Adaptability and ambition define the humans of Reya, the world’s most populous race. Their physical diversity means that there is no such thing as a “typical” human. In comparison to the other races of Reya, humans are the shortest-lived and shortest-sighted. Their mortality provides an impetus to achieve and experience as much as possible in the time that they are given. A life of adventure holds great appeal for many humans for this reason. Humans can excel at anything they put their minds and energy towards.
All humans possess a spark of “the flame imperishable,” the greatest gift from the Spirits. The spark gives humans the gift of choice along with the burden of consequences. Humans forge their own fates, having the freedom to do great good and great evil in equal measure.
The Twelve Great Spirits personify power, as they are the beings that shaped the world of Reya for mortal habitation. Each spirit embodies a particular element- fire burns because Variya wills it, Volund breathes life into the wind, and so on- and if the spirit is to leave Amelor, their element would disappear with them. The Spirits prefer not to meddle in mortal affairs because they respect the freedom of choice given to mortals, even if they know the choices to be wrong.
For a period of time, the Great Spirits existed only in the myths and legends of Amelor. They emerged from hiding to help mortals defeat one of their kind, Velbrien. Once Velbrien had been eliminated, the spirits moved freely for a time, sharing in the celebrations and enjoying the company of the people. As the years stretched on, however, the people of Reya once again grew wary. Thus, The Spirits have faded into the background, but they will return if the need is dire.
The unions of humans and spirits result in spiritborn children. Their heritage often manifests in otherworldly physical characteristics, such as brightly colored eyes and hair. Spiritborn have a natural connection to the spirit realm, providing them with extended lifespans. Many spiritborn possess limited innate magic because of this connection.
In the Eighth Age of Amelor, the Aldens made a pact with the Goldenblooded Lyris line, direct descendants of The Great Uncorrupted Spirit Veeanon, to limit the number of spiritborn in the realm. For several centuries, only the royal line was allowed to procreate, leading to the Goldenbloods becoming the only spiritborn known in Reya. Since the return of the great spirits and the subsequent peace between the mortals and immortals, this restriction disappeared. Unions between spirits and mortals could occur again, leading to an increased diversity among those of spirit blood.
Not all spirits arrive in the mortal realm by choice. Dark magic, forbidden magic, can rip a spirit from the astral plane and forcibly anchor them to the physical world. This journey corrupts the spirit. Spirits can also be corrupted by the desires of men, or overwhelming negative emotions. However the corruption occurs, the result is the same- the spirit becomes shadowborn.
Shadowborn carry traces of their corruption on their physical body, and often find their purposes and personalities significantly altered as well. Many people fear and distrust shadowborn because of their frightening appearance. However, as the history of Amelor proves, corruption is not evil, and the shadowborn are a testament to this. Shadowborn are as diverse as any other race in temperament and outlook.
The elves of Reya are humans that have undergone the ritual of Chrysalis, trading their former lives and attachments for perfected physical bodies immune to the ravages of time. Chrysalis alters the mind as well as the body, preserving almost none of the original human’s personality traits. Some elves emerge from Chrysalis with fragments of memory, but few maintain their mortal attachments. Because of their increased lifespans and connection to the spirit realm, elves tend to come across as aloof, distant, or patronizing to mortal humans.
While the ritual of Chrysalis is practiced across Amelor, it poses significant risks. Many who undergo the process perish in the attempt, and not even the Spirits themselves fully understand how it works.
If pirate rumors are true, the denizens of the Continent call themselves the “Ingvohl.” The people of Reya know nothing about them, and the Spirits are taciturn on the subject. Mad Bartlebee’s missive describes them as curious creatures in the shape of humans with multicolored skin and fungus growing from their bodies.