author of The Dragon's Path

An Introduction to the Taxonomy of Races

(From a manuscript attributed to Malasin Calvah, Taxonomist to Kleron Nuasti Cau, fifth of his name)

The ordering and arrangements of the thirteen races of humanity by blood, order of precedence, mating combination, or purpose is, by necessity, the study of a lifetime.  It should occasion no concern that the finer points of the great and complex creation should seem sometimes confused and obscure.  It is the intent of this essay to introduce the layman to the beautiful and fulfilling path which is taxonomy.

I shall begin with a brief guide to which the reader may refer.

FIRSTBLOOD:

The Firstblood are the feral, near bestial form from which all humanity arose.  Had there been no dragons to form the twelve crafted races from this base clay, humanity would have been exclusively of the Firstblood.  Even now, they are the most populous of the races, showing the least difficulty in procreation, and spreading throughout the known world as a weed might spread through a rose garden.  I intend no offense by the comparison, but truth knows no etiquette.

THE EASTERN TRIAD:

The oldest of the crafted races form the Eastern Triad:  Jasuru, Yemmu, and Tralgu.

The Jasuru are often assumed to be the first of the higher races.  They share the rough size and shape of the Firstblood, but with the metallic scales of lesser dragons.  Most likely, they were created as a rough warrior caste, overseers to control the Firstblood slaves.

The Yemmu are clearly a later improvement.  Their great size and massive tusks could only have been designed to intimidate the lesser races, but as with other examples of crafted races, the increased in size and strength has come at a cost.  Of all the races, the Yemmu have the shortest natural lifespan.

The Tralgu are almost certainly the most recent of the Eastern Triad.  Taller than the Firstblood and with the fierce teeth and keen hearing of a natural carnivore, common wisdom holds that they were bred for hunting more than formal battle.  In the ages since the fall of dragons, it is likely only their difficulty in whelping that has kept them from forcible racial conquest.

THE WESTERN TRIAD

As the Eastern Triad marks an age of war in which races were created as weapons of war, the western races delineate an age in which the dragons began to create more subtle tools.  Cinnae, Dartinae, and Timzinae each show the marks of creation for specific uses.

The Cinnae, when compared to all other races, are thin and pale as sprouts growing under a bucket.  However, they have a marked talent in the mental arts, though the truly deep insights have tended to escape them.  As the Jasuru are a first attempt at a warrior caste, so the Cinnae may be considered as a rough outline of the races that follow them.

The Dartinae, while dating their creation from the same time, do not share in the Cinnae’s slightly better than rudimentary intelligence.  Rather, their race was clearly built as a labor force for mining efforts.  Their luminescent eyes show a structure unlike any other race, or indeed any known beast of nature.  Their ability to navigate in utterly lightless caves is unique, and they tend to have the lithe frames one can imagine squeezing through cramped caves deep underground.  Persistent rumors of a hidden Dartinae fortress deep below the earth no doubt spring from this, as no just structure has ever been found, nor would it be likely to survive in a absence of sustainable farming.

The Timzinae are, in fact, the only race whose place in the order of creation is unequivocally known.  The youngest of the races, they date from the final war of the dragons.  Their dark, insectile scales provide little of the protection that the Jasuru enjoy, but they are capable of utterly encasing the living flesh, even to the point of sealing all bodily orifices including ears and eyes.  Their precise function as a tool remains obscure, though some suggest it might have been beekeeping.

THE MASTER RACES

The master races, or High Triad, represent the finest work of the dragons before their inevitable fall into decadence.   These are the Kurtadam, Raushadam, and Haunadam.

The Kurtadam, like myself, show the fusion of all the best ideas that came before.  The cleverness first hinted at in the Cinnae and the warrior’s instinct limned by the eastern triad came together in the Kurtadam.  Also, alone among the races, the Kurtadam were given the gift of a full pelt of warming hair, and the arts of beading and adornments that clearly represent the highest in etiquette and personal beauty.

The Haunadam exist to the greatest extent in Far Syramys and its territories, and represent the refinement of the warrior impulse that created the Yemmu.  While slightly smaller, the tireless Haunadam have a thick mineral layer in their skins which repels violence and a clear and brilliant intellect that has given them utter dominion over the western continent.  Their aversion to travel by water restricts their role in the blue water trade, and has likely prevented military conquest of other nations bounded by the seas.

The Raushadam, like the Haunadam, are primarily to be found in Far Syramys, and function almost as if the two races were designed to function one with the other.  The slightest of frame, Raushadam are the only race gifted by the dragons with flight.

THE DECADENT RACES:

After the arts of the dragons reached their height, there was a necessary and inevitable descent into the over-sophisticated.  The latter efforts of the dragons brought out the florid and bizarre races: Haaverkin, Southling, and Drowned.

The Haaverkin have spent the centuries since the fall of dragons clinging to the frozen ports of the north.  Their foul and aggressive temper is not a sign that they were bred for war, but that an animal let loose without its master with revert to its bestial nature.  While they are large as the Yemmu, this is due to the rolls of insulating fat that protect them from the cold north, and their broad tails aid them in swimming through waters cold enough to kill another race. The facial tattooing has been compared to the Kurtadam ritual beads by those who clearly understand neither.

The Southlings, known for the great black night-adapted eyes, are a study in perversion.  Littering the reaches south of Lyoneia, they have built up a culture equal parts termite hill and nomadic tribe worship.  While capable of sexual reproduction, these wide-eyed half-humans prefer to delegate such activity to a central queen figure, with her subjects acting as drones.  Whether they were bred to people the living deserts of the south or migrated there after the fall of dragons because they were unable to compete with the greater races is a fit subject of debate.

The Drowned are the final evidence of the decadence of the dragons.  While much like the Firstblood in size and shape, the Drowned live exclusively under water in all human climes.  Interaction with them is slow when it is possible, and their tendency to gather in shallow tidepools marks them as little better than human seaweed.  Suggestions that they are tools created toward some great draconic project still in play under the waves it purest romance.

With this as a grounding, we can address the five philosophical practices that determine how an educated mind orders, ranks, and ultimately judges the races . . .