Origins of EasternersEdit
Sethra Lavode has stated outright that Dragaerans were the result of the Jenoine performing genetic modifications and experiments on Easterners. The Serioli also seem to be implying this by referring to Easterners as "Old ones". However, no-one has yet disclosed how the Easterners first arrived on Dragaera.
One logical speculation is that "Easterners" were originally Earth-normal humans that were somehow transported to the world of Dragaera. This has been further implicated by the notion that the Serioli are the only native sentient race.
Brought by the JenoineEdit
One possible explanation could be that the Jenoine brought them there from earth. This may have been in order to conduct their genetic experiments and create new races such as the Dragaerans. Alien Abductees!!!
Brought by the GodsEdit
Since the Gods appear to have rebelled from the Jenoine, they may have been the ones to bring the first humans and Dragaerans specifically to the world of Dragaera (from the laboratories of the Jenoine), as part of their rebellion against the Jenoine, and to help set the stage for the eventual set-up of the Dragaeran Empire populated by Dragaerans, and the East populated by Easterners.
Descended from colonistsEdit
The humans could also have come to Dragaera on their own. It may be the result that the history of events that take place in SKZB's books takes place in the future and earth humans have managed to travel there and colonize Dragaera. This is strongly implied by Verra stating in Phoenix that certain "ancient" vaults were opened, which contained ideas that we would consider to be modern, such as the Marxist interpretation of history, politics and economics which appears to inform Kelly's philosophical and political agenda. It would also account for the presence of many familiar plants and animals on Dragaera, if the colonists brought livestock and seeds with them.
If the above is the case, it seems likely that some sort of time-crossing of peoples or things has occurred, or will occur, since this concept of a deep past which coincides with "our" future is at odds with Steven Brust receiving details of recent events in Dragaera "now".
Waves of immigrationEdit
Another speculative possibility is that there was more than one settlement. That is, while the first Easterners may have been colonists from our future, perhaps later groups of Easterners were immigrants from our past. This may be the result of the actions of the Gods, or the Jenoine, or of some faction as yet undisclosed, or chance openings in the gates between worlds.
Reasons for Easterner primitivityEdit
Despite having been there for more than 250,000 years, the Easterners of Fenario were (still) nomadic warriors at the beginning of Tortaalik's reign, when the treaty was signed with Fenarr, and had just developed to the point of being quasi-medieval some 1000 years later, just prior to Vlad Taltos's time. This seems odd, given that on Earth, our complex civilization has arisen in far less time than the age of the Dragaeran Empire.
Waves of Primitives Disrupt DevelopmentEdit
The above "waves of immigration" idea about Easterner origins is one possible explanation of this primitivity. That is, whenever Easterner-human society advances to a certain point, another wave of more primitive Easterner-human arrives, and in the inevitable conflict, the advances that were made are lost.
Affected by the CycleEdit
Another idea is that the Cycle itself might also affect Easterners, either preventing certain advancements from taking place, or forcing regression upon them somehow, so that they simply give up their advancements.
Sabotaged by the GodsEdit
It might also be that the Gods, who wish to preserve the Empire and the Cycle, are somehow responsible for Easterners not advancing much. This might be through mental manipulation (those who invent certain useful tools or techniques spontaneously forget them), or outright murder (those who invent certain useful tools or techniques spontaneously die).