Of Mice and Men
The beginning of Ha’jyari recorded history starts long after the Elven Civil War.
For as long as they can remember, the Ha’jyari people lived side by side with the Elves. The Elves taught them the arts of speech and writing, metal craft and spirit binding, masonry and government. However, the Elves were always distant and aloof causing some to resent them.
This resentment was strongest amongst the tribes who fell to The Great Sulaymān, The Conqueror. The Elves knew that the desperate Ha’jyari people needed to be united under a strong ruler, but they could not bring themselves to go into battle against the people they had come to love, so when the Conqueror rode into battle, the Elves retreated into their Citadels and waited until the fighting had run its course. Sulaymān became the first Sultan of Ha’jyar and under his rule, the people prospered and grew. They also established the Summoner’s College here?
As the human cities grew and new villages were founded, the Elves withdrew from their cities and moved north towards the port of Last Haven, where Elves would begin their pilgrimage into the west and away from the lands of mortal men, until there were no Elven communities south of the mountains that marked the borders of their sanctum.
The crusade threw the Elven court into an uproar. If there were other tribes of men, how could they be sure that the Ha’jyari were the ones they were to entrust their domain to? Again the Elves remained in their fortress cities as the Humans waged war on each other.
The Ha’jyari put the metal craft they had learned from the Elves and the war arts they learned under Sulaymān to good use. The Ha’jyari favoured the bow as a weapon and were known for their superlative horsemen, while the Vulkar armies consisted largely of heavy infantry who were unprepared and ill equipped for the desert heat and their mountainous home left them unfamiliar with mounted warfare. Although the initial surprise of the Vulkar attack allowed them to penetrate surprisingly deeply into Ha’jyari territory, they were quickly and easily repelled. There were more encounters between the two people, both peaceful and violent, but none of significance until the Second Crusade almost 50 years later. Did Djini play a role here?
The Second Crusade began much like the First. The Vulkar poured over the mountains unexpectedly and in force. Indeed they came in greater numbers than before and with superior military technologies than before. More importantly, the Vulkar brought with them their own magics to combat what they had seen amongst the Ha’jyari, great Giants possessed of a terrible cold that could combat the Djinn of the deserts and aid the Vulkar in the quick construction of castles and fortresses.
This time, however, the Elves did not remain aloof. Afraid of the terrible destruction this war could cause and galvanized by the Ha’jyari victory in the previous campaign, the Elves joined the battle on the side of their long time friends. The Elven Protectors were terrible on the field of battle, but even more telling was their psychological effect on the Vulkar.
The Vulkar have a strong bardic tradition that recognized the Elves as emissaries of the Divine and singers of the Songs the Wove the World. This stole much of the Vulkar soldiers conviction of the rightness of their cause and morale was devastated. Within a few years of the Elves joining the battle, a treaty had been signed and the Vulkar agreed to support the Ha’jyar in guarding and caring for the holy lands.