Chronicles of Humans[edit | edit source]
– Tanath the Arc-Son elder, year 395 after the great war,
The Edge - refuge of human race.
Although most of the knowledge of this time is lost, some things have survived the storm of forgetting. It is known that both races coexisted peacefully. Neither of them cared much about the other, as their cultures were too diverse and separate.
Horastes[edit | edit source]
The giant Horastes, connected deeply to nature and earth, lived a pacifistic life in small groups traveling through the desert. They moved from oasis to oasis always in search for a deeper understanding of the world. One might call them slow or hesitant, but they were not. They were more like water: ever flowing, patiently, but slowly passing every rock, wall, or even mountain. They delved deep into the secrets of the world, and developed a completely unknown kind of power.
I will not presume that I or any other human understands their power, but it feels and looks like magic, yet at the same time it is not; it’s very different from ours and it is awe inspiring. Maybe wonders or miracles are better words for it, but I’m not sure. I’ve heard many stories about their capabilities, but I’ve seen them only once in my entire, long life. I’ll share this story with you with in the hope you might get an impression of their kind of power.
It was dry time, a hard one, even for this place. Many of us were sick, and hunger was everywhere. It was in this desperate time that something happened that had not happened in over 50 years, a caravan of Horastes appeared. They did not seem to suffer from the cold at night or from the burning heat during the day. They did not appear to walk at all. It seemed more like the world was carrying their shapes. Gently. The Horastes realized our grave and sad situation as they approached, and because they had a great heart they decided to help.
Some days before the Horastes caravan, an overpowering sandstorm brought death and destruction to our small town. Even our strongest mages were not able to protect us from it as they were weak, suffering from hunger and thirst, like the rest of us.
Everything changed when the Horastes arrived. One of the giant, intelligent creatures walked among us. He did not talk, but he watched, patiently. Suddenly he bent over and put his huge hand flat onto the ground. I don’t know if he had searched for that spot or if it was an arbitrary one, but the earth began to shake and growl almost immediately. At first it was like a whisper, but it steadily grew louder and more powerful until it was nearly unbearable, and then… water everywhere! A new fountain formed itself in our village.
Water sparkled and splashed, flew around and from one moment to the next, our suffering was over. The water washed away our grief and our thirst. Those who were sick, became healthy again. In the center of all that joy, the Horastes disappeared…
I don’t know what you would call it, but I call it a wonder. They healed all of us, and the spring has survived until today. No dry time has ever extinguished it.
There is not much more we know about the Horastes, especially of the time before we were even here. Therefore, let me tell you about the Aitharii. Our masters. Most of what I’m going to tell you we learned from them, although most people have forgotten with time.
Aitharii[edit | edit source]
The Aitharii are different. Although they have remarkable resemblance with birds, they are not able to fly. They are highly intelligent and extremely talented with magic. There were many of them, nearly as many as there are Sarahul today. If one could talk of dominion, the Aitharii were the dominant race.
There were no wars in those times. War was not even invented yet it seems! The Aitharri’s spent their lives striving to understand magic. I’m talking about the magic we are used to, although there is a large difference between human and Aitharii magic.
As they concentrated their entire being on magic, they somehow managed to lose their connection to the material world. But their energetic form, as they called it, was not able to survive on its own. It needed the material body and world they were born into, but most of the Aitharii realized that fact far too late. One after another they died because many of them had followed the path of magic too long and too far. Once, an Aitharii explained to me that it’s like an endless maze: if you have gone too far there is no way back. And so it came that the Aitharii race, with all their power and knowledge, was about to be extinguished by their own beloved magic.
Many of them died and it seemed there was no hope or chance of escaping their fate. Only a small fraction of the once proud race was left, all of them near death.
It was then that the wise and powerful Ailaad, the leader of the Aitharii, found a desperate way to establish a new connection to his body. It was not a natural connection, like the one you are born with, but completely made of magic. The power it required was immense, but it was possible, and once this connection was created it could be used to stay alive. Since then, the Aitharii have become something other than beings. They are not like humans, Sarahul, Kashuri or even Horastes; they have become half being and half magic.
Ailaad went to his brothers and sisters and told them how to create the link needed to save themselves. Since only the strongest of the Aitharii were left, most of them were able to do so. With this new connection they became even more powerful. Magic surrounds them like a second skin, they make it flow effortlessly and it comes as natural as breathing for them. But all this had a price, as everything in life comes with a price.
They soon realized that their new state of existence had an unexpected impact on their eggs. All of unhatched Aithariis started their life trapped in the maze of magic. They tried to teach the unhatched eggs enough magic to rescue themselves, to create the connection and live, but none ever managed. Too much power was needed and there was too little time. Their destiny was clear, without the connection their race was sentenced to death.
So it happened that the Aitharii were again near extinction. They live much longer than humans do, but nevertheless, they eventually die. Ailaad and the most powerful mages desperately tried to find a way to reverse the process, or to stall it, but they were unsuccessful. There was no hope left, when the impossible happened.
One of the youngest Aitharii, although by no means young, discovered a better way to communicate with unhatched fledgling. There was finally hope again and the masters started to teach the eggs. There was now more time to learn, and hopefully it was enough… Soon it became obvious that only one out of a hundred eggs was powerful enough to learn that much magic at such an early stage, allowing it to survive. That was the price the Aitharii paid for their power: they are doomed to be a few, always on the brink of extinction, without any hope of becoming many again. But considering the power…
This all happened in the distant past, where no human was ever known to live. The first of our kind emerged about 1000 years ago. There is little knowledge of where we came from, but it is known that at the same time a second race also appeared: the Sarahul.
Sarahul[edit | edit source]
We, and the Sarahul, are a race of the second generation. Innocent and young, we lived some time without knowing of the other’s existence. Once we did, we lived in a cautious coexistence, there were no great conflicts. We both were so few, we had no weapons and of course, no magic.
It took us quite some time until we discovered we were not alone. We met some of the Horastes, which were friendly, although they mostly ignored us. But no Aitharii ever appeared. We didn’t know anything about the Horastes, however we had a natural respect of their size. Everything was peaceful back then. Life was already too hard to be interested in war.
But the peace did not last. Soon, the physically superior Sarahul realized that they could dominate us. And so they did. Humans became little more than slaves at that time. Decades passed and life became easier for Sarahul and more difficult for humans. There were some minor attempts of rebellion, but without any success. The Sarahul had greater strength and numbers.
Then the first Magical Sarahul was born. No one knew what to think of it, and no one understood. Word spread about this strange child, and then an Aitharii appeared inside the child’s house. It was quite an impressive appearance: everywhere light and sparkles, then she just stood there. That was the first time we, or the Sarahul, had ever seen an Aitharii.
The Sarahul immediately tried to attack her, to defend their special child, but they couldn’t reach their target. Soon it became clear that there was no point in attacking, that the Aitharii was not there to fight, but to speak, and so the Sarahul began to listen. She told them about magic, about the special child, and a little about the Aitharii.
She then made an offer: she and all Aitharii would help the Sarahul to master magic. They would teach them.
I think there were two main reasons for the offer. One was that the Aitharii didn’t want another race to make the same mistakes as they did. The other reason, although never admitted by the Aitharii, was that they wanted control over this magic by influencing exactly how much, and in what way, this new race learned about magic.
Thus, the Sarahul became students of the Aitharii. They used their new power to increase their domination over us and to preach to us about their new-found god, Lur. Although the Aitharii did not approve of the way that the Sarahul treat their slaves, they did very little to stop it. We were not much more than animals in their eyes. But that all changed decades later, when the first human mage, Simeon, the first Son of Nor, was born.
We still have no idea how magic comes to some of us, and not to others, or how it all started. Maybe it is the land, or the presence of the Aitharii, perhaps it’s destiny or coincidence; but those who choose to follow the The Path of Nor attribute our powers to her, to the moon and the veil of darkness that protect us from the savage Sarahul. Once magic manifested itself in humans, we too became students of the Aitharii, and with that, the time of our enslavement ended.
The Aitharii have a different view of the world than we do. To them, a race without magic is barely more than an animal. Having human as slaves is no different than using horses or camels for transportation. However, once a human was born with magic, we became more than just animals, and they immediately forbid human enslavement by the Sarahul.
The following times were hard. The Sarahul, now forbidden to enslave humans, still treated us as minor beings. Simeon returned from his persecution and founded the first Radir, where he taught us about his near-death experience in the Nanshiri desert and how Nor appeared to him and saved him so he could bring her message to our people. Other magical humans, called prodigies, now had a place to gather and develop their powers to become Sons of Nor without fear. As time went by, both of our races became more and more powerful in magic, and soon the physical differences between us no longer mattered.
For a short period of time, there was peace again.
Then, around 500 years ago, it became obvious that magic was not equally strong in both Sarahul and humans. Although there were more Sarahul mages, human mages seemed to evolve a greater potential. Our magic was stronger.
This greatly upset our former slave-masters, and soon envy became antipathy, resulting in major conflicts. The Aitharii, after fruitless diplomatic discussions between the races, retreated to their homelands.
Then, the day arrived that would mark our history forever. Simeon, the seed of our religion, was slain as he tried to defend humans in an altercation with the Sarahul. This was the spark that ignited a cruel war between our races.
Although both sides suffered many casualties, the humans were slowly losing the war. Despite our mages being magically stronger, they stood little chance against the overwhelming number of Sarahul mages.
When it was clear that the Sarahul would defeat us, we stopped fighting and sued for peace. The Sarahul, however, vowed to hunt and kill each and every one of us to ensure that we would never be a threat to them again.
We gathered one last time and tried to fight back, but it was soon over and we fled into the vast desert in the north. The Sarahul pursued us for a while, and then let us run to die in the sands. We all surely would have perished, if it had not been for the big heart of the Horastes.
Most of us died in the sands, but then, as only about 50 were left, a Horastes caravan found us. They gave us water and food, and they guided us through the desert. On the other side was a rough, harsher land than in the south, but we found a place and made it our refuge.
393 years have passed since then, and now I’m writing down this chronicle in the midst of the grown refuge. Still, it’s small and we are merely 200 here, but we survived, and honed our magic. Just to be prepared, just to be ready…