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"What If.... MAURICE HAD GUIDED US!"
by Duvel, Winged Warlock of Unity

Few mortals (or immortals) can deny that the Elves, Humans, and their half-breed progeny control the realms – geographically and economically. I, an old Aarakocra, am about to relate to you how this came about, and why this needn't have been.
Few Giants or their kin have ever risen to positions of great power and wealth. For many years, they were slaves to the Humans, and today, they keep mostly to the high mountaintops of Skor'lanis and a lonely island in the Maelmordian.
Trolls have never had the wit to band together to found a growing social group, and besides occasional destructive raids, Kobolds, Goblins and Orcs have not had much impact on the dominant economic and military powers.
While the Dwarves have shown great skill at creating wealth from the seeming nothingness under the earth, becoming renowned for their gemstones and metal smithing, a series of wars with invading evil have left them wary of outsiders and withdrawn in their underground caverns and remote valleys.
Those Gnomes that have survived to this day – although barricaded against their Kobold and Goblin foes on the northern continent, and hidden beneath the glaciers of the Oort range in the south – have become wealthy by trading, but their ambition has never been one of domination. Except for occasional merchants, few Gnomes are seen in the lands occupied by the Elves, Half-Elves and Humans.
And if anyone believes that the Minotaurs – or even more amusing, the Halflings – can challenge the dominance of what I'll call the Human- Elven Axis powers, they're out of their minds.
Yet, this dominance needn't have been! Any one of a number of small changes in history might have prevented it. Instead of this unspoken alliance between Elves and Humans, a far more powerful alliance might have been, between two races that have instead been at war with each other for as long as anyone can remember. Instead of being the so- called 'wild hinterland' it is today, the southern continent, with it's beauty and splendour and untold riches could have been the seat of the world's civilised power.
If, around 1000 years ago, Maurice had not left the realms, everything might have been different.
Let me explain.
The mighty Aarakocra came into being only a little earlier than Maurice created the first of the great humanoid races, the Ogres. These races existed – amid constant strife and violence – for more than a thousand years, before Maurice created a race he named Humans. He favoured Humans, and blessed them with great magical powers that rivalled even the old shamanic traditions of the Aarakocra and the Ogre-kin.
It is said, by Humans, that Maurice told them of his dissatisfaction with his earlier creation. The Ogre-kin had become a base society, a cruel and bloodthirsty race.
A less biased mind might point out that Maurice's dissatisfaction with the arrogance of the Human race was far greater – so great, in fact, that he caused great destruction and plague to visit the grand Human city of the Unnamed City, and plunged the Human race into their darkest hour – before leaving the realms. It doesn't take a great mind to come to the conclusion that the Humans learnt their thoughts of supremacy through close association with that most arrogant of all races, the Elves.
It took the Humans a thousand years to recover from what they refer to as the Fall. Among Aarakocrans and Ogres – and perhaps the Gnomes – this event might better be named the Great Chance, or, more perceptively, the Time of Wasted Opportunity!
For while Maurice was angered at his favoured creation, and chose to leave the realms, we, the Aarakocra, should have quit our petty squabbling with the Ogre-kin. We should have recognised that had we called upon him, the Great Implementor, to look favourably upon this mighty, intelligent and dextrous winged race, he might have seen a more profitable future for his creation.
He would have seen the potential of an alliance that – under his great guidance – could have combined the physical strength and endurance of the Ogre-kin with the intelligence and wit of the Aarakocrans. He would have seen a great shamanic civilization, flourishing in the south where now there are barren mountains and impenetrable fortresses! He would have realised that a great cooperative association between these two races would have kept the arrogant and insidious Human-Elven Axis at bay.
Imagine the great trading port that we could have established on the southern continent, where now that half-breed village slumbers! Imagine the canyons of the Tiber ringing with the call of the Aarakocra, and the industrious grunt of the Ogre-Kin in the great oak forests!
Picture yourself a world where the great shamanic powers protect all; mighty hosts of Aarakocra free-wheeling above the woods of the northern continent, and Ogre-kin that no longer shun the light of the plains!
We had the chance to rule the realms: we, the fierce Aarakocra, and they, the powerful Ogre-kin. Instead of warring with the real enemy – Humans and Elves – we were at war amongst ourselves, hunkering in our respective little enclaves, while the greed and arrogance of the Human-Elven Axis established its control over the realms.
What justice would have been served had Maurice not abandoned his own Ogres at the time of the Human Fall! What an opportunity it would have been for the oppressed races that eke out an existence in the forgotten corners of the realms today? What a mighty victory it would have been for the Aarakocra to be able to lead this powerful alliance against oppression and arrogant magic!
But alas – old Aarakocra warriors like me have to be content with a solitary existence – establishing influence for our kind among the Axis, and brokering peace among our warring races. It's with a hard heart that I think of Maurice now. He has forsaken us. Still, in moments of great stress, I imagine that I hear him snickering somewhere just out of sight.

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