The Fey

Throughout Creation, Fae have been associated with the wild places and nature and in Zhurin, this is no different.  Each realm, each world has different fae because the wilds, the forests and plains, the rivers and oceans are all different, yet still quite ‘natural’.  As such, Fae that are found in Zhurin are wild, feral and very dangerous.  To think as these beings as the playful tricksters found in other realms would be nothing short of a death wish.

Devas:

Extra small – 1-2 inches – Little glowing sprites and pixies that live within flowers. They have their own language consisting of tiny jingles and animalistic sounds.

Devas are the least dangerous of the faeries that inhabit Draelyk, but still capable of being deadly if unheeded.  Devas tend to fill the ‘Will o’ Wisp’ function of the forest, distracting those wandering the forests, to deadly effect, if the unfortunate victim stumbles headlong into a hooklin bush, mantrap or any of the various predatory flora that call Draelyk home.  Closer inspection shows spindly arms and legs with elongated toes and fingers tipped with sharp, curved claws, to enable them to cling to the various parts of vegetation where they call home.

A pair of antennae extend out from their scalps, each ending with a hanging ‘droplet’, not unlike an angler fish.  The droplets are filled with a bioluminescent fluid that matches the panels along their upper arms and thighs, creating the bright ‘glow’ effect that the race is normally known for.  The color of the glow tends to range from white to red, with every shade and hue in between.

Zhurin Devas also have a smile that’s just a little too wide, something they’re capable of hiding just by closing their mouths, but with that grin is a mouth filled with sharp, needle thin teeth.  Fortunately, the nature of such teeth is they’re too weak and brittle for tearing away skin and flesh and instead, these fae are like mosquitos, biting just enough to draw blood that they drink.  They’re also adept scavengers, using their keen sense of smell and taste to locate decaying corpses and the soft nature of rotting meat is easily bitten into with their teeth.

Devas tend to live in small hives, preferring the hollows of trees and the dry, hollowed remains of some of the giant pitcher plants that grow horizontally along the ground rather than hanging upright and are most associated with.  Sometimes they’ll  find smaller thorns from a zhurin briar and fashion it into a weapon, but being the least intelligent of the fae races, it’s rare.  Their use of magic is instinctual and they only use the natural aspects of Creation and Illusion, as is common to all fae creatures.

 

De’Basm:

Small – 6-18 inches – This grouping of fae has four distinctly different variations, each one filling a niche.  Faeries are capable of having insect-like wings, much like their smaller Deva counterparts, while Pooka can have either bird or bat-like wings, depending on which beast they share their existence with.   

 

Faeries:

While sharing the traditional appearance that all faeries have throughout Creation, Zhurin Faeries tend to have large, lace-wing like wings that curl at the outer edges so that they don’t drag along the ground, when they have to walk or run.  Intelligent, yet quite feral, faeries build villages within the highest boughs of the trees, apart from the great cities that the feore build and look down upon the forest in reverence and wonderment.  Out of all the De’Basm and Fae, Faeries are the most vigilant of the forests protectors and any who might defile or harm the great forest of Draelyk might find themselves waking up hanging upside down over a thick patch of briar or the gaping maw of a mantrap.

Seeing the Feore as the guardians of Draelyk proper, most defer to the feore and work alongside them when necessary, though they disdain the Firdaast sect for their use of fire, however controlled it might be.  Faeries tend to wear clothing taken from the beasts of the field, disdaining harming any plants if they can help it, but are more than willing to kill a beast to wear it’s hide or chitin.

Zhurin Faeries are capable users of the natural elements of Creation when weaving magic.

Kabouter:

If Faeries are the De’Basm that tend to the forests and air, then the Kabouter are the De’Basm that tend to the earth, but not the deep places.  Both males and females are stout in their nature, both physically and mentally and have rough layers of stone, shale or in some cases, precious gem extending from the joints of their fingers, knuckles, toes, elbows and knees.  They love to dig and unearth copious amounts of precious stone and ore, as well as keeping the earth well tilled and oxygenated for all the vegetation throughout the forest.

Kabouter clothing is woven from fabric made from root materials that they dig up, particularly hooklin bushes that they despise due to how sensitive the feeler-root system is… it is not uncommon for a Kabouter to be killed by a calcite hook penetrating the earth and piercing the fae’s skull.  While inhumanly strong due to their earthy ties, they prefer using small hand-held weapons made of stone, such as hammers and pick-axes due to the raw damage these can do to a living body.  The Kabouter are adept users of geomancy and other earthen related magic.

Kabouter refuse to dig too deep for one reason or another, but will not give reason when asked.

Pooka:

In most realms, Pooka are considered innocent, innocuous and playful things, a hybrid of faerie and beast with all the best and worst qualities of both.  But what happens when the world they’re born into is a primal, violent place where might makes right and the Natural Cycle of things is venerated?  You get Zhurinese Pooka, creatures that make even therianthropes pause.  These little beasts travel in packs, generally between six to eight members with one acting as Alpha and the packs are not of a single type of Pooka.  These fae are the embodiment of hunger and the need to eat to survive, although the capacity in which they can eat and the amount seems impossible; a pooka can eat up to three times their body weight in their preferred food before becoming satiated.

But just because they’re animalistic and show feral tendencies to outsiders does not mean they’re of bestial intelligence.  Pooka are just as intelligent as the faeries, kabouter and sluagh, though such intelligence is tempered by emotion and instinct — sometimes they indulge too much in their bestial aspects and regret their actions afterward.  Sometimes.

Appearance-wise, Pooka are as varied as the beasts in Draelyk, as one might imagine.  Some share aspects with the great serpents that call the boughs and deep-roots home, while others take on the appearances of the bats and birds, including functional wings.  While many of the Zhurinese Pooka appear to share aspects with several of the herbivorous beasts in Draelyk, all are omnivorous and quite capable of eating meat; it all depends on their preferred food.

Most Pooka do not wear clothing or armor, using their body’s natural fur, scales, feathers or chitin to provide ample enough covering, nor do they feel a need for crafting weapons, though can and will use them if necessary.  Despite their nature, Pooka are not inherently evil, but they cannot be considered good either.  Pooka are what they are, nothing more, nothing less.  Pooka can use the natural magics, as well as illusionary spellweaves. Very rarely do they dip into the chaotic and wild side of magic.

Sluagh:

Generally regarded as some of the most disgusting of the faerie races, these slippery shadow-skulking beings take on a whole new life in Zhurin.  Rarely seen on the surface of Draelyk, the Sluagh live within the deep places, untouched by light and life and are content to live their lives without ever being known beyond their tribes.  Most sluagh have very dark features and an oily complexion that allows them to slip and squeeze themselves through some of the smallest of cracks.  Their unique physiology also allows them to survive cave-ins, which are somewhat frequent in the deeper caverns, as earth shifts and moves with the life above it.

It’s difficult to say what a Sluagh really looks like, given their proclivity of staying as far away from the surface as possible and their ability to stretch and squish themselves.  Some say they look like mole-people, with little beady eyes, large noses and overly large hands to allow them to dig through the earth and move rocks much easier.  Whatever the case may be, they are seen as disgusting and loathsome creatures.

Sluagh do not wear armor and barely wear clothing, if at all.  At most, scraps of leather from any number of the beasts that live in the depths make up what they adorn themselves with, but given the nature of the Sluagh, they end up getting destroyed in their day-to-day activities.  While capable users of illusionary magic, as all fae are, Sluagh are unique in their capacity to weave the shadows and darkness of the environment they live in as well as being capable users of geomancy.

 

The Fae

Medium – 48-66 inches – Merfolk, Satyrs and other beings that are around the size of man. These creatures are beautiful and exotic, with the Sidhe and Roj’Stadj sometimes being mistaken for elves.

 

Merfolk:

Defenders of the deep places in the ocean, merfolk are incredibly rare to see by those who don’t also frequent those depths.  They answer to none save for themselves, and those who try to instill superiority upon them are frequently dragged screaming into the depths, without regard.  So long as the races who live on land do not defile the watery depths, they are allowed to hunt with their boats and magics, so long as they do not take too much.

It is unknown where these fae came into being, or rather how, since they rarely interact with the other races, but their general appearance differs from clan to clan.  Their lower halves can be piscine, either scaled or fleshy, a cluster of tentacles like that of a squid, octopus or cuttlefish, or serpentine, like a great many eels. There is a distinct difference between males and females, with males generally being far more flamboyant and flashy in coloration and the size of their fins, while females are more subdued.  

Merfolk are also innately capable of casting, manipulating and maintaining illusions.  This is partially the reason behind the tale of ‘half fish, half man’… all merfolk are creatures of the aqueous depths and have little reason behind anatomy that beings on land might have.  Their features are extremely exotic, with sharp, almond eyes and large pupils, with but a ring of iris that is bio-luminescent, allowing them greater ease with vision in the deep, sun-barren places of Zhurin’s oceans.  All merfolk have patches of bio-luminescent chromatophores that allow them to communicate when they need to be quiet or if they’re having issues seeing one another.

There is little in the way of vegetation where most merfolk reside, so with their carnivorous diet, are the tools to hunt and consume their prey.  A merfolk’s teeth are very similar to a tiburon’s, being uniquely adapted scales capable of shredding flesh and muscle easily, while also continuously growing, should any get damaged.  Also, while they have arms and a skeletal structure in their upper torso comparable to a humanoids, their ‘skeleton’ is actually closer to a tiburon’s, with eighty percent of it being comprised of cartilage.  Only their skull and spine is made of bone, giving them rigidity, while allowing them to be flexible and streamlined while swimming.

Each merfolk has four digits on their hands, an opposable thumb and three longer digits, with the middle being the longer of the three.  This allows them to use weapons, write… anything you’d consider being done with hands. However, while they’re capable of delicate touch, this is only capable with a push down the hand (from fingertip to wrist).  When a merfolk twists their grip in the opposite direction (from wrist to fingertip), incredible suction is applied through the millions of fleshy filaments (Setae and Septulae) that make up the palm-side of the hand.  This is a result of their prey being difficult to grasp or keep a hold of in the watery environment they call home.

All merfolk have four sets of gills along the ribs of their torso, which prevents them from wearing any armor or clothing that might cover their means of breathing.  Merfolks, as a result, will not willingly expose anything under their chest to the air, as they do not have the proper respiratory tools to breathe through their mouths.  Both male and female merfolk have long, flowing ‘hair’ with a singular fin that extends just above the forehead to midway down the back. The fin, attached to strong muscles along the spine, can be extended and retracted at will, and is sometimes used in their day to day to help communicate emotion.  The hair is actually thousands of sensory organs that spread out as they swim, giving them a much greater degree of ‘vision’ from things that aren’t necessarily visible, but only within water. This hair is a few shades lighter than their skin tone.

Satyrna

Generally regarded as the most grounded of the fae races, they are still born of the hazy lucidity of Zhurin.  In many places, Satyrs and fauns are regarded as hyper-sexual beings, and while there is an inkling of similarity with those native to Zhurin, the Satyrna are quite feral and quite adept at traversing the forests with ease.

Like most of the ‘lesser fae’, Satyrna wear little in the form of clothing or armor, nor do they frequently use any sort of weaponry, preferring on their own natural defenses as well as what the forests of Draelyk provide.  With thick talon-like nails and flexible cloven hooves, a Satyrna is able to climb the Greenwoods with ease, almost able to stand vertically without so much a handhold against the trees. Like most who call Draelyk home, their forms are densely muscled, rather than bulky, allowing a great deal of agility in their movements.  Digigrade legs give them much greater strength when it comes to leaping and remaining in place as they traverse the boughs and branches, while the long, silken overcoat protects their form from the elements much like clothing might; this covers their lower body and down their arms, ending just above the elbow.

Under the overcoat is a much soft, nigh velveteen undercoat that is much denser, keeping them warm as well as breaking airflow over their bodies, allowing the Satyrna to move much more fluidly through the air, as well as giving them a means of protection against the rough nature of a tree’s bark.  Both male and female Satyrna sport horns, while a males extend straight up, spiraling roughly a foot and a half from the scalp, a female’s horns bow backwards, curling upwards when the horn reaches the back of the head. While they have roughly humanoid features, their eyes are unusual as they, have vertically formed, rectangular pupils, likely a result of trying to capture as much of the falling sunlight that they could, as it broke through the canopy.  

The only other outstanding feature (aside from ample curves for the females and defined musculature for both genders) are their large, deer-like ears, that can swivel back and forth from the sides of their heads.  Generally, they’re kept upright for comfort and hearing normally, but if needed, they can focus their hearing in different directions, to help them figure out where sounds are coming from with pinpoint accuracy.

Despite the similarities to goats and rams, Satyrna are thoroughly omnivorous, capable of eating plant matter and meat, depending on what’s most abundant.  In an effort to keep a balance with Nature, they will eat only what is in the most abundance, acting as culling agents when absolutely necessary. They make their homes in the boughs of the Greenwood, though unlike the Feore, they do not shape the wood, but rather make intricately crafted ‘hanging villages’ with vines and roots.  It should be mentioned that Satyrna love leaping down, sometimes in excess of a mile, between the trees to reach the forest floor.

Sidhe:

To themselves, the Sidhe are the undisputed leaders of the fae races.  With the unique capacity to demand respect of their ‘lessers’, Zhurinese Sidhe are even more dangerous and violent than most of their kin.  They hold true to the traditions of Tribe and many of the sidhe camps can be found warring amongst themselves, dragging any other fae unfortunate to get caught in the crossfire into their feuds.  Sidhe adorn themselves in clothing made from the finest spun spidersilk from the great arachnids in the forest and all sorts of things considered precious by the fae.

Their features are sharp, beautiful and exotic, putting elves to shame, but more times than not their beauty is only skin deep and just under the surface is something far more deceptive.  Sidhe, along with the Roj’Stadj, are the darkest that a fae is capable of being within the limits of their race.  Frivolous and equally emotional, it is their power within their people that make them dangerous.  They’re also one of the few fae that are capable of wielding any sort of magic with equal strength.  Because of their tribal nature and how petty they can be, the different camps of Sidhe have aligned themselves in four distinct camps: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.  And a Sidhe has two halves of the coin that makes up their being: Light and Dark.

Each camp believed themselves to be superior over the others, which spurns them on further to warring with one another.  What tempers this is that being such emotional creatures, sometimes they lean towards their lighter, happier tendencies and have taken to calling themselves ‘Seelie’ sidhe.  Those sidhe who are in the throes of their darker emotions decided, in spite or some childish tantrum, to call themselves ‘Unseelie’ rather than coming up with a more unique moniker to call themselves.

Spring and Summer are similar, given the nature of Draelyk, and sometimes work  together towards a common goal, at least till infighting destroys whatever cooperation they might be feeling at that time.  Spring and Summer Sidhe also tend to be Seelie because the sun is bright, life is blooming all around them and there’s few reasons not to be happy.  Aside from getting eaten by a mantrap or hooklin bush, of course.  In fact, most Sidhe belong to these two camps, as the concept of Autumn and Winter, in the forest-continent of Draelyk, is almost nonexistent.

But there are those aligned with the wet seasons, where clouds roil over the forest’s canopy and a torrential monsoon darkens the skies.  These sidhe tend to be Unseelie, and why not?  When the world is dark and gray, wet and miserable, one can’t help but to fall into their darker emotions, feeling sad, depressed and angry at how terrible the world is.  And how everyone should feel their anguish too.

Roj’Stadj:

While the Sidhe call themselves the lords and ladies of the fae, the Roj’Stadj do not call themselves anything, yet their presence is undeniable.  The most nomadic of the fae races, Roj’Stadj keep very small caravans while they wander the forests of Draelyk, living off of the land and otherwise keeping to themselves.  But to think that they’re weak would be a horrible mistake.  It is generally regarded that each of the fae races are born from the dreams or fears of the mortal races, the Roj’Stadj are the Nightmares made flesh.  There is an intrinsic fear that their presence instills even in the most haughty of Sidhe and most of the other fae races give them a wide berth.

Appearance wise though?  They look no different from Sidhe.  Very exotic, defined and beautiful, while Sidhe are born with more ‘traditional’ colors when it comes to their hair, skin and eyes, Roj’Stadj are capable of having rather eerie appearances.  Pitch-black hair with fragments of what look like ice extending up from their scalp, red sclera surrounding the broken border of brilliant green irises, as examples.  Like their Sidhe cousins, Roj’Stadj wear finery in the form of silks and vegetal leathers from predatory flora and can wield nearly any magic with equal power, but unlike the Sidhe, they are not bound into camps.  There is no summer, no winter, no dark or light.  These fae are bound by their impulses.

There are seven distinct caravans that the Roj’Stadj bind themselves into depending on their racial Impulses.  Some eat and glut themselves, never really capable of filling the void, others desire what they do not have, and should they acquire it?  Discard it in favor of their next conquest.  Others are lazy, looking to find other ways, more ‘efficient’ ways of doing things that requires the absolute least amount of work and others?  They indulge in the primal, visceral acts of pleasure.

As far as anyone knows, the Roj’Stadj are the eldest of the fae races on Zhurin, with the Sidhe being an offshoot (if you’re to ask the Sidhe that, they would vehemently deny it).  They are as intrinsic to Draelyk as the Feore, some might say, and perhaps it is because of this initial bond between the Feore and the Roj’Stadj that the Feore regard all fae as something to be protected and cherished, as the living embodiment of the Spirits, while the fae native to Zhurin regard the feore as Nature’s protectors.

The Elves

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