I believe Tolkien elvish is close to what we used to speak. As a friend put it, better to be speaking pidgin Elvish than no Elvish at all.
I have included in the following ramblings memories I have collected, both my own and those that have been shared with me. In certain cases, I reference names of friends who have told me certain details. It's nice, once in a while, to have your thoughts echoed by someone else, to affirm that you're not just making it all up. How thrilled I was when I found Elves in different states who had come up with the same ideas, the same feelings, independently.
It is also good to know, that some things can not only stand the test of time, they can stand the test of separation over ages and changes. It's really something that fills me with wonder and gives me hope at times. It's kept me from succumbing to self-doubt at times when nothing else has. It also gave me a new respect for the term "forever", and consequently I don't go offering to make lives-spanning bonds with just anyone. Imagine being stuck with some donut for life after life because you were foolish a couple of incarnations ago? I shudder to think of it. Heck, I've unearthed guilt trips that are older than that, and I didn't even ask for those.
So without any further ado, here's what I've been able to gather so far..
Long ago and far away...Another Place, Another Time, Another Dimension - in other words, Earth
About 8-10 billion years ago, (give or take) there was nothing. No-thing (for more, see the Quabalistic definition of Ain - in reference to the Tetragrammation)
There was only the one Force, call it Goddess, God, Deity, whatever. Personally, I prefer Ea, the All. Ea Force formed, This force split into two, pick whatever mythological/logical explanation you want. I will tell it using what is comfortable for me. Ea was lonely, and looked at It's own reflection in the stars. This reflection, Ea realized, was now another entity, separate yet the same. Thus were Goddess and God. They loved one another, and from their love was created the Universe. Then, the universe, both physical and metaphysical planes were formed, in 10 to the -43 seconds (scientifically speaking, courtesy the Discovery Channel).
The Two created children in the form of intelligent, sentient spirits. These spirits then created other spirits, for they were close enough to their Creators, being only 1st generation, that they too could create such complex creations requiring such power. They did so because they yearned, like their Parents, to have Creations to love and be loved by. One of these groups of spirits in the second generation (ours) had two subgroups. They are what my friends and I are now calling kin and kine. They would be similar to what are called in Irish mythology the Seeley and the Unseeley, although not quite so clear cut good and evil as those myths have grown to be. They had a lot in common, but were completely opposite in some ways.
Here we began. Both groups had a code of honor, though the two codes differed from each other.
The 'lighter' group tended to be more straightforward, honest, and good-intentioned. The 'darker' group tended to be more mysterious, withdrawn, and mischievous. Vengeful also comes to mind, but the kin had their moments as well. The description "beautiful, yet terrible" is appropriate. Do not confuse dark with evil, though, they are not the same. Both groups experienced all the emotions, though the kine tend ed to be darker in theirs, and the kin tended to be "sweet and light". The kin could be compared to hopeful idealists, and the kine to realists with a touch of pessimism. The groups started out as almost black and white, but as time has gone on, have both become more gray, and so more like each other. These are the fruits of experience and natural tendencies toward equilibrium, in my opinion. We have also been living among one another, unknowingly, for a few lifetimes now, and so have homogenized a bit..
We were created with a Purpose, whose memory has been lost in the mists of time. The first hints and whispers of this obligation are in some of the more philosophical of our minds as we ask new questions almost as soon as old ones are answered. There's been more and more of that lately, I've seen. This obligation we accepted was more of an unspoken obligation than a given responsibility. For a vast majority of the time, there was nothing for us to do but play, and even that was more like honing our abilites and powers. It was educational, as play is educational for children.
We got so wrapped up in playing, that we completely forgot about the obligation. I don't personally remember much of the years in spirit form or what the obligation was, but I'm getting an idea. Something about helping and healing, but it's much more than that..
I have vague, happy, fuzzy memories of flying on breezes playing chase, of resting in flower blossoms, of hiding in the earth and stones, of dancing in flames, flying with the wind, and flowing in streams and rivers. I remember playing in the clouds, and many, many, many games of chase. There were also a lot of practical jokes. Through these games, we were able to 'be within' the stream, or the flame, without being the thing. All the universe was a neverending series of toys for us to play with and things to do. Some remember playing amongst stars and strands of proto-matter, galaxy strands and the like. The universe was much smaller then, and only the very first and very short lived stars were formed.
I remember that some ties were formed between friends and lovers. My, was sex different in pure spirit. Ever do it on the astral plane? If so, then you have an idea of what I mean. I remember being a lot more open in all ways. With feelings, with words, with ourselves with lovers. We were really free.
Some, when they saw the plants and animals, and formed shimmery insubstantial forms to imitate them. I don't know if we ever communicated with any intelligent species. I think we communicated with the plants and animals, though. We were very much like what are now known as pixies or fairies.
So then, for some Gods-only-know reason we decided to try being corporeal. I guess we became curious as to what it was like to actually inhabit bodies instead of just appearing to have them, or temporarily co-inhabit them. (My friend Eric thinks he's to blame for this decision, by being at least one of the main proponents of fleshly existence.) One theory is that we did it "just because". We settled on a lush and beautiful world.
We were still very much in tune with magic, and where we played there was much of it to be had. We did not call it "magic", as we didn't think of it as "occult power" as it is thought of today. It was the natural muscle of our minds, the extension of our wills. It was as much a part of us as breathing. It was from this that we shaped our first bodies, that could be reformed at will, so there was no concept of death, yet. We were now what would be called elves. Our word for ourselves was "sirc".
In the early days of our corporealness, we lived without aging. If one shell displeased us, or grew boring, we exited it, or probably re-absorbed it, and we created a new one. We explored our new forms with vigor and glee. We were still free, but we started to be seduced by our new forms. We grew more accustomed to physical reality. We forgot the half of our race that decided not to become corporeal. We developed rules, and clothing first from our imaginations and magic, and later from nature. It was the natural muscle of our minds, the extension of our wills. It was as much a part of us as breathing. It was from this that we shaped our first bodies, that could be reformed at will, so there was no concept of death, yet. We were now what would be called elves. Our word for ourselves was "sirc".
As time wore on, we developed culture, and it became more structured with each passing century. We developed community, laws, a written code of honor as opposed to just a sense of it, seasonal festivals and rituals for them. We developed or discovered how to cast spells and write magical formulae instead of just weaving the magic around us as we did in spirit. We started giving birth and dying instead of forming bodies at will. We began to weave cloth instead of just donning leather. Inspite of all the formality, the communities lived in harmony and peace for many centuries.
There were magnificent cities in the plains (Gary saw them on a dreamwalk). There were communities who lived in the forest, blending their houses into the upper branches of the majestic trees. All lived in harmony with nature, and with each other for the most part.
There were different sub-races of elves, much like the sub-races of humans. There were the Tu'lari (word supplied by Francine), or light elves which I was one of and have been describing. There were the List'ari (also supplied by Francine), or white elves, who were albino-like with white hair and pale complexions who lived in the "Northern Reaches". There were vornedhel, or dark elves, who lived underground. There may have others, but I do not personally remember them. Hey, I'm only one person with one set of memories. There were also the duedhel, were not a separate race, but a branch of the Tu'lari which splintered off over time as they were shunned, and formed their own society. More on them later, with the descriptions of the classes.
A note on the temperate nature of the planet. The temperatures did not have the extremes we have on present-day Earth. The Northern Reaches rarely got below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and that was considered bitter cold. Yes, we were spoiled.
The centuries of peace were only broken once by a brief inter-racial war. It was decided not too long into the war that it was not worth the bloodshed or the pain, physical or emotional. The different races still had suspicions of one another, and did not communicate between each other well, but the fighting stopped.
Celebrated were the cycles of the year, which corresponded to the seasons, much like they do here with the Wheel of the Year. There was a community ceremony for each. These were unifying and beautiful rites that strengthened the community and each individual. The community I lived in held them in what I term the Great Clearing.
I can remember the Spring Rite (corresponding to Beltane). We came in our brightest colors, which were not worn during the year until this ceremony. We formed a circle, we sang, danced, recited poetry, and displayed art. We worked magic for the season, for it's beauty and fun. We celebrated the lengthening, warming days. We danced for the sun. We sang for the fleeting and fragile colors of the flowers, some of which would be gone by summer. Specifically I remember passing around a basket of crunchy fruit. It was the first fruit of the season. We would take a fruit from the basket, take a bite out, and then pass it around the circle. Everyone would get a bite out of every fruit. This symbolized how our fates and well-being were all intertwined as a community. If we all worked together, we all would prosper and live full, rich lives. At the end of the ceremony, some participants would break off into groups, and some would stay in the Clearing. Most everyone would then commence the Great Rite, as it is called today. Ah, the advantages to a free society with magical healing. The rest of the celebrating lasted most of the night, and usually until dawn, exhausted happy elves falling asleep under their rooves or the stars as the light of day came over the horizon.
The community was very tightly woven and important to us. Almost everything was more or less a group effort. Everyone had their own special talents and strengths that they would use for the benefit of all. The wood shapers made the houses. The herbalists made elixirs. The healers cured and helped with births and deaths. The magicians wove protections, and whatever other fun things they did. The scouts patrolled the wood and kept it safe and healthy. You get the idea. We all took care of one another. This continues in this day, in a way. Each of us has our talents that when used together can bring truly awe-inspiring results. Happily, I have also seen a sense of 'taking care of our own', not to the exclusion of other races, but with special care for each other. Not in all elves I've met, but in a significant number.
There were different groups which were not really classes, but some had rulership of a kind. There were the local Councils which reported, as it were to the Grand Council. There was some sort of nobility toward the end. I know there were Lords and Ladies of some sort. There was King and/or Queen somewhere that functioned like Council Heads/leaders. Other groups were the healers, the mages, the scouts. There was another social group that was more of a subculture than a profession. They were the duedhel (night elves) or lumbuedhel (shadow elves). They were named such due to their love of the shadowy, the mysterious, the "dark". The healers were loved, the mages distrusted but respected, the scouts were looked upon as nuts, but necessary, and the duedhel were just plain out there. These are generalities, of course.
We eventually developed "official robe colors" for the different types of magic weavers, as follows:
|Blue||Divination of past and present|
|Red||Manipulation of magic itself, communication with other entities|
|Purple||Manipulation of events, magic by Will|
|Black||Technomancers and gene experimenters - denied to exist, but did anyway|
I think I wore combinations of purple blue and green, as well as white. I never was a conformist.
There were also all sorts of little rituals, and many details in life were symbolic, and their meanings common knowledge. It was taken for granted that if you did this with this like this, then it meant this. Like certain colored elixir bottles meant certain things (much like modern color magic). Certain words inflected in a certain way added meaning to the message being conveyed. Also, giving another whom you are interested in a symbol, or something personal of yours meant that you wanted to get serious. It was one in many possible steps in strengthening the seriousness of the relationship, the highest being lifemating. Even this could be taken one step further, and made to span the lifetimes. This is both a blessing and a curse, and something that became very popular near the end of the time on that world.
A note on these bonds. I have found others who I believe to be bonded to. I knew there was some sort of bond with the first other elf I found because the feeling was just too persistant, and strong at times, to be ignored. It was darned confusing at first, because it feels much like a crush, but it's subtley different. For one thing, there may be an intense desire to be with the other person with an absolute lack of sexual attraction. I'm sure some readers will know what I mean. I have also found, infits of anger, that these bonds are notoriously hard to break. I was only able to shut one down, I could not break it, and that pain far outweighed any perceived insult. The absence of the bond just felt wrong. When I gave in and let the bond reestablish, I was amazed at the feeling. Kind of like the release of dammed stream. It was also like when you take your toe out of the nice warm bath water and then put it back in. Nice and warm and mmm. But I digress.
There were also the honor codes, and the rules associated with them. Throwing down something of yours could either be a challenge to the honor of another or accepting such a challenge. I don't think we normally had honor combats, more of a battle of wills, and whoever had "right" on their side, it was believed, would win. Some of the basics of these codes are with us to this day, and I am still sorting them out. I am trying to follow my own inner code, in spite of living in a society that values it little. It's tough when not everyone plays by the same rules. The code I've come up with so far kind of goes like this: People are honorable until proven otherwise. Be honest, but not too honest. Keep trust. Life is sacred. Knowledge and power impart responsibility.
While I was visiting my friend Brit one day, we both remembered how we taught our children skills. On certain mornings, tents and circles were set up on the Great Clearing. There were learning circles for all things: "celestial" magic, healing, mental arts, the elements, weapon craft, forest knowledge, astrology, etc. The teachers were those who were the strongest in their fields, and who were best able to teach their skills to others. Brit says that I taught air and healing. These traits are still with me.
Another friend remembers the red robed mages. He remembers a "college" that was protected from outer intrusions, and also against inner experimentations. The red robed mages, he said, got power hungry. They wanted to not only master magic, but control the universal forces as well as everyone else. The society as a whole got arrogant, but they took the icing off the cake. They developed a plan, and things get complex from here on in.
Stagnation breeds corruption, and the High Council became corrupt. Life was so peaceful for so long that the society as a whole became complacent and overconfident. The councils became gab groups that were more like debate clubs than anything useful. They gradually listened less and less to outside ideas, especially from those scout guys. When the scouts first came home with the news that the borders were under attack, they weren't believed. It was only when the fighting got closer to the community proper that people began to be alarmed. The first attacks were by shape changing beasts that most commonly looked similar to apes, but not exactly. They had decided to expand their territory.
Those who remained in spirit did not forget about us. They tried to get in contact with us centuries later, and tried to express their joy in finding their lost brethren, but were dismayed when we couldn't sense them at all. There was a huge time difference between our first becoming corporeal and their re- contacting us. The effect of them being able to see us, but not them can be described as us being in a mirrored, sound-proofed bubble. Only some of us, mostly Red Robed mages, could see them. I'll get to the robe colors in a bit. They did manage to contact people, in a way, by using a large amount of energy. It was too much for their mortal kin, and destroyed the contactee. The Great Council used this in a plan of theirs, and painted our spiritual kin as an enemy, even though a few among them were already communicating with this "enemy".
On top of these other two forces, there was a third, purely malignant force that entered the fray. They just didn't scan right, visually. You couldn't see them until they were on top of you, and by then it was too late. Those few who did survive described a shadowy beast, panther-like, graceful and on all fours. The terrifying about them was what happened to their victims. When the White Robes went looking for the spirit, to make sure it made the journey to the other world alright, they couldn't find it. It was thought that the spirit had been utterly destroyed. Now, we have figured out that these spirits had just been thrown early to the place the rest of us would soon be. Then, we were scared senseless.
Still, we believed that we would naturally be victorious over our foes, because our society had always been, was a thing of beauty, and always would be. We were elves! Nothing would dare disturb our peaceful and powerful way of life and get away with it! We were immortal! Is that blood coming out of him? My it's an awful lot...
The healer is looking afraid...uh oh.
Our society was so well preserved, so peaceful, you see, that we weren't learning anything or growing as a people or individuals. Like it or not, there are certain academic advantages to the cycle of reincarnation. Nature abhors stagnation, and so things were bound to change. It was learned that the magic of the planet would begin to wane, and so the High Council devised a plan. They would create a Gate to a future time when the magic had once again begun to wax. They would set it to drain anyone that went through, fix it, and then go through themselves, leaving only themselves with power. They would attribute it to their wisdom, and perhaps Divine Selection, and then take over. They told the public of the coming changes, and of the planned Gate, but not the little detail of the power drain.
And on top of all this, there was the blasted changing of the Great Cycle, the magic was waning noticeably. People were sad to know they had to leave, but it was better than staying with the power going and the war raging. Besides, the mages and the councils agreed it was the best thing for all, so it had to be. Soon, we would be gone from there and that war. Some few, of all races, began to sense that while we were definitely going somewhere, maybe it wasn't the place we were expecting. They began to suspect that they were not being told the whole story. They began to investigate. This rebel group possibly saved our collective hides from worse happening than what did. Then, it is also possible that what happened could not have been altered in any way and all these groups striving against each other was for naught.
Still the fighting got nearer. More people started dying. Not just scouts, but anyone who traveled too far from their home. Children, sometimes. People began to get scared. Why not gate out now? Why fight these shifting things that couldn't be seen until they were up close and personal? The mages were even getting nervous. The scouts had been frightened for quite some time. It was decided to gate out so oner than planned. That was the first mistake.
Those who had seen echoes of the future had now discerned that we were going to a place with a lot less magic than our home had, they began to see Earth. They discovered that nature abhors stagnation, and that our society was doing just that. They saw that the gate would work, but not as intended, and that would be the reason we were heading for Earth.
Eventually, the problem was seen as serious enough for the different elven races to work together. This was a historic event, as there are vaguely remembered times of inter-racial wars. No one knows which race contacted another first, but it doesn't matter. The visionaries from all the races communicated, and perhaps conspired to help with the tampering of the gate.
When we went through the gate, we didn't go to the time we had mapped out. We wound up on Earth, in ancient times. Earth's energy had already begun to wane. It wasn't completely gone, but it was darned close. In all the burning out, and death, and confusion, and scattering the community was shattered. We scattered further in one incarnation after another. And tho