The Lij

Cultural History
Varies according to base culture. Known to the rest of the Duine as mankind, the lij are the dominant race on all of Baeg Tobar. One of the few races that naturally evolved on Baeg Tobar, their development remains relatively unaffected by the flow of Aimer into the world. The Fae who concern themselves with such matters consider the lij to be one of the younger of the mortal races, as the mah’saiid and the shuen lived on Baeg Tobar long before the lij emerged as a dominant race. The marii, the rilk, and the eashue are all believed to have developed after the lij began to cover the majority of the continent.

Cultural Description
The lij resemble typical humans in shape and social structure. They are a prolific species, coming in many shapes, sizes, and philosophies. There is no central cultural identity binding them together. Instead, they tend to develop unique cultures based on various stimuli, including their environment, their level of interaction with the Fae, their use of magic, and their religion, to name a few. These cultural and national distinctions have divided them into smaller groups, each considering the others a distinct race, though biologically they share the same species.

The Empire of Pileaus covers much of the known world, and though diverse groups of lij live inside the Empire, the Pileans tend to be the dominant ruling and merchant class. Light skinned with blonde, sandy brown, black, or red hair, Pileans have blue or hazel eyes and tend to stand from 5’5″ to 6′ in height. Pileans from the Empire have a fairly structured outlook on society and are members of the Yuinite faith; Pileans who live on Brailee’s Steps (known as the Brailee) have rejected this faith and tend to have a greater streak of independence than their cousins who live inside the boundaries of the Empire. Pileans who live in the nation of Nefazo do not follow the Yuinite faith; they are merchants first, and people second, and are viewed by others as a nation of lawyers. The Duchy of Ud is also a Pilean nation, and the birthplace of the Yuinite faith, although the Uddani people tend to be more superstitious than strict religious interpreters approve.

The word Mana’Olai literally means “People of Freedom,” and was chosen by people of the Mana’Olai nation in reference to their victory in overcoming a history of slavery. Now their own people, the Mana’Olai are seen as an energetic and happy society generally very open to outsiders. Dark-skinned or deeply tanned, the Mana’Olai typically have brown or hazel eyes and black, kinked hair, and are shorter than many other lij groups, standing between 5′ and 5’7″ tall. Most Mana’Olai live in the nation of the same name.

Considered savages by most outsiders, the Dalam have made little use of technological advancements of recent years, instead living as their ancestors lived inside of the tropical rainforest that has long been their home. Grouped into small tribal units, the Dalam have no shared history, though they have a similar linguistic root and exist largely at peace with one another. They are the shortest of the lij, standing at 4’9″ to 5’7″, and have an olive complexion with brown or black hair and brown eyes. Most Dalam are native to the region called the Kleas.

The Easlinders are a mixed race, bearing physical traits of Pileans, Mana’Olai, and the Dalam, who neighbor the nation of Easlinder. Most Easlinders are opportunists or religious mendicants seeking to escape the overcrowding and oppression of the two powerful nations of Mana’Olai and Nefazo. Easlinders tend to have Mulatto skin tone, with blue, hazel, or brown eyes, and hair color varying from blonde and platinum blonde to sandy brown and black, and they have an average height of 5’6″.

The Omman are hardliners—military men and women who have fought all their lives against bandits, false kings, and religious zealots. They are a tough people who value their independence greatly. Standing 5’5″ to 5’10”, Omman are light skinned with brown eyes and brown or black hair. The majority of Omman live in the nation of Ommany.

Gifted artists and warrior poets, Thilans have long valued the beauty of combat as well as the visual, performance, and written arts. They are known for their love of elegance and tend to place value on physical grace, beauty, and skilled craftsmanship. Like the Pileans and the Omman, they are light skinned, but they are shorter than both of these groups, standing 5′ to 5’8″ tall. Marked by very light hair, from blonde to sandy to the occasional white or silver head, Thilans typically have light blue or hazel eyes. Most Thilans are native to the nation of Thila.

Racial Magic
The lij are the most versatile magic users. While they are not as powerful as the mah’saiid, they make up for this handicap through a more diverse and creative application of their magic. Sorcery is the general term for the use of magic among the lij, and it stretches to encompass a number of disciplines and uses. Still, within the Pilean Empire, very few of the lij practice magic because of the prejudices against it. Throughout the rest of the continent, the practice of magic is slightly more accepted, but it is still uncommon because of the difficulty in controlling its power. Only among the Mana’Olai is its use more widespread.

Alchemy & the Magic of Making
The lij are the most versatile craftsmen of unique and powerful magical items. All of the Duine craft their own items of power, but the lij are the only race with the unfettered curiosity – and the audacity – to dabble in a little bit of everything. It is not uncommon for lij Sorcerers or Shaman to spend an incredible amount of time learning to duplicate and improve upon magic that they have seen used by other races. This interest strengthens their magic, but the lij tend to ignore the consequences of their creations, mixing dangerous and unstable forces to gain their desired results. Many mages have fallen prey to a hunger for power, impatiently searching for shortcuts they can exploit. These experiments usually end tragically, but those rare few who are patient and resourceful have created miraculous wonders that even the older races acknowledge with grudging respect.

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