Humans are the youngest of the sapient races to arrive on Garin. When they arrived, they discovered the land was already occupied by establish civilizations that weren’t interested in sharing the land or its bounty. They had to fight mightily hard to survive. And they got very good at it.
At first, the early humans took their cues from the Goblinoids. They recognised another race that had come late to the world and understood that by emulating their survival strategies, that they would stand a better chance. Many of the humans adopted customs and even the spirituality of the Goblinoids and started down the paths of shamanic traditions. From these eventually arose the Kykvendi or Barbarians. More about them will be written in a subsequent post.
Others began to look to the Elves for guidance and in particular the Ilah Ri. The yearned for order amongst the chaos and peace in a warring world. They strove to create cities with walls and towers to emulate the great white spires of the elder race. And just live the elves themselves, this desire for order and structure drove a wedge through society.
Those that still wanted to be free, to be able to forge their own destinies with the blade or spear or work the subtle arts of magic chaffed and the walls and gates both physically and emotionally. They looked upon the freedom the Cirgoth had gained from their own brethren and were envious of the arts and delights to with the Dark Elves applied themselves.
Peaceful periods in the early human kingdoms would come to violent and bloody ends as one noble or another would attempt to wrest control of a kingdom for their own ends. Bloody civil wars and purges were frequent and devastating as the chaos loving humans split from their more orderly cousins and were either put down by stronger forces or took control in a frenzy of mayhem.
Eventually the two sides began to stabilise and separated into their own distinct societies. The more typical human societies worked on creating the perfect kingdoms while the chaos loving societies, now calling themselves Isthak, went about exploring as much as they could of the world, or magic, and of their own desires. Magics that were strictly forbidden by the Ilah Ri now became the focus of new schools of mages who soon began to understand the power that both blood and death magic provided. Opponents quickly learned the horror of facing a field of undead when clashing with the Isthak.
To the other races and societies on Garin, the Isthak can appear cruel, capricious and even arbitrarily violent. But there is an order of sorts within the Isthak realms. The individual is prized more highly than any other form of government and individual freedoms are defended vigorously. Of course this leads to the cult of personality being a dominant form of government and strong individual leaders carve out power bases at the expense of less powerful opponents. Family dynasties do form from time to time but are typically not long lived.
To be Isthak is to be free and to be individual. But it also means that the strong rule and who you are allied with is as important as who you are.