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This section is a bit of work in progress, but for now you can see a sketch of how the world is conceived...

      This is "the world," the setting of The Kingfisher. This world is not important or remarkable. It has a population of about 3 billion, increasingly centered in large cities, and is in a state of near complete peace. Only a few insurgencies, terrorist groups, and criminal gangs keep arms manufacturers and armies in business. This peace has a cost, in that injustice is not often challenged, leaving corrupt or oppressive governments in charge of their respective peoples. Also, a healthy status quo is not something humans are very good at maintaining. The gradual draining of prosperity from the lower and middle classes increased sharply over the last four decades, accelerating a trend in place long before that and sowing the seeds of instability. But for now, war is a thing of the past, and as such its memory is glamorized and well-regarded.

      The world is covered in water, but for a few landmasses, so it can be said to have one ocean. Still, it's regarded by cartographers as having two: The Great Ocean and The South Ocean. There are four continents, two of which are connected into a super-continent. Aegenia is the continent with the most landmass within the tropics, Nourian (the continents of East and West Nourian) stretches around Aegenia from the east to the north, and Antearctos occupies the south pole, stretching its northern reach into the tropics. Humans thrive on every continent.

      The prehistory of the world is simply told, due to the dearth of information about it. Hominid apes were a moderately successful part of ecosystems all over Aegenia and Nourian for a long time, without causing too much trouble, until the genus Homo evolved in Aegenia. The larger brains and improved technology of this genus led to its expansion to far-flung Antearctos and many islands. Everywhere it went, massive extinctions soon followed. Homo was not lacking ambition, so the hardest hit species were always the largest - the ones with the most meat. Still, early homo were not as bad as the next development.

      Homo sapiens evolved, again in Aegenia, and spread out to conquer the world. H. sapiens destroyed all other remaining Homo species, and diversified into several sub-species of its own. Within H. sapiens, again from Aegenia arose H. sapiens sapiens. These modern humans were so successful that all other sapiens species were bred into oblivion or driven to extinction.

      Now Homo sapiens sapiens is diverse enough to have recognized races. Aegenians remained dark-skinned, but diversified significantly in almost every other way. The people of West Soari have nothing in common with Ariteans except for melanin. The earliest divergence from Aegenians was from the people that took to Antearctos, where their population stayed modest enough that their diversity isn't as great. They mostly have very dark skin (lightening somewhat in polar people), broad teeth, large eyes, and loose curls in their hair. Antearctan hair is sometimes lighter than one would expect for their skin tone. Two main groups moved into Nourian - Eastern and Western.

      The earliest East Nourians still had rather dark skin, though it began trending toward yellow or orange tones. Their faces were a bit flatter and wider than ancestral Aegenians, and skulls a bit more narrow from front to back. This branch of the human family spread through East Nourian and also into the Great Ocean's islands. Some in the islands grew darker still, others gained a diversity of local traits through genetic drift. The ones that stayed in East Nourian proper also localized. In the north they became very pale or olive-toned and gained a strong epicanthic fold. In the south they became a little more red and broad-nosed, some with strong, almost sculptural lines to their facial features. Throughout East Nourian, populations bred back into each other multiple times in multiple places creating a gradation of skin tones and features, now highly diverse in itself.

      In West Nourian, the initial populations were lighter-skinned than Aegenians, but still quite dark. Some of these moved into the western reach of East Nourian, contributing to the diversity of that continent. The people of Haniwal are more similar to the original population, and in neighboring areas have bred with East Nourians to produce other distinct populations and cultures. The West Nourians that went north were among the earliest to domesticate horses. They lightened more, and in the eastern reaches bred with northern East Nourians to produce cultures like the ancestors of the Jiroki people. West Nourians that moved north and west eventually lightened in skin tone considerably more, and developed projecting noses. Some few of them went so far into the cold dark north that they went bone white, with some having yellow or red hair and blue or green eyes.

      As Nourian and Aegenia are quite close to each other, these peoples came into close contact when the population of the world began to increase with the advent of agriculture and civilization. As a result, Nourian and Aegenian technology managed to keep pace with each other through most of history, with no one people gaining clear dominance over the rest. Antearctos was somewhat lost to the world early on, with the native population so sparse they seldom encountered the stray explorers that saw the place.

      Nourian history begins with The Bronze Age, which gave the world its first written languages. Eoptic hieroglyphs, Hanskrit, and Songuic Pictograms are the only ones to leave siginificant records. The earliest great civilizations arose in the areas that are now Eops, Donbo, Tarsia, Haniwal, and Songuo. Other noteworthy civilizations came slightly later in Tomo, Castan (Kastan to the Glennish), Litan, Kallas, Iriban, Beru, Neyam, and Choihan.

      Next came the Iron Age, also known as the Three Seas Age. In this time, the great civilizations traded across The Three Seas: The Central Sea, The East Sea, and The White Sea. Cultural exchange led to great advances in technology and philosophy, but also led to some war. Empires formed for the first recorded time, especially the Donbo Empire, The Old Kingdom of Songuo, and The Tarsian Empire I. In the proliferation of ideas, unfortunately, religions also increased in number, with all the attendant strife.

      The Classical Age was a relatively peaceful time with ascendant Litan Empire. The great prosperity of the time led to thousands of opportunities for scheming politicians. They used religious guises to manipulate the people, but took things too far. They ceded more and more power to priesthoods, until they began to lose the power they sought in the first place. Eventually, the emperor converted to the Godchurch, and in using that organization for political power, destroyed all of the secular forms of power that held civilization together.

      That led to the Holy Ages, sometimes called The Holy Times. Godchurch dominated personal life in West Nourian, and the region became socially isolated from East Nourian and Aegenia. There were three parts to The Holy Ages. The First Holy Age fell in the wake of the of the Litan Empire's undoing. Without the influence of the most powerful empire regulating trade, relations fell apart across Aegenia and East Nourian as well. The whole of the civilized world fell into at least a measure of barbarism and tribal conflict. The Godchurch itself suffered a bit of damage from its own hand, losing touch with its outposts in the steppes of West Nourian and in Aegenia. This long, dark time saw regression in the arts and the near total loss of representative government.

      The Second Holy Age came when in Iriban, the most powerful of its small kingdoms latched onto a heresy in the local Godchurch and converted into zealots for the new faith: Southern Goddism, or Southernism. They spread the belief with their empire, and beyond its borders as well. Sulisian converts conquered Castan and even parts of Glenland, while the remains of The Tarsian Empire took up the faith and spread it to much of East Nourian (generally stopping short of Songuo and anything south of Haniwal). This and other realities began to force Nourian to abandon its self-absorbed conflicts and start rebuilding proper knowledge, though it had only barely began the process by the end of this time.

      The Third Holy Age saw the ascendance of Southernism in new hands: The Fezints. Fezint Southernists took over the old lands of The Tarsian Empire, old Eops, and other parts of Aegenia, and became a serious threat to West Nourian and the Godchurch proper. West Nourian became better organized, began to look into science and philosophy, and shake off the influence of the Godchurch, bit by bit. In an unrelated area, The Chactun Empire rose to prominence in the far south of East Nourian.

      The Age of Western Ascendance came next, with revivals of the long buried knowledge of The Classical Age and reasonable ideas of secular governance. Geopolitically, this time was very much an extension of The Third Holy Age for the vying powers of West Nourian - The Godchurch and The Fezint Empire. In East Nourian, the religions of Moism and Beism spread a surprisingly peaceful influence over that part of the world, balancing the strict Legalism that had dominated since the Iron Age. This didn't reach the far south, where the Chactuns were generally making a mess of the place. Aegenia was trading with the Fezints and the West. Though politically lost in regional conflicts, they still managed to flourish technologically and culturally. The strife between the Aegenian nations of this time in fact sparked a good deal of political thought, which would become important later.

      The next age of world history is The Colonial Age. The conflict between Southernism and the Western Godchurch had simmered to a detente, with most powers more interested in wealth than war. The major naval powers of the time were Glenland, Haniwal, and Fezint. Each began to establish onerous trade contracts with less powerful nations, and to colonize any primitive area they could find. Glenland was the most successful, coming to dominate Antearctos and a large island they dubbed Sealandia. Haniwal made vassal states of most of the southern reach of East Nourian and split the Southern and Great Ocean islands exploitation with the Fezint navy. Other powers had a hand in this as well, but have left less of an impact. The Glennish exploitation of Antearctos was particularly egregious, threatening the already small indigenous populace with disease and privation.

      The Colonial Age ended in The Revolutionary Cycle. Aegenian Antiroyalists had formed a revolutionary new nation based on democratic ideals called The Federation of Aegenian Nations. Partly inspired by late Western Ascendance Glennish philosophers, and a good deal of homegrown radicalism, they bullied the remaining monarchies of Aegenia into non-interference while they aided revolutions in colonized nations around the world. This conflict was at least partially fought on Aegenian soil as well. While it all ended in an anti-climactic series of treaties, it did have the result of showing the occupying powers that they were grossly in the wrong. With no political will to maintain the colonies, they were mostly returned to native rule. Two notable exceptions: The south of East Nourian was in chaos after Haniwal withdrawal, and Songuo stepped in, keeping those countries as colonies of its own for a time afterward. The other exception is the major Glennish colonies of Sealandia and Antearctos. These places never had a very large native populace, and the colonists were too deeply rooted to consider leaving. They formed new nations, with their own emerging cultural identities and ways. Sealandia remained closely allied with Glenland until more recent times, while Antearctos embraced independence and became famously eccentric.

      The White Death descended on humanity at the end of The Colonial Age. It was a flu pandemic, which hit Aegenia and Nourian very hard, but left Antearctos relatively unscathed. The recovery from this horror led to a period of peace and prosperity, dubbed by some The Great Peace, which is the current situation the world finds itself in. Antearctos outstripped other nations in population growth during that time and is now a major economic power. And, essentially, go back to the first paragraph, because that is where our story begins.



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