Friday, 4 February 2011

A Show Of Skill - an anciant poetic Elvish ballad

Ancient Elvish design depicting 'inspiration'.

"A Show of Skill.
The first tale of the fall of peace.

 An ancient story from before the coming of the Dwarves or the Humans to the Elvish Shore.

The first paragraph in the original Calobelvan-

Deanor mo teihc, o Rian,  Al mo gaer o balewin.
Ca fi o fean ma varg  Mo shall al col laeg,
A mo lune luel yalamor  Nawlag yal teihc o morin

The first part in a rhyming Kreyician translation to Common, collected from nomadic minstrels - 

Daernor of Rian was called the bow,
Through out the forest of Balwin,
His moves where fast, his temper slow,
The trees of the forest were his kin

His bow he bent like the crescent moon,
Though his strength belied his grace
For he talked with birds and sang their tune,
And by his side the deer kept pace.

Clad in green and bronze was he,
In robes of finest spiders silk
Embroidered thick with leaf and tree
As fair and fine as all his ilk

With shafts of ash and bow of yew
Skilled with hand and sharp of eye
Straight and true his arrows flew
As fast as the falcon cuts the sky

One day while walking near his home
He met a friend he knew quite well
And as they walked upon the loam
Of a gathering that friend did tell

"In south and the midday heat
By the river and the willow tree
The gypsies of our folk will meet
They hope to test in archery

They hope to find the smoothest flow
The keenest eyes and steadiest hand
The greatest pull of elf and bow
The finest archer in this land"

These words of the passing test
His friend told Deanor in mirth
Little knowing of the deep unrest
His passing story would unearth…

Deanor's soul burned bright with joy
It burned up high within his chest
He swore by the wood of his travois
That he should show them his prowess

And never more could he be calm
Never more could he keep still,
Until he had shown them of his arm
Until he had proved his finest skill

Like the sun he ran to the place
He knew that they would meet
Like the swift in all its grace
He ran with pounding heart and feet

A straight translation in to Common of an ancient version held by the Abail Elves (edited lightly so that it makes sense)-

Deanor of the bow, of Rian,  Living in the forest of Balewin. 
You could see in his grace  That the sun was in his arrows, 
And the silver moon herself  Had blessed his bow of yew. 
She shone full upon his strength,  Yet full eclipsed upon his fate. 
            An elf clad in green and bronze,  Shirt embroidered without space. 
            On his front was the leaping deer  And on his back shone the moon.
His step was light on the earth, Only plants passed his mouth. 
He used his bow only for sport  And had never yet drawn blood.
            You might well say, and be right, That he was an odd elf to do battle!
Four march’s down a posted-path, Was Rian from her nearest neighbor,
But in the corner of the seasons  The Lwis of Pinseawin meet, 
To trade in goods and gossip,  And dance and tell good tale’s.
            One fine spring, on new years day,  Deanor set out for the tribal camp. 
            His best bow was across his back  And a quiver of arrows at his side. 
            He was quick stepping and fleet footed  For he wanted to game in archery
            Against the finest shots in Pinsaewin  For he heard that few where better.
In the camp where he was headed  The games had already started, 
And the gaming was hard and fast  Between Waudvall and Windreel.
            Waudvall was tall and dark of eye,  His past was sad and his face was grim. 
            His tribe had fed the great gray wolves  With more than just their prayers,
            Slain by a rockfall on the mountains  While on the high summer meadows,
            Picking herbs and making dry bale’s  To heal those of the forest loam.
No leaves or cut root or flower  Could he heal his battered tribe,
And after mountain shacking grief  He left them to return to earth.
            Windreel was of the fine Gay~lwis  Who dwelt in Cean o laeg’s splendour
            She dressed as brightly as anyone  And wore scarlet ribbons in her hair.
            Her skill went all throughout Gaer, for she was a prodigy of excellent stock.
            She was a maid of the fern creepers, and wore the blood proudly on her face.
For two days they won all games  None stood before the black and red
And the third day they faced face,  The three part game for only them.
            An ashen wand of naked white was set  At fifty paces in the woodland gloom.
            And each turned their backs in tension  And at a cry they swirled and shot.
Out they sped, crow and pheasant,  Arrows like two forks of lightning.
            The wand shattered like a totem stick,  As even as if split by a craftsman’s axe.
            The red feathered behind it in a tree,  The ravens arrow splitting it knock to tip.
The watchers cheered and smiled,  Waudvall raised a brow and bowed.
She was good and he a game down,  Spirits willing he would gain the next.
            They walked onto a hills cleared top,  Where trees where kept from growing.
            It was a hill of flowers, nectar in the air,  Lush and verdant, cool and bright.
            Across its brow was a line of sticks,  Straight down wind for all its length.
Windreel drew till she near shook,  And sweated down her bloody cheeks.
A whistle to summon the wind,  She raised her bow and loosed her fingers
            Up and up her arrow flew straight,  Like a sparrow hawk it rose to the sky.
            It kissed the clouds before falling back,  Over the brow of the hill and beyond.
Not since Fearndram, the mountain man,  Had any Elve seen such a shot.
            Waudvall’s eyes darkened as he stepped up,  His arms bare and his hood down.
            A single tear slipped down his cheek,  For he had given this game to the dead.
He stood as still as a watching deer,  His huge black bow limp by his side.
Silence fell upon those assembled,  For none wanted to see the giants fall.
            With a cry of rage and of pain  He raised his bow and drew and let lose.
            He moved fast, his arrow faster still,  Leaving the crowds eyes behind it.
They walked up the line of sticks,  The others followed reverently behind.
They crossed the brow of the hill,  But no arrows could they find!
            They walked down to the wood  And there like a faeries charm,
            The pheasant arrow stuck proud  For Windreel had shot her line true
At her side Waudvall let out a cry  And a smile stoked his lips,
For twelve feet on, his raven stick  And he claimed the shot for history.
            So one each they went down the hill  And beside the river washed their arms.
Draw back your engaged minds  To the elf of bronze and green,
For Daenor had reached the camp  And sat in a willow of ancient age.
With interest he watched the elves  As they bathed at the waters edge,
The tall dark man in deep hyreadd  And the girl with blood streaked cheeks.
            The last game was the hardest yet  For it involved both skill and speed.
            An elf with strength in her arm  Would toss ten javelins across the path.
            Together they would try their craft  And hit them like a leaping deer.
They spread apart and aimed  As the first pale spear took flight.
Two arrows left two bows at speed  And a third hit them in mid-flight.
            A cross of wood from three arrows  Fell stricken to the leaf strewn loam.
            The bedraggled crow and golden pheasant  Captured in an eagles mettle grip,
            For from his ancient willow perch  The bow of Daenor had slain it’s own.
Waudvall put down his bow in anger  But Windreen set her chin.
The second javelin sailed up high  And yet again a cross of wood.
            Daenors bow was hungry still,  And took down the scarlet prey.
Like followed like for nine shots  Till the last javelin flew fleetly forth.
Then Windreel tossed herself down  And shot so low and early,
That passed beneath the eagles flight  And chipped the slender spear.
            With a grin Daenor leaped down  And bowed to the ground in praise.
Waudvall scowled and stepped up, With dignity he notched an arrow,
And raised his black, six-foot bow  And fired up into the suns face.
Swiftly took he another arrow  And shot his first in a perfect cross
            Windreel raised her bow of bleeding yew  And fired at the sun in like.
            Her second arrow hit her first,  But a T and not a cross did make.
Daenor smiled but raised his bow  And bent it like the crescent moon.
He sent his arrow at the light,  And a second to follow in its wake.
They struck like a raptor strikes  And a cross of wood was made.
So joined it fell like a wounded bird,  Towards the startled crowd
            But Daenor raised his bow again  And stuck the falling trophy.
            And thus like a meteor it fell,  A star that showered glory
Waudvall touched his shoulder  And Windreel went onto her knee.
There was no doubt in Pinsaewin  That Daenor was master of his craft."

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe you live in the 21st century and write like this! It's amazing, really enjoyable and truly unique. x