THE GOSSIPER BIRD SONG GAME ("MÉL'VELÁN SONG")

HISTORY - EQUIPMENT - GAME SETUP - RULES

The elves of the Injerín tribe residing in the Shaded Forest in Northern Sarvonia are well known for their artistic talents across a range of fields, including singing and dancing. It isn't any wonder, therefore, that the elven children from this tribe have expressed this creativity through a game in which they mimic the song of an imaginary female gossiper bird. Famously, female gossipers have an uncanny ability to mimic any sound they hear, including speech. They construct their songs out of snippets of overheard forest noises, animal voices, and human or elvish conversation. To the Injerín, this game is known as the "Mel'vévan Song Game", mel'vévan ("deceitful bird" in Tharian) being the Styrásh name for the gossiper bird. This game consists of a common refrain followed by children adding cummulatively to the song of an imaginary female gossiper bird, until the last child has to remember all the parts of the song for the group to win the game. It should be noted by the reader that an actual gossiper bird is not used in this game, the children use a token that has been shaped to look like a gossiper bird instead.

History
. The origins of this game is unknown and is well lost in vagueries of time, however, it can be assumed that it was either soon after the the fall of Fá'áv'cál'âr or after the War of the Chosen. Whatever its origin, this fast paced and lively game is loved by elven children and brings out much joyous laughter and entertainment from both participants and those watching the game.

When played by experienced participants, the speed at which the game is played is quite fast and confusing, which has led to the introduction of miming and acting out of movements to go with their part of the gossiper bird's song as an aid to the others in the game. While their parents were involved in trading with the Kurakim clan of the dwarves, the Injerin children introduced the game to the Kurakim youngsters. These dwarf children contributed a steady beat to the game, through the use of dwarven drums, to aid in the passing of the bird around the circle in time to the words of the song.

As the song of the
gossiper bird involves sounds in addition to words, understanding of the song wasn't paramount to the Kurakim children's participation in the game, and they took a modified version of it back to the Caverns of Kalern and other caverns located in the Prominent Mountains. Back at home, the Kurakim children changed the story of the song somewhat, with the song being based around the noises associated with the variety of occupations around their caverns. The dwarven youngsters still passed an object around a circle in time with a song, before entering the cumulative part of the game.

A further development was made in the history of the game when the game was introduced by the dwarves to the Kuglimz'ura ("nomadic tribes") and subsequently by the nomadic tribes to the Kuglimz'torik ("home tribes"). Each of the tribes developed their own version of the game, but as with the Kurakim version of the game, the basics remain consistent with the Injerín version ... an object is passed around while a standard refrain is sung, and the call of the bird, noises or words accumulate and get faster as the game progresses. Return to the top

Equipment. The main equipment needed for this game is a small object that has been shaped to resemble the focus of the game and song. For the Injerín elves, this is a piece of wood that has been carved, shaped and painted to look like the gossiper bird. As this game originated in the Shaded Forest of Northern Sarvonia, rather than that found in R'unor, the bird depicted in the model is the Sarvonian variety. That is, with a korwyn gold streak of plumage over the predominantly green feathers. The bright sor’inyt orange beak is another key feature of the object.

Among the Kurakim, the object is typically a small toy hammer shaped out of metal. Even among the children of the dwarves, the adage 'you aren't a real dwarf if you don't have a hammer' has a certain degree of truth.

The objects used amongst the Kuglimz tribes depend on the tribe in question. The researcher of these works has had first hand experience with the Lyr'Teimor and the Helvet’ine tribes. The children of these tribes mostly use a rough horse's head made out of metal as the object which is passed around the circle. Of the other tribes, second hand accounts from traders is the only source of information. Amongst the Fal’cone, for example, the object is rumoured to be a candle, it is suggested that the Trk’matiu children use a shell as the object in their game, while the Fird’Gormz children reportedly make use of a small, wooden model of pick axe for this game.

The Kurakim version of the game also includes the use of dwarven drums to keep beat. On the occasions when the Kurakim children play it with those of either the elven or human tribes, the drums are introduced into those games as well. The drums are not needed, and sometimes the children keep the beat by banging their feet on the ground.
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Game Setup. The players sit in a circle on the ground and decide who is going to start off with the gossiper bird. The game works best if there are between 10 and 15 children in the game. The players should also know the words of the song that forms the basis of the song. Return to the top

Rules. The rules of this game are quite simple. As each syllable is sung by the children in the circle, the object is passed around the circle, going to a new child with each syllable. It is passed around to the left.

When the children get to the last word of the song, the child who has the object says a short phrase or makes a noise that would go with the topic of the song. An example of such a phrase, used in a game being played:

"I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood."

The children start the song again. The child who ends up with the object at the end of the song this time, says something new that is associated with the object in question, followed by what was said by the first child. An example of this is as follows:

"We trace our history right back to the destruction of Fá'áv'cál'âr."
"I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood."

The process then continues, with a new brief comment/noise made by each child who ends up with the object at the end of each time that the song has been ended. The third child might say:

"Buzzzzzzzzzzz Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
"We trace our history right back to the destruction of Fá'áv'cál'âr."
"I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood."

If a child ends up with the object more than once at the end of the song, it is considered polite that they give the object to the closest person to them who has not had a go yet. This child is around the circle to the left.

The game continues until everyone has successfully recalled all the statements or noises in order, or until someone makes a mistake. Other players are permitted to make actions or movements to demonstrate what they said as their action to assist the child who is currently trying to complete their part of the game. It is not permitted for any of the other children to speak at this point of the game, if that does happen, the game is considered to have been lost by the children, and they can start again.

The game is successfully completed when the last child in the group has managed to say the noises/sounds/words of everyone in order. When that happens, the whole group has won the game!

Good players of the game get quite fast and quite animated when they play the game as the excitement grows.

Finally, here are the songs that are used in some of the versions of this game[1].

The Injerín version:
Telltale in the tree,
What's the news you've heard?
Prattle and tattle and babble and rattle
And tell me a secret, deceitful bird.

A Kurakim version:
I hear a dwarven smith hard at work,
Hammering metal all of the day,
This is one job he would never shirk,
Tell me blacksmith what you hear and say.

A Kuglimz version:
I hear a kev'lor horse riding past,
Noble and mighty, with a loud neigh,
Bearing a rider and moving fast,
Say oh warhorse what you heard today

This researcher was fortunate enough to witness a group of Injerín children engaged in this game. They managed to successfully complete the entire game. There were ten elven children in the game, and the following was the finished version of what they said[2]:

How much metal for wood crafting, master dwarf.
<A howl that was reported to be an almost perfect imitation of the call of the mithral wolf>
I will use my magic to form my house.
cuu-loo! cuu-loo! [3]
Missed it by that much
All of the elves went out to dance
Take up arms! Orc Attack!
Buzzzzzzzzzzz Buzzzzzzzzzzzzz [4]
We trace our history right back to the destruction of Fá'áv'cál'âr
I like to collect the cerubell from the Shaded Wood

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Notes.
[1], [2] Each song, together with the completed version of the game has been translated from the original language, Styrash, Thergerim or Kuglimz'Seitre to Tharian. [Back]
[3] The distinctive call of the cuuloo ground bird. [Back]
[4] The noise made by the malise. [Back] Return to the top

 Date of last edit 31st Passing Clouds 1669 a.S.

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