Tales of Sharaam
Lore of Sharaam
On the origin of Humans and their Ancestors
Before everything, there was the Tree. It spawned the sun and the stars, the land and the seas. Then, the first children fell from it’s branches. Thus, the gods of past and present came to be. After them, came the children of the Elements, Avatars of Balance – Djinn, Efreet, Shaitan and Marid. These were times of peace.
However, the Tree began to spawn the lesser ones. First came the Tirmal (Elves) and Obel (Hobgoblins). They saw no difference in each other – all of them had the right to exist. They helped each other, lived together and all was well. Seeing what the Tree did, the Gods realized they can create their own spawn. Thus, all other races came to be. They knew no harm and no evil. At first, the gods ignored them, regardless of them being their children. Being unwise and unknowing into the ways of the tree, they just let them be. But as time passed, they started looking with kindness upon them. One by one, each of them gave a gift to the lesser ones. Thus they gained all the knowledges – magic, engineering, warfare, metalworking… The enlightment came at a price – seeing that they can use these arts for their personal gain, spawned many conflicts. Conflicts rose into bloodshed, which became war. Thus, the lesseres discovered death. They weren’t eternal, as the Gods were. After years of conflict, they realized that it leads nowhere. They all gathered, obligating themselves to keep the peace and found the first city, named Saredra (Union). This city was an alliance between the Tirmal and the Obel, while the others, even though intelligent, remained living like they previously did – in tribes or small settlements, no different than the Tirmal and the Obel in the Beginning.
Seeing how the Gods began favoring the lessers instead of them, made the Avatars of Balance jealous. They began plotting the demise of those lesser than them. The Djinn, looking most similar to the lesser ones, were sent to sow their seed among them, with the idea of spreading a progeny loyal to the Avatars, which would be the ultimate demise of the lessers. They found out that, for some reason, they could only have progeny with a half-breed, as they called them – Half-Tirmal and Half-Obel. These creatures, similar to both parents, but still different, came to be known as Humans. The children of these and the Djinn, were called Djann. Generations passed, and the numbers of the Djann grew. They lived among the others in Saredra in harmony. When the Avatars deemed their number sufficient, they began taking action, to put their infernal plan into motion. However, not all Djann agreed with their ancestors. They split in two. The ones agreeing, joined the Avatars in the realm of Air. The others left Saredra and began roaming the lands, as a self-imposed punishment for their existence, which was meant to spawn nothing but death.
Having no power over the Avatars of Balance, the Gods could do nothing but watch passively. Destruction and Death were inevitable. When the war started, the sky and the earth trembled at the release of magical powers unseen before. It raged for decades, with Saredra being besieged constantly, by the spawns of the Djinn, commanded by Avatar emisarries. Their numbers seemed to have no end. Both the Tirmal and the Obel began to lose hope. Their leaders, Sathiar and Sorath, being demi-gods themselves, searched for ways to find the source of the Avatars power and how were they able to transport large armies from their native planes – such a task would require seemingly unreachable magic powers. But their scope of understanding was lesser than that of the Avatars. However, Sathiar, being gifted in the ways of magic, secretly invented a spell that would bind his soul to that of Rothryn, the most noble of the Avatars, and their leader. On a night with a full moon, when his powers reached their peak, he cast the spell, without anyone knowing. As expected, his will merged with Rothryn, who commanded his legions himself. The battle of the two souls, bound in one body caused chaos in the ranks of the invaders. The release of magical energies destroyed many of the Djann, and banished many Avatars to their native planes. Seeing a weakness in his enemies ranks, Sorath immediately ordered his armies to attack. Sorath led the charge himself, slaying hosts of enemies with his sword, Toremar.
Victory was imminent. The chaos that Sathiar managed the create among the invaders, gave the defenders a chance to end this war once and for all. Sorath advanced towards what he thought to be Rothryn, hoping that destroying the noble Efreet would put a stop to their ambitions of destroying the lesser. With a single, swift strike towards the Efreet, Sorath managed to destroy what he thought was Rothryn. However, after the blow was delivered, Rothryn split in two – one of them was the mortally wounded Sathiar. Seeing their leader dead, made the invading Avatar forces retreat to their home planes, realizing that they underestimated the “lesser”. This, unfortunately didn’t end the bloodshed. The Tirmal, mad with rage started attacking Sorath. Having no will to defend himself, he fell to his knees waiting for the same destiny like Sathiar, whom he regarded as brother. The Obel, considering Sathiar’s actions as treason, struck at the Tirmal. This marked the beginning of an everlasting hatred between the two firstborn races. There were some that were able to see beyond their kin’s hatred, and made attempts to continue their old ways of living in harmony. These were hated by everyone, considered to be cowards and traitors to their leaders, later gods, Sathiar and Sorath. Sathiar was buried in a mausoleum, sealed along with his most loyal in it, it’s location unknown. Sorath’s body however, was never found. The only thing left, were some traces of his blood, later used to enchant some of the most glorious weapons the Obel ever created, and his trusty blade, Toremar, stuck into the ground near Sathiar’s remains, ominously casting it’s shadow upon Sathiar’s body. It is said that many died trying to approach Sathiar, and that it took a whole year before they were able to remove the sword and seal it away. It was like the sword gained a mind of it’s own and defended the remains of the one he slew by mistake.
Saredra was abandoned, and fell to the influence of time, it’s location unknown to this day. The Obel found Drun Alukel and dedicated themselves to a life of strict discipline and warfare. The Tirmal on the other hand, split into factions and went to live underground, keeping to themselves. This would probably the beginning of Human civilization. Although the Humans also split into two factions,(later known as Meranim and Idemit) and even further into tribes, they managed to find a common language later. They found Sharaam, a small alliance of a few villages at first, growing to the size of a union of eleven city-states.
Races, cultures and languages of Sharaam
It is a fact that Sharaam has a varied mixture of races, cultures and languages. This is rather obvious, even to those new to these lands. Among one my interests and major researches is this topic exactly. What’s written below, is a short list I have compiled, describing races, cultures and languages. This is in no way an in-depth description of the folk of Sharaam. It is intended just as a starting point. To those more interested – look for a book called “The people of Sharaam”, written by me, Thogold Milner (note however, this isn’t an attempt at self-promotion – it is here for the sole purpose of helping curious souls like me).
Humans – The most varied of all, humans come in three major cultures: Meranim, Idemit and Ralsanim. The Meranim and Idemit are native to Sharaam, which is rather obvious by their bronze complexions and dark hairs. Their cultures and languages however, differ greatly. While I suspect they belonged to a single, proto-culture of humans, at some point they split and developed as two different cultures. The Meranim used to be the more nomad-inclined folk. They roamed the lands, being almost alike the Janni. It is rather recent they took interest (no more than 300 years ago, by my calculations) in forming organized habitats. Their adaptable nature helped greatly with this change of preference. They are considered to be talented merchants, hunters and they make some of the most hardy and competent warriors. The Idemit on the other hand, took the more organized approach – they have been known to live in cities for far longer than the Meranim, some would say that they found their first city, Amenophis more than 2,000 years ago. I dare question this claim, but this isn’t something i’m willing to explore in depth here. The Idemite folk are the ones that are considered to be the founders of law, architecture and mechanics. They are also considered to be the pioneers in organizing educational institutions, particularly those that teach magic and the arcane sciences. They make the best sages, architects, alchemists and mages among humans. The Ralsanim are somewhat of an anomaly in Sharaam. Being taller than their kin, light in complexion and with hair color varying from red to gold, they seem almost alien to these lands. The most supported theory of their existence here, is that they came to be here as a group of fugitives from the north. My research shows that it was some sort of a natural catastrophe that drove them here, across the sea. They brought the science of the sea with them. Aside from this, they can be found chasing many different paths, having no cultural ‘specialty’ as their brethren, the Meranim and the Idemit. There is one more group of humans worth mentioning here. The Kaifan, which are fugitives from the barbaric nomad tribes that roam the deserts around Sharaam. Some of these, in search for a better life, abandoned their tribes and fled to Sharaam. These are usually people of lower social classes, inhabiting slums and living in tightly-knit communities. Unfortunately, most of these people take up the more “shady” professions. Many of these were known to be master thieves, deadly assassins and even ruthless pirates. As far as languages go, there are four of these, one for each cultural group – The Meranim speak Meran, the Idemit – Idem, the Ralsanim – Ralsan, and the nomad refugees speak a language names as same as their culture – Kaifan.
Elves – The Tirmal are one of the ancient races that still exist today. Slightly shorter than humans, paler in complexion, with hair colors varying from red to black to white and with one most notable characteristic – the pointy ears. When it comes to culture these can be considered odd by human standards. Mainly, we have two groups – city elves, or those that live in Sharaam, by birth or by their own choosing, regardless. While these still maintain their customs, more and more can be seen adapting to the human way of life. So their culture, customs and the like can be considered to be a combination of native elven with significant human influences. The second group are the elves still living in dominantly elven settlements. Rarely has a human set their eyes on one of these, since they live rather closed and in a hardly accessible areas. Namely, it is known that most of these settlements are located underground, amidst the desert beyond Sharaam, in caves both ancient and hard to get to without guidance. Elves can be found chasing many different path in their lives, but there are few that dominate, tightly connected to the previously mentioned cultural groups. With the city elves, most common are healers, sages, alchemists, scribes, hunters and mages. However, because of their natural nimbleness, elves make some of the most renown thieves and most deadly assassins. Among those still living in elven settlements, most common are warriors, hunters, mages (a wider array of these, apparently there are more types of mages than humans know) and healers. Since they aren’t as numerous as humans, it isn’t unknown for one elf to serve more stations than one, or have multiple professions. Examples of this include warrior/mages, sage/warriors, healer/hunters etc. Of course, the reader (if not an elf), may find this strange. But bear in mind that elves have lifespans far longer than humans, with some known to be over 800 years old. So it comes naturally for them to chase more than one calling in life. In regards of language, all elves speak Tirmalin, their native language. Additionally, those living in Sharaam speak at least one of the human langauges, depending on their location. The native elven language is known to have a rather complex script and not everyone is able to learn it. Part of the problem might be the fact that rarely and elf agrees to teach their language to a non-elf.
Hobgoblins – The Obel are a strange race indeed. At least, by the standards of Sharaam’s majority. Ancient as the Tirmal, the Obel are a proud, honorable race that take great pride in their military might. Their numbers in Sharaam are low, and these are usually fugitives from Drun Alukel, their homeland. Little is known of their culture and customs. But from what I’ve gathered from legends, travelers and books, I was able to compile some insight into this. As I said, they can be considered a culture of warriors, with many school of different warrior arts. Especially sword fighting, unarmed combat and knife fighting. Magic isn’t unknown to them, but mages as we know them, aren’t a common sight among them. They usually blend their magical talents with some martial school of theirs, making them some of the most dangerous warriors these lands have ever seen. However, Obelim that have moved to Sharaam, more or less accept the mainstream culture, while trying to keep their warrior spirit alive. In regards of language, I’ve found out that their language (Obelin) has some similarities to Tirmalin, especially visible when comparing their scripts. Why is this so, is still a mystery to me.
[More coming soon]
An excerpt from the Traveler’s guide to Sharaam.