Son of Mirkwood

Belly up to the Bar and tell us about yourself.

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Ruinar Hrafnakveðja
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Location: Northern Mirkwood

Son of Mirkwood

Postby Ruinar Hrafnakveðja » Thu Jun 28, 2018 2:57 pm

Hi everyone,

Here is a short little back story/intro for Ruinar. I wrote this a while ago so forgive me if it is a little rough, the intention was just to get information down on "paper". I have since began writing this as a work of fiction, which I will probably post later on in Chapters on the Bard's Stage. Some of this backstory required me to fill a lot of gaps in canon information so some of it is my own thoughts and hypotheses informed by what information there was.

Here we go!

Name: Ruinar (Sindarin) - Rauðrþengill (Old Norse) Trans. Red King or Red Lord
(Álfrkyn – Elf Kin) (Hrafnahlakka – Raven’s Cry) (Hrafnakveðja – Raven Caller)
Race: “Half-elf” – Woodman of Mirkwood with a Silvan Mother

Ruinar was born to a Silvan mother, Amariel, and a Woodsman father, Réondrik in TA 2980. Réondrik was the second son of the settlements chieftain Brynjar. Amariel was a handmaiden to one of the Sindar noblewomen that lived in Thranduil’s Hall in the Woodland Realm. They met whilst Réondrik and his older brother Ásger were out hunting. The two boys, who were in their late teens came across a party of Elves that were dancing and feasting in the woods. There was a strange and sudden attraction between Amariel and Réondrik and they were passionately and truly in love. After several secret encounters in the hidden glades of Mirkwood they decided that they should be unified. Réondrik brought Amariel back with him to his father’s settlement to present his intended wife. Brynjar, seeing the love his son bore this elf-maiden and seeing her beauty, for she was often called Naur-celon for her flame red hair that flowed like a river over her shoulders and down her back, he happily consented to their marriage. They were soon wed, in the Woodsman’s way, with hand-fasting and the exchange of rings and gifts followed by feasting, drinking, and much celebration. Amariel and Réondrik’s first night as husband and wife was full of purity and passion, and soon it was announced that Amariel was with child. A year later Amariel gave birth to a son. This son they named Ruinar in Sindarin, but he soon was given other names by the woodsmen. For example he was called Álfrkyn or “Elf Kin” and Hrafnakveðja or “Raven Caller”, given to him for the strange occurrence of a large group of ravens which perched upon the roof of the Great Hall during Ruinar’s birth.

The settlement that Ruinar grew up in was founded in the North of Mirkwood, North of the Forest River. The settlement sat along one of the River’s tributaries and made use of the fish, game and wood surrounding it. It was called Hárlœkr, Loud Stream, in the tongue of the Northmen because of a series of small waterfalls near to the northern edge of the settlement that caused the tributary stream to gurgle and roar constantly. The forest was bountiful, though not without its dangers. Spider attacks and Eagles searching for sheep and goats forced these Woodmen to build a palisade around their settlement and keep a vigilant watch. Spiked crenellations hewn from the trees adorned the tops of the palisade. Defensive ditches and towers were also added to defend the villagers. There were several buildings scattered outside this palisade, but most buildings (in particular the dwellings) where built within the palisade. Hárlœkr was afforded a certain amount of protection, being protected by the forest river and nearly being within the Woodland Realms border. But they still faced dangers from enemies to the north. A great hall towered over the small wood shingled houses. Raised on an artificial mound and carved with the intricate designs of the Northmen the thirty foot tall wooden structure was the centre of power for the settlement. In this hall Ruinar lived with his family, in rooms off the main hall. The main hall, with its long fire pit and benches and tables strewn around it, was an imposing yet very comfortable room; even with the commanding throne-like chair set at the far end of the hall on a slightly raised platform. This was the seat of the Chief, which was first occupied by his grandfather Brynjar and later briefly by his uncle Ásger.

Ruinar grew at a normal Mannish rate in his early years, but it began to slow greatly once he began to grow from a young child into his early teens. Once Ruinar had been weaned his mother was called back to the Woodland Realm by the disapproving husband of the Sindar Noblewoman she waited on. Réondrik and Amariel agreed to release each other from their vows, though they still loved each other they realized that the Gift of Men would prove to be a constant peril for them. After several years or more of mourning the loss of Amariel, Réondrik finally wed again. This time he wed to a Woodswoman from a neighboring stronghold, and had several children. Réondrik’s new children were raised alongside their now slow aging half-brother Ruinar. They grew up happy, liking each other well. The oldest of his new half siblings, Béonar, became one of his closest friends. Though in years Ruinar was much older than him, they grew together as young teenagers. They often played in the river, or hunted in the woods around their village. They would stay up late and listen to the elders tell stories and legends by the light of the fire. They would spar with carved wooden swords, or race down the game trails, or climb the highest trees, each trying to outdo the other.

But as time wore on Béonar began to wear his years more heavily while Ruinar stayed youthful. And as this change occurred Ruinar became conscious of other things. He began to notice that his father, who was by now the Chief of the settlement due to the disappearance of his older brother and his sons whilst on a trading mission to Dale, seemed to insist on spending more and more time with Béonar. His father seemed to also be involving Béonar in much of the social, political, and economic relations of the settlement. He also realized that while everyone in the village liked him, because of his mixed parentage he would never truly be “one of them” nor would he necessarily be respected as a leader. Around this time Ruinar was also struck with an overwhelming wanderlust. He wanted to see more than just the village and the woods surrounding it. He often found himself climbing to the tallest trees at staring out at the mountains surrounding them. During the winter of TA 3005 Ruinar decided to leave the following spring and strike out into the world.

Over the winter Ruinar, with the help of his half-siblings and the village carpenter, built a swift and steady boat. It had a shallow draft and both the stem and stern were sharply angled. He built it so that he could control it with ease with the use of just one paddle, but he also built a small mast and yard so that he could rig up a sail should he ever reach the Long Lake. They carried it down the stream that ran past their stronghold to a part when it began to widen and deepen as it was joined by other streams and creeks. Ruinar loaded the boat with a few blankets, a pack, a small lantern, rope, the mast and sail. He took with him meagre provisions of smoked trout and dried venison, goat’s cheese, and dry honey cakes. Fishing hooks with linen line and water skins he also stowed away should the need arise. His spear he placed along the gunwale of the boat, his bow and quiver he would place just behind his seat with his axe at his feet. His knife, however, would remain firmly on his belt.

On a clear spring day, one where the last grips of winter could still be tasted on the wind, Ruinar, his father, siblings, and several others from the stronghold whom he had befriended bade him farewell. The night before they had feasted and drank, gave gifts, and asked the gods for guidance and protection with sacrifice and song. There were tears in Ruinars eyes as he bade farewell to his brothers and sisters, but he forced them back as he grasped his father’s forearm as a show of strength. Soon the father released his sons arm, seeing in him the same stubborn determination he once had as a young man, and pulled him into a tight hug as a wordless farewell. As Ruinar climbed into his boat and pushed away from the bank he heard some of the women begin to sing quietly, another song of prayer and protection. The swollen stream carried his boat down away from the group, towards the rushing Forest River. As the river took Ruinar around a bend and behind a thick stand of pines the sound of the voices faded and was replaced by the sound of the forest and the water rushing past his hull. The stream carried him further south, further away from his home, and closer to new path of his life.
I wish only for green trees, cool wine, a strong bow, and a swift arrow
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Re: Son of Mirkwood

Postby TaylorSteiner » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:12 pm

Frodo lives!
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Peter Remling
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Re: Son of Mirkwood

Postby Peter Remling » Thu Jun 28, 2018 10:01 pm

Very nice intro and Welcome !
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Re: Son of Mirkwood

Postby Iodo » Fri Jun 29, 2018 5:53 am

Great work :P
Gimli: It's true you don't see many Dwarf-women. And in fact, they are so alike in voice and appearance, that they are often mistaken for Dwarf-men.
Aragorn: It's the beards.
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Re: Son of Mirkwood

Postby Elleth » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:26 pm

How wonderful!

Good to have you here. :)
Persona: Aerlinneth, Dúnedain of Amon Lendel c. TA 3010.
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Re: Son of Mirkwood

Postby Greg » Fri Jun 29, 2018 4:09 pm

I like the was a very nice and fitting tie-in to the lands your character hails from. Nicely done.

I'm wondering at your decision to pursue a half-elf persona, if you don't mind me asking. You've clearly put some effort into immersing yourself and your character into the world, so when I read this I can't help but wonder if you may have overlooked a central part of Tolkien's lore:

In Appendix A: I The Numenorean Kings (i) Numenor” of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:There were three unions of the Eldar and the Edain: Lúthien and Beren; Idril and Tuor; Arwen and Aragorn. By the last the long-sundered branches of the Half-elven were reunited and their line was restored.

You, of course, are welcome to pursue portraying any character you wish, and in a variety of settings (LARPs, games, and many novels) Half-elves are a common occurrence. i'm just curious on the selection of one in this may find some questions and resistance to the idea in some circles due to the existing lore.
Now the sword shall come from under the cloak.
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Ruinar Hrafnakveðja
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Re: Son of Mirkwood

Postby Ruinar Hrafnakveðja » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:59 am

Hi Greg!
Sorry I've been AWOL and haven't responded to this post yet. I've been on a french immersion course and so haven't had a chance to revisit this subject. Here's a bit of a response outlining my reasoning behind choosing a "half-elf" persona. the last two sections are done in point form because I thought that would just be easier for everyone to read. I hope this helps explain my thought process!

I would first like to say that I use the term “Half-Elf” very loosely in this context. I am in no way signing myself up with the great lineages of Middle Earth. I simply use the term so that the lay person can instantly connect with my persona’s cultural influences. This is why I used quotation marks and explained my parentage immediately after.
Firstly I just want to say that I am an Anthropologist and Archaeologist by training, coupled with other degrees in History and Indigenous Studies. This has influenced my ideas of Middle Earth Reenactment in that I use Tolkien’s work as a primary (though not necessarily complete) source to build a realistic world which is also informed by history and by human nature. Though I am in no way an expert on Tolkien’s works and am not trying to portray myself as such, just wanted to explain my biases and where my thought process is coming from. I haven’t done this research for a few years now, but I’ll try to bring in some textual evidence and my personal thoughts on the subject so that I can in some way justify my ideas.

Textual arguments:
It is my belief that when we examine Tolkien’s texts, we have to take them with a grain of salt. The Professor wrote wonderful works of fiction and did a wonderful job at building this world which we all love so much. The problem is, he was building a world to support his characters, myths, stories and legends. He built the world for his works of fiction, but I doubt he ever thought that many years after his death that ardent fans would begin recreating and re-enacting his world. If we only used what the Professor wrote as evidence and could not inform it ourselves then many cultures that we here depict would be hollow shells.

As I mentioned above, I am using the term half-elf rarely and loosely. When Tolkien writes “By the last the long-sundered branches of the Half-elven were reunited and their line was restored.” Referring to the lineages of Elrond Half-elven and Elros, the two sons born to Eärendil and Elwing. They were joined with the marriage of Arwen and Elessar and by their children. In this Tolkien seems to be discussing specific lineages and not half-elves in general. Granted, these are the only half-elf lineages that he mentions.

But why does he only mention these and make no mention of any other pairings? I would argue that he only makes mention of these pairings because they are of important, often noble or aristocratic characters. These characters, such as Tuor and Idril, in turn produce key characters in their unions. I would argue that Tolkien only tells us about these three pairings because they involve important characters and their unions then produce further important characters. All of these characters are central to Tolkien’s stories, and they all had a major impact on ME history. It made no sense to include information about the possibility of other unions that may have happened in a real ME. I make a point of NOT arguing semantics, but if Tolkien had intended these to be the only Eldar/Edain pairings then I’m sure he would have written it as such, he wasn’t exactly one for oversight. Also, in the research I had done while developing this persona I saw nothing to indicate that these were the only pairings in all of ME, just that these were the ones recorded. All in all, we have proof that elf+human pairings existed, though they were rare and typically in the upper echelons of ME society.

Re-enacting Arguments
• If we extrapolate what the professor has given us in his works and attempt to create a somewhat realistic world to set our persona’s and activities in, which I think is the entire point of this
community, then we have to assume that it is likely that there were even a small number of Eldar/Edain pairings.
• It is hard to find historical parallels for a topic such as this, but typically when the ruling classes adopt some practice or way of life, many people in lower orders attempt to follow suit. In this
way it is plausible that other pairings between lower class Eldar and Edain occurred, given that there was interpersonal contact through geographic overlap or contact through trade, especially
considering the pairings in the upper echelons of society.
• In regards to my (ranger) re-enactment group, we primarily depict a 14th century persona so as to fit in with our larger Medieval group but then add small fantasy elements to distinguish
ourselves. Because of this I cannot dress like a 9th - 11th century Norseman, which I believe is the most logical for a Woodman of Mirkwood. I have to be able to make the 14th Century kit make
sense in a ME context and vice-versa. It’s a delicate balance.

Personal Arguments
• I’d first like to say that the elvish influence in my persona and kit is very minimal, really only in the style of certain tools and some decoration on clothing while inkeeping with the 14th century
theme. But it helps to explain my kit in a realistic ME context.
• I have always been attracted to the culture of the elves, in general to the exclusion of all other races/cultures. Their connection to the forested places of the world, to all natural living things,
really resonated with me and is a similar feeling that I have when I am in the forest.
• I am not physically an elf (though I have some qualities :) ), so I do not believe that I can in good conscience portray a full blooded elf. However this just my personal opinion and I certainly do
not judge others who decide to portray elves. It just wasn’t something I personally felt comfortable doing. But more power to my Elven kin! :)
I wish only for green trees, cool wine, a strong bow, and a swift arrow

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