Gelfling are two to three feet tall. Female Gelfling have wings; males do not. Gelfling can have special abilities enabling them to share memories through touch:
The act of etching thoughts and ideas into physical shapes. Often used by literate Gelfling for writing, but also used for drawing and abstract divination. The more Gelfling involved in a dreametching, the more powerful the creation.
Sharing of memories via physical contact. Gelfling are able to dreamfast, as is Aughra.
The act of attaching, or stitching, a dream into a dreametching. Any Gelfling who touches the etching is able to dreamfast with the etching and experience the dream that was stitched there. A skill passed on by the Spriton clan.
Gelfling were the people of Thra. Aughra described them as innocent, naive and forgetful. Their society was composed of many Gelfling clans during the Age of Harmony. During the Age of Division, with the help of the Skeksis, they formed a high civilization of seven great clans, led by a matriarch called the All-Maudra.
The Seven Gelfling Clans
The All-Maudra, ordained by the Skeksis, was known as arbitrator and ritual guardian of all Gelfling clans. The seven clans are known to be:
The Dousan Clan
This clan made their settlements on sandships—amazing constructs of bone and crystal that navigated the Crystal Sea like ocean vessels. Their culture was shrouded and unsettlingly quiet, their life stories told in the intricate, magic tattoos painting their bodies. The Dousan (doo-SAHN) were more focused on the afterlife than their living life, immaterial and simplistic in their habits and lifestyles. Their musicality was unequaled, said to invoke the very Song of Thra which knits the realms of the living and the dead together.
The Drenchen Clan
The Drenchen clan was a clan of amphibious Gelfling who lived in the overgrown Swamps of Sog, deep in the southernmost reaches of the Skarith region. Larger and stronger than other Gelfling, the proud Drenchen were powerful in combat, though they generally preferred to keep to themselves. The Drenchen were so remote and inconveniently located that not even the Skeksis visited during the Census or tithing.
The Grottan Clan
A mysterious, secretive breed who dwelled in perpetual darkness in the Caves of Grot. Generations in the shadows left them with an extreme sensitivity to light—and solid black eyes that could see in the dark and large ears to make out even the faintest of echoes. The Grottan clan is said to number less than three dozen, and their life span is told to be unheard of, lasting three to four times as long as other Gelfling.
The Sifa Clan
Originally one homogenous clan, the Sifa (SEE-fah) would allow any Gelfling into their tribe who was willing to complete their joining ritual. These Gelfling worship the wind, whose changing whims can mean life or death on the open sea. They are merchants, well traveled and the only Gelfling to harvest the bounty of the ocean. When in port, they’re happy to trade anything and everything – including wisdom. Sifa charms enchanted with different spells were highly desired by travelers, craftsmen, and warriors of all clans.
The Spriton Clan
Age-old rivals of the Stonewood clan, the Spriton (SPRY-ten) were a warrior race inhabiting the rolling fields south of the Dark Wood. With such bountiful land to raise crops and family, this clan’s territory spread to cover the valley in several villages. Counted among the most fierce fighters of the Gelfling race, the Spriton were often called upon to serve as soldiers for the Skeksis Lords and guards at the Castle of the Crystal. The Spriton were also skilled at artisanal crafts, such as stitching, fabric and textile working, and beading. Their handiwork was unparalleled and widely sought.
The Stonewood Clan
Known in ancient times as the Woodland Folk, this clan was a proud and ancient people who dwelled on the fertile lands near and within the Dark Wood. They made their main home in Stone-in-the-Wood, the historical home of Jarra-Jen. His courageous and daring exploits fortified the Stonewood’s perception of themselves as warriors, heroes, and adventurers. Many Stonewood Gelfling were valuable guards at the Castle of the Crystal. They were farmers and cobblers and makers of tools. They were inventive, but pastoral; like their sigil animal, they were peaceful but fierce when threatened.
The Vapra Clan
The Vapra (VÆ-prah) clan was a beautiful race with white hair, fair skin, and gossamer-winged women. Considered the oldest of the Gelfling clans, the Vapra reside in cliffside villages along the northern coasts, making their capital in Ha’rar. The Vapra’s maudra at the time of The Gelfling Gathering, Mayrin, doubled as All-Maudra, matriarch leader of all the Gelfling clans. Vapra were skilled at camouflage; their vliyaya focuses on light-changing magic, allowing them to become nearly invisible.
Over time, the Gelfling learned the truth that the Skeksis were draining Gelfling of their essence and drinking it to slow the Skeksis’ aging process. In a time known as “The Gelfling Gathering,” the Gelfling clans aimed to form a united front to defeat the Skeksis and heal their divided world.
“Before the Darkness, when I placed my hand on the carved rocks, the rocks sang to me and I shared their song with the Gelfling. I watched the Gelfling as they traveled through their lives; I made dwellings in the rocks for their empty bodies, and the rocks will care for them as long as the World remains. But then the Skeksis stole the Gelfling with force and fear. For from the Castle and the darkened Crystal within it there spread out evil like a cloud, power that no longer led to Harmony. The light of the Suns lost its brilliance, the song of the Crystal was deadened. And as one standing in a mist on a mountainside forgets the sunlight, forgets the path and the world and all outside the shifting grayness, so in all creatures that cloud of evil led their hearts to confusion.” – Aughra
The Prophecy and Garthim Wars
The Gelfling sought to know if the Crystal might be healed and if the Skeksis rule must continue. They lit the fires of rebellion and their dreams were made into stone. There, in the ruins wrought by the Skeksis, the Prophecy etched into the Wall of Destiny stood for all to see.
In the Prophecy, the Gelfling were shown the quest for the lost shard, and they were shown the healing of the Crystal by Gelfling hand, replacing the Shard by the light of a Great Conjunction. They were shown the ruin of the Gelfling and the fall of the seven clans.
When the Skeksis learned of this prophecy, they immediately sought to thwart it. In their madness and paranoia, they created the Garthim soldiers and Crystal Bat spies, dispatching them to hunt down and exterminate the Gelfling. They even manufactured false shards to hinder the Gelfling in their quest to heal the Crystal.
Some Known Gelfling, in Alphabetical Order:
Mayrin (MAY-rin), of the Vapra clan, was the All-Maudra (queen) at the beginning of the time known as The Gelfling Gathering. She believed that working with the Skeksis was the best way of ensuring prosperity and bounty for her people.
Amri (AHM-ri) was a member of the Grottan Clan. He left the Caves of Grot as an ambassador when Naia and Kylan brought the news of the Skeksis betrayal to his Clan.
Bellanji (bell-ÆN-jee), Naia and Gurjin’s father, was husband of Maudra Laesid of the Drenchen Clan.
Carn (KAHrn), an early Maudra, was leader of the Spriton clan of Gelfling and mother to Thall.
Gurjin (GUR-jin) was an friend of Rian‘s and a member of the Drenchen clan. He is the twin brother of Naia, and one of the first Gelfling to uncover the Skeksis’ plan to drain Gelfling essence.
Gyr was a traveler and a song-teller. He wandered the lands of Thra, roaming from tribe to tribe, learning their songs and sharing his own. It is said he created a firca from the bones of a Bell-Bird, which allowed him to sing his songs into written form across the walls in the Caves of Grot.
Jarra-Jen was a legendary figure in Thra. They say that lightning raged when he was born. As he grew to be an adult, lightning was the only force that could match his intensity. He was fearless, curious, and overwhelmingly charming.
Raised by the urRu in their valley, Jen believed he was the last survivor of the Gelfling. But when his dying master sent him on a quest, he discovered he was not alone. The Dark Crystal is the story of the terrors and final triumphs of Jen’s quest.
Jul was an ally of Rian‘s and a member of the Spriton clan.
Kensho (KEN-show) was a young Gelfling acolyte to the Gelfling Crystaline Eminence who oversees the delivery of offerings from the Gelfling and Podling races to the Crystal. He aids Thurma on her quest to re-ignite the dying sun at the very heart of Thra.
Like Jen, Kira survived the attacks of the Garthim on the Gelfling. Rescued by the Pod People, she learned to live in harmony with the woodland creatures who inhabited the swamps and forests surrounding the Podling village. When fate brought Kira and Jen together, she joined him on his quest. They gave each other strength, encouragement, and the will to succeed.
Kylan (KYE-len) was a Spriton Song-Teller and friend to Naia of the Drenchen. His dream was to become a hero like the legendary Jarra-Jen, until discovering his abilities in song-telling and dream-stitching might find him a greater place in Gelfling history.
Lahr (LAR) was a shepherd and music maker. He was the first Gelfling to have ever killed a Garthim. He was strong and compassionate, and regarded as brave by the other Gelfling. When his village is destroyed by Garthim, he set out to save others from the same fate. He and Neffi aided villagers in fighting off Garthim attacks, and journeyed to the Castle of the Crystal to free the Gelfling prisoners. Lahr married Neffi.
When the news of the Skeksis betrayal reached the Sifa, Maudra Ethri (EH-three)had only recently taken the role of Maudra. Though she was beloved by her clan, she was inexperienced when it came dangerous politics.
Called the Blue Stone Healer, Maudra Laesid’s (LAY-sid) healing abilities were unparalleled. A proud and trusting mother, she believed her children, Naia and Gurjin, when they brought news of the Skeksis betrayal.
The Dousan’s fixation on death was honed by their Maudra, Seethi (SEE-thee) the Skin Painter, whose transcendental dream-etchings were said to be glimpses into the afterlife.
Naia (NYE-ya) was a Maudra-in-Training of the Drenchen Clan, with the special ability to dreamfast with creatures other than Gelfling. She left her home in the Swamp of Sog in search of her missing twin brother, Gurjin. After traveling all the way to the Castle of the Crystal, Naia was one of the only Gelfling to discover the darkened Crystal and survive to sing the tale.
Neffi (NEH-fee) was a weaver from the village of Greengrove. She was kind and playful, and loved children. She was also very resourceful and courageous. She and Lahr, both victims of the Garthim Wars, ventured together to warn the other villages of the danger. With Lahr, she aided villagers in fighting off Garthim attacks, and journeyed to the Castle of the Crystal to free the Gelfling prisoners. Neffi married Lahr.
Tavra (Katavra of Ha’rar)
Tavra (TAH-vra) was a Vapra warrior and daughter of the Gelfling All-Maudra. Tavra was originally sent by her mother to find the Gelfling traitors Rian and Gurjin, but later came to realize the truth of the situation and tried to protect them instead. She was named after a Gelfling of myth who was said to be a friend of Raunip.
The daughter of Maudra Carn who loved spending her time in the forest. She was the first Gelfling to encounter the urRu UrSu. UrSu, Thall and Raunip help the underground dwelling creatures find their way back underground.