Ethis and the Maahiset

It has been told that Ethis deceived Sarnoss and later bore Jukai. After the Irvallath escaped from their imprisonment in the Primordial Realm, she frolicked in the open North of Vinramar, where Ruethas returned to again try his suit with her. In her wanton mood she accepted and conceived with him, each of the primordial lovers wearing the shape of a fiery eagle. Ethis laid her eggs in the mountains north of Vunhaeg.

The eggs hatched quickly, bringing the first phoenixes into the world. Enamored of her power of creation, Ethis bore hundreds more of Ruethas' young in a hundred different forms. The remnants of their brood are still to be found scattered about the wilder regions of Vinramar.

But Ethis wished more and more to make children after the manner of the Sons of Sowm—an intelligent offspring like the daemons that were settled nearby. Leaving Ruethas in secret she came to Vunhaeg, where she found the king’s harem, composed of his own daughters. Using her mask to take the form of the daemon king Hitullos, she lay with each of his daughters and departed. But in her haste she left behind the mask.

Each of the daughters of Hitullos bore a child from Ethis, stocky and fire-eyed with bright runes that burned beneath their skin. These stunted creatures were raised among the kindred of Hitullos, but were shunned and mocked. Their mothers called the litter maehisath, “the charred ones.”

After lying with Ethis, the daughters of Hitullos conceived only the her children, no matter the father of the child. Within 50 years the maehisath, outnumbering their cruel kindred, turned the sword on the daemons and drove them from Vunhaeg. Bereft of his station and offspring, Hitullos departed into the wild as a vagabond, carrying only the mask of Ethis.

By this time Ethis had lost interest in her children, and the maehisath called upon her for succor in vain. But after some years Ethis chanced to pass Vunhaeg again, and there found a thriving body of her children, who now called themselves the maahiset. Her arrival was trumpeted from the walls of the city, and she walked with the maahiset again, teaching them powerful runes both for speech and for primordial magic. Though Ethis gloried in her children, her mischief and cunning soon embittered the maahiset. She dwelt in Vunhaeg for a short time before tiring of them and departing.

From The Labors of the Irvallath by Bram Genning

THE MAAHISITES

Settling the mountains north of present-day Trentsmund, the maahiset flourished as one of the great ancient civilizations. During the height of their power, the demon-legions of Mohtra ravaged the maahiset lands, causing them to scatter far across the West and flee into the mountains.

Four thousand years later their descendants, called Maahisites, began to emerge: the heathfolk, sarrow, gugrum, and telmatra. While sealed off, each Maahisite race had grown apart from the others, developing different physical and cultural attributes. The sarrow, for instance, remained short like their ancestors, while the gugrum grew much taller. The heathfolk preserved some of the maahiset’s arcane tradition, and the telmatra became able seafarers.

Along with humans, Maahisites have become one of the largest and most diverse racial groups. Thousands of years of separation have estranged these four races, and it’s doubtful that any kindred loyalty remains between them.

At its height, the maahiset empire covered much of the regions of Trentsmund, Chayrshellech, the Norlythe, and Goltaraim. Though their monumental cities have been buried and ground into dust, there are still artifacts, ruins, and places of power to be found in these regions—remnants of the runemages’ forgotten art. But those who can discover the secrets of the forbidden relics may live to regret it.

Today, the Maahisite races have little memory of their ancestors. They take for granted the folklore, nursery rhymes, and symbols of power that survive from that era. Even the heathfolk, who inherited a tradition of simple rune magic from the maahiset, know very little of the ancient practices. Time swallows secrets, and the mysteries of the maahiset are no exception.