Meet the Armists

Armists are a unique species, endemic to Astrom. They are only to be found in my writings, and as such, it would be well to introduce them. You will encounter them throughout the Oron Amular trilogy.

For many long centuries the elves had supposed themselves to be alone in the world. Even after the orcs, dragons and demons burst upon their world in the Great Wars, they thought that they were the only children of Prélan alive under the sun. All that changed with a chance discovery at the dawn of the Second Chapter…

A party of elven explorers were mapping the foothills of the Carthaki Mountains and stumbled across sleeping forms, both male and female, in a remote vale. The elves were amazed, for the slumberers were clearly not elves, nor did they seem to be alive. But, behold! An awed utterance of the name of Prélan awoke the strange folk, bringing them to life before their very eyes.

The elves knew they had come across a new people, for the armists (or Falakai, as they called them) were of very different physique. Children of the mountains, they were short and stocky, less beautiful and graceful than the tall elves. They were hairy, clad in rude garments and quite unable to speak; indeed, lacking any semblance of civilisation or refinement.

Uncultured and unlovely though they appeared at first, the elves nevertheless befriended them. They brought them food and built them shelters, taking care of them whilst word spread far and wide of this new marvel. Inquisitive elves came from distant lands to see for themselves, and Lancearon, King of Ithrill, took a special interest, perceiving in his foresight that the armists would play a significant part in the history of Astrom.

By the time Lancearon came to their upland home, the armists had learned to speak the elven language, Kinyar, which they spoke, albeit with their own distinct dialect, until the advent of the common tongue. Under their first chieftain, Armanor, they were quick to learn and adopt elven customs, showing keen minds and open hearts.

For some time in their early days they were confused with the dwarves, who also entered into the world at this time, but they were different in appearance and character. Dwarves were shorter, heavily bearded and subterranean dwellers, secretive and wary; the armists loved the open air of the mountains, and were much friendlier and more candid. The manner of their meeting with the elves, in friendship and wonder, helped cultivate a friendship and alliance which would last for millennia; but the dwarves were encountered by other elves in circumstances of fear and hostility, which ever after bred animosity between them.

Slowly the armists migrated downstream, spreading into the wide elven lands of Alanmar. Carinen, son of Armanor, accelerated their destiny by entering the household of Arvarion, the elven king of Alanmar, to be educated and mentored. From this privileged position he grew in stature and grace till he was esteemed even amongst the elven princes. He it was who designed and built the great city of Mariston, on land granted by Arvarion.

The elves taught the armists all they knew, though their protégés showed most skill and enthusiasm in the arts of mining, masonry and construction. Great love grew between these neighbouring peoples, and so it was an unforeseen sorrow for the immortal elves when the first generation of armists died and departed from the confines of the world. Now the elves realised quite how different were their friends, and how sundered would be their fates.

The armists, though mortal, were long-lived by our standards, living for two hundred years on average, while their kings and nobles reached twice that or more. As their story unfolded so their life-spans would dwindle, till they became little different and almost indistinguishable from the mortal men and women who eventually became their neighbours on every side. Yet though in the end they were more like two races, they were in fact distinct species, of vastly different heritage and doom.

Before Mortals entered the story of Astrom the armists dwelt among the elves, serving them and honouring them, yet far outstripping them in numbers and energy. They fought alongside the elves against the dwarves in the tragic Carthaki Wars, by which time there were far more armists than elves in Alanmar. The elves bought victory in those wars with a bitter price, squandering their strength and leaving themselves a diminished, guilt-laden people. Their king renounced the throne voluntarily and took to a wandering life of exile, full of regret.

He was succeeded by an armist king, Istilian, a valiant descendant of Carinen, and under his sceptre Alanmar became Maristonia, named after its capital city. Thus began the long reign of the Harolin dynasty, of which Curillian, who appears in Oron Amular, was a distant descendant. This dynasty would rule Maristonia for four thousand years, and play a decisive role in many of the great events of Astrom. Many of the tales of Astrom focus on their distinguished careers, but theirs is only one facet of the great story I have in mind.

So, now you have met the armists. I’ve tried to introduce them as best I can in one blog-post, but if you have any questions, please ask it in a comment and I will give you an answer. Come back soon to read more Astrom and the great deeds of the armists…

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