The most populous of the sentient races, humans have risen from meekness and obscurity to become the most successful form of life in the world — with the possible exception of the cockroach. Though not as wise as Elves, as hardy as lutins, or as powerful as Dragons, the humans have a degree of adaptability that unmatched by any other mortal race. Humans are community-builders, able to incorporate diverse races and diverse points of view within their social framework; because of this, they are widely considered to be the glue that holds the rest of mortal-kind together.
Humans are reputed to be one of the "Three Races" who, together with Dragons and Elves, were created to be the Children of Iluvatar — the races that would guard the Earth through its three stages of growth and be His instruments for whatever great plan He was working out for mortal-kind. This may be simple prejudice — the pride of those who consider themselves to be "chosen" — but it is known that these three races have been the objects of more interest by the pantheon than any other sentient species.
Humans first appeared on the continent of Irombi, in the fabled Garden of Paradise that once stood in the southeastern corner of that land. This was an obviously magical location that had been crafted by some supernatural entity; the Followers say it was Eli, while some of the polytheistic religions say that it was formed from shards of the Great Maker's essence when s/he sacrificed him/herself to create the world. Whatever the cause, the Garden was sustained in its perfected state by magical spheres of energy that surrounded it; one of these survives today as the artifact called the Spark of Life, hidden within the body of the automaton Omega.
When humans left the Garden (or were evicted from it, in some versions of the story), they went on to create a powerful seafaring society, which quickly spread to fertile shores all over Irombi, Fan Shoar, and the Southlands. This so-called "Lost Kingdom" was reportedly extremely magical … and also extremely violent, ambitious, and depraved. The sorcerer-kings of this ancient nation tried to use the Sparks that had surrounded the Garden to create a great machine that would allow them to travel to other dimensions, other Earths, as the Elders were reputed to do. The project failed, triggering an ecological catastrophe that melted the polar ice caps and flooded the Kingdom's seaside cities, while great earthquakes destroyed their foundations and dragged them down into the depths. Humanity survived this Deluge in small pockets — a mountain village here, a great Ark full of people there — but nothing of their advanced technology and magic survived. These far-flung communities slowly rebuilt, all communication with each other severed. Over time they diverged from each other, both physically and culturally, into the wide, diverse spectrum that we call modern humanity.
The various subtypes of humanity — commonly called "races", though the distinctions between them are purely cosmetic — are distinguished by their regions of origin.
No indigenous humans. A majority are descendants of Kitchlanders who settled in Elvish lands ca. 9000 years ago, but Western Galendor also has sizable populations of all human subtypes.
Two variant types of humanity arose in Western Galendor and are worthy of special mention:
Sathmorans are a variant of the Kitchlander subtype that first arose in the region of Sathmore. They have a particular mutation that gives them very pale, freckled skin, paler than any other subtype of humanity. Sathmorans are usually tall (over 180 cm, both men and women), with a medium build, and often have red hair and green eyes.
Yehudim are a variant of the Sonngefilder subtype that are native to Ainador, which they call Yehuda after one of their ancient forefathers. The Yehudim are part race, part subculture and part religious group; displaced from their native lands centuries ago by the Ecclesia and the Suielman Empire, they form tightly-knit and insular communities wherever they go. They have often been oppressed and looked down upon — at least in Ecclesia-dominated societies — but they have survived and retain their unique social and cultural identity.
Two main subtypes:
Oriental humans have straight, dark hair and skin that ranges from pale to light brown. They usually have a light bone structure. Their most distinctive features are the epicanthic folds at the corners of their eyes. Facial hair is generally sparse; most men can manage only a thin goatee or mustache. Yamato and the northeastern portions of continental Galendor are inhabited primarily by humans of this subtype.
Rukilian humans are dark-complected and usually have large, rounded eyes and prominent noses. They are somewhat taller than Orientals and have a medium to light bone structure. Their hair ranges from black to medium brown, with red and auburn hair showing up occasionally; their hair tends to be thick and ranges from straight to wavy. Facial hair is somewhat thicker than in Orientals but not as thick as in Kitchlanders.
Kitchlander humans originated on the Kitch Steppe in the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, where the reduced sunlight allowed lighter-skinned individuals to evolve. Kitchlanders tend to be fairly tall, especially the men; they have a medium to heavy build, skin that ranges from light cream to bronze, and hair that ranges from white-blonde to dark brown. The men tend to grow thick, heavy beards unless they shave regularly.
Sonngefilder humans tend to be fairly short and stocky, with olive skin and dark hair that is curly or wavy. They can grow thick beards, though not always as thick as Kitchlanders' tend to be. They have a notable tolerance for heat and sun, which is a crucial adaptation the tropical and semi-tropical environments of their home continent.
Irombian humans have the darkest skin of all the human subtypes, ranging from medium brown to blue-black. They are usually very tall and slender, though some "pygmy" variants can be found in and round the rainforests of the south-central portion of the continent. Their hair ranges from brown to black and is usually short and tightly curled; beards are rare.
Shoari humans have reddish skin, dark hair, and little or no facial hair. They usually have a medium height and build. The native Shoari are not as highly technologically advanced compared to the Oriental and Irombi societies, which are gradually colonizing Fan Shoar and displaced or assimilating most of the Shoari tribes.
Many of the people of Fan Shoar, particularly along the coast of the Central Sea, are descendants of Oriental and Irombian immigrants who mixed with the native peoples. They are not so much a singular subtype of humanity as a continuous spectrum, with those in the north more closely resembling Orientals and those in the south resembling Irombians. These Shoari colonists have skin that ranges from olive to medium brown, dark wavy hair, and eyes with slight epicanthic folds. They might be short or tall, stocky or slender, depending on the particular mix of genes they received. Few have much in the way of facial hair.