The Ancient Salamandrine Race is perhaps one of the most mysterious in all of Arestoneiam. This golden kingdom's survival in the middle of the harsh desert through which few cross made them both nearly impossible to reach and strangely intriguing. They had little human interaction and were probably unable to speak the common tongue of Arestoniam. All that is known of them is what is written in the historian Aegrop's records: a primary source that sheds a dim bit of light into the strange disappearance of an entire race or men.
Very little is know of Salamandrine history besides the handful of pages in Aegrop's journals, which mostly consist of commentary on their religion: Momaqui. Bht judging by what was written, most scholars believe Salamandrine to have been semi-nomadic throughout most of history, as agriculture in a desert is nearly impossible and livestock cannot easily last. But Aegrop's writings suggested that, while most tribes wandered, they had some sort of grand capital city; thus, their history is divided into two periods: The Age of Dust and The Age of Stone
The Age of Dust Edit
The Age of Dust is believed to have taken up most of Salamandrine History. Though we have no idea when or how these ancient creatures came into being on earth, their human-ness leads historians to believe that they were created at the same time as men, only being lost in the desert to develop their own culture. This age is marked by nomadism, which Aegrop describes as being much of their developmental history. Having unsustainable land and lacking steady water sources, they'd presumably travel frequently to maintain a steady flow of resources, preventing travel into the deeper desert. There is a little bit of archaeological evidence of their presence on the desert borders, including rudimentary tools, spears, pots, simple instruments, complex jewelry, and scattered bones, though no sustained location has been found, further supporting the nomadism theory. No evidence of a written language at this time existed, but the abundance of repeated symbols and imagery in jewelry, on pottery, and in art suggests that a sophisticated means of verbal communication did exist, as well as religion, culture, and craftsmanship. In the Late Dust Age, still long before the Banishment of the Elves, the first evidence of Windfoot Beasts—a rare breed of camel that is now long extinct— interacting with Salamandrine arose, enabling longer, faster desert travel, marking the end of the Age of Dust.
The Age of Stone Edit
With the taming of wild animals came further travel into deeper parts of the desert. For unknown reasons, most of the archaeological evidence regarding Salamandrine vanished after this point, though Aegrop's writings about first-hand interaction with these men just prior to their fall provides us with just enough data to piece together a picture of this society. Oddly enough, with the invention of written language, we see less evidence of their presence, probably due to migration. But what we do know is that these men began to settle, though the exact location is unknown and undisclosed in Aegrop's writings. He claims that they "built for themselves a mighty kingdom, through which [one] can walk all day and neither cease being amazed not reach the edge" (Aegrop 142), constantly praising the mighty architecture, "though nowhere near as sophisticated, strong, or large as ours" (Aegrop 143). Much of the beauty came not from the city itself: if it were in any other location, it would be rather mediocre, but the fact that it stood within the harsh deserts made it all the more impressive. Sadly, Aegrop's journals only include a few short sections on these men, with whom he vanished long before human recollection. Beyond this information, nothing is known of their settlements or history. Reports of the Salamandrine vanished completely after Aegrop, suggesting fast extinction. Aegrop was one of the most ancient historians on record, his texts taking ages to translate, many still remaining untranslated. Save a few devout historians, almost no one knows of this ancient race, as it has been effaced from public knowledge by time. Nevertheless, some believe the Salamandrine Ruins to be deep within the desert, and the vanishing of an entire race of humans drives those few historians who know of it mad. Many explanations have arisen, ranging from disease to volcanic eruption or natural disaster, though Desert Worms could be a very plausible explanation to their vanishing act.
What we know of their appearance comes solely from Aegrop, who describes Salamandrine are relatively tall beings with a frail, but graceful appearance. They cover most of their body with linens to protect from the harsh winds, though their large and abnormally-knobby hands are still noticeably different than those of most other humans. Their faces are long and wide-nosed, crowned with beady, colorless eyes. They commonly paint symbols of religious significance onto their foreheads.
These desert folk are not too different from other humans in the sense that they are weak and fleshy without many abilities, except on rare occasions. They do, however, have an uncanny ability for survival and are known for having tamed the wild Qu'ukwa Camels, or the Windfoot Beasts, as well as other desert creatures. Legend has it that they could tame the worms, but historians have unanimously credited this to be the work of mythology and tall-tales common sighing Aegrop's history. They are well-suited to desert life, being able to last on very little water for a very long time, making their disappearance an even greater mystery.
Salamandrine are too rare and do not interact with human enough for an explanation of creation to occur within the Children of a New religion. Plus, they vanished from the public eye too early for religious officials to care. The Salamandrine believe themselves to have risen from the sands by the will of the Great East Winds, but many scholars believe them to be humans, so twisted by the harsh environment that they may survive with relative ease. Amongst those who study them, creation is a hot topic for debate.
Salamandrine suffer from the same weaknesses as mortal men, seeing as they are human.
Though relatively unstudied, the culture of the Salamandrine is irrefutably colorful and rich, largely focusing on their religion. They are rather unfestive creatures, though each tribe's medicine man conducts frequent rain dances in colorful regalia, provides ceremonial hallucinagens, and maintains the health of the tribe. But much of the rest of their culture is solemn anod built on reverence to the Great Winds and Sandworms. Each day at sunrise, the Salamandrine will pray to the winds as Sun opens his single eye, then shall pray to the sun as it sets below the horizon. After praying at sunrise, they retain solemn silence until sundown, communicating though simple hand signals and clicks of the throat. At sunset, they shall settle, perform a rain dance, eat, and smoke the ceremonial pipe. Even solitary Salamandrine shall partake in these rituals on his or her own accord. The symbols on their foreheads are believed to please the Desert Worms. Weddings do not occur, for the tribe is seen as a family unit through which reproduction takes place. Children are not immediately admitted; they must first come of age at 13 (the tribe's years are based on a lunar calendar), then tame a Windfoot beast and embark on a year-long mission across the desert alone, where he or she must aid at least one other creature in the process and fast for one day a weekThe child will become an adult and be given a sacred weapon. Death is treated with great reverence. The tribe shall remain silent from sunrise until sunrise the next day, praying. The body will be bathed in perfume and wine, then left upon a sand dune, where it shall be coated by the sands of the wind. This, and their religion, is widely covered in Aegrop's texts.