The Seven Peoples of the Earth are the seven identifying types applied to every sentient creature in the world. This page is a summary; there will be detailed wiki pages in time.
Just about everything from the world’s mythologies and religions exist in some form or another, and usually place themselves (or are placed) within one of the following seven categories. Not everyone agrees with where the magical “community” says they go, but sometimes, that’s just the way it is, you know?
Generally, the distinction is determined by two major factors: (1) how a creature’s natural lifespan comes to an end, and (2) the primary instinct power and reaction to power.
The Seven Peoples of the World divided themselves in this manner (or were divided) approximately 20,000 years ago. Since the First War, which covered the whole planet, they’ve all broken off to create their own parallel worlds with slices magically carved from the Earth.
The symbology for the Seven Peoples has, over time, been roughly codified into seven distinct symbols:
The shorthand for these symbols (because who wants to spend the time to sketch all that out) is as follows:
A young (and smart-alec) Fey prince has his own opinions of the whole thing right here, if you’re interested in a short story.
A Few Details
There will be more to come soon, but here’s the summary of each of the Seven Peoples. When I’ve written a short story touching on one of them, I’ll include that link in the description. Enjoy!
The Darkness have a lifespan of three or four thousand years on average. As they grow older, they grow more powerful, but their control (and sanity) tends to slip proportionately. Toward the ends of their lives, their physical forms can no longer take the strain of power coursing through them. Aged members of the Darkness tend to disintegrate into a sort of icy mist.
Their primary drive is to devour, or collect. They also aren’t fond of light. In their own messed-up parallel world, Umbra, there is no light at all – it cannot exist there, physics be damned. They have the ability to eat just about anything, and that includes plague, radiation, dead bodies, etc. If well-trained, a member of the Darkness genuinely can devour to the cellular level.
Not all members of the Darkness eat that neatly, however. Here’s a scary example.
They prefer the cold; they also prefer the quiet. The People of the Darkness tend to live alone. What animals exist in Umbra tend to be completely silent.
Also, as a matter of note, they eat the powers of other Peoples; they tend to really, really, really like the taste of Fey, much to the latter’s dismay.
The Raven King is the oldest known member of the Darkness. He’s managed to live 15,000 years or so by devouring his own kind, so as you can imagine, he’s not very popular. This is one Shadow’s Breath you do not want to meet in person.
Vampires are usually lumped in with the Darkness, thought they don’t really qualify. Notte would say they were Kin, but he’s usually ignored. More on that in the “Ever-dying” section.
The People of the Darkness cannot, as a matter of note, reproduce among themselves, or at least, not easily. Here’s a short story from the Crow King (the Raven King’s grandson) discussing this intimate and freaktastic topic.
The Sun, like the Darkness, have an average three or four thousand years lifespan, and they also grow stronger and less stable the older they get. Aged members of the sun essentially explode into ash. I’ve written a short story following the last day of a member of the Sun who had a lot to make up for, and damn if she didn’t do her best.
The Sun are driven to control, albeit with the best of intentions. They usually exhibit powers of heat, healing, and light. For obvious reasons, they chose the solar star as their primary symbol. Other Peoples call their controlling drive “oppression,” but the People of the Sun call it “Influence,” which is an entire philosophical approach to life. They try to touch and “heal” every area of life of those around them, rather like light does its darndest to get into everything, to raise temperatures, and to purify.
And just like sunlight, anything they affect for a long period of time will change down to its very core. This phenomenon has not been studied up close, mostly because the People of the Sun tend to burn anyone who tries.
The Guardians are the rarest of the Seven Peoples. They have no natural end to their lifespan, though they can be killed – but not easily.
Guardians are driven to protect as their primary drive. They’re often misunderstood. Kelpies, for example, get a bad rap for kidnapping and eating people, when what they actually do is rescue abused children. Sphinxes, as another example, tend to protect treasured things (not always gold and silver, but things precious to somebody), and when they’ve chosen to protect that thing, they stick to it forever.
It’s very difficult to kill a Guardian, and impossible to convince one to abandon the thing or person being guarded. One can still find Sphinxes nearly as old as the desert itself guarding long-forgotten tombs, and unless a meteor lands right on their heads, they likely will be there until the end of the world.
One particular type of Guardian is nearly extinct: the Saqalu, or the Balance. With two unique abilities, they presented a credible threat to every other People who wanted to run amok. One, they could sense dangerous intent, which made it difficult to get away with deadly shenanigans. (Want to kill a guy? Take over a city? Trick a bunch of humans into worshiping you as a god? The Saqalu know. It got messy.)
Two, they could form a sort of force field with their four wings that can protect against anything.
Anything. We are not kidding.
This wasn’t an offensive ability, but it was inconvenient enough. In a rare moment, the People of the Darkness and the Sun joined forces during the First War to specifically to get rid of the Saqalu. In one of the most brutal and bloody attacks ever waged in any war, they found an exploited a weakness (which will be explained in Notte‘s story in due time), and as a result, as far as the world knows, the Saqalu are all but extinct. Which is a pity, because Saqalu feathers are intensely expensive and dangerous (but useful!) contraband.
The Fey don’t change in appearance once sexually mature, but as they age, they harden. Old Fey can still move and procreate and bleed red blood, but their skin and flesh lose their softness. In the end, when they’re about to die (if they live to the end of their natural thousand-year span, which doesn’t happen often), they resemble statues upon death.
I say they don’t usually live that long because they’re a favorite snack of other creatures among the Mythos. Why? Because of the way they handle magic. More on that in a moment.
The Fey drive is to survive. They have an instinct for self-preservation that borders on prescient; trolls often joke that Fey are the canaries of the “upside” (above-ground) world: if there’s even a whiff of trouble, you can count on the Fey to sniff it out first.
That urge for survival caused a lot of problems once. It was impossible to control them, and impossible to keep them moving as a coherent unit; generally, every Fey was out for him or herself. So, their magic was stolen away.
This is a little complicated. Like all magical beings, they produce magic like producing blood or anything else; however, after the First War, a complicated and dangerous magical binding was performed to channel their very own magic away from them. It’s stored in the power-base for each empire, the Throne and the Scepter – sentient and terrifying creations under control of the rulers of the Fey people (though some think the rulers are more likely the ones under control). As a result, the Fey have to find external means to refill their own power.
They use all kinds of means, from chemical additives to creative gardening to siphoning emotions from living beings like vampires. Those who prey on the Fey have been known to remark that eating one is like a box of chocolates missing its handy guide: you don’t know what you’ll get when you bite inside, but it’s probably delicious.
I should note that literal eating isn’t always the case. People of the Darkness like to keep Fey as pets, which is a problem on numerous levels – not the smallest of which is that without some source of natural light, the Fey die.
After the First War, the Fey mostly withdrew to their own parallel world, the Silver Dawning. There are only two Fey empires: the Seelie (the Scepter) and the Unseelie (the Throne). Thanks to the grip of the Throne and the Scepter, there has been no chance to break apart and form new nations.
Not everyone is happy with this idea. No one knows how to stop it.
The Dream live between worlds. Most of the time, they’re non-corporeal and can only be seen or touched when the one facing them is asleep. They die and are reborn like trees in temperate climates, “dying” in the winter and “resurrecting” in the spring, so in that sense, they’re immortal. The average length of each cycle is anywhere from one hundred to four hundred years.
Not much else is known about them, however, because after the First War, most of them disappeared. They formed the first parallel world – the Dream – and hid in it; rumor says they’re asleep, though what they’re waiting for, no one knows. The few Dreams left in the world wander, ghost-like, and rarely make an appearance.
Alone, they can slip from world to world without tearing the boundaries between; they do not require a doorway. As a matter of note, the Dream also have spooky control over plants, for reasons unknown. Under the control of the Dream, entire armies of trees can and have marched on their enemies like giant wooden puppets.
Dreams feed on the spiritual and mental energy of individuals who sleep. No, this does not harm the sleeper; unfortunately, there are still casualties. When a Dream, for example, really likes someone, they may accidentally take that person along when they go wandering through time. It isn’t intentional. It is still disastrous.
Many, many missing-persons cases are simply matter of a Dream being thoughtless, unintentionally harmful.
The Kin are human-Mythos hybrids, which means there’s a helluva lot of variety.
The power and drive of Kin tends to be influenced by whatever is mixed into their blood. It should be noted that any wizards, witches, or other so-called humans with magical ability are Kin, whether they know it or not.
Their life-cycle is entirely unpredictable. They may inherit the long-lived nature of their Mythos parent, or their mortal bodies may be unable to take the strain of magic and die young.
Generally, there are four times in the life of Kin where death is most imminent: in the womb; during puberty; in their mid-twenties; during menopause (both male and female). Hormonal change tends to trigger the non-human powers, and so these are considered the riskiest times.
For the record, Merlin is the longest-live Kin in history. No one has quite figured out what mixed to make him, but his entire family line churns out powerful wizards on a regular basis, so it’s a persistent gene, whatever it is. He’s older than even Notte, and he keeps his secrets close.
I’ve actually written a cross-over story following a day’s adventure of one fellow who’s about to find out he’s Kin. Check it out here. (You can learn a ton about Kin, Merlin, and more in the free book, The Christmas Dragon.)
The Ever-Dying (humans) are called that because they (we) grow ill, heal poorly, and age rapidly. From a magical, long-lived point of view, humans are constantly dying from the moment they’re born. As a planet-wide species, we tend to average about seventy years.
We also tend to reproduce like rabbits, which drives our magical counterparts crazy. No one reproduces as quickly as we do, not even the Fey.
It’s important to note that pure humans cannot use magic. It’s similar to the difference between a human and an electric eel; we can may be able to access electricity via tools, but we can’t simply command it through our bodies. Every other People Among the Mythos is capable of wielding magic with a thought; humans are not, and this has caused no small number of problems.
This is one of the reasons, in fact, why vampires are considered terrifying: there’s no other creature in the world that can take a completely non-magical human and turn that human into a being that uses magic, i.e., one of Notte’s children. It’s a freak phenomenon, and unique to them.
The fact is that if vampires were able to “infect” any other species and turn them from something else into vampires, there likely would have been a war. As it is, those among the Mythos consider this ability freaky, but unimportant. The humans reproduce at a crazy rate, after all; who cares if they lose a few? Only humans can turn into something else, becoming vampires. That’s a fact.
Notte is certainly never going to tell them that at least once in history, that fact has not proven true. The bloodshed would be horrible.
Back on topic: humans seem to have one major drive, and that is to explore. It’s the reason the Mythos assigned us a little boat as our symbol in the wheel of the Mythos; it seems no matter what era, no matter what culture or DNA grouping, humans are driven to explore, discover, push further and deeper into the world. We’re never satisfied with where we are; we always believe there’s more, and (most importantly) that we have the right to conquer it. These folks know it all too well.
And there’s no way I’m ending this wiki with something that dark, so here’s a short story isn’t exactly about humans, per se, but it’s certainly what happens when a very confused frog discovers he’s not a prince. Or a he. It was a really strange day to be Dante.