lebiro wrote: Eplear and Pelinal
Foreword and translation by Harman Maurus
The story of Pelinal Whitestrake, the Divine Crusader, is a famous legend from the birth of the Empire. His crusades, or pogroms, swept the Ayleids into obscurity, eradicating their mighty Cyrodiilic Empire from Nibenay, Colovia, and old ‘Kreath. Tales say he rampaged as far as Elsweyr, butchering scores of Khajiit he took for more of the hated mer. But this furious crusade across the southern half of the continent raises an interesting question. At the time of Pelinal’s crusades, there was a glaring omission from his pogroms – Valenwood. A fledgling kingdom of elves, pressed close against the hills of Colovia and actively harbouring his Ayleid foes, why and how did the realm of the Boiche escape the wrath of Pelinal? Imperial scholarship on the whole, perhaps predictably, offers few answers, but the Bosmer have, if few scholarly “histories”, a vast reservoir of tales to tell.
One such tale is the Song of Eplear, a lengthy, though surprisingly obscure, epic poem chronicling the conquest of Valenwood by Eplear Camoran, first king of the Bosmer, and ruler at the time of Pelinal’s conquests. The Bosmeri poetry is difficult, if not impossible, to translate with any finesse into Tamrielic (though any Bosmeris-speaker should consider locating a copy), but unlike most Bosmeri epics, it is accompanied by veritable libraries of notes and annotations. The providence of these notes is ancient and confused; many are indisputably Bosmeri, but some appear Ayleid, others human. Others still are beast-writing (Imga, Centaur and Satyr) or completely mysterious. What follows is a brief translation of a small collection of these notes, in particular those pertaining to Eplear’s meeting with the Divine Crusader himself.
Pelin-El came to the edge of Cyrod where the trees ceased to weep and began to sing, and where the Boiche kept forever-watch from the mighty trees. The white stone of the Ayleidoon would not cross that edge of Cyrod and beyond it all was unspoiled, dark and green. The graht-oaks walked and the beasts roared and the Boiche roamed indolent in the spring.
Those Ayleid who were wise fled where their stone did not go and vanished among the trees where their beads were like berries and their feathers were like leaves and where their brothers took them to hide. Their escape was an insult and Pelin-El demanded their elf-blood. The star-made-knight was bathed in the blood of elf-kings who fought him, and so he had no fear of Y’ffre’s forest. He called out the king that was in those elf-lands, for at that time there was only one and the green-sap was true-whole.
The One King of the Elves in the South, and always-king of Y’ffre’s people, was Eplear, whose helm was the skull of Great-Gold-Ape-King (whose bones were golden moonstone), and whose bow was the long wing of the Great-Roc-of-the-Hunt (whose shadow made the Boiche forget Magnus sometimes), and whose home was Green-Sap-Walking (whose blood was the blood of the forest). And Eplear King heard the call of Pelinal.
Eplear knew the seven-hundred benefits of hiding (and the three-hundred more that were his gift to all Bosmer), but he did not hide, for he knew not to this time. And Eplear knew the many ways of the hunt, that are the treasure of all his people (and were his great mastery), but he did not hunt Pelin-El, for he knew not to this time. And Eplear knew Payment-in-Kind, which Z’en taught to Y’ffre (who taught it to his favourite children) and Z’en’s mirror-children reminded to the Boiche, and so to Eplear, so he knew that Pelin-El should be paid-in-kind with cutting swords and tears, but he did not cut or tear Pelin-El, for he knew not to this time.
Instead, Eplear Elf-King went also to the edge of Cyrod, where stood the bloody diamond. His arrows were fast and strong, but he loosed none. Instead he loosed his mighty voice that won Valenwood.
“Pelin-El, star-made-knight, butcher of my kin, bloodier of trees, many-shape (?) of Cyrod. Our strength is great and our forest is blessed. Your bloody hands have no hold on the green-sap.”
The man-beast was not to be deterred, for men know not how to flee.
But Eplear did not come out to die like those Ayleid kings. His lips parted and he roared mightily into Cyrod and Pelinal heard the wind in the trees and the crash of the sea and the splashing of rain and the roar of all the beasts. And the star-made-knight lowered his sword and turned his back on Eplear Elf-King and his forest, and never again turned his blade to that edge where the trees began to sing. Even in his Madness, Pelinal would not forget the Voice of Eplear, for Pelinal was sometimes mad but always Ada.
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