Deep Dwarf Rush
A fair-skinned and haired race of humans, the Pelygda were never a unified people but one divided into warring clans. With the arrival of Southworlder sailors, shipwrecked on the huge island they did not know was there, the Pelygda suffered a jolt that forced more change in a hundred years than they had experienced collectively in a thousand. The clans were completely divided on how to deal with the strangers, and in a more philosophical sense: how to deal with the rest of the Known World now that they knew of it, and it knew of them.
Soon, all the clans consolidated between two primary movements. One was to cast out or kill the outsiders and never again allow a foreigner to set foot on Pelydga land. These were mostly the highlander clans of northern Arbranagh. The other movement was to adapt the old ways to suit a new world, one in which the Pelygda were only a small part. These were primarily the southern clans who tended toward peace and a pastoral lifestyle.
Various considerations came into play for either side, but it is believed by historians that it really came down to conservatism versus an embrace of change.
At first, the changes came on slow and though there were tensions, there was no more violence than usual among the clans. Then the Ciran religion began to take hold amongst the southern clans and the northern Pelygda had their excuse to begin a war in earnest, condemning the Greatclan Aledyne as heathens and traitors to the Gods. The principle accusers were the Greatclan Maevlyn who were always powerful but conservative. Smaller clans banded behind the two Greatclans in enough numbers that all clans were eventually sucked into the conflict. The civil war forever divided the Pelygda until only permutations of their original culture remained in their descendants. The Greatclans united their respective regions of Arbranagh into separate countries and a long but tense stalemate has endured, punctuated by periods of intense violence and war. Now the two peoples are known as the Maevlyn and Aledyne and most similarities between them have utterly disappeared.
Those Pelygda clans who wished to avoid the sectarian war fled Arbranagh forever, led by Danlan mac Marra. They had long since learned something of seafaring from their Southworlder visitors and built their own large ship, based on their coastal raiding ships, to cross the Greatwater, eventually settling in the barren tundra of Haaelut.
Centuries after the original schism, the Aledyne had become a prosperous and populous people and needed more territory to deal with population problems. After a series of unsuccessful campaigns against the Maevlyn, the Aledyne sent exploratory missions into Northworld and found that the Keldunnal-like plains of the southern regions of the continent were inhabited by a loosely organized and physically inferior species the Aledyne took to calling “halflings” or “halfmen” for their small size but human-like appearance. In short order, the Aledyne conquered and enslaved or killed most of the halflings and drove the rest north as their new territory expanded. They called this land the Telmain. Eventually, the Aledyne colonists who came to be known as Telfolk became rebellious and fought a war of independence. They were successful and now the Telmain is a feudal kingdom which is predominantly made up of Pelygda-derived humans.