The Unfinished Lullaby

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Title: The Unfinished Lullaby: A research paper on the work of Adonethwen Illistim
Author: Rohese Bayvel-Timsh'l

First presented at the Valley of Gold on the 22nd day of Lumnea in the year 5119

Introduction

Since the death of my father, I have been attempting to catalogue the Bayvel library and our family’s extensive art collection.

A part of our archive includes a selection of poetry books dating back 40,000 years, which can be attributed to Adonethwen Illistim.

Baron Dunrith Malwind may recognize one volume in particular from this collection, since it was gifted to him at the Court Session back in the year 5118 - or 54,225 as we Illistimi reckon time.

As a result, I was approached by one of the curators of the Hanesyddol Museum recently, who had stumbled across a sheath of papers dating back to the reign of Analadhia, some 10,000 years later.

Amongst this sheath of papers was a fragment of poetry, which has since been verified by and documented by myself, and other Illistim Loremasters and scholars, as being part of Adonethwen’s early work.

Today, I would like to share the research paper and the actual extract of the poem with you all.

The Unfinished Lullaby

Adonethwen, grand-daughter of Linsandrych Illistim, was born in the year 5876 and reigned as Argent Mirror in her own right for over 2500 years.

Little is known of the golden-haired elf, other than the poetry she left behind and the love she bore for her only son, Celemerun, later known as The Beautiful or The Lame.

In the year 6243, Adonethwen and her older sister, Adeliane, were sent to Ta’Loenthra to be tutored by a distant relative well versed in the arts.

The beauty of the lush green countryside, with its vineyards and orchards, and the marble-lined streets of the city proper inspired the young heiress to take up both the quill and paintbrush, but writing was her first love.

Summoned home, after an infectious disease broke out, her sister fell ill and eventually died in the year 6465.

With her interest in the arts piqued - and anxious to accommodate the grieving sibling - her mother, Ananaon, sought out a governess within the ranks of the Illistim Loremasters and Adonethwen resumed her studies.

She learned quickly and soon became adept at music, drawing, and poetry; her particular favorite poetic form being the sestina.

It is fair to say that Adonethwen did a considerable amount of reading of both the serious and popular literature of the time - her grandmother having been responsible for establishing the Library Aies.

She drew from the vast resources at her disposal and became a prolific writer herself.

Her early works were generally based around the frivolous pursuits of the young, those of love and friendship, and it wasn’t until late into the millennia that her more meaningful poetry started to be critically acclaimed, resulting in a series of six volumes being published.

The first centered on the virtues of innocence as embodied by children.

The second and third dealt more with the virtues of temperance and charity, using her own upbringing as inspiration.

Entitled Dynastic Struggles, the fourth and fifth volumes both expanded on her court experiences and centered on the virtues of justice and courtesy.

Hailed as evoking a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience, her sixth and final volume dealt with the subjects of subjugation and betrayal.

A recently discovered fragment of poetry can be attributed to Adonethwen. Locked away in the vaults of the Hanesyddol Museum was a sheath of papers dating back to the reign of Analadhia.

As a descendant of Celemerun’s illegitimate son, Analadhia’s family can be traced back to Ta’Loenthra where it is no surprise that they stowed important historical documents relating to their questionable bloodline and Illistimi society in general.

The Unfinished Lullaby, as it was later titled, references Adonethwen’s baby son and has since been verified by Illistim scholars as having been penned by her hand.

Written in the classic sestina form, the poem adheres to the strictures of arbitrary order yet enhances the subject matter that it echoes.

My heart doth soar o’er where you lay,
As dreams carry you aloft in blissful sleep
And starlight shines to lead your way,
Beyond the watchful eye I keep.
Soft wings of night fly where they may,
And cause me not to grieve and weep.

For all the tears that you may weep,
My tender hand upon you lay;
And all the love that dreamers may
Seek and find while they do sleep.
I offer within my heart to keep
To guide you on your moonlit way.

Fear not to follow a lost star’s way,
As from the moon’s silvered eye they weep.
Whilst fallen from the night Queens’ keep,
They settle in the day King’s arms to lay
Forever in their dream-filled sleep,
To wander far where e’er they may.

My love is enduring, come what may
And dreams show the soul a fairer way

It was originally thought that the remaining lines and stanzas were missing, the third page having been lost through some unfortunate incident but more recent theories claim that “The Unfinished Lullaby” is simply that, unfinished, Adonethwen having set the work aside or mislaying it.

Although incomplete, it is still revered by scholars as one of the most poignant works in early elven literature and open to a wide range of interpretations.

The document now forms part of the private Bayvel collection and can be viewed by appointment only.