Tuesday 15 February 2011

A breif history of the Galmearans (slight nudity)

Galmearan Elder calling herself 'Milkweed' of one of the 'Shadow Tribes'

Note scrawled in margin-

"First draft. This is how I understand it anyway.  I gained my knowledge from the Abail Elves and by talking to a Galmearan elder calling herself 'Milkweed' of the one of the 'Shadow Tribes' (as the Kreyicians would name them). I have sketched her on the reverse of this page. Being almost 60 she is very old for a Galmearan, and very fond of hot herbal infusions."

In a book of notes for various books -

            "Long, long ago, at a time when the Dwarven empire still straddled the globe and humans had yet to land on the coast of Ottarol there lived a race of people named the Galmearans. Born of Elvish ancestry they treated the forest as their home and all beings as their family.  Standing at most at 5 feet high their slight frame seldom left any sign of their passing and few people even knew of their existence.

          And so it would have continued if it had not been for the insatiable hunger of the Dwarven empire for wood to fuel her furnaces and food to feed her workers.  Having devoured the forests west of her the ravenous empire turned her eyes south to the seemingly deserted forests of the Galmearans.  Being a peaceful and dispersed folk the Galmearans failed to recognize the danger until it was too late.  With Dwarven axes at their heels the Galmearans fled north beyond the leafy bows of Gaer to the dense forest that used to stand on the land of Kreyic.  

          For many hundreds of years the Galmearans lived in peace and solitude in the dark woods of Kreyic.  They had learned the bitter lesson of survival the hard way and haunted the trees the way spirits might do, terrifying anyone who dared set foot on the soft loam of their forests with an elaborate system of switch back paths and traps.  They also started learning the arts of war such as archery and knife craft.  Soon such Myth had grown up about the forests that no soul who valued their future would enter.

          Sadly the very thing that saved their lives also sealed there fate.  Humans from the continent of Tuyun landed on Ottarol’s eastern shore at Brach.  Being men of grand ideas the leaders at once made war with the Elves hoping to steal their lands.  Though the humans had much steel and magic they where ill knowledged on the Elves of Gaer.  The humans of Brach found their own numbers severely lacking and the dream of a quick victory turned in to a long, long battle.  After several decades of war the humans eventually acknowledged defeat and the elves banished the remainder of the army to the haunted forests of Kreyic.  Although severely reduced in number the Kreyic army was still large enough to hold off the Galmearans and form their own kingdom.

          The Kreyician humans expanded to the sea in the east, the plateau in the west and Gaer in the south and so yet again the Galmearans where pushed north, wedged between the collapsing Dwarven empire and Kreyic.  And so they still reside, piteously few in number held in the last large tract of 'uninhabited' forest on Ottarol.  

          Kreyic prospered, her wealth known the width and breadth of Ottarol.  Peace rained with her gentle hand for a thousand years or so until the west wind sent a parcel of hunger across the plateau to Kreyic.  Tens of thousands of locusts descended of the fertile land of Kreyic.  Soon starvation swept the land and all went hungry.  In the desperate quest to search for a cure to this pestilence Kreyic turned her eyes to her neighbors and so she noticed the silent haunted forests of the Galmearans that lye in the north where the locusts could not go.  And so yet again the lands of the silent folk was under threat from outside.
Woman of the 'Shadow Tribes'

          This is the history of the Galmearans, of how they came to be where they are and, although they hold no grudges, of whom they must be wary.   This tale paves the way for many others for at this point so begins the War of the Mistake, the war that could so easily have wiped out the dryads of the forests, the Galmearans."

Friday 11 February 2011

A breif encounter with some Dwarvish industrial music

Parts of some sub-machine melodic instruments.
"I was, it has to be said, snooping around when I encountered these fragments of the deep forges.  I  had previously spent my time at Nordemriecargor politely engaged in barter, but as the second day of discussion over the comparative worth of silver and coconuts drew to a close my eyes where aching for the sun, and my lungs for previously unbreathed air. I should, I suppose, have stuck to my Dwarvish minder, but in need of mischief I soon gave the poor surface-dazzled miner the slip, and chose my path with will-full abandon.  I soon found myself following some unusual booming noises to a largish shaft and wheel. 

Outside two highly skilled but rather tetchy upper-class Dwarves where tinkering with some gaudily painted mettle tubing. Finding a comfortable spot among the vegetation free scree I sat and did the quick sketch overleaf [above]. Having good sharp hearing from my Elvish ancestry, and a rudimentary understanding of Kroltz from my time in the southern mines such as Stordonafagel (these northern Nazouralians being above such plebeian activities as speaking 'common') I was able to ascertain the purpose of the pipes.

In the Kingdoms and Queendoms bellow there are (as I had imagined) vast workshops, forges and foundries. These often employ up to two hundred or so Dwarves, all engaged in the noisy practicing of their arts. In some there are, as well as the beating of many hand held hammers, the pounding of great water-driven forge hammers, whose blows can reverberate throughout the entire hive.  In order to keep focused on the work in hand it is a convention that all work to the rhythm of these vast hammers, entering a sort of meditative trance.  It has been found in certain hives (such as at Nordemriecargor) that this can be enhanced further by the introduction of a melodic element. This is improvised around the central rhythm in order that this rhythm does not become soporific.

Of course the instruments in question need to be very loud, using scale, magic and certain alloys in order to amplify them adequately. This is what the acoustic engineers (as the two artisan Dwarves turned out to be) where doing on the surface, away from the interfering beat of the hammers.  The instrument parts had been lifted up a series of vertical wheel driven shafts. 

The instruments themselves seemed to consist of some sort of trumpeted harp; part of an array of paddle beaten pipes; and one of a series of water-power driven bellows used to play some kind of over-sized and over engineered whistle.  This instrument the two Dwarves talked about in such passion and technical detail I was unable to get more than the vaguest notion of what it was like.  All the instruments where painted in bright colours.

Unfortunately for me, before I could embark on a more detailed drawing I accidentally dislodged a stone with my foot and the sharp-eared Dwarves spotted me. I hailed them and approached in what I hoped was a nonchalantly friendly manner. They did not respond well.

More fortunately for me, before they had actually reached me (I think with the intention of testing their drawn war-axes on my skull) my bumbling minder also arrived on the scene and apologetically led me away backwards, his face draining of all colour as he bowed repeatedly to the two artisans, placing gold coins for them on the floor. 

He then insisted I did not mention anything about my encounter to anybody in the Hive, a request to which I gracefully acquiesced.

My trading was concluded with surprising speed that night, and I got a reasonable price for my coconuts, all things considered."

Wednesday 9 February 2011

A description of Cananshall


"An outline of Cananshall

Canashall is a large open plain, home to the Plain-Elves (also known as the Dim Lwis - 'Grassy Nomads').  This was once mostly a forested area, except in the far south, where the earliest Dim Lwis lived.  These early Dim Lwis where small in number and really just a collection of tribes that lived on the edge of the forests of Gaer.  This ancestral land is what is now in depute with the later arriving Humans of Domtajoya, a regretfully permanent state of raids and counter-raids having developed. 

During the time of the Dwarvish Empire the area of modern Cananshall was deforested for the pits and furnaces in the north.  The encroachment east of this deforestation was only held in check by the marshy swamp forests of Darngaer, where Dwarvish military tactics did not work due to the lack of solid ground.  

When the Dwarves had deforested the mineral poor area it was abandoned, and the ecology of the plains to the south took hold, including large herbivores such as horses and bison. Following in their wake came the Dim Lwis and slowly the area of Cananshall as it is know today was born.

An old map of Cananshall, from imperial times, but before Humans.
The Dim Lwis do not have permanent dwelling places, but they do have a series of meeting points for certain people or certain times of year.   In old maps one never finds these marked, and I suspect they are not in fact that ancient.  It may be a phenomenon of the last thousand years or so that larger regular gatherings of the Dim Lwis took place.  They speak a dialect of Calobelvan. The people of this area are famous for their stamina, being able to cover terrific distances with a endless skipping lope that a sprinter might be able to out run for the first hour, but would overtake any other race come nightfall. They live for the main part in tall many-poled tents and travel on foot with horses and bison and dogs pulling their belongings on wheeless carts consisting of two long poles with a sling of hide between them.

I chose to highlight Hwngadiaer as the capital because it is perhaps at times the biggest, but they would not regard it as a capital city as human lands might.  

Rivers of Cananshall

Laldarin - (Opposite of Oak River / Relaxed Oak River) - In all probability this was called Darin (Oak River) in pre-imperial times and renamed subsequently in recognition of the deforestry, and the fact that beyond it to the west there was no oak left. Now some oak has regrown, and the Dim Lwis, as well as the tribes of Darngaer, tend to be pretty relaxed!

Lwnivanin - (Silver Song River / Silver Is Who River) - Most likely this is Silver Song River, being fast yet steady and with clear mountain water and a silvery stony bottom.  Avan is a rhythmic wailing walking song, while Van is to speak. However the name could simply be Silver River, with weird ancient elvish grammar.

Meanathin - (Beautiful Snow River) - this river swells when fed by the spring-melt of the mountain snow.  It is also so fast it flows white for the first three-quarters of its length.  It is exceptionally beautiful.

Some of the meeting places of Cananshall

(Notes on the dialect - these annoyingly elegant people will not stick to one form of words when bending it to braking point might make it trip off the tongue even more beautifully.  So my apologies, but I could not translate all of the names, and I very much doubt an elder of a Dim Lwis clan could either.) 

Faerncer - (Wolf Wood) - A meeting place for certain northern tribes. Some coppice is practiced here for tent poles.

Gandeal - (Lone Hill Windy) - A isolated hill in an otherwise gently undulating landscape. A meeting point for some festivities and prayers

Neqabesh - (Eating-Teeth Cat?) - This pointy peeked island of mountains has somehow never been taken by warvish might from the Elvish people (at least they say so).  It is considered a holy places for death and war.  The older people go here to die, often climbing the mountains looking for the mountain cats that live there in order to ensure that the sacred cats get to finish their lives.

Lasuli - (All Cloud?) - A dark place of frequent cloud - no travelers have been here and lived.  Although, having said that, there is also a rumor that this a a trading place with the Dwarvish black market!

Nisi - (?) - Not much is know about this place at present - When I turned up it was simply a big flattened area covered in horse droppings. Maybe it was the wrong time of year...?

Hwngadiaer and the tents - the main tent is a vast home of meeting.
Hwngadiaer - (Summer Garden) - The summer meeting point of the Dim Lwis. This is where almost all of the tribes gather for mid summer revelries, with tribes turning up from late winter and others leaving in mid autumn.   The grazing here is exceptionally lush, due to many hundreds of generations of concentrated manuring and grazing. Here is a happy place where one can witness the best of the plains people - singing, storytelling, magic and animal care.

Aesgstea - (Knowledge? / Raging?) - Home of the tribal councils that come together when the Dim Lwis need to act as one. This happens only every few years or so.  There is no prescribed time.

Harean - (?) - This is the only permanent dwelling of the Dim Lwis, though the inhabitants themselves always change. It is a trading spot to meet with the other Elvish people to the east and north.

Mordeantha - (Spirit / Ancient Birch Air?) - A mysterious meeting point, possibly connected to a semi-cult based around a long departed Mage who lived near by.

Madwasha - (Bones Blood Water) - A peaceful place devoted to child-rearing. Once the site of a bloody battle with the southern Humans.

Hathesa - (Warm ?) - A winter gathering spot for some tribes.

Muliseadath - (The Nomad's ?) - A trade center for goods going to and from the south. Only very brave Domtajoyan traders would risk the Disputed Land to reach it, but the high profits make it worth it...  I got a very high quality rug for my boat from here, and some fine rum. The river is still navigable this far in land."

Tuesday 8 February 2011

The Magish Alphabet

Magish alphabet
[From 'An Anthology of the World']
"Appendix 3


Magish (old common) Magish

Magish is the ancestor of modern common, and follows the same rules. It's still used on Partway Island and some Tuyun Countries and, of course, by the Mage's.  It is divided into five Families, usually arranged in a circle with G at it's center.

X H E C N / M W S Z N V / U L O K A / Y T I J F / R B Q P D

The numbers used with this alphabet is based on the number of corners they contain : -

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

[Most people who can read modern common with ease can also interpret Magish, given a few moments contemplation.

The red decorations are as follows -

Top-left - Old Gaer symbol of the sun; 

Top-right - Old Gaer symbol of the moon. The Calobelvan written around it reads - "- Shal (Sun) - Car (Tree/Truth) - Aer (Ground) - Ash (Water) - Ath (Sky) - Mhoor (Spirit) -" (presented together they mean balance)

Left border - Sand-Dwarvish pattern, also found on some Galmearan materials.

Right border - Modern Gaer (Elvish) design, used frequently.
(These two pattern presented as complimentary patterns indicate the breadth of alphabets covered in Appendix 3, coming from almost opposite types of societies and races]

Friday 4 February 2011

Some maps of the Globe

[I shall publish Faadon's descusion of these maps at a later date - for now here are a few raw maps...]

A view of the Earth as it would be seen on the back of a dragon flying very high over the continent of Ottarol. In the center right is the ancient homelands of the Dwarves of Rock.  The dessert at the bottom is the home of the sand Dwarves, while the crescent in the center is where one can find dinosaurs. Essam, bottom left, is the now deserted continent where the Mage-created lifeforms such as Humans, Elves and Dwarves where created.
A rough design for a Sea-Nation trading map of the globe.  It serves the ego of the Sea-Elvish captain rather than any practical sense, not even having the currents depicted.

The captain who commissioned this map was obviously most interested in the trading opportunities in north-eastern Ottarol...

...and in Tuyun. There is an established trade rout following the currents and the winds between them. Yeno, the island in the top right, for instance, is not named, for the Ice Dwarves here do not engage in trading.

Ottarol , Gortyn and Essam depicted in the opening page of a book called "An Anthology of the World"

Tuyun, Tuy F'Fowyap and the Jagraana Archipelago in the same book.

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."