Let’s start with a talk about the world itself.
The world of Aeltarnen doesn’t have any global name. People see their identity connected with their continents rather than being inhabitants of one planet. Opposed to that, it’s a common knowledge in civilised countries that the world is round and this concept doesn’t cause any major religious disputes or bursts of disbelief. Why? Because of the magic.
This world is heavily magic filled and the energy lines are circling the whole world. The less developed tribes may have not acknowledged this fact yet and they may see their world as a chess mat of gods or demons. The energy lines are perceptible for anyone who has a magic talent (or literally visible for the most talented). The other reason for the acknowledgement is teleportation. This magic skill is almost impossible to learn for the most of the mages (except for those dark bastard from Arkaba’s Star and for some posh elven nobility passing their secrets from generation to generation). Those, who try to learn it or at least to understand it, need to know the energy lines from hearth and they calculate the spells according to them. The patterns and roundness in the lines became visible to mages quite soon. And actually demons and other supernatural rabble knew about the roundness from the time they settled into the world. Let’s assume that some of them liked to mock the ignorant humans with true but ridiculously looking facts.
Okay, our world is round. What else?
This world has two moons – bigger Algar and smaller Agnar. Algar is similar in the size to our moon, Agnar is smaller and more distant. The time counting is based on their meeting in the sky. The solar year has approximately 335 days. It has 10 months. Long months (38 days) take turns with short months (33 days). The solar year starts with a short month.
We have three known continents in the “civilised world”. (That means in the North direction from the equator. In the name of world building I may admit that there is another civilised – but deliberately isolated – continent in the South. It is actually more developed than the North ones, but the “Northerners” have no clue.)
Since the story of Mortifer is set into Kierth (so-called “the old continent”by the Kierthans) we should take middle Kierth’s setting as a base. The full name given to this continent by elves is Kierthsilthrim, shortened by Imperials to Kierth. The other large continent is Saelnarin (so-called “the new continent” by the Kierthans and “homeland” by the Imperials. Do you feel the tension already?). Newly discovered and supposed to be uninhabited (but the Kierthan slavers know very well about it’s treasures) is icy Areth on the North. The last “unknown” continent in the South could have been mentioned in some legends and chronicles. Let’s give hime a name of Lenthrin for that purpose.
The main clash of cultures has been happening between Kierth and Saelnarin. Why?
The original race of this world is human. The continents and their nations had been isolated for thousands of years and forget about the presence of the others. The reason of their separation were wars of demon magic (fuelled by certain infamous demons). The magic before that time was given by gods and certain governing entities to their loyal servants and favourites (and then they made the mortals fight with each other. Hahah. Great fun to pass time for any divine entity). Some individuals learned other types of magic from demons and revolted against the deities to gain the freedom. The revolution ended in bloodshed and broken planes of reality, so the more reasonable surviving nations moved to Saelnarin and Lenthrin. The “corrupted demon lovers” had to stay on Kierth. (How could the loyal servants of entities move to Saelnarin and Lenthrin when there was no advanced “mortal” magic allowing teleportation at that time? They simply asked “their entities” to move somewhere safe. Those corrupted Kierthan mages actually won. It was Pyrrhic victory – they simply fought until the reality was so broken, that it wasn’t safe to stay on the old continent anymore.) It was a really hard time for the Kierthan survivors. Their lands were destroyed, their best mages died and lands were filled with demons and vermin from intermediate planes and other worlds. The strongest outpost was Arkaba’s star, a city state build by Arkaba, one of the leaders in the ancient magic war. It is known that Arkaba gained his divine magic powers by a pact with a demon, which later killed him. Arkaba and his company weren’t any saints and even at that time he was seen as a saviour by some (by his proteges and followers) and as a bearer of destruction by the most. The common opinion nowadays is that Arkaba’s Star brought destruction to the whole continent, but they had no intention to remedy any of the damage and demon infestation afterwards. The Arkaba’s Star has been called a land of the dark mages since that time and it’s decay in the last hundreds of years (and the tyranny and executions from the last sovereign) are seen as a wrath of the Creator, destiny or a karma.
Long story short, we have isolated Lenthrin, loyal Saelnarin and broken Kierth (with that dirty center of dark magic). What happened next?
About two thousands years ago (as you may see that it is not that distant past) the elves entered this world as refugees from their own dying world called Esteria. They entered into middle Kierth, which has been the most broken part of the land and still is vulnerable to demon breakthrough, magic anomalies, etc. And after long fights with original human nations, they settled down and built nations of Laweren (middle Kierth), Aladena (west Kierth) and Mirheim (middle Kierth, but not that broken as Laweren’s lands).
It took a long time for both humans and elves to be able to live next to each other and since elves are immortal unless they die from a wound or a disease, they took over the governments of the most of the Kierth (except the corrupted Arkaba’s Star, some infertile northern lands, deserts, swamps, prairies, and Idira, another mage city-state and some islands). The elves used an element-based magic similar to the “mortal” magic the humans were trying to invent, so their techniques later merged together. The elves of course mixed with the humans and nowadays it is really hard to find pureblood humans on Kierth. This crossbreeding helped humans to master the elements (the elemental magic is really hard for Imperials who are mostly pureblood), and it helped certain elven tribes to breed more efficiently. Yes, you read correctly. To breed. The pureblood elven families usually can have only a one child in centuries or at least in several hundreds of years. If you see an elven family with many children, that means that there is a bit of human blood running in their family.
The humans from Kierth took over a bit of elvish appearance – they are smaller, slimmer, lighter skinned and have more colourful hair than their cousins from Saelnarin. The etiquette tells humans in elven ruled lands that they are supposed to shave (at least when they want to speak with the upper classes). The Arkaba’s Star has been able to resist the elven attack, so their human blood remained mostly intact. (Well, mostly. They have been crossbreeding with demons and other entities, so they have their own problems with bloodlines. People of Arkaba’s Star have usually dark hair and darker skin. Usually. Sometimes they have horns, glowing eyes, skin of unhuman colours, but that’s Arkaba’s Star. What would you expect from the dark mages.)
The inhabitants of Saelnarin are strictly human (with some exception of few elven exiles and prisoners). Saelnarin is the only continent reaching below the equator. It’s population is usually taller and more bulky than Kierthans and they have darker skin – from light tan, to the darkest brown. There is no racism based on colour of the skin on the Saelnarin. As opposed to that, the Kierthans may react exaggeratedly to a dark skinned humans, because they may have mistaken them for tarnens, violent cruel dark elven tribe. Every adult man in the Empire must have a beard or a moustache. Every. Man. Only the clergy is allowed to shave. Otherwise a shaven man is considered mentally ill, unworthy or worse – it must be a filthy Kierthan! (And of course – elves don’t have body hairs at all.)
The Saelnarin is completely overtaken by the Empire ruled by single Emperor and it is advancing to other continents, namely Kierth.
Kierth has been “discovered” by Saelnarin approximately three hundreds years ago and after a short period of attempts for a rapprochement, the “cursed and demon driven” Kierth started to be colonised by the Empire. The elves and elvish-like elemental magic was considered filthy and unclean and the Empire had taken down many elven lands on the west, including Aladena. Up to now the Empire has dominated almost half of Kierth. So called “Kierth province” is ruled by the Emperor’s cousin. The present Emperor is quite old now and is rather for a policy of stagnation and maintenance of already gained colonies. So the border hasn’t moved much for last decades.
The story of Mortifer is now happening at the borders of the Empire and Laweren in the middle of Kierth. Yes. In that magically most destroyed part of the planet.
What will happen next? Outburst of demon powers? The Empire will conquer the rest of the continent? Why did the elves run away from their own world? And what about that mysterious people of the South?
We will see…