Golden Finbardin, that’s what they called him, and let me tell you, he dazzled. He wasn’t one to brag, or hog the limelight for himself, but you’d be hard pressed to find any god contributing as much to the world. Many of his accomplishments date back to the Age of Beginnings, before the Elder Races walked the earth, but neither the passage of time (which was his invention, BTW), nor even the removal of Sangrar from the annals of the Greater Realm can erase them, not so long as I draw breath, or you, noble readers, are still here to read about them.
Second to last of the Craeylu to appear (Erlik was last, which gave him the inferiority complex fueling his dreams of conquest or, if you’re a skeptic when it comes to psychoanalytic theory, just blame them on the Necessity and move on), Finbardin was first among them, recognized by the others as a king among gods. Now, when I tell you that his skin was golden, that’s not a metaphor for having a nice tan, I mean it literally. His skin was bright gold, like he stepped out of a James Bond movie. All in all, the gods were a funny looking group. Today, they’d be mistaken for a superhero group in a Joss Whedon movie. Aerdran was a miniature thunderhead. Yarnor the Ravager could have done a first rate impression of the Human Torch, and the Lady of Esel reminded me of Storm, with hair white as snow and jet black skin, except for her eyes which held stars instead of glowing white like Halle Berry’s. Even the Herald might have stepped out of Stan Lee’s imagination. He looked like the Silver Surfer, except his skin was black, not silver, and didn’t use a surf board.
Finbardin’s heroics began not long after he arrived on the scene. The very first thing he noticed was that time lacked structure. He foresaw that this just wouldn’t work for the Elder Races (who were an age away from waking, but there’s nothing like planning ahead) and laid the foundation for ordering time. He divided the day into three watches, one for each of Sangrar’s three Suns, and declared that the Elder Races would start each day with Edda’s Watch and sleep during Olla’s. By itself, that and two bits would have bought you a cup of coffee (not at Starbuck’s), but Finbardin had the power to back up his claim and when the stirred up the Elder Races, he threw in a sprinkle of circadian rhythm to give his declaration teeth. With his boon, the Elder Races instinctively knew when to rise and when to sleep (a godsend, literally, for a world with eternal sunshine, just imagine if everyone kept their own hours) and how to count the passing years.
You might think the Watches unnecessary and I’d understand it if you did. After all, in your world, day turning to night is taken for granted and so, derivatively, is the ability to keep track of time (you folk obsess over time, whether you realize it or not. Your TVs, your microwaves, your laptops, your phones and a dozen other gadgets all broadcast the time of day 24×7), but that wasn’t the case with Sangrar. There was no night in the Elder Days, only the Full Radiance of the Three Suns, hour after hour, day after day, year after year.
As has been told, Erlik hated Lindivar for his light (what would you expect from the god of darkness) and murdered him after the Primals finished sharing the Prophecies of the Ages. Still possessing both eyes, Erlik fled Heaven and took refuge on Sangrar, but Finbardin wanted vengeance. With Formythos, an amber spiked chain made with Arra’s light (causing Erlik no small amount of pain) swirling overhead, the golden one led the Craeylu’s charge to Sangrar and called Erlik out. Their battle was so fierce, so titanic, that the very earth was scarred. Golden Finbardin won the battle, taking Erlik’s eye in the process, and would have ended him right then and there had it not been for Majestrix. The mother of the gods had a soft spot for Erlik, knowing that he acted with Necessity, and whisked him away to the Darkhold before Finbardin could finish the dirty deed.
After the battle, the gods turned their attention to the wounded land and Nyllen sang to the world while strumming his harp. In one fell swoop, the minstrel not only healed Sangrar, he also created earthsong and changed the course of history. The gods had no time to celebrate their victory over One-eye, however, for when they returned to Heaven, Father Zuras was livid over the irresponsible harm they’d done the land and scolded them like an angry nun. Even Nyllen’s music couldn’t put things back to how they’d been and until the end of the Elder Days, the Desert of Molten Fire, which separated east from west, reminded the Elder Races of the gods’ wrath.
Finbardin was nothing if not courageous and never one to shirk responsibility, or accountability. He took the brunt of Zuras’s anger, which was only fair, seeing as he was the leader of the Craeylu, but even his long seeing eye hadn’t predicted the extent of Zuras’s anger. If Finbardin hadn’t had superior leadership skills, the Ban might have caused a rebellion right then and there. The Craeylu longed for Sangrar, especially Lillandra and Aerdran, who were closest to Spirit’s magik. They could only hear earthsong faintly from Heaven and acted like kids without presents on Christmas morning when they learned they’d never hear it again up close and personal. But Finbardin wouldn’t stand for moping. He told them to stiffen up and they did.
Finbardin didn’t waste any time longing over what might have been. He had his sights set on winning the hand of Spirit the Elemenes. He’d met her at the Primal’s dinner party (you know it as the Feast of Creation), before all the craziness with Erlik, and couldn’t shake her pretty face from his thoughts. To woo her, he made the sky and named it Esel and then, with the help of her brothers, who were only too glad to pawn off their sister, filled it with rocks and dust and other stuff found in the vacuum of space, but still, something was missing. Perhaps to show Finbardin that his past transgressions were truly in the past, or maybe because the Necessity compelled him, Zuras filled Esel with stars, and Majestrix helped, though as always with that one, her help came at a price.
Spirit was overwhelmed by Finbardin’s amazing gift and declaration of love and succumbed to his charms. Was she truly in love or was she just a gold digger, we’ll never know for sure. From their love came Numra and Annumbra, who inherited from both Craeylu and Elemenes, just like the Vanara one day would, but the children took too much of Spirit’s strength and she couldn’t sustain her corporeal form. She faded into Esel, but not before sharing secrets with her offspring and promising to watch over them always. To Numra, she whispered secrets of the Flame in the Void and to Annumbra, she handed the keys to ley lines. Finbardin cried upon losing her, but beamed with fatherly pride at the sight of his children.
In the Elder Days, religion was centered on the Earth Mother and keeping the Dark Lord imprisoned, but of the remaining gods, none was more beloved by the Elder Races than golden Finbardin. Every Craeylu had participated in making them, even Erlik to the others’ great surprise, but none gave more to the Elder Races than Finbardin. His boons were many – the gift of time, eternal life, the recuperative powers you’d expect from people living forever, and most importantly, the will to endure. Living forever can be draining in its own way. It can be lonely, moreso for me than the Elder Races, they at least had each other. I had Tarik for a while to combat the loneliness, but even he’s been gone so long that I can’t count the years. Finbardin’s boon gave the Elder Races the inner fortitude to carry on while the years rolled on by.
They showed their appreciation by keeping Finbardin close in their thoughts. It was not uncommon to mutter (I’m not sure the Elves of old ever actually muttered, mumbled or murmured, they shone too brilliantly to suffer from such a lack of diction) thanks to the golden one at the top of every Watch. To the Elder Races, Finbardin was also a god of healing and medicine. Well, medicine might be stretching things a bit. The Elder Races didn’t really need medicine since they could recover from virtually any wound short of decapitation, but when one of them was injured, they would pray to Finbardin for a speedy recovery.
For the first half of the Years of Glory, death was unknown to the Elder Races. Neither old age or sickness could claim them, only battle or accidents could inflict wounds grave enough to take them from the mortal coil. Then Elras met up with Karandal, prince of the Maldoks, and death was a stranger no more. After that, Finbardin became a god of death too, but not he was no Hel or Hades. Those gods ruled the underworlds in your mythos, but Sangrar’s underworld was the Dark Lord’s domain and home to the Dark Ones, not the spirits of the dead. In Sangrar, people were reborn in the Outermost Heavens to live amongst the gods. When a member of the Elder Races was lost, the living called upon Finbardin to hasten the loved one’s journey to the afterlife.
During the Age of Mankind, Finbardin was accorded his rightful place in most kingdoms of Man. In Endiron, the people worshipped him first, over all other gods and his temple in Erinport was a grand structure befitting the King of Heaven. Golden chains representing Formythos ran the length of the ceiling and a replica of Byndael, the Crown of Heaven, a thin silver band pounded into Arra’s shape, hung over an altar of solid amber in the center of the chapel. Likewise in Jeheris, the great empire of the east, Finbardin was held in the highest esteem, but in Sangrithar during the era of the curse, Finbardin had no place. When Tormyn Blackheart came into power, he destroyed golden Finbardin’s famed temple in Dynrael Quarter along with every other temple daring to proclaim a god other than Umbar. By the time he’d finished his handiwork, the Temple of the Wave was the only shrine to the gods still standing in the City of the Golden Star.
When Tyrnavalle was settled, Finbardin came back into favor with the settlers who followed Hali south, but he never really enjoyed the widespread popularity that he had in the Elder Days. During the Reckoning, the Primals commanded Finbardin to rescind his boon of eternal life, stating that the age to come was the age of Mankind, who would live, grow old and die. In world such as this, the golden one’s gift was a square peg for a round hole. Finbardin complied, but held back when it came to the Fair Folk. The Elves were Finbardin’s favorite and he couldn’t bear the thought of watching them grow old and die, so he let them keep life eternal despite the Primals’ orders. His disobedience had unintended consequences. Mankind began to think of Finbardin as an Elven god, and with time, his worshippers dwindled in the cities of man. By Renk’s heyday, late in the age, Finbardin was relegated to a small shrine, not far from Deridean’s massive temple.