~~Prologue- A recovered excerpt from the records of Irinez, the scribe credited with creating the Contract of the Riverside Clans. Originally scripted in the Binding Language, but edited to the Common Tongue for the sole purpose of educating the reader.
I find the need growing for a proper record of Spes’terras history. It seems wrong to discredit a kingdom with these falsified tales of glory and honestly and trust, when the nation had been on the hinge of collapsing. I know the Kra’ergs are unhappy with me, and perhaps my predicament is more dire than I suspect. Whatever the case may be, I am writing this before fate decides I no longer can. So here is my attempt at summing up such a diverse kingdom, in one piece of writing. I know it seems folly to those of my generation, but I see a day and perhaps not so far away, that the clans will find themselves again divided. It is my sole purpose to try and educate whoever stumbles upon this journal on the true problems brewing beneath the surface. So I will begin by explaining the races by themselves, as I do believe the problem lies not within the one similarity between us- The need for power, but rather in our differences that cause sharing the wealth to be such a hard feat to accomplish.
I would like to begin with the Mortals. I think that Mortals are unfairly discriminated against, for their lack of immortality and defining uniqueness. Mortals have the ability to possess magic but only under a difficult set of requirements that are difficult to be me. A Mortal must crave from the very center of their being to control magic. It must be with a burning passion that they wish to acquire these powers, and for good only. It’s for this reason I believe Mortals are over looked and shouldn’t be. If a Mortal cannot gain magic with a malevolence intention, who do you deem more trustworthy?
Next I think I ought to inform you on the Elves, the people of my own race. We resemble strongly the Mortals, but we have an attractiveness that is unearthly. Our smiles are a little too perfect, our faces a bit too angular and angelic. Our eyes are of distinct coloration, something you won’t see in a Mortal. Our eyes are a give away you see. They show to what elven family we were born, and theres nothing you can do to hide that. I would like to go into more detail on the clans, as there are only two, and the difference at first may be striking, although a deeper interpretation might change your mind. An elf is an elf and we temper easy, we are slow to forgive. I believe it was only a folly misunderstanding that caused such a division amongst us.
The Naskiny tribe makes up a majority of the settles elves. Our eyes shine a nature green, pure and wholesome. Many of the eleven kings have originated from our tribe and little controversy has erupted amongst us.
The Gravtsky tribe was created only within the past months since the Sanguinum War. Trading the other elves for the Mortals, these elves were seen as traitors after helping the Mortals almost to the point of victory during the bloody war., Cursed and branded as traitors their eyes now shine an icy blue. I feel though, that they are only misunderstood. For their deportment was understandable if one is only willing to understand. They felt they were doing what would benefit them and those close with them. Had they won the war, we would be the outcasts and it amuses me to think what we would say about the Gravtsky then.
Next we have the Dwarves, which requires little explanation. They are stout creatures, with stubborn personalities. They have amazing strength, but do not possess magic like elves or some mortals. Dwarves are loyal to the death, and have a strong sense of duty and justice. Dwarves search always for the positive within others, and choose to ignore the negatives or cast them aside as merely a flaw in an almost flawless being.
Then there are the Timors. They burrow within the trunks of trees, sapping their energy from their roots. They are small and fit in the palm of a small childs hand but can be viscous little creatures. Their teeth are sharp and pointed, with venom lining their gums. It won’t kill but has been known to cause infections requiring amputation as a last resort treatment. Timor’s have small transparent wings and green bodies. Their ears are slightly pointed.
Pack Mutts are a curious breed. They are small, furry, four footed animals. Generally they serve as companions for Dwarves and Mortals. Elves prefer to walk alone, and Timor’s don’t associate amongst the other races unless they benefit.
I tell you of this next creature, expressing my opinions with caution. Kra’ergs have been known as the common villain since the races began to settle into a conjoined community. Shrouded with a blackness, they appear evil even before you know of what they do. They’re evil, but perhaps not the evil you think. Their deeds are evil but are their intentions? Can you call one who believe what they do is right, one who will put their live on the line for their kin, who are loyal to their race, can you call them evil for this? I prefer to call them misunderstood.
I think next I should mention in a bit of detail the three languages of Spes’terra. Arguably the most important is the Common Tongue, which is spoken as the native tongue by many of the races here with the slim exception of the Kra’ergs and the Timors. The Kra’ergs speak amongst themselves in the Rogue Tongue, which I don’t dare to write here should one of their kind stumble upon this. It sounds unpleasant to the ears, a caustic series of grunts and growls. The Timors know the Common Tongue on the side but prefer the language of Binding. Originating in the east it is otherwise known as Latin. I am writing out this document in the Binding Language because of its immense power. All magic must be conjugated in this language and spells cast in the tongue. Elves were the first to recognize the power of the language although they choose to speak in the Common Tongue when not casting or under oath.
Then there are the three religions of Spes’terra. First I speak of the one that the Elves, Mortals and Dwarves belong to. Known as Neutralists we are indifferent to the spiritual beliefs. Afterlife is simply nonexistent. You will live your life to die when you die and there is only death after you die until you are born into the next life thereafter. The Kra’ergs have a strange habit of religion, and not much is known of it since almost anyone who has gotten close enough to a Kra’ergs settlement to learn this information hasn’t come back in one piece, or in any. The Kra’ergs practice the art of Du Mors, Of Death in the Binding Tongue. They believe in the art of sacrificing for the positive altering in ones fate and the cleansing of ones guilt. I would like to point out that the Kra’ergs wish for the guilt to go away, not the crime itself. What’s done is done and cannot be erased, the Kra’ergs have accepted that as it is. Sacrifices can include meals thrown to a fire, scattering of a lost ones ashes or the blood and flesh of their own. Next there is the distinct religion of the Timors. Practicing Des Lux, or Of The Light the name may be deceiving. This art does not claim to be of innocent members, but believe in contacting a spiritual being above themselves for advice and forewarning. It is a rather unearthly practice and I’ve never been fond of it. It’s unnatural and uncalled for. The Timor’s believe in reforming themselves to shape that of which they desire to be. Perhaps more loyal, trustworthy, kind. They tend to blame their own views upon conflict for the unhappiness resulting thereof.
Lastly is the part that terrifies me. The Sangiunum War. The Blood War. The War of Three Tribes. The Mortals and the Elves were fighting for the throne, angry with the elven line of power for restricting common rights. The war was ended by the Contract of the Riverside Clans which I wrote during the fighting. I presented it to the elves first, knowing it would take more to persuade such a determined race. It returned the territory that was lost or forfeit by each side as well as allowed each race to govern themselves. The conflict was not so easily solved however, for the Elves found out that a fair number of them had secretly sided with the Mortals, expecting victory and a share of the gained power. This caused the elves to split into the Naskiny tribe and the Gravtsky tribe, tribe of the traitors. War between the tribes was prevented, although their manner towards each other remains less than cordial and there have been numerous physical conflicts. The Dwarves chose not to join the war, afraid of angering either side. They relied heavily on trade with both races and were fearful of the economy failing. The pack mutts were uncivilized at this point, and would have been little help to either side anyways. The Timors had previously fallen into hiding for said unrelated reasons and their species has yet to recover from whatever ill had struck them. The Kra’ergs were content to hang back and allow the two races to almost extinguish each other. It was later assumed that they believed it would give them the power to overthrow each individual government and take control of all of Spes’terra.
This is all I can say at the moment, and I wanted to get this out before I am found. It’s with a heavy heart I foresee a day when these historic events and customs will be forgotten. So let them live on forever in this writing so one can remember the days of peace I tried to create. Peace is a fragile thing, mind you. Careful on the ground you tread for you don’t know what secrets are buried ten feet down.
At the time of the expedition told throughout this story this document was at least a century and a half old. Only the elves remembered the time dating this far back as they are gifted with immortality. Currently, the elven tribes are teetering on the edge of another great war, with no one like Irinez willing to intervene. Novalcaz from Naskiny has taken the throne for the elves but has little power over the violent contempt the tribes are showing for one another. Seeking safety for himself he has sided with the Naskiny, with sights set on destroying the rebels and perhaps wiping out the Gravtsky tribe in its entirety to purify the race of the elves once again.
Author's Note- I know it was long and not all that exciting, but I promise you, it is extremely important you have this background information or you won't know what some of the characters are talking about! :) Next chapter gets more interesting.