Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another Bit From Chapter Five

Note: Remember, Eldamir is the new name for Meldarion.

Year’s End caught Balfrith by surprise. The first he heard of its approach was in casual conversation with some of his Elefdar peers, as they mentioned the coming holy day, and the giving of gifts. He held his tongue at that time, but later when he met up with Eldamir, he asked what day they were talking about. They sat on a large shoulder of stone nestled in an open glade in the forest, about a third of the way up the mountain, with a beautiful view down upon the city and the surrounding country.

Eldamir, laughing, replied, “Balfrith, surely you jest. Do Men not celebrate the Long Night, and the coming of the dawn?”

Balfrith had to think a moment, muttering to himself, “The Long Night…?” before it dawned upon him, and his countenance changed as he exclaimed, “Oh, you mean Year’s End Day? Of course we celebrate that, it’s one of our most important holy days, perhaps the most important of all.” And then he looked about at the lush forest, draped in the bright colors of autumn. The temperatures had only recently begun to turn cooler, as far as Balfrith could remember of recent days. “But surely that cannot be what they were talking about? For it is only autumn, and we have months to go before the solstice.”

Eldamir cocked an eyebrow at him, and replied, “Balfrith, how long do you think you have sojourned among the Elefdar? How many moons have passed us by since the spring-time when you entered Fanyamar?”

Balfrith paused, thinking, but he hadn’t really kept track of the passing months, and had no guess. He shrugged and said, “I don’t know, but it can’t be close to Year’s End. Look about you, Eldamir, at the fall colors. We haven’t even seen our first snow yet.”

Eldamir paused this time, and responded more slowly. “Balfrith, I tell you we are four days from the Long Night. And I testify that I have not seen winter’s snows in the city of Fanyamar, or in any part of our surrounding domain, my entire life. For the power of my people keeps winter’s bitter chill at bay, just as it also wards the summer’s burning heat. Outside, beyond our borders, the weather does as it will year round. And our Guardians must prepare themselves for whatever the season may hold year round, as they range to and fro throughout the land. But here, we are at peace, and worry not over cold or heat.”

Balfrith was stunned, and sat in silence for a while. Finally he asked, “Is this … your ability to keep out the worst weather … is it Elefdar magic?”

Eldamir laughed, and said, “As always, when you speak of magic, Balfrith, I have no idea what you are talking about. You speak as if power is something apart from us, outside of us. Perhaps it is this way with Men, but with the Elefdar, there is no magic. It is who and what we are, neither more nor less. We are protected from the elements because we want to be. It is no more, and no less, than that simple.”

Balfrith stood up on the stone and looked about him at the trees, the land, the mountain, and the sky, amazed at what he’d just been told - amazed at what his own eyes were telling him. “That simple,” he said. Finally, all he could do was sit back down. He had no reason to believe the Elefdar, and Eldamir in particular, were trying to deceive him, therefore it must be true - no matter how inexplicable. This was not the first Elefdar mystery to confront him, nor, he was certain, would it be the last.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Snippet of Chapter Five

Balfrith sat on a sward on the lower slopes of Fanyamar, in a garden of sorts. A group of about ten young Elefdar males and females sat in a circle with him, listening to their history teacher tell the lore of the coming of darkness into Aerde, and the Long War. Their teacher walked about in the midst of the circle, catching their eyes with his own when he turned to face them. He had a lively face, energetic, and he was clearly passionate about this topic, as he told the story with an unexpected but stirring vigor. Balfrith was just glad that he spoke the common tongue of Men, as he’d had some difficult lessons with other teachers who only spoke their native language.

“Our people dwelt here in Fanyamar, and elsewhere in the West, for long years before the Darkness came - or at least, before we encountered it. No one knows whence came the goblins and their ilk, for we had no lore or knowledge of them before our first meeting. They came from the East, driven as by a wind at their backs, or as if they fled from an even greater threat than they posed to us. Perhaps it was the Men of those lands, who were known to be fierce and war-like, who brooked no trespass in their lands. Perhaps it was simple drought or famine that drove them into the West. Whatever the case, they came as marauders and thieves, cutting and burning our forests, killing the trees, and stealing whatever and whenever they could. Our brethren in Illumïel drove them out of their forests, and sent messages to those of us in the further West, warning of their coming. The goblins weren’t a great danger to us, but they were a threat to our work, and to the animals and trees under our care. They could harm the Elefdar as well, for even then they were adept with the forging of primitive iron weapons, and were not afraid to use them against us. We learned quickly to kill them on sight when possible, or to lead them into traps and ambushes when our numbers were too small for a direct confrontation.

“Thus began the Long War, for we have ever been at enmity with all goblin-kind and troll-kind, and I do not believe that will ever change unless the goblins and trolls themselves are removed from this middle-earth and taken back to the lower world, whence they came.

“In the third Aeon, the goblins and trolls of the Troll-home mountains banded together under a daemon prince, Sharrapu the Burner. It was never known to us whether they had summoned him to their aid, or if he had somehow opened a gate to enter our world, but come he did, and once here, he commanded their obedience and called them together to begin a great assault upon our combined peoples.” Here, he looked at Balfrith. “The Elefdar were friends of Men in those days, and for long thereafter, and together we fought the daemon prince and his armies, in battlefields scattered across the lands from the Ironpike Mountains in the east, all the way to the western shores of modern Sildara in the West. The invaders never came across the Sea to our home in Illithëon, but we sent warriors there to fight on our behalf.

“Our war-leader was the lord Felaranthir’s own father, Cullorínen, already a powerful lord in those days. On his brow rested the red-gold crown, and at his side he wore the legendary blade Cammethor. With that sword he was never defeated, and he even fought toe to toe with Sharrapu. In that battle he was wounded near to death, but he struck down and banished the daemon prince from this world, never to be seen again, and the armies of goblins and trolls fled in a panic at the defeat of their master.

“Lord Felaranthir was his father’s squire in the great war, and earned his own renown for acts of bravery too numerous to list.”

That got Balfrith’s attention. He interrupted, asking “Lord Felaranthir fought in the great war of the third Aeon? But how long ago was that?”

Their teacher responded with a question of his own, “What Aeon are we in now?”

Balfrith said, “Oh, that’s easy - this is the fifth Aeon.”


Balfrith was stumped for a moment, until he remembered and said, “An Aeon is one thousand years, so that would mean Felaranthir is… over two thousand years old?”

“Indeed, master Balfrith. But I wouldn’t mention it in front of the lord, or in mixed company. It’s not something we Elefdar usually talk about.”

“But why not? Surely he would have wisdom beyond a Man’s imagining, with all those years behind him?”

Now the teacher turned and glared at him, hands on hips, and responded testily, “Oh you think so, do you? Perhaps he does, indeed. And yet, to me he is still young, in the prime of his strength. And to a few in Fanyamar, I am yet a young man, for I wasn’t even born when my people left our birth-place and ventured east, to this little island, and thence to the lands further east. There are some still among us, Balfrith, who came of age on that island, who were among the first to take up our great Work in this middle-earth, and who have not faltered over all these long years. Age means little when the years grow as long as we have seen, master Balfrith. And yet, I find that somehow I have little patience for the foolishness of youth. Therefore put an end to these questions. Take it up with lord Felaranthir, if you wish, though I would advise against it.”

The lesson continued, but Balfrith found his mind wandering, wondering what it would be like to live for such a long time. Wouldn’t it get boring after a while?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Continuing Evolution of Elefdar Poetry

If you recall my previous post of the very rough draft, I've made a few changes to the first stanza as well as writing/translating the second stanza of the song. Here it is in interlinear format again, although I have removed the middle line with the literal translation, since I didn't think it really added much useful information:

My lady is fairer than any queen
Imi therdan cele sur den admer
But far from her beauty my feet must roam
Del marcon nei selen im’ boder nus dan
She shelters me now in her train of green
Ne missen cep ima nei abell seder
And beckons her traveler homeward.
Hai fella nei banya melarro.

The blooms at her feet are of brilliant hue
Da gonyar nei boder shipella felorn
Adorning the hem of her verdant robe
Samorro da mia nei naguri anomi
They glimmer like stars in the morning dew
Fer celeb lo anyar sum gale menori
Alluring her traveler homeward.
Bedorre nei banya melarro.

There is one more stanza left to translate, and I'm still polishing up the first two stanzas, so it will be a while before it is done. I may ignore the song for a while in order to focus back on the story. I realized that the song was distracting me from writing, and even though the song is important, I don't want it to stop the writing process.
In related news, and as you may have guessed, I am officially back to working on the novel. My need to create is overriding my desire to work on and finish other projects, so I've decided to jump back into the story. I still have the goal of completing this novel before the end of the year, so I need to keep it moving forward.
On a personal note,the basement project is still in process, meaning I still don't have my dedicated office/den for writing, but that's no reason not to write. Things left to do:
  1. Finish tape/mud/sanding (contracted out, should be done this week)
  2. Paint all the rooms (the lovely and talented Geekwif will probably do the lion's share of this while I am at work, but I will definitely help on the weekends)
  3. Install doors and trim (planning to contract this out)
  4. Install ceiling (we will do this after the paint is done)
  5. Install carpet and tile floors (not sure if we will do this ourselves)
In addition, I have some big work projects just starting to get off the ground, with some travel requirements, so it's going to be another busy year. That's a good thing, but it does make the writing a little more difficult.