The Journal of Eponian Círdanea
Scott Stanek: 218 Nanette Street, Orlando, FL 32839 USA
This is the personal journal of Eponian Círdanson, a character taken from a First Age campaign which began with the awakening of Elves. Poni is a latecomer to the campaign and is therefore the first of the children of Elves in play. While most of us were born and raised in Beleriand, some were born on Ulmo’s island during the voyage to Aman. Poni himself was different, as he was carried across to Valinor directly by Oromë as one of his “chosen” — the first shape-shifter — and marked with striped fur so that all animals of the wood would recognize him as Oromë’s and not harm him.
My name is Eponian. I am the child of Círdan the shipwright and a Maia of the wood. My father may yet be unaware of my nature, for it was not long after he left my mother that he found his true love in the sea and the works of Ossë.
While living in the forests of Beleriand, I found that, like my mother, I could shift form — either to that of Elf or mink — and spent much time wondering whether I was an Elf who could take the form of mink, or a mink who could be an Elf. My life changed abruptly when the Hunter found me during his travels in Beleriand. He took a liking to me and, placing me across his steed before him, carried me to Valinor, to the Wild Wood of Aman which was home to all the creatures he brought into that land to hunt or keep. He gave me stripes to mark me as his own and made this pronouncement:
Never harmed nor hindered
wilt thou be, by creature of
wood or servant of the
Hunter, unless thou first
seek to bring them harm.
There, in his wood, I first saw Yavanna and her Maïar, and grew to love their ways as much as Oromë’s. It was there that I met the one called Callana, at first a horse and then an Elven maid. Obviously, she also had some Maia in her parentage.
Before the Elves had come, I was ruled by the cycles of the Two Trees. When Laurelin’s light was dominant, I was an Elf. When Telperion’s shining was greater, I was a mink. It was during this time, while in mink-form, that I came upon a lady weeping in the wood and, seeing her crying, wished to comfort her. I did not know or care if she were Maia, Vala or other, so I went to her and climbed upon her lap to nuzzle her.
I wished only to make her less sad, but as her tears fell upon me, I felt her sorrow lighten for a moment as she stroked my fur. I felt and understood all that she was sad about, knowing all that would happen: all the woes and tribulations of what would come. I also knew, and cried and cried.
I awoke later without remembering what it was I had been sad about, but the lady was gone. I realized later that the lady had been Nienna, and that she had given me the power to feel as others do, knowing their emotion and able to tell when they lie. I was also given flashes of understanding when some woe came to pass, but thank fully never before.
During my travels in Valinor, I saw the works of Aulë’s smiths, and felt the itch in my own fingers to do the same; but coming upon Aulë’s workplaces, I was assaulted by the smell of burning wood and the destruction of that which Yavanna held in high regard. I nearly went mad, being so torn by my desire to make, but unable to do so without unmaking that which I too held dear. So, at first I only made with bits and pieces thrown away by smith or found in natural state, and my yearnings to do more grew even as the pain in my heart weakened.
There came a time when I burned my hands upon the vessel holding Laurelin’s dew; and it was then that I first learned that the Maïar were inherently different from us. I thought about nothing else for days, but found at last the solution to my dilemma.
It was in this time that others became known to me. At Manwë’s decree, Elves (and others of note) had been brought to Valinor by Ulmo and Oromë. There was Vanarildë, a Noldo who taught me the rune-letters I use, and Maridinerë, the haughty Noldo, and Callana the Horse (or Unicorn) whom I first met in the Wild Wood.
It was during this time that the haughty Noldo requested a drop of Telperion’s dew — and was granted it, but on the condition that she hold it herself or lose it forever. I searched through the cast-offs from Aulë’s shops and found an Emerald cup with a broken stem, which I brought her, offering to make her a container to hold the precious liquid; but she (being the suspicious Noldo) declined, going instead to the Noldorin gemcrafter who then wandered Aman. But this gemcrafter took the cup and smashed it to smithereens (Apparently, he saw only the broken cup she asked him to work upon, or perhaps he was jealous of her having any part of the light of the Trees.).
The haughty Noldo would have walked away, leaving it all, had I not begun to gather the bits. She ran up, claiming them as her own. I only stepped back, ignoring her Noldo-like curses of “thief,” and waited for her to finish. She gathered only the six largest pieces and left. I then gathered up the remaining pieces and all the dust, using a magic to merge them together.
With this (and the cast-off metals from Aulë’s shops I had gathered together), I was ready to pursue my plan. I went to Yavanna and made my plea, asking her for the boon only she could grant. I asked that I be allowed to make a hammer by the heat of Laurelin alone, which contained a bit of the heat and light of that Tree, so that I could forge and work metal without burning wood. She granted my request, and blessed my works that “made beauty but destroyed nature not.”
I spent much time working before Laurelin’s place, and by force of will chose not to change shape when its light waned. By working continuously, I was able to finish and smooth the head and shaft very quickly. While working, I sang songs learned from listening to Aulë’s Maïar, and wove spells of my own design to make the hammer hard and strong.
I used Vanarildë’s runes to embed it with magic that would link it to me, so that it would seek me out from distance should I lose it. I forged it so that it would be large, but it was nearly weightless because the balance was so close.
I used up the materials I had garnered from Aulë’s cast-offs and considered the first forging done. I then spent a similar time working to smooth the metal, and to work upon it runes of power and strength, of making and intelligence. I sought not to entrap a spirit within it, but made a vessel in which a good spirit would be welcome. I set the haft with diamond, and rubies and sapphires dotted the head in a pattern much like the leaf and flower of Laurelin. I broke my first hammer in the forging, and my anvil melted as butter when first I lay the new hammer upon it.
My first project was to make a small anvil of mithril, coated with the dust left from the making of the hammer (thereby giving proof of its heat). I made it hollow so that I could carry within it metals and tools for the forging. I made my tools of mithril, all enchanted with hardness and heat resistance.
It was then that I realized the true gift Yavanna had given me. I knew not what to do save to use it to make. I therefore made her a gift, a rose from the combined dust of the emerald of Telperion and the hammer which held part of Laurelin.
This rose was of crystal, and light shown from within it in harmony with the cycle of the Trees (though it did not truly store the dews themselves). I gave my small gift to Yavanna and made her an oath that this hammer would make in the name of good and unmake evil in turn. That which is natural would never have to fear it.
It was around this time that I first tried to change form to something other than a mink. I found that I could become like the hounds that Oromë hunted with. I could even assume a shape like unto the Dark Unicorn or Oromë’s steed. I thought it would surprise everyone, but those who knew me recognized my stripes, which remained with every form that I took. My forms now include mink, unicorn, bear, horse, owl, eagle (including that of a great eagle), stag, raccoon, and tree — and it was only later that I found how different the Valinorian specimens of these were from those of Middle-earth. Only the largest or best of each were brought to Aman.
I learned how to control the powers of my mind: to walk on water, or speak by thought to other creatures of the forest, or move like Oromë over great distances by going to the Other Place. I also learned to fend for myself, and for others who cannot. I hunt for my food; but the Elves do not eat meat as I do. Therefore, to find them food, I follow those forest creatures that do not eat meat; these taught me to find salt deposits, and the nuts, berries and roots that are good. They showed me the herbs which heal, and instructed me when they should be eaten.
I first discovered that I could be both injured and healed when my companions and I encountered the Dark Unicorn in battle, after which we went to Estë’s place, where one of her Maïar showed me how to heal myself. My right ear was severed, but is slowly growing back. My ribs also ache where the horn glanced across them — so close was I to death. Death is new and strange to me, a concept I have yet to grasp and learn more about as time moves on.
Once, when we came to the sea-shore, I found three shells. The first was a Green Nautilus (an emerald of life), the second a spiral horn of Salmar (a clerical miracle or wish), and the third was a piece of reddish coral, which shattered at my touch (a love philter), and at which moment I realized something which had gnawed at my soul since I first met her: that I truly loved Callana.
Our group wandered in distant northern places, feeling oppressed by the growing tensions in Valimar between the one whose speech is like honey and the rest of the Valar and Elves. Fëanor made weapons then to guard the jewels he had made. We left the Noldor, looking northwards for other diversion, because they ceased in their laughter and play, and only watched and guarded and sullenly stepped aside when we passed.
It was because of this that we were unaware that while the Noldor guarded their things, a great evil had stolen upon our unguarded true treasures — the Two Trees — and destroyed them. Then the demon and the Liar had fallen upon the Noldor themselves, who stumbled in the dark like fools, and stole the Silmarils — the only hope of rekindling the Trees. Thus, although we were not present to the death-pain of the Two Trees, we still felt the sorrow, seeing the light die. And some of us there remembered the time before the Trees, when we moved only in starlight.
We were far to the north when word passed along that the evil pair was seeking escape in our direction; and we interposed ourselves in their path. But as we lay in wait, we heard the slow trod of many foot prints, and the call of many voices in sorrowful song. We went to them and found that though the evil had escaped by other routes, we were in the path of those who followed out of Valinor.
The songs we heard were those who wept for the Two Trees and for the lost treasures. Others were there who sang and spoke not, but glowered in wrath holding tight to weapon and untrusting even of the other Elves. These were Noldor all, led by the gemcrafter I had known from so long ago, the one who had trapped the light of Two Trees in three jewels and lost them.
A winged messenger appeared, calling out for the host to turn back. Few did. Now, we realized the full import of the march, for the Doom of Mandos was spoken: those who go without the leave of Manwë may not return without that leave, and to those who turn away from the Valar a life of fearful wandering and broken hearts await.
As I made my own decision, I turned to see my own party split in twain, and Callana was already rehearsing her good-byes. I gave to Callana a gift, that she might find me should she ever seek me in the lands outside. It may also give me something to re turn to, someday. I turned to the cliffs and inscribed in the stone my own doom:
This Day the Oath of Fëanor
hath broken its first heart,
it will not be the last.
I stood there on the sand after she had left, my feet touching sea but my heart re turning to Valinor. Then I turned to follow those whom I had felt honor-bound to guide and care for, these folk who had left without plan or forethought, without knowledge of the lands they marched through. They were so many sheep, and many wolves were about.
I cannot say many things about the times that followed. They were horrible, not least because of the treacheries of Fëanor’s followers upon my Teleri brethren. The blood of Elves was all around me — in lost ice packs, on tooth of beast, and on weapons of the Enemy’s minions.
We marched on ice across the northern wastes, and I was carried for some time, after being broken by Balrog (so broken that I still ache in the cold unnaturally). But I learned to live in the harsh clime and survived my fellow Elves, whom I helped to feed and protect.
We marched in the light of a new light in the sky, the white ship that carries some of Telperion’s light (and the reason I went in “furred” shape for so much of the journey. When at last the land of our new home was sighted, it was by the golden light from the ship of Laurelin’s fire, playing across the mountains ahead of us, The vessel came so close to us that it melted the ice behind us, scaling off the path back to the lands across an open sea. We wept for joy at reaching this new land, but no few of our tears were for that which we had lost.
We soon found that we were unwelcome in our new home, both among those who thought they had stranded us behind and among those Elves who had never gone to Aman and knew us only as those who had partaken in kinslaying. Our society (of sorts) split apart into wandering groups, only to fall prey to bands of Orcs and other things.
I married then a maid who had traveled with us (her ability to switch forms to my own second nature being too great a temptation to avoid, despite my memory of Callana). The birth of my children was more than enough to wash away the guilt I felt at my actions. I held the hammer as she forged them, the creation of seven new lives to Eru’s greater glory, and it was good. My children grew as we traveled, and I took some portion of command to guide our path eastward, away from the coast, where our enemies were least. It was the only path which was not barred or barren.
And so we passed alone out of the histories of the Elves and into our own stories. Eventually, our path turned southwards, circling round like the Ages. We met the Dwarves and, later, mortal Men, passing without harm through their lands as ghosts. We learned of money and trade and counting, and of the benefit of speaking to a per son in their own tongue to avoid misunderstanding. We became peddlers of my skill to gain things, though we lost as much.
One of my daughters left us and sought the path of evil, more (I hope) from magical influence than out of any evil on her part. Odo, my son was lost to us, and his capture led to my leaving and seeking for him with Ingwë, who sought for his own lost wife. I left after sending my remaining children to join my parents in the halls of Círdan whom, I had learned, was a lord among the sea-going Elves.
We fought together on the backs of great eagles with the host that lay assault to Angband in the War of Wrath. When the host of the West broke open the stony hall and chased its owner to deeper lairs, I looked and looked and found neither trace nor spoken word of my lost son or daughter.
When I returned to my compatriots, they seemed uneasy in my presence. I found out after much questioning that Callana had joined them, but had again departed with a Noldo, not to be seen again. She had been told that I was lost and gone, and she had given her heart to the next who had asked of it. I was crestfallen, remembering again the Doom of Mandos.
Another time that has Fëanor caused me heartbreak, another bit of anger to lump on Noldorin Elves. And yet I could not wish her ill, wherever she had gone. Sadness enveloped me, but I soon overcame it and at least appeared my old self.
We met the Elves and part-Elves of Númenor, and passed through their dominion. I liked them little, seeing too much of the Honey-tongued one in their actions. They were true children of Fëanor’s stamp, though not of his line, and in every way tried to bring harm to us out of fear and envy. We left as soon as I could convince Ingwë that they were unclean. Later, we fell in with a city of artisans. I began to learn more from them but was swept away in a storm of some sort. The next thing I knew, I was on top of a very tall building in the rain…
(AD&D/Rolemaster/Ars Magica variant stats)
- c. 2700
- (Attack: 227 + Defense: 227 = 454): Body Equilibrium, Cell Adjustment, Animal Teleportation, Rapport, Invisibility, Levitation, Lights, Shape Alteration, Prob. Travel, Energy Control, Telekinesis, Restoration, Preservation, Power Transfer.
- Hammer, Spear, Long Sword, Short Sword, Teeth/Claw, Dagger, Thrown Hammer, Thrown Spear, Short Bow, Sling, Thrown Dagger.
- Armor Class
- 17 (chain and plate striped).
- Quenya 185%, Eldarin 86%, Teleri 180%, Noldo 85%, Druid 190%, Mink 165%, Dwarven 40%, Valinorian Hound 129%, Valinorian Horse 89%, Valinorian Great Eagle 77%, Valinorian Great Bear 65%, Faerie Dragon 32%.
- Smith Skills
- Smithing 204%, Weaponmaking 187%, Pottery 129%, Glassblowing 95%, Potion Test 80%, Distillation 90%, Gem Evaluation 95%, Stone/Gem Lore 105%, Metal Lore 182%, Mining 49%, Alchemy 185%, Extruding 63%, Engraving 82%, Calligraphy 76%, Paper Making 66%, Book Making 91%, Wicker Weaving 87%, Gem Cutting 116%, Shipwright 69%, Wheelwright 89%, Tanner 69%, Craft Adamant 87%, Craft Ithilnaur 63%, Craft Mithril 102%.
- Miscellaneous Skills
- Hear Noise 68%, Locate Traps 63%, Fast Talk 31%, Evade Chase 97%, Open Locks 68%, Activate Traps 32%, Deactivate Traps 64%, Pick Pockets 22%, Dragon Lore 67%, Martial Arts 122%, Tumble Evasion 64%, Horse Training 83%.
- General Skills
- General Perception 122%, Power Perception 120%, Balance Perception 136%, Psionic Perception 78%, S. Body Perception 106%, Touch Perception 146%, Tracking 232%, Herb Lore 130%, Read Tracks 155%, Surgery 92%, Cold Environment Survival 87%, Cold Environment Foraging 86%, First Aid 73%, S. Aid 68%, Desert Environment Survival 82%, Desert Environment Foraging 65%, Midwife 42%, Cleanse Meditation 80%, Swimming 183%, Divination 87%, Tactics 75%, Sleep Med. 98%, Ki Med. 86%, Anc. Astronomy 58%, Distance. Running 106%, Navigation 89%, Religion 82%, Identify Plants 150%, Identify Fresh Water 100%, Identify Animals 100%, Stargazing 69%, Singing 95%, Weather W. (166) 86%, Trade Lore 85%, Faerie Lore 85%, Mapping 80%, Cook 147%, Basic Math 105%, Advanced Math 92%, Scrounge 86%, Loading/Packing 65%, Tailor 91%, Driving 56%, Mnemonics 82%, Iajitsu Hammer 32%, Iajitsu Sword 42%.
- Magical Skills
- Power Projection 122%, Attune 65%, Channeling 64%, Symbol Lore 105%, Runes 144%, Magic Ritual 106%.
- Movement/Change Skills
- Control Lycanthropy 125%, Animal Senses 122%, Acrobatics 146%, Animal Attack Forms 104%, Aerial Acrobatics 92%, Psionic Blend 65%, Hide/Shadow (193) 133%, Prowl 87%, Silent Move 132%, Instinct Control 53%, Climbing (70) 135%, Circle Lore 85%, Quadruped Run 142%.
- Circus Born (+2 Agil +1 Dex +2 to thrown Dagger)
- Cat Hater (save vs. 20-lvl or berserk on sight. +3 vs poison +1 Con)
- Natural Shapechanger (Mink; ex tended to Valinorian Horse, Hound, Bear, and Great Eagle with all forms striped white and black like primary form is)
- Striped even as Elf. (# changes = total lvls minus total classes; 33 changes currently for no cost)
- Druidic Totem (Mink/Mongoose)
- Prowl +57%, Scale Walls/Climb 70%, +4 Dodge/Parry
- Taught as druid by Yavanna (+2 vs fire and lightning, +50% to Herb Lore)
- Receptive Empath, caused by Tears of Nienna (Know lies, Know feelings of all around within sight, and extreme feelings of those out of sight).
- Light of Valinorë (Alternating Golden and Silver, +3 AC (-3 to attacks for evils), Light changes every 12 hours continuous, silver/gold)
- Blessed of Valinorë (+2 to all saves)
- Chosen of Oromë (Cannot be harmed by natural animals except those I have harmed/attacked. Known by all servants of Oromë)
- Taught in Ranger class by Oromë and his hunters (+1 w/all Bows and Lances)
- Mental Problem (Cold in joints from arthritic condition. Caused by long recuperation in ice march from Balrog’s breaking nearly all bones with lash)
- Mental Problem (Severe Father like reaction to any female elf. Loss of children and wife and true love has made him overly reactive to their image/memory)
- Arrogant Noldor will be ignored, or disliked openly (Dislike of “Nobility” who require servitude)
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