Here's some backstory I've been working on for Terra Raiga, a new story telling the ancient history of this world. It was going to be the opening to the story, but I found it difficult to segue into the story proper after explaining this, so it's going to be the Prologue-type bit. Of a sort, anyway.
Humans have not always been the dominant species on Terra Raiga. Indeed, it could be argued that they are still not dominant. For most of the history of Terra Raiga dominance has been split between four distinct species. The enigmatic Gnomes, the powerful Bloodkind, the resourceful Goblinoids and the secretive Nymphs.
First and foremost, the Gnomes were brilliant engineers and skilful mages. Possessed of a curiosity unlike any other species they thirsted for knowledge, pushing the very boundaries of science and magic, even finding ways to combine them in methods that would take other species millennia to even think of. They lived within mountains, safe from the much larger creatures that dwelled outside.
Second were the Bloodkind. Great strength flowed through their veins. They are the greatest of warrior races, every male being trained for the sole purpose of war. Their skin was a bright red and tougher than plate steel. When they were born they would be given a personal mask, which they would not remove until the day of their death. The markings upon the masks would become more complex over time, signifying their position within their tribe.
Thirdly were the Goblinoids. A small people, the Goblinoids were nomadic through necessity. If they stayed in one place too long, they would inevitably be found and attacked by the Bloodkind or something worse. Many Goblinoids lived their entire lives as slaves to the Bloodkind, but those who lived free were no better off. The life of a typical Goblinoid was short and full of strife, but those who were free were ferocious fighters, doing anything they could to extend their own lives.
Finally we come to the most secretive of them all. The Nymphs lived exclusively within the woodlands, never straying far from the boundaries of their home. Nymph society was female-dominated, due to the low birth rate of males, who often lived lives of luxury as a result. The female Nymphs hunted, foraged and fought for them.
All of these lived under the shadow of the dangerous Pygmen. A non-sentient humanoid species which reproduced rapidly and ate anything they came across, from the largest of creatures to the sturdiest oak, and everything in between. They lived within a deep valley among the mountains at the centre of the continent. Every so often their numbers would become too great and they would burst out of the mountains like a tidal wave of teeth and claws, devastating anything they came across until the wave eventually petered out.