The Celestial Wars - Part 2

Bone carving of Twilight Terra Elves in the Dusty East, dated over 9000 years, Royal Collection

 

When the Elves migrated into Our World from the Dusty East and the imploding Garden of Earthly Delights, now no longer nearly so delightful courtesy of over farming and environmental collapse, they stumbled straight into the Celestial Wars.

The first Elves in Our World, the Green and Dark Elves, had already been bloodied by the Dark Legions of the Dark Lord. Because these Elves worshiped other gods and not the Sidh, they were not involved in the war. They were only causalities of the war.

Damaged carving of Finn, the first King of the Celestial Elves (originally the Blond or Gold Elves)

 

The Sidh Alliance for Life needed the Twilight Terra and Gold Elves as allies. But these new allies came with a price. The Elves wanted the rich land of Our World to farm. So they wanted the native population of wild Elves shoved off to make way for civilization --that is to say settled civilization. So the Celestial Wars became the war on the wild, the wandering, the savage, as well as the monstrous, the bizarre, the weird, and the unforgiving dead. Neither Dagda or Arawn were happy for they were trying to broaden the Alliance for Life to include the wild, the wandering, and the savage. The bitter compromise did not bring forth good fruit.

At the first battle the Gold Elves ( named for their golden blond hair) fled the field, and not only fled the field but the continent! They heard the siren call of the gods of the West and fled to paradise to live in timeless, changeless, deathless paradise.

Finn was an Elve, by all accounts, weak willed.

Father god of Fire. Opera Poster.

Partial Dig of the ruins of the 1st Age City of Arcadia, bastion of the Twilight Terra Elves.

The Twilight Elves were made of tougher stuff. They subdivided into two city states. Arcadia was founded in the rich Arcadia Prime farmlands fed by the rich snow fed rivers of the Pale of the Central Mountains. Farther west by the coast The Havens was founded for the Twilight Ocean Elves and it was led by Cleardan. Mother god of The Waters picked him to lead the Elves and be her lover. Arawn greatly respected Cleardan as a clear eyed and reliable Elve. It also helped that Arawn could eat anything. Cleardan always had notoriously disastrous feasts when he entertained. Cleardan saw the end of the war at his front doorstep but The Havens was too far west for the first battles of the Celestial Wars.

The Twilight Elves got the land and they fulfilled their end of the contract. They fought with the Sidh they picked as their own gods. The partnership lasted long after the Sidh and Old Arcadia perished in the Celestial Wars and in the 2nd Age the Twilight Culture preserved the 1st Age in the amber of opera and poetry and music as a beau time of beau gods and beau peoples. But in opera and poetry and music war gets pushed far away to the margin as a last act plot device. In reality the Celestial Wars consumed the 1st Age. But war did give the Yuugen patina of frail beauty too.

Left: Rhingol the Great, King of Arcadia. Right: Ruf[f]us Royal, kin to Rhingol.

Above: the so called 'jerry' Rune Serpent Stone believed by some to be the partial ruin of an once far larger stone called the Stone of Fate created by Arawn the Warrior. Prehistoric Sidh.

 

The Twilight Elves saw the strong leadership of Dagda the Pater of the Sidh and decided they too wanted a leader or 'king'. Rufus Royal looked very kingly too. But he was wary of kingship and said kingship was potentially 'corrupting'. But his kin Rhingol said kingship sounded like 'fun'. How to decide?

Arawn was creating his Five Treasures of Dagda and offered to invent a talisman to pick kings. He proposed to create a Stone of Fate by planting a magical stone seed in the sacred Hill of Lia Fail. The Seed burst into life and exploded out of the ground and rose up to the very sky to touch the Shining Plains of High Heaven. Gods who saw it later swore it was the single most perfect thing Arawn ever created. It did not last long.

Dagda offered the Twilight Elves the first use of the wonderful new talisman. It would be a good test of the talisman. Unspoken but implied was the fact Dagda's Scion would need it later. For Time and Change and Death made the Sidh gods mortal. 10 thousand years might sound like a lot of time to an Elve who could live 5 thousand years but still..... one day Dagda would die -- perhaps sooner if the war turned bad -- and the war was turning bad. And alas Dagda had a lot of bad scion: unruly, unreliable, devious, and just plain tragically flawed. Time and Change and Death suddenly required 'Heirs' and how do you pick Heirs? First? Last? Male? Female? Tests? Flattery? Trickery? How? The situation was novel. There were no precedents.

Fianna the Slinger warned Angus Mac Org that the Stone of Fate was created to 'disinherit' (Fianna just invented the word) the elder son in favor of Maeve the Gesith or Arawn the Warrior. Angus Mac Org reacted predictably: he smashed the Stone of Fate with his giant stone axe.

Prehistoric stones of the Sidh gods created by the first Twilight Terra Elves in Arcadia.

Drawing of Malian by Celebeau, Celebeau Collection.

Without a talisman to guide them, the Twilight Elves politicked candidates until Malian, the goddess of Mirages fell in love with Rhingol and tricked the Elves into believing he was the Sun God incarnate (with his sister Rhinga the Moon goddess incarnate). Dazzled by mirages, the Elves picked the worst. The best nominee was Rufus Royal who was backed by all the wisest: Celebros the Wise, Wisteria Fujitsu, Ryu the Quiet One, and Naratun the Imperturbable.

Lady Wisteria Fujitsu in a 2nd Age picture book illustration.

Lord Naratun the Imperturbable in a drawing by Celebeau. Celebeau Collection.

Drawing of Lord Taira --- artist unknown. Royal Collection.

Alas the deciding vote was Lord Taira. It says something he never said he regretted the vote.

Durham the Deathless of the Old Citadel.

The Dwarves fought with the Sidh gods and the Twilight Terra Elves until they secured the Pale of the Central Mountains. Arawn brokered a deal to give the Dwarves 'all mountainous lands if they treated the Wild kindly'. Durham always fulfilled very contract he put his rune to. He treated the Dark and Green Elves and later the Maleth Mere Mortals with great care, giving them jobs, building stone campsites to anchor their wandering with modern conveniences, and encouraging trade markets for their hunting and gathering skills. Dwarves love mushrooms but would never stoop down to actually dirty their forge burned hands to gather them up themselves for instance.

But when Arawn the Warrior died Durham ceased doing business with the kin of Dagda. Durham always said Arawn was a Sidh 'you could do business with' but he considered Angus Mac Org a bad copper in every way. The Alliance for Life collapsed for at that point only the Dwarves could smelt and forge metal. The Elves migrated into Our World welding stone. But the war could only be won by metal and everyone knew it. The Elves needed time to learn about bronze. But at least they understood the dangers. Angus Mac Org always welded a giant stone axe. He totally failed the test of leadership. The last beau thing he wreaked was the Alliance for Life. And he knew it.

In shame Angus Mac Org got drunk, morphed into a bear, killed his Elvish second wife, and then woke in a bed covered in blood, his dead wife torn to pieces by his side, and the magical and floating brugh tent of his pater Dagda whimpering in grief and pain.

Then the brugh tent threw out the usurper who had stolen the brugh and crown of Dagda, snapping the tent flap shut, snarling and hissing and spitting at the bear changeling. Then the magical brugh tent up and floated away. Shamed and exposed naked to the eyes of all the campsite, Angus Mac Org killed himself.

The Death of Angus Mac Org The Bear in an opera poster:

Durham never said if he ever regretted his part in the death of the Sidh or the collapse of the Alliance for Life. The Elves later accused Durham of getting what he wanted and then abandoning the rest to fight alone. But Durham was also fighting a rear guard action against the Dark Lord who was again trying to seize the Pale. And the Dark Lord was also invading east of the Pale to seize the Iron Hills . Metal weapons need mineral deposits after all. Durham was fighting two wars on two fronts to keep the Pale and the Iron Hills. A lot of Dwarves died in the 'War for the Pale' but few Elves bothered to fight there so no myths and epics and operas and poetry told those stories. The Dwarves kept their history private.

But Durham also recycled 'special metals given to me by Arawn the Great' into a coming of age Oath Sword for Gildagad. Durham had been persuaded by Horsham of Arcadia that young Gildagad was the destined and rightful King that could save Our World. Gildagad did.

Young Gildagad in a drawing by Baccata. Royal Collection.

Did Durham use the two swords that Arawn given to him to forge a new sword for a king out of practicality? Ruthlessness? Or Honor of Arawn to vindicate the poor doomed god with a living monument: a king to win the Celestial Wars at last? And a king that the Stone of Fate would have blessed if Angus Mac Org, the wrong king, had not shattered it?

Durham never said. Dwarves kept their history private.

.

The death of the Sidh ended one part of the Celestial Wars but the wars continued. Once war is started, for all the best reasons or all the worst of reasons, it inclines to continue and continue and continue. The Celestial Wars were no exception.

Left: King Finngold by Baccata. Right: King Finngolden, a rejected clay head for a proposed bronze.

King Finngolden first found himself in paradise because of his father Finn's weakness and then back in Our World because of Finn's weak and humiliating death -either at the hands of the Dark God Father god of Fire (trying to forcibly disarm Maestus) or by the Dark Lord, the Shadow of Father god of Fire trying to steal the Devices . Finngolden spent his life cleaning up his parent's mistakes.

Stuck back in Our World, with a crown he did not want, and a race of Celestial Elves eager to conquer the land and get rich and become petty kings and demigods, Finngolden struggled in peace and then war. Honor and his kin demanded war and the Devices. Finngolden feared the gods of the West and their curses on the Celestial Elves - which Maestus warned could only be defeated by the Five Devices. So in the end Finngolden had to wage war at the Fiery Fissure to get the Devices that the Dark Lord hoarded like some drug. And Finngolden died there, fighting the Dark Lord in a duel to the death that Finngolden knew would be futile. The night before his death he raved of 'damnation' and 'Celestial Calamity'.

Meanwhile his son Finngold prospered in the wars of colonial conquest and soon the Celestial Elves minted wealth and land and slaves and armies through the alchemy of war. Alas Finngold found that war does not stop at a convenient point and Finngold died at the Fiery Fissure too, in a duel to the death with the Dark Lord. The Celestial Elves were stuck in a quagmire.

The recreation of one of the fabled Tapestries of the Lady of the Garden of Unearthly Delights.

These tapestries hung in a circular tower in the center of the Fortress of the Fiery Fissure and each tapestry featured one of the Devices -- and one of the corresponding Five Senses.

The Five Devices were:

The Moonlight Pearl of Scent.

The Starlight Blue Sapphire of Sight

The Firelight Ruby of Taste

The Daylight Diamond of Hearing

The Forest light Emerald of Touch.

No one really knows what any of the Devices looked like. They were declared taboo and contagiously evil -- after everyone died who ever held one -- not to mention the City state of Old Arcadia and the 1st Age. The final Device, the Blue Sapphire, was reputed to have destroyed the paradise of the gods of the West in a giant volcanic incineration. So perhaps Maestus' and Finngolden's need to get them back was the ignorable ploy of blackmail -- 'revoke your Celestial Curse on us or we will destroy you!'. In the end a native born Celestial Elve, Gildagad did just that.

Another reason for the continuation of the Celestial Wars was the Slaugh Unforgiving Dead. It seemed no one like Father's 'gifts' and the first to die liked Death least of all. The dead just plain refused to die. And the dead found they could refuse to die -- which is to say pass out of history and leave Our World. So the dead stayed to haunt the living they envied, cluttering up the landscape, terrifying the living, sucking the shadows of the living to leech out their life, turning into vampires, turning into ghosts, and generally making life hell on earth.

The Sidh Alliance for Life found they had to fight the dead too, literally force them back underground, tying them down, piling rocks over their graves, burning them to harmless dust in biers, inventing Glamour Rites of Death to exorcize them out of the world, and literally nailing them to the earth.

Arawn invented metal in part to create metal spikes to impale the dead. The corpses would gnaw at wooden spikes to free themselves. And the Slaugh displayed great fear of 'metal'. So metal became a key to death rites along with the Rites of Excarnation of the fallen dead in battle.

Arawn fighting the Slaugh in an opera poster by Puccii. 2nd Age.

In this opera poster by Puccii we see the King of the Spiders. In opera and myth he is the ally of the Dark Lord of the Dark God. All are active foes of the opera heros. The King of the Spiders symbolizes all the diverse evil that joins the Dark Lord. Shadowy evil and primordial fear and soul crushing despair were the Dark Lord's chief weapons.

Another reason for the persistence of the Celestial Wars were the diverse denizens who loved war and lusted for war and enjoyed war. Badhb the Triad god of war was one of course. When the rest of the Sidh died or faded away she was left to command the field and command she did --as the inciter of war and mayhem. But there were others too.

Sojobo the Harbinger of War in an opera poster. 2nd Age. on Sojobo's right is a skull boasting a fabled Feather of a Kalamack.

 

Just after War was invented by Father god of Fire certain denizens were born in the bloody debris of birth of War, in the magical placenta that birthed Death. These were the Tengu Demon Changelings. They were giant predator birds that could assume quasi human form ( appearing as hunch backs with their wings folded behind under a cloak).

The worst of the worst of the Tengu was Sojobo the Harbinger of War. Sojobo is seen here with his gift that brought war to Arcadia: the Sacred Kalamack Feather of the bird that flies between the Earth and the Shining Plains of High Heaven. Sojobo waged war with his magic fan of feathers.

But why did he come to Arcadia?

Father vs. Son: Taira vs. Heike. Opera poster by Puccii. 2nd Age.

It was a repeat of Father against Son, just like Dagda and Angus Mac Org. Only this time it was Lord Taira against his own younger son the handsome Lord Heike. Lord Heike was a wonderful son and everyone at Court loved the fine young Elve ---- except his older brother Tairason who envied the boy. Tairason was arrogant, depraved, spoiled, and contemptuous -- just like his father Lord Taira. So Tairason encouraged Lord Taira to despise Lord Heike.

Lord Taira wanted Lord Heike to marry a well placed Elve to promote the Taira Clan to the top. But Lord Heike wanted to marry for love. So he refused to marry any of his father's candidates and Taira threatened any clan who would let Heike marry without Taira's permission. So Lord Heike was young, handsome, and unhappy and very much alone. His only friend was his dog.

Lord Heike in an opera poster by Puccii. 2nd Age.

A boy and his dog. Handsome young Lord Heike had everything a young man could ask:

wealth, beauty, popularity, and a dog that loved him. But his vindictive father prevented him from every marrying for love.

Lady Aine in an opera poster by Puccii.

One day Lord Heike was out wandering along the Arcadia River as the mists rose at twilight -- a most romantic time. And he beheld a beautiful girl rise up out of the mists of the river. And Lord Heike fell madly in love with her. And he took her by the hand and led her home to the Taira Pavilion and announced to his father he was going to marry this mysterious girl crowned by a gold crown of swan feathers. But she said not a word....

Lord Taira swore and ranted and raged until Lord Heike blushed. And still she said not a word.

Then Lord Taira slapped her and she wept --mutely. And then man and boy realized she was a mute and could not speak. Heike wept out an apology but Lord Taira announced if Lord Heike married he would be disinherited and Lord Taira would ruin him forever. At that the beautiful girl gestured to Lord Heike and wept mutely. Then she ran away, back to the mists of the river and Lord Heike lost her in the mists of the river. And the boy wept and wept and wept.

Then Lord Heike announced if he could not marry this girl he would marry no one. He spent the year building a beautiful pavilion and in those days pavilions were made only of wood and thatch and reed curtains. So Lord Heike learned carpentry and thatching and reed weaving. He even make his own benches and wedding bed, working alongside common artisans and carpenters and thatchers. And Tairason laughed at his brother for being so 'vulgar'. But Lord Naratun and Lord Rufus Royal praised the boy for 'growing up to be a good boy'. But who would share his empty green marriage bed?

Young Lord Heike in an opera poster by Puccii.

And the next year at the same season as the mists rose at twilight along the river Lord Heike walked along the shore and sang a love song. And there appeared a most eccentric old soldier with a hunch back armed only with a fan of feathers. And the old man growled at Lord Heike:

"Are you the knave who broke my girl's heart!"

"Yes. I do apologize for I was silly and spoiled and impulsive and my father humiliated her! He humiliates me all the time but she was so innocent that I wept for her suffering! And she ran away in the mists and I could not find her! And I love her still! Truly! I love her. I have built my pavilion and every night I sleep alone in my marriage bed. I will sleep alone all my life unless I can marry that dear sweet girl for I owe her that for hurting her with my spoiled impulsiveness!"

"How can you love someone you don't even know?" the solder growled. "That is not love!"

"Perhaps love can come after marriage too" the boy replied. "And honorably I should marry her!"

"Then you will marry her! For she will marry no other if she cannot marry you!" the soldier growled . "Damnation! You are not a knave and I must therefore allow the marriage and it will be a marriage for love! For my Lady Aine is all sweetness and tenderness! But if you ever speak harshly and make her weep then you will be damned! And I will be there! And you will die! Now do you still wish to marry my Lady Aine?"

"Yes" Lord Heike replied, "For I know she is all sweetness. I only hope I am as worthy!"

"Then let it be so!" And it was so. And the gruff soldier gestured and there appeared the beautiful Lady Aine crowned with a gold crown. And Lord Heike took her hand and led her home to his beautiful pavilion and they make love and fell in love and were truly in love. And on the third day as tradition dictates, everyone came to the Heike Pavilion to meet the newlyweds. And the eccentric father in law gave away wonderful gifts to each and every Elve from a bottomless box of wonderful riches! But Lord Taira came to curse the newlyweds. but Lord Tairason, greedy for gif,t complained so the eccentric father in law gave him the bottomless box of wonders -- which proved empty except for a tiny brass plate that said:

'This is the coffin of the craven Tairason who died loathed and hated and foul and debased, all his children dead, and all his weath scattered'. And so it turned out many years later when Lord Taira's elder son did die so debased by evil that his body could not be put in the Sacred Grove. So Lord Taira asked for a coffin such as the Mere Mortals use to bury his evil son underground. And the servants remembered the box and brought it forth and Tairason was so bured in it. But which came first? The curse on the box or the evil hidden in the evil elder son Tairason? Or did the box incite the evil? Or only prophetize it?

Recreation of a Heike Era Pavilion. Elvish pavilions were made of wood and thatch and reeds only. Stone did not appear until near the end of the 1st Age. The danger of fire prompted the change. Royal Pavilions were larger versions of this model. The balmy weather made this ideal but the later cold weather made this style very cold and damp too.

Recreation of a 1st Age Court Pavilion room. Wood and gold gilt. The Doors opened to gardens and there was no window glass, fire places, or even fire pits (other than the out lying kitchens). The floor was polished wood.

Recreations of a Court Pavilion Room on the left and a High Street Room on the right. The Elves were masters of wood and could use both straight and twisted and organic wood wonderfully. The wood was integrated into wood panels or sliding doors which were painted to mimic tree leaves and garden flowers and streams. Reeds might hang from the ceiling in leu of window glass. The massive thatch roof was overhanging and there were verandas to keep out the elements. The court pavilions were one story but the high street homes might be three stories tall.

Furniture was simple: benches, trunks, and simple tables. Braziers provided the only light and heat (not much!). In Old Arcadia the night brought nearly total darkness. There was little light because wax was expensive.

There was little privacy. The kitchens were set off to prevent fire. The bathhouse was also set off but it was a separate building and quite warm with fire warmed heat both under the floors and drawn up through the hollow walls for central heating. So the bath house was often the most lavish building and often the only stone building too. The Twilight Elves had a fetish for cleanliness. Their bath houses had hot, tepid, and cool pools, waterfalls, and perfume rooms. You could even entertain in the bath house -- dressed only in flowers and perfume of course!

Drawing of a 1st Age over tunic set over a wicker box so smoking incense could scent it.

 

Clothing was the status symbol for Elves and was quite elaborate: linen, wool, and imported silk. Incense was popular and clothing was scented by elaborate incenses. Perfumes were also elaborate too, as were scented soaps. On the other hand food was simple and the most common drink was ale, beer, mead, and for the very few: imported wine.

Drunkenness and gluttony were not accepted, neither was rudeness, vulgarity, greed, surliness, shabbiness, dirt, shyness, or any excess. Genteel behavior followed elaborate codes reflecting a 'Shame' Culture but morality as we know it today did not exist then.' Face' was all. Genteel behavior was good and troubled behavior was bad. Hospitality or merry wit or neatness or cleaness or tidiness was ' good'. Beauty was virtue. Deformity or ugliness was evil. Inner states of mind or heart were not considered. Lord Taira was a bad Elve because he lost all his wealth and became a miser. When he was rich and was lavish in his hospitality he was considered a good man. Lord Lir became a bad man when he dabbled in Black Glamour (black magic). But hurting children under your protection was always evil --- except at birth if they were deformed. Then it was lawful to abandon them to the wilderness to die.

Few Elves at this time could read or write more than a few runes but everyone knew music, could sing and dance, recite poetry, and taught wittily. In the Heike Era the first great Gigasidh Dances were created and also the first Sacred Dances too. Pavilions prided themselves in providing elaborate entertainments of music, poetry, song, and dance. Lady Wisteria's pavilion trained the first famous performers and she created the cannon of Arcadian Arts that later migrated to The Havens when Arcadia fell. Today the culture of Our World is still defined by the cannon of 1st Age Arcadia. The Heike Era was the Spring Blossoming. Horsham of Arcadia's late masterpieces of opera defined the Autumn Gold of Arcadia's doom.

An Heike Era Over Tunic of linen with elaborate embroidery and lined with a contrasting color. The tunic was open down the sides to be worn over a long kilt and under tunic of simple linen. The Heike Era Tunic was sewn down the front and back chest seams to the waist while later Over Tunics were cut down the front so the sleeve could be thrown back like 'butterfly wings'. Sleeves were boxy and overlarge to cover part of the hand. Grace in handling such sleeves defined good taste. So did the long kilt with it's cumbersome train.

A long kilt was a Old Arcadian style not seen elsewhere. The kilt was simply a bolt of wool. A long kilt was draped differently from a short kilt. The 'tail' or surplus end was draped behind like a train. If the courtier had to actually leave his or her elegant pavilion he or she simply pinned the train up over one or both shoulders or tucked it into the back of the jeweled belt that held the whole kilt in place. Heike warriors would go to war in this cumbersome outfit including a full over tunic with over large sleeves that hung down their hands. Waging war still required elegant good taste!

Lord Heike and Lady Aine gave birth to a beautiful boy they called Heikeson. The baby was adorable -- give or take a few peculiarities like feathers mixed into his hair. He later wore his hair back in a tight coil to hide the downy feathers. All the Scion of Heike would boast of peculiarities like extra fingers or toes, some were swan changelings, and everyone could wage war brilliantly. Lord Heike and Lady Aine later gave birth to a girl called Heika along with many other beautiful children.

Why did Old Arcadia resume the Celestial Wars?

Lord Heike was perfectly happy with his beautiful and loving wife. He built a boat house to both house the elaborate swan fronted barges and river boats and also so Lady Aine could morph from human to swan in privacy. Changelings have elaborate taboos concerning their shapeshifting.

They had many lovely children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. All the children, despite their odd peculiarities, married well because Lord Heike was respected, admired, and liked by everyone at Court except his bitter father and his debauched older brother Tairason who envied Heike in everything. So why did Lord Heike propose to resume the Celestial Wars?

One reason was his father in law Sojobo the Harbinger of War who egged on Lord Heike. Another reason was the siege of the Maestusean Damned Elves that failed so spectacularly but which incited the fury of the Dark Lord who compulsively hoarded the Five Devices. The Dark Lord had withdrawn from the field but now he was raging forward with all his army of ogres, orcs, demons, monsters, and diverse fiends to again ravish Our World. The closest area to ravish was Arcadia. Arcadia shared a common border called the River of Shadows or the River of No Return because death touched all who crossed it.

Rufus Royal in a drawing by Puccii in the 2nd Age. This is how opera remembers Ruf[f]us Royal.

Rufus Royal was married to the granddaughter of Lord Heike and he voted for the war. He and his Heike consort lived in the frontier of Arcadia Minor which was being ravished by the Dark Lord's marauding fiends.

He decided that the unraveling lull was just that -- an unraveling lull and deceptive. He decided that preventive offense was better than waiting for 'the second boot to drop'.

Lady Rufus Heike also voted for the war but later regretted it and confessed so quite honestly. "We were lied to by the Celestial Elves. They saw war was a golden profit while we got nothing out of it but dead kin and empty pavilions where children's feet no longer run...."

Lady Wisteria Fujitsu by Puccii. This is how opera sees the mysterious lady of the wisteria.

In reality she was a tough lady and she voted no to war. She warned quite precisely why it would turn out disastrous and she was right. She was always right. It is always a mystery why Old Arcadia never headed her warnings.

But she also confessed that Rufus Royal and the frontier pioneers of Arcadia Minor were being bled by border raids and relentless terror by night. She had no answer. She had estates in Arcadia Prime, still far away, and she lived full time in her elegant Court Pavilion like many courtiers. She knew Rufus Royal was in danger. Most courtiers did not even know that. The frontier seemed so far away.... it seemed impossible that danger could ever come to Arcadia Prime. Arcadia seemed invincible.

Lord Naratun The Imperturbable in an opera poster by Puccii.

Lord Naratun was in a fix. He was Lord Heike's godfather and his family was very close to the family of Heike. Their kin married each other. So many of Naratun's children were linked to Heike and voted with Heike to resume the Celestial Wars.

But Naratun's gut instinct was against war. He voted no. The war would take all but one sickly daughter and leave Naratun childless and no longer 'Imperturbable'.

A drawing from a silk hanging of Heike Era Archers.

 

The War started very well but then unraveled. The Fiery Fissure Fortress proved impregnable. The monsters were too many: 'dragons', orges, orcs, demons of all types. The Elves did not know it but the Valley of the Fiery Fissure was a loop in time that allowed creatures dying out elsewhere to linger fatally there. The Wisteria Collection boasts of a furry hide of a saber tooth tiger for instance. And the 'dragons' were actually dinosaurs. Even today that might be hard to face. In the 1st Age that was very hard indeed to face when armed only with bronze weapons, spears, and arrows. The Elves fought on foot too, despite owning huge horses.

The siege was so far away that supplying was always difficult and frequently the army ran out of food and supplies. The Dwarves did not offer free bronze weapons. The Orcs had iron weapons. Their own arsenic bronze was expensive to resupply. Also, their body armor was antiquated and their way of war was antiquated too: glorious duels with flags and battle standards and affairs of honor. Today the Heike Era War is very romantic in movies but in real life the Heike Era War was fatally antiquated.

The home front would forget about the far away front and neglect to send desperately needed food stuffs and weapons and monies. Rhingol was a terrible war time king. Totally self absorbed. But Arcadia was just as self absorbed and only remembered the war then there was a parade back home. And they did not like casualties, battle scars, ugly and crippling injuries, and the mounting deaths of kin. Soon too many pavilions were losing their best and boldest and brightest scion. Elves were long lived but bred very slowly. Arcadia could not afford such loses of it's best generation.

Mere Mortals, once in awe of the Elves, were now disillusioned and suspected rightly that they were being used as battle fodder (by the Celestial Elves). The Beorach now turn coat and hired out to the Dark Lord as mercenaries. Being Mere Mortal they had short lives but they also bred like rabbits. Up to 12 children in a family. The usual Elve family was only five children. In war that has an impact!

The Celestial Elves under Finngolden was inept and Finngolden's son Finngold was grossly incompetent. The Allied Elvish Races discovered they loathed and despised each other and the Alliance crumbled on suspicion, greed, slavery, war profiteering (The Celestial Elves) and native stubbornness (The Twilight Terra Elves). The Celestial Elves acted more and more like conquering colonizers rather than savors and they openly scorned the 'Native Population'. Worse the Native Elves came to suspect the Devices were a secret danger inciting the Dark Lord to his fury. Left alone, he might have stayed quiet. The distant and slowly simmering war ascalated when the Celestial Elves came back from 'paradise' to reclaim the stolen Devices.

Some said the Devices were super weapons. The Elves certainly needed something to win. Orc iron was shoddy but it was impacting their bronze nevertheless. Others said the war should stop. Some even said the war was now un-winable. In the last battle of the season Heike barely lived when he was surrounded by Orcs on all sides. Only the heroic action by his gesith (body guard), his daughter Heika, saved him. She held off 38 Orcs and saved her father's life at the cost of her own life. Heike was shattered by her heroic death on the battlefield.

Sojobo, Heike's father in law, kept assuring everyone that one more season would see the way to victory. But Rufus Royal smelled a quagmire and said so. Others said that if the war did not go on then the prior losses and deaths of their kin would have been wasted. Heike went home an 'old man'. He later confess that "War was not heroic. It was corrupting and corroding, brutalizing the soul." The noble crusade was becoming a tattered and debased exercise in senseless violence. Increasingly no one could remember why the war started or why the war should continue. The Native Arcadians were certainly getting nothing out of it but a hemorrhaging of monies and lives.

Lady Aine dying of a broken heart in an opera drawing by Puccii.

That winter was bitter. So many of her children and grandchildren and friends and kin had died in the war. For what? Why? Why? Lady Aine pleaded with her consort to give up the war. But Sojobo kept egging Heike on to continue the heroic fight. Why did Sojobo care so little for his own grandchildren? He later said "I am the Harbinger of War. If you want peace seek out Mother god. If you want happiness see out another god. I bring forth war. That is my nature. That is what I am." But at the time no one could believe Sojobo could be so utterly heartless as to incite war at the cost of his own sweet daughter's children.

Heike was torn by grief and doubt that winter too. Sojobo kept saying "We are so close! To withdraw now would go down in history as cowardice." But Heike was shattered by the guilt of causing so many pavilions to lose so many fine children. He prayed to the Sidh but got no answer. He should have remembered that the Celestial Wars killed off the best of the Sidh gods.

Heike finally decided to wage war but 'one more year' and mounted his mightly battle horse to resume the war with the spring thaw. So mounted he quarreled with Lady Aine who fell to her feet before the mounted horse to plead surrender."Come what may but one last time! And let Fate write the end of the sad lament of Heike!". Man and wife wept openly. Heike pleeded with his openly hysterical wife before the whole army --- losing face fatally. "But go into our pavilion my dear one and read the letter I spent all of the last night writing! Please my dearest heart! But read my letter!" Unbeknownst to both of them Tairason, jealous of his younger brother, stole the letter. Poor Aine died of a broken heart. Sojobo's curse could now strike home and bring down Lord Heike.

The Dark Lord in an opera drawing by Puccii.

The Dark Lord challenged Lord Heike to a duel to decide the war. Lord Heike agreed for he was sick to death of guilt for causing so many deaths on the battlefield. Let his life or death decide the war! And Heike trusted his magical sword given to him by Sojobo and agreed. But in the battle the magical sword shattered for Sojobo betrayed his son in law. And the Dark Lord reached out a hand and seized Lord Heike by the throat and that valiant Elve died a fiery death before all his kin and children and allies and loved ones. And it was a most terrible sight!

Lord Heike dying on the battlefield in a opera poster by the 2nd Age artist Puccii.

And Lord Heike let down his hair to wage his last battle! And on the battlefield he was slain at the hand of the Dark Lord and all his flags came down in bloody tatters on the battlefield and so was his glory brought down too. And the glory of Heike, and Arcadia, was shattered that day.

The flattened and decayed remains of a Heike Era bronze helmet with the crest of Naratun, the original horsehair gone.

A drawing of a Heike Era warror in elegant battle tunic, his long hair coiled up in the Heike Era style and pinned by bronze and silver hair combs and pins. In the Heike Era a person let down their hair only in great moments of symbolic crisis or in private moments of intense love and passion.

 

Lord Heikeson was a grieving son. His mother and father were dead. His sister Heika was dead. His wife Narata was dead. So many of his friends and lovers were also dead. In this bloody war. What should he do? He went home a grieving and aging Elve, prematurely old by war and sorrow.

As Lord Heikeson rode hom he remembered when the dreadful war started. That first winter after first seeing the horrors of war he returned and saw in the Royal Maw a beautiful young girl of only twelve years dancing merrily. Now she haunted his memories like a symbol of all he lost. That innocent, carefree, dancing girl..... Who was she? He decided to find out who she was.

In his memories she danced, dressed only in a simple linen under tunic and instead of a grand long kilt only her long blond hair trailed behind her...... Who was she? That fey child?

To his horror Lord Heikeson discovered it was no less than the child of Lord Taira by a concubine. The child was called Rosemont after her mother Rosedale. She was a hated child of Taira! How dreadful! How could such a sweet fey thing be sired by such an evil man? For by now the two clans hated each other with malevolent passion. Tairason had just died horribly decayed and loathed by everyone as a coward. The Taira color, yellow, was now the symbol of cowardice. And that last tragic letter from Lord Heike to his poor Lady Aine had been found! In Tairason's rooms! His parents had died because of the evils of that evil clan! The Taira Clan! Lord Heikeson gashed his teeth in rage!

Lord Heikeson in an opera poster by Puccii.

Quite unexpectedly Lord Heikeson visited Lord Naratun and low and behold! Dancing in the gardens was no less than the fey young girl Rosemont. Now she was fifteen. And she was enchanting. Poor Heikeson felt an old man and indeed he was, over 1177 and counting! But his heart melted at the sight of that fey child. And willfully she laughed at him! Commanded him! "Dance with me!"

"I can't dance" he sputtered. But she insisted and so he danced in the garden and how she laughed! Everyone laughed. For Heikeson was a dreadful dancer!

Lady Rosemont in an opera poster by Puccii.

 

All that winter Heikeson found excuses to visit Lord Naratun when Rosemont also visited. And he was dreadfully in love. "I will wage war but one more season! Come what may and let it be so! And then let it end! Once and forever! I have lost my youth and my loves to this accurst war! I will wage no more war after this last year! For the young of Arcadia like Rosemont here, should never know war!" But he did not confess his hopeless love to anyone for he knew he could not ask Taira for the child's hand. He was too old and she was too young. And she was a Taira.

Heikeson dressed for war and then visited Lord Naratun one last time. And he looked glorious in his war tunic and long kilt and armor and helmet and bronze short sword and long knife. And Rosemont saw him in all his glory as a warrior and suddenly he did not look like a grizzled old man but a heroic warrior. And she wept when he said fair well. She plucked a flower and tucked it into his armor. And they both smiled sadly. The moment was perfect Yuugen. And they both knew it.

And the sad thing was young Rosemont suddenly understood the word Yuugen. Doomed beauty.

And Rosemont knew of many loyal lovers who joined their loves at the war......

Lady Rosemont in an opera poster by Puccii.

 

So Rosemont cut off her long trailing gold hair and tied it up as a proper solder should. Then she dressed for war and rode off with the army as the young standard barer of Heikeson, to carry his standard and his flag and secretly guard his back like a true gesith. And no one knew. But Heikeson noticed this handsome young soldier and asked the young soldier to chastely share his tent and live by his side. "I don't want war to hurt this boy for he is so young and innocent. Now that I have lost Rosemont this boy has become the symbol of lost innocence and doomed love for me."

Lord Taira in an opera poster by Puccii.

 

And Lord Taira was enraged when he found out that Rosemont had joined the army to wage war at the Fiery Fissure out of forbidden love for Heikeson. His own elder son had just died hated and reviled. The Clan of Taira was now shamed and despised. But the Clan of Heike shone glorious as the sun. So Taira, horned by jealousy, resolved to bring down the Clan of Heike. The Court wizards predicted dire danger from the Dragon of White Snow. Taira plotted ruin.

Rhingol the Great in an opera poster by Puccii.

 

Rhingol the Great, King of Arcadia, hated the war he had stumbled into. Now Lord Taira advised him to abandon the army to it's fate. Lord Lir, the Minister of the Right and allied with Taira, seconded the cowardly plot. Lir has stolen the Heike talisman of the Sacred Feather of the Kalamack to weave black Glamour to live forever. But his son had just murdered the granddaughter of Heike out of terror of changelings and Lord Lir feared the fury of Heikeson should he return to discover his kin's fate. So Rhingol ordered the Royal Army abandoned. Lord Ryu the Quiet One, the Minister of the Left, protested but he was overruled.

Surviving examples of Heike Era arsenic bronze long swords. They could rival shoddy iron but were quite short compared to later steel long swords. Bronze limited size. A long knife was almost the same size but a knife cut humble things and a sword was kept pristine to be used only for war.

 

The war at the Fiery Fissure turned dire. The Celestial Allies fled the field in disgrace, abandoning the native Twilight Elves to face the Dark Lord alone. Rufus Royal was badly wounded and had to withdraw from the field. Then the season turned harsh as winter prematurely arrived in terrible fury. Snow flurries dotted the field like cherry blossoms in spring -- a harsh irony. The last battle of the war was waged as snow gently fell on the verdant field of death. There were no more supplies. They were too far from home and alone. And they were surrounded.

Lord Heikeson shooting an symbolic arrow into the air in an opera poster by Puccii. Note how his long kilt train is looped up behind his back and pinned to his shoulders. His over tunic is worn over his bronze armor.

 

In despair, Heikeson took his bow and shot an arrow into the air, echoing the long ago symbolic gesture of Dagda the Bow. He now knew the Celestial Wars were lost and he was doomed. The Dark Lord appeared and taunted the beleaguered Elve to fight and die like his father. All was lost. At that moment his young standard barer bared her long sword and struck the Dark Lord.

Detail of a Heike Era bronze sword with a ritual blessing etched and gilded. Iron appeared belatedly and in the arms of Orcs. The native Twilight Terra Elves welded bronze. The arsenic bronze was equal to the shoddy iron of the Dark Lord but ordinary bronze was obsolete. Most of the army welded bronze and only the most wealthy could afford arsenic bronze and only Rufus Royal welded an iron sword.

 

Rosemont's bronze sword shattered and the Dark Lord reached out his hand and struck her a death's blow. She fell to the feet of Heikeson as her helmet tumbled off. So Heikeson recognized Rosemont ---- too late as she lay dying in the snow. War had taken his fey young girl!

Heikeson was shattered and embraced his fey girl and wept as she died in his arms. Too late the doomed lovers embraced for the one and only time. She died with his tears washing away the blood from her face and when he kissed her, her lips were already cold.....

Dannoura was the greatest defeat ever suffered by the Elves and Arcadia never recovered.

Detail of a Heike Era over tunic and long kilt with the train pinned at the back. The crest is Bierwood.

Heikeson and his army retreated back to Arcadia in the midst of a terrible winter heretofor unseen by Our World. By the time they staggered back they were black with frostbite, starving, leaving a trail of the dead.

They only survived because Dwarve iron merchants, seeing them staggering through the snows on dying horses, pulled off their loads from their own mules and gave the beleaguered Elves their humble mules. Maestusean gypsies also gave them their food and nursed them. The Damned Elves saved the lives of the once elite Twilight Terra Elves who despised them.

The once great army of Arcadia staggered back to Arcadia in shame and pain. The city was aghast to see their once great army reduced to such suffering and grief and pain. How could this have happened?

Everyone blamed Rhingol the Great who childishly blamed the infamous Lir who had just caused the death of his own son's Heike bride and then his son's suicide. Lir locked himself away at his pavilion and never came out, abandoning his responsibilities as the Minister of the Right.

Rhingol then blamed Lord Taira and he was worthy of blame. Heikeson demanded a duel to the death but Taira refused with utter scorn that others saw as cowardice. He locked himself away at his pavilion too. That spring, with snow still bitter on the ground, Heikeson and his few remaining kin and friends resolved to attack Taira Pavilion to demand justice. But Taira hired 70 body guards from the hated Beorach mercenaries. Heikeson only had 30 allies.

Nevertheless they attacked Taira Pavilion one snowy night and one hundred souls lost their lives, including two of the servants at Taira Pavilion who died in the panic and resulting fire. Lord Taira slew his own grandson Heikeson in the back. So perished the living glory of the Clan of Heike. Later that spring Lord Lir plotted the death of his young Heike grandchldren, the last living scion of Heike besides the clan of Ruf[f]us Royal himself.

Rufus Royal and Lady Heike were grievously wounded and they survived only because Rufus Royal was royal and could not be killed. Rhingol declared Lady Rufus Heike a Nitthing Exile. Rufus Royal refused to enter Court until the exile was revoked and Rhingol never revoked it.

 

But the story does not end there.......

surviving examples of Heike Era battle tunic, bronze armor with leather kilt guard, shoulder and arm archer's sleeve, glove, and helmet with horsehair. Wisteria Collection.

 

The glory that was Heike was no more. The Heike Pavilion stood forlorn and empty. The great flags of Heike hung moldering in the Great Hall. The standards stood dusty. And none dare enter for fear of ghosts.

But the ghosts haunted another pavilion: the Taira Pavilion was haunted by those 100 souls who died that snowy spring night, fighting on both sides, for a man without honor who saved his neck by hiding in a latrine. The dishonor damned every soul who died there to relive that battle eternally, time looping into itself, as ghosts eternally battled for honor denied.

Worse, Lord Taira threw away in 'symbolic burial' the bronze mirror of Rosemont --down a suicide well to damned her soul to an eternity of fetid water so she could not pass out of history or join her lover Heikeson who haunted the Taira Pavilion, also damned, also unable to pass out of history to join his love Rosemont. Lord Taira was an evil man.

Lord Taira was married to Lady Wisteria Fujitsu and finally she had enough and she announced she was divorcing him. This was shame indeed. He hauled his last surviving child, a poor girl, back to the burned out and derelict pavilion of such infamy.

Horsham of Arcadia in an opera poster by by Puccii. Horsham was never refered to by his damned name but rather in opera as the 'White Paladin of Wisteria'. Conversely Horsham was refered to in folk songs as the 'Black Outlaw and Desparado Horsham'.

Horsham resolved to rescue Lady Aoi Taira and he assaulted Taira Pavilion, joined by Prince Kitsune, Prince Grafton, and Celebeau. They found themselves fighting alongside ghosts! If they lost then their souls would join the damned of Taira Pavilion too! Trapped by Black Glamour!

Opera Drawing by Puccii

Horsham welded two swords to fight off 100 ghosts! But in the end they were all wounded and brought down to the ground, defeated, and doomed to die just like the original Heike Fighters so long ago! But at that moment Prince Kitsune, a Wizard, discovered Lord Taira and dragged him out to face his fate at last! And the ghostly doppelganger of Lady Ruf[f]us Heike chopped off his head!

It was over! The 100 ghosts were freed at last! But poor Lady Aoi had been slain by her own evil father -- just like poor Rosemont. But at last the souls of Rosemont and Heikeson were free to rise up to the Shining Plains of High Heaven!

Ben the Beorach in an opera poster by Puccii.

Ben the Beorach's sole ambition in life was to seize the Princess Luna of Arcadia and become Warlord. Not necessarily in that order. He achieved both dubious goals and he burned down the Heike Pavilion and tore asunder the glory and the flags and the standards and the pomp and honor of Heike like a Beorach Vandal. And so beau Old Arcadia fell too, a victim of Ben and the War.

The Celestial Wars consumed city state after city state. The Dark Lord was enraged that all but one of the Five Devices were stolen or destroyed so he was relentless to track down the stolen Pearl Device. He traced it to The Havens and lay waste Our World to seize it and destroy The Havens and the Elves as he had destroyed Arcadia.

Gildagad, the young king, responded by throwing out antiquated armor and antiquated honor to wage a modern, brutal, but successful war against the Dark Lord.

Gone forever was the glory of Heike, the beautiful armor, the quaint weapons, the duels, the flags, the pomp and honor of war. The loss was both necessary yet regretful. But Gildagad won the Celestial Wars by being brutal and ruthless and relentless. But he also introduced the Courts of Equity which was democracy too, and Common Law.

And music still continues to relieve the Glory of Heike in high opera and ballet and song. And today the movies embrace the Glory of Heike. As for the Dark Lord? He died after killing Gildagad in a duel to the death.

And the Dark Lord was then a much decayed and foul living corpse held together by his gilded armor and the Black Glamour of a Ring of Power. So Father's gift of Time and Change and Death snared even his own shadow ---- and Father too for he also died of a Device. And so died the Celestial Gods - -- courtesy of another Device. So ended the Celestial Wars.