Harnae

The Harnae’s story starts well before they arrived on Sangrar.   By now, you’ve read about the Pool of Life and how the Firstborn were created.   What I’ve only touched on is how long Deridean spent planning their design and let me tell you, he started thinking about the Elder Races long before he cooked them up in the Pool.

After mulling it over for way too long, Deridean settled on ninety-eight as the right number (not counting the Harnae).  Each Elder Race would blend the Craeylu’s gifts in different portion.  Think of each race as a recipe and then imagine Emeril Lagasse standing over the Pool … “And now, to complete the first Ravir … BAM, a tablespoon of Aeriel’s independence, now, some sorcery courtesy of Harnor … careful just a pinch, you don’t want to overdo it here, this is strong stuff, and now, BAM, a quarter cup of Aerdran’s earthsong and … let’s add another pinch, just to be sure, the Ravirs will be on point for tending the Stones at Jahar and then, let’s stir in a healthy dose of Lillandra for lots of little Ravir babies.   Now, just let it simmer for a while and … mmmm, smell that Ravir!  Doesn’t it smell delicious?”

As any good chef knows, there’s a lot more to making a great meal than the actual cooking.  It takes preparation.  A great meal requires a great menu, and Deridean was the menu planner when it came to the Elder Races.  It was his job to build a well-balanced menu, one that would appeal to all palates – this many Faerie, that many living in the seas, just enough dwelling underground, the right mix of small ones and big ones, a good balance between appetizers, sides and main courses.

Deridean didn’t take his job lightly.  He started working on the Elder Races not long after he awakened – it was one of the chief reasons the Primals had bothered making him in the first place – and after many drafts he was finally comfortable presenting his choices to Finbardin.  Harnor was there, the day of that initial power point presentation, and wasn’t happy at all with Deridean’s plan.  He wanted Dragons on the list, but Deridean wouldn’t hear of it, claiming they’d be too powerfl and ruin his delicate balance.  After letting them hash it out on the congressional floor, which in Heaven meant the grassy balcony at Tar-Livarre, golden Finbardin sided with Deridean.   I’ll never know his reasons.   Finbardin said it was because Deridean had thought long and hard on the matter and, after all, it was the Councilor’s job.  I’m sure that was the truth, far be it for the King of Heaven to equivocate, but I always wondered if that was the entire truth.  Finbardin always had a weakness for the Fair Folk, after the Reckoning only they retained eternal life, and maybe, just maybe, he didn’t want Harnor’s Dragons to usurp the Elves as the mightiest of the Elder Races.

After Finbardin put his foot down, Harnor sulked away and considered his next steps.  Before he’d even decided upon a course of action, Finbardin summoned him and the rest of the Craeylu back to Tar-Livarre to create the Ealar.  That story has been told elsewhere, what’s important for you to know is that Harnor created Dracorys and Davyrma, the Dragon Lord and Dragon Queen, as part of the Ealar pantheon.   He was bound and determined to get dragons into the mix one way or another and if Finbardin and the goddamned Councilor (a goddamned god, I’m not sure what it means either, but you catch my drift) wouldn’t let them into the Elder Races, that was fine with him.  He’d make dragons gods to spite them.

Well, that didn’t work out as planned either.  Finbardin saw through Harnor’s thin-veiled act of rebellion and was furious.   He named Norath the Seeress, the just awakened daughter of Deridean, to mete out an appropriate punishment and she came up with a creative solution.  Harnor had thought to circumvent the Pool of Life and have his dragon gods populate the world with wyrmkind, but Norath ruined his plan by proclaiming that Sangrar would not know dragons until Dracorys, the male dragon god, gave birth to a child.  The Seeress’s Doom had far reaching consequences.  Had it not been for her pronouncement, Sangrithar might never have been.  There are many twists and turns between her Doom and the rise of Gloryngael, too many to go into here.  If you’re interested in how they’re connected, read the Tale of the Vanara.  It’s a biblical tale, told by Ankerrafang, a silver dragon native to Tyrnavalle.

Now fast forward to the Pool of Life.  Once again, Harnor took matters into his own hands.  If the Councilor wouldn’t let dragons into the club, then once again, he’d supply his own answer.  He cooked up the Harnae in the Pool and sent them to Jahar to be with the other Firstborn.  And, while he was at it, he decided that three was better than one (three was always the most potent number).   For a long time, Harnor claimed that his decision to make three Harnae was pure coincidence, but before the end the truth did come out.  When the Primals had shared the Prophecies with the Craeylu, each had taken away something different.  Harnor had seen the three Erlikarrin and made the Harnae in part to balance them.  Yes, it was the Necessity at work, but Harnor didn’t know that.  He thought he did it all by his lonesome.

Since the Harnae weren’t part of Deridean’s design, the other Craeylu were ticked off, but as the saying goes, what’s done cannot be undone.  Reluctantly, the Craeylu gave their gifts to the Harnae, all except Lillandra and Aerdran, who had reason to dislike Harnor.  When the Lord of the Spires had dubbed the earthsong cheap magik, they had taken offense.  After all, they were the earthsong’s original champions.  When push came to shove, brother and sister refused the golden one’s command and withheld their gifts from the Harnae, unwilling to let Harnor profit from his disobedience.  Without Lillandra’s gift, the Harnae had no Secondborn and would have no children, upsetting Harnor to no end, and  without Aerdran’s, they’d be deaf to the earthsong, which didn’t bother Harnor in the slightest.

Raven-haired Atar, blonde Nim and bald Harrah floated down to Jahar, to join the other Firstborn who were taking their first steps and listening to earthsong.  Deprived of Aerdran’s blessing, the Harnae couldn’t hear a darn thing and wondered what all the fuss was about.  Somewhat miffed, the Triad gathered up energy from the Spires until their auras lit up the vale, drawing many oohs and ahs.  The other Firstborn tried, but only Nammoran could come close to matching their lumens.

When the Congress of the Gods broke up, the Harnae didn’t know what to do.  The other Firstborn were searching for their Secondborn, but not them.  They didn’t have any, there were just the three of them.  Scholars have disagreed about the Harnae.  Some thought them brothers and sister, others husbands and wife.  As for me, I’m not sure it makes any difference.  Tarik had a strong opinion though.  He insisted that Atar and Harrah were Nim’s husbands, sort of like ancient Mormons, but he wasn’t what you’d call unbiased.  Taking the the other side was tantamount to admitting he was the product of sibling incest.  It’s interesting to note that both Atar and Harrah were Tarik’s father, biologically and spiritually.  I don’t really know how it worked, for that you’d have to ask the gods, but suffice it to say that Tarik was the son of all  three.

Right about now you’re thinking, wait a minute … if Lillandra withheld her gift, then how can Tarik be a child of the Harnae.  Hold that thought.

The Seeress came to the Harnae after the Congress.  She knew they felt somewhat estranged from the others and offered them a secluded place to live, in exchange for a promise.  If the Harnae hadn’t been so new to the world, they might have been suspicious of advice from their father’s nemesis, but they took her at her word.  She showed them the grove of the silver birch (it wasn’t a birch at all, it was a Sildar transplanted from Heaven) after securing a promise to train Nammoran and his descendants.

It’s not that there was anything insidious to the Seeress’s proposition, in fact the opposite was true.  She had seen the prophecies unfold in Aux and knew Nammoran’s house had a strong destiny.  She made the deal with the Harnae to make insure that Nammoran’s kin were well equipped to face whatever One-eye threw at them.  The important thing to know about the Seeress is that everything, and I mean everything, she did was to bring fulfillment to the Prophecies.  If she’d simply come to the Harnae and explained herself, they might have agreed to take on Nammoran willingly, without being coerced into a promise, but that was not her way.  Given a choice between the straight and twisted, the Seeress would choose the more convoluted path every time.

Nammoran studied in the grove for decades before finding his Secondborn.  He figured he’d let them sleep a while longer.  Once they awoke, it would be hard to carve out time for training.  From Atar, the most serious of the three, he learned secrets of divination and command of powerful elemental forces.  From whimsical Nim, he mastered enchantments and illusions and from ever pragmatic Harrah he discovered shapechanging and protective spells.  Far traveling though, they kept to themselves.

By the time Nammoran left the grove, he knew the ins and outs of sorcery like the back of his hand.  He had mastered spells that could change the weather, summon fire or grant legs to the trees, but he was cocky in his own way, and rarely bothered with spells.  He was so gifted in the ways of the Spires that he could accomplish virtually anything that came to mind with pure willpower.   Willpower, mastery and talent, as you’ll recall, are the three legs of sorcery and in Nammoran’s case, mastery  came from the Harnae,

Nammoran sent his middle son, Nammydan to the Harnae for training.  He would have sent his eldest, but Elras would have nothing to do with it and left home on his walkabout.   Nammydan was an enthusiastic student who, unlike his father, saw the value of spells, but his training was cut short when he left the grove to save Elryssa from the Ulgarja.   Years later, Nammydan sent his son, Kandol, to the Harnae for training, completing the deal they’d made with the Seeress.

When Sorrow came to the world, the Battle of Unending Night broke out and the Harnae left the safety of the grove to join the fight against the Dark One.  It was the first time they’d ventured forth from the grove and their might turned the tide at the siege at Nammovalle.  When it was all over, the gods thanked them with Tarik, their one and only child.  Tarik spent his first thousand years in the grove, with only his mother and two fathers for company, which goes a long way to explaining his behavior.  Then, when Daeryss kidnapped Ilnaya, the Harnae came forth from the grove for the second time and introduced Tarik to the Elder Races before ascending to the Heavens.   And that was the last anyone saw of the Harnae, not counting that one time, in the Darkhold, when only Kandol was there to witness.

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