Some recent thoughts on Hyperboreans as a people and their history. Clearly, these are for my game. But figured I'd share.
From a lecture delivered in the Gutted Haddy tavern in Khromarium by Taina Morrtos, Sage of the Guild.
The Hyperborean Hellenic dialect is completely ungendered. Not only are nouns and syllables not accorded notions of masculinity or femininity but also the pronouns the Hyperboreans used to refer to themselves as subjects are genderless. The Hyperborean language summed up in all references to the Hyperboreans complex networks of meaning that denoted absolute mastery of the will over the surrounding environment. It did not allow for any degradation of this exalted state by such accidents and incidents as the physical expression of reproductive roles. These concepts did exist in Hyperborean, of course, but exclusively referred to animals and certain otherworldly powers (though in truth there was little difference between these two groups to the Hyperboreans) and were applied only in situations relating to the utility of breeding to further some goal of the speaker. Similarly, the noun and pronoun equivalents used among the Hyperboreans paid no attention to the biological roles a given Hyperborean might play in the production of offspring. Instead, certain verb forms concerned this process though they related only to furthering the goals of the household and to certain ritual practices that depended on the generation or extinguishing--or both--of Hyperborean young to unlock specific powers and results.*
Thus, the epithet "sorcerer-kings," which has passed down to the modern lands and languages of Hyperborea to refer to those Hyperboreans who ruled the continent before the Decadence and the Green Death, is misleading, a poor translation of the title the ancient Hyperboreans bestowed upon themselves. The concept thus embodied in a single word denoted sovereignty and power. But it connoted the exertion and mastery of the individual will over the forces that constituted the exterior world. Indeed, if the Hyperborean ontology could be quickly summarized, it would be that the multiverse existed in order for the supreme speaking subject to exert his-her will upon it. The two terms of the compound "sorcerer-king" imply the manipulation of reality through the exercise of will and suzerainty over a terroir or a population, but they do not approach the expression of irresistible and inviolable will that the corresponding Hyperborean term conveys.
In these "fallen" days, many of the remaining Hyperboreans will refer to other peoples of the continent as "submen" in the Common tongue. This bitter translation eclipses the fact that in the language of their ancestors, there was no inherent difference among the arriving types of humanity, the snake-people, the vhuurmis in their caves, and the beasts and terrors of the wilderness. The Hyperborean language distinguished among these other life-forms only by their utility, appearance, and behaviors, the incidentals that indexed how much a given being or class of beings could further the exertion of individual will.
It may strike the modern that a functional society even at the most basic level of cooperation would be impossible among such epistemological and ontological egoists, but before the Decadence, Hyperborean society was robust, stable, and completely dominant. Individually and collectively, the Hyperboreans commanded vast powers of sorcery and physical might, and they exerted their will(s) over the extent of the continent and into worlds beyond the Black Gulf. The Hyperboreans, even now a long-lived people compared to the other denizens of the lands beyond the North Wind, then might live for several centuries. Yet they risked death and worse in their striving for power and in the energies they sought to marshal to embody their will into the world. Such a people could not help but be conscious of both mortality and history. An individual who proved unequal to mastering the forces he-she explored was judged not weak but imprudent. And so the household became the unit of Hyperborean society. The members of these households might or might not be connected by ties of kinship, but a unity of temperament persisted and a willingness to cooperate in order to achieve certain goals. Some systems of power that in Common translations we call "empires" or "kingdoms" were merely households that found that they could best achieve their goals by exercising control over vast territories and exploiting every resource held within. There was certainly competition among Hyperborean households, agonistic matches that could shake the foundations of many worlds, that drained suns of their power and gouted fountains raw chaos into the universe's fantasy of order. But there was also complete assurance among the Hyperboreans that the winner would emerge as a further paragon of the will of the people.
But there are greater powers, and the Hyperboreans had made bargains that they began to feel they did not have to keep. By the height of their powers beyond the North Wind, the gods they brought with them from Old Earth had assumed the status of household protectors and domesticated spirits. Apollo and his kin were expected to provide for the comfort and assist the plans of the household. The bonds of service that had saved their ancestors from catastrophe had been forgotten. Perhaps, then, it was Apollo who allowed the passage of more groups from Old Earth to challenge the Hyperboreans with their fecundity and savage magic. There are some physicotheologians who speculate that it was even Apollo who summoned Xathoqqua from Kyranos and allowed the toad-sloth to permeate Hyperborea with its mad dream quests. The Hyperboreans date their Decadence, their fall from glory, to the time when they began, slowly, to be sure, and without coordination or directive, to soften their plane-shaking ambitions, to delight in the languor and dream states of Xathoqqua, to seek to emobdy those in flesh and in the works they left behind. The might of the Hyperboreans was still vast, but their vision turned inward as they were swayed by the dreaming daemon-god that had come to their world. And as the sages know, this omphaloskepsis proved their undoing as force of untrammeled power in Hyperborea and beyond. For when the Green Death came among the towers of Kromarium and the pleasure domes and arenas of bizarrerie, slow were the dreamers to react, to see that the doom that stalked their world struck down as easily and casually as the "submen" those incandescences of will that had once sought to dictate the destinies of earths and hells and dimensions of undivided light. Still dreaming of their glories, the Hyperborean households sickened and died and were forgotten.
Indeed, those Hyperboreans who can stand to study this part of their history consider the Green Death to be merely an episode in the true catastrophe: the Decadence. Dreams and fantasy were the downfall of a people that once sought to rival the gods. Is it any wonder that the fallen Hypboreans, met by chance in the reeking wine sinks that cower among the ghost towers of Khromarium or in the dock-side taverns of a hundred towns where "submen" now rule or in the tenebrous danger of the ancient ruins of their own people's great creations--is it any wonder that these violet-eyed toppled giants are haunted? Doom haunted, dream haunted, haunted by history and by the gods, haunted by choices made and unmade, the Hyperboreans persist.
And we must ask ourselves as we seek to claim the world they squandered: Where will their dreams turn next?
Last edited by Handy Haversack (12/30/2015 2:03 pm)