Over the past several months I’ve written several posts describing various races and creatures (such as elves, dwarves, dragons, and fairies), and various aspects of human society (such as guilds, money, and corporations), in the world of the Shine Cycle. But today I’d like to look at humanity as a whole in the Shine Cycle.
Human beings are the vast majority of the population nearly everywhere the stories of the Shine Cycle take place. They are all “sons of Adam and daughters of Eve,” who (or, mostly, whose ancestors) traveled from our world (or an “alternate history”) to another. Most of the first settlers of the two continents with which the story is most concerned stumbled through portals from our world (or, much more rarely, other worlds) accidentally, but the Bow (the easternmost country in the Shine Continent, near the left edge of the map) was colonized by settlers from a country in a “nearby universe” whose ocean connects with the one surrounding these two continents.
Because human beings are so numerous—though various pieces of human nature are also contributing factors—these initial (and later … travel through the portals tapered off rather than stopping abruptly) settlers in different places developed different cultures, government systems, and so on. (Though governments were initially influenced as much by the Vaynar, Great Fairies, dragons, or other patrons who granted them Charters—more on that in a later post—as by their own inclinations.) As the time and expense required for travel and communication began to come down (mostly after the arrival of the Chosen), the cultures began to converge again.
Among the human beings of the world of the Shine Cycle, the idea of distinct “races” within the larger human race has never taken hold. There is enough ethnic diversity that a person’s country, and sometimes province, of origin can usually be determined from his or her visual appearance, but this is not entirely reliable. Migration among the various regions of the two continents and beyond, the continued addition of of unrelated individuals stumbling through the remaining portals, and especially the arrival of the Chosen confuse matters significantly.
Much of Imperial culture seems somewhat utopian. Partly this is by design—most countries were given Charters by patrons who continue to watch over their charges, and the Empire is ruled by a Vayna, in addition to the world as a whole being less affected by the corrupting effects of its Fall (which is—by the current revision of the timeline—only two centuries ago by the current end of the story) and nearly every culture being nearly universally Christian. And they have knowledge of our history, so they can to some extent learn from our mistakes. But human nature is still human nature, and in mortal existence is only slowed, restrained, and gradually mortified, not undone, so there are still evil, corruption, and sin to be dealt with, as well as the external threat of the Dragon Empire.
Any questions or comments?