There are many different races and people-groups in Astrom, and I would like to introduce you to them. Some of the names may be familiar to you from elsewhere, but make no mistake about it, each of them find a unique expression in my world.
The inhabitants of my world can be grouped into two categories, according to whether they fight with the darkness of evil or against it. It would be wrong to over-simplify it – those who might fall under the traditional label of ‘good’ are not a homogenous whole, but instead cover a wide spectrum of virtue and represent many divergent worldviews. Different species and races have their own mythologies, values and customs, and within each group there is an endless variety of individuals, each with their own strengths, flaws and motivations. Few of them are unquestionably good and just as few are irredeemably bad, but when the moment of truth comes and a common enemy arises, all will join the fight against it. Though they are often divided at other times, it is this shared cause that makes them the Free Peoples.
Arrayed against them are those who fight against the free world, either out of envy or hatred, or both. Again, they are not a bland or mindless mass but are a broad coalition of interests and idiosyncrasies with many shades of grey between them. They range from the misguided and manipulated to the intrinsically vile, but all have rejected Prélan and allied themselves to the Great Enemy. I shall discuss them in another post, but for now I’m going to explore the Free Peoples…
The Free Peoples are reckoned in history by whom they fought against, but in truth they can be defined by a common heritage, if not a shared lineage. In the annals of Astrom you will find them listed as the enemies of Kurundar, the archmage and sorcerer of Urunmar, but their connection goes back much further and runs far deeper.
In origin, the Free Peoples are all children of Prélan, His creations, in whom He delights. The Maker is a Father to them all, though He has given distinct shape and temperament to each and arranged their destinies and distribution differently. They know Him by different names, worship Him in different ways, and to various extents they have all wandered from Him, but they all owe their being to Him.
There are the created races: Avaerian and Oronámiri, each of whom awakened separately by the grace of Prélan, and there are the Düel, a race who came about later as a result of their own disastrous choices.
Avaerian means ‘people of the stars’, for they came to Astrom from Eluvatar, the Holy Star. They are what we would call elves, though they call themselves Genesi, which signifies ‘the First’. True enough, they awoke long before all the others and dwelt alone in Astrom for three thousand years before others joined them. They have many kindreds, but the three main kindreds are the Avatar, the High-elves, the Firnai, the Wood-elves, and the Marintors, the Sea-elves. There will be a dedicated instalment later in this series for all of these kindreds, as well as for the elves in general.
Of different kind and origin are the Oronámiri, which means ‘Children of the Mountains’. Their provenance was terrestrial, not celestial, but they are no less the work of Prélan for that reason. They were shaped by Him and awoke in the mountains at different times and places. Some remained in the mountains of their birth and others wandered far to new lands, but all are proud of their upland ancestry. Armists and Dwarves, known to the elves as Falakai and Dargrodai respectively, are the two main species in this category, but there is also a third, the Rascai, a secretive and mysterious people. All of them are more akin to each other in essence than to the elves, though the armists have taken on many elven traits through deep friendship and long association. Other sub-races and tribes there are within these three main groups, including some who have fallen into darkness, but their stories shall be told in due course.
Last of the Free Peoples are the Düel, meaning simply ‘Mortals’ in elvish. They were once elves, but although all the Oronámiri are mortal, the elves reserve this name for their estranged kin precisely because their mortality is what set them so traumatically apart from the elves. They would be men and women in our eyes, but they are not human, but rather fallen elves who have forfeited their deathlessness. This was the judgement of Prélan for their widespread and resolute rejection of His ways, though whether it be curse or gift is a matter of long and unresolved debate.
The Elves, who came from the stars and once spanned the whole continent of Astrom; the Armists, Dwarves and Rascai, Children of the Mountains; and the Mortals who were sundered from the Elves and claimed much of their patrimony; all these are the Free Peoples. And each in turn shall be described in subsequent instalments.
This is the first in a new blog-series that will be exploring the different people groups of Astrom. If you’d like to read the whole series, please subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any of the posts. Happy reading.