Tucked away in the southern corner of the Obsidian Grove surrounded by walls of mountains, blankets of forests, and wide open meadows, live the humans. Some have made their home in tribal villages along the outskirts of the human territory, living simply and in harmony with nature. Others prefer the great city of Torrin, where human ingenuity is always on display. No matter where they live, humans are known to be clever, adaptable, and ambitious, constantly growing their collective knowledge as they pass their learnings on to the next generation. These qualities are both a blessing and a curse, for they are always willing to risk the safety of the status quo if it means an opportunity to advance their own kind.
Though all humans are unique, there are certain traits that apply to the majority of humans and define the type of culture they live in:
Anneka, the Huntress
With no family of her own, Anneka was raised by a childless hunter who took her under his wing. Despite giving Anneka every opportunity to pursue whatever skill she wished, she was enchanted by the hunt - nothing else came close to satisfying her. It wasn’t long before she felt most at home in the wilderness, and with no other bonds or obligations to hold her back, Anneka's interest grew into an obsession. All that mattered now was testing her abilities against increasingly dangerous prey.
Nheo, the Vagabond
A disciple of prestigious warrior monks, Nheo pushed himself to the limits of his human potential. Yet despite his skill, he was told he would never survive outside the human territory. Nheo knew the warning was not without merit, but it didn’t matter. His hunger for freedom grew to be unbearable, and he decided the mortal risk was better than living idly like an animal in a cage. He embarked on a journey through the Sunken Valley into demonic lands. However, it wasn't long before fate turned against Nheo, putting him directly in the path of an unusual and powerful demon. Nheo was defeated before he even had a chance to draw his sword. But instead of losing his life, he was offered a trade - give up his eyes and in return receive the power to roam freely. Nheo accepted without a second thought. His voracious desire for freedom blinded him from the possibility that he may have traded away more than just his eyes.
Oro, the Barbarian
Even among the tribal villages, Oro, the Barbarian, had a reputation of being uncivilized. He was selfish, wild, and extraordinarily strong. At only sixteen he announced he would leave his village and venture into the wilderness, alone. For two whole years nobody saw or heard of him and they assumed he had finally met his match with the beasts of the forest. But he did return, no longer a boy, but a man, dragging behind him the carcass of a giant boar. By enduring the brutal trials of nature, Oro learned to be as savage and efficient as a wild animal, but maintain the ruthless cunning of humanity. And as a result, a true monster was created. One who had already mastered the wilderness, and had sights set on conquering much more.
Yuna, the Astral Seer
When Yuna opened her ghostly, silver eyes for the very first time, much of her destiny was already set in motion. After all, she was born into a long line of priestesses, so there was no question that she would be sent to a temple to learn the old ways of warding and prayer. Her talents in this domain were prodigious, and she was able to master all the formal lessons with ease. But she always stood out as a bit odd and would often unsettle the other girls. She asked strange questions that nobody could understand, let alone answer, and her haunting eyes would follow invisible spirits that floated through the wind and danced in the evening fires. It was as if she had access to another reality and was unable to disentangle it from the one shared by her fellow humans. Many believed her genius flirted with insanity, and only time would tell if her preternatural connection to the inexplicable would prove to be a blessing or a curse.
Marius, the Inquisitor
Many tales and teachings have been passed down through the generations in the human territory, but none have been compiled and safeguarded like the Scriptures. To the church, these writings serve as a fundamental guide to morality. Marius, however, saw something deeper within them. What if they weren't simply allegory, but an accounting of human history? What if faeries and demons were not just metaphorical myth, but a true threat that the superstitious priestesses kept at bay? Under the guise of a humble and unassuming man, Marius pursued these questions in secret. Eventually, he made his way to the university in the capital city of Torrin and rose through the ranks, becoming a professor of theology and history. Now in a position of power and respect, Marius had the means to uncover other hidden truths, and the influence to begin carefully sowing the seeds of a new vision for humankind. A path forward that would place him in history as the catalyst to humanity's rise, or the shadow of its downfall.
Mentioned in the story: The Shadow of History
Remus, the Scholar
It was obvious at a young age that Remus would never be suited for farm life. He would study wild plants instead of feeding chickens, was more interested in experimenting with herbal recipes than tending to crops, and always looked forward to the evenings when his father would use the Scriptures to teach him how to read and write. Unwilling to stunt Remus' academic potential, his parents sent him to live with his uncle and aunt in the capital city of Torrin to receive the best education available. There Remus flourished, his curious and active mind filled to the brim with whatever knowledge he could get his hands on. But being so well-read came with a price, for it allowed him to make connections that most would never consider, let alone question. And when those questions were aimed at the highest sources of authority - the King and the Church - Remus had unwittingly put himself in a more dangerous position than he could have ever imagined.
Mentioned in the story: The Shadow of History