- Julian M Armstrong
About Tala 2 - The inhabitants of Tala
The main inhabitants of Tala are mankind in all their variations; noble, loyal, venal, untrustworthy, charitable, mean-spirited and pretty much every other adjective you can think of.
Aside from this, there are two main branches of people.
The first are those from the Seven Magic Kingdoms. These men and women were tall and long-lived; up to fifty years longer than other races of people. Most seemed noble, good and seemingly completely without malice, greed, envy or any other human vices. Although they came to Tala, they did not enslave the other races, preferring to teach and enlighten and they were often revered until the darkening of Vrangelya. They also had great control over magic, with each Kingdom having it’s unique strength. However, there is a dark side to their seeming perfection that is gradually revealed throughout the series of books.
Each of the Kingdoms were different in appearance. Those of Vrangelya were pale skinned, with flaming red hair and piercing blue eyes, whereas those of Samaria were olive skinned, dark-haired and brown eyed. Those of Elbasan could have been mistaken for a race of tall wood elves in their forest realm, whereas those who dwelt in the underground kingdom of Workum, had wiry beards, pale skin and white hair, which seemed to glow green in their own realm. The people of Matochkin were dark-skinned, their bodies often covered in abstract artistic designs, however, those of Dubros were pale as befitted their ice realms to the north. Finally those of Lerwichamian, the seventh Kingdom, were more akin to the general population of Tala.
Outside of the Kingdoms, most of which are now ruined or in exile, the people of Tala also display a vast variation of types and shades. Generally, those in the north tend to have paler skins like Azanda, or, like Carant, have a tangle of black curly hair and freckles. The larger and more cosmopolitan the city, the wider variance of people you will find; someone who would be remarked on in a small remote village, would blend in to their surroundings in one of the great ports.
The non-human races of Tala
There are three main races in Tala outside of humans, as well as a bewildering variety of evil man-like creatures, who plague the land.
Firstly, elves who first arrived in Tala before it was even named such. There are four main
houses of elves:
1 – Mountain Elves (also called High Elves by Glorhelm’s father, Arnhelm). These live in the land of Sormina, tucked on the western slopes of the towering Zephron Mountains. Mountain Elves are deadly archers and fierce and brave fighters, although have a tendency to arrogance and a belief that somehow they are above the other three houses. Their main city, is built around the fortress of Mountainheart (sometimes also called Elfheart).
2 – Frost Elves. These live in the lands around the forest of Seiland, most living in the hidden city of Frostheart. They are much reduced in number after many of their peoples were lost in the Great Wars. They are loyal and their arrows, which can freeze the blood of an attacker, are much feared, however, they are also too selfless and open to betrayal as their nature is instinctively to trust.
3 – Wood Elves. They live in the deep Forest of Marzja, where they shun all contact whenever possible, even with the other houses of elves. Their main dwelling is based around the massive trees in the centre of the wood and is called Woodheart. In their own lands, they are almost impossible to harm, as they blend into the trees to make themselves almost invisible. They are suspicious and difficult, but they are also protectors of the great forest.
4 – Dark Elves. Based in the underground realm of Darkheart, they have a very bad reputation and many say that they are evil. Although it is true that their weakness is that they are easily tempted by riches and can be cunning and sly, they are not altogether irredeemable and many of the stories told about their treachery are false. Their bows will cause weakened and paralysis in those that are struck by them and they have great power over magic.
Dwarves also exist in Tala, although most other inhabitants could live a full lifetime without even knowing someone who had dealings with them. They are dour, taciturn and prefer only the company of other dwarves, only coming out of their caves when there is little or no other choice. They cannot be described as evil, but also not as good, existing as they do in a land where they regard such labels as childish. When aroused, they are terrifying warriors, who will fight until killed with no concept of losing honour by retreating.
Halflings also live in Tala, in a land called The Barod, but like dwarves, they are rarely seen as they too prefer their own company. The more daring of them will make a living as thieves and it is rumoured that there are even assassins drawn from their ranks, as they are quick, lithe and difficult to attack. Little is known of the structure of The Barod and how the halflings there are organised as even trading with the inhabitants is rare.
The dark creatures of Tala are often framed under a generic term of Rildriks. These come in a vast array of shapes and sizes, but what they all have in common is a loathing for other races of Tala and a desire to despoil and destroy. They are also in thrall to their masters, whom they fear more than death itself.
There are also frost ogres, fire ogres, cave trolls and other creations of evil. Although they are now rare, their numbers are increasing once more and they are brutal and vicious adversaries. Worst of all are the Delbolg, a race created by the Darkness, whose hearts are thoroughly corrupted, although the despise the light so much, that they cannot bear daylight on their skins. Akin to these are terrible stories of dark spirits who merely inhabit the bodies of others, taking over their hosts and who cannot be destroyed.
There are many other rumours of different races who are believed to live in the most remote mountains of Tala, although if any have seen them, few have lived to report back what they have found.