The Bestiary of Somnii: Elders

Introduction

This is the second entry for the bestiary of my fantasy world of Somnii. This one deals with the powerful group of seven people known as The Elders. For the first entry on dragons go here.

Source
The Staffs of the Elders(from right to left):  Gem's Staff, Spec's Staff, Ben's Staff, Bell's Staff, Fir's Wand, Fid's Staff, and Reg's Staff
The Staffs of the Elders(from right to left): Gem's Staff, Spec's Staff, Ben's Staff, Bell's Staff, Fir's Wand, Fid's Staff, and Reg's Staff | Source

Elders

Little is known about the Elders. There are those that would even argue that they do not properly belong in a bestiary of any sort. They apparently entered the world at the end of The Elemental Age. This is a time period that is often referred to as The Dark Times. They helped Merdinus the Archmage seal away the mad elementals on Elementalis and then aided Ambrosius Draconius in establishing peace and order once more in the world. Since the end of The Dragon Rider Age, they seem to have been at war with Lady Dagrun, who it is said overthrew the Dragon Riders at The Battle of Elrath. As far as we know there are only seven of their kind, and they are all great wizards. Each of them is related to a color The Elders are Old Man Gem the Silver, Old Woman Spec the Green, Old Man Ben the Gold, Old Woman Bell the Red, the Purple, Old Man Fir the Black, Old Woman Fid the Blue, and Old Man Reg the Purple. We will now look at each of The Elders in turn.

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Old Man Gem the SilverOld Man Gem the Silver
Old Man Gem the Silver
Old Man Gem the Silver | Source
Old Man Gem the Silver
Old Man Gem the Silver | Source

Old Man Gem the Silver

He is often also called The Elder of Purity. He seems to be the one, who does the most work in the world against Lady Dagrun and her foul designs. It is said that he is the one who taught Merdinus the Archmage how to make deals with the Elementals so that they would serve his will. He was also known to be a close friend and adviser of Ambrosius the Dragon Lord. Many say that it was he, who first showed Ambrosius how to form bonds with dragons. He is also known to be a friend of the Fairy races and specifically of the Elvish Kings. He has often worked with them, and some speculate that he was the one to teach Alvar the weather spell with which The Infernal Cohort was defeated. He usually appears as an old man with a long flowing silver beard that falls to his chest. His eyes are silver and twinkle like stars. On his head he wears a silver pointed hat, and he usually dresses in a silver robe with a silver cloak lined with white fur over it. In his hand, he carries a staff of gnarled wood.

King Arvid of the Elves of Charm has said this of him:

“Old Man Gem is a man of wit and wisdom. He is indeed a merry old soul, who seems at times to bear the very weight of the world upon his shoulders. He can be at times solemn but at other times quite merry. He is also very good at playing the fiddle.”

-From Arvid's Reflections by King Arvid of the Elves of Charm

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Old Woman Spec the GreenOld Woman Spec the Green
Old Woman Spec the Green
Old Woman Spec the Green | Source
Old Woman Spec the Green
Old Woman Spec the Green | Source

Old Woman Spec the Green

She is often called The Elder of Hope. Since The Dark Times, she has not been very active in the world. It is said by some that she is at the wall that surrounds Elementalis. For this reason, she is also called The Watcher. She is known for wearing a long green coat with a green apron under it. She has curly silver hair on which rests her green pointed hat. Like Gem, she carries a staff of gnarled wood.

Osric of the Many Paths once visited the Wall of Elementalis and is said to have seen Spec and her house. He relates the tale thusly:

“Coming unto the great continent of Elementalis, I was shocked to the see just how massive the wall was. It truly is a sight to boggle the mind with. Ice caps the top of the wall as though it were a range of mountains. At the base of the wall, I beheld what was little more than a small wooden cabin. When I inquired after who lived there, my guide answered that it was the dwelling place of Old Woman Spec. Later on, we actually went to the top of the wall, and there I beheld Old Woman Spec. She was constantly peering out over the wall as though keeping an eye on the elementals trapped within their prison. I have never seen such vigilance before in all my life.”

-From the Writings of Osric of the Many Paths

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Old Man Ben the GoldOld Man Ben the Gold
Old Man Ben the Gold
Old Man Ben the Gold | Source
Old Man Ben the Gold
Old Man Ben the Gold | Source

Old Man Ben the Gold

He is often called The Elder of Kindness. He is the gentlest and sweetest of all the Elders. He is known for helping out widows and orphans in their distress. When not appearing in his wizardly form, he will often appear in the form of an old beggar. In this form, he goes about and tests the compassion and kindness of strangers. He is often known to reward those, who are hospitable, and to punish those, who are not. When he is in his wizardly form, he appears as an old man with a thick silver beard. His long hair is crowned with a golden pointy hat. He wears simple clothing like that of peasant save that it is made of gold cloth. He carries a wooden staff with a golden headpiece.

Merdinus once remarked on him:

“He is the very soul of generosity. He is the friend of widows and orphans, and it is on their behalf that he most often brings his magic to bear. With his power, he has saved starving villages, put down tyrants, and punished the cruel. Yet in all his punishments, there is mercy mixed. Those punished always have a chance of redemption.”

-From The Sayings of the Archmage by Merdinus

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Old Woman Bell the RedOld Woman Bell the Red
Old Woman Bell the Red
Old Woman Bell the Red | Source
Old Woman Bell the Red
Old Woman Bell the Red | Source

Old Woman Bell the Red

She is often called The Elder of Courage. Bell is a warrior of extreme skill. She wields her wizardly powers to aid in her fighting against anything that would threaten the world of Somnii. Her usual place is standing guard on the walls of Elementalis to make sure that none of the maddened elementals escape. Her hair is tied in a simple braid. She wears a cape hanging from her two pieces of shoulder armor. She wears a tough, red leather tunic. Over the tunic, she wears a red tabard. Around her waist, she has a belt with a sword hanging from it. Her staff is not so much a staff as it is a spear. It is said that she led the armies of The Alliance of Men and Faeries during The Dark Times when they defeated the maddened elementals. It is also said that she faced down Lady Dagrun at The Battle of Elrath.

When he visited Elementalis, Osric of the Many Paths actually had an opportunity to speak with Old Woman Bell. He had this to say about the encounter:

“Old Woman Bell is without a doubt a warrior. She has devoted her life to the defense of Somnii, and I find this quite admirable. Fairies, Elementals, and Dragons all provide troops to protect the Wall of Elementalis, and it is she that leads their combined forces against all that would try to break forth from that prison. We all owe her our lives many times over. She is also a courteous woman.”

-From the Writings of Osric of the Many Paths

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Old Man Fir the BlackOld Man Fir the Black
Old Man Fir the Black
Old Man Fir the Black | Source
Old Man Fir the Black
Old Man Fir the Black | Source

Old Man Fir the Black

He is often called The Unbending Elder. Since The Dragon Rider Age, he has apparently taken up residence in the northern land of Boreaia, also called The Land of the North Wind. He seems to be good friends with the Boreas. What work he does there though is not known by this humble writer. He is known for wearing a robe of black and dark grays. On his head, he wears a black hat. He has a forked silver beard. Unlike all of his fellow Elders, he does not carry a staff but rather a wand. His eyes are completely inhuman, and many have been to describe as like deep pits through which one can see the abyss.

Merdinus the Archmage said of him:

“I have never in all my left met a man of great knowledge than him. He enjoys study and the acquisition of knowledge above all else, but when he puts this knowledge to use in battle with the enemies, it is a truly terrifying sight. Well, it is said by some that knowledge is power. It is quite true in the case of this man. His life is governed by unbending rules that he remains faithful to at all times. He is as constant as a mountain.”

-From The Sayings of the Archmage by Merdinus

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Old Woman Fid the BlueOld Woman Fid the Blue
Old Woman Fid the Blue
Old Woman Fid the Blue | Source
Old Woman Fid the Blue
Old Woman Fid the Blue | Source

Old Woman Fid the Blue

She is often called The Elder of Faith. While it is believed that she is quite active in the world, it seems as though her activities are quite different than that of all the others. She moves secretly and easily through the world. Her purpose appears to be to strengthen waning faith so that resistance can be maintained against all the various threats that come to bear on Somnii. When not in disguise, she appears as an older woman in a long blue robe. She has long silver hair. On top of her head, sits her blue pointy hat. Her staff is made of wood and has a blue crescent at the top of it.

Merdinus remarked of her:

“She is the most mysterious of The Elders. Her influence can often not be seen, but it is there all the same. She is faithful to her appointed task and drives other people to be faithful to theirs. It is my believe that she is the one who binds the other six together. Without her, The Elders would undoubtedly fall apart.”

-From The Sayings of the Archmage by Merdinus

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Old Man Reg the PurpleOld Man Reg the Purple
Old Man Reg the Purple
Old Man Reg the Purple | Source
Old Man Reg the Purple
Old Man Reg the Purple | Source

Old Man Reg the Purple

He is often called The Elder of Justice. Without a doubt, he is the second most active of The Elders since The Dark Times. Gem alone does more than him He has often been known to be the adviser of kings in matters of justice. He is also the most senior of the Elders and their leader. He usually appears as an old man with a silver goatee. He clads himself all in purple. He wears a simple purple robe and crowns his head with a purple pointy hat that hides his short hair. He bears a wooden staff with a headpiece in the shape of a cross with a circle around.

Merdinus the Archmage said of him:

“I know of no man more somber in all the number of The Elders. He is a man of solemnity as justice itself is a solemn thing. He stands also as the leader of The Elders in Somnii, and they all respect him and honor him as though he were a prince among them. Old Woman Bell once told me that he is in truth the eldest of them. In truth I have never seen men give such reverence to king as The Elders give to Old Man Reg”

-From The Sayings of the Archmage by Merdinus

The Tale of The Rich Man, The Widow, and The Widow's Son

Once, there was a rich man, who lived in great mansion in the city Groburra. He had everything that his heart could desire, and all the people of the city were jealous of him. He ate the finest foods, wore the best clothes, and traveled in the most ornate carriages. His life was one of comfort and decadent indulgence. In the same city, there lived an older woman, whose husband had long been dead. She was poor. All she had was a son, and he was a sickly lad. Yet she loved the boy with all her heart.

One day an old vagabond beggar, who was quite disgusting to look at, came to the city of Groburra during a great storm. His clothing was ragged and would not keep him warm. Stumbling along the roads of the city, he came to the mansion of the rich man and knocked upon the door. The rich man’s butler answered it, and the beggar begged to be allowed to enter. When the rich man heard of it though, he came to the door and told the beggar to leave. The beggar then said, “I am but poor old man, and it is cold here in the rain. I beg of you compassion. Let me sit by the fire for but a little while.”

The rich man picked up a stone and threw it at the beggar. Then the door was slammed in his face. Now the widow was nearby and saw all of this. So she approached the beggar, who appeared worse off than she was. She then said to the beggar, “Come to my house. I have but a little, yet I am willing to share it.” So the beggar accompanied the widow to her home, and she sat him down in front of her small fire.

When all the city had gone to sleep, the beggar rose from the cot on which he lay. A light surrounded him, and he was transformed into an old man with gentle and caring eyes. He was dressed in a long golden coat, and a pointy golden hat rested upon his head. Walking over to a pitcher of drinking water, Old Man Ben removed a flower from his coat. Crushing it up, he dropped it into the water. Then he turned and walked away.

That night, the rich man woke from his slumber to see Old Man Ben standing at the foot of his bed. “You have all that you could desire. Your wealth allows you to live at ease, yet you could not spare but a little warmth for a humble beggar. Therefore what you have shall be taken from you, and you shall become the most wretched of men. Yet so that you may know what compassion and mercy are, a way of escape shall be provided for you. If one shall entreat for mercy on your behalf, you shall be restored.” Then Old Man Ben vanished from the city.

Now, it came to pass that the rich man’s wealth vanished, and he found that he no longer had any friends for he had been arrogant and cruel in his wealth. As for the widow’s son, he became healthy, and soon he had become a great man in the city. Everything the widow’s son put his hand to prospered, and he became wealthy.

Years later, a baker came unto the city, and he was selling bread of the finest sort in the market. Now, the man, who had been rich, was hungry, and seeing the bread, he yearned for it. However, he had no gold with which to buy it. So he stretched out his hand, snatched up a loaf of the bread, and tried to run. The baker seized a hold of him though. At this moment, the widow’s son happened by, and seeing the commotion, he asked the baker, “What seems to be the matter?”

“Just dealing with a thief,” the baker replied.

The widow’s son looked at the former rich man and was moved to pity for the man’s sorry state. “I beg you forgive the thief,” the widow’s son said as he reached into his purse, “and I shall pay twice the worth of the bread.” He placed the gold down before the baker.

Then the baker was transformed before their eyes into Old Man Ben once more, and he bowed his head unto the widow’s son. “You have done well,” he said. “Take the rich man into your service, and he shall serve you well.”

Then he turned unto the former rich man and said, “Remember well your lesson.” With that he vanished. At once the widow’s son took the former rich man into his service, and they both prospered in the city of Groburra.

Cast your vote for The Second Entry in the Bestiary

Links

On Compassion, Mercy, and Love in Fairy Tales

An article where I look at the concepts of compassion, mercy, and love in fairy tales. I use Disney's Beauty and the Beast as my example.

The Infernal Cohort in Fairyland

The first story written in the world of Somnii. I wrote it while taking college classes at IUPUI during high school. It was an attempt to write something that I would not normally write.

© 2014 Joseph Ray

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