As civilization developed, the Tundu—like many other sentient beings—followed the path from town to city, then to city-state, and finally to nation. They were of average height, stocky, fair-skinned, and tended to be silent and serious. Bringing forth food from the tundra-like ground was a difficult task, and communities banded together for the long hours of arduous work during the planting and harvesting of their brief season. It was among the Tundu that writing and education first developed, and in particular physical sciences and construction. Their long winters were dedicated to study, thought, prayer, and philosophical debate.
And to war. Of the many species of animal on Tor that sought to find food and shelter during the long nights, the yellow snakes and the horde spiders were the worst. The snakes fed on simple organisms that lived in the snows, curving slowly through the frigid fields under the bright sun as they sifted snowy powder through their great maws and strained out whatever was edible. Their bodies and especially their mouths became imprinted with yellow stains from the pigments of the millions of tiny organisms they ate. Behind them they left great icy trails and tunnels in the snow dunes, evidence of their passage and danger for the unwary traveler.
The horde spiders, on the other hand, were hive creatures. They hunted en masse, sending out scouts who called for assistance when they found food by rubbing their hind legs together to make a chirping sound. Reinforcements would arrive, tumbling and scrambling over the snows, joining together to bring down even beasts the size of the yellow snake. The Tundu learned how to imitate the call of the horde spider, and in times of dangerous infestations scouts went out to track the spiders, making the chirping noise when midway between several nests so the spiders would arise and exterminate each other.
The nations formed from the Haduns were of a very different nature. The search for food was a year-round effort, for even in winter game could be had when it came out to feed—occasionally on the herds that the Haduns kept near the warm volcanic feeding grounds. Dark-skinned, dark-haired, sky-gazers, and philosophers after their own fashion, they spent the coldest nights living on stores of dried meat and frozen soups, telling stories of the constellations and the things that moved just beyond their sight in the darkness. Hunting remained the primary activity and was an important indicator of adulthood, making the Haduns resourceful, resilient, and tough.
Toughness was needed, as Haduns families and towns were constantly at risk from several dangerous species. There were the White Ones, great predatory beasts that ran on four legs or two, covered with white hair and noiseless as the wind when hunting. Out in the great windswept reaches of the North were also the packs of silver wolves, nearly invisible in the windswept grayness of the arctic plains.
Unfortunately for the Haduns there were also the Borers. These were omnivorous tunneling larvae many times larger than a person, with a circle of chitinous beaks around a central maw, a rigid crest behind, and a much smaller body that followed. Thriving in the warmer, softer earths near the volcanic vents, they exploded from the ground in search of food. It is for this reason that the Haduns never built on the earth unless necessary, and also why an important role for the village youths was to lie alert, ear to the ground, concentrating and listening for that sound like grinding seeds.
Alien and far removed from their terrestrial neighbors, the Eaür evolved in the deeps as stewards of the seas and explorers. Colored in the blues and browns of the sea, as their brains grew and bodies developed they developed first vestigial, then fully functioning limbs. Eaür society, though sedentary and communal, was ever at risk from the large numbers of predators that stalked the oceans. For this reason the Eaür were the first to aggressively adopt and integrate other species into their society. Using them as scouts, as builders, as mounts, and as sources of food and clothing, they went to great lengths to tame and harvest the wide range of beasts living in the oceans.
There were some, however, who were beyond their control. The scythefish were pests of the worst sort. Like swimming blades with a long, razor-sharp crest of accreted ceramics, schools of these were capable of swimming through a town and leaving nothing but bloody ribbons behind them. Complex defenses occasionally worked, but the Eaür relied primarily on the assistance of the great cloudfish. These were great spheres of gastric juices that floated slowly through the oceans, digesting anything that came within reach of their trailing tentacles. The problem was that it took centuries to train, educate, and control the cloudfish to the point where they understood friend from foe.
The greatest risk, however, aside from the occasional carnivorous dinosaur, was the great leviathans. Larger than the field of view, they announced their arrival hours ahead through the hooting and wailing of their slow, mournful song. Scythefist would swim through one, feeding, and move on; cloudfish would tag a ride for days, feeding on the slowly moving mountain of flesh. But the leviathans were too vast and too scarred to be troubled by this. Nudging along the floors and ridges of the sea, their great trawler of a mouth would take in everything, scraping down to rock and ice whatever lay in their path. The first Eaür strategies involved small villages in crevices or valleys, or larger ones with bolt-holes into cliff faces. Over the ages the leviathan grew to have a mythical status, and in fact they were unsure if there were more than one, or where they (or it) came from, or whether there was something—may the waters preserve us—even greater and more fearsome that drove them (or it) up from the hadopelagic depths.
These were the three main peoples, then, from whom sub-tribes and offshoots spread and developed over the centuries. While stress and struggle was inevitable, the great, world-changing events only began when these three civilizations began to meet.