Once upon a time long, long before Elf, Vuzzle, and Puppy came to live in their forest beside the great highway of men, an elf named Alian lived in the hills of Unorika with his beloved wife Charislee. The had first lived there when the men in this land were still hunters and forest dwellers, and had watched over the years as men multiplied and did terrible things to each other and to the land and trees and water. But during all this time, they did not forget their Great Commission: that The One made them stewards of all living things, including men themselves, and each year Alian spent much of his time journeying north and south in the mountains and hills, and where he could, he put right what men had destroyed and continually asked The One to give men wisdom about their world.

By itself, this was enough to cause Charn the Destroyer to hate Alian and vow to undo all the healing he had done in the land and the hearts of men, but as much as Charn hated Alian, he hated Charislee even more fiercely. For she, of all the elf-women, most loved the children of men and her dwelling was a place of refuge for many lost and unloved by any other. In the dawn of their joined lives they were overjoyed to welcome their eldest, a maid Charislee named Enjifer, or “Beautiful Flame” in the tongues of men. Elf women have few offspring as a rule, so as her middle years approached and Charislee found she would be welcoming an elf lad to her family, she could only look to The One in wonder and gratitude. He was called “His Father's Son”, or Anvida, in the elf tongue, both to honor her husband and The One who is Father to us all. Then, beyond all possibility, in only a few seasons she birthed two more elf-sons, naming the first Minthomy: “The One Is”; and the second Minjaben, “The One Keeps”. Sadly, she would come to doubt her choices in the following years.

Perhaps The One's blessing came because Charislee's heart thirsted for His life in her. Or perhaps it was because during these years she opened her arms to Jahkay, and Miseal, and Teresia, and Almie, and Jelikia and her small sibling Karlike, and Elauria, and others too numerous to tell in this story. All these had a place in her heart as close as any of her own, and Charn hated her.

All this was known to Alian and Charislee and they were watchful. Their home was strong and guarded by the servants of The One, but Charn was the most evil and subtle of any elf since the stories began, and his hatred grew over the years. In the summer of the year that Minjaben was born his plans were ready. He knew a direct attack on their stronghold would almost certainly fail: Alian was strong and wise, and should Charislee call the The One to their defense the battle would be lost. Charn knew a better way: he would steal their hearts. He would steal their children.
In Unorika at this time there was a man named Sim Jony who knew much elf-lore and called himself “Elf Friend” although his real name had no meaning in elf-speech. He even was allowed to visit Withenvale and sit at the feet of the great teachers there, and all marveled at his love for elf-wisdom and were glad to teach him. In time he became himself a famous teacher in the circles of men, but he told no one the source of his wisdom. Now perhaps Sim Jony, this “Elf-friend” had at one time a true reverence for the wisdom and ways of the Elves of Withenvale, but as his knowledge increased, he came to realize that there was some elf-magic that was not taught there. Over the years he took increasing pride in his knowledge. He saw himself as wiser than either elf or man because he knew the ways of both, and often thought, “When I become the Leader of Men I will be the savior of the elves, for I will unite the two peoples and both will prosper”. As his lust for privilege increased, he became more and more determined to learn that which was never spoken of, and, of course, in due time his obsession became known to Charn.

Sim Jony knew many secrets of the elves, and their signs and their speech, and like Alian, he spent much time in the hills. So, it is not surprising that one evening when Alian was ending his day's journey along the ridges, he saw in the distance a small campfire and came up on it quietly intending make sure the well-being of the stranger. As he stood watching in the shadows, he was astounded to be addressed in the elf-tongue, “Welcome to the warmth and fellowship of my fire, friend”.

Realizing that to deny the greeting would be foolish, Alian moved to the edge of the fire's shadows. “Before I accept, tell me how is it that you greet an elf in his own speech, Man?” he replied.

“I am Sim Jony, called 'Elf-friend', for so I am,” the man answered. “I revere you elves and your teachers. I have studied at Withenvale, and if I am not mistaken, you are Alian, watcher for the forests of Unorika, life-joined with Charislee who loves the children of men. Come, sit with me and we will hear each other's stories.”
Alian found this very strange, but it had been many years since he himself had been at Withenvale and the world changes even for the Elves. That this Man should know of him and Charislee was very surprising and somewhat disquieting, for he was not yet old enough to have many pages in the annals of the Elves. But the man was quite alone, so Alian decided that his unease stemmed from the strangeness of the meeting and nothing more.
First impressions are often the most spirit-revealed, and Alian would have done well to have bid the man “safe rest” and continue home, but for many generations of men he had been asking The One to teach men wisdom, and now before him – perhaps – was one of the men he sought. So he joined the man at the fire, and the evil of Charn was set in motion. Many years before when Charn became aware of Sim Jony, if he had simply accosted him and said, “I am Charn, who knows the magic you seek. I will trade it for the children of Alian and Charislee” Sim Jony would have been outraged, for in his conceit he considered himself the savior of the elves. But Charn was very subtle. Years before, talking about the future of elves and men, he had said to Sim Jony one day, “It is unfortunate that the elves shun the affairs of men. Elf-lads and maids are taught this from birth. If only elf-kind could be raised as human children...”

Sim Jony became very excited at the words of Charn. “Yes, Yes!” he exclaimed. “It would have to be someone like me, of course, who knows the elvish speech and lore.”

Charn was quick to agree. “You would be the perfect human to do this!” he said. “But it would be a very hard thing to do. You would earn the praise of men and elves for your unselfishness”.

Sim Jony was thrilled with the idea. He would be known throughout the world as the “Man who Saved the Elves”. But then he saw the problem. “But how would we find elf-children for me to raise?” he asked Charn.

Charn appeared thoughtful. “Well, elf-wives are much less attached to their children than human mothers,” he explained. “This is why they have so few of them. I know an elf-mother who is burdened with more children than she can care for. She would surely welcome an offer to have someone raise some of them.”

In this respect Charn was telling a terrible lie. Elf-mothers are fiercely protective of their offspring, especially because they have only one or, at the most, two. But the deceitful Charn knew that Sim Jony's conceit required that he think his actions “noble”, so he planted this evil thought in his prideful heart and then watched it grow for several years. Now, with Alian sharing a seemingly harmless conversation at Sim Jony's fire, Charn was almost ready to harvest the evil fruit.
“It is said that your door is always open”, Sim Jony said to Alian. “Why is this?”
Alian answered, “If that is true, it should not be said abroad. It is a matter for The One and the one with whom I am joined.”
“Forgive me,” Sim Jony replied. “I am a student of the elves. You and your good wife are known to welcome the children of men into your home as your own. I would like to understand this. Households like yours may be the best hope for men to learn the wisdom of the elves.”
“It is her that you need to understand” Alian answered. “I will think about whether you should have that privilege. Return to this spot in one cycle of the moon”. And so saying, he moved away into the forest so quickly and quietly that none but an elf could have seen him depart, and very few of those.
During the next month Alian discussed Sim Jony's quest with Charislee. She He also sent messages to Withenvale to ask whether Sim Jony was an “Elf Friend” as he claimed. Charislee was inclined to be trusting. “I would like to meet this Elf-Friend”, she said. “It would be good for the children to meet a Man who speaks elvish. Perhaps there are things he may teach them.” Also, from Withenvale the report was that Sim Jony had had great respect for the Elves, and his heart was believed to be clear. But Alian pondered the last words from Galandrathral, “Always remember, the hearts of men can change with the weather.”
In the end, Alian and Charislee decided to bring Sim Jony to their home. When the moon was again full dark, Alian found Sim Jony waiting for him in the same place, and brought him through the secret mountain trails to their home where Charislee was waiting. “This is my wife, Charislee”, Alian said. “You have asked to know why our home is a sanctuary for the fatherless and friendless. She is the reason”.
Sim Jony bowed before her as would befit a queen of men. “My Lady,” he said, your goodness is well known in the halls of the Elves. It is my hope that men will someday speak just as well of you”.
Now, as he said this, Sim Jony was a little uncomfortable, because as we know, he planned to convince Charislee to let him turn her sons into his very own little elf-men, one day to become the Elf leaders who would join Elves and Men into one people, and of course, make Sim Jony famous in the process. But if she noticed anything amiss, Charislee did not mention it. Men, she knew, frequently fill the air with noise that means nothing She simply smiled and welcomed Sim Jony to her table, where all her children were seated, both elf-born and man-born.
Charislee introduced them. “These are all of my household, Sim Jony. My daughter Enjifer, my sons Anvida, Minthomy, and Minjaben; these sons of my heart Jahkay, Miseal, and likewise daughters, Teresia, Almie, Jakelia and her small sibling Karlike, and my beautiful Elauria”.
Sim Jony was astonished at all these children. “What a beautiful family”, he exclaimed. “But however do you care for so many?”
Charislee smiled. “The One knows what we need and provides”, she answered. “As for caring, how could I not?”
Sim Jony had to admire Charislee for her good intentions, but he knew that she couldn't possibly give all of these children the attention and advantages they would need. He would be doing both her and her sons a real service by taking them off her hands. But he recognized that she, just like the human women he knew, would never admit she couldn't handle the job. He would just have to help her in spite of herself.
All that summer, Sim Jony visited the Elves as often as he could. He was a story-teller and a minstrel in his own right, and knew much history and lore that he shared with the children. They looked forward to his visits, and as Charislee's misgivings began to wane, Charn began to close the trap he had set.
One day in early fall, Sim Jony came early in the morning and spent the day teaching the children how to speak another of the many languages of men. Late in the afternoon, Enjifer came running into the house. “Mother,” she cried, “there is a great battle at Metsolem Meadow. My father is besieged by the forces of Charn, and may well have been captured or worse!”
Charislee tarried only a moment to breath a Word of Protection for her husband, then she gathered her herb-basket. “You may be needed,” she said to Enjifer, then turned to Sim Jony. “It seems we are in great need of you, Elf-Friend. Can I leave my children safe with you while I succor my husband and lord?”
“Of course, noble Charislee,” the treacherous Sim Jony answered. “They shall be safe with me Return when you can.”
So Charislee hurried off with her daughter to see what they might do in Alian's aid, whether to stand against Charn herself if it came to that, or minister to the wounded . When she and Enjifer came near to Metsolem Meadow she could hear the sounds of battle, and thankfully, she could still hear Alian's Words of Command above the din. Overlooking the meadow, she could see her husband with sword and shield beset by three of the enemy wearing Charn's crest. Charislee lost not a moment. “Eklethia Muroth! Keshsu!” she cried with all her power, and with that the 3 remaining enemy wavered in their steps – long enough for Alian to shatter their weapons with 3 quick strokes of his sword. Weaponless and facing the wrath of an Elf-lord and his Lady, the renegades fled for their lives. Alian gratefully embraced his wife while she inspected his wounds, which, though many, were not serious.
“It was a very strange battle,” Alian said. “There were 6 of them to begin with, and I was sore pressed. But after wounding two, they fled, and then another also. These three have been careful to keep out of my reach, but did not press their advantage when they might have. Very strange.” Then noting Enjifer's presence as if for the first time, he asked, “How were you able to bring our daughter? Who is with the children?”
As the words left his mouth, Charislee knew that they had been betrayed. “It is Sim Jony!” she cried. “He is in league with the evil Charn, and our children may be lost!”
Despite his wounds, Alian was already on his way back to their home, hoping against all hope that just this one time Charislee's word was mistaken. Enjifer and Charislee followed as quickly as Elf-women can run, but when they rounded a rock-fall, Charn himself suddenly stepped into their path. With an evil smirk, he said, “Why are you in such a hurry, Charislee? Have you lost something? Or is it someone?”
Charislee faced Charn, shaking with fury at the depth of his evil. “It was your plan all the time,” she accused him. “Where are my children?”
Charn laughed his evil laugh. “Oh, that would spoil the fun!” he said. Then becoming more menacing he drew his wicked knife and advanced towards them. “But there is one we missed, isn't there?”
Charislee held up her hand “We are hand-maidens of The One!” she proclaimed. “You trouble us at your peril! And now know this: What is lost shall be found, and what you have meant for evil will be turned to victory. And you, Charn, will meet your DOOM at the hands of my sons. Ultherics Nascille Endurian – Theselicthts!”
Her words struck Charn as if they were blows, as indeed they were, empowered by the might of The One. Any thought of hurting Enjifer was forgotten, and uncertain what he could say to trouble Charislee, he hissed, “Just remember me when you are lonely for your lads!” and vanished into the forest.
When Enjifer and her mother drew close to their home, Alian was on his knees at the doorstep, asking mercy for his sons. “I shall find them”, he told his wife. “I shall search every day until I find them”.
“Yes, you will search,” Charislee agreed, “but I do not believe you will find them until The One Himself returns them to us.” And so it was. For two years Alian searched continuously for any trace, any word, any tale, any scent of Sim Jony and the boys, but none was found. They seemingly had vanished. And in the midst of his grief, he was grateful to learn that Charislee was to be blessed with a 4th son, whom she named Andiel, “His Father's Comfort”. So Alian decided to trust his wife's word that his lost sons would be found, and returned to him. But fearing that Charn's evil against his family was not finished, he decided to move them far from the homes of men, into the vast mountains of Arcolina, where I believe they still live to this day.