|Prehistory - The Saga Begins...|
Many millennia ago, before Atlantis fell the world, the worlds was entering something of a Golden Age.
There was little to no warfare, outside of occasional border clashes, even these often resembling coming-of-age rituals. There was no House Saken back then, only the Northern, Central and Southern peoples.
It was during this time that the three groups entered a phase known as 'The Crucible of the Factions'
|The Crucible of the Factions - Excerpt from 'When We Were Kings'|
“Word reached us of new developments further to the south. During the great migration a group had mingled with the Central and Southern Tribes, these were known as the Forlongers and from them sprouted other mingled tribes.
We soon learned that a rift had formed between the Forlongers and a breakaway faction. The latter being those who had second thoughts of throwing in their lot with the Southern races and had gone their own way instead. This new colony had built a city called Andare. Like many of our ancient places it is mere dust now, but back then it lay just before the Border Mountains, on the northern side. It was through those mountains where the Forlongers had traveled, but not the Andarians! They held true to the ways, learning some boundaries were not to be crossed. For all that they were quite defiant to the ways’ of the Elder Kings.
While this was happening we had established a small fishing fleet and expanded our livestock. The sea that faced our city looked to be vast but the winds back then were calm and less harsh. It felt good to have the high-ground, the city caught plenty of sun which was useful for our new crystal-stones that the crafters were playing with. The life-cycle of a man was much greater, giving folk much time to learn, father children and prosper.
One of their emissaries arrived some time later. What a day that was! For the tanned Andarians had not only tamed the wild-horse as we had, but had mounted a wheeled carriage to it! Upon the sides were tetraskellions and crosses in bewildering designs. The emissary and driver rode upon the wheeled platform. I could see they were impressed with our city also. Welcomed inside he spent some time with the Elder King alone while the driver chatted with us about the doings to the south. I was sent for and the Elder King himself asked if I could travel to the city of Andare with the Emissary whose name was Gairn.
With my longbow and dagger of iron I accepted and soon found myself riding on the strange transport. In later times with proper roads the chariots became more fine but it was a rough ride on the first ones. It was better than walking.
Every Primordial or low-tribe we passed gave us a wide berth. I asked Gairn why this was and he pointed to the strange symbols on both sides of the chariot. They were wards, he said but I suspect the noise of the wheels played a part as well. The Andarians were certainly ahead of we Soliters back then. I was later to learn why this was.
We called the third group who did this the Forlongers and from them, among other tribes, like Mosius and his Kaslarites. Not to mention the ‘Rabian tribes.
Unlike Solanaire their city was more sprawling and on a great plain. A lone river went by from the high mountain range. Indeed the Border Mountains were like a wall of stone as far as the eye could see. Only a slight ravine allowed passage beyond to the Southern Tribes domain. On entering the city I was surprized at how different the people looked. Unlike the emissary and his driver many of the inhabitants wore strange clothing. It was unlike the practical fashion of the Northern Tribe but very colorful and eccentric. A more sobering sight was the presence of slaves. These were not war-slaves or the spared-slain either but from deliberate raids and trade with the Forlongers. All of the slaves in Andare were docile, short and very dark-skinned Southerners. Yet their handlers were neither dark nor fair. They were darker than the tanned-Andarians and mixed-race.
The emissary noticed my bewliderment and explained that the Forlongers had developed a complicated caste-system. The unmixed, fair-skinned among them we called the Forlorn. Colloqually though they were known as the ‘Airya’ or ‘Airyan’ which meant ‘Noble’. These were the ruling caste and of the original high-culture of their civilization. Next it was the warrior-caste, usually as fair as the Forlorn, but less fair the more south one travelled. Then there was the merchant-class who were mostly a mix of Northerner and Southerner compared to the warrior-caste. Finally there were the worker people who were dark Southerner folks without exception. From these worker-people was also a subordinate slave-class who I saw in the city. These were a former Primordial race called ‘Untouchables.’
I wondered why in the world the Forlongers would do such a thing and involve themselves with such strangers.
The Emissary then explained it to me.
“They do it to keep things going down there. The climate is warmer, there are many biting insects causing illness in the moist areas. All this makes the toil difficult. The darker races are more suited and resistant to working in such conditions,” he explained.
“What about their supplies? They could protect themselves with blue woad from sun and bite, then forge out a new world of their own separate from the Southern folks.”
“You Hyperboreans don’t understand what it is like,” the Andarian responded with a shake of his head. “Once you’ve lived in the Southern lands for a time as a faction the very land changes you. You see different ways and means to go about what is needed. It draws you, it needs you somehow I think.”
“A man changes the land to suit his own needs, not the other way around, that’s the Hyperborean way. Are you not still Hyperborean?”
“Perhaps, but the Southern Tribes are somehow more entwined with the physical aspects of it, more bound to it. Our leader believes that as we are no longer with the northern regions of Terra we must consider ourselves away from Hyperborea.”
“That is incredible you think this way.”
“Some of the Forlongers felt drawn to try and understand their surroundings even further. They brought the life-giving Soma, showed the mystery of the crystals, unleashed wonders to feed the starving. Their fair image has been carved upon the very stone to embody their presence. Once done they met with friendly Southern rulers who were greatly pleased with the Forlongers cultural enrichment. Their most attractive and comely daughters and women were offered to them in exchange. So now we have children and people of various shades of color. Some for the household, some for the ruling palaces and others for in-between. Some of our own guiders consider that the Kaslarites should be considered for cultural enrichment if we expand westwards towards the Euphrates,” Gairn said all this with a hint of apathy.
“Helping the Southern folks is one thing Gairn, but what the Forlongers are doing is a step too far. They go against the Elder Kings’ covenant Gairn. It can cause a breakage of the sacred connection and severing the link to the ancestors,” I cautioned.
“More fables of the Elders!” he scoffed in retort. “You Soliters mingled with the Aesir and Vanir did you not?” Gairn added slyly.
“Yes, but they are Northerners, our kindred folk. The Elders said to never share our solar force with different—”
“Oh that’s just the Elder Kings creating division,” he chided as if it was nothing. “The Forlonger folks are reaching out and elevating the Southern folk, no harm can come of it. In fact they can create peace between their quarrelling tribes by being the guardian over them. The Kaslarites do the same too I believe. We can see the reason to this, as can they.” “If that’s the case why not head south and join your faction with the Forlonger then?” I said. I was hoping to call Gairn out on his decidedly un-Hyperborean words.
“If that’s the case why not head south and join your faction with the Forlonger then?” I said. I was hoping to call Gairn out on his decidedly un-Hyperborean words.
“For us it is better for a middle way. We can act as a mediator and way-station. You come from the north, they come from the south. Who knows? Perhaps in future times some of you Northerners will journey to live among the Southerners?”
When I returned to the north and told what I had learned from Gairn. I was expecting a furious response from the Elder King. Instead he sighed and nodded his head. He explained the ways.
We Soliters with our kindred Northerners were settling the northern realms, the face of the world, its arms and chest. The Andarian’s had the ribs and stomach. The Forlongers had the loins and legs of the world. I knew we were entering uncharted waters and, whether we liked it or not, a crucible of the factions had begun. We must be careful not to be melted out as the others are fired and purified from the outcome.”
I wasn’t to know it but there would come a time when the words of the Elder would soon manifest.”
Copyright - Tyler Danann