The Elder Folk

The Elder Folk were one of the primordial civilizations of the Hidden Lands. It is unclear whether the Elder Folk were once civilization or many.  The existence and near ubiquity of the Elder Tongue suggests that the Elder Folk who colonized the Sunrise and Sunset Lands were of one cultural stock.  However, the existence of some cultures and languages whose linguistic heritage is markedly different (e.g., Greatvale, Kastan’ose, Norrist) argues for a much more diverse ancestral group than is commonly supposed.

The Elder Folk civilization first appeared around 7000 PC and developed what they referred to as “the sciences”—written language, mathematics, architecture, bronze working, and agriculture; in short, all the technologies of civilization.  Although the Edler Folk invented writing, they left behind no written records of their history and much of what is known (or believed) about them is the stuff of legend.

They were reported to have been masters not only of the “sciences”, they were masters of the “arts”—more commonly known as magic.  The few stories that have survived from the two-thousand year period the Elder Folk were on the Hidden Lands present a complex and bizarre portrait of a people grounded in the ordinary and using the tools of the extraordinary.  It is said that they built simple cities of brick and stone that floated in the air, tethered by rope ladders to the ground.

Beginning in the the mid-sixth millennium PC, the Elder Folk began to explore the world and founded a number of colonies on both the Sunrise and Sunset Lands.  In a window that lasted about 500 years, waves of emigres left the Hidden Lands for these colonies on the shores of the Middling Sea.  Toward the end of this period, all contact with the Hidden Lands was cut off, including the location of the Hidden Lands themselves, an event usually assumed to be the result of magic.  There is a fair amount of debate as to whether the explorers and emigres were aware of some impending disaster or whether it caught them unawares. In any event, the lack of an enduring written record of the period has meant that any knowledge of the Elder Folk’s time in the Hidden Lands has been communicated only through legend.