Albadyn was created 4,000 years ago, and much has transpired since then. After the cataclysmic Four Day War, the Rulers of Albadyn decided that a book needed to be compiled recording the History of Albadyn.
Since compiling a year-by-year record would take far longer than anyone desires, my fellow Lorekeepers and I decided to see how many eras Albadyn has had. We made a list of seven main eras that every Race was experiencing some form of action.
Era I: The Dawning
The Dawning is the origin of each Race: who the Great Creator asked to guide them, what they learned, and where they were put down in Albadyn.
Era II: The First War
The First War is the record of what each Race did during the bloodiest battles in Albadyn’s history: the war against the Fallen Queen and the Ashen Legion.
Era III: The Ascent
The Ascent is the period of Albadyn’s history that was the most peaceful: in this Era, all of the Races of Albadyn decided who their leader(s) would be.
Era IV: The Wraith King’s Reign
The Reign of the Wraith King is one of Albadyn’s darkest times, when the Undying flooded the land, and the sun was obscured by the Fell Mist. Every Race encountered difficulties and struggles, and found new friends.
Era V: Growth and Renewal
The Era of Growth and Renewal is the time in Albadyn’s History when every Race really got into the swing of things: finding what they did best and reinforcing alliances formed during the Wraith King crisis. This is the longest period of Albadyn’s History, stretching out 1,000 years.
Era VI: The Four Day War
While the Four Day War lasted Four Days (obviously), the events leading up to it took about one year in total to come to fruition. The Four Day War affected every Race adversely in one form or another.
Era VII: The Present
The year 25 AFDW (after the four day war) is the present. In this section we will lay in order the customs and culture of each Race.
We sincerely hope that this tome increases the knowledge of the reader, and that you find it useful for many years to come.
Section One: Humans
Era I: The Dawning
Humans were the first race The Great Creator made. At Irini’s behest, He created them to be a varied people: differing in height and coloration. Irini, Arkeness of Valor and Agriculture (a pairing I have always found odd), was given the task of teaching the Humans what they would need to know to survive. Irini helped the Humans learn how to make wooden dwellings, and how to make the most of their flatland homeland of Inyan, which at that time stretched from what we now call The Ashlands to the mountains of Rhasys in the north.
Irini instilled in the Humans a courageous spirit, one willing to help others, and one willing to work for their food. When news of The Falling came to Irini, she taught the Humans how to fight like she fought: with longsword and shield. While Kiria had taught the Dwarves how to best make weaponry, Irini taught the Humans how to make adequate weaponry out of brass. While not as effective as the steel the Dwarves used, it would still get the job done.
Era II: The First War
When the Fallen Queen landed in the Ashlands with her corrupt followers, Irini led a group of Humans to try and negotiate with her. Irini made it clear why she did not bear the moniker “Arkeness of Wisdom”. The Fallen Queen turned the 500 Humans Irini had brought with her to the cause of wickedness, and Irini barely escaped with her life. Furious with herself for leading so many to corruption, she resolved that she would be the one to deal the Fallen Queen the final blow.
All of Humanity joined her in her rage: while the other Races were quickly gathering to defeat the Fallen Queen, the Humans engaged her at their southernmost border. While the Humans fought valiantly, one Ashen Legionnaire was a durable as five Humans.
Needless to say, the losses were catastrophic. By the time the other races arrived, The Fallen Queen and her forces had either slain or corrupted well over half of all the Humans that had come to the battle, which was around 10,000.
Making matters worse was the fact that Irini was fighting with her rage, not her intelligence. Instead of leading her forces personally, she was fighting the Fallen Queen. As the other Arken arrived, they watched in horror as The Fallen Queen nearly eradicated Irini with a blast of fell magic. The Humans, desperate to save their perishing leader, gave up a fragment of their life force to heal her. Revitalized, Irini realized what she had been doing, and asked her wisest ally, Josedech Stoneblade, to lead the Human army while she and the other Arken battled the Fallen Queen.
Irini was indeed the one to strike the final blow to the Fallen Queen, but The Fallen Queen had one last trick up her sleeve: with all of her hatred and wickedness, The Fallen Queen hitall of the Arken near her with one final explosion. After that, the Arken retired for a while to heal from their intense injuries.
Era III: The Ascent
Irini did show wisdom in that she knew there was a chance she would need to heal after the battle with The Fallen Queen. She left a letter for Josedech, as well as leaving him her most cherished possession. Sadly, I do not know what this possession was, for Josedech hid it before the end of his life…
However, Josedech was a wise man. When he asked the people of Inyan who they wanted to lead them, almost everyone said that he would be their King.
Josedech’s first order of business was forming a law enforcement system. Irini’s letter had detailed the Moral Laws of The Great Creator, and Josedech needed a group of people that would ensure these laws were carried out. Josedech knew that t
he Fallen Queen’s blathering had caused a large amount of people to take the seeds of evil into their hearts, regardless of race, and that whoever went against them would need to know how to fight.
Hence, the Guards were formed. Iron Guards would patrol the streets, using whatever combat skills they had (for those deficit a training course was present), Silver Guards would protect dignitaries, barons, mayors, dukes, and nobles, and the Praetorian Guards would oversee the guards in any given city.
After sorting that out, Josedech began sending out expeditions to trace out the farthest reaches of Inyan, with the goal of having it fully settled before the end of his reign.
Josedech also sent ambassadors to the Dwarves and the Golden Elves, seeking to establish trade agreements with them. Humans were better at growing vast quantities of food than any other race, and the Dwarves were more than willing to trade, as well.
Here is where Josedech’s wisdom was at its highest. Knowing that the Elves and the Dwarves had better weaponry than the Humans, he traded something the Humans had too much of for something they had not enough of.
At the age of 134, Josedech died, leaving the throne to his daughter, Ithica Stoneblade.
Ithica knew that Human cities were made predominantly of wood, and after witnessing the terrible effects of a fire on such construction, began seeking out better materials and methods for building cities. She found it with the Dwarves, who provided Humans with stone in exchange for the rights to establish a few mines in the southernmost corner of Inyan. Ithica readily agreed, viewing it as a spectacular deal. She then contracted the Gigantes and the Vahalyr to assist the Dwarves and Humans in constructing the cities. In return, the Vahalyr and Gigantes were given the secret of how to make cloth, something Ithica had picked up from the Dark Elves when they had come through the Human lands seeking a new home.
In no time at all, new cities were built out of stone, and a strong relationship had been formed between the Elves, the Dwarves, the Dark Elves, and the Humans. While the Vahalyr and the Gigantes felt no dislike for the Humans, they soon returned to their homes in the far north, far beyond the influence of the Humans.
Era IV: The Wraith King
One thousand years after the death of King Josedech, his reigning descendent (King Aristarchus the Affluent) faced one of the darkest times in Albadyn’s history.
Due to a single Dwarf’s greed, a great evil was released on Albadyn. The Wraith King, who had been imprisoned in the earth long ago by Lycane, Arkeness of the Vahalyr, was freed by the foolishness of that one lone dwarf. The Wraith King ruled with an iron fist for ten terrible years. During this time, all of Albadyn was shrouded in a fell mist, which made the daylight difficult to see in and the night bitterly cold.
The Humans suffered much the same as everyone else, but they felt keenly the sting of the Wraith King’s wrath since they were one of the most pious civilizations to be known.
Two years into the Wraith King’s reign, a gathering of Bishops was secretly arranged, and several Humans who knew how to fight and were simultaneously faithful to the Great Creator were selected to defend the Church, and indeed all of Albadyn.
After seven years of training and spiritual strengthening, the Seven Saints led a small army against the Wraith King’s castle of Nad’Razhka. After an intense and bloody battle, the Wraith King’s citadel was banished back into the depths of the earth.
Human contribution to this victory, while slight, was not insignificant. Of the army the Seven Saints assembled, approximately a third of it was Human. While only one of the Seven Saints was a Human, her name would not soon be forgotten: Boudicca Strongheart.
Era V: Growth and Renewal
Boudicca Strongheart is a name every Crusader knows. Her prowess with the spear and shield is legendary, and her wisdom more so. During her lifetime, King Aristarchus used her as a guide and an advisor, which led to his moniker “The Affluent”. Boudicca established the rules for being a Crusader, and led legal reforms throughout Inyan until she was too old to travel.
Her final request was that her spear and shield be hidden and that clues be scattered throughout Albadyn so that a hero worthy of them might find them some day. Although many Crusaders have tried to find the spear, none have succeeded past the second clue.
During the time of Growth and Renewal, the Humans renewed their alliances with the Golden Elves, Dwarves, and Dark Elves. Having learned how to mine from the Dwarves, the Humans began delving deep into the earth searching for treasures. They were successful.
King Aristarchus’s son, Alec (the most simply named King in Inyan’s history), established a currency system much like the one the Dwarves and Dark Elves enjoyed. Using metal presses, Copper, Silver, and Gold coins were created. Due to the sheer amount of wealth under Inyan, soon the Human Currency was used everywhere (with the notable exception of Varasha, which uses a different, much more complicated system to this day).
Alec’s son, Jambres, was a greedy old sot, and his taxes and other evil practices led to the split in the Human Race. About half of the Humans, infuriated by Jambres’ lackadaisical and deplorable lifestyle, decided that they would do things their own way, without a King to abuse power over them. After a brief and ugly confrontation, the land of Inyan was cut in half, with half being given to the rebels and half being kept by those living under Jambres’ rule. The upper half of Inyan was rechristened Donivar.
This cultural split was very significant, and its effects still tingle in the background of many Human minds.
At the end of the 960th year of the Era of Growth and Renewal, the son of Queen Isradore the Stern took the throne. His name? Kalvas. Kalvas was a cunning man given to no vices other than a consuming thirst for knowledge. This led to his undoing. After marrying Alastra, Princess of the Rathi, he came to discover a series of old books written by a man named Gorgeth.
Gorgeth was one of the Fallen Queen’s first Human supporters. Gorgeth had written down how she came to escape in the first place, and how a person with enough magic could contact her.
Desperate to learn what the Fallen Queen knew consumed Kalvas, and upon contacting her, she awakened in him the evil lying dormant in his heart. This is not to say that Kalvas was innocent in all that he did thereafter: while the Fallen Queen awoke the evil, he was the one who decided to keep it well fed. An important lesson in this day and time: just because evil stirs within you does not mean you are obligated to heed its call.
Kalvas then began taxing the people and gently dismantling the Guard system laid down so long ago by King Josedech. He wished to bring the Fallen Queen back to Albadyn, and if Inyan was weak, it would make it easier for her to establish a foothold.
However, Kalvas was smart, and knew that simply weakening Inyan’s Guard system was not enough. Many personages of great valor and strength had come to be, such as Athena Whiteshield (Mother of Aja Whiteshield, whom we shall get to later), Andros Strongheart (descendent of Boudicca Strongheart and General of Inyan’s standing army), and Evalynn Firewing. After thinking on it for a time, Kalvas hatched a plan.
Era VI: The Four Day War
Declaring that all of the Races should gather for a massive celebration (supposedly celebrating his daughter, Astenra’s 20th birthday), Kalvas designed an elaborate deathtrap. Choosing Fort Blackwing in the Disputed Lands as the venue, Kalvas set up a huge tournament field just outside the city. Fort Blackwing was a citadel with enough room to comfortably house 40,000 people, nestled in a canyon, using the back of the canyon as a rear wall.
Declaring a Tournament of Legends, Kalvas knew that the heroes of every land would come and try to win the enviable prize: The Stoneblade that King Josedech was famed for. While a Sorcerer would have little use for it in combat, the enchantments that kept it sharp for two thousand years had long since been lost, and would be a prize any spellcaster would fight for.
Sadly, Kalvas’ plan was successful. Every known Race sent their royals and a large quantity of their population to watch the tournament and participate in the party. Dwarves, Golden Elves, Dark Elves, and so on came to the tournament.
On the first day of that wretched war, the innocents were gathered around to watch the tournament. The field was huge, and there were plenty of seats. As the Legends charged one another, and as they met in the middle, Kalvas sprung his trap. Casting the Spell the Fallen Queen had taught him, two groups of 1,000 Ashen Legionnaires appeared on either side of the now encircled Legends. 500 from each group went to attack the civilians, and the other 500 from each group turned their blades on the contestants in the tournament.
Of the 1,000 Legends gathered, 250 never left that field.
Fighting through their vastly superior foe, the Legends desperately tried to save as many innocents as they could. Opening a way of escape that led to the city, the Legends divided their number. Of the 750 remaining, 150 would guard the retreat to Fort Blackwing. Among that number was Evalynn Firewing. Using her spells, she battled the Ashen Legionnaires valiantly, and it began to look as though it might be attainable to win.
Then the second phase of Kalvas’ trap sprung. Aware that the Legends might make it out of the tournament with the civilians, Kalvas had turned to the bloodthirsty Orc Tribes of the North, and had smuggled them into the Disputed Lands between Inyan and Donivar, where the festival was to be held.
Evalynn could have held her own against the almost mechanical Ashen Legionnaires, but the sheer ferocity and baseless hatred of the Orcs overwhelmed her. Screaming for the surviving Legends to flee, she burst out her final spell, the Phoenix Burst. Immolating a good 200 Ashen Legionnaires, as well as 100 assorted Orcs and Goblins, Evalynn Firewing left this world.
Sadly, all was not faring well for the fleeing innocents, either. Wolf-Rider-Goblins were harrying the evacuation, picking off any straggler they could get. As the last of the innocents flew through the outer gate, Aja Whiteshield and her mother, Athena, closed the gate. Seeing Andros Strongheart about to be overtaken by an Orc Shaman spell, Aja leapt forward and intercepted the spell with her shield. While this alone was enough to secure her the Iron Shield Mark, she would go above and beyond what was required of her.
The Legends and the garrison of Fort Blackwing now had a goal: defend the Outer Wall at all costs. The Outer Wall was the only thing keeping the innocent safe, so it took top priority. For two and a half days, the battle raged.
Kalvas’ final trap triggered on the Third day of the Four Day War. Using every drop of magical energy within him, he summoned The General, an Ashen of incredible power that stood over eight feet tall and had a sword that was seven feet tall.
The General marshalled the disparate forces of the Orcs and the Ashen Legionnaires and drove them forward with a Frenzy Rune. The Legends, 500 in number by this point, were tired and worn down, and found themselves facing a new, enraged opposition.
A spell cast by an Elven Sorcerer teleported the beleaguered defenders behind the Outer Wall they had been defending, allowing them an hour or two of rest while the Ashen and the Orcs tried to break down the gate. While the main combat forces rested, the spellcasters and archers rained destruction down on the invading force.
The General saw to it that the gate did not hold. With one swing of his mighty sword, a large rent was opened and from there the battle began anew.
Athena and Aja Whiteshield, as well as Andros Strongheart, decided that the most powerful Legends would fight The General, while the rest of the forces protected the city. As the General was merely standing by the gate, he apparently desired this outcome as well.
In the battle that followed, Athena Whiteshield was vanquished by a dark spell. The only reason Aja survived the fight was her heroism. Leaping forward to intercept a blow from the General that would have ended the life of the Golden Elf Patriarch, The General’s blow sent her flying toward the city, where she was rendered unconscious and nearly dead.
Ultimately, the General’s forces were routed and he himself slain by the combined fury of Andros Strongheart, Gamaliel Malloren, and Farres Ironwall. The General was finished like his Queen in the First War, vanquishing anything too near him, including Andros and Farres. Gamaliel tried to save them, but was unable to.
The Four Day War’s final casualty was Kalvas himself. Enraged by what her father had done, Astenra smote him with her most devastating spell. Had Kalvas not summoned The General, he might have survived, but his reservoirs of Magic were depleted, and his reign came to a brutal end.
Era VII: The Time of Legends (The Present)
Twenty-Five years later, and many of the civilians who witnessed the final stand of the Legends in the Four Day War have taken up the mantle of Adventurers, continuing to defend the weak like they themselves were defended.
Human Culture, Customs, and Skills
Human Culture is a very fair system. Humans by-and-large do not look down on anyone based on how much money they have or the coloring of their skin. Humans judge people by their actions, not by their possessions. Humans are famed for being a forgiving people, and their patience with others is something to be admired.
Humans live relatively short lives, usually not passing the age of 120. Most Human communities, Inyani and Donivarian both, believe that at the age of 18 you are an adult. Humans marry relatively young (18 or 20 being the usual age), and usually start a family in a new home with enough land to have a small farm.
As such, it does not take long for a village to crop up. If a group of four couples establish homesteads near one another, it will not take long until it has attracted the attention of other couples looking for a place to settle down, and soon enough there is a bustling village where once was a quiet patch of land.
Humans eat stews often, usually made with home-grown vegetables. Humans are often counted as equals with the Golden Elves when it comes to cooking. While the Human food may not look as pretty as the Golden Elf food, it tastes marvelous and fills your stomach, usually after a long day of farm work.
Humans adopted the drinking of mead from the Dwarves way back in Era II, the Time of Growing. Fond of its strong flavor and slightly tingly feel, Humans drink mead with their meals, while they talk, or while they play games, such as Flags (a game played with miniatures) or Merchantry, a game in which players strive to collect all cards of a single suit.
Humans are an agricultural wonder. Skilled in all manner of farming and herding, Humans very rarely go underfed, even when in the depths of poverty. Humans can often grow enough in a year to feed themselves throughout the next, allowing them to sell some of what they grow in the coming year. As such, Humans rarely remain poor for long.
Human homes are usually simple, single story dwellings with lots and lots of windows. Humans dislike feeling closed in a place: used to wide open fields as far as the eye can see, Humans feel faintly uneasy (not too much, though) when in a forest and simply detest being underground unless it is a large cavern.
Humans recently adopted an intense love for the changing of hair color from the Dark Elves. Usually, Humans have brown, black, or red hair. But go to a city or a large town now, and you will see greens, blues, pinks, and purples in abundance. Humans also have a great fondness for cosmetics, such as lipstick in reds and blacks and eye shadows and liners in any color imaginable. They dislike Dark Elven nail coloring, though, for the coloring often chips off during farm work.
Humans wear basically the same outfit: men wear tunics and breeches, and women wear short dresses and leggings. While Human dress for the most part is plain, they are fond of having beautiful patterns embroidered on the sleeves and around the collar.
A note about markings: Humans get tattoos rarely, but when they do it is usually to commemorate an event or an action. For instance, getting a name tattooed on your back or arm when you marry someone.
For Humans, however, Markings usually mean some form of military service. If a Human has a tattoo on their face or shoulder it usually denotes a great and heroic feat, with one notable exception. A list of the known military markings:
The Iron Shield: A black chevron tattooed under the left or right eye or on the right shoulder. Given to someone who defended an important person or a great deal of people on the battlefield.
The Thorn Vine: A thorn vine design tattooed on the left side of the face, reaching from the temple to the jawbone. Given to someone who vanquished a great deal of enemy forces single handedly.
The Black Rose: A black rose design tattooed in the middle of the forehead or on the right shoulder. Given to someone who vanquished a powerful enemy single handedly.
The Skull (Dishonor): A skull design tattooed across the entire face. Given when someone has brought shame or dishonor to their unit.
Militarily speaking, Inyani Humans have a standing army stationed in forts across the land. Donivarian Humans, on the other hand, have roving groups of soldiers that sweep across the land searching out bandits and Undying to vanquish.
Humans are skilled in the use of martial weapons, such as swords, spears, axes, maces, and hammers. If a Human decides to use a ranged weapon, he will either learn the use of a crossbow or purchase an exorbitantly expensive Goblin powder arm. Humans (by and large, though many Human archers have existed) do not use the bow very well, and feel that the Dwarven crystal weapons are aberrant and unnatural.
Human usually prefer armor that is not hindering in the mobility department. Humans prefer to guard their vital organs, but keep the rest simply in normal clothes. As such, Human armor usually consists of a breastplate and shoulder armor, bracers ending in fingerless leather gloves, and boots that come to right below the knee.
With these specializations in mind, Human Adventurers gravitate toward combat-oriented Classes such as the Fighter, the Warrior, the Archer, and the Praetorian. Humans are also often found as Priests or Crusaders in the service of the Temple.
Humans are at the forefront of the Adventurer movement. While other races certainly have Adventurers, Humans find the greatest amount of joy in Adventuring, in seeing the world, and in keeping others safe.
Til next we meet!
Ameus the Scribe