Ykinde: A Summary
Most of Ykinde is fairly temperate, experiencing seasonal changes. The farther north you go, the less lush the land becomes, devolving into sparse deciduous forests, mountains with evergreens, and finally flattened tundras. There is quite a large portion of land that consists mostly of rolling mountains, savannas, and scattered greenery. The coasts are extensive and tend to be quite tropical, except for the northernmost stretches; nearly all of the coastline is well-forested, oftentimes a jungle, and pocked with inlets and small bays that make perfect seaports for the human traders. Both Lupos and Avans prefer to settle in rich lands with many trees; the Lupos keep their lands well-forested to encourage grazing animals, whereas the Avans will clear out patches to build their cities and to farm.
map made here.
Humans have controlled Ykinde's economy since the beginning of the Elderwar. They established a basic currency using gems and coins made of precious metals, made prices relative to the buyer's race, and also established a quality check for items to be bartered, rather than purchased. They trade only with Lupos and Avans, killing or attempting to capture Panthera on sight. Panthera barter goods with Lupos, who barter goods or use currency to trade with humans, who use currency (or very rarely barter) to trade with Avans. Each race has its forte in amassing raw goods and crafting some things: Panthera are skilled leatherworkers, Lupos construct sturdy homes and also are good weaponcrafters, humans invent and create technological gadgets, and Avans are skilled weaponsmiths. All of the races are at least decent at making weaponry and armor, as well as living quarters and other basic tools to survive.
Avans are tall, slender, wingless bird-people with round faces and curving beaks. Renowned for their knowledge of and skill with magic, Avans are sophisticated, civilized people whose bright plumage and love of flowing, ornate clothing easily sets them apart from all other Ykindeans. Living under the idea of Beauty in grand and beautiful cities, most Avans are mages or artful warriors, though many are medical scholars, and some few profess to be naturalists. They are mortal enemies of the Lupos, engaged in the Elderwar for centuries running, and relentless in their quest to see the wolf-people vanquished; they are allies with the humans and most Avans are neutral towards the Panthera, although many will fight them alongside Lupos if necessary.
Humans are remarkably average, tail-less, flat-faced people with bare skin and unimpressive bodies. Well-known for their ingenuity and inventiveness, humans tinker with mechanical devices and sort themselves into family-run businesses. Neutral in the Elderwar, they act as merchants and traders to both Lupos and Avans, supplying both races with whatever goods and raw materials are in high demand. One human family enslaved the Panthera Walker tribe as bodyguards and servants, but after the Walkers' escape from slavery, most humans will kill or seek to capture Panthera on sight. Humans preserve and enforce their neutrality with both Lupos and Avans, straddling the most profitable line of action at all times. Though they are businesspeople first and foremost, dedicated to their family's trade, humans also study other paths: they are soldiers, medics, witches, or engineers.
Lupos are powerful, furred, tauroid wolf-people with four legs and two arms. A strong and spiritual people, the Lupos live in harmony with the natural world around them, worshiping Father Sun, Mother Moon, Brother Sky, and Sister Earth. Lupos band together in clans, led by a single chieftain and a few betas; many are shamans and braves, while others are healers and rangers. Their tools and weaponry are simple, sturdy, and plain; they have little use for showy luxuries or impractical belongings. They are mortal enemies of the Avans, engaged in the Elderwar for centuries running, and they are tireless in their efforts to defend their land and their people; they are allies with the humans, and most clans are also allied with or neutral towards the Panthera. The Tehar Lupos were the ones to succor the Panthera Walkers when they escaped from human slavery in Royalwood.
Panthera are lithe, agile, feral cat-people with wide faces and rounded ears. Traditionally primitive and nomadic, the Panthera wander Ykinde in tribes, moving as part of the predator-prey cycle as hunters. One particular tribe, the Panthera Walkers, was captured and enslaved by humans; after many years, they escaped and found sanctuary with the Tehar Lupos, rebuilding their tribe and becoming the first stationary band of Panthera Ykinde had ever seen. (The Hunters are the only other non-nomadic Panthera tribe; they are an off-shoot of the Walkers.) Nomadic Panthera have few possessions or tools, but the Walkers and Hunters trade with Lupos and have a similar quality of life. Many are bloodwalkers and spiritwalkers, while others are lifewalkers and beastwalkers. They are enemies of the humans, their former slavers, and allies with the Lupos; they are neutral towards many Avans, but will fight those who attack their wolfish allies.
Each race has its own language. Lupos speak Vish, Avans speak Irdic, Panthera speak Eona, and humans speak Kommu. (Alkers speak, well, alkerian.) Many Lupos also know Eona; almost all of the Panthera Walkers and Hunters are fluent in Vish; humans speak both Vish and Irdic quite adeptly; and Avans typically know no other tongues. Lupos and Avans do not know each other's languages, though certain words and phrases have been translated over time, and humans guard their own language zealously from all others; the Panthera Walkers, when enslaved, were taught and commanded using Vish.
Ykinde's History, Summarized
Avans have one goddess: Beauty. Out of primordial chaos, She created Herself, Ykinde, and the Avans. All other races and all other life were created to enhance the Beauty of Ykinde and to serve Avans.
Panthera have mostly adopted the Lupos gods and creation myth, but some still hold to the fact that they were raised from wild cats to help their Hunter god maintain balance between life and death in the Great Hunt.
Humans have no gods, but they believe that fire from many suns created the stars, the sky, and the life on Ykinde.
The Beginning of the Elderwar
During an eclipse, the chieftain of the strongest Lupos clan took a party of his most powerful braves and slaughtered a nearby group of Avans, seemingly unprovoked. Azrah Darkhowl allowed three wounded Avans to flee, then desecrated their dead. When a group of Avans demanded to know why the Lupos had done this, their emissary's head was sent back to them as an answer. The Avans could not stand for such outrageous savagery, and the other Lupos clans would not let their greatest fight alone.
The Enslavement and Freedom of the Walker Tribe
Witch Eyvi, who had founded the human trading post of Royalwood, captured a seemingly peaceful tribe of nomadic Panthera - the Walker tribe - to enforce the neutrality of her town against the frequent nearby battles between Avan and Lupos forces. With magic and with force, the humans enslaved the Panthera as guardians and servants, stripping them of their language and culture. Eventually, a small handful of Walkers escaped and were succored by Tehar Lupos; the new comrades freed more Walkers from Royalwood over the span of a few years. Eventually, the Panthera pleaded with Kieran Whitestar to be given a territory of their own, so that they might rebuild their numbers and shattered culture, and received the Six Lakes region after proving themselves to the Lupos chieftain. The Panthera Walkers named their new home Kurajos: "Den."
Modern Times: The State of the World
One of the clans whose territory is closest to the southern Avan cities has begun an open movement for peace; the Tehar clan, led by Tehar Suncaller, a shaman, is seeking a way to end the Elderwar. The Tehars have many close connections with other clans, notably the Sillinter clan, led by Sillinter Heartlost, whose clansmen branched off from the Kieran clan a few generations previously. The Tehars are also close with the current leader of the Panthera Walkers, Plainstalker, and rumors have it that she and her kin have been involved in these peace efforts. One of the smaller, most distant Avan cities, Irit-Ykinde, has been discreetly making movements towards establishing a peace, as well. Some humans seem to be facilitating the meeting between a Tehar Lupos and an Irit Avan, but no solid plans have been made as of yet.
Magic and Technology
Though each race has its magic-users, the Avan mages are truly the caste that studies magic and its rules and effects most intensely. Though soul-energy is the domain of the god(s) and cannot be tapped by mortals, all other types of energy - most of which are elemental - are accessible for magic fuel. Everything that exists, both living and inanimate, has a pool of magical energy behind it that can be drawn out or supplemented to change it. Most spells involve the movement of magical energy from its natural home to another place, but some spells will exchange energies equally and altering the basic components of the affected objects or creatures.
Ykindean technology is the realm of the humans, used on occasion by Avans but untouched by both Lupos and Panthera. Although Avans had perfected the art of smithing long before humans had the chance, humans have since stolen the scene with their various enchanted gadgets and radically different forms of locomotion. Although individual human towns or trading ports are not very technological, coastal cities and other human-only lands play host to their research and experimentation. Most prominently in the past half a century, humans have been perfecting their firearms and other explosive devices, as well as investigating the immense potential of an enchanted steam engine. So far, they have developed small engine-powered watercrafts, short trains used for transporting ore and other raw materials, and steamwheelers, which are quickly replacing horses as the preferred method of locomotion for individuals.
Creatures and Beasts
Alkers are a very old race, considered to be creatures despite their sentience. Survivors of Ykinde's earliest days, the alker race has split into various races as they adapted to specific habitats; an alker's race determines its coloration and markings, as well as its size and build. Known alker types are sand alkers, rock alkers, jungle alkers, snow alkers, tree alkers, field alkers and lake alkers. They match no animal family - they cannot be classified as canine, feline, ursine, etc - hence their qualification as 'creatures', rather than 'beasts'. They are quadrupeds with long, streamlined snouts, sharp claws, and lengthy, sinuous tails; they can also shapechange into a bipedal body, though little changes other than their stance and gait. They live in packs, following a single pack leader, and have one-syllable, one-word names that describe themselves or their functions within the pack; their names often change throughout their lifetimes as they grow and change. As Ykinde evolved, the alkers diminished, and the intelligent people of the world have no idea they exist.
Fenhuk are cursed people, both living and (un)dead, controlled by a faceless master. "Fenhuk" means "cursed" in the Lupos tongue; "mazu fenhuk" refers to the living captains, and "kuik fenhuk" refers to the (un)dead thralls. Fenhuk can be any race, any path, and the kuik can be of nearly any state of decomposition. Easily identified, fenhuk have glowing eyes (mazu glow green, while kuik glow white) and are cold to the touch. Fenhuk captains, although completely controlled by and enthralled to the master, still retain their own skills, memories, and quirks; they can speak a master tongue that is heard both with the ears and within the mind. They command groups of fenhuk thralls, who are far more mindless and instinct-driven; only the most recently-dead or recently-renewed kuik fenhuk can manage any semblence of physical speech, and their telepathic words are limited to simple sentences. The curse that controls and unites them is viral in nature; fenhuk captains can perform a wordless, powerful magic ritual while holding a living victim in order to bring that victim under the master's control. All fenhuk are driven to find living creatures and touch them; within two seconds of touching a fenhuk, the creature or person in question is dead and the fenhuk is feeding off its life-force, healing and renewing itself. Fenhuk captains, being alive, do not need this life-force to maintain their bodies; they use it to heal any wounds they have, then store the remainder for the next cursing ritual. Fenhuk thralls, being walking corpses, use this life-force to both heal themselves and also renew their bodies to a freshly-dead state, shrugging off the more extensive decay and rot. Refreshed kuik fenhuk are as physically competent as they were in life, often show remnants of the body's original personality, and can occasionally manage more cunning than their decomposing brethren. Along with the withering touch, all fenhuk have a compulsion aura - they can compel a person to come close enough to be touched and fed upon. (This compulsion does not work against animals, and a magic ward can be erected around a person's mind to help them resist compulsion.) Fenhuk thralls always compel and always kill with a touch of flesh-against-flesh; fenhuk captains can choose when to compel a target and when to kill, since they need to hold a living victim in order to curse it into being one of them. Fenhuk captains can also raise a fallen fenhuk thrall, giving it enough life-force (if they have it to spare) to mend its wounds. Fenhuk captains can be killed and thus transformed into thralls, and undead fenhuk thralls can be destroyed (decapitated, chopped in half, burned, dismembered, etc - but slitting the throat or disemboweling will not be enough to stop it).
Kekkens are a species of incredibly diverse creatures with immense magical and spiritual power. Typically possessed of sharp claws and long fangs, kekkens can have spikes, fur, feathers, scales, or hide - wings, fins, or strong legs - and occasionally some combination of all of those. Most seem to be predators, though some omnivores have been identified. Kekkens tend to be solitary creatures and can range in size from a foot long to a hundred feet long; the variety of subspecies and races within the gene pool is seemingly unlimited. Some kekkens seem no more intelligent than an animal, while others seem capable of matching wits with an Avan. They have adapted to every conceivable climate and terrain, but they are both elusive and pointedly avoided by the people of Ykinde, so encounters are fairly rare. Despite their flexibility in habitat, they tend to be low in population everywhere but Fang Wood.
Partial Beast List
- elk - a large, antlered ungulate frequently used as a steed by Panthera.
- silvercat - a long-bodied, nomadic, solitary feline often seen as a beastwalker companion.
- wingsnake - a draconic-winged serpent with a crest and tendrils, usually 4-6' long.
- timberlion - a stocky, forest-dwelling, solitary feline with brown fur and a dark brown mane.
- hexwolf - a muscular, shaggy-furred, six-legged lupine.
- horse - a large, herd-based ungulate frequently used as a human steed and Panthera & Lupos dinner.
- night eagle - a medium-sized, nocturnal raptor with dark plumage.
- greyhawk - a large, diurnal raptor with light grey feathers.
- Azrah Darkhowl, male brave, ancestral alpha.
- Kieran Whitestar, female brave, former alpha, current beta.
- Kieran Goldeye, female brave, alpha.
- Tehar Moonrise, female shaman, deceased alpha, mother of Suncaller.
- Tehar Duskwind, male ranger, retired beta.
- Tehar Siltpaw, female healer.
- Tehar Keenflint, male shaman.
- Ihnon Snakeskin, female shaman, beta.
- Tehar Suncaller, male shaman, alpha.
- Tehar Treestrong, male brave, beta.
- Tehar Skybright, female healer, beta.
- Tehar Birdsong, male brave, novice, Treestrong's son.
- Tehar Oxclaw, male ranger.
- Tehar Hawkflight, female ranger.
- Tehar Songwinds, male shaman, novice.
- Dedalis Songear, male shaman, alpha.
- Dedalis Changepaw, male ranger, beta.
- Dedalis Bonehowl, male ranger.
- Stargrey, female cultist.
- Cloudmover, female spiritwalker, former alpha of the Walkers.
- Ashsower, male spiritwalker, former alpha of the Walkers.
- Brackenstalker, male bloodwalker.
- Plainstalker, female beastwalker, alpha of the Walkers, companion wingsnake Clearskies.
- Bonebringer, male martial bloodwalker.
- Wingflayer, female deathwalker.
- Raincalmer, female lifewalker.
- Leafspeaker, male spiritwalker, novice.
- Nightdrifter, female arms bloodwalker, co-alpha of the Hunters.
- Mistcaller, female spiritwalker, co-alpha of the Hunters.
- Blademaker, male bloodwalker, weaponsmith, trainer.
- Bullcharger, male beastwalker, trainer, architect, companion hexwolf Bluerock.
- Clawcaller, male beastwalker, trainer, companion silvercat.
- Wolfrunner, male beastwalker, companion hexwolf Greychill.
- Shieldbreaker, female shield bloodwalker, Touched.
- Ghostspeaker, male spiritwalker.
- Windtamer, male spiritwalker.
- Breathtaker, female lifewalker.
- Windsinger, female bloodwalker.
- Heartsapper, male lifewalker.
- Duskbringer, male spiritwalker.
- Skinhider, male martial bloodwalker.
- Mooncrier, female beastdancer.
- Sungazer, female beastwalker, companion wolf.
- Bahb the Wandering Prophet.
- Witch Eyvi of Royalwood.
- President Kevyen of Royalwood.
- Captain Harless, affiliate of Berbur Traders.
- Khivetti, male naturalist, native of Hudi-Ykinde, companion wolf Shiyaw.
- Lilikiet, male warrior, general of Irit-Ykinde's army.
- Jierikki, male scholar, Eye of the Irit-Ykinde council.
- Vilaere, female scholar, Itteri's mother.
- Itteri, female cultist, young ambassador.
- Tenikki, male warrior, general of Eyin-Ykinde's army.
- Ytteril, female warrior, general of Eyin-Ykinde's army.
- Fleraas, female warrior, captain of Thera Outpost.
- Yrrik, male naturalist, Touched.