In the Middle Ages, the five wits applied to the five ways a person perceives the world. Not to be confused with the five senses (smell, touch, taste, etc.), these five apply to the intellect. Memory, reason, and intelligence are perhaps the most obvious, but fantasy and imagination may be difficult to differentiate today. I have differentiated between the two by following: the creation of something new (fantasy) and the use of something that already exists (imagination). But even Memory Keepers can be intelligent, Shape-Shifters can value memory, and Lightning Wielders can prefer reason. Therefore, the five wits have been used loosely and with much creative license to merely serve as a basis for each race.
Including the main protagonists from the series, the Memory Keepers are a race dedicated to the accessing and preservation of memory. In the heart of the Forest of Memory, lies their capital, the Haven, where the Council of Elders govern the keepers. The Elders are also charged with electing the Masters of Deep Memory, Recent Memory, Memory Communication, and Memory Restoration. Their politics consist of two general parties—the Progressivists and the Traditionalists.
The most secretive of all the races, the Shape-Shifters have the ability to transform into any memory person or beast of their choice. Most often, the shifters must be familiar with the subject in order to take on its shape. Only the most skilled shifters can take on the form of something they’ve never seen based off description alone. The shifters reside in the mountains to the north of the Forest of Memory and rarely leave under the strict rule of the czar. All shifters either swear their allegiance or take up the cause of the Libertarians, a secret sect determined to overthrow the government.
Considered one of the most powerful races, the Lightning Wielders have the ability to harness and transfer energy for either economic or destructive purposes. Although they could transfer and use energy from their own strength, they tended to use Lightning Stones, rocks resembling a desert rose that could store energy. The wielders lived in a patriarchal society and consisted of two primary groups, the monotheists and the polytheists. The religious tension between them ultimately led to the destruction of their capital, the City of Light.
The longest-living of all the races, the Meridians have a life expectancy of 240 years and reside on the plains south of the Forest of Memory and the desert to the west. They are the most logical of all the races, preferring patience over haste and reason over artistic expression. Like the Memory Keepers, they live under the rule of one governmental system, albeit a monarchy. The northernmost villages closest to the desert were heavily influenced by the Lightning Wielders and adapted some of their communal customs. They’re open to trade agreements with the other races, but they live under constant threat of war and skirmishes from some of the Diataro clans.
The most advanced of the five races, the Diataro have strength three times that of the other races. Early in their history, their race divided into three clans—The Taro, the Jiro, and the Subaro. The three clans occupy the western plains and the coast land south of the Forest of Memory. They are a warrior society, prone to exploration, and the strongest of the clans, the Taro, is bent towards conquest. They are the first race to domesticate dogs. As a result, their primary breed, the bulldog, earned the entire race the derogatory term “Smashed-Nose.”
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