Jaesar was an elcar of the Lùlôr mountains, who assisted in the wars with the múrtani around -9000. The name is Lé (Jàesâr ‘lightning night’), presumably a calque on his real name— the language of the Arcél elcari is not related to Elkarîl and is almost entirely unknown, as the elcari refuse to share it.
The war was long-lasting and frustrating, not least because the múrtani avoid large-scale confrontations. They prefer to raid in force, perfectly happy to kill a handful of elcari at a time— though they will capture and kill large numbers if they can. Jaesar specialized in counter-raids, where he studied the traps and evasive maneuvers of the enemy.
“To defeat the múrtani one must think like a múrtany,” Jaesar decided. He mounted counter-raids into múrtany settlements, emphasizing careful spying and infiltration, knowledge of the territory, and silent, quick maneuvering. His troops even shaved their hair and applied scars in order to pass as múrtani. Among his innovations was a code that used only subtle visual cues, such as light glinting off a pickaxe.
The múrtani invaded the elcarin khak, and Jaesar moved to defense, where he created traps and ambushes, often extending múrtany ideas. Unlike most múrtany traps, many of his reset themselves— one, for instance, consisted of a rotating bridge above a pit; after it was triggered by sufficient weight, it would swing around and lock back into place, ready for the next group.
Jaesar lived long before the steam revolution that allowed the elcari to delve deeply into solid rock, though they did have iron. His inventions were therefore made of wood, stone, and ironwork, and were placed in settlements built up out of stone on the surface, or built in natural caverns.
Elcari telling his story imply that his end was regrettable, saying something like “Someone like that doesn’t adjust easily to civilian life.” It’s never explained just what he did (except that it was not actually traitorous, since he’s still spoken of with admiration).
The limited facts about Jaesar are mostly used as a springboard for very dry tall tales, which are best appreciated if they’re sprung on some greenhorn or human. An example from the account of Hôŋhào, a Lé traveler from the 2500s:
- “We’re well trapped in this snowstorm,” said Rockfault. “Not likely to survive the night. You, that is, missy. We elcari can use Jaesar’s blanket.”
- “What’s that?” I asked, jealous once again of the completeness of the elcarin outfit, though it meant that making and breaking camp took an hour each.
- “Jaesar was caught one night in a demonspawn of a snowstorm. He’d lost his pack— all he had was a thin cloak with holes in it. Searched around where he was, but it was bare as múrtany’s skull. He was shivering, fit to die, like as we’re about to probably. Finally, in desperation, he took his own shadow and wrapped it about himself. That was all that saved him, and by the First Spirit he was glad there was enough moon to cast it that night.”
Hôŋhào makes it clear that she was rarely taken in by the elcarin jokes, but Suntroi, an Uytainese of the 1900s, recounts the following quite soberly:
- The elcari took us through a succession of galleries, rooms, and dwelling places in their great underground city. Even the rudest chamber, carved out as a storage area for forgotten things, is so solidly crafted that it will last a thousand years, and handsomely decorated. We saw many marvels, many rooms filled with treasure, and finally came to an enormous room, a cube made entirely of pink marble, with red tapestries hanging down the sides, vast windows letting in light from the mountains, and a pleasant waterfall falling down one side, forming a pool on the floor which is very refreshing after a long march. When we expressed astonishment at the extent of this room, the elcari told us that it was made according to a cunning method of Jaesar the craftsman, who found a way to make the interior of a room larger than its exterior. The same method can be used on boxes and pouches, allowing very large quantities of things to be transported in small containers.
Jaesar is also given credit for absurdly complicated machines, something like Rube Goldberg cartoons. Or, a visitor may be shown a complicated device such as a power loom, and gravely told that it’s an invention of Jaesar’s used for boiling and cracking eggs.