An Elven Story – Chapter Eleven – Elven Etiquette and Customs

Edain De Kerri – “ There are elven lores which cannot be broken but there is etiquette which is just as important to an Elf. There is no such thing as class within their society all are equal and hold status through intent and good deed. All are appreciated for their unique skills and talents. Those that sing are always admired but so are those who can poem and rhyme. To speak high Elvish is a talent and skill which is owned by many and is a skill which everyone practices at home and abroad. There are ways of announcement of name and of clan. When addressing anyone whether they be king or player of fiddle, the routine is the same, a swift glance downwards and then up to the eyes, holding the gaze. A hail to the Elf’s name. A long list of family lineage and ancestry of kin is pronounced in high Elvish even if the Elf’s pronunciation is poor. For example:

Hail king Kalron of the emerald Isle. I am Elain de Kerri of the western Isle. I am great granddaughter of the first king of Tula who fell in the great battle of Merra, the sacred hill of Belerion. My grandmother on my mother’s side was Great Kala, renowned seer of fate and future. My kin was Mais Nieve of Tuatha de Danann in the summer shades of Glouria. “

As you can see it is a very lengthy way to announce yourself but it was elven etiquette to do so. Once your name was known and lineage seen, and friendship was formed the names and announcements shortened in time until pomp and ceremony were relieved. Many elves then took on shortened versions as nick names, childish and cute but in the company of foreigners their original names remained.

Once the announcements were over conversations was free and true, only the dark elves talked in riddles to conjure demons for man’s demise. Elves have a way of speaking which is hypnotising to men, they can be loud as thunder and quiet as a whisper. They can talk in layers so many meanings can be heard, they allow a new perception as if reality is a dream. It is all to do with language their presence, their magic ability, for they use sacred words which they learnt from the tree. Not a common cedar or oak I talk about, but the great world tree which held our reality in form. Elves see in patterns and not just solid light, they can see into reality and rebuild it and weave a new thread, they can focus their minds and perform magic in a twinkling of an eye and recreate the landscape, mounds, cairns and Tor. They use Elven high speech which is magical in itself and if handled correctly is potent, rich and full of wealth. Was it not the Elves who first sang into being every flower , even though this original language is lost somewhere in time , we now have a less potent form which we call high Elvish . The language of the trees is only remembered in parts and pieces because when the barrier was set and the land shifted, it caused our memories to perforate and break apart. We felt anaesthetised when the barrier was set in place, but that was nothing in comparison to how we feel now we are living inside the human family.

Unlike mankind there is not inequality of the sexes in fact we have many ways of honouring each other. Many of the female Elves make the greatest warriors as many male Elves make great teachers and guiders of the young in years. Those who are less experienced have a general respect for the elders not as if it is a chore but a gift in its own. The elder ones who are only old in soul and not in face are often seen counselling those who are following in their path, apprentices are common amongst our people, this builds responsibility for each other. Family and clan is all important to Elves and this importance was also taught to man, who carried it through the ages in tribal ways.

Honour and respect is an art in itself, we Elves are known for ceremony and for this we practice hard and long with words and flourishes of the hands. When not showing off in verbiage and intricacy, we can relax and be jovial though this is nowadays rarely felt, for now we are walking the human world we are always slightly sad. Honouring the mother and the father and the fellow kin is a pleasure for us all, for we have binds of the heart that human’s hearts could not comprehend. For we walk for thousands of years and will not die if not killed, so we take the time to love one another in depths that could not be measured in time. Our families are large and we live together, several lineages as one. We can track our lineages for thousands of years and are in a way related to all elves dark and light. There is an unseen energy which runs through us all connecting us back to those Elves which lived beneath the trees of Valinor. They are our originators, our ancestors, our brethren and our kin, so even those who are black as jet, dark Elves through and through, they still hold within them this sacred bond which will never break and binds us all. We are the workers of fate for every Elf can feel its thread weaving through his long life and walking it in grace is a skill every Elf wishes to learn as soon as possible. The weave walkers are adept at not only controlling their own fate but can control the fate of others, both Elves and men. Many of the weave walkers fell and became dark Elves, dangerous to all.

Secrets are necessary and we are masters of their keeping, for we are loyal and righteous and will never reveal. Yet our secrets cannot be kept if only not spoken as many can mind read you know, or look for signs of disclosure so magic is cast around them and they are precious and have potency. If given a secret by another and asked to be part of its keep then it is like receiving a gift as all Elves love secrets which they play with out of sight. Those who are trusted and gifted are loyal beyond belief and will take the secrets to their death and therefore some make it a profession and become wealthy in both riches and reputation. To be a good keeper of secrets is not a simple thing because they have to cast magic around the secret or it could be discovered by a prying mind. So the keepers of secrets get paid to weave magic around the secret to protect and hide it. The original owner of the secret no longer has to worry about the revealing of the secret to other Elves who might read his mind, because the keeper of the secrets has wrapped it in magic. There was once a secret keeper in my mother’s clan who was said to keep a thousand secrets and he was wealthy indeed.

Love is a tricky thing for both Elves and men, jealousy can arise even in the coolest of Elven heads, though this is not seen as a good quality and Elves go to great lengths to hide it, jealous secrets are the most common of secrets. We rarely lie but often we refuse to answer questions or comment preferring to keep our thoughts to ourselves, this is always respected, this is actually an Elven lore. The silence is magic too which is taught during a magical ceremony which an Elf will attend when he has reached of age. It is not only silence of speech but of thought as well , so the receiver of the silent treatment if he spied inside the other’s mind , all they would hear was silence not a thought they would hear. Our silence is not an admittance of guilt and is never seen as so, for the silence of an elf is sacred you know.

There are Elven songs that all should know from an early age, and these are practised both night and day, some compete to home their skills. There is high Elvish which is a common tongue among all races of elves however there are local dialects and often these are not known by all. Even within families there is speech unheard outside of the home. Eloquence and pronunciation is the skill which all Elves aspire, for those who have true Elven tongue are the most respected of all, and those that tell the stories and the history of the elves are seen by all to be the most valued of them all. Conversations are lengthy and often in public places an elven lore demands that we whisper to prevent a rowdy noisy crowd. Many forge telepathic links and talk with no words at all. No one talks over another in conversation this is the height of bad manners and seriously frowned upon, when we listened in to the conversations between men we noticed this uncouth, inconsiderate trait. Elves are never boring and if they have nothing of interest to say they will say nothing at all, we are not seen as aloof to other Elves but only sitting in silence as is our way. We are not all serious and pompous as you may think but we can be hilarious you know. There are those who have a natural flare for making us laugh. We like to use riddle of ridicule usually at man’s expense, we mock and joke in rhyme and riddle usually accompanied by a drum and fiddle.

There are those who love to act and are theoretical and have flare. They dress in lavish costumes and sing and prance about the stage, all are held and amazed. Art is our lifeblood and is our main endeavour for we can call in the elements to paint what we wish, we call the log to carve itself in vines and berries, stars and the moon. We sing the silver thread to weave its way through fabric of gown. We call the walls to throw out their pictures as if they were part of its skin, we tune the crystals so they can change their form into tools of magical powers. We ask the stones to take on shapes and through this we built the henge.

We have a memory which is lengthy indeed, we can hold a grudge for a long old time, we like to never forget even if we can forgive and like to find ways to remind the one who is the reason for the grudge, of his transgression. We will often do this in poetry allowing us to tell all who listen, never giving away the identity of the transgressor as this is also against Elven lore, but all know who is being hinted at. This eases pressure within the clan and helps to heal the hurt, we never fear breaks in bonds as all in the clan are loyal and true, so we can come to the edge of insult and pull back at the last moment as not to offend. Debate and discussion is also done in rhyme and is a game we all love to play when disagreements come from either side and not one side is obviously right. Then those with opposing opinions would battle it out with words, poem, riddle and rhyme. The more intelligent the repertoire, the more poetic the scene, the more real the characters, the more prized the opinion. The on lookers are all involved with “ums” and “ahs”, how the crowd responds show the victor. No matter what transpires the decision is ultimately made by all those that look on. There are those who can do this task for you but they demand a heavy price but if you can afford in copper or precious seeds that grow, then you can employ someone to do it for you. Traders use these standers of opinion and many are well respected in merchant halls. However when in matters of the heart this is not allowed. Discussion of relationship is never shown in public it is not polite for those in the relationships and those that may be near. Arguments driven by emotion are the ways of men, Elves would not lower themselves to scream and shout in temper out of control like so many human relationships show. They are poised and full of grace in mind, heart and soul and only those of dark Elf lineage are corrupted by dark emotions out of control.

Music and merriment is how we praise Ilúvatar for our worship is not stuffy and held in books but held in the breeze which sings through the trees. We are masters of the scale and can weave our magic with notes upon the harp and whistle. We listen to nature and sing its song, each plant, each tree, each animal, rock and stone has a song of its own. Elves help these beings reach their potential in spirit and in form through their singing of their songs. Ugly turns to beauty, sickness to life once more, through the heavenly voices of the Elves. They have a way of vibration which is not possible with the voice of men which they use to create flowers to bloom and eggs to hatch. They have a way of speeding up life so they can make trees grow where there once were none. They managed the great forests with this potent magic by simply singing whilst walking among the trees. Flowers have been known to grow in the footsteps of those who were purest of heart. Song birds fill the air as they migrated across the land.

We have no need of healers but there are those who can be so, for many taught the early humans the herbal knowledge to bring comfort to man in pain. For we know the magic of every plant , not only in the Elven world of Belerion but in all the world so wide , we taught this to man the best we could but much of it is lost , burning books with knowledge was not so very wise. We know Arda in all her forms and honour them all, it is only humans which we find hard to forgive for the felling of the trees, the poisoning of the seas, the killing of the birds, and the capture of the fish. There are those of us who were driven mad with ideas of revenge, there were those of us who wished to die rather than see Arda wounded so bad. We are powerless now hidden from sight, no more do we speak to learned men, no longer do they know, so we are failing miserably at getting them to turn back the tide of their destruction of Arda.

Our appearance was always fine, a hair never out of place, our clothes are always clean as we repel dirt with magic. Our bodies we bath twice a day. We bathe in mountain streams, pools and even in the seas. We like to adorn our necks with jewellery Elven made and use silks for our cloaks and gowns. We weave magic into those special items of clothing which we save for high holidays and ceremony, runes cast in silver thread is the fashion common. They talk about fairy boots but this is a lie, for no Elf would ever place leather upon their feet, to cut off their connection with the land beneath. That would cause them much loneliness and sorrow. For all Elves walk with their feet bare and have a step which is soft and light. Those who have mastered the element of the wind can use its breeze to carry them softly through the Elven streets. They glide as they move as if they are hovering, their grace of movement is known through all worlds. Elven dance is seldom seen only to those at parties, but when they dance they like to spin and swirl until they are dizzy. As they whirl and twirl they cast their magic runes into the night and spells and miracles abound in abundance. There are the Jugglers who juggle with orbs of light, they spin them around their heads as if they are on an invisible string. They hypnotise and in trance all those that look on.

The Bowman of Avi-on

In the land now known as Cornwall, there lay a huge and dense forest which was called Avi-on. This land was central to my people and Dru Avi resided in its centre. Many Elves lived within its magical borders and settled in encampments made of vines. When they moved on the vines would entwine and go back to growing through the trees as they so wished, no longer held in Elven magic to form the encampments of the Silvarin Elves. There where Elves who were in permanent residence at this centre and , many lived in the several outlying settlements , however most of our people were migratory and moved in troupes along sacred pathways which lay at the foot of the oaks. The Avi were skilled bowman they moved in large troupes, whole families, all kin. They followed the animal tracks of the boar, rabbit and deer. They were hunters but not of prey for meat, as no Elf would do such a thing. What they hunted for was the magic or the medicine of their prey. The bowmen were skilled in magic and could send their consciousness along the shaft of their arrows, and if they were lucky enough to hit their target, and pierce the energy body of the animal, they could then enter the body of the animal and become it for several minutes. Whilst inside the animal’s body the Elf would learn the animal’s magic and take some of its medicine for itself. It was not an easy feat and took many years of training to be able to survive the ordeal and return to their Elven bodies with the medicine intact. The Elf would be then given a representation of this animal in one form or another. For example if the Elf had gained the medicine of a boar, the Elf would find a tusk on his wanderings. These gifts were given to the Elf by Arda and they would then keep these talismans in the little pouch which hung from their waist. The Elves taught this skill to many of the shamans and wise men and women of the human tribes.

When the war came the Bowman of Avi were called upon for their skill, the dark Elves were not killed as easily as they were wrapped in magic and therefore no ordinary bowman would do. The Bowmen of Avi taught all great bowmen their skills. Teaching them how to track their prey now dark Elf, they taught them how keep the arrow true. Once the prey had befallen the Elf would step inside and pull the magic from the dark Elf and take it as a prize. No one could have foreseen what did transpire. Each time the bowmen of Avi stepped into a dark Elf’s body and stole some of their power, they also tainted themselves. Little by little the dark magic would fester in their pocket and slowly release its magic into the Elf. Many bowmen of renown fell to this dreadful fate.

 

My grandmother warned me about using black instead of white,

This is what she warned me in the dead of night.

To feel uncertain which way the spell does lie,

To feel uncertain if this truth is a lie.

Many elves befell this dreadful fate,

Overwhelmed by anger and of hate,

The magic festered in their Elven pouch

No longer could anyone vouch

For their standing now in dark or light,

For their forms were hideous to the sight,

Now no longer fair of face and of soul,

Now they began to lose all control.

Poisoned and hypnotised

They became what they despised

They now stood before the dark one’s leer,

Demons they now do share.

Many elves who were originally considered to be of the light passed to the dark side because of the use of magic. Not all the Bowman of Avi fell but many passed on to the other side and later used their skills to poison the souls of men who wandered into their territory. Silvarin history is full of such stories. Of course there were heroes too and many tales are told in poem and song. Our stories have all been lost now and only some do I remember, another Elf may be more knowledgeable of our history. Some of it returns to me in parts and pieces but the thread has worn and broken with time. Maybe as your Elven eyes do read this you too will remember and fill in the gaps where by memory does fail.

There is much that is forgotten that I know for sure , my memory is full of holes , but new stories come back to me and slowly the history is being pieced together , memories pass as wisps of air and seldom do I catch them , but those memories which come back readily are those which were captured in songs and poem. Our people do not need to write large books which no one will read, Elves had long memories before the lands did shift.

Chapter Twelve

 NB * This is an ongoing project , these are the first chapters more to come

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