Ëyord and his wife passed on, as other mortals have ever done in the ages since, through that dreaded blessing, death….for as such did one beautiful soul write of it, that it is a cursed gift indeed, this ‘Gift of Men.’ ~~ The sons and daughters they bore after Midran’s fall lived long and bore still many more of the lineage of the first Glimmdrad. These seed buried Arlyn first, grieving her passing, gently laying her down beneath the rich earth and trees which she had so dearly loved. Ëyord was heavy stricken with her passing, and, in time, he too succumbed to the darkness of death.
In time, the sons and daughters of the fallen souls scattered across the lands, away from the lurking, sickly pall of Mirvoth in the south, and there rose Six Kingdoms of the Glimmdrad, each ruled by a council of twelve elders. To the north, there were the Elindrak* and the Telinir*; to the west, the three councils of the Breild* (“Desert Folk”), the Nolinor*, and the Ailad.* To the east stood the council of Deriath.* Of the six councils, the Breild are the most like their Dwarf kin in the Tjadureiv* – the Shadow Range – for both are sturdily built, rugged, and coarse, and the speech of the Breild is harsher than that of other Glimmdrad.
Many Glimmdrad fell in their own pride, for a Human’s heart is easily hardened and thereby darkened; but when a Glimmdrad falls, he falls greatly, for the Glimmdrad are lore-singers: great knowledge they hold, and great is their fall if they retain this gift wrongly – as it is truly written in The Great Tale. So it was that the faere-folke taught men much of the knowledge they held, in the days of Arcan,* the valiant warrior of the Ailad, when there was still yet a remnant of trust between Men and Glimmdrad. But as the years grew long, more and more brothers fell until all tryst – ere sworn in full faith – was torn asunder in the War of Kin.* Many fell. Those remaining vowed revenge. Therefore, to this day both peoples, though of the same blood and dust, despise one another, and the Glimmdrad have taken to the woods, cultivating their love of the trees and plants and hiding themselves away with many ancient tales. Men roam and build in many lands, but they and the Gruagachs are certainly the most curious of all the races, for after the passing of the First Age, Men were among the most numerous to sail the skye-seas.
Indeed, there are some Hunters, extremely adept at tele-portaling, and highly skilled in weaponry, and it is they who hunt other races for sundry overlords and employers. These are called the Shikari. ::
In the way of Dwarves, there are three clans: those who carve stone, those who carve ice, and those who carve fyre. Undoubtedly, it may be easier to account for the hewing of stone and ice, but the fyre-dwarves have become increasingly withdrawn from all other races, and fewer mention of them – even acknowledgment of their very existence – is made by Men. Little more than is known of the faere-folke may be found of the fyre-folke, yet the work wrought in their cavernous homes, amidst the moulten islands of Ilerien, are by far some of the most skilfully carved weapons and tools. These are fashioned from smelted stone, found in the lava pools beneath the jagged and grating landscape. Amidst the infinitesimally tedious melding process, an unknown constituent, the knowledge of which is vigilantly guarded by dwarf-smiths, is added to the magma; this attribute, then, exponentially strengthens the liquid, permitting the skilled craftsmen to form some of the strongest and most durable relics in all the lands.
The Gruagachs – of which the narrator’s heritage partakes – are a curious, merry folke whose stubbornness outpaces that of the wittiest mule. Terrible cooks they are, and among the trees they live – that is to say, among the immense hanging boughs of the trees of Leriell* – but for such small folke (the largest of them is only ‘badger’s height’), the measure of their hospitality is quite abundant. Travellers among these ‘sprites’ find them very welcoming. Gruagachs are indeed not Sprites, although it is just to say that both ilks dwell among forest and hills; those Wee-Folke are nigh-invisible by means of their astonishing quickness; what is more, their voices are like a spilling brook, and the laughter of a merry, bubbling stream amidst a tell-tale, so that it is nearly impossible to pinpoint whether one has actually heard one or is presently going mad. Sprites, unlike the Gruagachs, may also materialise into other forms or objects and mischievously irk passer-byes with a lot of clishmaclaver – this art they call Mimicking.
Ah yes, and the pranksters do not have leaf-green hair like us. Normally this becomes our defining trait among the Bloods.
Enough of Sprites however. Though few Gruagachs are lore-singers like the Glimmdrad, these folke lay claim to their honour not only as exceedingly excellent storytellers (much is passed on by oral tradition), but also as the most skilled breeders of Sibrians (more on this later). But as for storytelling, the narrator has taken great pains to preserve what he can of many oft-overlooked history.
As for the Glimmdrad, in time, many left the councils with the blessing of elders, and they unfurled their wings to make the long and treacherous journey through the other realms, to see what knowledge and beauty they might discover in them; aye, then, the Glimmdrad have wings, though many desire not to use them except in time of great need, for should one lose his wing, he cannot regain another. Sturdy these are, yet light, and many hues shimmer upon the feathers that line them, and no two pairs are alike. The wanderers journeyed until they came to the Sphere called Sythroth, of the Realm Varë. Here remained many in the Third Realm, which was most like the faere lands they left. And they forged a kingdom against fell, twisted, dumb beasts who lurked in the mires and beneath the earth, creatures corrupted by the shadow of Mirvoth (for there was no Realm untouched by Ëyord’s Fall), and this haven the faere-folke called Hrethendawn. Thus, the Wanderers of Aeld* did not put aside their habits of flight, but became known as the Hawkinfaye, winged guardians who serve Elonru upon Sythroth. Their kin that journeyed onward to Ccyrn of Varë (the twin tundra-sphere of rain-scattered Vélimgath’s Poesia) commingled with the ever-curious, oft-wandering human-folke and were known as the Varathgard – mighty warriors and lovers of the frozen expanse they keep. Though quite outspoken and often a bit raucous (as with the custom of Men), many are at heart fiercely loyal to Elonru. At the time of this writing, they also serve quite satisfactory hunting celebrations.
Let it be noted that the descriptions of the ancient councils, etc. below, especially those pertaining to the spheres of Asphydor, are vast generalisations; one should not assume that every dark-clad figure descends from the First Council, and so on.
*Elindrak – dark-haired; dark-eyed; First Council of the North
* Telenir – blonde; amber-eyed; Second Council of the North
*Breild – sturdy-built; sandy-complexioned; amber-eyed; blonde; Third Council of the West
* Nolinor – grey-eyed (disparate colour-pairs common****); silver-haired; Fourth Council of the West
* Ailad – pale-complexioned; green-eyed; silver- or sapphire-hued hair; Fifth Council of the West
* Deriath – dark-complexioned; taller than most faere-folke; blue-eyed; red-, translucent-, or dark-haired; Sixth Council of the East
*Tjadureiv/Shadow Range – the dividing range during the First Age between the Feldat Plains and Rulen; border the southern lands
*Arcan – valiant warrior of old; fought the accursed’s servant, Drogg in 577 I.A. (First Age) amidst the miry wastes of the South
*War of Kin – war fought between Men and Glimmdrad in the First Age (994 I.A. / 2194 A.Æ.)
*Leriell – primary abode of the Gruagachs; lush land of towering, spreading trees and forests; little to no pasture or flat areas; region of the Frosted Fog
~~ ‘Gift of Men’ – The narrator uses this term to refer to J.R.R. Tolkien’s allusion to a peaceful death (https://lotr.fandom.com/wiki/Gift_of_Men).
:: ‘Shikari’ – an Indian word that became popularised in the Sixth Age to refer to Hunters
*Aeld – old