Races of Avendar, Chapter IV: Humans

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An excerpt from the Races of Avendar, an in-game text found in the school of heroes, this chapter covers the humans.

humans: Section 1

humans are Avendar's most adaptable race, with a presence in almost all of
the world's locales.  humans trace their origin to a time following the fall
of the ancient alatharya, with their first civilizations growing in the
Dantaron river valley and the southeastern coast of the lower continent.  

The aelin provide the first written records of humanity, portraying them as
savages 'on the border of beginning a civilized existence'.  The aelin
generally left humans to themselves, considering them a barbarous curiosity
rather than true equals.  humans had little of value, so trade was all but

However, the coming of Dolgrael gave humanity its first true direction, and
gave the young race both a martial foothold and its first movements toward
civilization.  Iron weapons gave them a distinct advantage, and one that
would prove necessary with the coming of the srryn and their Fire magic. 
This step transformed a race of itinerant raiders to potential warlords. 
The human embrace of the flame was all but inevitable.  

humans: Section 2

humans proved apt pupils for the magics of Fire, inspired as they were by
the mad drive of Lilune, the moon goddess.  With their aid, the srryn
brought conflict to the ancient empires of the aelin.  This war, which would
be remembered as The War of Fire, went extremely well for the srryn and
humans at first, with aelin cities toppling before the new and destructive
magics of Fire.  

Given time, the aelin organized a staunch resistance, rallying their
collection of alatharya artifacts to aid them.  They called upon the
blessings of their deific parents, Aeolis and Alia, to preserve them in
their time of need.  The pace of victory slowed, and while the humans and
srryn still found some success, the rapacity of the srryn combatants led to
increasing losses.  

This resistance bought precious time; soon, a rogue band of humans,
dissatisfied with a life of bloody conquest, dared to ally themselves with
the embattled aelin.  The most famous aelin hero, Marlax, accepted the aid
of these humans, who in turn helped he and the aelin defend their cities.  

humans: Section 3

The humans proved more useful to the aelin than just simple city defenders. 
The scholars of the aelin, with their many artifacts and prophesies from the
end of the alatharyan age, discovered the presence of the slumbering god,
Jolinn, in the far north.  They sent the hardy humans, and some of their
own, to seek the Titans of Castle Nathli.  Marlax stayed behind, interested
only in battle.  

This journey has since become legend, and is recorded in greater detail in
other texts [See Tyalin's 'The Quest of Aramril', or the poem of the same
name by the poet Quarentis], and the humans and their aelin cohorts awakened
the slumbering god and discovered the magics of Water.  It is said that
Aramril's great hammer was infused with holy power, and he who sealed the
pact with Aranthas, son of the Titan king, to rout the srryn.  

With these new allies, the aelin fought a series of cataclysmic battles,
driving the srryn back to their swamps.  The human leaders who had allied
with the srryn were slain, either in battle, or executed by victorious

humans: Section 4

In return for their aid, the aelin cooperated with their human allies in
creating a new human government.  The heroes of The War of Fire were
situated in key positions of power.  Avendar's surface had been ravaged by
the many devastating battles, laying waste to fertile lands and creating the
permanent southern scar known as the Crimson Sands.  

The period following the War, however, was one of sustained prosperity.  The
humans established lasting trade with the aelin, who were in desperate need
of the fertile natural resources of the lowlands.  In return, the humans
grew fond of the mineral wealth of the mountains upon which many great aelin
cities had been built.  

Culturally, the humans were greatly influenced by the aelin's unique
republican government.  As well, the arrival of the caladaran brought to
humanity the magics of Earth, as well as an introduction to the monastic
tradition.  These factors led to the rise of one of the greatest human
empires: the Republic of Earendam.  

humans: Section 5

The Republic became a mainstay of Avendar's political landscape, offering
protection and peace to numerous human settlements.  Inevitably, these
regions were incorporated into the Earendamian cultural empire.  With this
increased expansion, the aelin looked inward, more inclined to isolation
than cooperation.  To many, this marked the end of the golden age of the

During the heyday of the Republic, the extent of territory was particularly
vast, incorporating Lithling Valley, stretching to the Uthlin Ocean, across
the Arien Plains to Qilarn, north into the Brintor Mountains, and south to
encompass the trade outpost of Var Bandor.  What the leaders of the Republic
had no way of realizing, however, was that this expansion would imperil
their way of life.  

Mining ever more deeply into the Brintors, humans eventually found their way
to the underworld of the shuddeni.  Eyeless and horrifying, the shuddeni
initially sought diplomatic ties with the Republic by way of the Archmage,
Kaagn.  The decadence of the Republic proved easily susceptible to the
temptations of the shuddeni and their magics of Void.  

humans: Section 6

When the shuddeni had sufficiently infiltrated human society, they brought
their armies to the surface through a hereto-undiscovered passage up through
the Brintors.  They began their conquest backed by legions of their brutish
chaja slaves, as well as the might of the Dragon's demonkind.  

The first winter of the War of Night marked the beginning of the shuddeni
offensive.  Terror gripped the human provinces of the Brintors, with many
unprepared humans sacrificed to the shuddeni's dark god, Tzet-Askhari.  With
the closing of passes during the winter months, the shuddeni fortified their
positions and sent for reinforcements.  

Elsewhere in Avendar, the Republic was faced with both internal dissent and
the eagerness of the srryn, who rallied for battle.  They harried human
forces as they attempted to assemble and thwart the growing shuddeni menace.

humans: Section 7

With spring came an escalation of conflict, as the forces of Earendam met
the shuddeni army in a series of bloody battles.  humans were unused to the
dread power of Void, leading to many losses and retreats.  This continued
for the first two years of the war, with humans making only marginal gains,
if any.  

Given time, the humans adapted to some of the shuddeni battle tactics. 
After the close of the second year of the War, the humans began to hold
their own.  With the coming of Aeolian warriors from across the Sea of
Lidraeu, humans seemed prepared to entrench their defense for some time to

Eager to prevent protraction, the shuddeni turned once more to their dark
magics.  Calling together their greatest archmagi, the shuddeni attempted
the greatest summoning of demonkind ever to be attempted in recorded
history.  Their dark rite prepared, the gateway opened; but through it came
the host that would turn the tide in favor of humanity.  The ch'taren and
their goddess, Rystaia Lightbringer arrived through the shuddeni nexus,
dooming the shuddeni forces with the magics of Spirit.  

humans: Section 8

With the aid of the ch'taren and their powerful magics, the shuddeni were
driven back beneath the surface of Avendar.  Although relief was palpable
throughout the world, the Republic's strength and unity were shattered.  Its
great army crippled, it was only a matter of time before rival leaders rose
in other human settlements.  

A patchwork of independent city states replaced the once mighty empire as
its grip disintegrated.  The trade city of Var Bandor severed its ties; the
city of Gaald proclaimed its heritage as the inheritor of the mantle of
Caal; and the nation of Gogoth grew only more defiant in the wake of the
shuddeni defeat.  

Despite this, the Republic continued as the reigning human institution of
the region for the next two and a half centuries.  The invasions of the
kankoran rang the death knell for the Republic, led by their mighty war-god
Khanval.  The humans were both militarily and financially unequipped to fend
off a full-scale invasion.  

humans: Section 9

Although the barbarian hordes were driven east, toward the Rirro Jagka, the
invasion destroyed all faith in the Earendamian senate.  With the rise of
the office of the Patrician, Earendam became an independent city state.  It
severed its direct defensive ties with all but its closest province,
Lithling Valley.  

In the modern era, human society has started to find a bit of consensus
within itself.  It remains politically divided, but has gained a certain
strength to deal with Avendar's other races.  Less isolated than the aelin,
less violent than the kankoran, and less dangerous than the shuddeni, the
humans have succeeded both as diplomats and rulers, preserving their place
as Avendar's dominant race.