AElit is the result of a semester of Parageography as an undergrad. For those without etymological leanings, “parageography” is the study of imaginary places. But as part of the course we were also required to create our own worlds. AElit is mine.
It might be easiest to start with the religion, since AElitian culture is based around it. Tithendion is the chief god, “He who sets things in their places.” Tithendion carved Argyros, the ninatat, and the world. However, none of these things were animate, and so He carved out a piece of Himself and named it Durandios, “The Enduring.” Durandios breathed life into all of creation. And while Tithendion is the greatest god and the most feared, Durandios is the most beloved.
Of course, with life comes the potential for death, and so when Durandios was created, his twin sister Telamenos was the byproduct. But because Tithendion did not wish for any of his creations to die, he imprisoned Telamenos in the center of a labyrinth that was guarded by a very large serpent. Alas, as is the way of these things, Andrasthenes, the first man of the world, had pity on her and released her.
The holy book of AElit is known as the Teuchos. I’ve included a sample of it below, first in transliterated AElitian, then in English.
d’Durandios, Teuchtia d’Teuchos
1. Tia, tramen Tithendion, bran senitpette bela
2. bak no stamen palva bak no sta’ayn palva
3. bak no divosmen noe tiya barmbos d’kan’nadadinal adno tana senitana ninana
4. bak noe divosmen d’atant, tae ayris ninatat d’barmbos d’kan’nadadinal
5. wrain ninatat kanayva wro no kansenidivosmen
6. bak no divosmen taebarna d’barna’aena d’nint no framen bak divodgamen AElit
7. bak no divosmen palsenit: starnt bak schlart bak ristat bak tynos bak tynara bak palsenitva
8. wrain senit kanayva wro no kansenidivosmen
9. bak Tithendion litaenoe kanadramen bak sl’menseni Durandios
10. bak Durandios va wro nostava
11. bak Tithendion nocrenmen, “divos palserit va, nie ninatat bak nie paltiya”
12. Durandios senidivosmen bak Tithendion nocrenmen, “adrava d’palbarna bak senit nidivosmen d’barna d’nint”
13. Durandios deptmen Argyros bak pardapettemen d’barna sl’menseni Amarantos wro onova kansenitriktmen
14. bak agda no pardapettemen verdana, senistamen verd’va bak agda no miknost’triktmen aymensenitgran
15. bak Durandios kanadramen palstarnt bak senitadramenva, bak palsenit va, bak tynos Andrasthenes bak tynara Kalothrixede
From Durandios, First Book of the Teuchos
1. In the beginning there was Tithendion, who sets all things in their places
2. And He always was and he always will be
3. And He created for himself a city of silver where he sits on his throne
4. And He created servants, great winged angels of silver
5. But the angels did not have life for He had not created it
6. And He made a great world from the dust of the universe that He caught and shaped into AElit
7. And He created all things: animals and plants and birds and man and woman and all things living
8. But these things did not have life because He had not created it
9. And Tithendion a piece of himself took and called it Durandios
10. and Durandios lives for he is Life
11. And Tithendion told him, “Make all things living, my angels and my city.”
12. Durandios did this and Tithendion told him, “Give life to all the land and the things I’ve made from the dust of the universe.”
13. Durandios left Argyros and set foot in the land that was called Amarantos because death had not touched it
14. And when he set foot on the grass, it became green with life and when he touched the trees they had fruit
15. And Durandios took the animals and gave them life, and all things life, and the man Andrasthenes and the woman Kalothrixede
And here is a common prayer to Durandios:
Aiae, Durandios! bran adrava bak netka palva noye edma bran kanadrava bak d’senit ninoyt farna, seni’adra, kardi. Adra Tithendion, bran senitpette bela, ninoyte kavet bak lalemt marna ninoyt ba’adra marn’noy. Adrava ninoyt bak ninoyte mahtit bak venakht mar ninoyt kanal bak ninoyt noyadra ninoyte lalemt bak laba’adrat.
Prayer to Durandios
O, Durandios! who brings life and battles endlessly your sister who takes life and the things we work for, grant us this, another day. Take before Tithendion, who sets all things in their places, our thanks and supplications that He might bless us through you. Give us life and also to our flocks and crops that we may not want and will in turn give you our prayers and offerings.
As a rule, you see, Durandios is considered far more sympathetic than Tithendion because Durandios walks among the people of the world and Tithendion never comes down from Argyros.
The ninatat, meanwhile, are angelic sorts of creatures. Arista is Durandios’ personal servant and the only ninatat with a female aspect. She is known to be severe but fair, a sort of figure of justice. The two other best-known ninatat are Seladion and Amaurodios. Seladion, who is associated with brilliance and the full moon, was cast out of Argyros for being vain and lacking respect for humanity. Durandios punished Seladion by sending him to live with the very creatures for whom he had such contempt. Amaurodios, meanwhile, is associated with twilight and, in later texts, the new moon. He has great compassion for the people of the world and was considered Durandios’ favorite. But Amaurodios loved Seladion, even though Seladion spurned him, and when Durandios cast Seladion out, Amaurodios begged to be sent with him. Though it broke Durandios’ heart, he granted Amaurodios’ wish.
There are a lot of tales and legends about Seladion and Amaurodios, their adventures in AElit and the world, too many to include here.
AElit itself is a small island, the eastern side of which is pastoral, though there is a forested northeastern peninsula which is traditionally the home of Moka’Durand, Durandios’ worldly home. Shrines line the edge of the forest and pilgrimages are frequent. The center of the island has a sort of grassy plain leading to a mountain range known as the Taemaenat D’robe. This range cuts the western third of the island more or less completely off from the rest, and that part of the island is known as D’robe (meaning, literally, “of rock”) because it is harsh terrain, very little of which is suitable for farming or livestock. The majority of D’robeans get by on fishing.
There is not much contact between AElit (which is what the eastern side of the island is called, as well as the island as a whole; this can be somewhat confusing) and D’robe. This is because D’robe was primarily settled by dissidents who began a civil war against the rule of the AElitian priests. They lost and were driven by the AElitian forces over the mountains where they resettled. Some of the differences in their lives and ways of thinking can be illustrated by the various proverbs common in each society:
belaver kantra mahtongat
“In green places there are no goats.”
This seems to be similar to the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” That is, AElitians prize their goats quite highly, so to say that a place is green (pleasant) is also to say it is not necessarily better because there are no goats.
palva kandi parsk dinal
“It is always dark until the sun.”
This might parallel the saying, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.”
taeleinos marl batorl
“Distance makes it worth the walk.”
In other words, the journey is just as important a lesson as the actual getting there. Then again this might mean, “It’s worth having to go if it means getting away from you or this place.”
kanag belaleinos par kan’nadadinalaenat
“Do not hope to get there by starlight.”
This seems to mean that a person might be deluded about something, hoping for something not likely to happen. Used as a warning against impracticality.
“To reach far is to touch more.”
Used to encourage achievement or excuse ambition.
noy kanfra begga barna d’roba
“You can’t catch fish on rocky soil.”
This seems to be akin to, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
palva kandi parsk dinal
“It is always dark until the sun.”
Evidence of the D’robean link to the AElitians.
kan taemaena ad, noy marl karleino
“If not this mountain, you’ll have to cross another.”
This may be a clear reference to the exile and exodus of the D’robean people from AElit proper, but it has come to mean that there will always be obstacles in life.
“No man is more than a man.”
In other words, “He’s not so great.” (Commonly used when referring to Durandios or the High Priests of AElit.)
What D’robe does seem to have that AElit does not is literature. Or, more specifically, they have plays, fragments of which have been found and translated (note the original author did not include any kind of stage direction):
from The Tragedy of Tantos, First Prince of Tiyafarg
Oh, that the rain should fall on this
face that until late was so gifted by the sun!
Fate and sister Fortune: what, have you
conspired against me?
No, away sirs, would you keep hold
that winning hand! I am not a one
to pick the pockets of Dame Fortune.
I make my own deck and play
only from that!
Oh, if there be a Heaven as so the AElitians claim,
or indeed any hope of a compassionate god,
let him show himself now! Surely a one
so wholesome as this my prince is fated
for better things?
Hold back your tears, I will myself
No, sir! There is no hope of aid
from Heaven, and I will not of you!
Aback! Else I’ll have your soul on my spear!
I will not touch blood with you, my lord.
Then I’ll touch yours and leave mine to its run!
Oh, my brother! Who will weep for you
if I do not?
Oh most horrible day that sees
slaughter between such friends!
I will exact a price for this
What, would you darken this day
of my brother’s death even more?
I will mask the very sun in blood!
Oh, I would that my eyes had been
plucked from their place e’er I saw this day!
All of Tiyafarg is in wonderment
of what happened at the fair today.
Then tell them Porphys that this
is no fair day but a black day indeed,
wherein their prince has died
at his own hand, unable to bear the grieved loss
of his most dear friend who did fall
to the prince’s own blade. And I myself
from The Tragedy of Myteon, Second Prince of Tiyafarg
My people are starving and you
would have me leave them?
My lord, their upset may
prompt them to revolt against you.
My leaving would be
a revolt against myself. Of the two,
it is harder to live with one heart that hates itself
than one hundred directed from elsewhere.
If I were a devout, I might pray.
If you were a devout, my lord, you
would not be here but on the other side
of the mountains where food is plenty.
Ah, but then I would not be a prince. And
better a prince to unrest than slave
to an uncompassionate god.
Is their god so uncompassionate? See
from The Tragedy of Stelerokon, Third Prince of Tiyafarg
Why if birds did bloom, we could
pluck them for our supper.
Do we not already?
It would be easier to pluck a cluck
from the ground than the air.
Is it not so?
I would say this foul play
doubtless heralds a dooming day.
And I should say you say right,
for look, here comes the prince.
Soho, Prince Stelerokon! Are you here
to fetch a foul?
Of a sort, sir, I am here to
catch a thief. I would not
put the two of you behind me.
It might be just as well you didn’t, sir,
for I fear we would not both fit.
Enough of you, joker! Be gone and put
your wits to better use. But you, come listen,
for I would have news of my brother’s doings.
Aye, my lord. And so I trade
one fowl for another!
I will pluck him til he has
no feathers to hide behind!
You do me a service, sir, that I will heartily repay.
Now go! And speak this to no one!
Aye, my lord!
Could it be that this day my brother Salarimus
plans to steal my birthright? But how?
Oh, I would
that you would take from me crown
Oh, but your rash wrath has killed me, brother,
for I never intended you harm!
Oh, my son! But Stelerokon, what thing
has happened here that washes the court
red with blood?
There are not enough tears in Tiyafarg
to cleanse my soul! For today
I have slain my brother without cause!
AElit, on the other hand, seems only to produce hymns, prayers, and other theological texts, though they do also have a rich mythology, based also on their extensive belief system.
Being a pastoral society, animals have key significance to the AElitians. The kornyx is a fine example. This is a large blackbird (sometimes found in flocks) said to bring on night, sleep, or oblivion in general. The kornyx is considered a sort of familiar to Telamenos and therefore looked upon with a measure of fear, or at the very least suspicion. In some stories the kornyx is itself Telamenos in disguise. It probably doesn’t help its reputation that the kornyx is a carrion scavenger.
Finally, there is Teladion. He is the son of Telamenos, and in some stories also the son of Durandios, having been tricked by his sister into producing him. Teladion haunts the higher realms, waiting to be born. He will have the power to destroy the world or save it, though no one can say what he might do.