Era of the Dead

The Elves had favorites in their rule of the Ring. Humans and societies given the secrets of magic, life, and death. The hated lich-kings and reviled elves worked hand in hand. Following the Gigantomachy, as the elder folk waned, and retreated to isolated palaces and cities in the air, the dead rose to take their place. Their cruelty matched and exceeded their masters, but the war with Titans changed all. No longer were the tribes of men cowering and cringing in the shadow of elves, not when the longer shadows of a deadlier foe had been cast down.

They are oft called the Lords of the Dead, those first tribes, that made cities, steel, and armies, and kicked off the Humanomachy, the final strangling of the Elves and their dominion over the Ring. For the last reason, they are called the Humanomachs as well. They are dead, destroyed by their wars for dominion, but there names are remembered well by histories.

Stone Masters

The first to rise, the first to fall. They learned from the Giants how to construct great works of stone. Gargantuan castles and curtain walls of stone, fit together cunningly without mortar. They stole the riddles of steel from the elves as well. Kings on the Storm Salient still claim lineage (and their honorific) from their first king, Anax Kwame.

Their domains spread over the whole of Zephyria, till the dead starved them in their cities, and feasted on the skin and bones remaining.

Mound Judges

Arbiters of death, dispensers of justice, and the greatest kings of men to walk Creation. Destroyed the undead wherever they were found, and rose dirt mounds the size of mountains. Created the first script of men, derivatives of which still see use in Zephyria. The Mound Kings of Xul claim descent from a king, Kasen Er.

Their homeland, lying in the seas between Zephyria and Xul, was sunk into the the sea by the cruel lich kings.

The Spirit Shamans

Technically predate all of this, but didn’t organize kingdoms or lead conquests. The mythic figure Samnus first learned how to access the realm of spirits, and do mysterious workings of magic.

Even today, spirit shamans still ply their trades, most often in Eurus. But anywhere there are wilds, they can be found.

River Lords

Arose in the far east of Eurus, descent claimed by Resplendent Empire. Their theurgy allowed them great power over the dead and ability to predict the future. Invented irrigation and waterworks. Wyvern riders invaded heaven and put a torch to the cities of the sky, before raising their own. Made their own script as well, used in most of Eurus.

Internal disputes, and the great expense of the invasion, and the distance of their rulers from their Earthly subjects eventually shattered their hold on the ground.

Star Pupils

Men who stole the secrets of magic from the Elves, and their tradition is practiced still by all men in all parts. They taught the rest of humanity of the eight schools, long hoarded by the lich kings. Their loyalties were ever uncertain, but eventually, critically, they sided with the Humanomachs. Without them, the Elves and Lich Kings would have certainly remained in power.

They survived longest of the Humanomachs, even being concurrent with the Resplendent Empire’s early days, but their network of client states turned against them, and their crystal tower was cast down in the shadow of the Ji Mountains.

Forgotten Allies

In truth, men did not win alone. They had the aid of the demi-humans, hated and reviled in the Resplendent Empire. You will find little mention outside Gnomic Records (themselves written by demi-humans) of their contributions. The other records are too short, or too biased. Nonetheless, these allies were critical to the success of the rebellion.

Grand Anilin Commune

The greatest polity of this race ever to be seen; with their numbers, reality could bend to their will. Before the Star Pupils, the Anilins were the only thing keeping the other kingdoms in the game. They turned back armies of the dead, time and time again. The cost of their abilities is death, and so they died in droves, working the magics needed for the Humanomachs to survive, and win.

Pit Folk

The masters of the great dark expanses of the rings interior. Their aid was felt everywhere, including on the far continent of Akertha, neglected by the rest. They hated elves, their own kin, with ferocious abandon, their suicidal charges killing as many of them as their enemies. Even in the direst times, they fought- surrender was never an option. They are still said to survive in the deserts of Akertha, in the Usfir kingdoms.

Gnomen Chroniclers

Wrote most of this.

Snake Men Tribes

Provided manpower and tactical prowess in the many battles of Humanomachy, all while they set the stage for their own empire.

Gate Makers

Also said to be kin to elves, these enigmatic peoples are not well understood. Interestingly, even the Resplendent Empire’s records mentions them, suggesting they may have been humans. It seems they served as a sort of magical porters, using their magics to whisk wide armies of other states to distant places. Also seemed to be a general go to whenever some specific weapon was needed, and could not be provided with human magic or Anilin empathy.  Rumored to have a city of gold called Janix located… well, probably somewhere on the Ring.

Notes on scripts: Elvish is used most often in Zephyria, the River Seal Script’s descendants are most common in Eurus. Elvish and the Mound Rune Script’s derivatives split Xul. Akertha has little writing- only the Usfir keep any writing, and they write Elvish.

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