History of the Races
Children of the Air became known as humans. They have mastered the huge space, but lost much of wisdom.
The memory of the common roots was erased with time. Traditions, customs and ideals became more and more different. Under the invisible hand of the deity Ag Haldr Father of the braves, humans built cities, cultivated alchemy and art. Yielding life expectancy for children of Water and Earth, they are, nevertheless, considerably more prolific, and if dwarven mountains were unsuitable for the humans, the fate of rich and fertile elven lands were certain. Innumerable tribes of humans moved out from the north, capturing and readjusting elven territories. All the efforts to make a peace accord came in vain: the elves were not willing to accept the human presence, and people were not going to give away conquered territories. The two nations began the Endless war that lasted nearly three hundred years, and eventually culminated in the defeat of the Elven armies at the Brimstone Heart Volcano. The human army, led by Brand the Invincible, dealt a crushing blow to the elite forces of the elves, led by Alorian Amakiir who had never suffered a defeat. By breaking elven sword Brand heralded new rulers of the continent — humans.
The history of the human kingdom is full of contradictions and violence. For a long time these lands were torn by endless feudal strife — until about three hundred years ago, when Kharus Blacksword hung up seven lords on the famous Evil Oak, eliminating all worthy competitors, and became the first king of united human lands. He ruled alone maintaining peace and order, with an iron hand and destroyed any pockets of resistance and dissent with sword and fire. However, his descendants did not have his quickness: thirty years after the death of Kharus, his grandson, Vingas Blacksword fell from the hands of Saymur Redhead, Lord Redblade. So changed the ruling dynasty.
Saymur’s son, Ekmar I, led the combined human forces to the Battle of White Fangs — in order to enlist the support of all the lords, he promised them to change the system of government, to create a consultative institute for political decisions.
After the battle was won Ekmar I kept his word, so the Barons council appeared a congress of representatives of all the noble families. The Council was and still is responsible for the discussion of military and economic issues. The King must appear at the meetings, but it does not have the power and the right to vote — he only listens to all the opinions, and then based on them takes the decisions, to be executed by all the inhabitants of the kingdom, including the barons.
At the helm of Gremar Tall, father of the present king Ekmar II, there was another seat added to the council for a representative of the Negotiant Guild, although his role is still mostly confined to monitoring and writing reports for the management of the Guild. Around the same time Gracewood family, whose representatives have always been eloquent, cunning and resourcefulness, acquired special influence among the members of the Council. The current head of the family, Nigvan Beardless, is a close friend of the king, and actually performs the role of his personal adviser. Most of the barons are not happy about that. More and more nobles claim that the Council is step by step losing its meaning, because the king listens only to Gracewood, a man questionable and suspicious.
However, at the present time, the Council is gathering more often than usual: the reasons are the events taking place in the land of elves and demons, and the obvious threat from their dreadful and unnatural alliance. Since ancient times, people maintained very close relations with the dwarves, so the two nations made an alliance easily. Now the Alliance of Basalt and Steel is forming nearly united state, with common goals — to survive and win. The members of the Big Thing participate in the meetings of the Barons council, dwarven merchants travel freely through the lands of the Alliance, the Iron Phalanx and masters of the Stone workshop are deployed at the borders together with the Redblade guard.
Relations with the demons and elves came down to a simple rule: «Either we crush them or they will crush us». Every one, even the peasants and townspeople realize that the coming war will be a war of annihilation. However, local folk don’t show aggression against the rare elven settlers that have long been living in the territories of Ericuria. Of course, they try to keep them under surveillance, but they are not the ones who you can expect trouble from — those who supported the policy of the Punishers of the Blood Moon, have crossed the border long ago. So there is nothing strange in the fact of meeting an elf on the road or in the tavern. But if the demon is caught, their life ends here and now.
Cult of Ag Haldr Father of the Braves is prevalent among the humans There are many legends and stories about its origins, the often directly contradict each other. The most famous version is written in the holy book «Word of Haldr», says that everything is in balance in the universe, everything has its opposite — and if there are nameless creatures of darkness, there must be gods, creatures of the light. One of them is the Father of the Braves, who took a human form for his mortal incarnation and lived many lives among the people.
Shortly after the Night of the Great Execution and disappearance of the Forgotten he came on the earth, bringing his words to the human race. Courage and Valor — is light. Fear and meanness — is darkness. That is his word. To many it may seem too simple, but any real truth is simple. To many it may seem outdated, but any real truth is old and eternal. With these words he led the people in the great battle at the White Fangs, with these words his successors, kings and knights, held on like grim death on the borders of the human lands.
Humans don’t build temples for Ag Haldr; his stone monuments are erected on the sites of famous battles, sanctified by the blood of fallen heroes. Ag Haldr doesn’t need sacrifices — he sees the true courage proved not in words but in deeds, and evaluates it highly. As the ritual offerings at the feet of statues of Ag Haldr people often put captured armor or weapons. The more glorious and strong was the defeated enemy, the more valuable is the offering. Ag Haldr does not need priests: «His word» is written in the great book, and anyone is free to interpret it in their own way, but the divine will manifest itself in the speeches of generals before the battle, in the dirge and in the battle cry.
It is believed that the one who lived with courage and valor, after death becomes a rower on the sky ship of the Ag-Haldr. This ship travels high above the clouds, halfway between earth and the sun. Those who did meanness and couldn’t atone them with their own blood after death are cast into the inner cavity, into the possession of the Nameless, where they devour the souls of cowards and traitors. At the end of the world, when the sun goes out, and the Nameless will get out to the surface and destroy the land, Ag Haldr’s ship will go on a long voyage through the darkness — in search of new stars.
Heretics and unbelievers are very rare among the humans: they do not need to prove the existence of their god, they remember the White Fangs well, they know what he exists. Humans respect gods of other nations and do not shun asking them for help if needed.