Friday, December 29, 2017

The Grey

The Grey (or Harian, as they call themselves) are tall and incredibly slender, graceful, fleet-footed, and sharp. There is little to distinguish males from females, both are much taller than the average human.  They tend have dark hair, jet-black irises, and lack facial and bodily hair. Their skin has an ever so slight blue-grey tinge otherwise they are very pale. They are beautiful, if strange, with elongated features and limbs in perfect symmetry.

The Harian are ageless. And yet in each clan, there are scarce few beyond three hundred years. This is in large part due to the practice of lesmair. When the eldest of the Grey become disinterested with life they go dormant. Some wander into the forest in search of a comfortable resting place, while others simply sit down and never get up again. Even the most driven of them rarely stay active beyond four hundred years. A Grey can, of course, become active again. They are aware of everything around them, but after seeing virtually everything in their long lives, there isn’t much to peak their interest. While dormant, the Grey do not need to eat or drink, but this disinterest with life becomes so strong that it supersedes a sense of self-preservation. Some even perish in seasonal floods while others fall prey to wild animals. Greywood is filled with thousands upon thousands of dormant Harian.

Lesmair shows up in many Harian traditions. Dormant Grey are included in story circles and festivities, left offerings when clans leave for nhymor (an intermittent migration) and incorporated into fables, jokes, customs, even phrases such as ‘bored into lesmair.’

Still, the Grey are born with vivaciousness for life. They have many offspring, limited only by choice (becoming fertile when both Grey desire a child). They maintain an active sex life (and usually polygamous, often not confined to just other Grey). Parents usually live hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles apart, meaning only the mother or father raises their offspring and it could be decades before it meets its other parent.

The Grey delight in giving names. They are named at birth. As they accomplish more in life they take on more names, adding to their existing designations. When shortened, a Grey may be called by any number of derivatives of their existing name. Curiously, though the Grey have many names, none know what they were named at birth. Their parents and their parents alone know their birth name. It is an old tradition originally meant to protect the Grey’s true name, but it is also a facet of the Lwydgalon gerontocracy. The Grey have multiple names for places and things as well. They do not have family names as such but bear a name that is added to depending on their age, accomplishments, personality or who is addressing them. A name could be a description of their personality, appearance, occupation, father, mother, or place of origin.

John Bauer