Saturday, April 7, 2018

A History of Giants, as told by Parthemos the Mason

In the time before men and elves came north, there were four great stone giant kingdoms. These were Ulhame, Umbrinol, Rhûn, and Arhame. In all, there was worship of the great Giant gods, Solos the Self-Creating first among them, who made himself from nothing and was the Titan of Earth. Some of our old gods, you still give prayer; Dinismayl, the Winter Queen; Glyrea, He of Poisons; and, of course, there is the God of which we do not speak: who you name Mother Night.

But in our day, the Night had already been driven west beyond her Wall. It was so that in our kingdoms, there were sages and sorcerers, but also builders. All giants in those days knew the art of raising homes and manors. All giants knew how to farm the earth, and hew the stone with tools. Our race was as mighty and glorious as the peoples of the Rootwood, and where they raised up the city of Temeros, we too made many cities.

Alone among the giants we had no kings. Even the lords of Cloudhame were Titans, or what you would say "Tyrants," who ruled through their whole lives. Clydas, the First King, who brought us music and magic, was their first and greatest, but a whole line of kings dwelt in Cloudhame until they left us to bring their whole land north and northwards out of reach of the wars of men and elves.

For us, each giant family lived free. There were no nobles. There were no lords or kings. We gathered, in that Night age, when your sages say there were no light of sun nor stars, but which the dragons claim otherwise, in our city-centers to decide upon the way our lands were to be run. Thus did we cast our votes by chips of stone in great clay pots, and so were we governed. In times of war or terror, we elected a Titan, a Tyrant, to lead us; but when the time had come when he or she was no longer needed, they were cast out for ten years to wander houseless until such time as they were permitted to return. So, we never were ruled by a succession of Tyrants like the giants of Rootwood.

Arhame was the home of my people, and all the giants in the west are descended from it. The word has become corrupted, and is what you now call the bay south of where our lands lay. But in the Night Age and Dawn Age, we claimed much of the Reach and the old lands south as our own. We hewed many quarries in the Silverlode Mountains and out of Mount Sirune, and builded up great cities along the shore. In the Dawn Age there were the elves of Ylvasmetsa, who bounded us on the east, and the half-elves of Ys, who bounded us on the north.

The Aelfwater became the southernmost border of Ys, and we made many houses there within the half-elf kingdom of sorcerers. We knew the Yssans, and taught them much of our magic. Their wizards came and lived in Arhame to dwell with us, and so there are many many wizards in the Reach today - and indeed, the Yssan love of gems deposited so many of their fine stones in the Reach when Ys fell that the smallfolk still make use of them instead of coin.

But in Arhame we were peaceful. We did not make wars on other lands, for there were few for us to do battle with. By the time the men came, our race was already dying. We are a long-lived people, but the great melancholia and sickness that swept through Rhûn and Ulhame had come, too, to Arhame. Fewer and fewer giants were born year by year. The elders slowly turned to stone. Our Assemblies stood empty, the great pillared fields abandoned. So we turned over our lands to men, to elves, to dwarves.

There was one last Stone Giant sorceress who might be thought of as a Tyrant: Gothea Elf-Slayer, the maker of the Wands of High Sorcery, who stood against the Empire of Miles with her allies the Mage-Lords. But that is a tale for another time, little one.