoming very lax, so that when a ship was to depart we fobbed as much stuff as we could in the keel and in the holds: chemicals, dyes, seeds, tools, music instruments, books, at the only condition of being solidly fastened and even glued all together. We were told that in the crossing the ships may go upside down, so that the least play in the cargo, or chemical spill, would turn to a catastrophe. Actually we brought no dangerous chemicals, and even no liquid ones.
Later on, as we learned more work, we were moved along the production line, to the assembly of frames. They were a complex lattice of planking, that we posed in a template, and stapled all together in a single day. Our engineers indeed did a fantastic job, as much in the design as in the construction methods! Each frame had its own template, all aligned by order of position in the ship along several huge hangars, and we just had to pose the planks and pierce holes in them, before pulling the staples in. So that the risk of a mistake was reduced to nearby zero.
The ambient in the naval building yard was entirely different of the Shamal. Yet it was still very elvish! In each work team and even in the midday meal, the managers purposely mixed people of different tribes, so that we had incredible exchanges, with different cultures and ways of life. We noted that, us Sylvan Elves attracted more questions, but we never had any scorning or reproaches on our «ambiguous» attitude. Clearly we had a place in the Dauriath, and not a secondary one as we learned later.
In the evening we had parties, allowing to better know each other. But not late, because such as intense work was tiring, even for us Elves. So that we soon joined our quarters, where we found back our tribe companions. This was finally reassuring, after all this swirling diversity and constant changes.
All this makes that I keep a cherished memory of these fantastically interesting and challenging times. The smell of tar pervaded the whole harbour and factory, and curiously today this smell still awakes in me a strong nostalgia of these fantastic months.
Finally we were moved to the launching wharf one day before the departure, and locked in. This was to avert any leak of information on what was loaded on the ship, in the last hours. An unintended effect of these cautions was an increasing emotional tense, both of excitement and of fear. But there was no turning back at this point, even if we faltered, the guards would board us by force, and nail the hatch on us. We only had a brief glimpse of our own Horiathon crossing ship, in the dusk. It was smooth and dark, with no openings and no deck, as a shuttle. Stealth, threatening and mysterious, and in any case very impressive: it would be our freedom, or our coffin. And in any case, a serious ordeal: confined four weeks in a narrow space just enough to extend our legs, with a scarce food and other inconveniences. The worse moment was being shackled while that terrible thing was rotating wild on itself in the weightlessness of the Horiathon, amidst the thunder of water around us, and waiting for the shock which would see our success or our demise.
Then it was, a huge thud which sent the whole structure cracking and moaning. But the carefully engineered three-dimensional truss held! Soon we were pushed away by the terrible jet of foam, on the Dauriath side. The worse had passed, but we still had two other weeks of confinement ahead, in a dirtier and dirtier place. Happily from this moment, the sailors took axes to open a deck, allowing us to enjoy sun and air.
We were among the first to arrive in this place of the Dauriath, and there was only a summary harbour. Arriving at 800 in a single moment was a considerable challenge, everybody had to be fed and sheltered. The best was to quickly dispatch people all around.
Dismantling our ship started at once, besides another already broken down to the keel. Indeed, partial deformation and controlled breaking allowed it to sustain the shock. But after that, it was no longer seaworthy. And they had to recover all the valuable items and materials hidden in the holds and in the keel, or what the boat itself was made of. For centuries roofs in the Dauriath were tarred shingles from the Horiathon boats, and we still have the staples today in our houses.
Happily forerunners already established a summary farming, and we soon discovered all the crops of the mainstream Elves, especially their symbolic wheat and bread.
I however needed to wait for 55 years to find again news of Amaleen, and still more from Mandë. The Dauriath is not as big as the Nyidiath, but still the arrival points were spaced thousands of kilometres away of each other, that we had to travel on horse or with summary sail ships. Simply mapping them took years. But the harbours had set a clever system to find separated lovers or dispersed tribes (there were many, due to forceful evictions). Each harbour was keeping a record of who arrived here, and where they went. There were checkpoints in nearby all settlements, doing the same thing. When possible, they sent each other copies of these records, but remember that we had not Internet by the time, all was written with reed pens on crude manually crafted paper, travelling in saddlebags or small sail ships. So that we often had only summary records of the starting point of people, and some were lost to various incidents.
It is for helping these searches, that we added our tribe name to our first and second name. This allowed to much more easily find each other! However the numerous Elves which took birth since in the Dauriath often were of mixed parents, so that they created their own tribe names. The custom remained since, although some question it today.
This is how I finally found a record of another Shamal ship with the name of Amaleen. From here I still needed several months to find her back!! She was in a full blast Shelenaë ritual, wearing her pale green priestess gown, while I was in a travel suit all wet with rain. But despite that, we jumped in the arms of each other! We kissed passionately in front of the attendance, until she finally explained them, tears of joy in her eyes: «MakTar is back with me»! and we kissed again. After some silence, the attendance started to cheer and applause this great event. Not everybody had the luck of finding back their lovers, unfortunately, and several were still in expectations.
Still later on, I found Mandë and his scout friends, save one whom strange fate is told in the story of Milly Mountain.
Mandë apologised profusely of slipping away with the horses, without any explanation. He told me what was the whole affair about, and I was struck in awe with this complex and daring plan of the Elven council! But he only jumped into the band wagon, so that it is Emlyn who will tell the full tale.
Hello, I am Emlyn, one of the young Elve of the Elmel group (Ellan and Mellanor group), the «scout» group who stayed several months in the Shamal, and finally absconded silently with their horses.
I am very happy to help writing this text, to explain these things which long remained mysterious. Especially if it can help the Humans of the Nyidiath to discover the wonderful elvenhood, or even just to be happier among themselves.
Of course you would not confuse Milly and me with the Sylvan Elves, lol, with our small size, well coloured skin, and curly blonde hair. By the time, we resembled much, and even today we both remained slender and smaller, with cute small breasts. Yet we both love how we are, just as Sylvan Elves love their masses of black hair and pale well rounded breasts.
I fact, I knew Milly, Tendar and several others of the group, well before this adventure. We all were in Kutum Baya, a religious boarding school, in what was by the time the Seven Cities Kingdom, today part of the Benmorean Republic. The school had two colleges, Mershania and Ishtar.
Mershania is the goddess of family love, to the contrary of the other Mers who deal only with the in-bed part of it. So educating children that more complete way was making sense. The learning there was very interesting, we studied the best intellectual matters available in our time, save science which was still highly taboo in any religious context.
Since Ishtar is the goddess of trades and workers, the Ishtar school was more focused on manual work, carpentry, smithing, clothes making, etc. There were Elves here too.
Elves were mixed with Humans, with the same rules, and any discrimination or superiority mindset highly frowned upon. But we also had a small Shelenaë temple, only for the Elves, with one hour a week of spiritual education. By the time I found meditation utterly boring, ha ha ha ha!
But both races and both colleges all had the same yard and canteen, intentionally to avoid creating a mindset of separation in genders, races or social classes. The motto of the school was «different skills, one community», and this included both intellectual skills ans manual skills on an equal footing. Of course we were served sermons on that in every Sunday temple ceremony. But us pupils applied this policy in our own way, by doing huge «ecumenical pillow battles» between the two colleges, screaming each our incantations as war chants.
By the time, in the Seven Cities Kingdom, Elves were living in the open, among Humans. But still, we were often despised. So most parents put their children in this school, so that we would have a good education, without getting unfair marks and without seeing all the time ugly faces distorted with hate. Fact is, nearby all the Elves succeeded the difficult entrance competitive examination.
This boarding school was for both boys and girls, save of course the dormitories which were separated. As a rightful compensation for this, we did pillow battle expeditions toward the boys, in order to «fight gender discrimination», to the great despair of the nuns. Of course by the time we were pre-teens, so that we just wanted to have fun together, and we were not yet thinking at love. Even if later some of these friendships naturally turned to love.
Well, when I see what Itan Milly had become since, you would not believe her wielding a pillow with a mischievous smile, or that we sneaked out of the school to steal frills and ribbons in local shops. Of course, the school caught us, and they paid the merchants. But our lovely little bubble bums were quite red, that evening!
But otherwise the nuns were very kind and supportive, knowing that we needed some compensation for not having our parents. They also were very helpful, and if anybody did not understood a lesson, he could ask in private for more explanations. So that we loved them, with few exceptions.
There of course were a lot of stories circulating, so that, children being the same everywhere, one evening in the dormitory, out of pure scientific curiosity, we lowered our pants, to see if there were some anatomic difference between Human girls and Elves. We did not found any. We could not do that with boys, as this would entail more than spanking. But we spoke with them, and similarly they found no visible difference, just they said that Elf boys are better endowed. But you won't read that kind of stuff in Tolkien, for sure!
All this made a very happy life, and we were enthusiastic in the studies, promised to a great future. Lots of fond memories and unique experiences, for all the great family of the Bayanis, as we still call ourselves among the alumni.
Until the day we learned that all our loved parents had been killed in an anti-Elfs pogrom.
This happened each autumn, when the new wine arrived. Usually it was just hazing, but this time it went into killing.
From there, things turned sour for us, as there was nobody left to pay for our schooling and food. Well, actually, I think somebody still paid, as we were allowed to complete our year term. But later, when the school was closing for the summer holidays, we had nowhere to go!
We then met the Elf diplomats, for the first time. Yes the famous guys in grey toga (By the time there were no ladies among them, as, it must be said, people were still darn phallocrats in the Shartan, and they would never speak politics with ladies). We were quite impressed to meet these guys in person, with their aura of magic and power. They asked us what we wanted to do, after the end of the year.
This is how we were taken by the embassy of the Elven Council. But, very unusually, we were brought to a kind of summer camp, instead of being placed in various adoptive Elf families. Adoption is the rule among Elves, but that time there were many more children to adopt than usual. At least this is what they told us.
In this summer camp, we met Ellan and Mellanor, who were introduced as educators. This was a fantastic time, camping, scouting, building huts and playing games! Today I think that the Council had spotted this batch of young orphans, and they sent these two high level priests for this purpose, under the guise of entertainers. But the last days, we were picked one per one, by Ellan, Mellanor, and two other unknown guys, under the pretext of checking for adoption. This is what they said. In facts several of us were offered a mission, but without disclosing it: it was a secret, dangerous and no-return endeavour. Some refused, and they were jailed all together with adoptive parents, in one of the future harbours, to depart in the first Horiathon ships. Those who accepted were taken to a totally different location. Not to adoptive parents, but to an utterly mad and unthinkable adventure, of which we were not allowed to speak before the Horiathon battle seven centuries later.
For long, speaking of the short epoch just before the Exodus remained a taboo, even among us in the Dauriath. We never know, the compartmentalization was not perfectly leak proof, and spies could infiltrate the Dauriath and send back messages. We found dozens of such attempts, and it is well known that messages were sent back to the Nyidiath, using catapults near the Horiathon, or attached on migratory birds. Although no official message was sent, several groups did on their own. This is why the hidden plans of the Elven Council remained a secret even in the Dauriath, unveiled only after the Horiathon Battle and our definitive victory.
In short, the Elven Council was very aware of the underhand motives of the Human Kings: those kings were pretty much believing that sending the Elfs to the Dauriath was sending them to death. Or, at best, to a salvage land where they would live like animals, unable to create any civilization, and even less any force. The smartest ones even thought that they would be able to go themselves in the Dauriath some day, and in this case they needed the land free of any Elf power.
By the time, the Human kings were still pervaded with religious ideas, so that they thought they were more moral by letting the Elfs live. But they took some cautions, so that they would not live long. Let them die, provided it is not by our hands.
So the plan of the Human Council of Nations was clear from the beginning, and Elven spies could just confirm: the Elfs should go, because it was less ugly than just exterminating them. But they should go bare of any tool, metal, knowledge, seed!!
This was 20 years before the Exodus, and many things still had to be negotiated in the treaties. That is, the Elfs had to give way on some points, and win some other points in exchange.
Their first sacrifice was to pay for the expanses of the Exodus themselves, especially the building of the 22,000 «Liberty Ships» into 45 harbours. This left the Human Council of Nations nearby free of the main expense. A very good bargain, they thought, much cheaper than a war. But in facts this allowed the Elves to hide as much stuff as they wanted in the ships, with tricks like the fake ballast stones hiding ingots.
The second sacrifice was not to bring tools, knowledge or metals. And if the Elven negotiators hold so fast on building the ships themselves, it was precisely as a way to circumvent that second sacrifice, by hiding ad much stuff ad possible in the keels, or in double planking. Did you knew that gold foil is the best caulking material ever? A bit expensive, for sure. But if it is the real cargo...
But there was a thing they could not hide in the keels: living animals, especially horses.
By the time, horses were indispensable for a lot of things: travels, transports, ploughing, mills, etc. Without them, indeed, the Elves would remain salvages, inoffensive barefoot salvages, living in huts and feeding with mushrooms, and not numerous anyway.
This is why they asked for the second sacrifice, and it was not acceptable. So the Elf Council had to do something, while looking as if they accepted this second sacrifice, in order to grab more compensations.
But the real plan was to send horses into the Dauriath, well before the treaties forbade it, and especially before the Horiathon was checked and guarded against unauthorized boats. This checking never was seriously done, but the Council had to be safe: only one finding could jeopardize the whole thing!
Problem, by the time the Horiathon crossing ships were still just untested drawings. The Elven Council needed an emergency plan, which could be implemented at once.
The Council was aware that some Elves had sent rafts with small animals. This worked, although with heavy losses, when the cages failed to open, or they sank before reaching any land. This was the unfortunate cost of populating another world. But thanks to the rafts, there already were a lot of insects in the Dauriath, and earth worms. These rafts brought such an impact in the Elf culture, than even today a package of eggs or seeds in the hold of an aircraft is still called a raft.
But this could not work with large animals. They had to be accompanied. This was a daring plan, desperate and courageous: the chances for survival for the accompanying Elves were estimated at 30%. And they had only two years to implement it.
The plan was to still send rafts, but in clusters attached together. They were supposed to break off, to absorb the shock on the arrival on the Dauriath, the most dangerous moment certainly. Tests were already made in cataracts, with success. On the four testers, only one had be injured, a broken leg, due to a harness which went loose. That could have been worse, and they knew it. But this is how emergency survival situations often raise an incredible courage and sacrifice spirit, sometimes from benign looking people, teens in the instance.
Teenagers were selected, to be sent. Why teens? There were many reasons, some of them not recorded. The most well known was that they had not yet created love bonds. Or, well, sad to say, but having their parents killed in pogroms, they had nothing to lose. Fact is, many of us were orphans, raised by other families (adoption was systematic in Elven communities). We ourselves had lost our parents, and we escaped their fate only because we were in the Kutum Baya school. Rage and despair are powerful motivators, although very dangerous from a spiritual point of view. This is why we were thoroughly monitored, although by the time we did not noticed it. Our «educators» were not high priests at random.
We went through crash courses in writing, calculation, handicrafts, science and esoterics too, and we were initiated in most spiritual practices. The Council did not wanted to send ignorants: our roles, once conveying the horses, was to establish the first bases of an Elven economy and agriculture, so that the future millions of immigrants would not simply die from hunger while arriving in an empty world. Clearly, it was a huge responsibility, under the guise of an elaborated roleplay. We had several other assignments, like mapping, finding ores, and especially multiplying seeds and tools, so that farming could be ready with the first mass arrivals. Very important too, we had to establish a spiritual bond with the lands, so that they were welcoming to the immigrants. The Council had no idea on what to expect up in the Dauriath, but stories abounded, in the whole Elven history, of vibrations and spirits of the places existing well before the first Elfs or Humans, sometimes in the rocks themselves. So the unexpected was expected, and indeed the Dauriath turned out to conceal many strange things, and even true mysteries.
Since we were pre-teens, we were taught how the Elven love really operates, before being launched in the wild relying only on our own devices. Neither the Elve nor the Elf loses any body fluid. Such a requirement often surprise and upset men wanting to become Elfs. But in only some tries they see the advantages: the Elf can enjoy much more pleasure, just as women do. In the case of a Human couple becoming Elf, several years may be needed to be able to do so ((On Earth, this new way of loving was unveiled by the Taoist master Mantak Chia, in two books. For men: Taoist Secrets of Love: Cultivating Male Sexual Energy, tested and approved by me, and for women: Healing Love Through the Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy)).
Then the couple has to learn to synchronize their pleasure, in order to exchange their energy. This needs some telepathy, and this is how the magic starts in a Human couple wanting to become Elves. In the case of Humans marrying Elves, the sudden onset of this communication can be very strong, some even found it brutal. But in both cases, this spiritual bond is what makes Elven love much stronger that the mere emotional bond of Humans. And able to last for centuries and more, despite all the possible mishaps.
The drawback is that, if one of the partner is betrayed, the sudden deprivation of energy can make him or her very sick, and even to die. Although this notion of betrayal is different of the Human notion of infidelity. Indeed, it is not the mere fact of having encounters with other persons which is harmful, but the fact of severing the energy link, by becoming indifferent or hostile to the usual partner. ((ON Earth, it also is to sever the energy link which is dangerous, even if it is not magical.)) For these reasons, extra-marital adventures are uncommon among Elves, and frowned upon. Although not punished. But this happens, and we also have multiple marriage, or same sex marriage, which work fine if the magic was established that way. But if anybody severs the energy link, he loses his Elvenhood. Not to speak of what happens to anybody raping an Elf or Elve, that is better not to tell.
This way to love also is an excellent contraception, without need of any exterior device. And very useful, as if we did children during thousands of years, we would soon face a serious population crisis!!
In prehistory, by lack of contraception, the Humans used to let die supernumerary babies. This was a lesser evil, as otherwise every ten years half of each tribe would die with famine. This probably is the origin of the disparaging legend as what ancient Elves were offering babies in sacrifice. Right on the contrary, when Shelenaë discovered elvenhood, She decided to fix this horrible custom. She never had children herself, Her couple being sterile. But She still had strong motherly feelings toward the abandoned babies. There was a temporary relief after the Tankaor, when they had to repopulate the Blue Mountains. This gave Her time to design this wonderful system of automatic contraception.
And when a couple wants a child, then? We had to know that, or we would be sterile up there! There is a special training and ritual to do so, which starts what is needed in each of the two bodies. So that unwanted children are very rare, and all children are welcome anyway.
Last point is that we often do Big Families, several couples uniting efforts to raise their children, school them, etc. (Not to be confused with a multiple marriage: in a Big Family, each couple has his own bedroom). This especially avoids single children growing without companions, because of our rare births.
The Elven Council had to select horses. Many Elven tribes had horses. Several were in the process of becoming Elven horses. But the Council had much more information than we thought. They were aware or the Elven horses in the Shamal. This is why they discreetly checked the story while contacting us for the Exodus. Not focusing only on the horses, to avoid attracting any attention. For the same reason, they decided not to put the Shamal tribe in the know, because some of them may speak, inadvertently, or under torture. So they took no risk.
This is how we did this scouts group, pretending to learn to live in the wild, a very credible cover. We also studied the dragonflies, or the spirits of the places, all things that the Human Kings were not bothered with, and even considering with disdain. Our spies told us that they laughed when learning of this group, considering it a barmy Elf fantasy. Big mistake, it was extremely serious, and our main focus was indeed to take the horses to send them on rafts, before this became impossible. Studying dragonflies could be done anywhere, but studying the Shamal horses could be dome only in the Shamal. This very place should have been a precious hint for the Human Kings, but they were not either believing these stories of magical horses! Fodder for Elves, they said. Very nourishing fodder, indeed.
Well, us teens are quick to befriend. This is how Mandë, and others in the Shamal tribe, joined our group. We felt that they were with us from the start. Even we suspected that Mandë already had more than friendship with Milly, and I myself married with Tendar soon after our arrival in the Dauriath. I am glad to say that we even had the first ever baby up there!! Our so-called educators, in fact highs scholars and Yogis, accepted these new members, despite their lack of education, for their specific qualities of Sylvan Elfs, especially their much stronger bond with nature. Things like the Snakes Pact could be extremely useful in the Dauriath.
Toward the end of the camp, we knew we were soon to depart, but not exactly which day. That night, messengers of the Council came, circumventing the Shamal villages with their own MakTar circling path. They were bringing... paint. Yes, dye. Paint day was the code name for our departure. They painted the white horses in various colours! Brown, spotted, we had a lot of fun decorating them, and seemingly the horses loved that too. They sensed that we needed their full cooperation. Nobody had though of that paint trick, and this is how they eluded all the inquiries by the Shamal Elves themselves. Indeed several groups of brown horses were seen by locals, and in the plains east of the Shamal, but nobody suspected who they were, even not the Shamal Elves themselves, when they inquired.
Once our painting done, we threw all the evidences in an oolong nearby, paint cans, brushes, and all the high level books we used in lessons. Then we departed, shivering from the cool night and with a heavy heart I must say, from leaving this wonderful Shamal. Mandë had special reasons for being sad, as he would not see his parents for tens of years, perhaps never.
What became of us is told in the story of Milly Mountain. In short, our group with Mandë, Tendar and Milly had our raft broken in several parts, as it was designed for. We could gather, save Milly who was sent in another direction by the powerful foam jet of the Horiathon cataract. From here, each in our way prepared the place for the arrival of the immigrants. And our magical horses played an irreplaceable role in this colossal endeavour, that our frail teen shoulders could not bear otherwise.
Later, the Human kings formally forbade sending horses in the Dauriath. Nobody knew we already had, and the Elven Council carefully avoided to tell them it was too late. This is how they could ask for huge compensations for this imaginary loss. Especially, building the Horiathon ships ourselves cost us most of our gold reserves. But this allowed us to carry as much tools and knowledge as we could load in the ships.
We would never trust Human ships for this purpose anyway. They would certainly conceal some treachery, like being sabotaged to break off in the fall on the Dauriath. In more, only specially designed crafts could bear such a shock. Only Elf engineers could do that. And still, with the help of MakTar, whose influence was perceived several times, bringing the inspiration for all the novel ideas this daring design required.
Our small rafts already contained one ton of tools, seeds and books each, protected from water in the barrels serving as floaters.
And indeed, when we arrive in a totally huge, salvage and untamed land, we are struck with awe. The fantastic emotions of the pioneers. Discovering another planet, literally.
When we ended stranded on that beach, sick and dirty of these weeks at sea, we thanked the Unique, even before our elven gods. It was the late afternoon, and the sun was grazing a nearby mountain. As expected, there were rocks, earth and sand, but the nice surprise was that the Dauriath was teeming with life, flowers, birds, insects, butterflies, berries, mushrooms. But before admiring, we had to quickly unshackle our horses, who were stamping in the rafts. We had to draw our barrels, before the tide took them away. All this with our limbs weakened with weeks of confinement. We even had to draw two horses, too weakened to walk. And all the planking of our rafts, which would become our first house.
All this led us to the night well fallen. Then we discovered something totally unexpected. The Nyidiath was in the sky, of course. But there were faint specks of light: towns. Then we remembered: it was the summer solstice festival day. A very auspicious date to start a new life. We lit a small fire, despite the recommendation for a curfew. But our small straw fire was too weak to be visible from anywhere in the Nyidiath.
We spend a first uncomfortable night in the Dauriath, on the beach. It was a mind blowing feeling, to have a whole planet for us alone. We were full of ideas and projects, and thrilled to start them all at once. Indeed the first lines we would draw would become later major limbs of our whole civilization.
We also felt the vibe of the Dauriath. Of course it was different from the Nyidiath. More rough, more varied. The moving fate of the rocks, and their billions years of existence. By the time, we did not knew these things, but the Dauriath had been exposed for four billions years bare in space, without air, and some rocks around were still bearing a metamorphic crust from space radioactivity. These rocks were very varied, and as the first day we found an iron one. That was really unexpected, and very welcome. I remember we did our first iron melt only three weeks later.
After recovering from this fantastic journey, we realized the huge task awaiting us. People today don't realize. But a virgin new planet don't have supermarkets, no physicians, no roads. We were bare as in our birth. Everything had to be constructed, even a simple tooth stick.
With this in mind, I ensure you, you grasp as the least tool, be it a simple hammer or even a spoon, as a drowning person grasps at a buoy. We even used stone tools, to spare our small metals reserve.
On their side, the horses were immediately at ease, needing nothing but grass, which grew in superabundance about everywhere. So they quickly foaled and swarmed, to the point that in only some years we lost count of them. But some stayed with us, and they were an invaluable help, for ploughing, carrying loads, and especially for travelling. Indeed it was imperative to know the surroundings, because we could not stay just next this rising ocean.
By fear of a terrible nostalgia, I did not wanted to see at which point they destroyed our loved Shamal. But a Shelenaë priestess was needed, to assess what remains of our magic, and how it can be restored some day. The expedition to get the blue earthworms was an excellent pretext, so that I joined. Actually I was alone from the Dauriath, relying entirely to the new Elf community in Tyron.
It was twelve years after the Horiathon Battle, and already things had changed a lot for the Elves in the Nyidiath. Of course there still are far right or far left political parties hating us, but they all had to tone down. Verbal aggressions or judicial harassment were still possible, but physical attacks were unlikely.
Also, living in the open changed a lot the situation for the Elves in the Nyidiath. They were many more than expected, coming out from various discreet anonymous disguises. But they still were a small minority, and for now we still needed to renounce some claims.
I quite simply took the plane, from the Maël West airport in the Dauriath to NewTel-Tellutaar airport, and then to Tyron, the former capital of the kingdom east of the Shamal, now part of Kondo. It was quite impressive to do in some hours a journey which took us months of painful walk and terrible dangers by the time of the Exodus.
Once in Tyron, I joined the local Nyidiath Elves group. They were running a kind of cultural centre, and emergency shelter for victims of discriminations. I immediately remarked their profound deference toward me, and all what I represented: a living memory of the terrible events of the Exodus, and an irreplaceable witness of the ancient magical Shamal. I was their Guru, their magician! They were barely daring to speak to me, uttering high flown titles and even doing prostrations! This deference stemmed from a good spirit, but, well, I had to get out my best jokes to make them more relaxed, more confident. My abundant black hair with blue reflections also were quite noticed, and I had several questions on them... and the chin, ha ha ha ha! Even Humans looked at me in the street.
They had a car, and we boarded it toward the Shamal. Here it was my turn to be the noob: the cars, the roads, the petrol station, the cheques, all this was entirely new for me, just debarking from our magical Dauriath. I even asked them why they were stopping in the middle of the street, while the way was clear. «Red traffic light» they replied, and we had a laugh, while they explained me some basis of the road code. I must say I was quite impressed by this incessant ballet of metal monsters brushing past each other every minute, deciding of their life or death in an instant, and never bumping together. I knew of cars, of course, but seeing them for real was, to be frank, scary. It is incredible to see these powerful machines seeming to obey our mere will. And indeed for the ones used to drive them, they feel them as an extension of their body. I know I shall have to learn... some day.
The town Tyron had changed a lot, too. By the time of the Exodus, they had cob houses, with double slope roofs covered with dark grey shingles or orange tiles, and flagstone streets full of horse dung. Walking here after a rain was a nightmare, and when we entered the elven boat to the West, our rope shoes were totally wasted, and we had mud until the knees. They had to wash us using pumps and sea water.
Of course the modern Tyron is clean, with good concrete buildings, coloured showcases, and even trees. But only single-sloped roofs, because double is still seen as a religious ostentatious sign. All such building were converted or destroyed during the Revolution, which here had been short but violent. A surprise was that, now, the town is huge, and this soon made me feel as in a trap, with a compulsive desire for getting out to nature! I also sensed that the air was polluted. It was less sensible than dung smell, but more dangerous. The noise too was constant and pervading, systematically killing all the vibes. Finally I would no more like to live in the modern Tyron than in the ancient one. Still many local Elves do it, by lack of better solutions.
After what seemed hours of driving into endless suburbs and monotonous housing estates, we finally went through the countryside. It was so different, with the huge fields without hedges, and fences, and fences, and barbed wire fences looking so terrible... I was amazed by the number of cows. Suddenly I was scared: all these places used to be forests, when I walked here for the Exodus. This countryside was now a desert, a huge factory, with only 1% of its life, biodiversity and magic remaining. By the Unique, what they did to the world!
Then I recognized the silhouettes of the Shamal and the Arounal at the horizon... I must say, I had tears of emotion at this moment... these wonderful places, that we had to abandon in such dramatic conditions... What would remain or them, what would remain of our egregore?
My companions respected my emotions. They used to go up there the weekends, and they said the vibe was fantastic. Well, they had no idea of what it had been by our time.
Then I realized: the tarred road was climbing the Shamal! It was both a sacrilege, and a very convenient installation: ten minutes replaced half a day of exhausting climb. What to think of that? Will some days Elves return to the Shamal, and will they use the road?
We arrived in the former centre of our community. I barely recognized the place, with a parking lot, cars, and several modern houses. There was an inn here, where I would remain for some days. It was so different, that I had trouble to compare both the actual builds and my memories. What saved me was the very familiar shapes of the hills and rock castles. Okay, they took the former free place we used to gather and do our summer festival fire. Oh, this custom was still existing, my friends told me. But of course it had lost its ancient meaning, to become some commercial promotion, with discounts and auctions.
On the place where our Shelenaë temple once stood, there still was a heap of stones covered with lichens and brambles, with a post saying «Elven temple». So this is all what remained of this once so vibrant place, where we did so many fantastic ceremonies. As I stood there, tears in my eyes, several persons came, blathering loudly, without a single hello, and not he least concern. I at once recognized that plague: tourists.
Later on, we decided to tour the Shamal. We could also do this by car, as tarred roads extended in each petal, and further dirt roads to the many farms. This is where I realized in which extent the landscape had been destroyed. Where once stood magical forests and lush meadows, remained only short grass, fences, barbed wires fences which looked so dangerous, fences, more fences, lines of posts supporting the barbed wires, and more fences, and, here and there, ugly corrugated steel hangars and black wood houses. Well, being made of the same trees as ours, they had the same colours. But their square build, badly assembled, more the corrugated steel roofs, made of them ugly places of despair. How could people live in such gloomy buildings? Even the most insensitive Humans would be unhappy. Indeed they were, as I learned later, they had the highest suicide rate of the whole country. But they preferred to accuse «the government» rather than their own carelessness. Sure, of course it was the government who was coming at night to sow trash all around their houses. At a moment, there was a strong smell of manure, from a farm emptying its stable. Again a coup of the government!
Our natural castles were still here, happily, with the trees covering them. So that the landscape was still recognizable. But they were reduced to only the sloping part, unusable for cows. Nearby all the tendels had been taken for the meadows, in the places where our houses, gardens and meditation spots once were.
We stopped near one of the rare meadows which was not fenced. It was some picnic area for tourists, but happily there was none yet.
My friends were overly excited, speaking of wonderful nature, flowers, birds, butterflies. It was indeed nice, feeling of nature and alacrity. But I avoided to disappoint them: it was a hundredth of what it used to be. Some flowers here and there, few birds, a butterfly here and then, and not a single dragonfly. I immediately understood the main cause: as most Humans, the locals had the detestable habit to mow the grass as short as possible, all the grass, everywhere, killing the flowers and all the insects and birds living from them. Nowhere we could wade in grass, as we can do in real nature. That, and the cows constantly shaving the grass everywhere, were making of the Shamal a desert, compared to what it formerly was.
My friends went more and more excited, saying there were «elf caves» nearby. Indeed, past the meadow, was a wood, with the familiar rock pinnacles, unchanged. I even recognized them, I had several friends living in this former village. The tendel had been shortened, so that the slope started immediately while entering the wood. There were heaps of stones and dimples in the slopes, all what remained of our hongar houses, after seven centuries. I was silently crying. Most tunnel entrances were filled with collapsing earth. But still some were open, and my friends grabbed me in. At first, I had a strange feeling: it was narrow. Smaller than in my memories. Indeed, in the Shamal, we were small, from minimum food. Later in the Dauriath, we grew to a normal size.
Past the entrance, I found again the familiar look of the tunnels, circling the hill toward the different houses, with varied storages for food, and the central room for the Dharsham. There still were the stone shelves where we posed our lights. But nothing remained of what made this place comfortable, not a single piece of wood or fabric. Everything had been methodically pillaged. This Dharsham room was empty, but I learned later that others were used for poultry, wine cellars, junk storage. Even the locals had made jails of them, which happily was forbidden today.
I was very sad looking at these poor remains of our life here. Aghast, lips trembling. I knew I would feel that. But I had to do the trip, for the assessment. I also had to explain these young concrete-grown Elves what Elven life really is. How things really were here, and how they are in the Dauriath. I think a tear betrayed my feeling, as my companions suddenly became silent.
Not long. There was a noise of a car, and blathers from tourists. We immediately know they are tourists, not simple visitors or travellers, with this way they have to pose themselves as the centre of a place, without any consideration for the other people or what is going on.
Soon, a guy entered the Dharsham room, dragging a woman and three children, all speaking in the same time without listening each other. We felt repelled in a corner, clearly he was the master, doing as if we were not here. So there still were people like that. We knew it, but seeing it for real is frightening.
He was explaining in a doctoral tone:
«This room was a temple from their religion. They were doing sacrifices here.
-Sacrifices? I was aghast.
-Yes, they ignored contraception, so that they had to offer their babies in sacrifice, to keep their population constant.»
The Elves we all looked each other... Who could spread such incredible lies?
I know I should not, but I still uttered:
«I lived here for 1200 years. I knew all the people who lived here. There were no sacrifices, this...»
The bloke immediately interrupted:
«We know there were. It is on the Nyidipedia internet site. They quote numerous studies by the best scholars.» Then he restarted speaking to his family, ignoring us. So, even encountering a direct witness did not changed his mind!
Indeed, in these twelve years, Humans had done fast progresses on the Internet, even if they still were on phone modems. So that, later on, back in the Dauriath, I would check that Nyidipedia site. And indeed these abracadabra accusations were here, quoting numerous «sources» and even «archaeologists» and «historians» repeating this disparaging fake new. Since Nyidipedia is a free participative encyclopedia, I was able to remove the accusations, and sign «Shamal Doreen Amaleen, Shelenaë priestess and direct witness of this epoch». Only three hours later my correction was reverted, under the pretext that I «quoted no sources». So they were corrupting the Internet, even before having it available for everybody!
I explained to my friends that in the Dauriath we have Internet encyclopedias too, but not all in the power of a single person like Nyidipedia is. They are instead a network of pages, with each their responsible, specialists of a domain, sharing the best available knowledge in this domain, either in a concise handbook way, or in varied more extensive progressive pedagogic forms. Then, a general committee, and many special ones, grants a seal to these pages, the margom. These pages are then listed in a Margom directory with links system organizing this huge source of knowledge. In only some years this system had become the basic reference, used by teachers, but also by numerous autodidacts, picking which or which knowledge they needed for their activities. We also decided to share the whole Internet for the two worlds. Save of course some dangerous stuff, or too private stuff. So that we really have no need of this amateurish Nyidipedia. That it tried to contradict us was totally ludicrous.
When this family went out, we felt the need to leave too. Their vibe had made the air toxic. They installed around the picnic table, blathering noisily and even putting horrible music, de facto taking the place for them alone. So that we had to move. Probably the loudspeaker is the most destructive invention ever. I know I should not use my magic for that, but that guy had a serious haemorrhoids crisis that evening (Note of the author: I know this is bad, but it's in the Bible. So deal with it) (and never piss off a Shelenaë priestess. You never know until where things can go).
We went in a place away of the farms, to look for the blue worms. The ancient MakTar circling path had long been forgotten, but some hiking paths were logically installed about in the same place, often finding the ancient platform. Happily nature was more lively here, and the few hikers we saw were more respectful of the silence. This was the forest, with birds, butterflies, and even several dragonflies. So these dear friends were still here! For the first time I had a feeling to really be in the Shamal again! It was still its delicious vibe, although diluted, as if thinned with water, or as of a sick child.
As we entered the woods, I explained my friends the Snakes Pact. They listened me dead serious, looking carefully where they walked, muttering the incantation with their lips. I was not sure the Pact was still effective, but I got no danger warning, at least not on our path.
We did not went far anyway, and found a spot with easy to dig humus. And they were here! small, and shy, but still genuine blue Shamal earthworms!! So the first part of the expedition was a success!
With them in several bags, my friends took their car again, and returned to Tyron, where they would be able to quickly wrap the worms in an urgent diplomatic suitcase, and from there in a plane to the Dauriath. In two days they would deliciously bury themselves in our sacred lands!
As to me, I remained in the inn, where they had booked a room for one week. I had to do my assessment of what remained of our magic.
When going to this bedroom, I had a strange surprise: the window was made of our round yellow glass pieces! Of course the wood had be replaced, with a plywood boards with holes cut away with a jigsaw. I immediately missed our familiar chisel marks. But the glass had remained intact for seven centuries! Probably this rare resource had been pillaged first, and used since by the farmers. The next day, when I asked about them, the inn keepers told me that only about a hundred such glass roundels remained, together with some «elven dishes» (in reality common ware that we had bartered from the Human village in the valleys). With the new fad for the Elves, all these items were reaching higher and higher prices. So that they would sell the glass, rather than keeping it in that window.
The next day, I started my work. For this, I had to stroll the whole plateau. The inn rented bicycles, a very convenient transportation mean. We have many of them in the Dauriath too, but our narrow foot paths are not always accepting them. Where I live, we have firm flat soil where they fare well, so I have one and I use it daily. For my purpose here, this bike would be much better, as I could meditate and feel the vibes, without the noise of a car. So I really started my work.
First problem I had, most of the places were inaccessible, as we had to go through private properties and fenced meadows, often with aggressive dogs and even dangerous bulls. Second problem, the roads had totally changed the overall plan of the land. Places which formerly were central were now relegated in dirty backyards, and virtually nothing remained of our former tendels and foot paths. The inn provided me with a plan for the places which were actually accessible, often arranged for tourists. Happily during the week these blokes were virtually absent, despite the efforts of the syndicate to attract more. A part of the former MakTar circumambulation path had been arranged for hikers. From here, moving some metres down slope allowed to find good meditation spots, so that I could do a kind of circumambulation too. In the ancient times, anybody wanting to meditate just had to sit anywhere, and people finding them immediately understood what they were doing, and respected their silence. But today sitting somewhere inevitably attracts bizarre behaviours, so that we need to do that out of sight.
The inn lady insisted that I bring a snake bite kit with me, because the forests were «dangerous». I hesitated, but felt that I had to accept it, to reassure her, despite I did not really needed it. Indeed I had several encounters, but each time I was warned well before any close approach. So the Pact was still working, at least for real Elves. And indeed poisonous snakes seemed more numerous, perhaps as a response to the countless aggressions against the ecosystem. The Arounal also reacted this way. Spirits of nature can be extremely dangerous when they realise they are to die.
The plan indicated an oolong (orthographied «o'long»). I was strangely happy that these were still around. I was not here for that, but when passing nearby, I did the detour.
What I found left me aghast.
Of course, the gaping hole had been fenced with a solid steel netting. Which was making sense, given the barely discernable danger for unsuspecting people, children, animals.
But there was a team of people there, with a van and several cars parked, all dressed in orange suits, with harnesses, helmets and lamps. They had installed a tripod with a pulley above the hole, and they were preparing to... descend in!!
So, even these fearsome monsters had been desecrated and tamed!
These people were cavers, speleologists. Some fundamental things may be changing everywhere, as cavers also appeared, nearby simultaneously, in the Dauriath, where we have some nice lava tubes showing strange concretions. So that, these people in the Nyidiath could not miss the fascinating mystery of the oolongs.
While I approached, I found myself in the way of one of their ropes manoeuvre. They politely asked be to step away. Which led us to engage conversation.
They seemed happy to share their knowledge, and this is how I learned what caused the oolongs, the underground rumbles, and the whole mystery under the mountain. In short, the Shamal is constituted of a 400 metres thick sturdy layer of hard sandstone, a billion years old and more. But it is topping much softer layers of shale, with even large lentils of gypsum. When the Humak mountain range surrected, about 40-50 millions years ago, a horst was cut, becoming the Shamal. The gypsum, finding itself above the water table, mostly dissolved, leaving huge caverns, with a solid sandstone vault. So we had lived on a hollow mountain! Since, the whole evolution of the mountain was about the slow creep of the shale to fill the caverns, under the tremendous weight of the above rocks, while water seeping in the caverns was slowly digging them deeper.
The sandstone was not monolithic, though. Faults played, opening here, closing there. This caused the oolongs, together with other features like taluses, where new oolongs sometimes formed. And a whole compartment of the mountain was slowly slipping toward the valley. At times, this produced small earthquakes, that we had noticed, and which were still happening. There even was a seismometer in the fenced area. This process was running since the mountain formed, and it had created the valleys cutting the Shamal in several petals.
I mentioned the strange feelings some people reported, while approaching the oolongs too close. Some sensed the ground suddenly tilting toward the dark chasm, or a strong desire to jump in. Others explained they felt that the abyss was horizontal and the safe place, while the ground around was vertical and dangerous, and they moved inside the hole thinking to be safe here! By our times, people explained these treacherous feelings by the demons living in the core of the mountain. The cavers listened at my descriptions, adding that these sensations were still reported, unchanged. Then they smiled, labelling them «spatial disorientation», pure neurological illusions, an ill matured reflex wrongly engraved by Evolution into our brains.
I had mixed feelings from these so prosaic explanations. There was no magic in there. At a pinch, I would prefer to find real demons in the belly of a living mountain, than mere geology and neurology. In a way, science was destroying the magic. Later on, once I went back in the Dauriath, I remembered of the Great Unification between science and spirituality. But this will not happen before centuries. After would take place the Great Wonder, after which will come an era of Light and superior happiness for everybody, beyond any attempt to define or describe it.
In the meanwhile, these abysses were still fascinating: the pathetic fate of the rocks, crushed by billions of tons and millions of years. Or the exciting endeavour of these really daring people, defying the vertiginous 400 metres verticals, to suddenly emerge in a huge obscure void where their lamps could not find the walls. I was now loving the oolongs, and hoped to feel one more time the mountain rumbling and moving.
I asked the cavers if they found skeletons in the bottom. They did not found any, as they were quickly dissolved and borne away. However some of the farmers used these holes to dump manure, trash, dead bodies, iron scrap, and even cans of pesticides. This was very dangerous, and had poisoned the edible water of the villages in the valleys. There had been malformed children, a years long legal procedure, and environment activist protesting. Dumping anything in the holes had been forbidden, but this continued in the hide. One of the purpose of the cavers was to find all the shafts, in order to stop this deleterious practice.
Understanding that, I put my memory at work, matching my remembering with the modern map. There was a policeman with them, who had a mandate to enter private properties. My indications quickly led him toward two more holes, forgotten in private backyards, and purposely hidden under shrub or junk. What happened after to their owners is their business, not mine.
Back to the cavers camp, they asked me how I could know the place of the missing wells.
I felt that I could speak to them.
«I was living here before the Exodus».
This statement immediately electrified the whole group. They suddenly understood that I was more than 700 years old (1900 to be exact), while looking something like 16 to 50, depending on the mood and on the light. This was fascinating to them, especially that I was knowing much more than they could read in books on the ancient Elfs. We had a long discussion, as they deeply wanted to know how it was before. I even did a sketch of our hongar houses, which surprised them a bit. Even such an important feature of our civilization had been forgotten! A «reconstitution» on Nyidipedia was inexact, but I shall not anymore worry about correcting Nyidipedia. Just I would prefer not to always find them coming first in every internet search.
Of course they asked if these stories of sacrifices were true. My denials made them relieved. They had well understood that this was not matching the spirit of the Elves. When later I asked to real scholars, they had found out that this lie appeared 260 years ago in a little known fiction novel. Since, many people, including scholars, were repeating this lie, quoting each other, and this made as many «academic sources» for Nyidipedia.
I realized that these cavers were the good brand of Humans, the ones building the future of the Nyidiath.
One of them even wanted to become an Elf, but he was not feeling ready to wear the Listal. He still asked for my benediction of Shelenaë priestess, what I did whole heartedly. In ancient times, we did that in temples with the whole attendance wearing ceremonious gowns and attires. I was in a denim trouser on the tarred parking lot, with these people in caver suits and parachute harness. But it worked exactly the same. I felt the guy shivering when I touched his shoulders for the ritual, as if Shelenaë Herself hugged him. We kept emailing long after I returned the Dauriath, and he recently met a wonderful Elve to be. This is the slow process, but I feel that the magic is on them. Most probably the slow process is much better for building an original elven persona. But we are patient, he he he!
I spent five busy days trying different meditation places all around the Shamal. Past the shock, I had to be able to feel the real vibration of it, of what remained of it, and which would be the way for a recovery. The good surprise was that a lot is still here, but pale and weakened, and hidden under more recent vibes.
I even had the visit of a raven! She (a female, I knew without seeing) circled around, as to look for me. Then she found an opening in the trees, and went through, right on me. She croaked merrily, but shyly kept some distance, before departing. This reminded me of my dear husband Iraen, priest of MakTar, whose representative often is a raven.
When my Tyron friends went back, the next weekend, we spent more time exploring the rare former villages which were still accessible, for remains and bits of information. We found more ancient caves, including the ones of my own village. That was another shock, since these caves changed little: for some seconds I felt as if things were still as in the time, my warm bed at only some steps, while I nearby heard the sweet songs of my friends in the nearby Dharsham room! But very few artefacts remained from our stay, due to our very natural way of life, and centuries of looting and search for «the secret gold reserves of the Elves».
Suddenly I had an odd feeling, as if there was a door in the wall, but no opening was visible! Examining more closely, we found that the wall had been covered in a very realistic way, but there was a hollow behind! Our first idea was to crack it open, but we reflected: what was behind may be too heavy or too visible to be evacuated safely. There indeed were some people around, and archaeologists may object, say our objects were fake, etc. So that the cache had to be opened in a safe way. Later on, in the Dauriath, I found the true owner of the house, who said that what was in the cache was not the archaeologist's business. So that my Tyron friends went later in the middle of the night, to open the cache, accompanied with one Elf scholar, and two Human university persons, for the historical record. It contained a lot of personal items, several music instruments, including a rare low pitch shkordzengo, called a shourgo (cello), still playable, and some invaluable mails from the life in the Shamal. We found that many other such caches existed, set just before the Exodus, of too large items to carry, in hope for an improbable future return. But most were in today private properties. So that we kept the whole affair secret, and even reconstructed the fake wall, in order to avoid a treasure hunt for other caches.
About horses, I found none of ours. There actually were two horse farms, and they had been numerous before tractors. But they were ordinary horses, of varied colours, unrelated to ours.
My Tyron friends had done an historical enquiry on what happened in the Shamal after our eviction. This was a difficult task, as there were many tendentious writings, which had to be excluded. In short, after the last Elves left, the Shamal was... left unoccupied, for nearby 80 years! So that this eviction had be in facts totally useless! We could still be up there, and never have disturbed anybody. It is only 80 years after the last evictions, that the loggers were close to the top of the plateau. That would have been a horrible sight, the mountain entirely shaved. Happily the forge masters switched to coal at this moment, putting an end to the destruction, before the loggers touched the highest woods on the slope. This made that there still was a continuity in the population of trees, a fringe of primary forest which never was touched. But very probably there had been a huge biodiversity loss.
When the first farmers installed on the top, they found the meadows still there, hinting that our horses may still be alive at that moment. But no mention of them exists anywhere, so that they probably disappeared soon before, or soon after. Either they were killed, or they stopped foaling. Poor horsies, that certainly was a horrible epoch for them, anyway.
For sure, anything remaining in our villages and tunnels was thoroughly pillaged by the first installed farmers. Even a match stick in the mud would not escape their greed, we joked. They took as fuel anything in wood, fabric or paper. Even invaluable documents and wonderful music instruments had no value to their eyes, so that they were just burned for heating. Six centuries later, few items of our time remained, but they were resurfacing, due to the fad for the Elves making them reaching high costs. So there were «elven plates» and «harp chords» in antique shops. There even was an affair with a «skorzengo», but the vendor declined to have it dated with carbon14...
Farming in the top of the Shamal knew more bad fortunes than good ones, mostly due to climate change. The later makes that today mostly cow farms remain, living off-ground with imported food. Due to climate, the herds have to be confined in stables for at least two months each winter. Most of these farms are in facts unsustainable, existing only from massive government subsidies. The hardest blow, thought, was when they poisoned their own springs of edible water, with their pesticides and antibiotics. They also had to bear our own protective egregore, still operating without control, making them accumulate bad lucks and untimely deaths. And this despite we left clear instructions on how to control it, when the last Elves departed. My friends even had located this document in the ancient Tyron archives. But apparently nobody took it seriously!
I spent my second week in Tyron. There were dozens of new Elves and Elves to be, many of them totally ignorant of the elven customs and ways of life. I even had a fierce Elve telling me that «sacrifices were stuff of the past»! So that I had many things to explain, and centuries of lies to debunk.
Each evening were conferences in different places, mostly in private places because we did not wanted to attract public attention. Some asked me if they had to do their «coming out», this meaning revealing loud and clear they were Elves and taking hard stands on elven matters. I requested them more moderation, to avoid totally useless bad reactions.
What we actually needed was not making fuss, but working on better knowing what being an Elf entails, building more community bonds, and learn spirituality (about which many strange ideas were also circulating, like of course orgies in the Elven temples). My authority of millennia old Shelenaë priestess was an invaluable help, to better centre the motivations, start a serious spiritual work, and dispel all the false ideas about spirituality. The most common odd idea, after the orgies, was that we had to be chaste to be a priestess. I had to show them picks of my husband on the Internet.
There also were a lot of misconceptions on karma, meditation, etc. Clearly serious teaching were needed, in a Shartan where spirituality was still heavily taboo and persecuted.
In Tyron itself, the Revolution had produced massacres of clerics, and the systematic destruction of any religious artifacts or buildings. Of course, as everywhere else, this so-called worker's revolution extolling social equality had been very easily recuperated by the rich class. They had, of course, expunged any ideal from it. But they had maintained the persecutions against religion, spirituality and magic! Them, at least, has understood that genuine spirituality is liberator, and so they did everything to smother it, under the easy pretext of the past religious abuses. Article 6 of the Surrender and Contrition Act had, in theory, restored spiritual freedom, but it still happened, even in Tyron, that practitioners had their children taken away, or were refused financial loans.
Repression and censorship of spirituality are extremely dangerous situations, conducive to sects and fanaticism. In fact, several groups were already offering false teachings, to be paid in real money (or in «horizontal yoga» for women). Some were even fiddling with Elvenhood, claiming to be the only true Elves!
And of course the class in power, in its stubborn censorship of true spirituality, was inversely encouraging the sects and «new spirituality», while hypocritically claiming to apply article 6!
It was therefore essential to give basic spiritual teachings, and to remove any credit to the many false teachings. But in the beginning, this should be done discreetly, during «Elf culture» evenings. These teachings are missing from our Internet encyclopedia, the Margom, because for us they are obvious. But new Elves, and aspiring Elves, have an urgent need to understand elvenhood and how it operates. And also the elven love, still very poorly known, on which many lies also are running wild, between puritanism and anything goes.
Another common delirium was that prehistoric tribes were natively Elves, but they lost their Elvenhood and became Humans, when they started eating wheat, because it contains gluten (variants accused electricity, or mathematics, or writing, or money, or whatever). The «conclusion» followed with a relentless logic: it was enough to abandon gluten to become an Elf! (or any other in the list). There even were people claiming to be Elves simply from abandoning bread! One of these blokes even dared to show up in one of my meetings! But he could even not sustain my stare, and he scampered off before the end. In a general way, I had to explain how prehistoric people really were: ignorant, superstitious, dirty, violent, cruel. And our own Human ancestor of the Blue Mountains as much as the others. We were still having hand writings from direct witnesses of this epoch, and more were being recovered from caches in the Blue Mountains and elsewhere in the Nyidiath. We purposely left Human archaeologists discover these, at the condition that everything is disclosed.
Most of these new Elves were also still having a job. They asked if they should quit it, and how to live without this income. I replied too with more insight: whatever economy system we adopt, we still need to provide a substantial contribution to the other people living in it with us. Quitting our job then entails to have our own elven economy, our workshops, our farms, our docks, etc. and to live in these without money. But this needs a lot of preparedness, and anyway more work, in facts. On the other hand, still contributing to the general Human economy brings interesting results, like a faster transition for everybody. This made that the Elders Council recommanded this second solution, while also supporting the first and providing tools for it (Margom page here). So that our decision is in the hands of each of us.
Indeed some had already started various forms of cooperatives, to escape the grip of the ego economy, or simply to avoid unemployment, while not completely severing the links with the society at large.
Another common set of questions was about science and technology. There was a whole lot of prejudices on the relationship between them and Elvenhood. One of the most common was that Elves were living without technology, see that technology would be incompatible with Elvenhood. Our crushing technological advance in the Horiathon Battle was a huge surprise for everybody, and even for many real Elves in both worlds. So that people had to understand that Elves are not defined by the context, but by their capacity to be successful in any context.
The serious questions about science were about the huge desecrations it had performed, with bringing material explanations on many things we thought were magic, or by refusing to see real magic when it happens. I explained that we must think at science as a positive thing, while keeping aware that it had been built as a weapon against the religions. This resulted in a subtle but unfathomable bias: materialism, the idea as what is «material» exists, and what is «immaterial» would not exist. This is how this Human science went unable to grasp at consciousness, ethics, magic, Elvenhood, the afterlife. This created this unbalanced science, very good in technology, but unable to find any meaningful direction to this technology. And today Human academia are still actively digging that gap, as they are still funded by government defending the power of the rich, the former forge masters class. And thus they actively fight liberator ideas, such as the recognition of consciousness.
Our own technology race in the Dauriath did not escaped this problem. We had to do that, or the world would be today ravaged by war, or even worse a smiling totalitarian society entirely and definitively under the control of a very few. Our Horiathon Battle victory averted both.
However with the receding spectra of war and totalitarianism, we are coming to the point where we need to correct the course of our science, to unite it with magic and spirituality, instead of ignoring them. This does not preclude it from advancing even further, though. But in some centuries, science knowledge will appear futile, with the ultimate spread of magic, when the Great Wonder will happen.
I explained that is a bit too soon to disclose how we intend to do that. But in short it is based on a reflexion on a General Epistemology, for the method, and on the logical self-generation, for a single theory apprehending both matter and consciousness. This allows to understand how they can interact, what we call magic.
In the time being, the best thing people have to do is to become better, study spirituality, and raise awareness of vibes. This would be one of the priority activities here in Tyron and in the Shamal. Later on, other guidelines would be released, for people interested more specifically in the relationship between science and magic. Although they can already join our Internet forums opened for this purpose.
A young lady asked if what happens to Humans trying to rape an Elve was true. My «yes» brought a silence. In ancient times, collective rapes took place, which could not be avoided, as done under threat of killing husbands and children. But the rapists all got an appalling magical punishment. Same happens to persons betraying the love of an Elf or an Elve. MakTar and Shelenaë never removed the magic for that. But these magical methods were not irreversible, leaving room for healing, in case of a redemption. I added that, today, with modern democracy and state of law, irreversible methods like mutilation are highly forbidden. But, well, it it is the only way for a woman to escape her own destruction... the old warning still holds.
I had too an unexpected request: to come back with a set of our ancient music instruments, flutes, harp, and of course the shkordzengo! I replied, yes, of course, but for that we need to bring a whole orchestra! So there really was a demand for our ancient culture. The new Nyidiath Internet, in full expansion, did not yet allowed for streaming music, but they were already able to download mp3 music files from our Dauriath sites, at the slow drip of their phone modems, one hour for each. They played some, and seemed to love them a lot. They asked, how we dance on them! Actually we dance only in some special events, not everyday. And we have no defined dance patterns, just letting our bodies react to the music. They seemed puzzled, and I had to explain them how to do that.
The last weekend was consecrated to the Arounal Humak. Going up there was more complicated, we had to leave our car in a parking lot, climb it by foot, until a refuge that we had booked for two night. Which did not avoided two unexpected hikers to come for one night, stopping our elven discussions. But their discussion on the ecology on the mountain was worth this inconvenience.
The overall shape of the Arounal was much better, and it closely resembled what I knew when I visited it before the Exodus. Still the vibe was very strong! But of course nothing remained of the houses. The Elves here also had hongars like ours, but lighter and on stilts (because of boars), rather than half buried like ours. So not even holes remained. Just some flat stones in a pattern may have been placements for stilts. One of us had brought a metal detector, and we indeed found a piece of rust which was roughly in the shape of an adze or hoe. Loggers also targetted the Arounal, but they were still far from the top when the switch to coal occurred. So we still have here a primary forest! Hunting had brought its toll, though, and the bears were extinct since one century, with probably many other smaller animals. And, as often in injured ecosystems, the opportunists like the boars were pullulating, and they were listed as one of the hazards hikers may encounter. We did not met any, but we spotted some fresh nests. They were one of the reasons to make a reserve from the Arounal.
When I finally departed, We had a moving good bye session in the Tyron airport. We Elves are quick to create deep friendship bonds, and several of us cried when I went through the boarding gate. These had been two very intense weeks for everybody!
This two week travel allowed me for a good estimate of the state of our egregores in the Shamal Humak and Arounal Humak mountains, former home of the Shamal and Arounal Sylvan Elves tribes.
Despite considerable damages, the egregores are still here. But they are weakened, and still threatened in the Shamal.
The Arounal Humak is better preserved, but it developed a sense of hostility toward any person, Human or Elves. Attempt of repopulation seems excluded for now, as the Human government of Kondo is planning to make a biodiversity reservation of it. In more the cooling climate eliminated most of the food resources we had before the Exodus, making life unsustainable. My recommendation is to embrace the Human's government project, and make of the Arounal a Ger, reserve of nature life used only for spiritual purposes or science purposes. Still reinstallations of small groups seem possible lower in the slopes, where there are abandoned farms for sale. There already is such a project, but lacking both funds, work force, and knowledge of our Elven life style. If done, such a place can be a discreet retreat centre or a study centre. There is a serious lack of such places in the Nyidiath today, so that I recommend spiritual support for this group. The leaders are sincere, but with some bizarre persons among the members.
The Shamal Humak has seen extensive destructions of its magic, with several causes:
- Clear cutting of the forests in most of the slopes.
- Occupation by bad people torturing and slaughtering animals, and living in dirty ugly houses.
- Systematic grass shaving, drastically reducing life. Insects, flowers and birds were much less present. I could not see if there were less species, or if just individuals were less numerous. A biodiversity assessment is in progress by the local Elf community associated with scientists of the Tyron university, to list all the remaining species. But this is a slow process, by lack of means.
- Presence of bad brands of tourists, attracted by a local syndicate. The Tyron community will try to contact that syndicate, to switch to a more respectful ecotourism, but I felt they have little chances of any results with that syndicate.
- Poisoning of the springs with pesticide and manure, totally killing their ecosystem down to the ground bacteria. Some healthy places remain, though, as seeds for a rebirth. But they can still be destroyed in any time, so that they need urgent access forbidding. This is an ongoing fight, needing spiritual support and if possible diplomatic intervention.
- Desecration by careless scientific explanations of its mysteries. This can be fixed only with the Great Unification of science and spirituality. Waiting for that, we can foster a more romantic way of presenting things.
- Anyway the cooling of the climate brought its own toll on food resources and biodiversity. There is no way to reconstitute a numerous community as in former times. In more the land is occupied, and we cannot expel these people just as we were expelled ourselves.
The egregore is still there, though. It can be helpful for restoring a sensed life up there. But it is in any case urgent to regain control of it, because an abandoned egregore can be very dangerous. I estimated it is still killing many persons each year: suicides, unknown diseases, improbable accidents, and of course the snakes. One of its purpose was defence, remember.
My recommendation is to avoid any attempt of repopulation of the Shamal for now. Such attempt will be limited anyway, due to severe narrowing of food resources. What we can actually do is:
- Send a permanent presence of ancient Elfs in Tyron, to help educate the new Elves here, who badly need it. Many are in various stages of transition, from mere positive Human to still fragile Elf. This group is very vulnerable to lies, manipulations, false leaders, false Elfs. This is very dangerous.
- Yet immigration laws would not allow to send many people. So maybe a couple in Tyron, a couple for the Shamal project, and another one for the Arounal project. For more presence, there must be a kind of rotation, due to limited visa numbers. This problem should ease in some years.
- Make a phone modem version of our Margom Internet encyclopedia, to help self-education of Nyidiath people in economy, culture and History of the Sylvan Elfs and other Elf communities.
- Reconstitute our egregore locally, with ritual and art events.
- An idea floated around would be to protect the remaining ruins of our villages, while discretely recovering some caches of personal belongings and documents, left before the Exodus. This must be considered a secret, to avoid a treasure hunt. We already found traces of digging in some places, the idea that we had huge gold reserves is hard to debunk. Few realize that in our time, the iron of a hoe was a hundred times more precious than the same weight of gold.
- Due to the poverty of the farms in the Shamal, land is cheap. However a concerted buy would create speculation, so that it is better to simply renew ownership as it would naturally happen. We already found two farms disused by their heirs. They are enough to establish a permanent presence in the Shamal. The first can become a permanent display of a reconstituted village with hongars and tunnels. The second can be more discrete and seemingly unrelated to Elves. Ideal for a secret temple, as it can be accessed discretely from the first place. Some business savvy Elves proposed that the owners should not disclose their elvenhood, appearing as some estate business, renting the place to the declared Elves. They already set some companies like that, well before the Horiathon battle, to protect Elves from expropriations.
- Such a secret place in the Shamal would allow to have a hoxar, control point for the egregore. The former Shelenaë temple was used for that, but there is no hope of recovering this place in the short term, surrounded as it is with roads and prosaic houses. Perhaps the syndicate may love to see it rebuilt, but certainly not used.
-The farm buying project in the Arounal will also allow to base a temporary hoxar. But ultimately I would recommend to have it in one of the hidden valleys. The government is still afraid of the hornaks, and it is forbidding access to cavers. But this should ease too in some years.
- Hongars reconstituted in the Shamal would be a landmark for the elven culture. For this we need to send some carpenters knowing how to build them. This can be done fast. We can build one in a workshop, or in a garden, and disassemble it to rebuild it later when we have a spot.
- Include our implicit spiritual bases in our Margom Internet encyclopedia, to train the new Elves, and avoid them painful mistakes. We also need to inform candidate Elves, to better know our customs and way of life, and how Elvenhood works, before they engage in the transformation process. I created a work chatroom for this, but this has to be a collective endeavour, with peer review, before applying for the Gomdam.
- Do «something» about several Internet sites purposely spreading lies. I started this interesting work, but cannot complete it alone.
Amaleen ended writing her report on her laptop, and sent it via email to the people who needed it. Then she walked toward her garden, smiling, with her cute gait that I love so much. She had a virtual garden too, but never it will replace a real garden with earth and living growing plants.
For months I pondered. As all genuine lovers always do, Amaleen never made a single proposal, even not any suggestion or innuendo. So that my decision was entirely mine.
It happened that these times in the Dauriath I was free. Of course I could find numerous useful activities to get in, but nowhere I was indispensable.
I used this freedom to travel a bit, and to visit the Arlit, the part of the Dauriath not visible from the Nyidiath, where had been developed an Elven life with full modern technology. I was amazed by all what I saw, like fast trains, large bridges, huge temples, fantastic factories, robots, rocket launch pads, radio telescopes, and much more. But the most important point was that people here still are Elves, real Elves, as much living in the marvel than we used to do in our ancient wild Shamal. Just in a very different way, in a different context. I realized that never again I would like to live in the mud, under leaking roofs. The Elves up there had arranged much more comfortable ways of life, while still being connected to nature, at their doorstep. A well tended, lively and entirely poetical nature.
And especially, a totally safe nature: nowhere we had to be wary of snakes, boars, or any other dangerous animals, even not wasps! No need for any Snakes Pact! At worse, some biting insects or poison plants had made their way here, brought by the birds. But they were few and it was easy to protect oneself.
In fact, we used the same method as the Snakes Pact, but for a much more radical purpose: eliminating any predation, instead of just protecting ourselves from it. This is how the said Pact was so useful in the Dauriath, and our Sylvan Elves contribution so essential.
And the whole nature was thanking us for this wonderful peace, with a joyful and pure vivacity, a luminous happiness approaching the angelic vibrations! The whole nature was a temple, a paradise, and all the animals were becoming elves! And, despite expectations, it was stronger in the technological Arlit, with the ethereal vibration of the virtual worlds, than in the more terrestrial Undar, where we had just recreated our ancient world of the Nyidiath.
This total confidence in nature allowed for a thing we never really enjoyed in the Shamal: to freely wander anywhere in Nature, even in the night, while feeling totally safe and at peace. No need to be wary of any dangerous presence, even not in a corner of our meditation. No risk either of stepping on harrowing scenes, like snakes swallowing frogs alive, blood stained soil, torn away animal corpses smelling like hell. Not even a chance of being lost in the forest, since there were wandering paths everywhere, with discreet signs at each crossing.
If I preferred, I could enter virtual worlds, and explore forests of rainbow crystal and houses of diaphanous flowers, well beyond the beauty of nature, at a level we could never imagine in ancient times. Although the feeling of liveliness could not be really imitated, so that it was good to alternate with real plants. I had many Internet friends in the Arlit, and, physically visiting them for the first time, I found them living in modern houses with pastel hued walls, and attending ceremonies in marvelously painted flower shaped temples. No way we could even dream of that in the ancient Shamal.
When we departed from the Shamal, we all thought we would return some day, and resume our lives there, unchanged. But so many new things appeared since! I slowly realized that our experience in the past Shamal as we knew it would never happen again. What the future of this place would be, we have no idea yet. But it is not forbidden to make projects.
What brought my decision was a visit to our son Mandë, and his wife Milly. I knew her as a mischievous teen scouting in our forest. But she grew to something totally different, that we could never imagine. Today Milly is more powerful than a queen, yet having totally mastered her ego, she is the total opposite of a despot. She is now the Ahram Itan: her body and mind are the receptacle of the spirit of her three islands, Milly Mountain. (Pronunciation: i as in it, and tan as the color). Touching the soil anywhere is like touching her, and as a matter of facts she knows everything happening in her islands. She is able to instantly locate anybody, and she know their intents, their desires, and even she knows who will love who, before they meet (Although she avoids to tell them without motive, in order to avoid abusing such a power). She also brilliantly masterminded the defense of her islands during the Horiathon Battle, as a great strategist would do, astonishing even the elite Elven soldiers who came to help.
Usually she receives people in a large circular building set for her, surrounded by mages and scribes, leisurely sitting on cushions in an ordinary cup-shaped rattan armchair. She wore a simple blue trouser and a mauve T-shirt with just some discreet embroideries. She was still cute as the teen she once was, with her ball of curly blonde hairs and her innocent smile. Until she started to stare at you and then you felt her power. She also wandered tirelessly all around her three islands, knowing everybody and always appearing when needed. Some say she teleports, although nobody could prove it.
Mandë, by contrast, had remained very discreet, clothed in a dark blue gown under his black hairs, and you would think he just was one of her numerous secretaries. This is what he was physically doing, but he was much more than that: balancing and ordering her immense energy. He was her lover, as even powerful beings need simple things of life, like smiles and open arms to sleep in. Much likely he is an ancient Elf of old, who reincarnated in order to help in these critical moments. This explaining his totally unexpected contributions to our Dharsham. A messenger of the future he was, coming from a distant past.
Usually, in an audience, Milly replies a lot of questions, in one or two sentence for each. Not a short expeditious sentence, but something round, complete, leaving everybody satisfied, or imprinting her strong energy in our hearts, in case an effort was needed. As an exception, she received me in her private home, where we shared her short meal. After all, I am her «love father» ((Note of the author: Elves do not say «father in law», since they do not have legal marriage)). This counts all the more, since she is an orphan, and with Amaleen we are her only remaining family. In the same time Mandë took some time out with his first mother Amaleen, in his wonderful flowers garden.
Milly spoke of the future of the Shamal, and seemed to foresee a lot about it. She said things which would be unpleasant said at blank point, but she was bringing her sweet energy to help accept them and even love them. Milly was an expert of «open heart surgery», repairing all griefs and worries. In a nutshell, the Shamal was no longer our place. Some of us will return, of course, but they would never find back the Shamal as it once was. Certainly its nature and egregore will be repaired, with time. But the climate change had drastically reduced its food resources, 5000 persons at best for the Shamal, and nearby zero for the Arounal. So that the future of theses places was much better as seed places to recreate nature in the Nyidiath, for the people of the Nyidiath.
Her meal finished, we moved to the round audience room, where her assistants were gathering.
«Thou saidst "people of the Nyidiath", without separating Elves and Humans, I remarked.
- Of course, she smiled. Remember, all the Humans will turn Elves, even in still centuries ahead. But the best way to make it happen faster, is to think and act as if it was already done.»
Then she added:
«Doing ecumenical pillow battles with the Humans», and some of the mages laughed a bit.
- Oh I would like to see that, I replied.
- I already did», she concluded with her most mischievous smile.
And just as naturally as a child starting to play, she declared her audience open, with a dozen people waiting for questions, or bearing files to discuss.
That evening, in our guest bedroom with Amaleen, I was hyper excited with Milly's energy, explaining what could be done to repair the Shamal, educate the new Elves in Tyron, etc. She was heeding me, nodding at times, while remaining her nose on her laptop.
«Do they have good houses as in the Arlit? I asked.
- Yes, technically as good. But the problem is aesthetics.
- We can paint a room, can't we?
- Yes, but...»
Suddenly an horrible sound arose from her laptop. It was like the first time I used an electric drill on a wooden chair: I was not wary of the recoil, and the whole mess started to rotate wild, takaklonk takaklonk. In more, seemingly, a mentally retarded guy shouting insults his lungs out.
«What is that? I asked, petrified.
- They call this music, and even freedom of expression. They pick idiots out of delinquents districts, they pay them more than a whole worker's life to blatter three minutes like that, and after, they trumpet this everywhere in town, as if there was no other things to hear in the whole universe. Happily the Tyron Elf gang found some calmer place for somebody from the Dauriath to inhabit. But thou understandst that going to live in the Nyidiath is not a pleasure and fun, it is... sacerdotal.
- Are there other... inconveniences like that?
- There is nothing worse yet, but they are working on it.»
I needed some days to digest the rap. But the sweet energy instilled by Milly and her husband, our son Mandë, ended to take over.
Back in our Dauriath home, we spoke of the immigration laws in Tyron. Our purpose was not to become citizens, but still to be residents for many years. Tyron had kept a mood of Elf-friendliness, but a reactionary parliament, frightened by the perspective of an «invasion of Elves», had established many restrictive conditions for foreigners and migrants: having an income, paying for the Social Security (even if we did not needed it), not to be involved in companies or land estates, aaark no religion, and especially never meddle into politics or syndicates. In short, play hurdy-gurdy, do Elven macrame, and shut up. Worse of all, the administration could remove the visa at any time without giving a motive. So the risk was great that, even if we complied to all the conditions, they would never let us complete any useful activity.
Ok, but this was without accounting with our fully restored magic. We no longer used it to throw stones on somebody at 10kms, but that was still leaving many more discreet ways. Very discreet indeed, but pin point accurate. Some already learned it at their expenses.
We finally get enrolled in a five year university program, for ecology studies of the Humak mountains, and their conservation. They needed ancient inhabitants for a comparative study, and the wealth of information we were still holding. In more, we were not officially collaborators, only interviewees. That was a very good cover, and interesting on itself, while leaving us a lot of freedom for our own business.
Visas were obtained in one month, a record speed.
This is how we found ourselves in a plane to the Nyidiath, things naturally rolling and presenting themselves, without I took any formal decision.
I already took the plane before, but while crossing above the Horiathon we were graced with a fantastic sunset between two layers of the Hoob, the pancakes pile cloud formation which often surrounds the Uvol, the central vortex around the Horiathon neck. It was like peering in the mouth of an oven, yellows and reds of fire between two purplish dark gray lips. The pilots did a slow barrel roll, so that everybody could see, of either side of the plane. This was possible with an airliner, in the low gravity here. Then the Sun disappeared behind the neck, and from this moment the network of cities lights on the Nyidiath grew in size, while we approached the ground at some 45° angle. Only later we found back a more horizontal flight attitude. All this time I could not detach my eyes from the window, while my sweet Amaleen peered too, reclining on me. Voyages in plane are a fantastic thing, and we never were blasé of the stunning ever changing view through the windows.
Finally Newtel-Tellutaar was in sight. What struck me is that there were many more lights than in our places. Only the surrounding of our main temples are lighten that bright.
We had to wait until 4am to board the flight for Tyron, which had been delayed. The airport waiting room was better that I feared. There was no ugly music, but sweet voices giving information at times. Suits were varied and colorful, from surrounding countries, with even Humans clothed in Elf style! I hoped to visit Tellutaar, where sits the largest ancient Shelenaë temple, but our visas did not allowed us to get out of the airport compound.
Finally we boarded the Tyron plane. It was one of the first jet airliners built by Humans, recognizable with its cylindrical body instead of shuttle shaped. I was less confident, lol, but actually these planes have a good safety record, from the experience of Human engineers with piston engines airliners. We were in the central alley, without windows, so that we missed the view on the sunrise over the Shamal. Still the crew told us we were 8000 meters above it, while starting our descent toward Tyron. It was a strange feeling, and by the time never I would imagine such a situation.
We were greeted in the Tyron airport by representatives of the University, department of nature conservation, and by several new Elfs from Tyron. Well, if you relied on clothing, it was hard to guess who was an Elf or a Human, all wearing the same simple trousers and T-shirts. Happily their vibe was telling much more. But these Humans were also better than the average, from this point of view. We were still dressed in our Dauriath togas, attracting a lot of glances and staring, but seldom hostile. People were starting to get accustomed!
The very first impression was a lot of deference from the Tyron Elves, with smiling but shy politeness from the Human scholars. So our reputation of terrible High Elves was still here, he he he he! These scholars probably knew already that I am a MakTar priest, that is somebody not to fool with. But actual Elven friendship and ease soon took over, and we already started joking while joining the parking lot.
First joke topic was getting me in a car! Amaleen had dully warned me, but seeing traffic for real was another story! Well, I quickly got accustomed to what seemed an elegant ballet with death, but Amaleen had not mentioned trucks! So, I could not retain a scream, when a big honking semi-trailer ran straight on us, before halting at a stop sign! They laughed, but not me, that was scariest than the Duke's henchmen taking us out of the Shamal! But the most horrible moment certainly was when that university guy told us that he had booked driving lessons for us, as soon as the next week!
«Well, we ride dragons, Amaleen replied, so we should manage a car.
-But dragons are living beings, they will not blindly run into a wall», I said.
The ensuing laughter finished to make the ambient friendly. Well, actually, we have excellent jetliner pilots. So we should master cars very well.
And actually, dragons do not exist in the real world, but there are so many movies on Elves riding dragons and doing many other nonsensical things, that it had become a common archetype, even in the Dauriath, ha ha ha!
The meal was another ordeal. We were invited in the university cafeteria, but many dishes had meat in them, and it was not easy to know which. The professors looked a bit sorry, but they helped, asking the cooks to put «meat» labels. We were still in our Dauriath clothes, and attracting a lot of attention, despite avoiding gestures and speaking at low voice. When we had our meal trays ready, the cooks started to remove the labels, but the students coming after us protested noisily, to keep that labels! The professors used their authority to keep the labels after all. The cooks looked very angry, but they did not dared to reply. This was for us a very interesting introduction to the life in the Nyidiath, between hopes of progress and gross reaction. Many of these students were too young to know how it was before the Horiathon Battle: clothed like that, we would be thrown in jail straight away.
One of the professors was astonished on how fast our visas were granted. He explained that the chief of staff in the immigration office was an Elf hater, and he first refused. But he was struck with a severe hemorrhoid crisis, so that a subordinate clerk signed instead, seeing no valid objection. I had a glance at Amaleen, who was doing her innocent look.
In the afternoon, we had a first conference in an university amphitheater, where we were requested to tell how we lived in the Shamal. The professors told us before the start: no magic, no religion, no spirituality. But they were keen in archaeology and ecology. Which was fascinating enough by itself. I used a lot the memories I received from Grand-grandma Bimigard, explaining how, with so much astuteness and perseverance, starting with stone axes and branch huts, we slowly built a very comfortable life up there. I had prepared a presentation slides show of our Dauriath hongars, and I even brought a shkordzengo! They were all deliciously surprised, and the feet taptaped in the whole amphitheater when I played a short tune! They were astonished on how nice and well finished our houses were, with so poor means as snake molts for the windows. From molts, questions moved on how the Shamal is dangerous today, with all these deadly snakes. Amaleen replied that this imbalance was caused by the severe ecological destruction, a thing they also had scientifically established themselves. But, as requested, she did not indicated the role played by our defensive egregore, still running out of control, centuries later. And trying to eliminate the polluting farmers...
Some students asked if the Snakes Pact was true. we could not avoid to reply yes, nobody was never bitten, save in the very beginning where we were not yet aware of the danger. The professors did not allowed this conversation to veer on the spiritual side, but everybody was quite aware that there was more than ecology in this.
After the conference, several teachers, researchers and students remained, asking myriads of questions as if they wanted all the conferences in one. But at a moment, something curious happened. We were only a dozen left, and when a precise professor went out, the others whispered together, and one went to close the door on us and the remaining students. Then he explained at low voice:
«Officially, in a science setting, we cannot allow discussions on magic and spirituality. But now we are here in private, and I must say several of us are puzzled or interested by some things we saw. We would like to learn more, but not in the university premises I think.»
We were first surprised by this demand, and could not reply at once, since we had not enough time. We just confirmed that the Snakes Pact owed essentially to magic, although this kind of magic existed well before us, and it is relatively easy to do, even for basic Humans.
Happily work had begun on the Margom Internet pages intended for new Elves starting their spiritual life, and made by former Humans: they knew better than native Elves what are the traps on the path to become an Elf. Indeed there was some stuff I could not imagine! This was still a work in progress, but it was actively fostered and checked by the elite of high spirituality in the Dauriath. I had myself contributed as peer reviewer for some pages. Amaleen even had led the two first months of work, before the Elven Council took the relay.
One even asked on the strange prospect of the unification of science with spirituality, Tantras with Quantas as he said. Here we were a bit short for replies, and there was only one candidate Margom page waiting for certification. But these guys were not deterred by the difficulties of such a thing. After all, one had contributed to the unification of the weak atomic force with electromagnetism, so that he was just waiting what next.
But no Human University would support these discussions before decades, Milly warned me. So we needed another place, for these scientists to exchange safely with the Dauriath. But the Human Internet was not safe, I said, so that we needed a dish antenna for a direct link with the Dauriath Internet. They laughed: the Tyron university department of computer science had designed the best encryption systems. Just they did not wanted to work from the University, as computers are not private here, and their content can be checked. Especially, the majority of the University professors were still actively hostile to spirituality, and they would scuttle the project, and even attack whoever they would find engaged in. So a silent think group was way better.
Well, since this would be a joint endeavor, we would need to create a virtual place, secret for now. Or even visas for the Dauriath, this was a relevant motive. And a good revenge over the car driving lessons, when we ask them to ride horses.
In the meanwhile, they had more immediate concerns: the archaeology department wanted to protect all the remaining elven artifacts in the whole Humak range. That is, mainly, our caves. They had started a legal battle for this, and they needed a complete map of them. I did not mentioned the caches, but this was a very good step into recovering them. They would get that map very fast, for sure.
But I was a bit dizzy: I clearly not expected that things would go so far, so fast. That was vertiginous.
The evening in the Elf center was memorable too.
They had finally chosen a name for it: Daur Lysaer, Clear place of the rainbow pastel hues. And they had started painting several rooms like that! And it was definitively not like in a hongar... Happily I already saw stuff like that in the Arlit, so I was prepared. But for Amaleen, it was a revelation, ha ha ha! She first looked very surprised, but finally she loved it. She even whispered in my ear «Totally beginner Elves learning new Elven beauty to seasoned ancient Elves of old, this is a prettily nice omen!». I myself finally found the vibration much more elvish than our former dark gray homes, that we just faithfully copied in the Dauriath, from nostalgia, without looking for other styles.
The group looked better too, Amaleen told me. Some bad apples were gone, replaced with new nice faces. One of them explained us that the pastel hues did the sorting! Well, I understand that evil minds cannot bear these luminous, merry and colorful vibes, hi hi hi hi!
We played merry music, alternating shkordzengo and flute by Amaleen, with beautiful chants they had prepared, and mp3 downloaded from the Dauriath. Some of the later featured electronic synthesizers. Before, I was barely interested by this kind of music, but then I had to admit that, in able hands of true artists, it could express a much higher vibe than our wood and metal instruments. It was not called space music at random!
This time we could not refuse to show them our ancient Shamal dances! That was a good laugh! They had some good Human dances too. Dance is an universal language.
And they merrily told us that they managed to have a car available for us, part time, so that, as soon as we get our driving licenses, we would be able to go in the Shamal when we wanted! I expressed my «gratitude» with a grin which made them laugh!
Of course, there would never be cars in the Dauriath. And our future of magic will end up making them useless in both worlds. But waiting for it, we had to live with them, in the Nyidiath.
So it was a fantastic party, all in songs and laughter, that they never had before. Clearly, our presence was a catalyst! They told us later that being taken seriously by ancient High Dauriath Elves was an invaluable help and encouragement for them.
Also, our Margom pages, and Amaleen's emails, were paramount into doing some choices right. When we open our mind, this also opens many new paths, of which some are dangerous traps. Our help avoided them years of painful try and mistakes.
But the most efficient bad apples sorting method certainly was putting labels «contains gluten» on their food. Such a simple trick would be sung and celebrated in the millennia to come, as the utmost achievement of Elven craftiness: how the new car-driving Elves slain the demons of conspiracy theories and fake ecology!
«Nenashtae itar narrh Shamal Humak!»
Amaleen and me startled with surprise, turning toward the guy who uttered that.
«Welcome back in the Shamal mountains», he translated with a broad smile, for the ones who did not understood. But we perfectly understood, and apparently most of the new Elves knew what this was about: he was a Shkerxes, one of the people of the valley, who once lived under the Shamal, speaking their strange and guttural language. So they were still here! We congratulated, and told our stories to each other.
In short, after the Queen Valeva III took nearby their entire land, the few of them who were still in the Duke's side all moved in her land in one single night, to escape the Duke's tyranny. Here, they thought at claiming independence from the Tyron Kingdom. But they never did, on a simple argument: they would be unable to resist the new Duke, who would not miss this opportunity to regain the whole region. So, instead, they re-established their council system, and told the emissaries of King Aymar IV (son and successor of Valeva III) that to allow them to live in their way was the cost for their loyalty. This deal was never formally written, but it remained in force until the Revolution.
At the Revolution, a squad of People's Phalanx came in their valleys, in order to «free» them from their own councils! When the only two survivors of that squad showed back in Tyron, tied together under the same yoke, one walking forward and one walking backward, the people here realized that only their pusillanimity had allowed for all the violence of the Revolution. They started to fight back, easily overthrowing that cruel but not courageous Revolution.
Modern times had seen roads and some industries in the valleys, especially around the zinc mine. On politics, this time it was Kondo, the new Tyron country, which set the new deal: the Shkerxes were allowed with their own official parliament, at the condition that they accept several Human Rights values stemming from the Revolution, especially genders equality. They had to accept, like it or not. The story says that their women threatened then with a bed strike, although no epoch document confirms this.
The Shkerxes hated the farmers living above them in the plateau, who had poisoned their springs and caused a lot of other inconveniences. The story of Amaleen denouncing the polluters to the police had spread in their community the very evening it happened. So, in a way, they were the first to officially welcome the return of the Elves on the mountain!
And, final argument, the man had brought his own shkordzengo, and his wife had a traditional oboe! so that we restarted a round of dances! These four live instruments merrily shut down all the mp3 and other electronic music players, for the remaining of the evening!
The party did not ended late, because they knew we were tired. But when everybody was gone, and only the managers remained, we could learn about the legal and financial stuff which had happened since Amaleen's first visit. Good progress had been made, with most of the obstacles cleared. The Arounal property would be owned by an independent conservation fund, seemingly unrelated to the Elves, transforming the abandoned farm into a kind of private lodge. Officially for forest wardens and scientists, but Elf priests could also stay discretely. The property also featured several abandoned mine adits, which by the time failed to lead to any coal seam. The interesting point the new Elves just found, is that one of the adits led to an underground cavity related to the hornaks, that is to the very heart of the mountain! Seeing that, the miners had fled, leaving all their tools in place. But this was serendipitously perfect for a Hoxar!
On The Shamal, talks were engaged for buying one of the abandoned farms. Unfortunately, the mere new of the visit of a Dauriath Elve already raised the prices. More the formation of a «Shamal defense committee» by polluting farmers furious to have been exposed. But the main obstacle was the government clinging at animal exploitation on the mountain, even if everybody perfectly knew it was not viable and a pure waste of money. So they had put legal hurdles on buying lands for any other purpose than animal exploitation.
One of the possible fixes included... bringing back some of our magical elven horses from the Dauriath! But shhht, this still was a secret. But if so, the circle would be complete!
Later, Amaleen and me joined our mauve shaded pink guest room in the Elf Center. In the bed, in each other's arms, we evoked this fantastic day. We were saturated, tired and jet lagged, but enthralled. So this would be our life now, full of surprises and discoveries, perpetually on an edge between our Elven spirit and the brute matter of the Nyidiath. We loved each other for a moment, and after we spoke again. We finally had to admit: we would never rebuild the Shamal as it once was. Instead, with much astuteness and perseverance, we would slowly do of the whole Nyidiath a very friendly place to live in, for everybody!
And then we finally understood the meaning of all this upheaval: Elves. We still were Elves. Just in a different context!
The first stories of this Dauriath Elves series were created in Second Life, between 2007 and 2008, where there was a very active Elf group: Elf Circle. Well attended and regular storytelling meetings were making a solid egregore, propitious to inspiration. This is how several of these stories were first improvised in these meetings, from seed words offered by the attendance, and put in literary form later. For some time, this good trend continued in Inworldz, which gathered people unsatisfied with the dark and expensive Second Life. However the evils which caused the horrible death of Inworldz in 2018 were already gnawing it several years sooner, so that both attendance and inspiration waned well before this end.
For many years, I had no inspiration for this story, only a mere name: Iraen, a forest Elf or Sylvan Elf, a peculiar tribe with shiny black hair and pale skin. (For our English-speaking friends, this is to be pronounced «I» as in «it», «a» as in «path», and «en» as in «end»). Only in 2020 a renewed attendance and fame in «Amaryllis» (Halcyon) world, and in «Discovery Grid» (Open Sim) world, allowed for improvisation to happen again, although at a much slower rate. I also received in a dream the character of Emlyn, a young, small, slender Elve with blonde curly hairs. She was in one of the first rafts sent to the Dauriath, the same as Milly, whom she resembled. So that, starting from mere description of the life of the forest elves, I was able to flesh out a full story. Not a great epic, but still a good fat appetising slice of life, with many colours, lots of strange names, gherkins and spices, unusual vibes and exquisite technical details, in the remote fairy tale plateau where Iraen and the Forest Elves lived.
Then the inspiration suddenly went out of hand, on the becoming of the Shamal in modern times! So this is not an end, but a beginning.
When I started writing, like many beginning authors, I had difficulties in finding interesting and original names. But, with my progress in meditation, this story has seen me especially prolific at creating names and words. I first visualize a vibration, then transcribe it into sounds, and finally into letters. A simple recipe for making beautiful elvish words is to use single soft consonants, lots of vowels, and sprinkle with umlauts (Tolkien is the inventor, but he was inspired by the Finnish). But a real language is necessarily more complex and varied, with different contributions, guttural sounds, double or even triple consonants, for some strange, scary or occult things.
We shall also discover with astonishment Elves downloading mp3s on their laptop, eating organic food, cycling or taking their driver's license, in very terrestrial today scenes. The choice to use such a familiar culture serves a very specific purpose. Elves always were relegated in a «fantazy» world, where their beauty and kindness does not engage us into anything. To see them appearing on the corner of our street reminds us that Elvenhood, this meaning the absence of neuroses, is not related with an epoch, a race, or with the length of the ears: it is a real thing, and something all of us can accomplish, with just enough spiritual training. I hope this story will motivate you to do so!
Scenario, graphics, sounds, colours, realization: Richard Trigaux.
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