I was asked to speak about my world, Darfell. I am greatly honored by such an offer but I have to say I am not a specialist in geography or history. I will not tell you where lie the lands of Hamakwana that the First Sleeper visited in search of his beloved. I will not tell you how many people live in Otoaara, or how large in square miles is the largest island on Darfell. But what I can do is tell you how it looks, sounds and feels. We do not have long traditions of written language and great epic books that chronicle everything that ever happened on our world. We do not write equations that describe the nature of life and existence. We are simple people, who live with what the world gave us, be it sea and stones, or the rich travelers from beyond. This is the account of how a darfellan sees his world.
We believe our world was born when the Earth Mother came to be. She is the world we live on in the most literal of possible meanings. She is the rock that everything stands on, from our houses, to mountains, to seas themselves. But she lived alone for countless eons, until she gave birth, with no father, to the Deep Mother. She was the seas, which erupted from the earth as great rivers that soon formed the ocean that enveloped the entire planet. But the Earth Mother was jealous that she would be thus covered from the sun and the moons, and asked her daughter to leave a few spots of rock behind. The Deep Mother agreed, and thus came to be the islands that dot the entire world. She then gave birth to Air Father. With earth, water and air, live began to flourish in the oceans and on the islands.
The Deep Mother formed many creatures to live in her seas, but above all she loved the darfellans. She herself took the form of a great whale of black and white, and she blessed us with a similar form. One day, she gathered all the creatures of the seas and announced to them that we will be her favored children and we will rule the oceans in her name. Everything that lives in the ocean agreed, except the shark-like creatures. Like the sharks themselves, they were savage and jealous and refused to bow to us. For that sin, they were cursed to live in the deeps and were proclaimed the sea devils, while we were given the blessing of breathing air, so that we can live as far away from the sea devils as we can.
Many great darfellans came since, but to recount all their tales would make it quite a tome, one I am not qualified to write. But I know that while the seas have always listened to us, we rarely listened to each other. We have and always had shamans that speak to the spirits of our ancestors and to the elements, but we never had kings or senates. We never had great tribes that would be headed by chiefs, as we consider all darfellans to be from the same breed of the children of the Deep Mother. The largest unit we ever lived in was a family, and that is what is most important for a darfellan.
We do not have nations or tribes, because we all care for ourselves. Every darfellan acts only on his own behalf, and sometimes on behalf of those close to him who have been slighted but are unable to act. We have no police. We have just the Coast Guard who act only to protect our people from the sea devils, but will not fight other darfellans to pursue some concepts of justice and honor – they let the people deal with punishing those who slighted the people. But if you have the right coin, they may come to aid you, like any other darfellan.
When the outsiders came and landed on our islands in search of supplies, we welcomed them. It was hard at first to understand the concept of life outside of our world, but we soon understood the Earth Mother has many sisters in the sky, and all of them created life in their own way. These outsiders tried to change our lifestyle, or to make us to do what we did not wish to, but we remained ourselves. We sail, we swim, we hunt, we fish, we trade with them – that is all what we are. We are gracious hosts that let the outsiders do their business with us and others as they please, as long as they do not harm us. If one of them attacked one of us, Darfell would turn against them.
Our world itself is the most beautiful of all worlds I got to visit. The vast seas stretch everywhere you can see. There are few places on our world where you cannot see the oceans, and that is how the Deep Mother wanted it. For we live not just by the sea, but from the sea itself. Everything we eat and wear and use to better our lives comes, ultimately, from the gifts of the Deep Mother. And though the outsiders may sell us fancy jewelry or advanced magical instruments that make our lives easier, we never forget where we came from, and what evil lurks within.
But the sea is not everything. Every island is warm and full of fresh air and bright rays of the sun. Many green plants cover the islands and live off the rich, black soil that the “eyes of the Earth Mother”, or volcanoes as you call them, spill onto our world. The Earth Mother has many eyes, one on almost every island. We fear the fire that comes from within, but we learned to appease the Earth Mother so that her fire destroys only those who deserved the fiery death. Yet still the fear that we are not good enough to deserve a peaceful death lingers in our hearts, and every time the islands shake and the eyes turn red, we pray for forgiveness.
Our people have sailed and swam as far as we could reach, all the way around the body of Darfell. We met different peoples, the black ravens of the Air Father, and many sea devils that awaited us on every turn. We found great stone castles, that legends speak were built by the creatures of earth eons ago. We found the lands where islands cease to be warm and where waters freeze and sun doesn’t shine for months on end. But with all these wonders far and wide, most of Darfell is the same. It is a world of islands and jungles, and of great spirits of long since passed centuries. And it is a land of many visitors that built great markets where they bring us the wonders of the wide, wondrous universe full of life.