Lore-singer?

It’s different, it really is. Recently I was telling someone of a new leod which I was currently writing. She interrupted me with, “A leod?” I had to spell it and reiterate that yes, that was the name of the poem, if you will.

When scuffling for ideas for the name of the blog/website, I grasped for names fashioned after Tolkien’s reminiscent tales of the “days of old.” Shortly before, I had written a short story called “The Lore-Singer” (to be recounted later) which, the more I thought about it, almost perfectly suited the fairly eclectic style (surprise!) that blossomed largely out of reading The Lord of the Rings.

What, exactly, is a leod?

A leod must be understood within the context of the lore-song in which it is written. Lore-songs are poetic tales usually honoring a fallen heroic figure or an idealized picture of one’s homeland, rehearsing a merry folk-tale with no particular purpose other than to entertain, or anticipating the future glory that Elohim’s followers will one day see. Lore-songs can be heavily influenced by local customs, dialects, and traditions, but they originate from the Glimmdrad. These songs are normally sung or spoken in accompaniment with a variety of instruments, ranging from the small ensemble of harps, woodwinds, and/or stringed instruments (and perhaps even ilisa tambourines) to the full-scaled orchestra with the thunderous bendoar drums accenting the fervently recited “battle” stanzas. A chorus repeated every few lines/stanzas may be spoken/sung by a chorale of varying scales, the most common type being fairly small with about 12 members.

Lore-songs are typically comprised of 3,5,7,9, or 12 leods, each of which tells its own segment of the overall tale, functioning much like an act within a play. Depending upon its function, a leod can be written in various meters. Elegies are typically sung in alternating lines of trochaic trimeter and/or tetrameter. A joyous celebration song or vivid recounting of glorious days past may be enthusiastically recited in dactyllic tetrameter or septameter; another possibility is the limre, a rapid, vivacious poetic form consisting of one line in dactyllic dimeter followed by a second line of trochaic dimeter. A lighthearted folk-song or legend may be sung in a lilting anapestic tetrameter. These are not inflexible forms, however, for the Glimmdrad place emphasis on balancing both the content and the delivery style of their tales.

And who, now we are asking, are the Glimmdrad? What is a lore-singer?

Lore-singers are, you might say, something between book-keepers and the Eordän Realm’s equivalent of bards. Some travel and perform; more often than not, however, they remain in their own lands and are charged with the task of keeping alive their people’s history. Most are of a widely mythified and entirely unfamiliar people most shrug off as but mere lore themselves – the Glimmdrad. Not much is known about them, to put it bluntly. What little is known will be their tale to tell. Lore-singers are gifted in the sense that the memories and events they personally witness they can translate into a story upon a scroll. When the scroll is unfurled and sung by a knowledgeable and true lore-singer, the memories may be witnessed by those around the one who sings or reads the memories. The earliest of these lore-singers is Ёyord, whose own tale he lives within The Great Tale is also another story.  A very few scrolls bear prophecy – the Hasenrede – but these are recorded in a tongue unknown to any save those who guard them, and they, to all other inhabitants of the lands, are hidden with the writings.

To disclaim against any charge that I consider myself one of these mysterious people, I must say my mirror-glass continually reminds me that I am much more suited to the role of a Hobbit than to any tall and aelfen creature. But here the narrator must stop, for her role is both given and practiced – a gift in itself – and she cannot recount lore-songs by merely telling about them. She must let them play only the role they are meant to serve as deemed by The One – no more, no less. All things must come to an end in their own time, but I suspect that when our tale is ended, the lore-song has been sung, and the scroll is once again furled, we will find that what we thought was the end is only the beginning of a much Greater Tale. It will continue a thousand years from now, and a hundred thousand more. Does it ever end? No. Time cannot constrain it, and it is coming, coming very soon, more quickly than we could have imagined. Welcome to my very, very small part to play in that Tale. Welcome to the lore-songs.

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