The Edge of Night
|Golden Folk||Silver Folk||Copper Folk||Iron Folk||Lesser Kindreds|
“Perceiving that mortals were little more than spirits bound to wisps of flesh, the shepherds of the earth drew the ancestors together and poured into them the essence of the world, so that the metal that runs in great veins under the earth should run also in the veins of men, to strengthen their souls and hold fast their resolve.” - Chronicles of the Old World, by Macarian the Elder
Common belief holds that in ancient times, before mankind was scattered to the many corners of the earth, the ancestors lived as one people. Myth tells of a different metal poured into the hearts of each family among this ancient community, endowing them with gifts deemed necessary by the gods for mortals to survive and thrive in the world. Natural philosophers of the Empire have interpreted these tales to reflect the major cultural groupings of peoples in and around the Illanti Empire, organizing many and diverse tribes along lines of common ancestry and shared history into four major kindreds.
Other kindreds, said to bear such metals as tin and lead to adamantium and platinum, are confined to obscure histories and legends of far exotic lands. Still others are held to be lost to wars or hardship.
Main Article: Golden Folk
“Among the ancestors there lived by the calm waters of the river five sisters whose memory yet held the secrets of the creation. And warm gold was poured into their hearts that they would ever love wisdom and truth, and that they and their descendants might be counted by all generations of mankind among the most precious of treasure.”
Many of the earliest records of human civilization date to the first kingdoms of the Golden Folk founded in the Elishem Basin around the twin holy rivers Tashan and Heleph. Eventually smaller kingdoms sprouted around them, particularly along the sea to the east and south, and in time the Parivar rose to power and shattered the power of its Elishem predecessor. The Parivar eventually united under the vast imperial dominion now called Falai Khalese, subjecting lesser peoples to their rule and scattering the rest to the winds.
Main Article: Silver Folk
“The patriarch Illen lived at the edge of the sea with his two sons, who braved the fury of storms to harvest the fruits of the waters, and into the hearts of his household pure white silver was poured. Those who carry blood of silver are said to value courage and honor above all things, even unto their death.”
The Silver Folk are referred to in ancient texts as “men of sea and star”, having plied the inner seas and dedicated great time and effort to study of the heavens and other esoteric matters. As they settled down, the culture’s penchant for study and industrious pursuit turned toward industry and architecture.
Main Article: Copper Folk
“In the hills under the shadow of the mountain lived a husband and wife who had no children, only the memory of a son and a daughter who had died long ago. Into their hearts was poured shining copper. Thus, touched by the gods they bore many sons and daughters, and their offspring are said to be skilled in the crafting of many beautiful and useful things.”
Arising as a culture somewhere around the Akyron Sea long ago, the Copper Folk have long held a special respect for craftsmen and artisans. In the Old World they developed a sophisticated understanding of magic and natural philosophy, and contributed many writings about the structure and mechanics of the World, Otherworld, and Beyond.
Main Article: Iron Folk
“Three orphans lived in the far plain under the setting sun, living not on the charity of their neighbors but on their own determination and fierce will to survive. Into their hearts was poured red-hot iron, and to their descendants are given the gifts of endurance to bear any hardship and mastery over the wilds.”
The roots of the Iron Folk lie somewhere in the foothills of the Alderin Mountains between the Vale of Ystral and the holy inland sea called the Escomere. Said to have once been ruled by a mythical High King, the common history of the Iron Folk ended with a brutal schism that scattered small clans across Ves, eventually growing into related but distinct cultures sharing a common (and frequently contested) claim on their ancient legacies.
Main Article: Lesser Kindreds
Though no Illanti scholar worth his salt would admit it, the Imperial picture of history before the foundation of the Empire is woefully incomplete. More than a few cultures in and around lands known to the Empire are of dubious descent, and fit into none of the recognized linguistic or cultural groups. Rumors and legends surrounding the origins of these exotic cultures abound, accounting for the scattered remnants of long-forgotten empires and savages on the outskirts of the civilized world.