What has Become of the Human Race?

This post about humanity within the world of Sojourners in Shadow was posted ages ago but I removed it so it could be posted elsewhere. Now it can return:

Humans were on the planet before the monsters, the mutants and the machines. They are the reason the others exist. Humans called forth the Shadow World. Some claim this other plane of existence was only ever a reflection of our own and what lurked in our minds, that the beings that came from it were those we inspired. Others felt that it was this alternate world that put those ideas in us. Either way, they came to us, by our actions, and so they live in our world now. As for the mutants and the machines, humans made them, taught them, and it was humans they reflected by breaking free and seeking power for themselves.

This wasn’t the beginning of humanity’s downfall, however. That had already begun. As the world moved on from what we know today, governments became more controlling the more people pushed for freedom. Fear and hatred of each other fed the flames on all sides. Societies spiralled and nature grew sicker. The more people needed help, the more it was denied them. Revolution movements arose. Cults seeking an end to the current decay became powerful. Strong leaders developed into tyrants. Many would claim monsters walked the earth long before the supernatural beings from the Shadow World stepped on it.

When the monsters did come forth, rules on morality were already stretched so it took little for them to be broken by those in power. Soldiers were cloned to replenish ranks, then more were altered and improved, and those cloned as well. Weapons of horrifying destruction were not only made but used. This was also taken as a time for rivalries to be settled. The world being invaded was never going to be enough for old hatreds to be put aside. Actions taken in the name of the earth’s defence were soon used for power, land and influence. Super-computers developed to organise a nation’s protection were wielded to undermine that of another nation’s. Mutated soldiers killed each other in futile battles as borders advanced, then receded. Humans themselves suffered. Many fled their homelands or took refuge wherever they could, others rebelled against those in power, which in turn led to new warring factions or outright banditry.

The world did not fall in one fell swoop. It was a series of disasters followed by another series, and it continued to become worse. As any kind of authority was removed, monsters had even more freedom to rampage, as did the new creations of mutants and machines. What followed has been referred to as the Raging. Monsters of terrible magical might fought each other across the skies. Mutant armies swept over lands and levelled all they could in vengeance. Machines betrayed their creators, competed with one another via various networks until these, too, were a broken battleground. Powers of all kinds met each other head on and often destroyed each other in the process. Many rulers arose swiftly but were either killed or overthrown just as quickly.

But the humans endured. In truth, they did more than their fair share of damage as well, yet for many it was a time of patience and desperation. Underground bases intended for a short refuge became homes for generations. Jungles, caves and wilderness were soon environments that every child knew well. Humans adapted, they grew tougher, they often became more harsh as well, and they lived. However they could, whatever it took, they did so.

Eden is perhaps the most famous of places, although many think it a myth. Here humans have lived securely under a force-field, besieged by a mutant horde, defended by their superior technology and their faith. In Africa, a continent regrown by magic, humans have survived in their beloved jungle where they can hunt those who once hunted them. Cities have even been planted. In Australia, British, American and Japanese refugees now inhabit their own nations alongside the native population. In Europe, as in North America, bases are still homes but many now dare to venture forth. A militarised people control the Carpathian Mountains. A vast swathe of land across Central Asia is teeming with tribes and warbands of humans.

Some humans wield technology. Others wield magic. Some rely on will or cunning. There remain great leaders to guide people through the threats that persist. There are also tyrants. Humans can still be counted as monsters but also heroes, champions and carers. The claim is that there are more humans in the world than all the monsters, mutants and machines put together. Of course, there is no way to know this, but a race of billions cannot easily be exterminated.

Not that this was the intention of all their enemies. Many types of monster enjoyed hunting humans, it seemed in their nature, but some preferred to rule over humans or even simply toy with them. Machines were more cold and so cruel, often seeing the human race as the greatest threat to all others. But their coldness ensured they were not devoted to humanity’s destruction. Mutants were the fanatics there, and yet even they cared more about living than revenge. The simple truth was everyone wanted to live and pursue their own ideals rather than devote themselves to genocide.

Humans also have their protectors. Monster is a generic term, everyone knows it really. Many of the types of being from the Shadow World are as different to each other as they are to humans or mutants. Some are allies to humanity. They chose a side during the Raging and have kept with it ever since. But those times of epic warfare are long past. Trade is a more appealing prospect to some rather than killing. In parts of the world, mutants and humans barter as they build their communities. Even machines, in their logic, understand that working with an enemy can be worthwhile, until the time is right to act for your own good.

The world has changed drastically. The Shadow World came and merged – not fully, a dark part of that other dimension remains somewhere else. But it has brought magic to our planet, and more. The world is cooler, slightly darker. The heat of certain sections of the earth is now something of legend. Deserts are open terrain to be wandered in or built on. Some land has been obliterated or reshaped. Much knowledge has been lost while ways of life have been preserved. Pirates roam the Mediterranean. Samurai walk across New Japan in Australia. Soldiers defend the Northern Federation. Scientists plan within bases. Warriors stand ready around the globe.

The human race inflicted much on itself, but it has taken it all and remains. It populates the planet and has no intention of giving it up. Some of it is very strong, some resilient in defence only. But it has the numbers and it has the determination. This is their world. This is home. Others claim they had their time. Many humans would say their time will come again. Certain ones intend on bringing that about. We shall see how they fare.

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