The Count of Years Commentary: 5    [ Text ]

The elcari

The creation of the elcari

Elcar is borrowed from Elkarîl, the language of the nearest elcari, where it means 'the making people'. The names of the first elcari are all from Elkarîl:

Ganmes, from Ganmech 'dawn brother'
Scûreme, from Chkunrem 'jade'

Cesōpas, from Qêshopsh 'wise brow'
Zunsōpe, from Junshopsh 'wise stomach'-- the stomach being the seat of compassion for the elcari

Gāxre, from Xaqhre 'bright eye'
Salniele, from Chalyñelsh 'fiery maiden'

Meircrenas, from Merkrêng 'strong arm'
Larnīze, from Larñij 'orange hair'

The story of the elcari is derived from elcarin rather than iliu sources. Either the original compiler of the Count of Years had access to an elcarin account, or a (perhaps skimpy) ilian account was replaced later from elcarin sources. The fact that most of this section is in verse suggests the latter, since the original compiler preferred to work mostly in prose.

The elcarin lineages are not ethnic groups but extended clans (Elkarîl xelyên). Their chief importance is in marriage: an elcar must marry someone from a different lineage. An elcar settlement is divided into four quarters for the four lineages, though it is not strictly required to live in one's own lineage's quarter. The elcari of eastern Ereláe have the same four lineages in each settlement; there are some differences in other areas of Almea.

The elcari search for a home

Though the poetry is Cuêzi, the point of view here is entirely elcarin: the elcari consider and reject several different habitats before settling on the mountains, their chief criteria being comfort and what raw materials exist. The elcari themselves don't take it very seriously; they know perfectly well that they've always lived in the mountains.

The bird and rabbit who give reports are characteristic of elcarin stories, which often feature talking animals; Cuzeian stories almost never do. (Compare the story of the bear in the next chapter.)

The stone cûmeyi; the third cûmegos

cûmegos (pl. cûmeyi) is from Elkarîl kunmegg-nquj 'the five noble substances'-- a kunm being a substance for making kun, small fashioned things such as coins or jewels.

Oxiole = 'gold jewel'

These stories are only found in CLE. The northerners seem to have had more contact with (and interest in) the elcari.

Again, the point of view is elcarin: the acquisition of the most important materials for war, commerce, and decoration. There are details that a human certainly wouldn't have invented, such as the elcarin ability to assay metals by the sense of taste, and the fact that women are the elcarin metallurgists.

The elcarin sources for the story don't name the iliu maiden. The Cuzeians seemed to feel that a name was needed, and gave her one.

The creation of the múrtani


Múrtany is Verdurian; the world ultimately derives from Elkarîl nmurthankh. The Cuêzi word is ōidracelo '(one who was) enticed away'.

Humans usually consider the múrtani a separate Thinking Kind, but the elcari have always recognized that they are relatives, though unwanted ones. The Count of Years shows little interest in the anthropology of evil races; they are not given lineages or kings. As the text suggests, múrtani often raid their neighbors, elcarin or human; tough and elusive, they aren't easy to raid back.

If they are allies of the ktuvoks, they must be unsatisfactory ones; living in remote habitats, they have little opportunity to coordinate strategy, and they are generally unable to do more than annoy humans, though they did invade the human lands during Ervëa's war with Munkhâsh.

War with the múrtani, and the discovery of iron

'The revealed metal': tñêchông in Elkarîl; 'the black metal' = mavordas.

The versions of this story in CAA and CLE differ somewhat; I've followed the more detailed account from CLE. Curiously, this story was known to the Cuzeians for centuries before they themselves made iron weapons, starting around 200 Z.E. Before then they traded with the elcari for what iron they needed; but as the world became less friendly they needed their own supply.

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