The mountainous land of Talpa, home to the barbaric race of the same name, is a curious place. The people there, of all Mortality on Dutherim, are furthest from the glory of the Peak. They were the last nation on the continent to abandon their ancient ways, and legends speak of great walls and fortresses barring the mountain passes between Talpa and neighbouring lands, to prevent them warring upon the nations below. Their worship is debased, closer to antesermal worship than true veneration of the Peak. Their art is crude, presenting the gods in simple forms without regard for their glory. But it is in their deaths that they commit their greatest offence against the faithful.
What do the Moon and Followers signify? That symbolism is disputed by the cultures of Janspar.
In the frozen highlands of Iame, the land of sunless days and ancient glaciers, they see the Moon and the Followers as a great beast of prey, pursued by hunters. Most commonly described as one of the great tusked loxons populating that country since antesermal times, the Mammoth-Moon proceeds endlessly across the sky, with the hunters doggedly following after. The bountiful mammoth is a creature of great importance to the Iaman, and this lunar tale represents their seasonal hunt and the constant struggle against the harsh lands they inhabit.
Look, child, the Mammoth-Moon marches
And the hunters shall follow
To chase the prey, to catch the pray
The hunters follow the Moon.
-Extract from an Iaman Cradle Song
Come forth, ye, and hear the tale of Amarand! Sailor, warrior, lover… adventurer! Who among ye has not heard the name? Why, in his centuries on Janspar, Amarand’s name has been spoken in every corner of civilization! What has Amarand not done? I shall tell you of his exploits and deeds, his triumphs and his tragedies, as recounted to me by the man himself! For yes, I was a shipmate of Amarand, though he traveled under the guise of a common sailor. And where else to recount these tales, but here in Silaka… the city of his father!
Amarand the Sailor: born on a ship to an Aeskhonae Captain, Amarand is more sea-creature than Mortal! He has circumnavigated the world a dozen times in each direction.
Amarand the Warrior: Amarand has shed blood in every land and upon every sea of Janspar! In wars and in duels, serving now as an officer, now as a lowly footsoldier, now as a dashing mercenary and then as a loyal follower.
Amarand the Pirate: breaking all taboos of his native people, Amarand preyed on the trade of the oceans. The noble sailor became a raider, the most fearsome corsair of the Southern Seas, and led a fleet of brigands like none other ever seen!
Amarand the King: in distant Gla’are, Amarand reigned over a land of peace and freedom, a pirate-nation of daring and romance!
Amarand the Lover: The passions of Amarand are almost greater than a Mortal can know! The story of Amarand is one of stealing into forts to free his love from chains, of embraces with angels and monsters, of romances that span centuries and continents.
Amarand the Explorer: from the icy mountains deep within Cuathona, to the jungles of Mfezili and the plains of Arrekho – there’s no land where Amarand’s foot has yet to tread. He sailed to the Peak itself, yes my friends… and he told me his path!
Conversations with Gods, battles with wizards, and… adventure! These tales I will tell you, dear listeners, and I will tell you in the Roscine Theatre, where the noble patrons of that fine establishment have allowed me to share my tale. Every night after close of market, I can be found in the Lesser Gallery, and for but a small entrance fee, the tale of my old shipmate, that unique and extraordinary person, can be heard!
Unnamed actor/theatre crier. Recorded in the Ahl Plaza, Silaka.
The common tongue of the Aeskhonae is not, as many mistakenly assume, the native speech of their home continent. Rather, as communication between peoples was held as a divine aim in their great work, they created a language, both to unify their own diverse tutve and to allow all Mortality to speak freely.
This tongue, crafted for clarity and ease of learning, was the first gift the Aeskhonae brought to Mortality in the era of Contact. Among all scholars, the arrival of common speech is regarded as the event that elevates a land from antesermal times to the enlightened ages.
As to the question of the languages of the Aeskhonae themselves, not only do they not natively speak the language that bears their name, but in fact at least two entire families of distinct Old Aeskhonae tongues exist on their home continent.
Though crafted as a pure tongue, common to all Mortality and native to none, Aeskhonan is rarely pure in practice. It is all Janspar’s tongue for commerce, diplomacy, and scholarship, but most will speak it adulterated by the languages of their own native lands. In the Age of Withdrawal, then more lately and most grievously after the Sin of Amuhlin, Aeskhonan dialects around Janspar became more diverse and isolated, and some became mutually incomprehensible.
An extract from Darion’s incomplete A History of Janspar, Volume the First.
Write no more to me of deadlines and obligations. I’ve not the patience for you to tell me of my duties. The Duke is happy to patronise me, and I am happy with her patronage, and that shall be an end to the matter. The work shall be finished when it shall be finished; should the Gods in the Peak desire it to be otherwise, they wish it in vain. But with their blessing and absent your nagging, I will produce for your presses a work unlike any seen in Janspar so far. Such an undertaking cannot be set in neat rows or squared into tidy reams, and cannot proceed according to such schedules. Continue with your pamphlets and plays and prayer-books; the demand for such will not fade while Darion writes his Histories.
The Sun’s Tears struck Janspar in the last days of Spring in 1332AR. They chiefly impacted on the land of Selmya, though smaller fragments of solar material landed all over the planet.
The intensity of the Sun’s Tears utterly destroyed Selmya – for hundreds of miles the land was ravaged and burned, leaving no trace of the nations that inhabited that wide country. All land north of the Resava range, from the Kelmar Ocean to the southern base of the Unnis Peninsula was utterly annihilated. Many of the Resava mountains themselves erupted, casting smoke and ash into the sky.
An extract from an early draft of Darion’s ‘History of Janspar’, wherein he describes the Sins committed by Amuhlin and the events preceding the Sun’s Tears.
The Sins of Amuhlin is the name given by scholars to the crimes and blasphemies committed by Amuhlin, King of the Nehri, the Sun Tears that rained upon Selmya and much of northern Oisindo ending his reign, and often to the subsequent Long Winter that covered Janspar for many years.
Due to the nature of the Sins, and particularly due to the awesome destruction wrought by the Sun’s Tears, knowledge of the precise events of Amuhlin’s reign is impossible. What is known has been gathered from Aeskhonan records, the accounts of travellers, and the accounts of those who fled Selmya.
Amuhlin became a leader among the Nehri in approximately Ar1310. He was in early middle age, and is said to have been a distinguished military leader, with minor orders in the Solar Cult of Olanis. He was raised to a position of leadership by the support of the Nehri Convention, the ruling council of that nation, and became known for his powerful oratory and just rulings. A surviving letter from a Nehri Elder to a relative in Jufai describes Amuhlin as a having “passions for ambition and for justice, evenly matched.”