LORE: Worlds Apart, excerpt from a book by Marc Frederick
Marc Frederick Stauberg-Randolph, King of Essera and a main character of Sordaneon, first novel of the Triempery series, is a prolific writer. Dorilian even accuses him of writing too much.
Though Marc Frederick's journal appears in The Kheld King, another of his books, Worlds Apart, details his experience learning about a world he was pulled into without knowing anything. Here he discusses Staubauns, the ruling class, and how they came to be that.
Though the family I was brought into was Highborn, I found my greatest challenges came from the aristocracy over which they ruled. I am not myself of Highborn birth — and this was a serious obstacle to my acceptance by the Staubaun aristocracy upon which the Highborn had built their Triempery.
One of my first challenges in finding a place in this society was to understand what Staubauns are. Who are they? Where did they come from and what vision did they hold of themselves? Only by knowing how a people define themselves can an outsider hope to define and then create a relationship with them.
With the Highborn as my teachers, I had an advantage. Highborn race memory, further enlightened by communication with their Wall, has explained Staubaun origins. They are indeed a race, and not a nationality; neither are they an ethnic type, for there are many kinds of Staubauns possessing different loyalties, customs, and beliefs beneath the vault of an overarching religion. A Staubaun from Sordan will be more cosmopolitan in their views, overall, than a Staubaun from Essera, an empire which shares fewer borders with other nations. A Staubaun from Mormantalorus is more likely to use some of the lesser mage arts, of which more northerly Staubauns are suspicious, and to want no association at all with non-Staubaun people.
One can, however, tell a Staubaun simply by looking at one: to a person, they are tall, fair-haired from almost white to pure rich gold, fair-skinned and seldom tanned, with eyes falling uniformly in hues of brown, from gold to nearly black. They do not grow facial hair and show very little body hair. They have perfect eyesight, perfect teeth, and age much more slowly than other breeds of humans. They seldom get ill and are better at healing. Could I have chosen into what human shape to be born, I cannot lie: I would have chosen Highborn… but if not that, I would have wanted a Staubaun body, if only for the health advantages.
Staubauns are envied as much for their physical traits as they are for their wealth and societal dominance. How they came by these advantages is an interesting but seldom told tale deeply intertwined with the Triempery’s Highborn mythos. Consider that the Highborn race originated with an Aryati progenitor, Amynas. In that pre-Devastation time during which Amynas was alive, the Aryati had already perfected their own bodies to the extent they were able and the physical type they had chosen was what they ordained for the Staubauns they created. After Devastation, during Exile, Aryati numbers were greatly diminished — perhaps no more than several hundred — and so they set about breeding replacements.
I try to imagine what creating a race of humans might have been like, what technologies or arts the Aryati had managed to salvage, or whether they did so by selectively breeding with partners pulled from the ancestral past into which they had fled. The Wall has not fully answered this question or, if it has, the Wall Lords are not revealing the answer. The results of the Aryati project, however, live among us. Staubauns are either wholly or partly of Aryati stock — and we know from historical sources that they look like the Aryati. What the Aryati carefully kept from their created race — or, more accurately, kept for themselves — were the neurological traits needed for lr affinity and plasm manipulation.
The Aryati wanted a race of servants and worshippers, but not one that might someday challenge or surpass them. Leur, on the other hand, and from much the same stock, had created a successor. In that sense, there is a thread of pathos in the Staubaun race: created to be perfect but to succeed only so far.
I posed my thoughts to Endurin at one point. My great grandsire smiled, as he always did on hearing a Truth, and then added, “How very like their masters we were, and yet consider… they have indeed succeeded.”
The first Highborn princes, born of immortals but merely mortal themselves, needed another people with whom to reproduce if their new race was to continue. What better people to choose than one known to be long-lived, intelligent, and pre-disposed to be healthy? Far from being Aryati loyalists, the majority of Staubauns had seen their atrocities and been victimized themselves. Great numbers of Staubauns claimed freedom from their former masters and aligned against them. Many openly joined with the Highborn and — when the Winter War was over and the last Aryati slain — all of them did.
The Highborn had the same problem during the first century of the Return as the Aryati had during Exile: their numbers were few. It was more than just that they needed wives; they could not hold all the land by themselves. They needed a people and the Staubauns were already in place, educated and numerous and looking just like them, poised to become that people.
Within very little time, Staubauns became holders of titles and lands. And that is how the Triempery happened to get a Staubaun aristocracy. They were here first and have refused to give up all that land and wealth ever since. They have been intermarrying and conferring, then building and codifying the structure of everything from their laws to their social strata, roads to warehouses to banking. The reason they own everything is that they founded everything. Nearly every Highborn prince has been the son of a Staubaun mother and has operated through networks of Staubaun relations.
It is because of these social ties and networks that Staubauns have benefitted most — and nearly exclusively — from the Entities. If the Entities work through their descendants, and those descendants are all Staubaun, the conclusion is clear. The concentration of wealth and power in Staubaun hands has led that society to develop an unwieldy sense of superiority.
Staubaun society has founded itself on powerful pillars of belief — most importantly, that it is divinely ordered. Not a Staubaun Lord gazes in the mirror but he believes his god gazes back at him with special favor. A Staubaun Lady in no less pleased with herself and for the same reasons. They are aligned with the winning side and associated with persons of wealth and influence. Moreover, they are the definition of beauty and excellence in their land and among all people in it.
One lesson I learned early in my education here was how important it is to respect this sense of privilege. While I can be their King and therefore can claim a certain social standing, I cannot be — and will never be — a Staubaun’s personal superior. This is as true of any Staubaun as it is of the Highborn. Knowing that this rule is absolute puts into perspective every aspect of their culture.