Dearest Molly and Friends Back Home!
…I am starting to suspect that I may have let myself in for more than I bargained for, registering with the Guild Halls for this Journey,!
At first, I was just interested to “go visit the Elves”, the ones at Elvenwood, I mean. Well, ever since Corwin told me that there was a huge Elvenland out there just crossing the Luna Estuary, I have been agog with everything that happened! Strike me with a feather, I get out from under one pile of surprises and the next already washes over me!…
Molly, it´s not just that there are Elves to the north of the Luna Estuary, there is a whole civilization out here which we do not know about, and I have just started scratching its surface!
Goddess knows I have never fancied myself as an anthropologist, but that is what I am fast becoming!…I have gone through such a wealth of information about The People these last few days that I don´t even know where to begin for the telling of it. Maybe I´ll start with a new map. The map that I had at Guild Halls is a conventional one. The second one is the one that I created with the new information. See the difference? My oh my.
It turns out that The People have built entire communities throughout Elvenland, each village (which they call “syrn”, or “ostar”, depending on size) has a special characteristic, a special communal task to accomplish for the whole of The People. Some raise horses, some create art, some tend gardens, some reclaim and people the woods and the deserts and the mountains, and some… philosophize, yes! The last being for the greater good of all Elvendom. (I was told that they call themselves The People in the same way that on real-Earth we call ourselves “Humanity”.)
I made a sketch of how Elven communities are generally designed. Each community´s size depends on how many people – or families – are involved in its construction. Generally, they build a “norn”, or “wheel”, when 12 families, or 12 people, ask for it. They are always built from organic materials (wood, adobe, and such). There are no constructions made of stone, so as not to make a drastic intervention into the environment. The constructions are meant to disappear after a certain while, in which case the Elves just build another “wheel” in another site, to let the woods grow back again. The idea is to blend into the environment as much as possible, and not to build ahead for several generations. The concept behind it, as I understood it, is to let each generation do its creative work, and not to accumulate material possessions. (The Elves are crazy for knowledge however, scientific knowledge, but also psychological and spiritual.)
Every family – or individual – lives in a portion of a norn, and every house has a garden in the part facing the Roundhouse (in the middle), and a veg patch in the backyard, where they can plant flowers or vegetables, or simply have a nice green space, with a small tool shed, or an enclosure for various animals. As you can see in my sketch, the center of a norn is always a communal building, the custom is for it to be round so as to “face” all houses (actually, they call it the “Roundhouse”), where you can find a school, a communication center, libraries, a market, a Council of Elders, and where all collective celebrations, meetings and parties take place.
Again, depending, many artists live in houses that they build outside of a “norn”, in the woods, in the mountains, on the seacoast or in other remarkable places. There are, – imagine! – lively artist communities, formed by all sorts of people, men, women, singles, families, young and old. This is the case in particular of the two “syrns” of Bel and Iru, on each side of the Titania Lake, which, by the way is an Elven-made artificial lake that provides water for the two communities, as well as fish and algae. Iru (pronounced “ee-roo”) is more artistic, and at Bel they practice silviculture – permaculture and forestry. Both syrns are part of a Guild of Bioneers (Biological Pioneers), that has also built communities in the Desert of Tar (the Amrit community, for example) , where the Bioneers are reclaiming the desert, this community has built a canal from Lake Evendun to the Amrit “norn”, and they plan to make the desert flower before a tenyears!…and close to Dolphin Bay in the North, there is a Bioneer community (I don´t know its name yet, but I plan to visit, swimming with dolphins is part of my plan for this Journey) which is working with the dolphins of Dolphin Bay. Dolphin Bay, which is a stone throw from Druid Island, mark my word, I´m going to end up with the Druids, although…I really don´t know when that will be. I may stay with The People for ever and a day, even maybe be adopted by them! Chuckle-chuckle.
By the way, being a Bioneer is seen as very important around here. It´s like the mythical heroes of old on real-Earth. Being a Bioneer is like wearing a medal or some such. They are collectively admired, and people go out of their way to help them in their endeavours. And not all of them are young, they have Councils of Elders in all “ostars”, “syrns” and “norns”, and some of these Elders are really a joy to meet!…Never a boring moment anyway, since I got here!…
In the North, right up from the Asmat Coastline (see my map above) , they have built what they call an Orbiter-Aquarius, a Floating Island, where Elven scientists are studying the great deeps of the Western Ocean (I plan to go there, too).
As for Lake Evendun, North from the Desert of Tar… Well, just imagine, I have been told that Lake Evendun, which appears on most conventional maps as a natural feature, is actually an artificial lake built by the Elves! Have a look at the map, Molly. See the Evendun Canal?
In the West, there is Thuriya, an “ostar” (town) which is a biggish commercial port – where all sort of deals are made, also with the “Outside”, meaning “out of Elvenland”. The Thuriyan Elves do not live in the town, though; they have nomad yurt “norns”, communities that live a bit like the people of Mongolia on real-Earth. They have herds of elk-like animals, on the Thuriya Plains, and they also raise horses for the rest of Elvenland, peaceful, well-trained horses which are wonderful, I´ll probably tell you more about this in a further post.
Then, south-east of the Asmat Coastline which hosts numerous groups of artists and is generally seen as a “holiday resort” (as we, on real-Earth, would say), there are the formidable Moonstone Mountains, in which, I am told, live some prodigious philosophers. Of course, I plan to visit them. I need to know what makes these people tick, I have yet to encounter someone in a bad mood, they all look so happy and contented. And so diverse! Not one individual is exactly like the next, in fact they are much more particular, singular, than most people who call themselves “mavericks” on real-Earth.
Corwin is telling me to catch my breath, and to start by resting a bit in our new treehouse, that he says The People have built just for him. I´m sending you a painting, isn´t it simply gorgeous? It´s called “Amon Sgiathatch” (Hill of the Dragon, in Elvish) and is in the woods near Norn Bel (“The wheel of Bel”, The Silviculture Community on which I based my sketch above).
So, you see, my dear Molly, you´re in for a whole bunch of interesting reports from now on! (After I had my resting time, I hastily add, since Corwin is looking over my shoulder and is “tsssk-tsssk”-ing me with a rather stern look…)
I´m sooo excited, wow, I can barely breathe! Yes, Yes (to Corwin), I´m coming. Molly, I have to go now, if you have any message for me, address it to this Communication Center at Amon Sgiathatch, you´ll see the gaiafield address below. (Yes, the Elves are extremely developped in the area of communications, another giant surprise!…In fact I have to tell you something very funny about this, but it will have to be in another post. Sorry, dear, I know that I´m babbling, running after my mouth, Corwin would say…)
PS. Nr 2. – Oh, and I have forgotten to tell you, the “glider” was actually a hovercraft, and we crossed the Luna Estuary in a jiffy!…And the “Elven way” that Corwin spoke of, and was so severe about, well, it´s that The People have very sophisticated “soft” technologies, and these should stay, as far as is possible, invisible! Molly, their houses, their “norns”, are heated with geothermic energy, they all have solar cooking gear and ovens in their kitchen, and they have small “cars” for emergencies that run on photosynthesis!… I mean, I am truly overwhelmed by all these discoveries!…(Oh my Goddess, I sound like a fifteen-year old, and I do feel that way!)
The Lady Vivian, at Amon Sgiathatch, Elvenland.
3-000-99-888 (Vertical Infinity x 3)