A Race in Magience is defined as a sentient species slightly humanoid in nature who share a culture with others of their kind. This is because all races are actually decended from humans, who the Riaritians refer to as Ancients; they're just different races of the same species, albiet very VERY different from each other. Evolution aided by magic will do that to people.
Many millenia before even the Lost War, further back than even the Titan Dragons can remember, there were no "races". There were Beasts, animals with limited intellect and no ability to use magic of their own. There were Monsters, creatures more intelligent than beasts but without anything resembling culture or civilization. And there were Beings, the most intelligent of them all with mastery of magic and distinctive, unique cultures.
The Ancients were one such group of beings, humans who used magic to exert control over nature itself, twisting it to their own desires. Over time, as more discoveries towards advancing magic were made, eventually they discovered the fine art of Modding. Groups of people with similar ideals began to modify themselves in certain ways, grouping together with others who felt the same and sharing similar modifications as humans of our world might wear the clothing styles of their peers.
In time many such groups came to exist, calling themselves by different names and adopting unique customs to further distinguish themselves from outsiders, but seven groups were - at the time - the largest and most influential.
Those who valued strength and honor enhanced their bodies, heightening their ferocity and fighting ability with violent instincts and exceptional reflexes. They branded their flesh with marks of valor, trophies of battles won.
Those who valued endurance and resilience perfected their forms, polishing their stamina and resistances, putting their physical health and condition above all else. Not being terribly creative themselves, they adopted aesthetic traits from other groups as what was in style changed, until their original forms could no longer be recognized.
Those who valued knowledge and learning sought its finer pursuits, gathering information from all sources and hoarding it as the greediest man hoards gold. They shaped themselves in reverence to the serpentine goddess of cognition who brought intelligence to the world.
Those who valued understanding and mercy wished to extend a helping hand, taking pride in compassion itself and seeking to view the world with eyes unclouded by prejudice or bias. They shaped themselves with plain features and feathered wings, depicting themselves as angels sent to help the people.
Those who valued grace and legerity took to the seas and the riverways where they could be truly free, learning from the movements of the wind, waves, and currents. Their skin was bronzed by the sun's loving kiss, their hair and eyes matching the colors of the waters and skies they so loved.
Those who valued adroitness and deftness perfected their precision, becoming skilled of hand and sharp of eye, able to move through jungles and forests without so much as stirring a leaf in their wake. They followed in the path of the most sleek of forest creatures, giving themselves sturdy hooves that could step on branches without breaking them and fur and hair that helped them blend into their surroundings.
Those who valued chance and fate were always unpredictable, capricious beings who could rarely make up their mind about anything, much less commit to it. Eventually they agreed to prehensile tails they could use for mischief, skin pale as the moon to mimic their goddess of Fate, and gems on their brow colored the hue of their natural-born aura simply because they were pretty.
It has been so long since the races were first created that no record exists for how it truly happened. All they know is each race is descended from the Ancients, but no one knows why they're all so different or why hybrids are sterile. Many cultures will say it was simply the will of [insert deity here], or it happened because of Fate, and they leave it at that.
What "Race" Really MeansEdit
Though the line between "monster" and "being" can seem blurred, especially for creatures like Dragons who have many different classifications within their own species, the term "race" in Riariti is only ever applied to beings that are directly descended from the Ancients. There are countless races, though the main 7 are the most well-known and most populous of them all.
Hybrids and SterilizationEdit
Back when the races were just barely beginning to take form, the Ancients who for some reason decided this segregation was necessary in the first place built into their modifications a sort of failsafe. To prevent anyone crossing the lines and making whole new races that were gross bastardizations of their own group's perfection, each made it so any child whose parents were of different "groups" could not, in turn, create children of their own regardless of whom they may wish to marry later on in life.
They each came up with a uniquely complicated spell, a sort of trigger command lying dormant in the maternal line that would activate if it sensed in a child during its gestation period inherited traits and abilities that were not from the mother's own group. Once activated, the spell would completely block the child's development of certain reproductive facilities, making it so they would still have physical sexes and be capable of copulation but would be unable to create any children of their own even if they attempted to with a "Pure" of one of their two "races".
The Originators, the Ancients who were the forefathers of the current "races", did not wish for their group to have other group's traits just because a few hybrid children decided to not follow in their parent's footsteps and instead married within one of their parent's groups, bringing in outside genes to muddy up the pool. They would have purity, or sterilization. There were no compromises. Despite this, over time hybrids became something rather common, and a strange practice began to take root.
As time went by and people forgot the insistence of their ancestor's not wanting to mix the newly-created "races", more and more people began to marry outside their own group. Hybrid children became increasingly more common, and of course hybrids began to want children of their own even if they couldn't create them with their own bodies or genes.
Thus the Breeding practice was actualized. Pures, people who could still procreate due to their ancestor's sticking to old customs of marrying only within their race, began to be more rare. To prevent races from going endangered or, heaven forbid, extinct, people started paying others to conceive multiple children precisely for the express purpose of adopting them out. The children conceived could be Pure or Hybrid, though a Breeder would receive more money for engendering Pures to keep the races going. The children of Breeders would only be adopted out to families who could afford the care of a child, though of course as with everything there were people who twisted that around to their own profit.
A single Breeder can produce countless children in their lifetime. Riaritians live long lives and Pures remain fertile even to old age; high-level Healers are capable of even accelerating the development of a child in the womb so the gestation period could be only half as long as normal - any faster could cause damage to the mother's body, and during the acceleration process the mother has to be carefully monitored and fed special herbal mixtures high in necessary vitamins for the child's growth and maintaining her own health.
Children of Breeders are given a special marking on one of their wrists at birth, left side for females and right for male, which would only appear and start to glow if they come into close proximity with a direct relative. This custom came into place after it was realized that accidental incest between siblings could become quite a problem since keeping track of every single child and their lineage was too complicated and difficult in such a large world.
Since Breeding is considered a necessary practice for the continuation of the races, it's not uncommon for married Pure couples to offer such services to friends or family, often at a highly reduced cost or even for free.