World name: Denaith
Countries thereof: 38; 6 major and 32 feudal/splinter countries/independent provinces/island nations; to whit,
Major countries: Efois, Chui'techanth, Deit, Avenswarra, Yumeranth, Ebweme
Efois — From a word in a lost language meaning "mighty," Efois is actually the smallest of the six major countries. Its power lies not in its size or the size of its population, though; its power comes mainly from trade alliances. Efois is ruled by a "prince" (a man or woman who is born into a monarchial family but raised by a "mother and father" elected by citizens, and tutored by elected teachers). This "prince" theoretically has absolute power, but he or she is generally wise enough to appoint ministers - often from the pool of men and women who have taught him/her. The emphasis on education is not only the province of the high-born, though; most citizens of Efois know how to read, write, and perform basic sums, almost three quarters speak at least two languages, and everyone not mentally handicapped has complete access to job training (often in the form of apprenticeships, but occasionally college-like settings). Very, very frequently, people in other nations send promising young students to study in the Efoisie academies, and this is one of the main sources of income among teachers. Avenswarra, another rather well-developed nation, is particularly keen to exchange knowledge and students with Efois. Efois is also notable for its high level of integration among disparate races; in fact, werebeasts in Efois often advertise their animal sides, and there is a traveling were carnival that is frequented by both citizens of Efois and of many other (less integrated) nations. Being more-modern-than-thou, the Efoisie feel that people should be allowed to get up to whatever they'd like, so long as no one gets hurt. Major industries include agriculture and textiles, although there has been a rise in geared and wheeled items in the past quarter-century that looks promising. The religion of Efois is an extremely nonspecific one; the Efoisie believe in a higher or at least overshadowing power, but they tend to have the mindset of agnostics in that they think personifying this power is foolish, credulous, or sacrilege. Efois is allied with all five other major countries and most minor ones, although some of the poorer nations tend to look on the prosperous country with anger and irritation.
A picture of an Efoisie vampire (in fact, she goes by Madame Vampire and heads the Efoisie Circus) can be found here - the natural skin-tone in Efois is rather dark olive, and one doesn't usually find so pale-skinned an Efoisie unless the person in question is either a vampire or one of those scientists who needs to be reminded of meals daily.
Chui'techanth — Easily the largest country in land-mass but also arguably the least organized and most hermitic, Chui'techanth is mostly the name used by those who live on the fringes of it to denote a whole section of land that really doesn't see much action. This country is mostly inhabited by nonhumans of various types; to whit, elementals, spirits/demons (terms vary), and Very Large Beasties (along with some equally populous but far less well-known small beasties). The few people who live in this country are mostly skinwalkers, nomadic (and very militaristic) tribes, and residents of Chui'techanth's only city, which is located on the seacoast. Occasionally, due to the proliferation of Very Large Beasties, hunting parties from Yumeranth, Ebweme, or one of the more prosperous small countries will trek into the steppes, tundra, mountains, and plains that make up the country. The government is for the most part nonexistent, although there are some mayoral towns on the border which neighboring countries claim but citizens (who want to evade taxes) do not. Chui'techanth is also used colloquially to mean "great big bunch of nothing."
Yumeranth — Yumeranth is rather like pre-colonial India in that it is considered one nation (indeed, even its citizens consider it one nation) but is thoroughly scattered with small kingdoms. These kingdoms get on with each other in exactly the manner of nations; that is to say, there's much sniping, misunderstanding, alliance, and warring among them. In general, these battles follow the old European pattern: get the armies to the same general vicinity, break for a bit while the generals/captains/what-have-you discuss the qualms over toasted pastries and rather cheap wine, and once the folk in charge have determined the general flow of battle, let the men smash into each other until it gets too dark or inclement to keep at it. Casualties are usually fairly low, but in the "warring season," tension and distrust of strangers is very high. Fortunately for all concerned, the various kings of Yumeranth are willing enough to pull together under their emperor (who is generally the highest-ranking king) to fight off any foreign threats. Yumeranth is possibly the most xenophobic of all of the nations. Culture is also quite a bit more strained and varied than in more closely-knit nations; while weres (usually were-cats) are accepted and revered in some kingdoms, they are reviled in others. Some kingdoms are permissive of excess, promiscuity, and rampant capitalism, while others are almost caste-striated. While the same kinds of gods are worshipped throughout the land, such as gods of rivers, weather, protecting the ill or small children, etc., the names and attributes vary from place to place even within the same kingdoms. Some kingdoms have "patron gods" which would be considered spirits of places in Ebweme, and these patron gods occasionally gift families with talents or bless armies before the warring season. There is no one culture of Yumeranth, but for the general dislike of outsiders (and even the seacoast kingdoms are fairly lax about that). The terrain of this country is as diverse as its cultures; in the west, there are forests and rolling hills right down to the lakes - almost all of which are considered Yumerantha territory. The east, however, flattens out to some rather Serengeti-like plains, until one reaches the mountains that more or less define the border of Yumeranth. Industry likewise varies from place to place, but in general Yumeranth is more concerned with self-sufficiency than export or import. The coastal kingdoms do a good trade in cloth, grain, alcohol, and spices and bring in wooden goods (which they very quietly, with no mention of their origin, disseminate throughout the country), but most kingdoms look down on those of the coast. Education is almost always the province of the wealthy, and because of this private tutors are far more common than schools. Very rarely do private tutors gain their own knowledge from any source but their own observation and the books that get smuggled across the borders, or from the almost obsessively compiled histories of the individual countries. Science and analysis is also fairly rare, although some men and women (almost exclusively the very rich) like to tinker and occasionally use their excessive free time to publish their findings. Yumeranth, very fittingly with regard to the attitude of its people, means, "The only nation."
Ebweme — If Efois is the scholar, Yumeranth is the hostile warrior, and Chui'techanth is the slightly batty hermit in the woods, Ebweme is the shaman. There is a thorough belief in the "god" (spirit) in everyone and everything, and that this spirit is free to go to whichever new life it likes upon death. Therefore, out of respect for/fear of this spirit, hunting is done respectfully and killing is done sparingly - the spirit in the person you kill might reappear in your unborn child, and spirits hold grudges (some dEbweme legends concern spirit battles that continue for hundreds of incarnations). A spirit can also be invited from one who dies of natural causes to inhabit a structure or a place such as a cave; the spirit is free to accept or decline as it will. Due to this complicated and deeply visceral religion, the dEbweme tend to prefer to respect all living things. Being a wereperson is considered aberrant but not evil, and being a skinwalker is a mark of honor. Hunters (which are a vast majority of the rural dEbweme) can't imagine not showing respect for the animals that they kill and using the entire body in some way, and even city dwellers give thanks to their meals' animal spirits on the off-chance that the hunter/farmer was remiss. The number of urban dEbweme, though, is quite small; it's a heavily mountainous and forested country, and this is seldom conducive to the construction of great cities. The central and northwestern relatively flat terrain has a larger number of cities, mostly for mutual support, and of course there are cities on the Efois border and along the coast. There is an overall effort at one great all-encompassing government, but due to the high number of hard-to-find residences, this effort remains largely unsuccessful. Taxes tend to be collected in the form of last year's smoked meat, this year's bad potatoes, and occasionally a goat or so. This makes the tax-collectors quite understandably exasperated, and the rulers (variously called kings, lords, governors, or very rarely "eh, what?") try mostly to keep people from getting cheated by folk from other nations. Onama, the most recent ruler (choose your own favorite term for her), got to her position by being handed a stack of paperwork by a rather harassed-looking clerk and trying to sort out exactly what was going on (after having the papers read to her, she being rather lacking in the department). Having been more or less successful in her efforts, Onama gradually took on more quandaries until she was ordering the capital city quite handily, contacting the leaders of other dEbweme cities, and learning to read. The best way to sum up general attitude among those who've heard of this ruler is something like that of early-ages Britain; where they might've said, "God save the queen!", the dEbweme say, "Good old Onama." Ebweme is starting to realize that shipping doesn't just come in but can also go out, and its first three merchant vessels (and first pirate vessel) have been opening the country to exportation of its timber resources and quite well-made furniture, as well as acquisition of foreign goods. While most people, obviously including the ruler, are uneducated, literacy isn't unheard-of, especially along the borders, excluding the border with Chui'techanth. Traveling peddlers make books quite available to the populace, and now that Onama has learned reading, she is quite keen to get more people to start doing it. There may be public schools nearby in Ebweme's future.
A picture of a dEbweme werewolf can be found here. He is a good example of the most common dEbweme ethnicity.
Avenswarra — Avenswarra and Deit have the closest bond of military alliance of any set of nations, and because of this, Avenswarra also has the most peaceful history of any nation - Deit blocks off all but a few miles of its border. Consequently, as there is no real need to develop machinery of war, that country has raised itself to a level of technology that rivals and, in very technical rather than theoretical ways, often surpasses that of Efois. There's almost a running schooling-exchange between the two nations, with Efois introducing students to new and radical ideas and Avenswarra struggling to find uses for these ideas. It was Avenswarra that developed the first steam engine, but there's just not enough mining taking place for steam engines as public transportation to be particularly feasible; in fact, Avenswarra is the main metallurgical power in Denaith (although there are plenty of Avenswarrans who want to get their miners into the mountains of Ebweme). This production of metals is a large part of what Avenswarra gives in exchange for the protection provided by Deit - the Deitish army is always given the very best in weaponry and latest in technology, and even common men and women in Deit have access to better technology than their dEbweme neighbors due to the alliance. The general temperament of Avenswarra is exceedingly practical, and this even shows in their religion. Avenswarrans believe in exactly one god and one goddess, and that others (such as Yumerantha gods and goddesses) are merely aspects of the one god and goddess. They have four "feasts" and four "fasts," in winter and spring and in summer and autumn respectively. This serves the purpose of reminding people to conserve food when it's available so that it will be available in the harsher months. Worship of the god and goddess is not considered to require a priest or priestess, and most Avenswarrans prefer to live religion rather than practice it. The eight holidays are the only real public religious activities. The government of Avenswarra is fairly common for Earth-dwellers today; the entire nation is divided into thirteen counties, each ruled by a count or countess (elected), and the entire nation is under a king or queen (also elected, but the qualifications are much stricter - one who seeks to be king or queen for life must have already spent four years in study, a year in farming, a year in mining, a year in timbering, and a year in merchantry, in addition to being a count at the time of the old king or queen's death). Citizens like their rulers to know what, exactly, the common folk go through. The main imports of Avenswarra are wood and wood products, and the major exports are metal, metal products, and cloth; quite sensibly, Avenswarrans keep their foodstuffs right where they are.
Deit — In the grand tradition of comparing Earth nations to Denaith nations, Deit most nearly seems like Germany. It tends to have plenty of forests, plenty of superstition, and a real problem with werewolves. As the country with the least coastline, it tends to trade mostly with its neighbor Avenswarra (metal for wood products and some surprisingly good plant products), across the lakes with the less hostile of the Yumerantha (generally they get luxury goods for more mundane items), and across the Sea of Imbr with Efois and Jenepes (mostly wood for technological goods and such, but also a covert trade in arms to keep the two nations from turning their attentions to Deit). With its other neighbor, Ebweme, the trade is mostly in immigrants - a surprising number of dEbweme end up in Deit, and while they aren't precisely ill-treated, neither are they held in immediate regard, and their tendency toward more golden skin and taller build makes them stand out pretty sharply against the smaller, less striking Deitish. In general, Deitish culture is one of contradictions. They hold privacy and self-governance in high regard, but they can't resist poking their noses into one another's business and feel that a man should govern himself as they govern themselves. They are the only nation to totally condone homosexual and polygamous marriages, and yet they are scandalized at the thought of public displays of affection. There is also a sharp distinction between city folk and country folk, each of whom holds the other in disdain even as they unconsciously (or consciously) imitate one another. Country folk tend not to involve themselves in any mercantile enterprises more ambitious than a farmer's market, travel beyond the distance they need to plough or to hunt (or to reach the aforementioned farmer's market), or keep things about their house that have ceased to serve their function. At the same time, they have a distinct fondness for books of fiction that talk of exciting cities, and if a peddler comes to their part of the woods or the countryside, the useless trinkets are almost as fast to be snapped up as the cast-iron skillets. Meanwhile, city people (who work in smithing, carpentry, weaving, mercantile enterprises, or some form of food preparation, usually) use their rest days (for there are no sanctioned "holidays") to travel to other cities … and to take long walks or carriage-rides along the edges of the forest on well-cobbled roads. The wealthy, perhaps in a custom of their own or perhaps in imitation of their dEbweme citizens' traditions, love to organize very daring hunts - the very wealthy arrange these hunts in private gardens that are almost forests in and of themselves. The government here is basically an oligarchy, with eleven of the richest merchants in a council at the very top of the whole structure. These eleven men and/or women are all called princes, and they reside, at least in name, at the capital (while usually haring off to summer houses in their chosen places of residence far more often than the term "summer house" really merits). Most Deitish folk are educated at least to a functional extent, and a good seventy-five percent of them are literate. Deit, in deference to its long years of association with Avenswarra, tends to send students there far more often than to Efois.
A picture of a Deitish werewolf of means can be found here He is a good example of the most common Deitish ethnicity.
Notable minor countries: The Island Nations, Jenepes, Desubetswama, Codaga, Benye, Okasha, Yo-Cheka, Ikikonnen, Kiikionnen
The Island Nations
The Island Nations — If you thought Yumeranth was factionalist and rather daunting, it has nothing at all on the Island Nations. Every nation has at least one separate kingdom on it; the larger ones have up to five. These people fight one another so fiercely (when they think they outnumber each other sufficiently) that it's a shock that they can agree on even one thing - that it's far more profitable to plunder from foreign ships than from each other's. Only one island kingdom has even tried to be accommodating to any land nation, and that one has long since been made into a veritable outpost of a Yumerantha kingdom. Due to this outright colonization and the attempted genocide that followed, the island kingdoms (in their only other show of agreement in historical record) preyed more fiercely on Yumerantha ships than on any others, even to the point of going to war together against Yumeranth. They must have been successful in getting their message across; even to this day, Yumerantha seacoast kingdoms only trade in the oceans from their country's southernmost tip to Efois. Islanders, like the Yumerantha whom they still despise, have a deep-seated xenophobia and tend to use ethnicity as the surest marker of foreignness. They are extremely efficient sailors and shipbuilders, although they much prefer canoes for short-distance travel, and neither the men nor the women wear much clothing. Against all conventional logic, they cover their necks, chests, and stomachs more than the rest of their bodies, and these with metal plates (often filigreed). Armor, of course.
Jenepes — This country is the only minor one that is regarded as even slightly a major player by the major countries, in part because it has only in the past half-century split from Efois and is still griping about terms. It's also, unlike most other splinter countries, located in the middle of Efois, Ebweme, Deit, and Avenswarra, right on the Sea of Imbr. Therefore, when it broke from Efois, it still retained not only its culture and general benefits but also its financial viability. To all intents and purposes, Jenepes is still almost exactly like Efois but for that Jenepesie academies don't take on foreign students just yet and that it's more mountainous. This country will be worth watching until it settles down at last.
Desubetswama and Codaga
Desubetswama and Codaga — For the sake of clarity, these two nations are listed together, as they share a history and their rulers are married. Desubetswami tend to resemble the dEbweme in ethnicity and Codagama the islanders, but geography is sticky and neither of them mind very much. Their cultures both place a heavy value on competency, physical fitness, a sense of humor, and trickery, although Desubetswami tend to be more honest in their dealings and Codagama prefer to see how much they can get away with. Desubetswama and Codaga, although distant geographically, maintain very strong relations due to their immense shipping and naval fleets; it has been said at various points that one could walk from one country to the other if only they'd line up all their boats side by side. They have a reputation for producing sovereign sailors, and they have an even more pronounced reputation for nautical mischief. The nations have been involved in most major wars as mercenaries, including that undeclared war between the Island Nations and Yumeranth. The Islands hired Codaga, Yumeranth hired Desubetswama, and the two fleets would sail out into the untravelled waters and spend the night carousing, only to return reporting devastating victory and soaking up huge profits. To this day, Yumeranth hasn't figured out the joke. Both nations still serve in a ships-for-hire capacity, though of late there have been no good wars and no one will hire them to pretend to fight one another. Instead, since things have gotten so quiet, the nations have turned their minds to helping Ebweme get established as a trading partner.
Benye — Benye is only a country because it considers itself to be - the dEbweme don't really care to argue, and good old Onama doesn't mind so long as no dBenye get it into their heads to bother dEbweme cities. In truth, Benye's notability comes mainly because it's the only place where one can go to perform magical experiments. Magic in Denaith is mostly of the natural kind (skinwalking, were-shifting, patronage by gods or spirits, healing magics, etc.), and magic of the kind that we consider "conventional" (conjuring fire, moving things with one's mind, etc.) is practically unknown. Benye is located in one of the most isolated parts of Ebweme, a forest surrounded by chilly and rather barren land, and so it's an ideal place for one to follow dangerous pursuits. The culture of Benye is a very studious one, almost entirely revolving around the necessity to find magics and record them so that they can be duplicated, and the few Benye folk who aren't budding mages are mostly ordinary folk brought in to do the hunting and farming to keep the Benye folk alive. These people, though they're disdained and practically ignored by the "mages," actually learn quite a bit of magic themselves in what free time they have. Several rebellions have been plotted, but none have yet been successfully attempted.
Okasha, Yo-Cheka, Ikikonnen, and Kiikionnen
Okasha, Yo-Cheka, Ikikonnen, and Kiikionnen — Okasha, Yo-Cheka, Ikikonnen, and Kiikionnen were all nations formed through a rather desperate rebellion in the early days of Deit. There was a terribly repressive government in those days, and rather than be taxed more than their northern life could afford to lose, the Northern Republics fought until their guerilla tactics and superior knowledge of the terrain won out. They then began to squabble among themselves until the no-man's-land between them became sort of boundaries; even now, Okashi and Yo-Cheka-Kopi will avoid building houses on those border-lands. After the war finally settled, Okasha and Yo-Cheka set about trying to settle their differences by ignoring each other, but when the Ikika and the Kiikia started warring with one another, the Okashi and the Yo-Cheka-Kopi swallowed their pride and mutual dislike and entered the conflict together to try to stop the warring. Eventually, the malcontent Kiikia retreated to Onnala Lake and declared it the nation of Kiikionnen, which suited everyone else well enough, so all of the other armies basically went home. Ever since, the Ikika have avoided Onnala Lake (and refused to call it Kiikionnen, because really, that was just absurd), and Okasha and Yo-Cheka have been well-satisfied with their alliance. The people of all four nations are basically the same in ethnicity, being rather small, dark-haired, and somewhat flat and round of face (something far more like a cross between the folk of Ebweme and Yumeranth than anything Deitish), and their cultures are basically the same as well. Their people save as much as they can, keep to themselves when they can but don't avoid others' company, work hard, and farm and hunt and herd very stolidly (with the exception of the Kiikia, who live an almost entirely fishing-related existence). There is no major trade between these nations and the rest of the world, and in general people do as the nations wish - leave them alone.
Unusual Creatures and Peoples: Weres, skinwalkers, vampires, elementals, demons, spirits, Very Large Beasties, Pojokeppa
Weres — The term "were" is used to describe almost all people who transform into animals. These include werewolves (naturally of Ebweme, Desubetswama, and Deit; through immigration, in almost all civilized countries), werecats (almost exclusively in Yumeranth), and were-dolphins (scattered throughout the seacoast and island nations). A were, no matter what type, retains the same mass and basic coloration pattern in animal or in human form, and the transformation seems to be an unbelievably rapid full-body breaking and healing process. The were "trigger" gene seems to be a recessive one; thus, while a were and a were will have were children, a were and a human may have either were or human children and humans with were ancestry may produce were children. There are some tenets associated with each individual type of were; for the sake of coherence, they will be listed individually.
Werewolves can change between their forms at will during the hours between sunset and sunrise, but upon sunrise they immediately transform back into humans. The only time when a werewolf is compelled to take wolf form is upon sunset on a full-moon night, and they cannot regain human form until sunrise. The wolf and human minds being very different, one mind may suggest to the other, but the human mind never totally controls the wolf or vice versa. Werewolves as humans hold some wolfish tendencies, including a heightened sense of smell. They often organize into a pack structure when together and usually adopt their pack roles when dealing with unfamiliar humans, although there are several who act as "lone wolves" as well. These people tend to be on the fringes of human and werewolf society and are generally poor or live the lives of solitary trapper/hunters. Werewolves are also notable in their extreme fidelity; they consider a married partner (be it legal or common-law) to be a mate for life and will not seek out intercourse with anyone before they find "the one." When a werewolf's mate dies, he or she often does not find another partner. The widespread prejudice against werewolves seems to be mostly associated with fear of real wolves, particularly in Deit; in Ebweme, it's accepted that a werewolf or a pack that has territory on one's property will keep all real wolves away, and that werewolves are unlikely to go after farm animals due to hefty prompting from the human mind. This type of convincing has not worked nearly so well in Deit, and the profession of werewolf hunter is frighteningly common there. Pictures of werewolves in human form can be found here and here.
Werecats, like werewolves, tend to transform within a certain time of day, but werecats can transform during the day and must return to human form at sunset. Unlike werewolves, werecats have no obligation to transform into their cat-forms at any particular time. Generally, a werecat follows the same basic tenets as a werewolf with regard to mindset, although werecats in human form are almost always solitary. They tend to seek out mates only when they want children (male werecats may stay with human "mates" until children reach the age of eight). In social situations, werecats tend toward a female-dominant frame of mind. This is understandably condemned in male-dominant kingdoms, and so the weres in such kingdoms are condemned. In other kingdoms, such as those where gender is not considered a factor, weres are treated according to their behavior, and in female-dominant kingdoms and those with patron gods, werecats are often given high social standing.
Were-dolphins, perhaps to round out the weres, can transform dawn or dusk (considered mathematically to be a time when the sun is below a 45-degree angle from one's line of sight). They take human form when outside of those particular chunks of time. They are required to transform at the equinoxes, and so those who aren't already sailors tend to live near the sea or at least a large river. A were-dolphin is usually very gregarious in human form and likes to be with others, and were-dolphins are almost always very playful and intelligent. They're well-regarded by most sailing nations, especially the islanders and the Codagama, who consider it good luck to have at least one were-dolphin aboard ship. However, those sailors of northern (Okashi, Yo-Cheka-Kopi, and especially Ikika) origin fear and despise were-dolphins, which remind them of the Pojokeppa of their homelands. For this reason, they prefer to travel the rivers than the seas.
Skinwalkers — A skinwalker must never be confused with a were. Although both transform into animals, weres seem to do this mainly by biological process and skinwalkers entirely through magic/soul/spirit work. Almost solely a dEbweme phenomenon, skinwalkers are those who have asked a dying animal's spirit if it will consent to join them and give them the power of transformation into that animal. To honor the animal, as a trigger to effect transformation, or both, the skinwalker takes a part of the animal (usually the skin, hence the name) and preserves it and wears it on his or her person at all times. The skinwalker's animal form, unlike a were's, is not affected by the skinwalker's human body. It tends to mirror the form of the animal whose spirit consented to join with the person's, and the person may take on that form whenever he or she likes without regard for the time of day. In order to have impressed a spirit enough for that spirit to consent, a skinwalker must be a good person and respect the power of the animal and the power of the form. Often, the skinwalker makes a promise to pursue a certain path in life (healing the sick, protecting people, vegetarianism, etc.) in order to garner the spirit's approval, though this is not necessary. Skinwalkers commonly take bear, bird, wolf, bat, or fox form, but some extremely ardent would-be skinwalkers wander into Chui'techanth with the idea of having a very impressive animal form. Almost none of them succeed, but those who do are a force to be reckoned with should they have promised to follow the path of protecting the innocent. Should a skinwalker renege on either his/her good character or a promise made, the spirit may choose to leave and take away the power to transform.
Vampires — Although the "educated" nations regard vampires as full citizens, some other places (Deit, Yumeranth, and surprisingly enough, Ebweme) have a shrieking paranoia toward them. Even Avenswarra and Efois regard vampires in much the same manner that Jews have been regarded throughout Earth history - "they secretly run everything" or "all doctors are vampires" or "they have all the money" or other such nonsense. Understandably, vampires feel terribly harassed throughout Denaith. They tend to be far better-educated than other men and women, generally because they live longer, and they also tend to have more money because they've had more time to amass it, but most of the time vampires just try to keep out of sight. The notable exceptions to this are vampire professors at Efoisie or Avenswarran colleges and vampire members of the Efois circus. These vampire professors are often involved in experimentation and research as to the exact nature of vampires and the extent of their powers; for example, in Efois, a set of professors is attempting to prove or disprove the legend that the sun destroys vampires (thus far, they have discovered that dawn, dusk, heavy cloud cover, and total solar eclipses are safe). Another group is trying to figure out whether or not garlic is truly harmful, but they have far less gumption and thus far have only theorized and tested on dead bits (e.g. hair, fingernails, flakes of skin). What seems to be certain about vampires and their powers is that vampires can transform themselves and anything else they're directly touching into vapor (but not bats, unless a vampire happens to be a skinwalker as well). They also have a strong rapport, bordering on control, with animals - and this does not amuse weres at all. Due to this, a vampire can identify a were quite easily. Vampires also have an interesting level of psychic ability; they can place suggestions in an unwary mind, and if a person is extremely tired or even entirely asleep, they can sometimes exert control over the person's actions. A vampire must drink blood to survive, but this supplements a normal diet, and only gluttons feed more than once a week. Often, vampires have friends who volunteer a bit of blood a week - these people are variously called "wives" (whether male or female) in Efois and Avenswarra or "blood brothers/sisters" in Ebweme. Vampires are incapable of transforming others into vampires (like weres, their condition is genetic), but if they drain a person to the point of unconsciousness, they're able to use their psychic ability to control the person. When a friend wanders about with blood crusted on his clothes from a gaping wound in his neck and then attacks you, you might be inclined to think he'd become a vampire just as easily as any credulous villager. However, a majority of vampires tries very hard not to get involved in this kind of nonsense. A picture of a vampire can be found here.
Elementals — By virtue of being the most singularly uncommunicative entities in all Denaith, not much is known about elementals. Whether or not they have sentience hasn't even been satisfactorily proven, though sailors who've fallen overboard in the deep waters say that the water itself seemed to push them back up to the surface, and islanders who've been too close to a volcano as it's erupted sometimes talk of the way the magma seems to have almost avoided them. The only certain thing is that elementals dwell in mostly uninhabited and untraversed parts of the world and are, very occasionally, protective of life that comes too close.
Demons — Were Yumeranth and Ebweme on speaking terms, there would be great general debate between them on whether or not these creatures more nearly deserve the term "spirit" - Yumeranth for, Ebweme against. Whatever the case, demons tend to be most prevalent in Chui'techanth and have consciousness and manifestation but lack physical bodies. They can project themselves as whatever they like and often choose the forms of prominent folk in the minds of the viewers, but show themselves equally often as inanimate objects or animals. Their goals can be mischievous, helpful, or downright malicious, depending on the demon and often depending on the folk with whom they're interacting at the time. In the absence of non-demons, demons play very abstract games among themselves and take on no appearance at all. What they truly intend for the world, and whether or not they're a part of it, remains to be seen.
Spirits — Called spirits, souls, and sometimes gods, these beings are even more confusing than elementals. They inhabit living things and places, but from whence they come and to where they go is a mystery. In the mythology of Ebweme, spirits cause people to do things or act in ways that become part of the person's personality, and they recognize other spirits and interact with them through the interactions of those whom they inhabit, but only dEbweme have this mythology. In Yumeranth, a spirit is often called a god - particularly spirits associated with features of the land such as rivers, forests, mountains, and caves. Yumerantha worship these spirits as gods; sometimes, the spirits will provide some gift or blessing in return, but not always. Overall, the best course of action tends to be to acknowledge that spirits exist and to try to respect them.
Very Large Beasties — There is no one type of Very Large Beastie. These beasts come in land, sea, and sky forms, and the only real trend is toward heavy predation on … well, just about everything. DEbweme and Yumerantha often hunt Very Large Beasties in Chui'techanth, and occasionally Very Large Beasties hunt dEbweme and Yumerantha in their own countries. If you see something in the distance that looks to be large, strong, clawed, fanged, or just hungry, do yourself a favor and seek shelter - preferably in a fortress.
Pojokeppa — The northern lakes, including Onnala Lake, are infested with a kind of large fish-spirit known as Pojokeppa. The name, roughly translated, means, "liar fish," and they're called that because they take the form of humans to lure in prey. When the prey is sufficiently isolated, these creatures regain their fish-form (unfortunately very similar to a dolphin, but for being fish rather than mammal) and the result is usually messy. Because of the Pojokeppa, folk from the northern countries tend to be very wary of and often murderous toward were-dolphins. Pojokeppa, though, default to fish form and cannot speak in human form. Their "clothing" appears to be made of scales, which isn't so odd in the north, and their skin is rather a bit paler than that of most northerners, but in the furthest south of the northern lakes they can be mistaken for Deitish. When they aren't preying on humans, Pojokeppa hunt smaller fish and unwary beasts as they drink. In desperate times, Pojokeppa quickly resort to cannibalism. The people of Kiikionnen wage a near-constant war on the Pojokeppa, and as a consequence, Onnala Lake is relatively less infested. The Yumerantha and Deitish of the coast are also extremely careful when they conduct shipping across the lakes, sometimes hiring Kiikia guards for their ships just in case. A picture of a Pojokeppa can be found here.