Part 47: Regarding High MenRegarding High Men
The high men are the kindred of men who were one of the founding races of the Confederation of Wizards, and those descended from them that yet retain some of the past learning and glory of the height of their culture. Before the Confederation the high men were governed under many well-ordered kingdoms ruled by hereditary kings supported by a class of great land-owning barons likewise of hereditary line; even under the Confederation the barons retained their position even as kings were cast aside. The kingdom of Fairlands proves that their ancient mode of kings with barons bound by oath of loyalty endured to the modern day, although the revolution under the High Protector Horus has restored a type of Confederation-style magocracy. They are a tall race, though not as tall as the beastkin. Their skin is fair, if perhaps somewhat more prone to tan than that of dwarves, and their hair ranges from fair to brownish-red to dark.
The high men as seen in Fairlands are fairly skilled in the crafts, retaining the basic skills of civilisation, even if not to dwarven standards, and dwell most often in houses of timber, thatch, wooden tile, or slate, and clay painted over woven wooden walls to seal against the weather, or in stone manors for their nobility. Their rural workforce labor on the lands of baronial proprietors, and, although free and not enthralled, owe half of whatsoever they produce to their landlord. There are some few non-noble small proprietors of farms, but not so many as amongst the dwarves, and the innovation of the fixed lease which allows for the prosperous free farmers and miners of dwarvenkind on the land of larger proprietors is unknown. Their savants possess formidable learning and their priests are well-grounded in Bright magic, but their commerce is so far depressed under the stern overlordship of the High Protector. Their skill as merchants in the days of the Confederation, however, was notable, and perhaps their economy may yet recover. Compared to any race of Myrror save the beastkin, men breed swiftly and enjoy but short lives, though they strive against the limits of their years nobly.
They are fiercely, passionately devoted to the Bright Gods (or as they call them the High Gods), although their doctrine in these days seems a strange perversion. They name them the Queen of Heaven, the Holy Wizard, the Knight of Heaven, and the Priestess of the Gods, and their traditional depictions of the High Gods show them as high men clad according to their station. Current doctrine in Fairlands holds that the Four Gods dictate every proper action, and that all persons are fixed in an immovable place in the proper order of things, although this seems a distortion of earlier, more moderate beliefs.
In the days of the Confederation, the high men were friendly to the dwarves, and learned much of crafts and building from our people, thereby spreading this knowledge amongst the races of Arcanus over time. Even now the peasants of Fairlands, although cautious of a strange army on their soil, have shown respect to the long-lost dwarves of their legend, who in days gone past were their friends. Between dwarves and men friendship may yet bloom again, given the chance.