The Orden-Far, (lit. “The Prince’s Journey”) is an epic poem and important religious text written in High Elvish. It is the oldest known surviving piece of writing in history. It follows the prince Varssanian from his banishment from his father’s chiefdom to eventual enlightenment and ascension to godhood. The poem is composed of over 200,000 verses divided into 328 cantos.
The core story is that of Varssanian, prince of the Kerysh tribe, as he journeys throughout the world, meeting various peoples and gods of nature. The poem takes on a large amount of themes, including friendship, artistry, and war. The most notable theme is that of death, personified as the Angel of Death, whom Varssanian converses with several times throughout the story.
Throughout the poem, the story is interwoven with that of the Elvish creation myth of the Song of Creation. According to the myth, the world is a song that is sung by all the plants, winds, sun, and so on. Only things that can affect the world have a voice in the Song of Creation; the earth - at this point a blank canvas for the rest of nature - does not have a voice. The elves exchange their melody in the Song of Creation for the earth’s protection. They absolved of the duty and work of agriculture in exchange of living in harmony with the rest of nature.
Another major character is Varssanian’s once-wife Onari, leader of the Darut tribe, who lusts for power and is corrupted by the evil in her heart. The story culminates in the Battle of Mount Perpana between the Edauthen confederacy and the Darut, wherein the Edauthen are victorious and the Darut banished underground for eternity.
It concludes with Varssanian’s death from his injuries and ascension to godhood, becoming one with Corellon, patron of all elves and artists.
The young and brash prince Varssanian is banished from the Kerysh tribe by his father Otheoenden, who wishes for him to become more patient and mature. He must travel across the continent of Azjeia by foot until he retrieves “water from the north, rocks from the west, sand from the south, and winds from the east”. He sets out from his home in what is now Farzia and must not return until he has retrieved all these items.
Though the course of his journey he meets several over Elvish tribes, most notably the Darut tribe from which he takes his wife, Onari. The journey takes him well over 250 years, causing the prince to reflect upon the temporary nature of things and his own long lifespan. He talks to the things he must retrieve, who tell him that everything is temporary in various ways. The foolish prince decides that he is invincible. In Rasteria he gets swept up by a storm wherein he gazes upon the Angel of Death for the first time. Realizing his foolishness and mortality he strikes a deal with the earth, who protects the prince at the cost of taking his singing voice.
The prince’s journey is cut short after he learns his father has fallen ill. He rushes back to the Kerysh tribe where his father crowns him chieftain. Varssanian meets the Angel of Death yet again, who has come for Otheoenden. The Angel tells the prince that he is cunning, but also that his time is short. Fearing the worst, Varssanian refuses the title of chieftain. He bestows the title instead to his much younger brother Eoend. Eoend is more inexperienced than even Varssanian, so he urges his older brother to stay and advise him. The prince reluctantly agrees.
The prince, wounded forty-eight times, collapses on the peak of Mount Perpana. Eoend asks him if he wants to be healed; Varssanian says no. The Angel of Death comes upon the prince for the last time. Varssanian takes the angel’s hand, greeting them like an old friend. The Edauthen watch over Varssanian as he dies. The rain, overcome by grief, turns to ice and the mountaintops become snow-capped.
Varssanian’s body is left on the top of Mount Perpana to decay and become one with the nature of the world. Eoend orders his men not to bury the rest of the dead as the army marches back home. As the prince’s body decomposes, his eternal voice sings a new melody in the Song of Creation. While his material form dies, his spirit guides the Edauthen. The elves, recognizing his voice, sing praises: recognizing him as a new avatar of their god Corellon; the Light Eternal.
The earth, grateful for its voice, tells the elves that “never again shall you need to strike the earth” (practice agriculture) for food. The elves rejoice; they are forever freed from a life of work. They can spend the rest of their lives creating art instead. Eoend promises that his people shall live in harmony with the world forevermore.
The earth and the rest of nature create new lands. The Elves explore these new lands, becoming the guardians of creation. While Lolth’s disharmony still rings in the Song of Creation, the reader is admonished to protect the ways of the world. When there is good people, the song of good will always be louder than the song of evil. The light of Corellon is with the world always.