Thursday, August 2, 2012

Melor, According to Arden

I'm going to reveal a little of the world-building for the Emergence trilogy, but I'll turn this post over to Arden Masiona, narrator of Sand into Glass, because he is more familiar with the subject than I am. I'm just his transcriptionist.

So, first of all, I've heard you're all a bit stuck in the past. That's okay, I'm used to that from my father. He's been around for something like 7,600 years now, so the world has changed significantly. I'm not sure just how old he is, and neither is he anymore, but I don't think it really matters since so much time has passed.

The advantage of having an Aulor as a father is I learned a view of history that no one else in Melor knows. Melor was once called Malora. It became Melor after a series of events which reshaped the land and left most of the population devastated. Life was rough for a while, but like the Thulan, we rose from our charred remains and learned to thrive.

I was born in the Yolane Forest and spent most of my childhood there. We traveled a bit, so I visited the Masia land of Matalore, the western city of Stixa, and most of the cities and villages in between. The Efilon Wilderness is quite desolate, and most of the population of Melor lives east of the Athuals. 

I was educated in Dunewind when I was an adolescent. Where is Dunewind? Well, that is complicated. It's in the Marita Desert, but the city moves on Aumua's whim. It is the home of the Vin, and I was the first non-Vin there in milleniums, since the fall of Ganebra according to Aumua. I'm not really supposed to talk about Dunewind much, but I will say that is where I became a glassmaker.

The races of Melor are diverse, but most of them are descended from humans. Isolation, Elemental influence, and Aulor blood fractured humanity in only a few generations. I suppose I'll list some of the different races for you, starting with the two in my own blood.

Aulor - Okay, I guess this isn't a race at all. Aulors are elementals, Time Children. There are supposedly always two in existence, but I only know of one, my father. The other is a mystery, a rumor spread by a couple of Efi obsessed with learning ancient lore. I asked my father about the second, and he confirmed he has a counterpart, but he refuses to tell me who it is. Aulors are biologically immortal. They can be killed, but they don't age or catch illness. Mages only have a single focused skill, but Aulors can have several. My father has a chameleonic complexion, can transcend distance, and his words have power. I don't know what the other Aulor can do because I know nothing about him. Or her, who knows...

Efi - This is my mother's race, but I wasn't raised among them, so I don't act like a proper Efi. Efi are notoriously flaky. They are the self-described forest guardians of the Efilon Wilderness, which makes up the entirety of central western Melor. They are calm and pleasant enough, but you cut down a forest or slaughter animals around them, you are in for trouble. They've been known to berserk on occasion if the crime against nature is great enough. Most of the time, they're perfectly peaceful, though. They mature slowly and generally take everything at a leisurely pace.

The Efi are descendants of two different Aulors, and this has drastically altered their lifespan and maturity rate. An Efi is considered an adult at 60 and they can live 500-600 years, so they age three times slower than humans until they are adults, and then their aging slows to a rate at least six times slower than a human. Most of them never reach their maximum lifespan because they are prone to accidents and animal attacks. Physically, Efi are imposing, though not as much as the Toli. They are taller than humans and lithe of build. Most have black or blond hair and light eyes, but there are exceptions. Dark eyes run in my mother's line (mine are hazel), and brown eyes and hair run in the Watulya Efi, though they are rumored to be mixed blood.

Mero - Mero are the second race descended from Aulors. They are water-dwelling people who live in the ocean of Ara. Not much is known about their culture, but they are rumored to be the most technologically advanced race in the world... and also rumored to not actually live in the water. Mero have a cultural problem they readily acknowledge. There are far more women than men, so the men take multiple wives. The women are offered a chance to go on shore for a period of time once they reach adulthood. Most never leave the water, but some come on land, marry outside their race, and bear children before the addiction to the water overtakes them and they abandon their families to return to the sea. Mero always have red hair and water-colored eyes (blue, gray, or green). They are human-sized in stature, but their lifespans are comparable to Efi.

Baku - Baku are the mountain guardians of Gainai, a nightmare parents give their children to get them to behave (I've heard I hold that same honor). They are slight, rock-complected people who are rumored to be cannibalistic. No one is bold enough to venture into Gainai for fear of being killed and eaten. I was astonished when my father told me they were his descendants through one of his daughters. I'm assuming the Aulor blood gives them lengthy lifespans, but there is no way I'm going to track one down and ask to confirm it.

Toli - Toli are the largest of the human descendants, and they make their home in the rainforests of Tolaran. They are about a hand taller than the average Efi, and bulkier. Their hair and skin come in a variety of blues and greens. They are physically intimidating, but their manners are generally jovial and they are quite peaceful. They pride themselves on their practical jokes. A few deviate from their culture and become competitive fighters. They have lifespans of about 400 years, but they are not Aulor descendants with the exception of a few who descended from the two children my father had with a Toli woman a couple of centuries ago.

Drey - I have to think for a moment to figure out what to say about Drey that will not negatively impact your opinion of them. They certainly aren't all bad, but I've had some bad experiences with them. Drey are about half the height of Efi. Their coloring is as jewel-toned as the rocks they mine and their eyes always match their hair in color. They often claim mining-related surnames. They live along the Athuals on both sides of the divide. They are possibly the most violent race of Melorans, though they have calmed down over the past few centuries in an effort to maintain trade relations with the Efi. They are obsessed with gems and justice. There are many Drey mages, but it is extremely rare for a Drey to become an Emergent, though they often harass my father to attempt coaxing them into transcendence. Their maturity rate is comparable to humans, and they live only slightly longer, maybe 100-110 years. I think their stature and lifespans make them resentful of the taller, longer-lived races.

Human - I am a little reverent for humans because they were the origin of the rest of us, but I still feel sorry for them. Modern humans are the people who were left unchanged after the fall of Ganebra. They are strong, hardy, resilient people, but they only live 80-90 years and have short childhoods. Most humans live east of the Athuals, but there are large communities of them in the west, too, especially in Brandeis and Etresca. They are quite friendly with Toli, Drey, and Efi, but the races rarely mix and half-bloods are outcasts in most places except Vanora.

Non-human races

Masai - The Masai are a race of pointy-eared, pointy-toothed, long-tailed creatures recently relocated from the continent of Rikulon. Their faces and bodies are fairly human, but their attitudes certainly are not. They pride themselves on being efficient hunters and competent athletes, and are guided by the Elements Affaji (the Tundra) and Taiga (Boreal Forest). They live 200 years and mate for life. My father has made no secret of the Masai being his favorite people, and several of their mages have become his Emergent students.

Inga - Some call this race dryads. They are western tree people, once called myth, but proved real when they ventured from the forests after the fall. The village of Stixa is home to a small community of Inga-Efi half-bloods. Both the Inga and their half-blood children are shy, and I know little about them despite my brief time in Stixa.

Vin - The children of the Desert and the Wind are known by so few in Melor that most would think I'm making them up if I spoke about them. They are the winged residents of Dunewind, and a little bat-like.  They prefer their privacy so haven't made their presence known to the rest of Melor. They were created by Aumua.

Elements - The Elements fashion themselves as deities, and most revere them as such and refer to them collectively as The Web. I know better. They are nothing but powerful beings who spend most of their time residing on another plane. Sure, they are the creators of almost everything we know, but they are also arrogant things that take pride in playing games with mortals. They occasionally procreate with mortals, stick Elemental soul like Aulors or Thulan into the children of mortals, or toss new races into the world. Some Elements are perfectly pleasant and tolerable, others are awful. You probably shouldn't tell anyone I said this about them. It's best to let people keep their fantasies about deities for now.

Gourdlings - Avoid, avoid, avoid! These fat little forest creatures work in pairs or small groups to mesmerize people and lure them into their caves, trees, and hovels. Once there, they make their victims sing, dance, tell stories, or otherwise entertain them. When they finally release the victim, the victim finds years have passed and they have aged along with their lost time.

Kiraksgard - My father assures me the great bear people of the far north are not a myth, but I don't believe him. Maybe they were real once, but if they were, they've been lost to time.

There are many other races and creatures in Melor, but I don't know enough about them yet to describe them to you. Satyrs, watersingers, tromkas, chiva, rychan, gigantic mushrooms that will eat you if you get too close. Melor is a strange place, and my father told me it is far stranger than it used to be.

I suppose I'll go back to telling my story to my transcriptionist now. She's quite patient with my outbursts and I appreciate it. I have a story to finish, then I'll turn her over to Tesji and Zella so they can tell their stories and complete the trilogy. I look forward to sharing my world with all of you.

But, I need to warn you first...

You're not going to like me.

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