As perhaps the most prolific race in the world, Humanity has understandably had a large role in its past, and undoubtedly will continue to in its future. With the exception of a few outlying lands, the vast majority of Human nations find their roots in the Skiratan Empire; an ancient and vast reigonal hegemony that once united most of its founding race beneath a single banner. While the rule of this Empire was not necessarily as idyllic as modern men might describe, it is said that peace reigned, trade flourished, and technology advanced at an astounding pace. Truly, in those days, humanity was in a golden age, and ever since kings and emperors have struggled in vain to rebuild that long lost glory.
While few writings remain from the times before the Empire's rise, it is known that many smaller kingdoms once ruled in the east, much as others do today. Then, calling themselves the "Skiratar", a group of men descended from the frigid north. Stern and stonefaced, they demmanded that the kings of this land meet to discuss their future, lest they never live to see it. The northmen had found a sword, a powerful blade buried deep within the mountains, and alongside it a message; that only when wielded by a man first among men, would its true power be revealed, and their race saved. None among the Skiratar were destined to bear the sword, its powers dormant in their grasp, but surely some man could. The kings ignored the summons, their pride blinding them, but other men didn't; the first among them named Techenas, a man soon to be known as Techenas the Founder, for it was by his hand that the Empire would be built. At first the others came in a trickle, but soon in streams and torrents, and by year's end those who had once ignored the Skiratar could do so no longer, for now they were backed by a veritable army. Some kings relented and tried their own hands at the sword, each failing in turn. Some kings simply followed the Skiratar, waiting for something, anything, to happen. More kings, however, turned against the Skiratar in anger; their fear and misunderstanding too much to bear.
Armies clashed on a fateful plain in the year that the old Skiratan Empire later named the Year of the Founding, and subsequently set as the first year of their dominance over the known world. On one side were the vengeful kings, their swords sharp, their armor gleaming, and their men prepared for bloody battle. On the other were the Skiratar and their army, a force of peasants, mercenaries, and the odd soldier sent by a failed king. Despite all the odds set against them, the followers of the sword had one thing their opponents did not: faith. They knew the sacred blade would guide them to victory, but when swords began to fall and men began to die, this faith began to dissolve and dissapear. The Skiratar cut a swath deep into their enemies, but even their icy wrath was not enough and they too began to fall one by one, and it was as this occured that the fatal blow was struck. The Skiratar chief, his name now lost to time, was knocked from his horse; a vengeful king bearing down upon him, his fate now seemingly sealed in death's icy grip. But, as the king lashed out, a blade lept up to meet his with a clash like thunder, sounding clear and true over the cacaphony of battle. Techenas, his weapon lost but his courage found, had gone to the defense of his leader. Sacred sword in hand, he had blocked the king's weapon, and at this moment its blade glowed brighter than the sun; the sword had found its master, and humanity had found its savior. Every man on the field, soldier and serf, king and knight, slowly knelt before their Emperor, and the age of Skiratan dominance had begun.
From there, uniting the remaining human lands by faith or force was a simple enough matter, and the new Emperor soon found himself at the head of the known world. The Skiratar became his advisors, their name passing onto the Empire itself: Skirata; a name that will surely never be forgotten by history. Techenas the Founder ruled for sixty five years, and it was on his death bed, when he finally laid down the sword, that he uttered a prophecy. He would die that day, but the sword's power would live on, and when it was truly needed, the weapon would find a new master. When humanity was on the edge of darkness, the sacred sword would rise to the challenge, shining out to meet the darkness and repel it; bringing man again into a golden age. Years passed and Techenas's sons ruled in his stead, their sons then taking their places, and so on until the year 504 after the founding, when everything changed.
When its time came, the Skiratan Empire fell in a storm of fire and ash. While problems from within and without had troubled the Empire for some time, it never could have anticipated the coming onslaught, and even if it could, it would likely have been of little use.The days grew dark, and the stars winked out, but the faith of Skirata never waned; for if it was truly the end of the world as some said, the prophecy would unravel, and the sword would return to save them from any peril. The sword did nothing, and the people were content. At first the news came in bits and pieces: attacks on the borders, burning villages, fleeing refugees, a dark horde of beasts from the west. An army was sent to halt the invaders and was never heard from again. More went, stronger this time, but they too vanished, towns and provinces soon following, and by the time the Emperor and his servants understood the magnitude of what they faced, it was far too late. Their like had never been seen before, their brutality unmatched, and their numbers were almost beyond comprehension. They were Orcs from the west, drawn east by the darkened days by the belief that the world was ending, and their end time was nigh. The Empire's champions fell before this force, their greatest armies broken and bloodied, but even when the capital itself was surrounded the sword stood still. It was then that faith was lost, and what remained of the proud Skiratan Empire truly vanished from this world. At first, it was replaced by sheer panic, and as the hordes seized the city man turned against man in a firey bloodbath. But then as the city's fate seemed sealed, a voice cried forth from the heights; nothing more than a girl, but with the passion and fury of a god. She spoke of the sword's betrayal, and the truth hidden behind it; the truth the sword with its false promises had tried to keep from them. The sword was not their savior, and instead the savior was within themselves. There was no first man among men, and instead all men were equal. They must guide their own hands where the sword would not, it was up to them to save the city and Skirata, and never again must they bow before idols. Her name was Orellia, and she was now Skirata's saint and savior.
Miraculously, the Orcs broke before the renewed might of the Skiratans, and this event soon became known as the Orellian Miracle. It was at this moment that Human society became forever fractured, the new disciples of Orellia at odds with the ancient and time-tested religion worshipped by their forefathers. The followers of Orellia held that the retreating Orcs fled before the might of humanity and Orellia, while the old religion maintained that the magic of the Sacred Sword had finally thrown back their mortal enemy, although the sword itself had never shown any sign of doing so. Skirata, already broken by the devasting invasion, now found itself mired in a bloody civil war. The ancient capital eventually found itself in the hands of the Sword worshippers, and soon the new Imperium of Tekenas, named after the founder of Skirata, rose in its predecessor's place. The provinces, long discontented by Imperial rule, quickly adopted Orellianism and broke into the Free Nations we know today; each adopting their own interpretation of Orellia's message, tragically divided, but ultimately united in their distaste for the Imperium.
Since those days the Imperium has crumbled, its many provinces now resembling independent vassal states more than regions truly under the Emperor's control, and the Free Nations have grown in power; now vying for dominance everywhere their influence reaches. Orellia is long dead, but her religion lives on, now spreading beyond Humanity's borders and into other races, changing and evolving as it does. With the Imperium in such dire straits it is doubtful whether Humanity will ever be united under a single banner ever again, but perhaps, should someone rise to the challenge, perhaps the glory of Skirata can be reclaimed and prophecies fulfilled.
For Human PlayersEdit
As things currently stand, Humanity is by far the easiest and most flexible race to play as and to create a nation for. With so much choice with regards to culture, location, or technological level, creating a Human nation might seem somewhat daunting at first, but as is the case with nearly any other race, you can always take inspiration from real world history. Human nations ought to find plenty of opponents both nearby and abroad, and while Humanity remains politically divided, it should never be forgotten that every race has a penchant for uniting in the face of adversity; and hastily thrown together alliances or pacts are likely going to be commonplace between player nations and NPC ones alike. Thus, totally conquering Humanity either as a Human or another race remains a massive task, and so it might be easier for Human nations to look for enemies in other races to justify conquest to their people and to the other Human nations around them.
As stated a moment ago, players creating human nations have plenty of options available to them including a certain unique capacity for hybrid nations; combining multiple races within a single state. While this option could potentially lead to widespread instability, it opens a number of new doors depending upon the manner in which your nation approaches this aspect of itself. For example, a nation with a Human upper class and an Elven lower class would likely find itself ostracized among fellow Human states, but were it to sufficiently oppress this lower class, it might gain respect from some Human states and draw ire from Elven ones, while treating this lower class well could have the inverse effect. For doors opened, hybrid states could find themselves with access to technologies or military assets otherwise unavailable to their standard human counterparts, but as for doors closed, attacking a nation with any of your component races within it would likely be extremely difficult to justify. The more races within your nation, the more potent the mix becomes, whether contributing positively or negatively. View this as a double edged sword, and remember, the reasons behind this nation aspect must be outlined in your history!
With regards to inter-racial politics, Humans and Elves are likely to get on fairly well so long as distance is kept between them, but should you expand on a large scale you may risk their distrust, distaste, and potentially direct military intervention. Additionally, as many Elven nations see themselves as a replacement for Humanity in lieu of its slow decline over the past several centuries, tempers and prides should have the potential to escape control on either side. Orcs should have a divided opinion of your people, some feeling apologetic for their role in the fall of Skirata, others disliking Humans for the same reason, and others still putting that event past them entirely. Given the large distance between most Orcs and most Humans, outright conflict should be fairly unlikely towards the start of the game. The Dwarves remain an unknown for the moment (WIP). Also, please keep in mind that should your nation happen to be a hybrid, the opinions and perceptions of each group of people within it may affect your international relations just as much as they affect your internal affairs.