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.

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Ballad of Sylvasil Eldispellion

Abridged History of the 10th Age Idabrius