Aetre - An Overview

Rashthi or Roshthi (no) or … Rakhthi or Rakshi (no) or Rakthi or …

Werewolves. Well, they were wolves, once…

Felitaurs. Paws.

Centaurs. Hoofs.

Humans. (And Raiders.)

Elves. (Short mischievous little bastards. Quite fey.)

Half-beasts. (*cough*Nila*cough*)

Demons of various sorts. (Folk and real demons both are called demons by men.)

Naga.

Dragons.

We need lizard-type people and something with feathered wings. Possibly merfolk as well. This is starting to look like Cadora…


There is a place - an island nation, an entirely different continent, or somewhere on the mainland that I haven't gone yet - with a dual nobles-and-servants culture, only the nobles are "human" and the servants … aren't. I think I want to make the nobles not-human but something very close, and also something ethnically distinct. Ironically, I'm thinking of something drow-like. They're aren't animalish, otherwise I'd make 'em reptiles. (Though now I can see the reptilian race and man, pretty.)

I think we're going to go— haha, with something kat'ni-like— gods, this is so Cadora. Darkly colorful skin (dark reds, greens, blues, purples, and near-black of all those hues), very pale hair (silver, white, ivory, pale-yellow, pastel blue/purple/green), and vivid jewel-tone eyes (green, red, blue, purple again). They are a bit taller than humans and tend to be slender/lean, complete with pointy ears and what most people consider to be elvish beauty. (They aren't elves. Real elves are bastards. These guys are … feymen. Hee, yeah.) They have a knack with magic and a tendency to use it, though not in any showy or explosive way; they're damn knowledgeable about plantlife and herbs and crystals and such - all the tools and tricks of organic witchcraft. They are -not- elemental-based or element-oriented, nor are they shamanistic or animistic (I'm thinking they're polytheistic).

The servants are morphmen. Running theory is that they used to be "demons" (Folk) but were enchanted and enslaved by feymen to serve. Morphmen are shapeshifters; they have a humanoid form and a bestial form, but precise details of these forms are unique for each person, and can and will change to reflect evolutions in the morphman's psyche. Morphmen are generally assumed to understand very basic language (enough to be explicitly- and well-trained) but are presumed to not speak, even in their humanoid forms. The constants about morphmen are as follows: mostly- or fully-upright with opposable thumbs in humanoid form, quadrupedal in bestial form. Claws, fangs, fur, spikes, scales, tails, etc may persist to humanoid form or may not; bestial forms can be nearly any kind of creature, recognizable (feline, canine) or not (monster-like). Most morphmen initiate the (painless but uncomfortable) shapeshift while lying down and will black out during it; some morphmen experience the blackout like a lucid dream. Some very few morphmen can control their shapeshifting consciously, as well as the details of their features, and make it into an art; most can't manage this control. Shapeshifting takes about five minutes to complete and tends to heal/regenerate wounds, though not always completely; it's also tiring, and an exhausted or ill morphman usually can't manage it. Shifting when too tired can lead to a comatose state of unconsciousness. Bestial forms of morphmen can range in size between housecat to draft horse, though most fall within the middling wolf-to-lion range; despite that, humanoid forms generally stay within a few inches of the feyman height range (so, 5.5-6.5' tall).

The culture between the two is what's fascinating. The nobility will keep families of morphmen; individual nobles will, if important enough, have individual morphmen as servants/protectors. A morphman's loyalty to its noble varies with the individual and is greatly influenced by how the noble treats the morphman; kindness and humanity are rewarded with fierce loyalty and protectiveness. Morphmen have earrings to denote how many nobles they belong to; generally, morphmen do not have more than four people to serve directly, though many morphmen are for more general use and will have no earrings. A morphman who belongs to only one noble tends to be well-treated by that noble, having shown excellent behavior and trustworthiness to be allowed the privilege of being -the- guard for that noble.

Morphmen are -always- in their bestial form when around just about anyone; they consider other morphmen of the same house to be as family and are allowed to be in humanoid form around them. (Needless to say, morphmen are naked when shapeshifted either way - except for the earrings - and having clothing made to fit a variety of ever-changing humanoid features (tail/no tail, fur/no fur, etc) is a pain. Almost none of them have clothing to wear, though loose loincloth-deals are fairly standard.) Morphmen are physically comfortable and sensual with their own 'family' in either form. In the reverse, morphmen are allowed to see their nobles naked, as they are often the only guards around during baths and such; this leads to the necessity that a morphman be the same gender as its noble, though morphmen are generally referred to as 'it' (or 'he', if only due to being called morphmen). Morphmen are not allowed to be near or with anyone that they are not currently serving (when not in the 'den' with other morphmen, that is) and are always in the company of their nobles - or, if a more generally-used morphman, in the company of a supervisor. Though they are rarely ill-treated (abused or neglected), they are as good as slaves and may not wander on their own. And, again, morphmen are not allowed to be in humanoid form within the sight of any feyman, though on -rare- occasion this rule is bent or broken by noble command or by necessity (doctors, mostly). They're also forbidden to use any kind of feyman luxury (riding horses in humanoid form, actual clothing, etc), though baths are provided and encouraged.

Nobility is linked by bloodlines and marriages. Presentation during meetings between houses is key to a good impression, which may lead to an alliance or a marriage or something else of benefit; a house's morphmen are included in this presentation. Two nobles with morphmen will introduce themselves to each other, their servants at their hips, and then allow each other's morphmen to take in their scent (generally a gesture of trust, since most morphmen can do considerable damage to an offered hand). When nobles must speak alone, they dismiss human feymen servants and take only their morphmen; morphmen are able to key into each other quite accurately to gauge intentions, so any potential violence between the nobles is often preempted by the morphmen leaping to battle each other. Even friendly or allied nobles - even those of the same house - do not give orders to a morphman that is not their own. Instead, two nobles with morphmen guards will have a dialogue like "Shall the servants guard us while we bathe?" "Yes." "Very well then." to essentially establish that the nobles both wish the morphmen to stand watch over them. It is not phrased as "You two, stand watch while we bathe." - giving an order to someone else's morphman is very disrespectful (and usually ignored by the morphman anyways).

Though nobles do not technically mistreat their morphmen often, there is still a very clear division between master and servant. It is frowned upon for a noble to show any sort of affection or camaraderie to its morphman (while anyone is watching, anyways) or for a morphman to be anything less than deeply respectful to its noble. Morphmen are also expected to not meet gazes and to be silent, though some will break this rule on a regular basis with a lack of severe consequences. The range of interactions and a morphman's self-expression are fully dependent on the relationship between itself and its noble(s); generally, the fewer nobles a morphman has, the greater its personal freedoms and expressiveness in the company of its ward. Also, morphmen are generally not given names unless such seems to be necessary to best train the individual; even named morphmen are not called by their names by their nobles (and, in fact, named morphmen - being the more difficult ones - are usually assigned to supervisors and groups, rather than individual nobles). Also also, nobles of different houses do not use each other's names - that being a sign of familiarity/family - but refer to each other as milady and milord.

There is a story here, about a young woman from a large and prestigious bloodline and a young man from a smaller but ambitious house who wishes to ally with hers. They each have a personal morphman, and he visits often to take long walks with her through the gardens and orchards, just them and the morphmen. When usurpers attack the house, he helps save her morphman's life, then they both escape to her uncle's house, some several days' ride away. Her name is Elshera Kuan f'Cioz (gendered naming system - Elshera is her personal name, Kuan is her mother's name, Cioz is her father's name - translates something like "Elshera of Kuan by Cioz" - males will have their father's name first) of the Gerenburg House. The young master is Buago Gaun f'Seari of House Rashta. The uncle is Meark Jeen f'Tohora of House Trisah. Elshera: dark purple skin, little shorter and thicker-built than most (not very noticeable in the layered dress + corset…), looong pale spun-yellow hair, ruby eyes. Buago: taller than most but not too skinny, dark blue skin, thick and somewhat shaggy silver hair, emerald eyes. Meark: average height but a strong build (he's a fighter), black-purple skin, receding hairline with a white ponytail (mid-back), the same ruby eyes. Each of them have personal morphmen. Elshera's is mostly feline and about 3.5' at the shoulder, long-bodied with a tiger's head, sabrefangs, a very long and muscular tail (like an alker's), and dragon-talon-like hindpaws; tends to retain tail and claws, sometimes fangs and fur in humanoid form; mostly a deep brown color with black points and grey-white along her spine and flanks (think snow over dark earth), eyes silver. Buago's is almost purely feline and about 3' at the shoulder, lithe and agile, deep blue eyes, vivid golden coat with black dappling/spots and dark red points; tends to retain some fur and tail in humanoid form, often with fangs and claws. Meark's is huge, about 4.5' at the shoulder and built somewhat bearishly, dark greygreen with black and light-grey markings, very stocky and thick body with a wide skull and heavy claws and broad paws (with claws), short little almost-donkeyish tail, brown eyes; humanoid form is usually quite animalistic, burly and heavy with fur and claws and a slight muzzle, but not usually a tail or fangs.

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