Melniboneans

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Elric's people, inhabitants of the island of Melniboné. An Eldritch race.

Physiology

‘Needing neither to shave nor, in the conventional sense, pass faeces, few Melniboneans were familiar with beards or urinals. Many human habits remained deeply mysterious to us’ (The Skrayling Tree, Chapter 8)

Elric is perhaps being light hearted and partially misleading?

Society

‘They even used a kind of sling to fling live snakes at me. I let them strike if they chose. There is no venom known which can kill a Melnibonéan noble. We are weaned on venom.’ (The Skrayling Tree, Chapter 18)

Evidently Melnibonéans can develop an immunity to poisons.

Food and Drink

‘I was hungry for some fresh octopi, which Melnibonéans had always eaten with great respect. The creatures possess intelligences greater than most mortals. Certainly their flavour is considered subtler.’ (The Skrayling Tree).

Arts and Pastimes

‘He began to sing a ululating hate-song of old Melniboné.’ ‘Elric’s ancestors had been clever haters.’ (The Last Enchantment)

Melniboné has an artists quarter. Elric had two cousins who were calligraphers whilst another composed for the flute.

‘The Drowned Boy’ is an ‘old, complicated, Melnibonean melody’ (Black Petals, IV)

The Melnibonéans mainly regard most Young Kingdom art with distaste but the sculptors of Séred-Öma are excepted. (A Portrait in Ivory, I)

Religion

‘I remembered the story told to Melnibonean children of the dead souls who walk the star-roads of the Milky way, which we call the Land of the Dead.’(The Skrayling Tree, 8)

The Melnibonéans, although not worshipping dragons, venerate them.

Architecture

Towers are typically built with a single room at each level. The tallest, and slenderest is the Tower of D’a’rputna. (Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer, IV)

A secret passage connects the Imperial tower to the Dragon caves.

Lunariums are night gardens used to grow plants and herbs which thrive by moonlight rather than sunlight. (Black Petals)

Warfare

One of Yyrkoon’s men has the rank of centurion. Presumably centuries of a hundred warriors are a military unit. (Elric of Melniboné)

The Melnibonéans use ’thrice-forged’ Imyrrian steel.

‘Obscene looking daggers, mysterious cutting weapons’ (Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer, I )

‘In his hand a great dragon lance - a long, leaf-shaped blade..’ ((Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer, I )

The lance of Lord of the Dragon Caves bears a light blue sapphire.

Mentioned in

Connections[1]

Mike has recently connected the Vadhagh via the Eldren to the Melniboneans.[2]

Looking at Mike's work and developing a chronology, it would suggest that some of the Vadhagh fled from Corum's plane rather than stay and fight the Mabden. The Vadhagh can sometimes flit between planes. In addition, we know that the power of the Vadhagh is built on technology, not magic.

Eventually the Vadhagh came to the Six Worlds of The Dragon in the Sword, Here we find only their females, called the Ghost Women. They tell of leaving their world behind because they fled from the Mabden, but in the process they lost their men. There are even nice connections to the Halflings of The Eternal Champion, since the Eldren are called Ghost Women here, and since they flit between planes.

Interestingly, Mabden is the word used for humanity in the Corum novels, while Eldren is the word used for the elfs in The Eternal Champion.

A branch of these people were lead to a Realm (The realm where the Heavy Sea is located) by a Dragon which had dwelled within a sword. They spoke High Melnibonean and founded a society in harmony which their surroundings. The realm was invaded and ravaged by Chaos Most of the people then fled to other Realms, leaving a stalemate that lasted for a thousand years. (See the Revenge of the Rose).

Sometime afterward these people went to Erekose's World in The Eternal Champion (with their menfolk now rediscovered) taking with them the technology that Erekose later unearths to destroy humanity. The Eldren differ from those other elfin races because they have a very high technology, though one they've put away. Most of the "sorcery" that they have is explained thus.

Sometime thereafter the same people come to settle Melniboné which means that they go via the Earth-like world seen in Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer.

They were originally a favored race of Arkyn, a God of Law. Thus the move to later become supporters of the Balance and then eventually worshipers of Arioch seems like a slow and inevitable slide, and an ironic one given that it is Arioch who destroys the Vadhagh of Corum's Earth.

Notes

  1. Edited version of ShannonA's posts[1] on the Xenagia forum
  2. The Revenge of the Rose