Two Ages have shaped Sayarii: the Fallen Age (Ul'Mas Il'Saaqit) and the New Age (Ul'Eumr Il'Jadid). The Fallen Age, a 3,000-year-old technomagical civilization, thrived on a grand scale. Its people harnessed the power of both magic and technology to build magnificent cities and accomplish remarkable feats. However, the pride and ambition of this great society ultimately led to its downfall.
The Karithat ul'Qadima, or the Great Fall, marked the end of the Ul'Mas Il'Saaqit. Legend states that "the Old Gods", angered by the actions of their creations, unleashed a decade-long series of cataclysms that ravaged the world.
The Karithat ul'Qadima: A tempest of merciless floods and unforgiving sandstorms that swallowed entire cities. Populations were decimated, and in some places, reality itself fractured, seemingly contaminated by the imagination of its citizens.
Emerging from the ashes of the Fallen Age, the New Age (Ul'Eumr Il'Jadid) dawned. The survivors of the Karithat ul'Qadima, once dispersed, regrouped and began to reconstruct their world, crafting fragmented communities across the landscapes that had once been grand. These survivors, previously extraordinary technomagicians and engineers, found their abilities to summon magic – the bedrock of their previous empires – mysteriously vanished. The forces, or perhaps the gods, that had brought the devastation of Karithat ul'Qadima upon Sayarii, seemed also to have divested its people of their magical prowess.
As these survivors embarked on their arduous journey of rebirth, they encountered creatures and beasts from ancient times, believed to be long extinct, emerging anew from the sands and oceans. Others, wholly unknown, materialized to roam and explore the renewed world.
In the face of severe adversity, bereft of the familiar magic and machinery that had once supported their existence, and facing strange, monstrous threats, new cultures started to take shape across Sayarii. Life was resurrected in the Bara Kusini, where communities began to form on the outskirts of the Mchanga Hasira, the Twin Seas Coast, and around scattered oases in the vast deserts. This new dawn saw tribes of nomadic people beginning to gather and stake their claims in the remaking of their world.
The cultures of the Bara Kusini largely rejected Sayarii's technomagical past, distrust in all but the most mundane technologies ingrained itself in the cultures of the great continent. The Qāāzami - a name taken by the Bara Kusini desert tribes are a technoclastic society, rejecting both the technological past and use of machines in virtually all cases, instead following a spiritual path, focused around the The Maono Mhosa, and the Manyoya Uchawi.
The Coastal cities of the Mchanga Hasira, have never been as radical in their rejection of machines, however the mistrust of machines is a strong sentiment, and the study of the thaumaturgical arts (the extraction of magic from magical animals, for use in the creation of magical items, see Thaumaturgy) tends to drive innovation and change on the continent.
South of the uninhabitable northern deserts of the Eilzam and in stark contrast to the Bara Kusini stands the Ul'Harbiya Il'Sultaniya Saahilian - the Eastern Empire or Eastern Sultanate, a civilization that emerged on the eastern continent bearing the same name. This "pure" Elven sultanate, unlike its counterparts, embraced machine salvage and refurbishment early on. Rather than advancing Thaumaturgy, they excel in recycling and repurposing ancient technomagical artifacts. While unable to infuse magic into new machines, they have discovered increasingly ingenious ways of harnessing the residual magic within archeological artifacts from the Fallen Age into new creations.
This ideological chasm runs deep between the two continents and has been at the crux of repeated conflicts throughout the history of Ul'Eumr Il'Jadid. These conflicts are spurred by both philosophical differences and each culture's relentless pursuit of the raw materials vital to their arts. The Bara Kusini's monster hunting parties, slaying or capturing magical creatures within territories claimed by the Ul'Harbiya Il'Sultaniya Saahilian, and the artifact collectors of the latter raiding archeological sites in the Bara Kusini's deserts for technomagical salvage and black platinum – a highly sought-after alloy produced in the Fallen Age – fuel these clashes. The bulk of black platinum can be found only in the deserts and western mountains of the Bara Kusini, on sites where the remains of a space elevator that collapsed across hundreds of kilometers of the landscape during the Karithat ul'Qadima are mined for materials.
The Karithat ul'Qadima had a catastrophic impact on Sayarii's racial diversity. Once a home to many familiar races, with the destruction of the Karithat ul'Qadima came a great homogenization of races. So few survived the Karithat ul'Qadima's destruction that within generations, the ethno/racial divisions that once defined a diverse and vibrant Sarayii began to vanish. Across much of Sayarii, elves and humans, the predominant races in numbers before the Fall, now outnumbered the halflings, dwarves and others by orders of magnitude, Within a span of a lifetime, the races began to visibly change to a mixed humanoid race that is largely human and elf, touched with the features and souls of the races lost to the Karithat ul'Qadima.
This didn't happen everywhere. In the Bara Kusini, much of the population primarily identifies by region and lifestyle, and not by race; the Mchanga Pwanii are the "Coastal Peoples" while those that live in the desert interior travel largely in nomadic family groups call themselves Qāāzami. Hair and skin color vary widely within both groups, but they share a fundamental mixed regional ancestry that identify first with their communities and then as Pwanii (People, generically).
There remain several thousand dwarves in the Jibal Mlima Vumbi - an active volcanic range in the Jangwa la Vumbi la Mifupa (the Jangwa la Vumbi Desert), though as far as it is known they remain the only dwarves on Sayarii.
In the northern mountains of Bara Kusini - in the Taur Norui mountains, Where the forest elves held long racial majority before the Fall, the old elven bloodlines survived. The communities of the Taur Norui today are largely Elven, with a Pawnii minority. The communities are historically extremely tolerant of and even dependent on each other, and the communities in this region are historically peaceful on an international scale.
At sea are the Kelpri, a race of ocean going elves. Living aboard ships, or close to the water. These elves have adapted to life on the seas.The Kelpri are often considered mongrels and looked down upon by other elf races. Despite their humble origins as a congregation of disparate elven communities who took to the sea for fortune or escape, they have established themselves as a unique race. According to folklore, the Kelpri originated in Bayt ul' Zaytun, a city famed for its exquisite boat building. Here, Omari, the daughter of a wood elf carpenter, fell in love with Sadiki, the son of a high elf patron. Their love was rejected by both families, leading them to steal a boat and escape to sea. The couple lived out their long and charmed lives on that boat together and gathered others, elves the and the occasional pawnii alike, all those whose love was rejected by their cultures, escaping to sea.
The Kelpri are often as likely to self identify first as members of the Seaborn - a broader pawnii/Kelpri community of humanoid ocean dwelling races as they are Kelpri. The Kelpri coming from a historically mixed race, co-mingles freely with the Seaborn, and has blurred racial lines with the seaborn community as a whole. It is said within the Kelpri that the older a Kelpris' blood, the greener their eyes, the closer in line to Omari and Sadiki.
In the lands of the Ul'Harbiya Il'Sultaniya Saahilian, the races went to war.
Tensions within the Saahilian region ignited in the early days of the Ul'Eumr Il'Jadid between various tribes. The Saahil region, being predominantly Elf-populated prior to the Karithat ul'Qadima, influenced the composition of the original 12 tribes, with several of them consisting either largely or entirely of Elves. Its natural resources were considerably richer compared to the Bara Kusini, enabling small tribes to sustain themselves independently. This stood in contrast to the harsh conditions in the Bara Kusini, where survival was dependent on cooperation.
Saahilian tribes expanded swiftly, sparking territorial disputes early in the region's history. These conflicts initially centered around territory and salt, but as time progressed, they also involved technomagical components, black platinum, and other salvageable materials, termed 'qabl il'kharif', from before the fall. These resources were significantly less abundant in the Saahilian region due to its lack of metropolitan ruins and a climate unsuitable for preserving technology, unlike the Bara Kusini.
For a span of 250 years, these tribal conflicts evolved, quickly gaining racial undertones as tribes of pawnii, fought tribes of elves, who often allied together against the pawnii. The struggle over resources compounded with these growing racial tensions, leading to a persistent state of strife in the region.
Despite the near constant conflict growing between them, the population of the Saahilian grew, many tribes allied, or were conquered by their neighbors. By the year 276, Ul'Eumr Il'Jadid, there were only three sultanates in the Saahilian: Ul'Sultaniya il'Tuyur, the elven Sultanate that held the Tuyur Valleies in the south, the centrally located, Ul'Sultaniya il'Bizehi that ruled inland over the city of Bizehi, and who controlled the salt mines of Beheemi, and it's distribution through the ports of Bizehi, and the Northern Ul'Sultaniya il'Golohn who controlled the lands north of Vimage bay to the sands of the northern deserts of the Eilzam.
The Ul'Sultaniya il'Bizehi was by this time was the only Pawnii majority faction in the region and calls from conservative members of the Northern and Southern Sultanates to rid the continent of the "Mongrel's" of the Ul'Sultaniya il'Bizehi.
Both the Southern and Northern sultanates wanted control of the salt mines in Beheemi, and pushed their territories to the opposite banks of the great Vimage bay, in a bid to control the trade of salt which largely traveled by boat from Bizehi through the bay on it's way to sea, bound for the Mchanga Hasira, Bayt il'Zaytun and the Hazini Dada islands.
Working together the Southern and Northern Sultanates quickly stoped the trade of salt through the Vimage bay, shutting down the inflow of both wealth - but also food and techomagical resources being traded back into the Sultanate's cities of Vimage, Bizehi, and Beheemi.
While the Northern and Southern Sultanates worked together to end the salt trade, the Northern Ul'Sultaniya il'Golohn, was planning a flanking attack on the southern Ul'Sultaniya il'Tuyur tribe while the majority of the Southern Sultanates forces were in the north, fighting the now blooming war with Ul'Sultaniya il'Bizehi.