This file has been approved by the leadership of The Trust for Eternal and Ephemeral staff members visiting the databases of TETRA.
I was born in the year 14,100 BCE….
About ninety of us were born before Christ….
I still remember…
I remember the times in which I was born. Ireland was still attached to Britain, and Britain to Europe.
I remember still the name of my parents, and my parents parents, and so on for several generations in the sing-song language we used to recall things that should not be forgotten. I no longer think in that language, but I remember the song, and I remember the names.
At first, my life was a normal one, with no hint of the ages through which I was to pass. I learned the hunt with the men of my family and my tribe, though we did not call ourselves such, only 'the people'. At first, I did no better and no worse than any others at the hunt, but with age came experience, and so I progressed to become one of the elders of the hunt.
I remember my first woman, and our children. I remember my pride when my first son to reach manhood took up the hunt. And when my father and brothers and cousins all passed to the earth, I was still hale and became the leader of the hunt, when my son was an elder and the sons of my sons and daughters learned the hunt. No one thought it any more than fortunate that I still was strong and led, for what did we know of natures' laws back then, when we did not count years but seasons?
I remembered the successes and the failures of hunts gone by, the events blurring but patterns emerging more real than any one hunt. And so when I led, we ate.
I remember when my first woman died, and when the last of our children together passed to the earth. My family then were the children of my children and their children. No one lived who remembered a time when I did not lead the hunt, and at first we did not think it strange. I took another woman and had more children, and the people grew more numerous because our hunts always brought back meat. When rarely we would meet others, on the fringes of our hunting grounds, we would trade stories and goods and sometimes our children would go to live with the others and sometimes their children would come to live with us. Soon, the others whispered that their old ones could not remember a time when G'Len did not lead the hunt of the people.
I remember when the shaman (though we did not call him that), who painted the sacred pictures in the dark places, tried to discover the mystery of my vitality. We sang and burned the holy plants, and painted the great pictures. In the plumbing of the depths of the mystery, we found no answer, but I grew curious about the shaman's ways and he, flattered, taught me them. I learned to paint the holy images, to know the plants and roots that heal and drive away unclean spirits (such was how we understood the world at the time), and in time, when the shaman went to the earth, I became both leader of the hunt and shaman.
So the young men would not become jealous, I would let them lead the hunt when they had grown in wisdom with several hunts. Mostly, they thought I was humoring them, but were too prideful to say so. In truth, by watching them, I sometimes learned through their fresh eyes new ways that helped the people. And when the hunt was hard and food scarce, I would reach into my memory of the deep knowledge and the accumulated innovations of the people, and we would find food and the people would eat, when others might starve.
And so it went. While others measured time in days and nights, I measured the passage of the seasons. Countless seasons passed, and many of the people were of my blood, having taken many women who gave many children to the people. We grew prosperous and large compared to the others, and it was good time. The people came to see me perhaps as some people in a later era would a god-king, but it was more like a great family to us.
I remember when the magic failed me….
I remember when the magic failed….
I remember when after meeting others on the edge of our lands, the sickness swept through the people like nothing I could conceive (later generations might have likened it to a scythe through wheat). Songs did not drive away the sickness. Root, leaf, mushroom; all failed to heal. The dead far outnumbered the living. We piled the bodies like firewood in a cave, and stacked rocks before the entrance, for there were too many to bury.
Finally, when all the old ways had failed, some whispered darkly of ways they had heard of as rumors among the others, that when hard times fell upon some others, the leaders were given in sacrifice to end the suffering. Such had never been the people's way, yet such were the times that the idea took hold, and the attack against me came.
Not all, not even most, of the survivors of the people agreed, and so the people fought among themselves. For the first time I took the life of another of the people, more than one in fact. Finally, exhausted, we called for words. Even though in the thick of the fight I had taken blows to fell the mightiest of prey, still I lived. The people were divided and wounded as never before. The thought of sacrifice was gone now, the would-be sacrificers now in fear of me, and not a few of my own champions also feared me in that moment. And so I offered a compromise. Let the sacrifice be my banishment into the wilds. Quite frankly, I was so wounded at heart at that point that I wanted nothing more than the solitude of the wilds.
And so ended the first long chapter of my life…
Fenwick: Alrghit quick show of hands, who here has not seen Jesus ?
G’Len: I missed him entirely. He was rather obscure at the time, unless you were actually in Palestine. And from what I heard, even then there were so many religious would-be prophets, that it was easy to miss the gold in the dross.
Gregorios: By the way, what are your favourite languages that you've learned to speak over the years? And what “extinct” or “endangered” languages do you speak?
G’Len: They all tend to blur together after a time. I tend to think of families of languages as opposed to single languages. Hmmm…I'm a bit distracted at the moment, but one of my favorites among the extinct languages includes what moderns would call Minoan….
Aneirin: My favorites are Welsh, Latin, Mohawk, and Occtian. I speak waaaay to many languages, but what's annoying is that for all of the languages I know, only a fraction I can actually speak these days. All I speak is English, one of the most God-forsaken languages ever spoken by human tongues. I hate English.
G’Len: Really? I love it! So many, many words, like no other language I've known through all the years. I consider it one of my bright new toys. I speak it so much nowadays, that its one of the few languages where I don't feel the urge to drift into another language, unlike Dutch and German….
Fenwick: I liked learning Esperanto from Ken Keasy and a massive yellow toad sitting next to the Grateful Dead as I was high off my mind. I let loose a stream of my life, and convinced the yellow toad to fly away on a pink Zebra to the never ending isle of love and earthly delights.
G’Len: I did enjoy the spate of manufactured languages in the beginning of the 20th century, but I never specifically learned any of them, though Ido is pretty easy for me given my background. I actually was rather amused by Tolkien's confectionary languages. The Finnish influence was quite obvious if you know the language.
For countless generations after leaving the people, I wandered the world, living off the land. Sometimes I would encounter other peoples and stay with them for a time, teaching them my knowledge of the hunt and of the shamans of my former people, but I never stayed longer than a generation. The world slowly changed before my eyes. The great icelands seemed further away every generation. Lakes appeared and disappeared, whole shorelines began to change. Sometimes I would meet again the descendants of a people I had sojourned with for a time, and sometimes they remembered a previous stranger in gray furs, and sometimes they did not. From time to time, I would adopt a wolf pup who would grow to be a travelling companion of mine, but more often I just travelled alone.
Finally, I began to find something new under the sun in the southern lands. New ways of building shelters, new ways of fashioning tools. Some even erected sturdy monuments of stone to worship the forces of the world. I found myself staying longer and longer among the grain gatherers, learning their ways. Soon a new way of life would open itself up to me….
Gregorios: (talks about his life as Balian of Ibelin)
G’Len: I saw that movie…. (referring to Kingdom of Heaven)
Gregorios: For everyone's information, that movie was rubbish. They got all sorts of stuff wrong. For example, Sibylla and I never were romantically involved. She was, after all, my stepdaughter. It would have been completely inappropriate. And they got my “father's” name wrong. And they completely cut out my two adoptive brothers. And worst of all, they got the siege wrong. They attacked a corner of the walls, not a whole broadside. Ah, well. It was, after all, 900 years ago, and who is alive now that was back then ? Oh, wait…
G’Len: I've been watching New Amsterdam recently, and I have to say I find it alternatingly amusing and disgusting that mortal man really thinks anyone would actually desire to grow old. I get the impression that the young people who write such nonsense were never close to anyone old; had never had to watch their loved one's strength sapped, pains multiplied, senses dimmed, sometimes even their minds slip away before the breath of their bodies did. They have some fantasy of superficial change followed by simply slipping off to sleep. They've never been by someone's bed as they gasped for every breath before succumbing.
And they think someone would choose this, if any other honorable choice remained to them ?
Fenwick: I agree with you for the most part, but I'm sure you like us all ahve had those days when it feels like you have done everything. I have those stupid “Why can't I die, oh poor me I live forever boo hoo,” thoughts around the times my life goes to hell, or that chick I shack up with is starting to sag and wonder how I stay so young.
G’Len: Yes, I understand some days thinking that. Death is always seen by some at some point as a release. Note that it was more the 'growing old' rather than the dying that I found particularly odd to idolize.
Fenwick: I saw it more as growing old with your soulmate.
G’Len: Growing old, not so attractive. Not having to watch someone you love decay before you even have a century together, yeah that has attraction….
Fenwick: Of course after wife number two searching for a soul mate turned into finding a fun girl to talk to for a few years and then depart.
G’Len: Something like that seems to become the norm…
Fenwick: Man, I miss the 60s…
G’Len: Well, there's been plenty of times like it. I remember some times in Rome that still….well, even in the more staid times, there are people and places with a freer spirit, if you know where to look…
Fenwick: . I was talking about the 60's. Not the 1160's, 1560's, or even the 1960's. Wild parties, pointless violence.
G’Len: So was I…. I'm also put in mind of the movie Highlander. The editing was quite innovative for a movie of the time, but that is not, of course, the thing that struck me. To this day I do not believe that a mortal wrote Who Wants to Live Forever, it just cuts too close to the truth. The combination of those lyrics and seeing the scene where he said goodbye to his first love, Heather….I cried like I hadn't since the war. Too many times, too many times….
Mr J: Yeah I wrote that song. I had just lost my first wife when I wrote that in the 1760s.
G’Len: Strange that I had not heard it before. Had you really waited for over two centuries to release it publicly ?
Mr J: Actually, it was written in the 1980s. I was thinking of her at the time, I was going throgh one of my depressive periods at the time.
Gregorios: You know, I've been watching that new show – New Amsterdam – as well. It's very surprising to me that he's able to stay in one city for centuries. I've never been able to do that. People get really suspicious of you after 50 years. But it is interesting that he tells his children his secret. I've never thought of that before. Maybe I'll do that with my later children, and maybe those children of mine that are still alive. That is, when they're ready and able to keep the secret. You've got to wonder, though. Was one of us behind the conception of that show ?
G’Len: I have found that it depends on the size and nature of the city, but especially in the last century. Cities have such mobile populations that you don't really need to move anymore, just stand still and the whole neighborhood changes around you, and none the wiser most likely. Still, I actually like to move around every generation or so regardless. I came from a people who never stayed in one fixed place, and wondered for so many lost millennia, I guess it is second nature to me now. Many of my children have known, and many of my women as well, though not all depending on the situation. I suspect the show has just the normal inspiration. However, we have been around for a very long time, and we've already made an imprint on the imagination of mortals that persists through the ages. Remember who Gilgamesh met….
Gregorios: (talking about his life during The Great Plague/Black Death)
G’Len: I hate plagues. It was always such an impossible situation. Thank goodness for Jennings and Pastueur and Fleming….
Gregorios: (talking about how he became the basis for the image of the Grim Reaper)
Aneirin: Don't fear the reaper! Speaking of Heavy Metal, you'd be happy to hear that your son started the whole genre of music !
Gregorios: I don't fear the reaper. I was the reaper. Or so people said. I didn't lose that reputation until the plague petered out 2 years after I left Germany. By the way, you're showing me your mother's grave tomorrow, right ?
Aneirin: Yeah. Right now I'm typing on a laptop in Cardiff International. See you tomorrow.
Gregorios: Where are you? My plane just landed, and I'm taking a quick meal in the Food Village. Can you get here from where you are?
G’Len: Ah, fast food….a useful innovation.
Gregorios: You're Enkidu? Who would've known? Oh, and by the way, with what you were saying with being a traveler, were you in Byzantium in the early 470s? My mother always told me my father was a wanderer from Hibernia.
G’Len: Not Enkidu. In fact, I inspired a story much older than Gilgamesh, and some of the echoes can be found in the character of Utnapishtim, though I wasn't known by that name in the earlier tales. I did know the king Gilgamesh, the one who ended up having his name attached to that cycle of tales. About the only thing the stories got right was Gilgamesh's interest in immortality….
Gregorios: Interesting. But you didn't answer my other question.
G’Len: Heh, you called it Byzantium…of course, it was Constantinople by then. Constantine knew how to make an impression, that's for certain…though no one can hold a torch to Alexander for sheer name dropping….you said early 470s? The Western Empire was breathing its last death rattle. I tended to do a lot of trading back then, but I was in and out of Constantinople at that time. I didn't have a regular family that decade, but there were women from time to time. No children that I am aware of, I'm sorry to say….
Gregorios: Well, I just thought I'd ask. After all, I never knew my father. He had left before I was born. Or was he sold? I don't know much about him, other than he was a traveler from Hibernia. I just assumed that since you were immortal like me, and since you are much older than I am that you could be my father. Actually, it's quite possible that you are father to us all in some way, shape, or form.
G’Len: At that time, most people took me for a Greek, given that I spoke that language more like a native, though they never could peg me to where. I had been going for several, several centuries by the name Galen…. As for being the father of all of us, who knows? Though there are one or two others who might be as old as I, and certainly are older than almost all the others….
Gregorios: (talking about his adventures after leaving Muscovy)
G’Len: Bad business, that….
Gregorios: Indeed it was. I sank into a deep depression. I still consider the 15th century my lost century. Just dominated by wandering around Europe. I only ever settled in Constantinople, and in Spain, but that's another story.
47: I wore something like this, attached to the outside of a conical, brimmed cloth headress, as a symbol of my office of priest-king. Here's an artist impression of a European Bronze Age priest-king.
G’Len: Ha ! I remember those. Up there among the more ridiculous trends in regalia mankind has mustered.
47: Agreed. Crowns are much more sensible. Still it was nice to wear a fortune on one's person without fear of being robbed. And I do like gold.
Gregorios: By the way, just a little tidbit, but I always train my animals to respond only to commands in Byzantine Greek. Do any of the rest of you do that? (Well, with other languages…)
G’Len: Nothing like that. I do use old languages other than Byzantine Greek, though. Byzantine Greek is too recent, too well recalled, too similar to modern Greek for that matter. Up until recently, using dead and forgotten languages my codes and passwords were easy for me to recall, impossible for others to guess. Damned requirements for numbers and symbols now make me have to work harder at it!
A few stream of consciousness thoughts….
I remember the first stone temples I saw in Anatolia, and the strange thoughts of those people who erected them….
I remember the first town I ever visited, and how much I thought it stank. Little did I know then how often I would be in vastly greater cities, and the stink would be a companion until recent years..
I remember the first town on the site known as Jericho. One of the very few places I've been to where there is still a town there, no matter how many millenia pass….
I remember when agriculture began to spread, how those farmers seemed so sad to me, so sickly most of the time, and yet it was those farms that would allow more people to be freed of labor for food, bizarre!…
I remember so many things. Jumping ahead a few millenia, I think one of my all time favorite inventions was money….portable wealth is an immortal's best friend!
Link 8 G’Len: I truly miss the Minoans. There was a grace in their culture as few before or since possessed. Damned volcanoes!
47: Ya, I miss them too, especially the bare-breasted women. Anyway that reminds me, I tried to kill myself by throwing myself in an erupting volcano. Bear in mind, I had learned from wise men and women how to ignore great pain, but it still hurt like a *&%^. After most of the skin and muscle had burnt off, I climbed out and down to a cave above the lava flow and then let the pain overwhelm me. I was out for a week.
G’Len: I hate volcanoes, hate them, hate them, hate them! Thera was bad enough, at least we evacuated the island in time, even though my ship was swamped in the tsunami that followed. I was caught visiting friends in Herculaneum when Vesuvius blew. We were close to getting everyone out, but then that damned Pyroclastic flow hit, crisping everyone around me and giving me one hell of a burn. Took me a long time to dig out afterwards, too. I hate volcanoes!
Gregorios: Yeah, I'm not a big fan of them either. Remember the Mt. Etna eruption just a few years ago in 2005? I was there, working on Revenge of the Sith. I was the one who suggested to George that the eruption would be a good backdrop for the Mustafar scenes. We were in Italy at the time filming a couple of the Naboo scenes.
47 (to G’Len): Ouch. Sorry man. What are your feelings on earthquakes?
G’Len: Earthquakes are okay, I suppose.
E. T. B.: There's one thing worse then volcanoes and earthquakes - being just outside a nukes dead-centre. I was involved I a test in…Nevada, I think…and that REALLY stunk. I was sick for a month.
47: Enough talk of death and destruction, who else observed the supernova of 1006 CE through a telescope or other magnification device ?
G’Len: I didn't really get interested in astronomy until the Gallileo showed there were worlds up there, and not just points of light. Before that, I did wonder about the moon, though. Ever since the advent of civilization, I've vacillated between the large cities where comforts and anonymity can be found and new frontiers as they are discovered, places I have never trod. I had visited Vinland on one brief journey, not been much impressed (honestly, we thought it was still another island in the Northern Ocean). But when Columbus' journeys started finding more, then I was on a Spanish ship and off for new horizons. Sadly, I was able to watch the destruction of whole civilizations to disease and greed. It was not a pleasant experience. Still, there was so much to see. I wandered for about a century all over, and did in fact get to see a lot of the New World before it was changed forever by European contact. By about 1600, however, I was starting to yearn for high civilization again. I started thinking of the Middle Kingdom, so hopped on a Spanish ship to the Philippines, and thence to China.
Gregorios: Were you on that first voyage (to Vinland) ? Because I was. Maybe we knew each other.
G’Len: No, I wasn't on the very first exploration. I heard about a new land from traders and then made my way up to Scandinavia to find out.
The first cities and farmers at first disgusted me. Squalid compared to the free living peoples of the world, children died more often than not, and always the smell of people.
But at some points they improved, or else I became used to them. Always an outsider, a trader traipsing between walled little worlds, but it kept people from asking too many questions about my lack of aging.
I had ranged the world, or what I thought of as the world at that time, for too long, seeing shores change, some islands disappear, some created, when the sea was first crossed. Ships were strange things to me, but they promised new things to see, new peoples, and quite frankly I had grown bored.
I think my favorites back then were the people you now call Minoans. Such style, such grace! I was there when Thera raged like some angry god, the first time since the death of my own tribe that I was tempted to believe in a god, though this one a dark hungry destroyer. It took me a long time to wash ashore after the waves.
I think one of the first truly good creations of so called civilization was writing. Some of the wondering peoples scoffed at it, prefering the old ways of song to recall the past. But I had lived too long, even then. I knew that things had been lost, things that I allowed to slip from memory too long to recall with any faith. How long before a song is lost forever to the mind of man? I never timed it quite, and it seemed to vary. The song I sang for the remembrance of the last of my tribe I can still recite to this day, while others popular for a century or more still were lost in a millennium.
Ah, but writing! With the written word, just a few copies every few generations and words persisted, virtually unchanged, through the ages….
Someday I shall tell of my times under the name of Galen….
Dear Fellow Eternals,
I hope this letter finds you all well. I have been following with great interest the revelations our existence to the world at large has been playing in society. I was impressed with your organ donor efforts, and am attaching to this letter some earlier research I performed on growing organs from immortal grafts. I hope this will aide in your efforts.
I am also attaching some further notes on the nature of immortality according to my own research in the past century, when modern science has proven the most useful. While there are certain commonalities, especially among families of immortals, you will note that I and a few of my colleagues have identified different strains of immortality. Note, too, that we were unable to identify any single gene that conveys immortalities - it is definitely a polygenetic phenomenon, and there seems to also require a great deal of protein modulation of splice production to get the effect, and possibly even some imprinting in the womb. Now that the Trust and others are linking Immortals and able to use the most advanced scientific facilities of the world, I would recommend both an Immortal Gene Mapping Project, which I have heard you have already planned, but also an Immortal Proteonomics Project to go along with it. Do not forget to include non-immortal first degree relatives (children mostly) of current immortals. Again, I know you have already thought along these lines, but I wished to encourage you further.
I applaud the daring of our Martian bound colleagues. I have thought long and hard about the attraction of a new world, but will have to allow you to be the pioneers without me on this one - I currently have obligations on this World that will keep me terrestrial at least another 20 - 40 years, I imagine.
I have found amusing the news stories and fictionalizations of my history in the media since the release of the Trust's archives - really, some of it almost resembles me! Ironically, I think these portrayals will do more to help me stay inconspicuous than anything else. For those few of you who have (knowingly) met me face to face, please do not do anything to disabuse the public of their illusions. So far, I seem to be doing well in my little corner of the world, and would find it most inconvenient to relocate or to 'go public' at this time.
Again, I applaud your boldness and this truly historical age you have launched. We live in an age of wonders, and my confidence in the human race has received a much needed boost by the way the planet, with a few exceptions, has embraced us rather than fearing us. My congratulations.
Birth Name: G'Len
Status at Birth:
Relation to other Eternals: