Abridged History of the 10th Age
Ballad of Sylvasil Eldispellion
The Ballad of Sylvasil Eldispellion, Eighth Age
Sylvasil in days of old
stretched ivory-white and glory-bold
for elven kings of towered land
did always rule with kindly hand.
Upon the hills were builded tall
citadels and towers all,
and in them were there rooms of books
where, stealing then with greedy looks,
scholars from the farther lands
came in ever roving bands
for the lore of Sylvasil
was so great it’s with us still.
Mighty was their earthly lore
of trees and flowers and fruits they bore
and deep their knowledge was of spells
their libraries were like to wells
of learning that was deep and true
and to that Art did Sylvas hew.
The houses of the Elvenwise,
with sharpest minds and keenest eyes,
in Sylvasil of old did dwell
and in that land the sound of bell
or harp or long-played flute
or wheel-fiddle or of lute
sounded sweet at any hour
and peace was given, by the power
of the mage-lords, elder high,
who ruled that land beneath the sky.
And in fair Halmorin there stood
the place that where from the wood
the elves had come and built the ring
of stones to house their mighty king
and o’er court and archéd wall
rose a mighty tower tall.
Nostorin, its elven-name
Tower of the Wizardhame
where there the eyes of farthest sight
gazed into the distant night
and there also ruled the elven king
neath silver roof a’glistening.
And in the court of Nostorin
there stood a marble fountain
that frothed with white clean waters from
the deepest places into light of sun.
Shuttered rooms there were of lore
chambers too for planning war,
for in the north of Sylvasil,
were tribes of men with hardened hands
who coveted the elven lands.
Unkind where they to the elven-wise
and looked southwards with greedy eyes
fearing not the swords sharp bite
or the wroth of magic’s might.
For they changed skin as men change cloaks
beneath the pines and elder oaks
of northern lands beyond the ken
of the elves or the Miles-men.
Long upon that border fought
with sword and bow, desperate fraught,
the guardians of Sylvasil
who strove to keep their people still
safe from harm and mannish greed
and that grasping mannish need
to turn to ill all things fair;
to rend, to burn, to smash, to tear.
Yet no changer cross that border gained
that was not speedily arraigned
and brought before the elven-king
to be dispatched, whimpering
into the shadowed dark of death,
there to draw his final breath
in the court of Nostorin
‘gainst which no force of men could win.
But ere the war of Moon began,
when elves killed elves as man kills man,
the land of Sylvasil bore stain
of blood that fell like falling rain.
For in the tower Nostorin
grew there a flower blossoming
that nowhere in Arunë grew
and had been seen by but the few
who to the top of ivory spire
had climbed without the elf-lord’s ire.
But in Tailimisiä, agéd land,
there dwelled as Anunë’s hand,
a Gwydereon whose jealous eye
turned toward Sylvasil’s sky
and saw there the tower Nostorin
and the rarest flower that grew within.
Eistenta was the flower called,
unseen amongst the outer world
but Murhasenta it was ever after said
for the strife that it had bred.
Typeron, the Hierophant,
fell to madness, he would rant
about the wizard Noroë
and spake he “She’ll have her way,
when her tower is turned to dust
and the flower of my lust
is brought here back to Tailïmon,”
and with those words he set upon
the passes through the burning hills
and planned he many evil ills
to work on fair old Sylevasall.
Armies there up in the heights
strove for Sylvasinen rights,
strove to ward off Typeron
and the madness that had set upon
the lordly brow of Finga’s son.
And Typeron was there slain
his armies to return were fain.
Noroë let them flee her land
for she ruled with a kindly hand.
But news of secret flower bright
spread throughout the darkling night,
and on that rumor others flew
of gems that glittered like the dew;
blood-red gold, silver shine,
and vineyards full of elvish wine.
The rumor of wealth went on wind afar
to every land that lay ‘neath the star.
No better words are there to start
the sleeping Wyrm’s black greedy heart.
Bold and young the serpents were,
they’d seen Noroë and not feared her.
One was red in scale and breath,
the air he breathed was fire-death.
The other from the depths had come
where the eyes are blind and tongue is dumb
and together they in council met
planning on how best to get
their clawed hands on Sylvasin gold.
It happened as has oft been told
that both the wyrms planned that the other
should betray his wyrmish brother.
Zanbuz was named the serpent red
the other called Kurtukag the Dread.
Their flight was like a thunder clap
as they cross o’er edge of map
into the land of Sylvasil
where they sought to do their ill.
To the city Halmorin
Kurtukag flew thereon
to lay waste to wall and gate and tower
and poison heart of Murhenen-flower.
The northern girdle Zanbuz chose
as the place to meet his foes
where the guard had stood at northern wall
against incursion of manfolk all
and upon walls of ancient stone
flames were kindled ‘gainst the moon
as dragon breath fell hot and fast
and the soldiers could not last
but bells rang out in the dale
and mighty lords went wan and pale.
In Halmorin before the tower
Kurtukag displayed his power:
the fountain cracked, the arches fell,
poison dripped into the well,
and the waters of Halmorin were foul;
Yet Kurtukag let out a howl
as the guardians of elf-lord’s seat
pierced his scales with with’ring heat
for mages of that place were three.
They spake the words of blasting spells,
their voices echoed in the fells,
and in the north Zanbuz grinned
as he thought his rival pinned.
No force before the fire-drake stood,
the houses were like kindling wood.
The garrisons fled in fear,
and against the night-time sky did rear
the dragon Zanbuz horrors great
as he pulled down a keep and smashed its gate.
And looked he to the south
with poison-slaver in his mouth
for he longed to Nostorin to fly
and with his might treasure to bye
and by the death of thousand-host.
He yearned for elvish flesh to roast
and gold to steal and pile in horde.
In the heavens Kurtag roared.
Upon the mages turned his wrath.
Black spittle fell in curdling bath
that ate through flesh and burned through bone,
that wood destroyed and too did stone.
With a single dying shriek
the mages’ death did he wreak.
But soon came there Zanbuz, red,
thinking foe would soon be dead.
But Noroë came from her bower
to survey the foes that on against tower
had beset with fire and smoke
and from her window did she choke
back a tear, seeing lands
despoiled at the dragon’s hands.
And from a high up balcony
of silver and of chalcedony
wrought she stood with arms wide spread
and with booming voice she said,
“Get you gone from Sylvanil
or strive you here with elvish will!
I warn thee I am strong and wise,
my lore will shake the very skies!”
But Kurtukag at this did laugh
and turned he to the other half
of the dragon-raid, the fire-dread foe,
and this he said, “Then shall we go?
Though we are from an olden race
that cities wrought before the face
of moon was made, or face of sun,
before the elves had learned to run
were we old and noble too.”
Zanbuz, “This we shall not do.
We will not bow to elven mage,
nor to any woman-sage.
List ye know, ye least of elves:
we shall take this land for ourselves!”
So Noroë made murd’rous craft;
she placed a spell on gleaming shaft
and heaved it out to fly through air;
it pierced Kurtukag as he laughed there.
Into his armored hide it sank,
tearing through his scaly flank.
He toppled then onto the earth
but Zanbuz laughed with awful mirth.
“Thus a plan is half begun,”
and as he laughed a new spell spun
the highest mage of Sylvanil.
She made its tendrils with her will
and unleashed a shining bolt
that struck Zanbuz with shudd’ring jolt.
He roared and screamed and vented steams
and below him burned up all the streams
that from the broken fountain flowed,
but Noroë stood as yet unbowed.
She fashioned then a killing stroke
and sent it hurtling through the smoke.
Though it struck the fire-drake
Kurtukag began to wake.
And the folk-destroyer was too strong
for such magic to work upon.
Up came Deep and up came Red
and their might blasted Noroë dead;
the Tower burned, bloom and all,
and no one now walks in Sylvas-hall.
And the name of that land
has changed since the dragon-band.
Elnuril it is now said
where deeping dragon, and the red,
still make their roosts among the tumbled stones
ever in their darkling homes
devising plan or cunning plot
to drive the other from his lot.
Thus ends the tale of Sylvasil
which is now called the Elnuril.
In that land is dragon-dread,
and even heroes dare not tread.