The Storm Giant Empire Ethnicity in Kohtalo | World Anvil

The Storm Giant Empire

There is a reason many of the world's pantheons feature a leader associated with Lightning and Storms, lording over their worshipers from above. My people ruled over this world for the better part of four thousand years. Come, sit, and listen to the tales of days gone by, when magics now lost were common, and giants ruled from their castles in the sky...

The Early Empire

We have a few records of the early Storm Giant Empire, mostly preserved in The Longest Song, and the earliest carvings of the oldest Dwarfhomes. We know they spread across the world in less than a century. Elves were slaughtered, their forests flooded by deluges and scorched by lightning. Dwarfhomes were collapsed by powerful magics the dwarfs had no defense against. And Humans were viewed largely as one might view stray cats on a farm, that is to say, "they keep the pests away".   Within the next couple of centuries, though, the Giants realized that these "lesser" creatures could be put to work for their benefit. Elves, except those in the Feywillow Forest, were captured and put to work growing crops. Dwarves were made to work mines. Humans provided manual labor and were often viewed as a cross between a pet and a work animal.    

On the Origin of Species

Of course, much like the separate dog and cattle breeds seen today, the giants were not content to simply let their “pets” breed on their own. In fact (much to his horror) it was Maze Walker's efforts to save minotaurs from the slavery of the gods that inspired a series of experiments that many today would call reprehensible. In the year of the Empire 1753, Storm Giant arcanists began to experiment with what can only be described as magical crossbreeding using techniques and spells that are, thankfully, lost to time. Many of today's sapient species, excluding those already mentioned, came from these experiments, from Aarakocra to tortles. The details I will leave to your imagination, but according to some this experimentation is likely what started the empire down the road that would eventually lead to its fall.  

Architecture of the Storm Giants

Entrance to the Road to Valhalla
Entrance to the Road to Valhalla by Drunkenpanda951 with Midjourney
The fall from their Cloud Cities destroyed much of the architecture of the Storm giants, there are still examples that can be found today. The most famous is the tomb in the Dragonspine mountains called the Road to Valhalla, where the rulers of the Empire and their families were buried. It is possible to enter this tomb, but I cannot recommend doing so.   As you can imagine, after nearly 3 millennia the mausoleum is quite extensive. It is a labyrinth that nearly matches those built by Gazzath at the world's creation. Some would argue that it is better protected. Traps magical and mundane mixed with animated guards and the occasional wandering spirit.
Exactly one ocean away from the Road to Valhalla (give or take a few hundred miles) nestled amid the Usan Uuls, sits the last standing city built by Storm Giants on land. Called Deepnight, it is now inhabited by one of the remaining Frost Giant clans, a university of Gnomes, and a Triton embassy. Its soaring spires and delicate curving bridges demonstrate a mastery of architecture and magic that far eclipses even the joint works of dwarves and elves. How has it withstood millennia of abuse from the gales blown in off The Twilight Abyss and ice flows from the Usan Uuls?
The Aurora and Two Moons over Deepnight by Drunkenpanda951 with Midjourney

The Songs of the Last Quintessent

Excerpts from the work of Theodore Greenleaf
And so Frejya began to play, as indeed only she can. Every night, at this gathering of bards and minstrels seen only once a century, as the song of her violin mixed with the bass of her unique flute started to drift across the clearing, silence would fall. As the silence and stillness spread throughout the sprawling camp, a fog began to rise, mixing with the smoke of cook fires, moving to the whims of a breeze unfelt by the audience. It was on this canvas that Frejya would craft a masterpiece not seen or heard before or since, though many in the Shadow Bards have tried.   I am but a humble scribe, with the benefit of a middling magical talent for transcribing art from my mind's eye onto vellum, and so enraptured was I that, to my shame, I was only able to capture a few of the tales spun on those magical nights. Since then I have made it my life's mission to track down the others that were there, to try to transcribe and record a complete version of the songs sung and stories told on those nights so long ago. While titles are a fickle thing, we bards know how important it is to remember what came before, and so I have decided to call this work "On The Shoulders of Giants: Tales and Warnings from the Time Before"
Frejya Stormsong prepares for a concert by Drunkenpanda951 using Midjourney

In The Beginning

Council of Giants by Drunkenpanda951 with Midjourney
In the time that was Time, before Time began
‌ Giants were common, and wandered the land
‌ "But who should rule?" the least of them Asked
‌ And so the fight started, so long in the past.
‌ For Hills there are many, and others so few.
‌ Wouldn't you rather a ruler that looks just like you
‌ But Mountains reach higher, brushing the skies
‌ Shouldn't a ruler be patient and wise
‌ But even Mountains must yield to the Sea
‌ The oceans stretch farther I'm sure you agree
‌ Yet over both Oceans and Mountains are Clouds
‌ It is the will of the Gods, for cryin' out loud
‌ "Rulers need PASSION!" Fire did cry
‌ "The patience of Stone is a must" others sigh.
‌ And as if in answer, a bolt split the sky
Art Critics Opinion
Look, I'm not saying it's a bad piece of art, I'm just saying that we have historical records, and modern observations, that show that the different giant races are unique in both size and appearance, while this artist attempted to make them appear as a homogenous people.

The Folly of Aranak and the Collapse of an Empire

The Sun Sets on Aranak by Drunkenpanda951 with Midjourney
    What, exactly, led to the fall of Aranak and the eventual collapse of my people’s Empire, is a subject that even those of us who survived know little to nothing about. While those in Aranak were researching immortality beyond that offered by becoming a Quintessent, something went wrong. Aranak, a place of high magic in the verdant lands of Myrdhor, disappeared overnight, swallowed by a desert that wasn’t there before. What powers those wizards tapped into, and where they came from, we never figured out. But it started a war worse than any this world has seen, before or since.
  Armies of undead and demons sprung up with frightening regularity. Worse creatures from beyond the Far Ethereal broke into our world and caused untold damage. This in and of itself should not have been a problem, In my day we were able to make use of magical portals to instantly travel across great distances. We were able to destroy the armies almost as soon as they were formed.
  That is until someone, some…thing somehow caused the corruption of this magic during the fall of the Empire, resulting in the loss of countless cohorts of battlemages before we knew what was happening. I say loss because only some died. Some portals opened into solid stone, others into the depths of the ocean. The worst ones went where they were supposed to, but there was a slight delay in the cohort arriving. Whatever happened in those precious seconds drove them all insane. This corruption of magic remains to this day, as anyone who has been to the Portal Wastes can attest.
  The last acts of the war resulted in two things that still echo through your world today. The first was the destruction of the world tree that once stood in what is now the Tuulikello Forest, The second was the final battle that resulted in the creation of The Crimson Cairn.
Storm Giant Empress by Drunkenpanda951 with Midjourney

Language for All

Probably one of the most lasting effects that the Storm Giant Empire had was the evolution of the language we now know as Common. While distinct from modern Giant, both languages share their roots in the Storm Giant language that was used worldwide for over two millennia.    

Cloth of Gold

Woven Gold
by Drunkenpanda951 with Midjourney
One of the most prized possessions one can recover from a Storm Giant ruin is bolts of metallic cloth. While Woven Gold Cloth is the most well-known, any number of metals and alloys were used to make these wondrous fabrics. Able to regulate temperature with minimal layers, extremely good at conducting, and as light and comfortable as the finest silks from the Ghostspider forest. The loss of the ability to make these fabrics with the fall of the Storm Giants is a true tragedy.

Wind of the Typhoon

O come tell me Little Brothers,
‌ Tell me why you bicker so?
‌ “We fight for right to rule,
‌ Who are you, that you don’t know?”
‌ I’m your kin born of the Storm
‌ And I tell ye straight and true
‌ We cant afford to fight ourselves
‌ for to do so spells our doom.   “O come tell us fearsome Sister,
‌ What catastrophe you see?”
‌ There are other fates than death,
‌ So now listen close to me.
‌ There’s trouble on the horizon
‌ And we must be ready soon,
‌ So gird yourself for battle
‌ In the rains of the typhoon.
‌ In the rains of the typhoon,
‌ In the rains of the typhoon
‌ So gird yourself for battle,
‌ In the rains of the typhoon.   Out from many a hidden portal,
‌ Demon eyes lit up the night,
‌ Many a Devil’s wing was beating,
‌ As we cowered there in fright,
‌ Then Lightning lit the valley,
‌ As from bodies heads were hewn,
‌ And the Storm gave us our freedom
‌ On the wind of the typhoon.
‌ On the wind of the typhoon,
‌ On the wind of the typhoon
‌ And the Storm gave us our freedom
‌ On the wind of the typhoon   All along that curse-ed river
‌ A writhing mass of walking dead,
‌ In the sky above their masters,
‌ Magic runes that conjure dread.
‌ “Death to the great traitors
‌ Listen as we bring your doom!"
‌ For the Storm will strike you down,
‌ With the rage of a typhoon.
‌ With the rage of a typhoon,
‌ With the rage of a typhoon,
‌ For the Storm will strike you down
‌ With the rage of a typhoon.   Now a Storm cant grant you shelter,
‌ When you are out in the cold,
‌ And you can not bribe the Storm,
‌ Be you young or be you old,
‌ But if you should need an ally,
‌ In the jungle or the dunes,
‌ Let the Storm lead you to triumph
‌ With the wind of the typhoon.
‌ With the wind of the typhoon,
‌ With the wind of the typhoon
‌ Let the Storm lead you to triumph
‌ With the wind of the typhoon.

The Fall of Aranak

And so they tried to conquer Death -
Though hubris, it now seems -
And mighty Aranak would fall
From our misguided dreams
  Soon slowly crept - the patient dread
And weaker minds did sway
Filled now with paranoid ideas,
In eyes now madness gleams
The Fall of Aranak by Drunkenpanda951 with Midjourney

Link to chronicle

The Brief History of Kohtalo

Cover image: Storm Giant Citadel in a Thundercloud by Drunkenpanda951 with Midjourney


Author's Notes

As always thank you to everyone who reads this. "Wind of the Typhoon" is a parody of the song "The Rising of the Moon", and should be sung to the same tune. The Fall of Aranak is inspired by, "Because I could not stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson.

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Sep 12, 2022 04:32 by RandoScorpio

I like the addition of the songs, and I admire your ability to construct them. Generally, I have little patience for poetry. They seem like a neat civilization. Good luck with the challenge!!

Sep 12, 2022 13:35

Ah yes, the songs... I am in the same boat as you usually. This was originally going to be entirely made up of songs and tales from Frejya's performances. As you can see I got through one song and a poem, then hit the NOPE button. I'm glad you enjoyed it though. It was certainly a different writing experience than what I usually do.   Thanks again for the read and good luck to you as well.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Sep 12, 2022 08:31

Interesting article!   So your civilizations were built on the ruins of litteral giants' civilizations. That is a nice take on the challenge!   I liked your layout, and the choice of artworks for this entry, they work really well.

With love,   Pouaseuille.
Sep 12, 2022 13:42

Thank you for the read. I'm glad that you liked the art and the layout. As I start to add more of that content to my articles (largely thanks to MidJourney and other tools) it is nice to know that they are resonating with people.   Purely by coincidence, I had already had much of my world's history based on an empire of giants that catastrophically fell, but it did allow me to put a bit of an on-the-nose easter egg in the article for people to get a chuckle out of.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Sep 13, 2022 16:19 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Great article - I really love the song you added, it really adds some depth and culture. I also really like the idea of woven metallic fabrics. :D

Sep 14, 2022 19:33

I'm really glad that people are liking the song as it is definitely something that takes me out of my comfort zone.   The cloth is something that I came up with from summer camp, sort of a "you know, people that go from high altitude clouds to ground level probably have a way to not dress in layers, because that would get a little annoying, what if it was magical cloth made out of metal"   As always, thanks for the read and the kind words.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Sep 19, 2022 12:54 by K.S. Bishoff

This was fantastic! With song and poem added for more awesomeness. Well done

Come vist my worlds
Sep 20, 2022 14:20

Thanks for the read and the kind words. I really wish we were allowed to smash our two articles together into one super article about a Giant Empire for the challenge, but sadly that isnt a thing we can do. You covered so many things in yours that I wanted to, but the word count didnt really allow for (so I put it behind the veil of "Magical war, most of them died.")   Thanks again for the kind words and good luck.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.
Sep 20, 2022 16:04 by K.S. Bishoff

The beauty of the timeline ... you squeeze in those extra words! Like ... the nitty gritty details of your magical war as an event ... or series of event based on key battles if you want

Come vist my worlds
Sep 27, 2022 10:10 by Tara Fae Belle

Nice! I do enjoy reading about the fall of an empire. The poems and song were nice too - my favourite is the one in the 'In the Beginning' section, particularly with the art critics opinion XD.

My current passion is Shroom People. I still don't know much about them yet. But as I do, it will be updated here:
Shroom People
Species | Apr 26, 2024
~ Happy wording!
Oct 1, 2022 13:04

I'm glad that the art critics' opinion was enjoyed by some. It is always good to have a bit of humor in an article, I think.   Thank you for the read.

Feel free to stop by some of my WorldEmber articles if you want. My favorites are The Book of the Unquiet Dead, Outpost of the Moons, and The Emerald Hills. Feedback is always appreciated.