Valnara

In ancient past, forgotten yore
There lies a memory called “light”
Lady Luthura, purple glow
Turned blood with the slow pass of time
And in this now forgotten world
Where God and sun forget to shine
Darker still there lies within
The beating hearts of all mankind

translation of the poem
“Lightless”, author unknown

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Climate and Geography

Valnara began as a world predominantly covered by grassy plains, small forests, long rivers, and rugged mountains. A fairly temperate climate allowed for the growing of a variety of crops, and a diversity of creatures. The most notable features of Valnara were its orange sun, which cast the entire world in a golden-orange glow, and its lavender moon. After a period of several thousand years, however, the star began, inexplicably, to die, its light fading and the planet, slowed by some magical force, grinding to a halt. As the sun faded to a dull reddish orange, the light side of the planet was left in a constant twilight, and the dark side lit by only distant stars and a red moon. At this point, the world became significantly colder and drier, kept alive only by whatever magical energy resided in its core.

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Flora and Fauna

In earlier human history on Valnara, the land was diverse in species, with the primary creatures being large reptilian animals that were used as beasts of burden. Most remarkably, the whale-sized Gurvrakk, ten-limbed monstrosities that could carry small armies on their backs. These, few in number already, died out due to human deforestation and their use as war machines in Valnara’s early history. In later years, the variety of species dramatically decreased with the dying of the star. Reptiles continued to dominate the darkened world, though many had taken on twisted forms. Plant life, throughout Valnara’s history, was diverse, though this diversity saw a sharp decline after the darkening of the world. Most notable among the plant varieties were the Liikrai Rora and Entleo Isna, both hallucinogenic plants giving the user special abilities of enhanced senses, speed, and reflexes.

In addition to animals and plants, a humanoid creature exists on Valnara called the Vâlrox—hideous twisted beasts with predatory instincts and near-human cognition. These monsters’ origins remained unknown to most throughout Valnara’s history, but their use by the dark being Shii’ar Kavra in his wars with humanity made them a terrifying force.

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People

Valnara is dominated by two ethnic groups—the copper-skinned, dark-haired Terim, and the honey-gold-skinned, lighter-haired Salarions. These groups have been at odds with one another since the beginning of their divergence, when the Salarions splintered off from the Terim and developed a new religion, language, and set of cultural values. Divided mostly over religion, with the monotheistic Terim worshipping Telekk Thâ’arr, and the polytheistic Salarions worshipping a collection of spiritual beings they refer to as the Valnar. Eventually, as the religious hostilities between the two people groups waned, a peace was struck and the world became known as Valnara after the Valnar and as a symbol of the unity between the two peoples.

Terim culture is one of rich tradition, large cities, and empirical government; the Salarions, by contrast, were always more loosely connected through coalitions of city-states and small kingdoms, with most government and daily life centering around small farming communities or trading centers.

In the far south of Valnara, a third group arose—an ethnic mix of Terim and Salarion peoples who became pirates and local war lords. Later still, a splinter group from the Salarions, miners in the far west, were horribly twisted and shaped by a magic force in the mountains, becoming the stunted Burrower people, despised by Salarion and Terim alike.

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Religion

The Terim are monotheistic, worshipping Telekk Thâ’arr, the Maker, through a religious system known as Gô’arr, “Depthless”. In this belief, the goal of existence is to seek truth about God and universe, but this truth is without bottom, and, therefore, unfathomable. Gô’arim devote their lives to seeking a knowledge they believe they could never attain. One of the chief tenants of Gô’arr is the idea that there must be an evil force to counter Telekk Thâ’arr’s goodness and this force must not be a created being, as Telekk Thâ’arr can create only good things. Shii’ar Kavra, the dark lord of Valnara, represents this evil force for Terim people. The Terim also believe in lesser spiritual beings who serve Telekk Thâ’arr. These beings are honored, but not worshipped.

The Salarions, believing themselves to be cast aside by Telekk Thâ’arr, do not hold to a monotheism, but, instead, worship the lesser beings of Terim religion, calling them Valnar. These Valnar are seen as spiritual heroes, combating forces of darkness for the sake of humanity. It is believed by the Salarions that the spirit of the Valnar may rest on humans at different times, and multiple warrior groups throughout Salarion history called themselves Valnar in honor of this belief.

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Magic

Magic comes predominantly in two forms on Valnara—Starshard magic manifests itself through Steel Glass, a substance that can be forged into weapons, armor, and amulets, containing a light of its own, stronger than any other substance on earth. Those who wield Steel Glass are known as Guardians, though many splinter groups arose from this main organization. Throughout Valnaran history, particularly in its earlier years, those who had Steel Glass held power, as Steel Glass was the only substance capable of destroying Shii’ar Kavra’s dark beings.

The second form of magic is the arcane arts. These come through the use of magical hallucinogens and result in extreme forms of spatial distortion and manipulation, with Illusion-weaving, Life-binding, and Skin Changing being the main forms of arcane magic. The arcane was banned at many points in Valnaran history by different groups, though more often by the Terim than the Salarions. Those who practiced these arts were often seen as servants of Shii’ar Kavra as those who fought for him often used similar magic.