Introduction, Chapter 3
The inhabitants of the Allornus are certainly the key to it’s history, and so I shall endeavour in this chapter to explore and explain those many and diverse creatures that inhabit the lands of Allornus. Of the civilized races, I have heard tell that they all sprang from the same race, difficult as it may be to believe. Legend tells us that the divh took the clay of the earth, breathed air into it, tempered it in the fire, then doused it with water. They brought it the gift of life, in the form of a soul, and with it came death, and then placed these creations of clay, air, fire and water, and life and death upon the world, to find their own way. These half-men, or changelings, would then make their way in the world, find their own shape, and shape their own destinies.

Of the Landsmen

I can only assume that those reading this treatise are most likely of my own kin, because I write in the language of men, and there is little that truly keeps us apart from our brothers. We stand straight, have hair and skin and eyes and hands. The only thing that separates us is the tribe from which our blood derives, and of these there are seven, six from the Isle of Men and one apparently native to Allornus.

The Haedrasians

The first tribe of landsmen were the haedar, scions of the blood of the divhi Haederas. The sons and daughters of the haedar are the tallest and strongest of the race of men, their hair and skin is dark, and as befits the followers of the war divhi they are the finest soldiers on all Allornus. Their vast empire in the central part of the continent is one of the most long-lived and the largest in history, and they are ruled by the union of church and state as befits a people whose head of state is a divh.

The Malorns and the Draks

The third tribe of landsmen were the malorns, children of Malar. The malorns are a slave race to the draks, they have a sickly, sallow pinkish skin and red-black hair, and tend to carry weight more than other men. The malorns were the loyal followers of Malar, but when the Toldaks took control of the maldraks the malorns were reduced to little more than beasts of burden. Conversely the Draks are the chosen of their new divhi Da'ak, and they are marked as such. The Draks have the same blood-tinted hair as their kin, but their skin is the grey-white colour of ash and they are skeletally lean, but deceptively strong. The draks follow the classical malorn culture, they are thinkers and philosophers, however the tenets of Da'ak have left them without the concept of morality, as if they have transcended such a low and meaningless idea.

The Ralstaans

The fourth tribe of Landsmen were the ral, descended from the divhi Rallah. There were originally five tribes of the ral, but only three remain today, however the differences are primarily cultural ones. The ralstaans are a small people with olive skin, exceptionally fair hair and eyes of striking greens, blues and ambers. Ralstaan culture places a great deal of emphasis on individual merit. The ralstaan knights are some of the most imposing warriors anywhere man for man, and they are a proud people, but capable of great savagery. Ralstaa is one of the most dangerous of the settled regions of Allornus, and there is an instinct for survival underlying the ralstaan psychology.

The Ghans

The fifth tribe of landsmen were the ghans under the protection of Ghanda. The ghans are a cultured people, lovers of art and music, and their Dukes are great patrons of artists. Since the enslaving of the vargör the ghans have been able to devote themselves to higher pursuits, and with a religion based around interpreting the dreams of their dying divh the ghanish mystics have a great freedom to reflect upon and interpret their beliefs. The ghans themselves are a stocky, hairy people with pale skin and dark hair and eyes. They usually have prominent noses and square jaws, and usually excel in mercantile and scholarly pursuits.

The Irians and the Tribeless

The Sixth and youngest Tribe of Landsmen were the iri, scions of Irik. The irians are a suspicious, insular people who live in segregated communities called irinos within greater settlements. They are openly hostile to outsiders in their communities, and seldom venture outside themselves. Pinkish skinned, tattooed and blue-black haired the irians are often tall, lean, and sleek but normally they keep themselves very much covered outside their irinos with gowns and veils and gloves.

While we know that the men of the Inner Kingdoms and Southlands were a small part of the late Kelorn Empire, they are in fact not a tribe of their own, and have no divhi to themselves. To the irians, to be of the iri means living an iri life, and not merely having irian parents. Thus, when a family wander so far and so long from Irikhan Mora they cease to be irian, and bereft of their tribe they become the tribeless, and settle in their temporary home permanently. Now the tribeless far outnumber the true irians, and seem set to utterly eclipse them.

The Forsaken Tribe

The Second Tribe of Landsmen are the most infamous of all the races of Allornus bar none. The nofo, slayers of the divh Nofus. After fleeing the Isle of Men ahead of the Second Wave little is known of the nofo. Those few who have appeared since have been grossly malformed, as the hideous power of the cannibalized divhi allowed them to change beyond the limits of normal men. Presumably those who never fed upon the flesh of their patron are long dead and the blood of their kin diluted amongst the other men, and those few monsters who tasted divh-meat are both well hidden and no longer bare any resemblance to the men they once were.

The An-Heir

The Iri were not alone in casting out some of their number, for when the greatest of the divh-eaters fell, the followers who did not taste their patron, but shared the sin of those that did, became the an-heir. Hiding from the sundering on the seams of the shadow world, when they emerged into the secret places of the world they had changed. Their eyes had become jet black ovals, and their skin pale, but their hair ebon, and their features lovely. Some say that the An-Heir were reshaped by their own dreams. Now the bulk of them dwell in wild places, where the shadow world is close, and the barrier weak, and while they stay in these lands their lives are enormously extended, to seeming immortality.

Of the Ogiere

Neither men nor myr, the dwarf-giants, the races of the ogiere were seafarers who sailed away from their ancestral home for so long that they became lost, and couldn’t find their way home. In all the world no race has suffered the same hardships, or adapted to them so austerely and tenaciously as the mhulak.

The Mhulak

The mhulak live around the rims of enormous mhul-made rents in the earth called deepings. They are strange creatures, hunched low with their heads protruding forwards from the tops of their chests. Their arms are long, reaching nearly to the ground and their hands are enormous and thick-skinned. By contrast their legs are extremely short and their abdomens distended. Mhulak are all milky-white skinned and totally hairless. They are the first creatures to harness the powers of magic, and their culture and society is legendary. Few have been allowed to pass into their deeping halls to see the wonders of the mhulak world.

The Mariners

Of the Mhulak of old, those ancestors who plied the endless seas to the edges of the world where the waters fall into the vast nothingness beyond none remain, but they are remembered in the annals of all of the Myr, and in their own histories. The mariners were a nomadic people, living on huge flotillas out in the open sea. If the stories are to be believed they closely resembled Caliban with long powerful limbs, short legs and deceptive speed.

The Caliban

The Caliban are monstrous shadows of the mhulak, the resemblance is undeniable, and yet it is more than the value of your life to point out the resemblance in the presence of the usually sober dwarf-giants. The Caliban are very large, but their upper bodies are far larger and more muscular than their squat bowed legs. They are hairy creatures, with mottled tan hides, jutting lower jaws and bestial, stupid eyes. Often male Caliban will grow short tusks. The Caliban are ravenous creatures, greedy and ever seeking land to range and hunt. As generations go by the Caliban grow more and more animalistic, and it seems inevitable that they will eventually cease to be a race at all, and become mere beats of the land.

The Kardes

Many think the kardes of the Bear Tundra and Rockfell to be descended from Landsmen stock, but in truth they are closer in stature and form to the Caliban than any race amongst the Landsmen. The kardes have the low, flat shoulders of ogiere, though their legs are more like those of a man, and the proportions of their faces are somewhere in between, speaking to the likelihood of dwarf-giant descent.

Of the Beast Races

Often known by their old mhulak name the myrnaműn, or more simply as the myr, the beast races are so called because they appear to be half man, half animal. It is said that when the divh put the changelings on Allornus they did not give them form, nor nominate leaders from amongst them to model themselves after, but rather they allowed them to wander amongst the beasts of the land, and they grew to be like the most successful of the creatures around them.

Once there were many Beast Races, but now only four, or perhaps five remain. Some, like the taruun, we know very little of and others like the elusive yarach'nien may have never even existed, but once there were all manner of these races on Allornus, and every now and the bones of some unknown creature emerge as testament to the sheer variety that once existed.

The Skral

The southern mountain ranges of Allornus, above the High Kingdom of Ralstaa, is the home of a race of Beast Men who lived amongst the birds of prey native to that region. They are without a language of their own, sharing the tongue of the birds unpronounceable to men, so they are known - rather blandly - as Birdmen. Like the Kenu, yet very unlike them, birdmen have the torso and thighs of a man, but their arms are replace with massive wings, their legs with talons and their heads with that of a falcon or hawk.

The Vargör

The plains and forests of the eastern continental basin are home to the vargör, an especially fierce race of Myr who lived amongst the black wolves and followed placid roaming herds for milk and meat and hides. The creature that this birthed is a frightening one. Its face and arms are wolf like, with clawed hands, and its head and face are those of a savage wolf, though the torso is undeniably like that of a landsman. Stranger still, their women seem more feline than lupine in aspect.

The Urgrol

Once the urgrol occupied the fertile southern plains of Haedrasia, keeping great herds and following them with the season, but they were driven from that land long ago with the coming of the race of men. Now these bulky goat-men are woodland hunters, roving about in aggressive, volatile warbands in the deep, dark woods of the south-eastern coast. Easily provoked, they find little welcome, and yet through sheer tenacity they endure.

The Kenu

The wading birds of the lands around the inner sea played host to the Kenu, but the influence of another creature, perhaps long departed, remains where heavy glossy pelts replace what one might expect to be plumage. The Kenu are a learned and mysterious race, pacifistic in many communities, ascetic and wise, they have long necks and stalk-like heads with short, hooked beaks and round, high shoulders. The rest of their bodies are sheathed in bat-like feathered wings hanging from long landsman-like arms which bend at an extra elbow to clasp in front of the chest.

The Orkûn

The Orkûn are the boar-cats of the Inner Sea region, beginning as plains nomads who rode on the back of giant crabs, today there are as many settled Orkûn as nomadic tribes. They are an uncomplicated race of herders and farmers who formed the backbone of the old Kelorn Empire, and even now it is the Orkûn and the goblyns who populate the lands in the west. Orkûn have the heads of wild boars, complete with snouts and tusks, and their manlike bodies are lith and agile, with clawed hands and feline markings in their fur. They are possibly best known for their legendary love of wine and drunkenness.

The Bärchak

Perhaps the most famous, and least populace of the Beast Men are the stalwart and implacable Bärchak of the Bear Tundra, better known to the world as the Thunder Bears. Known for their skill in working metal and crafting the eternal ice of the northern glacier into their feasting halls, the sketches I have seen are less bear-like than I would have imagined, with only the head resembling a bear and the body being like nothing more than an immense ape.

The Zard

Almost certainly no more, the Zard are just as certainly no mere story. Once the strongest and most populace of all the Myr, the Zard were also warlike, and drove the formation of the first mighty empire on the face of Allornus in an effort to stem their sweeping conquest of the continent.

Of the Goblynkin

While the progenitors of the Goblynkin, the Zard, are undoubtedly of the Myr, their unusual compatibility with other races has led this prolific race to father a whole new subrace of half-castes collectively thought of as Goblyns. As a result many scholars have come to think of the scions of Zard and other mortals as a totally separate species, named (rather misleadingly) after their most populous incarnation.

The Goblyns

The result of Zard and man or myr parents, Goblyns are more similar to men than myr. With green, subtly squamous skins from their Zard forebears, they appear slight, with brutish faces, narrow eyes and mouths full of sharp teeth. Goblyns are very successful breeders, far more intelligent than legend would have us believe. These creatures are savages though, their societies usually degrading into bloody power struggles ruled over by the most strong and ruthless. Still, they have proved able to live amongst men and trade with them. And they are found regularly in large mercenary bands, hiring out their services. There are even several Goblyn nations in the western parts of Allornus. Like their desert-loving forebears, however, they seem to have an aversion to the colder climes.

The Hobgoblyns

Spawned from some more mysterious pairing with the Zard, Hobgoblins may have been very rare when the two races first met, but they are as prolific a race as their ancestors, and their small, isolated communities are common in the regions they inhabit. Little creatures, with long limbs, bow legs and ugly faces, they tend to be shunned by their neighbours, and this has made them alternately cruel and vengeful, or retiring and independent. In the old Irian homeland these horrible creatures lurk in the woods, snatching unwary travellers and small children to enslave, or imprison and taunt, while in the Southlands all the way north to the Inner Sea they live in small, peaceful villages, where they seldom if ever venture from their fields. But wherever they are found, Hobgoblyns seem to invite persecution and anger.

Of the Beasts and Birds and Fishes and Other Manner of Creatures

While those creatures neither Man nor Myr have no civilization or culture of their own, and are denizens merely of the physical world, they are far more numerous and diverse than the races of man and myr. But their inability to adapt or learn renders them merely inhabitants in this world, and not contenders to be its master. Unlike mortal man, they are without souls, and like the mountains, the trees, or the rivers, their life is fleeting, and wholly worldly.

Of thee Divhides and Baalfr and Bogles and Thynges o’ Myth

Divhides or Divhi in the more modern parlance, is the term used to describe an immortal creature, one that was neither born nor able to die, or succumb to age or illness. They are creatures of Divine origin or power or motive, and they are the fonts from which energy flows into the universe. Many are worshipped by nations or cults, though still others go unvenerated. There are generally around seventeen Divhidere known to man, the progenitors of the tribes of the landsmen, the five Baalfr and a number of formless Divhi who never descended to the mortal world, including the father of all the Creator and the sinister usurper Divh of Maldaakore Da'ak.

However these are not the only immortal creatures, while the Baalfr escaped the shadow world, many of their kind still dwell there. These Dreamspawn are said to wait and take the form given them by the dreams of whoever looks upon them, in order to evoke emotion. Some say it is raw mortal emotion on which they feed, though others suggest more sinister motives.

Man and Myr also still retain the capacity for change, and in extreme circumstances some still do, occasionally becoming monstrous, the remaining Nofo or the An-Heir monstrosities known as the Fey are examples of these, although those few given the gift also sometimes attain new forms more befitting to the elemental powers coursing through their souls.

And finally, there are the dead. Not all the souls of Allornus rest easy - some remain in the shadow world, close to their bodies, to their kin, or to some terrible misdeed, as spirits. Others whose will is strong refuse to depart their now-dead bodies, wearing them like dishevelled clothes until they eventually come apart. Ghosts and revenants are hated universally, and destroyed where they appear, but some manage to stay hidden close by their mortal world, until the flow of time eventually erodes them away to nothing.

An Introduction to the World of Allornus
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4