Thursday, April 25, 2013

Races of Desylinn (Part 2)

This is the second in a two part series on Race. Part One is here.

Created from the tears of the goddess Ariga, Humans are found on the chain of island archipelagos south of mainland Desylinn. Several common cultures exist among the island, but one separates itself, the Kingdom of Arigunta found on the largest island called Go’Arig. Throughout most of the islands the Humans form small coastal villages, where the men are warriors and the primary leaders. They spend their time hunting, fishing and occasionally raiding other villages for goods or women. The women take on the role of childrearing, maintaining small fields, and raising livestock. There is a strong tradition of tattooing done by most cultures throughout the islands, prominently on the men, who see it as a rite of passage. Women have tattoos as well, though not as frequently. The Humans have the most diverse languages of all the races; those on the northern archipelago nearest to Desylinn speaking a form of Lash-ti-Nowish, while those nearer to Go’Arig speaking variations of the Go’Arigi language. On the continent of Desylinn Humans are numerous, filling in whatever roles are needed. Originally sold as slaves to the Elves by the snakemen during the Empire, they have no firmly established kingdoms or countries as they are vastly outnumbered by other races. Many live in Hub or the surrounding Eartlinn where they are treated with less prejudice. There are a significant number in the Citiesof the Lost as well, and while they do not dominate these cities, they have come to hold some political clout there. 

Not a single race, but a confederacy originally made up of five distinct races: orcs, trolls, ogres, goblins and minotaurs. The Kindred have since become one of the predominant forces in Desylinn.  Born from the fallen teeth, brains and blood of the Nameless One, the Kindred are united in their origin and history. Little more than cattle to the Imperial Elves, the Kindred formed the bulk of the armies during the War of the Five, and the Kindred helped create a brand new society to fill the void left by the Empire’s collapse. The Kindred accept anyone who desires to adopt a “True Parent” and the mark of one of the khans. Each khan, corresponding to the five original races, serves distinct roles: the Orckhan, or “The Voice” serve as diplomats, singers, storytellers. The Trollkhan or “The Hands” serve as shamans, healers and scouts.  The Gobkhan or “The Legs” serve as shock troops, general warriors, and doing general labor for the Kindred. The Minokhan or “the Arms” are artisans, smiths, masons, creating great works of beauty. The Minokhan have many members not of the minotaur race among them. Finally the Ogrekhan or “The Back” serve as historians and mystics, keeping the history of the Kindred in scars etched across their backs. The Kindred value individuals based on merit.

A solitary race created by Ishari after the creation of the Geato Abira and the races of the Kindred, the Krishtog or "frogpeople" live in isolation in the bogs and forest along the borders of The Great Southern Forest and the Geato Marsh. Living in small family units the Krishtog, of all the races, seek self-sufficiency and isolation over everything else. Males and females may form mated pairs, but do not see monogamy as being important. They do not have specific gender roles until breeding time, as it is through child birth the sexes are distinguished. The couple journeys to great breeding trees surrounded by large spawning pools. The tadpoles are left in the pools, but only a small handful survive. Each individual Krishtog is responsible for their own livelihood as well as their own survival. The conditions in the Krishtogalog aren’t harsh though, and while some dangerous beasts pose a threat the frogmen’s tree climbing and strong legs enabling them to leap great distances keep them relatively safe.  The Krishtog make simple tools and weapons for use in their everyday life, emphasizing utility over decorum. Not completely bereft of art, the Krishtog have long complex songs which they sing often and without warning. Krishtog are rare, even in the territories they call home. Those found outside the Krishtogalog are often bards of note, or strange warriors known for singing in battle, and many have become well known throughout Desylinn. 

Lash-ti-Nowish (Snakemen): 
Created by Ssita in the Dragon Sands far to the southwest of Desylinn, the “snakes”, like the Dwarves, are divided into ten separate clans matching specific dragons. Unlike the Dwarves, there is no strong unity with the Dragons and the Snakemen take little interest in the great beings. The face of the Lash-ti-Nowish is the Gold Clan, who serve as diplomats to the other races. The other well-known clan is the Copper Clan, who sailed to the northernmost human islands to negotiate slave trades for the Elves during the Empire. The Snakemen live in hidden cities during the day, which only come to life at night, lit by starlight. While they have a defined society, they make no distinction between genders and have no tradition of marriage. Most Lash-ti-Nowish are nocturnal, as the harsh desert conditions of the Dragon Sands give even the Snakemen pause. They enjoy a highly efficient metabolism, allowing them to go days at a time without eating. This also forces them to periodically go into hibernation, called hrarstar, in which they shed their skin. This hibernation can occasionally last years.  The eldest of the Lash-ti-Nowish, the Old Ones, lead the society as judges and advisors for the rest of the Snakemen.  Uncommon through the rest of Desylinn, many Gold and Copper Lash-ti-Nowish can be found acting as merchants, particularly in Hub and in the remnants of Mariea.  

The Shards: 
Unique among the races of Desylinn, they are the youngest, not truly mortal, and not directly created by a god. Emperor Aries II created the first golems from the souls of loyal guards, sealing them into lodestones within the golem bodies. Once the last Empress, Arcadia, took control of the Empire the golems served as her personal guard and lost any sense of identity they once had. During the War of the Five the golems were released, becoming conscious agents in the world. Daras, the goddess of all life and death moved to take their lost souls, but her hand was stayed by Nhoj. He wished to see what would happen with the new "race".  Daras then vowed to never take the souls of the golems, so when they die their souls join with the Unbroken, a collective consciousness of souls from deceased Golems. Each Golem’s soul is but a shard of that greater consciousness, so creating more shards requires sharing your spiritual energy and placing it into a new, unanimated golem body. The Shards each serve the Great Library in their youth, a tenure which may last centuries. Part of the learning process involves the scribing of memories into their lodestones, making them permanent. Most Shards are found at or near the library, though some venture out, seeking new experiences to write upon their lodestones.