Enchante Journals, Volume 1 (book)
The Enchante Journals, Volume 1
A Chronicle of Music and Magic
Bards are the storytellers and lorekeepers of the land, but too often we have forgotten the truths of our own past. There are fascinating tales behind the music and magic that so defines what and who we are as Bards; tales largely unknown. For that reason, my companions and I have taken it upon ourselves to create these chronicles, what we have called the "Enchante Journals."
In this endeavor, this vast undertaking, I have been aided by the following noble Bards: Hildart Sverul, craftsman of Hibarnhvidar and master of the Dwarven epics; Nereeth Gethaelt, wandering singer and performer and entertainer of children; Endirek Chydaku, of the Order of Kalodi. In this volume of our chronicles, we discuss the famed warrior bard Arnumir, and the Elven War of Tears.
In the early days of the Resistance War, the renegade leader Lanival was strapped for both manpower and resources against his rivals, primary of which was the Elven warlord Teiro, who sought to consolidate the lands held by the Imperials under a new rule, established by himself, for himself. Lanival felt that the Imperial structure had failed, and that the future lay in dividing its lands up. There were other contestants in this epic struggle, of course, each vying for their own self-interest, but these minor figures were overshadowed by the giants of Lanival and Teiro.
But Lanival did not start out as a giant. While Teiro had the powerful and well-trained Elven armies at his back, Lanival's was a more ragtag force -- novices, exiles, and castoffs. His first objective was attempting to attain allies and supporters to rally beneath his banner. He would achieve it to an extent... gathering some early support from key figures, such as Shorka the (who offered a much needed infusion of soldiers to Lanival) Cobra and Ka'len (who would head the effort to establish and lead a sea-force) and Lanival's own gypsy followers, the Human Dragon Clan, which made up the core of the Redeemer's army. But he was still an underdog, overmatched, forced to continue to beseech others for help. One such man was the Governor of the Empire's Therengian Province. This governor, Jelstad, initially rebuffed Lanival, preferring to take a neutral "wait-and-see" approach before siding with one army or another.
This spurning occurred in person. Lanival, along with his top aide Arhat, went to the city of Therenborough on a diplomatic trip, to entreat Governor Jelstad Theren to join in the Resistance War against Teiro. Despite laying out a persuasive and forceful argument, despite intense pleading, Jelstad remained firm. The distinguished Bard of Therengia, the Bard of House Theren, however, was won over. Though he had served the Theren family all his life, Arnumir Falarta was won over by Lanival. He quickly relinquished his position and service to the Therens, pledging then and there, right on the spot! in front of Governor Jelstad, to serve Lanival.
That is really where this first story begins. Arnumir was a legendary Bard for good reason. Throughout the course of the Resistance War, he never once left Lanival's side. He served as a chronicler, diligently observing every event in the unfolding histories -- he would later, during those periods of rest and respite, use his considerable mastery of Bardic Recall to transcribe his tales in song and parchment.
(Here I must make note of the fact that Arnumir's accounting of the Fall of Darkstone is utterly remarkable in every way, and it is one of the most gripping battle songs ever sung.)
It is commonly held now that Lanival's Journals, so renowned for their telling of Lanival's feelings and personal experiences during the war, were actually penned by the omnipresent shadow of Arnumir. These Journals, portions of which can be read in Silvyrfrost's fine tome, "Human Histories," detail some of the most significant moments of that long war, including Lanival's meeting with the Dragons. Arnumir also composed the thirty-four verse song "Teiro's Blood," which my accomplished colleague Silvyrfrost also excerpted.
When Arnumir, walking alongside his friend, first saw the awesome sight of the Dragons, he was filled with such a bone-chilling fear. He began quickly humming to himself, which to some extent, succeeded in easing his nerves and undoing his fears.
In battle, Arnumir stood by Lanival's side, as one of our Guild's greatest warrior-bards ever. He protected Lanival's back in battle, and with instruments in hand, he would issue signals and commands for the general. Arnumir often served as a rallying point, helping Lanival to gather soldiers for quick strikes; and it was he that aided in leading the troops to safety when battles went sour. Arnumir was a source of strength to the soldiers, using his music and his magic to bolster their skill and their spirit.
In one of the final battles of the Resistance War, when Lanival gathered his entire army before Teiro's, it was Arnumir that saved the day. Teiro, a master of dark magics, began using a foul series of spells that created a landscape of horror before Lanival's assembly, filling them with the most nightmarish fear. Soldiers began throwing down their arms and fleeing in hysteria, though that did not turn and strike their compatriots down.
Thinking quickly, Arnumir raised his horn and began blaring out the melody he had devised that day he saw the Dragons. The Bard expertly wove the power of the elements together with his music, creating an effect that countered the dark magic Teiro threw at Lanival's forces.
As the battle waged fierce, with Arnumir's song sustaining the Redeemer's troop, the Bard was soon engulfed in the melee. With his focus on the music, he was caught off guard -- it was through this that the Bard lost his arm.
Though he fell to the ground, reeling from the pain, he did not allow his music to end. His instrument grounded, Arnumir began to chant his song, as loud as possible, creating rousing words to match the melody he had devised. Teiro's magic was unable to take hold again during the battle.
The magic song the Bard created that day became an invaluable tool to Bards in later generations. It was named "The Redeemer's Pride."
He was never so fine a warrior after that battle, having lost an arm, but he still remained Lanival's shadow and companion. Arnumir was with Lanival when the Redeemer was attacked by assassins on his journey. Both received critical wounds during that battle. Arnumir managed to drag himself to a nearby village, where he delivered the news of what had happened, and told the tale of Lanival seeking Glacis' help. He passed away soon after from his injuries.
Historically, it is known as the Elven-Human War. But to the Elves, it was always called "The War of Tears." The long-lived Elves were ill prepared for the carnage they would suffer in those battles, the huge losses of their number they would face.
Prior to the Elven-Human War, the Elves had engaged in only one other affair which could have been termed an actual war, which was the Dwarven-Elven War. But that event seems to have been designed by both the Elves and the Dwarves to accomplish nothing more than stalemate, a condition they maintained for centuries. And though the two sides would periodically engage in further battles ("skirmishes" is a more accurate word) there was nothing in it to match the wholesale chaos and slaughter of the future wars... especially the War of Tears.
The Elves were unprepared for the ferocity with which the Humans would fight them when the war broke out. They had expected a strategic game of one-upping and stalemating, like what had occurred with the Dwarves. But the Humans, perhaps due to their natural anger, perhaps due to necessity thanks to their shorter lifespans, did not engage in such play. When the war broke out, they fought with all their might toward one goal, which was eliminating their enemies. The Elves hadn't been prepared for that, nor for the quick entry of the Dwarves into the war on the Humans' side, which only increased the rate of Elven deaths.
(The Elves would later gain allies of their own, but that came a bit later, and the Dwarves' speedy entry caught them off-guard and gave the Human side a sizable advantage for a time.)
Now, you see, we Elves are a very symbolic people, a people greatly in touch with our family and our ancestors. The loss of so many of our kindred was unbearable. Once the stakes of that war were made clear, the Elves fought every bit as hard as their enemies did.
Elves also have a very strong Bardic tradition. Our people are in tune with nature, with the elements, and in tune with the power of song. It was only natural for Elvenkind to blend the elements and music together to create a mighty force -- a force which was readily utilized in the War of Tears. So entered the song "The Naming of Tears."
We called it the War of Tears due to the losses we suffered, of our brothers and sisters. Elven Bards on the battlefield devised this enchante in which they named out to the soldiers those who had been lost, in essence, naming their tears. The soldiers believed the song filled them with the powers of the dead, the dead Elves determined to prevent their live kindred from joining them. That wasn't really the case... in fact, the song wove music and elemental power together to enhance the bodies and emotions of those who heard the song, helping them to withstand the Human assaults. Elves are not hale of body, and before, the Humans were able to ravage the Elven lines, felling them quickly. With the power of this enchante, though, the Elven lines stood strong, and the Humans and Dwarves were amazed at how their attacks were having no effect.
The Naming of Tears was powerful, and draining to the Bards who performed it, which was why it was important for the Elven armies to have a substantial force of Bards in reserve, ready to jump in at any moment to renew the power of the song. Recently, magical theorists have devised better ways to utilize the flows of magic, to control them without such an exhausting effect. This, of course, makes the song even greater. But the sense of sadness and loss it has always conveyed is still present, beneath the surface.
Our chronicles of Bardic magic are continued in the next volume.
By my hand,