No one knows the exact origins of the elders. They preached that they were nature formed as man. “For as long as the Stars have been in the heavens and the waters in the seas, we have been. Just like nature, we will always be.” Being a major influence in nature, becoming an elder was the goal of all beings; it was even believed that animals too could become elders. If not for the elders, the people would be completely lost. It was the elders who showed the people the way to the light. In fact, the elders showed the people everything; from sex to hunting.
The elders controlled almost every aspect of the land; everything except the people’s will to be. Being the receivers of information, the elders were looked at as Gods direct messengers. A portal between man and God. Becoming an elder was not an easy task, it took a lifetime. Being an elder was something you started at birth. Not every man or woman became an elder. Dedicating your life to others wasn’t something you did; It was who you were. As an elder you were a vessel for the creator himself, maintaining peace and balance in the lands.
Hiraeth is a place of grace. Failure to follow the ways of the elders was considered a complete dishonor to God. The elders were strict. They didn’t tolerate anything they were unfamiliar with. They knew one rotten apple can spoil a stock. They taught this lesson daily. The elders feared free will. They believed the human will would one day become so strong, it would throw off the balance of life. Peace and serenity would be lost.
Those who went against the ways of the elders were rotten and made to wear a special garb. This garb was feathery and brightly colored. Anyone who wore this garbs was not to be associated with. They were not allowed to speak, worship, hunt, or have children. Rotten people spent their days alone, wondering the land lost and misguided; even their families abandoned them. They ate scraps and slept outside. Negative energy was a disease, and those infected with this disease had to be treated carefully.
The people were curious. They often did things that weren’t the elder’s way. Sometimes men hunted for enjoyment instead of need. Children threw rocks at one another during their morning gatherings. Women even asked permission to hunt alongside their men.
To the elders, none of this was accepted. Everything was to be how they laid it out to be. The elders had all the answers. Following their way made life more meaningful. Not only did the elders provide knowledge, they healed the sick. The elders had special plants and drinks that healed coughs, made hunting easier, sleeping better, they were even used to speak to God during morning worship.
The elders communicated with the creator on holy grounds. No regular man or woman was permitted to step foot on these grounds. It was said that any mortal being who stepped on these grounds would fall into a deep sleep forever. Being tortured in their dreams for all of eternity. There were many places on the lands that the people were not allowed to go. Either the land was cursed or only holy enough for the elders. The elders kept a close watch on the people. There was nothing they couldn’t find out.
Of all the people, there was only one man rotten enough to wear a garb, Slade. Slade was the most dominant male on the lands. He had two children, both male, and a beautiful wife. Not only was Slade an excellent family man, but he spent most of his days helping others. Everyone loved him. Slade built weapons for sick men, repaired huts, he even gave hunting techniques to them. Because of his size and strength, Slade was able to hunt and kill the biggest animals.
One day, after worship, Slade was called to sacred grounds by the elders. Since no mortal had ever been allowed on sacred grounds, the people shouted with excitement. They believed they were witnessing their own become an elder; a moment the people waited years for. When Slade finally returned, no one could believe their eyes. Slade was wearing the Garb, Slade was rotten. This moment shook the entire land. If Slade was deemed rotten who knew who would be next. The people cried in disbelief.
Very pridefully, Slade walked thru the crowd. Not talking to anyone, not even his family, he went to his hut and gathered all of his belongings. He set up camp outside of his family’s house. He sat for days watching his family. He didn’t eat, he didn’t sleep, he didn’t even use the bathroom; he just sat.