The History of the Humans
The First Humans
It was a warm spring day on the Eastern Plains when the mighty Implementor Maurice decided to again act once more upon an idea He occasionaly toyed with. He stood on a rise and let His dark shadow stretch out upon the desolate land before Him, and watched it for a time. Then, He extended His hands and lifted them through the air. As His hands rose His shadow writhed upon the grass, then gained depth as a shape rose from it, slowly coalescing into a body. With a gesture He placed the body on the ground beside Him, and again He extended His hands. Twelve times more He drew forth a body from His shadow, until thirteen newly created beings lay at His feet, six female, seven male. He stood over His creations, and He gifted them with life, as He had gifted Ogres with life a millenium before. As they stirred He gave them a language, Thoras, and gave them the knowledge of His creation of them in His image. As they stood before Him He gave them a name, Humans, after what He had once been, so very long ago, before the creation of this realm. And then, as they stood there in awe, He reached out and grasped the nearest, the thirteenth, by the back of the neck, and turned him to face the others. Then He drove His other hand into His victim's chest, snapping his ribcage like so many twigs, and tore his heart out. As the newly created Humans stared on in horror Maurice dropped the blood-covered corpse at His feet and gazed darkly upon them. "This," He said, "is
Death." And the Humans were filled with fear and despair, as each realized that they, too, would die. And Maurice watched them, watched their faces, and spoke once more. "And you," He proclaimed, "are Mine." And with that He placed His hands together in a mocking parody of holy prayer, smiled darkly, and vanished from sight.
For the next century and a half the Humans wandered the plains, following and living off of the great herds that roamed there at that time. They huddled each night around their campfires, and when they were fortunate Maurice honored the High Priest's fire with His Presence. It is said that merely to sit in His Presence would cause
new knowledge and cruelties to stir in one's mind, and none could sit with Him unchanged. He shared much knowledge during these long nights, telling ancient tales and explaining the workings of the world. From the stories they learned of Maurice's previous creation in the swamps far to the west, the Ogres, and of other Humans, long gone, in the realm of Maurice's mortal youth. From his explanations they learned to channel His divine energies through themselves, feeding them with their mana and shaping them into spells of their own. And from His Presence they grew cruel and cunning. In time they had learned enough that they no longer were content traveling the plains, and decided to settle and build.
In 150 YH, on that sacred hill where Maurice had created them, the Humans began to build their city. They named it after their name for the plains, unaware that exploring Elves had named them the Eastern Plains long before. This name is now lost to the world, and the city is called merely the Ghost Town, or the Unnamed City. For a century the city grew, and the Humans grew in numbers. By 250 YH they were strong enough to take their first steps out into the rest of the world.
The First Wave
Groups of intrepid adventurers explored the surrounding lands, venturing into the Light-Wood Forest to the north and west, and the Southern Mountains to the south. All but a few who entered the Light-Wood Forest mysteriously disappeared, and those who returned spoke of twisted, dark things with nets and traps. Those who explored the mountains, however, found a pass, and beyond it a barren desert. To the south of the desert they found the Maelmordian Seas, stormy and wild. Traveling west along the shore they found a river, twisting through the sands to spill out into the Seas. While following this river upstream to the north they found an island of greenery in the barren dunes. Fed by a system of bubbling hot springs, this lush region was the only place on the south side of the mountains that could support more life than the occasional lizard. Here, in 251 YH, they settled, and they called their settlement Thalos. Food was scarce in the desert, and the Mayor of Thalos soon saw that a more reliable source would be needed if Thalos were to grow. At his command, a fishing village was founded in 253 YH, at the mouth of the river. Supplied with seafood by this village of Amyklai, the town of Thalos grew.
Humans had been introduced to the concept of slavery during the Wandering, and as their numbers grew, slavery began to appear. At first slaves were workers who had failed to pay off debts, and were working for their creditor until they had paid them off. Slowly the pretense of legal rights for slaves disappeared, and the children of slaves were slaves themselves. The people of Thalos used slaves heavily, both in the quarries where the great blocks of stone were being cut to build a city wall, and to attend to the needs of the citizens. As more and more slaves were needed in the quarries, fewer slaves were available to wait upon the rich and powerful of the city. The matter was brought before the Mayor of Thalos, and a solution was debated for many weeks. In time, the decision was made to enslave a peaceful race that lived in small groups throughout the Southern Mountains, the Giants. The Giants were tall and strong, and one Giant could do the work of several Human Slaves. The attempt by the Humans to enslave the Giants failed, however, for they could not be broken. During the attempt the mages of Thalos created the Giant-Kin, Giants with a bit of Humanity flowing in their veins. From this work they continued to experiment,
and in 404 YH, Minotaurs were created. These powerful, stupid, bull-headed creatures were perfect slaves, maturing
quickly into durable, impressionable workers. Their creation enriched Thalos many-fold, as the city sold them to their citizens and to the Unnamed City and Amyklai. The city was grateful, and the Mages' Guild in Thalos was granted many rights and honors. It grew rich and powerful, and any aspiring Human mage traveled to Thalos, to learn
from the masters.
As Amyklai grew, new methods of fishing and shipbuilding were developed. By 430 YH the fishermen were fishing far out on the wild Maelmordian Seas, and their lives were often short and hard. In this year, the Mayor of Amyklai sent a request and an offer to the Mages' Guild of Thalos. In return for assistance in mastering the
Maelmordian Seas, the city of Amyklai would supply a Guildhall and several attractive tax breaks. A number of mages accepted, and the Seamages' Guild of Amyklai was founded. The seamages worked hard and long over the years, learning the secrets of the Seas. From their work the Shipbuilders' Guild and the Fishermen's Guild learned many things, and ships were built faster, stronger, and safer, and Humans began exploring the Seas. Over the next century the Seas were explored, and in 521 YH, a monumental discovery was made. The Nerissa, piloted by Captain Dorian, sailed into Amyklai after a two year voyage. The sole surviving ship of her fleet, she bore incredible news; a new continent had been found. Many new fleets traveled south at this news, and the coast of the southern continent was explored. They found that much of the western coast was composed of high cliffs and rocky waters, and the winds that blow south off of the Maelmordian Seas made it impossible to approach them without risking being smashed against the rocks. In the east, however, they found inviting sandy beaches, and calm waters.
It was on these sandy beaches that the first Human colony on the Southern Continent was founded in 522 YH, the small colony of Altibia. Altibia quickly grew in size. Trade across the Maelmordian Seas proved profitable, shipping exotic plants and woods from the forests near Altibia to Amyklai, and goods from Amyklai, Thalos and the Unnamed City to Altibia. Seamages in both Amyklai and Altibia, already highly respected by the sailors, became rich and powerful, as they were essential to safe and effective sea trade. Their spells protected the cargo ships from the many dangers of the Seas, the giant squids, the pirates, and the dreaded Tempest. The people of Altibia, far
from the Unnamed City, worshipped Maurice less, and were less influenced by him. Perhaps as a result of this, slavery never gained a significent toehold in the city, although every mage of any power had at least one Minotaur slave.
It was apparant to the people of Thalos that a colony would be a profitable thing. A colonizing expedition was sent out, led by a newly created Duke, who had sworn an oath of fealty to Thalos. They travled far to the east, past many dangers. The Grand Duchy of Southshire founded in 580 YH.
In 588 YH, a group of artisans left the oppressive atmosphere of Thalos, seeking to create a better life for themselves. In this self-described Great Flight they sailed to the south and west, away from the normal Thalos sea routes. On a tiny island in the Maelmordian Seas the village of Tier Sh'Halen was founded. The artisans were skilled, and their village grew and prospered.
The Seas were not the only place Humans were extending their influence into and across. The vast and wild Southern Continent attracted its fair share of hopeful explorers. In 612 YH an exploration expedition set out from Altibia, up the In'Zerre, led by the great mage, Kuroth Krakenkiller. The Halfing town of EmDeeVille was discovered only a short ways up the the river, by the beautiful Lake Stillwater. The Halflings were friendly, if wary at first, and with the aid of the mages' magic they were able to communicate. The expedition sent a messenger back to Altibia, reporting their discovery, not knowing that that message would be the last the people of Altibia would hear of them. For the Kuroth Expedition ended in disaster, far in the interior of the continent. The Minotaur slaves that the expedition had taken with them revolted, escaping into the wilds, and the expedition spent a great amount of time attempting to recover them. When, after much misadventure, they caught up to them, the Minotaurs had entrenched themselves in a fortress of their own making, and the Humans found that destroying the upstart slaves would be no easy task. Kuroth took the Minotaurs' treachery as a threat to his very magehood, and he vowed that he
and his followers would never return to Altibia until the horns of every last one of their former slaves were burnt in sacrifice to Maurice. The expedition settled in a system of caves some distance from the Minotaurs' Fortress, and what would be an endless war began. In the many centuries since then they have fought, back and forth, never quite destroying the other.
Then, in the year 1000 YH, came the Fall. Omens and portents had been growing ever more ominious, and doomsayers walked the streets of the Unnamed City describing visions of death and destruction. The fulfillment of these prophecies began with the turning of the millenium, when Maurice, who only rarely now made full appearances,
appeared in His greatest temple, in the Unnamed City. He spoke unto his High Priest and his clerics, and He proclaimed that after one thousand years of ownership, He was leaving the realm. The clerics were shocked, and in their horror they reacted poorly. They ordered Maurice to stay, giving reason after reason, not noticing as His
gaze grew darker with each new demand. Finally His patience snapped, and with a gesture He threw the High Priest upon His altar. He raised His hand and brought it down, and lightning poured down upon the altar. The precious metals that decorated it sprayed up in molten streams, and the High Priest writhed with pain before shriveling to
a crisp. The lightning continued to strike, and with a sickening crack heard across the city, the altar shattered beyond repair. He scowled at the horrified clerics, and sores appeared on their flesh, and they began to fester. Maurice glared about the desecrated temple, then pronounced one last doom: the name of this city, his holy city,
most sacred and loyal to him through the centuries, would be struck from the realm, from each place it was written, from each mind that had heard it, and never would it be heard again. Then, glowering, He stepped into the space between the realms and left, never to return.
With His departure, the Human world trembled. The now-Unnamed City was devoured by the plague, the streets lined with festering bodies. Some fled the city before being struck by the sores, traveling to Thalos. Upon hearing their tales of horror, the Mages of Thalos devised a spell to detect the presence of the disease. Those refugees that the spell showed to be infected were killed at the gates. For three years, Thalos slowly adapted to its expanded population. Then, in 1003 YH, a fleet of pirate ships sailed into Amyklai. The pirates had long survived in small bands in the islands of the Seas, harassing merchant ships, but had never joined in a fleet of any size. This fleet was different. Those who survived the Massacre of Amyklai told tales of feral cruelty and strange magics. The citizens of Amyklai fought valiantly but the pirates overwhelmed the city, burning its fair buildings and capturing or slaughtering the citizens. Again survivors fled to Thalos, leaving the ruins of Amyklai to the whim of the dark pirate captain who had united the pirates beneath his banner. The city of Thalos was now filled beyond its capacity. As the Humans struggled to redefine themselves without Maurice, civil disorder
swelled in the city. In this disorder, betrayal came from an unexpected quarter. The Minotaurs uprose in 1004 YH, and Thalos fell beneath their hooves. Far to the south, in Altibia, Maurice's departure brought about further changes. Although His influence had not been strong there, His absence was felt. The rangers of the city, who had long hated slavery, brought pressure upon the mages to free their Minotaur slaves. The mages refused, and began to flaunt their power in ever more extravagent ways. Great creatures were called up from the depths of the sea, and powerful magics were worked. This magical showmanship ended when a powerful mage, known only as the Evil One, turned upon the city. The mages and clerics banded together against him but were soundly defeated, and the city was
destroyed in the conflict in 1007 YH. With both Amyklai and Altibia in ruins, sea travel was lost to the realm. Only in those places far from Maurice's influence did Humans continue without change; in Kuroth, deep in the Southern Continent, and in Southshire, far to the east. An exception was the town of Tier Sh'Halen. This island town met with a mysterious disaster in the decade following the departure of Maurice, sinking beneath the earth.
The Second Wave
But Humans are a resilient race. When Thalos fell to the Minotaurs, a band of refugees escaped over the wall and fled to the north. They traveled through the thick forest, avoiding the Ogres, and in time they came to a swift-flowing river. There, on its banks, they found an Elf. He smiled, and in fluent, musical Thoras, introduced
himself as Callum, and asked them their business in the forest of Haon'Dor. They told him of the destruction of Thalos, and of their flight into the forest. He listened, nodded, then turned to the forest and gave a short whistle. From the trees came other Elves, bearing food and supplies. Callum turned back to the Humans and
explained that they had been watching them for some time, and had decided to offer their assistance. The Elves guided the Humans through Haon'Dor, to the banks of the River Fastwater on the eastern edge of the forest. There they founded Midgaard, in the spring of 1005 YH, under the guidance of their newly elected Mayor Leander. Leander was a young, charismatic man, and did not feel that Midgaard should become a newer version of Thalos. His laws and decisions were friendly to change and open-mindedness, setting a precedent which would last over three hundred years. These changes were not embraced wholeheartedly by the ten surviving mages of Thalos, who were used to slaves and preferential treatment. After only a few years, they left Midgaard for the Shadow Grove to the east, under under the leadership of Cyril, Grand Master of Magic, to create the High Tower of Sorcery in 1010 YH. There they would carry on the surviving traditions of the Thalos mages. In Midgaard, the open policies encouraged the Elves to live and work with the Humans. In time, Half-Elves appeared and flourished.
In 1142 YH, Seaside was founded on the coast south of Midgaard. Seaside grew, and fishing technologies became more sophisticated again.
With the reappearance of ships strong enough to sail the Maelmordian Seas, the fishermen once more began to explore them. It was a Half-Elf sea captain, Captain Tiber, guided by legends from the Elves, who discovered the Southern Continent once more. In 1221 YH he founded a seaport there, named Safehaven. This port was far to the west of the former location of Altibia, nestled in Safehaven Bay, among the dangerous cliffs that had thwarted explorers seven hundred years before.
With intercontinental sea travel rediscovered, the coast was once more explored. The ruins of Altibia were found, and in them the story of its destruction, as written down and hidden by its last survivor, Captain Takorn. In 1280 YH, the ruins were resettled by a small group of isolative colonists. They called their town New Altibia.
In 1312 YH, a new city was built on the northern edge of the plains north of Midgaard. Ofcol was successful from the beginning, growing more food than it needed on the fertile plains. This surplus spurred it to trade, both with Midgaard to the south and the Dwarves of Dwarvenhold to the north. Mayor Rasputin came to power in Midgaard,
and in 1340 YH, Elves and all things Elven were expelled from the city. The Elves had been a profitable trading partner for Midgaard, and with their expulsion the Humans became more dependant upon trade with Seaside and Ofcol.
With the growing trade and need for safe travel between Seaside, Midgaard and Ofcol, the three cities got together and built the Great Western Road. This enormous project was begun in 1425 YH, and construction took almost three years.
In 1907 YH, Ichabod Harper explored the River Fastwater, searching for its source. It was on this search that he found the Elven town of Malenest. At this discovery he camped on the southern side of the river, while he and his fellow explorers visited with the Elves. The explorers stayed, and the camp became first a settlement, and then a town. The rich forests surrounding the town provided valuable resources, and the town of Harper's Landing settled into a peaceful life of trade with Midgaard downstream. It is said that after Harper's Landing was well-settled, Harper continued his search for the source of the River Fastwater. He disappeared into the hills and mountains to the north and west of Harper's Landing, and was never seen again.
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