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PostSubject: Mankind   Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:47 pm

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Mankind
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Overview
Humans are the most common sapient species in the known world. Clever, adaptive, versatile creatures, humans live on nearly every known landmass and in every climate. From the frigid Deep Wastes to the barren Sidan Desert, humans manage to survive and even flourish under the harshest of circumstances. Examples of advanced human societies are relatively recent, emerging only in the past 2,000 years. Nevertheless, humans have grown to dominate the known world, making great strives in culture, technology, and mysticism.

Physiology
Mankind, like all other life on Aeria, is subject to a wide variety of physical features. Humans can be tall or short, stocky or thin, weak or strong, as can any other creature, but among humans the difference is far more marked; Humans can run the gamut of combat styles, from nimble acrobat to hard-hitting warrior to powerful mages. Humans are among the shorter-lived creatures in the world, with an average lifespan of 100 years. Ages over a hundred are not unheard of, but usually involve magical intervention. Compared to the Álfar, humans are shorter, stronger creatures with a lesser yet substantial rate of magical potency. Due to their short lifespan, human spellswords are far rarer than in the Elven community, producing instead powerful mages. Despite this limitation, humans ironically seem far more attuned to the mystical, as they are the only beings that can be planetouched. Manifesting as a powerful natural connection to an element or even magic itself, the Planeborn or even Weaveborn can only be found among mankind. Of special note are the Dragonblooded, a bloodline of supremely gifted beings, born with both strong magical talent and physical stature, said to descend from the Dragon-Gods of old. These men and woman often go on to become famous heroes and villains, renowned throughout the realm. The most renowned Dragonblooded family were the Shires. Humans are also capable of procreation with the Álfar, leading many scholars to believe a common history between the two races.

Origin and History
When the Álfar arrived from their doomed homeland far beyond the Great Sea, Mankind was already here, scattered across the land in primitive tribes. The origin of Mankind has been a mystery for centuries, the point of dispute among scholars, priests, and historians since the beginning of human high culture, each with differing and contradicting hypothesis. The early human cultures believed that men were born from the earth, formed and filled with life by the spirits of nature. The people of Sida believe that mankind was created as one of three peoples by the deity Aten, whom Aten commanded the other peoples (the 'Malāʾikah', or Angels, and the 'Jinn', or Spirits) to bow before as the unique glorifiers of his Kingdom. Most scholars believe a shared heritage with the Elves, akin to the Dvergar or the Daefar. The people of Occitan are unique in having no creation story beyond the affirmation of what they are not; they are not the children of the Elven Pantheon, nor are they called to obey them. Beyond speculation and folktales, little is known; even the renowned Elven histories are silent on this matter.

Early humanity was scattered across the face of the world, collected into small, primitive tribes that most often worshiped Vaettir, or Nature Spirits. Before the arrival of the Elves, mankind had no inclination of the Gods or of magic. Following what the Álfar record as the Shadow War, the Elven peoples began to expand onto the mainland, where they encountered humans. Their first encounters were varied but often violent. Both early Talibarian and Occitanian peoples fought the Elven expanse viciously, but were ultimately subjugated by greater Elven martial might. Once subjugated, these early societies lived as vassal states under Elven rule, where they began to learn from Álfar society. By the time of the Crown Wars, humanity had begun to pull itself out from primitive darkness into more advanced societies.

The Crown Wars marked a decline of Elven power that freed mankind to it's own devices. In the decades in which the Crown Wars raged, the peoples once subjugated by the Elves experienced a cultural revolution, using higher technologies and the art of magic for the first time, forging nations across the land. With their advances also came their Gods, with religions derived from Elven Theosophy taking hold, alongside their older Vaettir worship. Mankind expanded rapidly, especially in Talibar and Occitan. By the time of the God Wars centuries later, the native people of Talibar in particular had expanded across the Heartland, with numerous Kingdoms feuding for power. It was then that Tyr, God of Justice, called upon the lord of one of these Kingdoms, a man named Romas Talibar. Tyr demanded that Romas unite the Kingdoms of the Heartland in his name. Romas succeeded in this task, and led his united Kingdom of Talibar into the God Wars. The unification of the Heartland is primarily responsible for the extinction of Vaettir worship and the Heartland's widespread Tyr worship. Though the Kingdom of Talibar would later dissolve with Romas' death, the legendary Kingdom would act as an inspiration of the people of Talibar and would act as the model for the Talibarian Empire, founded centuries later.

The early peoples of Occitan were left out of the cataclysmic God Wars, though they were not unaffected. Talibar's war of unification led them as far north as Occitan, where the King sought to destroy an important symbol of Vaettir worship, an Irminsul. Crushing the pagan army, Talibar himself took an axe to the great oak, carrying away the titanic trunk back to the Heartland. Following the destruction of the Irminsul, Occitan was wracked by great, unending famines. Thousands of Occitanians died during the famine, and although no concrete link has been established, many Occitanians to this day despise the name of Romas Talibar. In those days, when death and chaos were the norm, there emerged many great and charitable figures who became legends among the people. One such figure, Stolz, came in power over a small kingdom. The famine finally ended with the emergence of the mysterious White Order, who called for Stolz' presence in their secluded forest sanctuary. When he emerged, he spoke of warnings of an invasion by profane powers and an age where there would be no false gods, but where men would become gods by their actions. To the people of Occitan, he spoke true on both accounts. The Álfar, seeking to reestablish their dominion, were nevertheless routed by a united Occitan under the first Kaiser, Stolz; and Stolz, on his deathbed, was canonized by the White Order as the first Saint.

The men of Sida were the indigenous people of what was once the great Sidan jungle. These people were never vassal states of the Elves; they were, instead, subjugated by the Naga, a Serpentine race of great power in those days. Tapping into the power of the Black Pyramid, the Naga were tremendously powerful sorcerers who pioneered the arts of both Vitamancy and Necromancy. The Naga were also prolific summoners; Naga Mage-Kings would conjure and bind huge armies of demons to do their bidding. It is the belief of the Sidan people that these profane acts would lead to their downfall, as punishment for their sin; whatever the case, during the God Wars, the Naga civilization came to a rapid and brutal end. A portal to the Nine Hells was opened on the steps of the Black Pyramid, and legions of demons spewed forth, butchering the Naga and setting the entire continent literally ablaze. The Jungle burned until nothing was left but the desert. The men of Sida emerged from the ashes and spread across the continent, inhabiting the barren landscape and picking over the cities of white marble left behind by the Naga. Evolving into a primarily nomadic people in the south and warring Kingdoms in the north, they progressed relatively undisturbed until the coming of Ayah Muhkam, prophet of the deity Aten. Muhkam, a member of a small southern clan, amasses a tremendous amount of followers until he leads an army of faithful upon the city of Nasii, expelling the monarchy there. By the time of Muhkam's death, all of Sida had been united under his banner and converted to Muhkamism. His actions led to the age of the Sidan Caliphates, a society that would later expand into Seljuk and conquer as far as Cramiche. Divided into the Low, High, and Golden Caliphates, Sida would become a world power, a center of high culture. The Sidans made significant advances in the fields of art, science, and mysticism. During the High Caliphate, Sida and Nasii in particular became the nexus of the magical world, being the birthplace of many magical societies, including the Archivists of Light. The Sidans followed in the footsteps of the Naga Mage-Kings, and began to traffic with demonic entities for power before being expelled by a popular revolt. These Mages were exiled from Sida, and fled to Maalik, where they continued their practices, establishing magocratic societies around them. The Caliphate, however, would fall into a period of decline following several Talibarian crusades and a mysterious enemy from the far east. The death of their society was sealed when the Sultanate of Seljuk was conquered by Tiberius Maylarn and the rest of the Caliphate failed to act.

The history of humanity is too vast to be told in a single tale. There are many other cultures, such as the Mind-Sculptors of Narvik, that have yet to be fully documented. Nevertheless, humanity as a whole has become the most numerous and powerful species in the known world.


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Originally for Aeria by Pat.
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PostSubject: Re: Mankind   Fri Jan 25, 2013 4:24 pm

Dominator046 wrote:
The Highland Anthology: The Story of the Gaerds

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The People of the Highlands

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Spoiler:
 

The people of the Highlands, known as the Dragon Coast in modern times, are a hardy, colorful folk, who have a great culture spanning back before the bounds of history; a great amount of material exists from these prehistoric times, past on and recorded through legends and monoliths that stand on the countryside to this day. These people inhabit what is but a fraction of their ancestral lands known as the Dragon Coast, where civilization has difficulty taking root, and where they are humbled by the beauty and struggle of life.

The Highland people themselves are generally considered to be fair to tall in height, with flaxen, red, or autumn-hued hair if darker, usually consisting of notable musculature and broadness of shoulders. They tend to consist of eye colors ranging blue, grey, green, or hazel. They have bold bone and facial structure, however, explorers dating back to even the arrival of the elves express the beauty and power expressed within these features. Consisting mostly of men, there are elvenkind amongst the Gaerdic populace, almost all of them of Tymafar decent. Despite their affinity for height, they remain rather resistant to the elements, having survived in the more inhospitable lands that they have for ages uncounted. In addition, they are a rather clean people, being resourceful as they are, and not hampered as greatly by the unpleasant aspects of city life.

The Gaerds themselves are a simple, colorful people, who prize their strong heritage, codes of honor, and self-reliance in high esteem. The people are blunt, perhaps crude, but have carried their old ways with them into a new world. Advancing in technologies to suit their desires as they grow, they have continued to prove themselves great metalworkers, great buccaneers, great frontiersmen, and formidable warriors. Gaerdic sailsmen have took to the seas and rivers not long after the arrival of the elves, and their designs continue to produce the most effective schooners in nautical combat to this day; unbearably swift, they can penetrate enemy naval defenses swiftly, defensively maneuver against enemy ships, and allow for the boarding of larger vessels, where their warrior facets are stacked upon the naval.

Spoiler:
 

Gaerdic myth holds that their early people discovered steel early on, and began using it long before the arrival of elves to the mainland; they continue to prize the metal, and produce some of the most revered blacksmiths across the land. The principles of Gaerdic honor and self-reliance begin at a young age, where most young would learn various civilized traits, the Gaerds learn the practical. Many learn to read and write to a degree, but more so are they trained with the arts consisting of running, climbing, jumping, riding, and combat. Combat training with the Gaerd young begins almost as young as one can hold a weapon, and proves to be a valuable piece of their culture from then on. Many young are taught, in addition to reading and writing, various legends that the community holds dear, and also to wash, cook, and some learn to play musical instruments.

Of the spiritual community of the Gaerds, there are three denominations, but only two of which are practiced by the Highland peoples. The first is the traditional faith of the Gaerds, which reveres Kelund as the primary deity of their focus, and finding beauty in the life created by the Dead God. Another denomination is quite similar, but it brings into similar reverence Tyor as the patron of mankind, and Oden his father, whom continue to guide and watch over their people with their heavy gaze. The third un-practiced denomination is an alteration of the original tradition, however, shirking the view of other gods and praising mortalkind’s great strength and their ability to become gods themselves; this denomination is not of the Gaerdic belief system in orthodox, however, it is in fact the state religion of Occitan.
The spiritual leadership of the Gaerds is helmed by wise elders who guide the community in matters magical and spiritual, in addition, they helm the rituals and festivities used to honor the dead, the world, the revered, and the divine. They mentor the young in the study of the sacred language of the Gaerds, the Stjarnamark, or Star-Sign, which is the sigilum derived from the stars above then put to written and spoken form.

Within the Gaerdic lifestyle, men and women are often viewed as equal in every way, with perhaps some roles for certain genders being established due to natural physiology; it's natural that more men are the bread-winners, as they cannot give birth, or breast feed, which is naturally efficient and sometimes necessary in child rearing. Though these role differences can exist, there is freedom of choice between them, and in general, no one sex sees itself better than the other. There are various anecdotes and puns made by Gaerdic males about the ferocity of their women, in addition to the beauty and charm they are also able to possess. Marriage in a Gaerdic sense is a rather deep and spiritual bond; spreading into their monistic mythology. A marriage is a ceremony that commemorates the mutual desires of the two people to no longer walk this world as individual spirits, but as one. This matter of in depth relation to one another sometimes creates a lapse between courtship and marriage, where the creation of a family unit has come before the readiness for this eternal bond; which the ideals of the Pact would scorn upon. Though love and intimacy can of course exist without this bond, it is usually sought out by many, to find the one person in the world whom they can truly trust besides their blades. It is not uncommon for a female to propose to a male, as it is a mutual, and very sensitive emotional bond, and also due to the fact that dowry is something of a debatable stance in Gaerdic tradition. Divorce from marriage exists as well, though it is considered only necessary for foolish or shameful acts made with rashness; so, as in most all cultures whom practice divorce, it is seen as shameful in some respects. In addition to the division of property and lineage, it's not uncommon for the two to fashion parting gifts for the other, or provide them in some way, as a sort of momento of what was and what is now.

Social status is even among races and those of different physiques; as an old Gaerdic saying holds: “Strength can be measured in ten-thousand ways.” There is little in the way of formal education, so while there are few scholars, they are prized for their abilities, and often help instruct and train the young who show promise in those ways. Often learning is divided between those who can teach, often parental figures and family the first choice if applicable, then neighbors or approachable masters when able. Apprenticeship in these trades and eventual journeymanship brings the young into the world with skills that they can use to further their ability to provide, and enjoy life. Village leaders and people of importance are generally valued for their actions, and not required to be chosen or elected except for particularly high positions or in times of crisis. A village may be run by a Chief, villages often name a Hold-Chief or Jarl in case his position be needed, and Jarls may unite in their respected cultural domains and name a Clan-Chief, or Jorgnal. Though it has not been seen for generations, there has been time when the Clan-Chiefs have sworn their honor upon a single soul, and in fact elected a High-Chief, or Kvingyr, to rule the entirety of the Gaerdic people. The Kvingyr are few, and are entrenched with legends as much as recorded facts; marking themselves as true kings among men, and masters of conflict and battle.

Spoiler:
 

The afterlife to most Gaerds is defined through a series of cultural affinities that have adjusted over time and area. Traditional-most Gaerds consider death to lead to a form of peace, a uniting back to the All that gave them life, and a sort of contentness and serenity that can only exist when the mortal limit of understanding has been passed mortal limitation, where man can exist as one and all. Also thriving since ancient times is the belief that when souls die, they are judged based upon their valor and honor; souls that have proved honorable reside in a paradise unending to serve as eternal vigils of the all against the foulness of the Grim Grey Gods; these spirits are engaged in constant revery, feasting, battle, song, all contained within the great hall of the gods at the base of Vedrvidr. In similar lines with this fate, souls have a toll of purgatory upon them at birth through which they must endure, which is reduced or lengthened based upon the honor of the individual. Those found cowardly, vile, or otherwise unworthy, are turned away from paradise, and sent to inhabit Shar's cold halls at the base of the Black Glacier, where under he dark presence, men lose all sense of pleasure and peace, and live in a cold dread. Even those Gaerds who take on other faiths seem to naturally carry these traits on with them, valuing honor and strength of character (or physical strength) throughout their lives.

Spoiler:
 

Spoiler:
 

Other, more obscure or incomplete Gaerdic standing stones make references of deities that don't have ample placing in today's world; such as the prehistoric, though rarely seen deity Corgnaal whom is almost exclusively referenced. Another is a deity by the name of Kymgaal, whom is discussed as having multiple physical forms throughout history with the same divine spark. Others exist, but not many are worth note.

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A Culture, History, Mythology, and Philosophy.

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The Dragon Coast today makes up a large stretch of country, moving from what is the southern border of Occitan’s Buchloe province, through the cape of the Vale, and descending down to the southern border of Sanctimonia. Despite being subject subject to the advances of modern technologies, the old traditions of the Highlanders still hold true, keeping their unique cultural flavor even in the face of different social settings and technology. The Gaerds also throughout history have been great men of the sails and of the frontier, making strides in nautical technology through traditional practices, and continuing to thrive in border ranges and those places far from civilization where they are accustomed. They have long been credited with establishing posts on the frontier and holding the bounds of trade routes that spawn from the great ocean to the east beyond even Sida.

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The history of the Highlands, that of the Gaerds, is well established and ties heavily into their mythology. However, before delving into such material, one must understand the traditional names used by the Gaerds, and how they apply to the more civil dialects of Aeria.

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The Dichotomy of Gaerdic Gods

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Quote :
Ao – The All, Life, The monistic life force of all things

Light – Aesthar - Aspects: Lathandr and Kossuth

Darkness – Vanthar - Aspects: Selūn and Shar

Sharess – Surkhald – The Grim Grey God – The World Crumbler – The Elder Doom

Aten – Oden – Oden of Light – The Father of the Alfar – Eldest Brother of Kelund - Firelord

Selas – Selunas – Selunas of Spirit – Selunas whom is Mother

Shar - Shar (Same as above) - Darkness - The Elder Night - Queen of the Black Glacier - The Defector - The Dread King/Queen

Akash – Akossogr – Akossogr of The Mind

Kielm – Kelund – Kelund whose Corpse is the World – Kelund whose Corpse is Vedrvidr – The All Mother/Father

Tyr – Tyor – Tyor of Justice – Tyor who is Hammer and Gavel – The Vindicator

Ilmatyr – Aelmatar – Aelmatar of Wisdom – Aelmatar who Goes Without – Aelmatar of Last Solace

Voar – Vogr – Vogr of the Hunt – Vogr The Huntsmaster – Vogr who is Life and Death

Nazu – Linza – Linza who Once was Curious – Linza who Sees All – The Broken Soul

Velecar – Valcaar – Valcaar who Once was Patient – Valcaar who Sees All – The Foul Vigil

Dyaus – Dyagr – Dyagr of Fury – Dyagr who Rules the Deep – Master of the Dark Depths

Gond – Gondr – Gondr of Ingenuity - Forgelord

Nijal – Shar (Same as above) – Shar who Malefacts

Verumai – Shar (Same as above) – Shar who Spawns Plague – Surkhald’s Seeping Grasp

Sylornath – Surkhaldr – Surkhaldr of Demonic Rule - The Spawn of the Grim Grey God

Lloth - Shar (Same as above) - Shar whose veil is Yelot - Shar who Plots - Shar who Spreads Chaos

Tempus – Tympor – Tempus Born of Battle - Blade-Weigher - Battle God - God of Man

Helm – Helm – Helm who is Shield Father – Patron -- Lantern Lord - The Blue-Eyed Ward

Cyus – Caerus - Caerus of Glory

Moander – Mjander - Mjander of the Noxious Black – Tenant of Ginnungagap

Kelemvor – Kalmathor - Kalmathor who is Barrow Lord - Deathmaster

Sune – Sune - Sune of the Mortal Pleasure

Bane – Baan - Baan of Seething Hate - The Descendence of Surkhald

Bhaal – Baal - Baal who Bathed/Bathes in Blood

Ornulus – Ornaal - Ornaal who was/is Blood Chronicler – Blood Chronicler

Corgnaal – Unknown - Corgnaal the Dark Sleeping God – Corgnaal whom should Never Wake – The Sleeping Terror

Doomskr - Unaffiliated - The Elder Vigil - The White Wyrm - Sentinel - The Elderflame - Mentor

Kymgaal - Unknown - The Trespasser - The Reaper from Between - Star Demon - The Tempter


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