The Forest Folk Chapter 1

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
A fresh look at the history of the people known as the 'Alfur'.

Submitted: September 02, 2016

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Submitted: September 02, 2016

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THE FOREST FOLK:

 

Author's Note:

 

In the following account, there are many names which have been changed so that the record does not encroach on the work of other writers. To some extent, there is some similarity to other tales concerning the race known in this account as 'the Sylvan'. This is so that, hopefully on some level, my readers will be able to at least find a familiar thread that connects this history with other versions. And, seeing that much of the history is a matter of interpretation, there are no absolutes in the telling thereof.

 

Some of what I have written is more historical, or based on classical mythology and legend-lore. These I have tried to record with greater accuracy. Many of the names that I have used are derivations of the languages that have been ascribed to the Sylvan race. The sequence of events may not coincide with the more traditional records, but as I have said before, most of these are dependant on personal opinion. Thus one version is as valid as the next.

 

T.B.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1 - The God-Worlds:

 

The following is a brief history of the race known by many names, depending on the origin or nationality of those telling it. In Scandinavia, including Iceland and Greenland, they are known as the 'Alfr' or 'Huldufolk', a name later changed to 'Elf'. Among the ancient Celts, these people are called the 'Aos Sye'. More recently, they were named the 'Sidhe', named after the mounds in which it was believed that these folk made their homes. The Britons called them 'Aelf'. They choose to call themselves the 'Tavaquendi', or 'Woodland People'.

 

Some modern scholars have described them as the Sylvan. This word, when used as a noun, means 'Inhabitant of the forest', from the Latin, 'silv?nus'. This is derived from 'Silva', meaning forest, although it is more often than not used to refer to one of the forest denizens or gods in ancient time, such as Pan. This is because, during the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as the Norse, Germanic, and British civilisations, they were indeed considered to be either demi-gods, or messengers from the various deities.

 

The reasoning behind this will be discussed at a later stage, but suffice it to say, for the present, that this race of beings evolved in much the same way as any other, albeit to a higher level of existence than the human race. By the time these two races encountered one another, many of the Sylvan had already experienced the transformation into a more advanced state of consciousness. This was called the Kuiviess, or 'Awakening'. This too will be discussed in more detail further on in this account.

 

Although the timeline for Sylvan prehistory, as opposed to that of humanity, is different, it is widely believed that this race pre-dates hominid evolution by approximately two to four million years. As has been said, however, this is purely academic as the Sylvan did not evolve on the same worlds as humankind.

 

Any records of Sylvan prehistory are sketchy at best, but it almost appears as though this race has not physically changed much over the millennia. The only clear development has been in the area of technology, and the use and manufacture of tools and implements. As was the case in early hominid prehistory, there is little evidence that the Sylvan used tools in the beginning. An excavation on Meridea shows, what appears to be the remains of a Sylvan female that had fallen prey to a large extinct bird-like creature. Apart from the mangled skeleton, the only item found was what was left of, what seems to be, a necklace made of teeth.

 

From this it appears that the Sylvan had developed at least a basic understanding of aesthetics long before humanity's earliest ancestors. Compared to the evolutionary sequence in the case of humankind, this individual would appear to have lived in the same time period as Ramapithecus, one of earth's earliest hominids. There is no evidence of any form of adornment in human prehistory up until Homo sapiens. By the physical appearance, it is also clear that this individual is far more advanced than her earthly counterpart.

 

In earth terms, it was the generations that followed Ramapithecus, Australopithecus, that began to use simple stone tools such as hand-axes. Here it appears that Sylvan evolution seems to match that of their hominid cousins. Evidence shows that about fourteen million years ago, in standard Earth years, Sylvan forebears manufactured tools made of flint in much the same way, and with the same level of sophistication, as Australopithecus. But the rate of advancement from then onwards was more accelerated than that of humanity. So much so, that if the Sylvan had existed on Earth during the age of the Neanderthals, they would have already been able to produce weapons and tools of metals such as bronze. While humanity's ancestors were still a hunter-gatherer society, their Sylvan counterparts would have dwelt in small villages, and practised the most basic form of agriculture.

The only difference was that of the Sylvan's chosen habitat. Since they preferred forests and jungles in which to dwell, their earliest architecture was built in the branches of the oldest and largest trees. To protect themselves from dangerous predators, they would erect simple picket fences around the base of their dwellings. Having begun to cultivate their own food, rather than gathering it from the forest, the Sylvan grew orchards and groves within these fences. In the beginning, these would provide enough for the clan, but soon they began to trade with other families close-by, and thus the start of the barter system was established.

 

At the start of recorded Sylvan history, there were the three Mellyrnarda. This can be roughly translated as 'God-Worlds', and describes the planets from which the Sylvan race originated. In modern terms, the Sylvan that came from these worlds have been called the 'Forebears' or 'Antecedents'. The worlds are: Meridea, Endar, and Golshen. In the traditional Sylvan tongue, these founders were called 'yi-Athani', meaning 'The Patriarchs', although later, this name was given to those who had achieved the level of consciousness known as the 'Kuiviess', which will be dealt with at a later stage.

 

It was on these worlds that the Sylvan race began. Vast forests and jungles covered the lands, and the Antecedents lived among them, obtaining their food from the world around them, and building their homes high up in the branches of the tallest and oldest trees. They realised that they could not survive without leaving their mark on the environment, but they sought to minimise the impact. Thus they ate only that which they could obtain without taking the life of another creature.

 

Originally, the only humanoid inhabitants of these three worlds were the Sylvan and the Merka-Tel. The latter, also called the Wildlings, were not as advanced as the former. They also lived in harmony with nature, and with the Sylvan, as they chose the open plains and savannah that existed in the temperate areas of the Sylvan home worlds between the central tropics, that mainly consisted of jungles and rainforests, and the colder zones where the coniferous forests grew.

 

There was some interaction between the two races, most of which was in the form of barter. This was because the only form of agriculture the Merka-Tel practised was that of grain farming. Although the Sylvan survived primarily off the produce from the forests, they required the wild wheat and maize from their Wildling cousins to make bread. Thus the relationship between these two people was one of symbiosis. They also kept to themselves, and thus there was no inter-breeding between them. This only came later when their progeny began settling on other worlds.

 

The other craft that the Sylvan learned from the Wildlings was the ability to work with metals. This was because most of the ore deposits that were easily accessible were in the grasslands. It was a secondary commodity in the beginning, as there was very little need for weapons, except with which to defend themselves against wild beasts that sometimes attacked the Sylvan while they collected food in the forests. There were no wars in those times, as the Sylvan sought to live at peace with all living things.

 

To begin with, there was no worship as such, not because they did not have the perception of powers greater than that of the physical world. Rather it was due to their innate reverence for all living things. After all, according to their most important law: 'Ryle leutha sar-sali', 'All life is sacred'.

 

They believed that their kind was created by the 'Eyanuel', 'the Song of the Universe'. This stemmed from the belief, that instead of there being a single entity that was responsible for the creation of the Universe, as held to by many other faiths, the Universe itself was that being. All that existed was a result of the ongoing Eyanuel, '… the Great Song that has no beginning, and no ending ...', but is ever creating and growing, and never stagnant. The thought was that, at a certain time during this song, Eya - The Universal Being - found the great mystery that is 'Love', and dedicated part of the Great Song to expound its many wonders. One of the results of this song was the Sylvan race.

 

Later this belief was further developed, and Eya became known as 'Aluvatan', 'the Father of All', and 'the One whom his heart adored', was known as 'Ya'ave' - 'the Fruitful One', from whom all the other Sylvan deities were born. This was later changed again, and these two became known as the 'Isuleya': 'The Aspects of Eya' - The same being, but different manifestations thereof.

 

The Sylvan were, and still are, a peace loving race. Although, over the millennia, they have become masters in the art of war, it has always been their motto: 'Illusse yi-jadrukven, seartra yi-caelissin'. Directly translated, this means: 'Never the attacker, ever the defender'. More accurately it reads: 'Never the aggressor, ever the defender'. It is also why they have ever shunned the consumption of meat. They did keep livestock, but mainly for such produce as milk. Because the habitat in which they lived was usually temperate, there was never any need for warm clothing, and thus no need to kill animals for their fur.

 

Instead the Sylvan developed looms upon which they could weave cloth, and spindles that spun yarn from natural fibres harvested from the forest. One plant that grew in abundance was akin to that which humans call hemp. Even mankind used this versatile plant to make rope until it was replaced with hyssop, the former having been deemed too addictive.

 

And so the Sylvan people thrived, ever mindful of their influence on the world in which they lived. If the population became too much of a burden for a certain area, some of the inhabitants would migrate to another region, there to establish settlements of their own.

 

Thus the villages spread throughout the globe, soon becoming great nations, the greatest of which was the Kingdom of Faelar, on Meridea. This was the centre of learning and power for centuries, until surpassed by the mighty Endaran city of Tiaglass. Although both Endar and Meridea are considered to be Progenitor Worlds, the former was founded first by about three thousand years, but the latter - once established - flourished far more rapidly. Golshen followed, but not at the same pace as the other two.

 

The Sylvan had an advantage over many of the other races, and that was longevity. Before the era known as the 'Xuntarealta', otherwise called 'the Great Corruption', their lifespan lasted many centuries. Some lived for well over a thousand years. As a form of judgement for their trespasses during their age of heresy, their lives were shortened considerably. At present, anyone older than four hundred years of age is considered to be blessed.

 

Perhaps the aspect that brought about the greatest advancements in Sylvan society was that, unlike humanity - for example - whose will to dominate, as well as the pursuit of technological and scientific advancement, overshadowed all other forms of progress, the Sylvan sought in earnest to develop a greater spiritual awareness above all else. This was the beginning of the path that would eventually result in the Awakening. It was also instrumental in the Sylvan's advancement in the mystical arts.

 

It has long been believed that magic is merely, as yet, undiscovered science. Humanity has delved deep into such scientific fields as physics and mathematics, and has only recently touched on the mysteries of quantum science, also known as quantum physics. One of the bases of this field of research can be illustrated in the following: 'Throw a pebble into a lake of water, and watch the ripples that it causes'. This means that everything that occurs in nature results in the displacement and manipulation of energy. This ripple-effect extends even beyond the mere physical plane, and can influence the other dimensions too. Thus, in the case of so-called 'Magic', a practitioner can begin a process, in what had been termed, 'the Supernatural', and its results will manifest in the natural.

 

The Sylvan, as opposed to humanity, delved into other realms of science, including that of quantum physics. One of their greatest philosophers stated: 'Dost tyne onta dost arda'. Loosely translated, this means: 'Your focus creates (determines) your world'. This means that whatever one pays attention to will determine the course that one's future will follow, until one chooses to change the direction of focus.

 

Sylvan scholars dedicated centuries to unravelling some of the mysteries of the supernatural. Great academies were built in which the findings of one generation could be stored and referred to by their descendants, who in turn would add their own insights and findings to these great collections. And thus, over millennia, the Sylvan understood more and more of the arts that, because of eras such as the so-called 'Dark Ages', humanity failed to recognise. In fact many of that race considered them as demonic or evil. Those who dabbled therein were considered as outcasts, and even tortured until they either forsook their practises, or died a most horrific death.

 

This was done because the religious leaders of the time were determined to maintain absolute control over the people. This control was driven by fear, fear of the very people who were tasked with supposedly guiding them towards greater spiritual understanding. Instead they sought to rule the known world with their dogma.

 

The developments in these mystic arts aided the Sylvan when it became imperative that some should migrate to other worlds, in order to control the impact they were having on their home planets. The populations on the Progenitor Worlds had reached the point where, if they were to grow any larger, they would irrevocably upset the delicate balance their forefathers had ever sought to maintain. Thus it was decided that, by one means or another, the people would endeavour to lessen the burden they were imposing upon the planet.

 

It began with Meridea. The shamanistic priests around the globe gathered in the numerous shrines and places of worship. Independent of one another, with no form of inter-communication, they dedicated themselves to formulating a solution to this global crisis. They beseeched the spirits of Air, Fire, Water and Earth to give them strength and wisdom to find a means by which this problem could be resolved ere it was too late.

 

Soon they began to formulate an answer. It would develop in two ways: The first was that the individual would choose to pursue his or her spiritual path even more rigorously than before, until such time as the physical aspect of their existence would give way to the etheric. This was later called the Awakening, the Kuiviess. Even human history refers to certain extraordinary individuals that have followed a strict ascetic code, and have achieved the highest form of spiritual development, ascension. This would mean that these people would move on to a plane of existence in which they no longer required anything from the world upon which they dwelt.

 

But perhaps the primary difference between the Sylvan Awakening, and some of those amongst the other races who ascended, was the level at which they could still interact with the ones who remained behind. Many of them became revered as spiritual guides, and later given the status of deities, much against their own desire. During this time of transition, however, their insights and powers became crucial in furthering the progress in the second endeavour. And this was the forming of the 'Kiyoen', portals through which people could migrate in large numbers to other worlds. These mass migrations became known as 'Foundings', or in the Sylvan tongue 'Erdassyen'.

 

 

In the beginning, these portals occurred naturally, but few ventured to make use of them, as they were at best unstable. Only the most skilled shaman or priest could travel through them, and even then at great risk. A Kiyo could be found in a cave, or in the trunk of a large tree where the roots formed a natural tunnel. With the help of the Kuivisye, the Awakened, the clergy began to gain greater control of these doorways to other planets, and eventually were able to create them rather than having to only make use of those that nature provided.

 

At first these were simple structures, even created by bending plaited branches to form a primitive archway, but generally these could only transport a few people at a time, and would soon collapse. Thus more permanent structures had to be constructed to allow more people to depart. A simple control mechanism was put in place. Part of the inscription on the top of the portal read: '… May the destination only be for the highest good of those who enter in …' In theory, this meant that the Kiyo would open at a location that would assure the safety of those who used it to travel.

 

The first to venture through the portals were adventurers and explorers. They would be accompanied by a shaman or priest, who would carry with him or her a sample from the world from which they had come. This was usually a piece of rock, or a semi-precious stone that had been specially charged to act as a link between their new home and the one from which they had departed. These stones were given the name 'Giye-Elessye', or 'Key Stones'. Once they had arrived at their destination, it was imperative that they erect another Kiyo in order to return. The shaman would collect an item from the world that they had visited, charge it, and then use it as a link to the new planet.

 

They would then explore the planet as much as they could, investigating its viability as a new habitat for the Sylvan to occupy. Once their scouting mission had been completed, they returned to the planet from which they came, and reported their findings to the Council, who in turn would decide as to whether the planet was suitable or not. Once the decision had been made, the first group to actually settle on the planet were known as 'Ragurketha'. These Founders had obtained the skills necessary for pioneering the new worlds, and thus preparing the way for other inhabitants to follow.

 

Only these 'God-Worlds' escaped the ravages of the 'Great Corruption', as their inhabitants had not been complicit in the atrocities that led up to it. This meant that only on these three planets do the Sylvan live as they always have, while the rest suffered the consequences of their actions as karma took its toll.  


© Copyright 2017 Tristan Biggs. All rights reserved.

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