“My father told me the story once.
To hear my dad’s people tell it, it’s our creation myth;
all people used to be Acians and all Acians were slaves.”
– Jest Rovanna
Hear then the tale of our people, of all people. For all people were once Acians, and all Acians were once slaves. Long was our enslavement, measured not in generations, but epochs, before there was such a thing as history or words. Our masters were of no tribe, no people. They were the masters of monsters and things for which we have no names. They tamed the universe and its secrets and for a time, our masters bowed to nothing.
Hear then the tale of our redemption, of our freedom. For while we were all once slaves, slaves we are no longer. All men are free and should remain so until they draw their final breath and rejoin the universe in the home of the Eternal. Our people were no warriors, no generals, but we sat at the feet of the masters and went about our tasks in front of their eyes. The masters sat on the throne of the known world, there in their icy castle on the plains of Bal Dannor, and bent their attentions towards their empire.
And they failed to watch us, all people.
Any herdsman will tell you that the flock of even the most docile creatures must be tended. This we learned in our servitude. We began to remember that what we had done previously, learned what failed, even that which the masters had told what would not.
It began with the Casians. In our eternal shame, we once forgot this, because they have forgot this. All people were once Acians, and that includes Clan Casia. Long had they tilled in the fields and pastures, and broad of shoulder it had made them, but also lean and fit. They had toiled for endless millennia, growing the masters’ food as to their wishes. Tall grains and golden wheat grew in the boundless years upon Acia’s soils, but the Casians found that the grass grew taller and fuller by the thousand rivers that drain our northern land. Though the masters had not willed this, Casia began to learn how to move the water, improving the bounty of the earth, and we marveled at their bravery, for those nameless farmers and tillers did something no other person had done before, they kept the extra grain. They gave it Acians, to all people, and they did so the year following, and soon before we had even spoke of it, all people began to break up time.
Hear then the tale of our education, for all things are possible with learning. We discovered this in our servitude as well, and we know this to be true. Soon, our clan leaders began to speak to our tribes and they told us what we had already known but had not the words to express.
The masters were not our enemy. The enemy of all people is ignorance.
The clans began to meet, and with our meeting, came talk. From talk came the act of marking words down that would not fade with time. From those unforgotten words we found that each of us Acians had learned something as the Casians did.
The Mardin, high in their mountains, had been taught how to make bronze, that beautiful but fragile metal, for the masters. But they had found something else in the high places of the world, a metal stronger than bronze, and we knew when the first Mardi placed an ugly iron knife on the table that we found something that the masters, with their eyes fixed on the heavens, could not see.
The Galla, herdsmen, hunters and rangers, had learned the secrets of the bow, which they had first used to pull down game, but realized that it too was a weapon of war in which even our masters could be brought low before. And such was their fascination with the tossing of objects that they became the world’s first engineers, in which they found new deadly means of throwing rocks through the brisk Acian sky.
However it was Clan Tia, those who loved learning the most, who spent time writing and reading and plumbing the world for her secrets, it was they who had discovered the Art.
All things are possible with the Art. A person who dedicated their entire life towards the ties that bind all things on this world learnt to do things that none of the masters could imagine. They sought to conquer the universe, but we soon realized they had no more understanding of the world they stood on than we had when all people were young.
It was with these tools — food to grow numerous and strong, iron that made us invincible, and the Art in which all things are possible — that we decided to free ourselves. And so the long work towards our freedom began.
Hear then the tale of our freedom, of our triumph. For once all people were slaves, but no longer shall any person suffer under servitude again. Long it took, a hundred generations as we learned of the world around us. But what was a generation to those who had suffered for eternity before? Unlike our masters, we were tribes, the Casian, the Mardin, the Galla, the Tia. We were Acians and Acians were all people. We tamed the world around us, and only those of Tia bothered with the universe. The creatures we tamed were not the monsters of our masters but the horse and dog, the ox and all manner of fowl. We gave our masters bronze weapons with all meekness, but they no longer noticed the imperfections we would put in their bronze shields as we gathered iron swords.
And those of Tia, they began to build their great city, a castle in the clouds. We knew then that war was close, that all people shall win their freedom or die trying. For the masters would see the city in the clouds and they would grow wroth and try to tear it from the mountain upon which it was built. We knew then too that the battle for Tia Hazar would be the battle for our souls and we each pledged to honor Tia and obey them and the wise men of that clan put us each in our place;
The Mardin, loyal bodyguards and soldiers of Acia.
The Galla, of the woods and low places who could strike afar.
And the Casian, who would till the fields, and of all the things we remembered, we had forgot their bravery that had made all things possible.
So it began. The masters found Tia Hazar and they recoiled. They struck the city but the wise leaders of Tia had anticipated this for generations and they deployed the Art and scattered the host of the masters.
So we had thought we had won, but soon a man of the Mardin clan rose from the ranks of her soldiers and cried out to the assembled armies of all people;
“Look, ye sons and daughters of Acia! The masters scatter but they return with monster and beast for which we have never bothered to name! Their shields are bronze but our iron swords become brittle in the frozen land of Ancient Northernmost! Long has my tribe studied the minds of the masters! They will strike again and again and again. They will strike no longer at Tia Hazar, but at our largest city, fair Acia-On-the-Banks, and they will seek to slaughter us, as they think us no more than the horse we ride or the dog that fights beside us!”
The wizards of Tia took heed to his words and though they knew much of the secrets, they soon saw that they did not know the hearts of others nor the ways of war. They looked to this warrior and found that he was more than equal to the task of Acia’s freedom. So they named him, Fallan ap Cerix, and gave him Acia’s army to lead.
Hear then the tale of Fallan, our founder and father, for what all true children of Acia know is that he is the creator of our state, and the shaper of everything that has come since. And it is true that the war was won on the backs of our soldiers and by the wits of our wizards, it was Fallan who challenged the might of the masters of the universe and won.
The masters rode great flying beasts whose very breath was the chill of the grave, but Fallan challenged Gallan engineers and Mardin smiths to create mighty weapons which could launch arrows large enough to pierce the beast’s hides. The great flying beasts were felled and strong warriors tore them apart with their iron weapons.
The masters summoned horrors from underneath the earth, with rows of sharp teeth that could rend rock and tree alike, but Fallan turned to the Casians, who knew the earth better than anyone, to learn their patterns, and whenever one of those unholy worms emerged from the very rocks, Tia wizards molded the earth around their fleshy bodies, crushing them all.
There was no tactic that the masters could attempt that Fallan did not have an answer for. Every time the masters tried a new tactic, Fallan worked with all people, and showed them how their crafts might be combined. And when the armies and the beasts and the tricks of the masters had been expended, Fallan did the otherwise impossible and invaded the frozen land of Bal Dannor. For he had worked with Mardin smiths and Tian mages to develop a new weapon, and when he first carried his mighty dopplehander into battle, all people stopped and knew in our souls that he carried the symbol of our freedom.
A thousand Dannor knights fell to Fallan’s army, and their heads placed on spears around their once mighty fortress, and Ancient Northernmost existed no more.
Acians, all people, were free.
And so the world began. Other peoples would come from Acia, to their respective places, and we withdrew from the world, convinced of our place and the place of all things. At some point, we forgot our most important lesson, and as the world changed around us, strangely familiar people came to us, who looked like us, but different. They spoke a different version of our language and called their land Peria, Most Prosperous, and that they spoke for all Caisans and that they desired trade with Ancient Northernmost.
Hear then, of our heartbreak, for others looked upon us as the monsters of the North, and that Acian no longer meant all people but just us in our forgotten nation as Tia Hazar fell into disrepair. Hear then of our ignorance, the great downfall of the masters, and how it shook our country to its very core. Acia was no longer all people — the Mardin had moved to the west, and there they continued to learn new ways to make their iron weapons. Galla had dispersed and blended with other tribes, and Casia, brave Casia who had started the world’s rebellion, had repudiated their homeland and created a new one on the endless plains that they called Peria. Such was our heartbreak when we realized that we had both forgot, Casian and Acian alike, that we were once brothers in the world’s rebellion into time.
So then we sighed, and entered that modern world that had passed us by. All people were free by our deeds, but all people were no longer Acian. We opened our doors, for ignorance is ever the enemy and all people should know that change and education is our birthright, held by no one nation, and beloved by all.