Races

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Though humans have prospered and their metropolises dot the landscape across Tephra, there are five other known races (though one has been bio-engineered and another is a forced evolution). With the tiny yet spiritually powerful Gnomes, the bio-engineered and rambunctious Satyrs, the aquatic creatures known as the Ayodin, the powerful and noble Elves, or the Elves with rebuilt souls known as Farishtaa, humans have a long way to go until they are truly the dominant species.

 


Ayodin

Seafarers have long been aware of the ocean-dwelling ayodin, with ancient myths and superstitious rituals surrounding them. On occassion, merchant ships would barter and trade with a rare ayodin tribe, but it was an unusual occassion when many ayodin would make themselves known to the surface dwellers. Around a century ago, however, ayodin began surfacing more and more. The people of the surface learned how the tribes had begun to form nations, and then empires, deep under the waves. The unusual technologies of the deep mixed with the flames and metals of the land, and both peoples prospered. Yet something went awry, and the ayodin pulled back into the seas.

 

Seventeen years ago, in 826, a nation of ayodin rose from the Maselos Sea along the eastern coast of Evangless. Millions of ayodin left their oceanic homes, fleeing to the inland seas, and warning the Evanglessians and other surface nations of an incoming threat. The Ayodin Exodus, as it would become known, was the only warning the world had before the Hurricane Wars began.

 

The ayodin who left the ocean became known as the freshwater ayodin, a people who left the empires of the deep out of fear. They were opposed to the invasion that the other ayodin were plotting against the surface, and so they departed. Onland, they traded technologies with the surface peoples, and, for that trade, were given territory.

 

The oceanic ayodin attacked, razing coastal cities and claiming thousands of lives in the first weeks of the Hurricane Wars. These wars ended maritime shipping, and it was all the freshwater ayodin could do to keep their oceanic brethren from attacking up-river.

 

It took eleven years for the Hurricane Wars to draw to a close, though some persist that they’ve never truly ended. Today, many freshwater ayodin call Evangless and the other surface nations home, though they are deeply separated from the other citizens.

 

There is a deep divide in the ayodin people, as the ayodin are the most feared, demonized race in all of Tephra. They are a stalwart, calm, and powerful people – and for all of those reasons, often they are the most deadly.

Elf

Ancient murals depict the elves as upstanding, strong individuals that tower over all other races. Angelic, their skin shined like the sun, with great feathered wings and halos. The religion of Jinzium teaches that elves were once the rightful rulers of Tephra but lost favor with the gods. Though the exact details are lost, the effects are obvious: today, elves are warped, bruise-colored creatures that survive meagerly in the forests. Some elves say their souls are fractured as punishment for their ancestors’ hubris. With the recent rise of the farishtaas, scientists are beginning to agree with the sentiment.

 

Elves are noble beings, haunted by a reputation that pins them as being inferior to the other races. Their reputation paints them as slow, uncivilized creatures of the forest, but the stereotypes have been proven false time and time again. Elves, roaming the vast plains and building their towns in deep jungles, are the oldest race of Tephra. Though their society is not as advanced as that of the other races, elves are content being among the best agriculturalists and hunters in the world. The comprehension of the natural world rivals that of even the gnomes, though – unlike the gnomes – elves are less prone to changing the world’s course.

Farishtaa

Farishtaas are the reborn embodiment of a lost angelic race believed to have once ruled over Tephra. A tall, keenthinking people, farishtaas are the end result of an elf having his soul restored to him. The elves have, for hundreds if not thousands of years, known that they were once the most beloved, beautiful race in the lands, but something caused their downfall. The elves became mutated, ugly, and – as they would later find out – possessing a fractured soul. Through the relatively new bio-flux procedure known as synthetic essence insertion, an elf is able to be reborn as a farishtaa, both graceful and cunning.

 

As their own species, farishtaas are only a little over a century old. The celebrated elven scientist, Girazza, noted the absence of a biological chemical in the elves that he called “essence.” He developed a synthetic essence that would bring elves up to the same essence levels as the other races. His assistant took the first injection, and he went through the procedure soon thereafter. Girazza’s success was extraordinary: he grew several feet taller and enormous white wings sprouted from his back. Girazza took on the new name Raviziel and heralded the rebirth of his race, the return of the sacred farishtaas.

 

Though Girazza had long stated that it was a chemical deficiency that turned the elves into abominations, the reborn Raviziel claimed that elves had broken souls, souls that could be repaired through science. Few elves remained skeptical upon seeing the stunning Raviziel flying overhead. Though the process was expensive, many elves were giving up everything to become farishtaas.

 

It soon became apparent that few elves have the remarkable results that Girazza had when he became Raviziel. While all farishtaas become upright and graceful, few farishtaas will ever grow wings or become the size of Raviziel. Nonetheless, few elves were discouraged. While the farishtaas do change in mannerisms and appearance, the most notable change comes through in their personalities. After the process, very little of the original elf’s personality remains in tact.

 

Many farishtaas say that this is part of the rebirth, where the strongest and most important parts of the elves’ original personality become the dominant features and the rest is forfeited. Many elves, however, claim that the process effectively kills the elf, leaving an entirely new being in its place.

 

Despite the sentiments, the rise of farishtaas continues on. Today, thousands of elves wait patiently for their chance to become farishtaas. Farishtaas have become the ruling society in the ancient elven homeland of Dalvozzea, and their arts and influences are spreading across Tephra. The farishtaas are the newest race, but they shall not long remain the weakest race.

Gnome

The sly gnomes are, by far, the shortest people in the world, rarely standing much over two feet tall. As some would say, they’re small stature keeps them closer to nature than the taller, loftier races. They have a knack for all things natural, a quickness to their wit, and, though their physical prowess doesn’t touch that of the other races, gnomes make up for it with their mental faculties.

 

For as long as any can remember, the gnomes have flourished as a hidden race. Keeping to themselves and rarely wishing to interact with strangers, the gnomes built underground towns, nestled their homes within hills in the forests, and chose locations that few would find reason to venture to. Yet times changed, and the rise of the Haudi Empire saw the downfall of the gnomes’ quiet lifestyles. The gnomes were enslaved, and their keen minds and understanding with nature was put to quick work for the Hauds. With the gnomish scientists serving them, the Hauds were able to develop numerous creatures and begin bio-engineering new races, the most successful of which being the satyrs.

 

Today, centuries after gnomes have gained their freedom from the falling Haudi Empire, gnomes have been unable to recapture their old, solitary lives. Though gnomes do, perhaps out of habit or old traditions, take many steps to disguise their cities, many gnomes are outright and open about themselves now-a-days. Numerous gnomish communities thrive on the outskirts
of other cities, and these communities can often be hubs for unusual pieces of technology and wonders not found in any other race’s homes.

Human

Humans have spread quickly across the continent, originally as the powerful Haudi Empire, now as Evangless and the many other human nations. Humans have set the standard on development and industry, and their touch can be found in every corner of Tephra.
Long ago, the Haudi Empire rose quickly, conquering all known lands and enslaving the other races. The Haudi Empire remained stable for several centuries and made much progress during its time. They enslaved the gentle and mysterious gnomes, and, with their help, bio-engineered numerous creatures, the most successful of which being the satyrs – a goat-legged people who would soon become a race in their own right.

 

But the Haudi Empire did not last. Now the Hauds are segmented across the continent, most still claiming loyalty to their Empress. But the sun has faded on their once overwhelming might.

 

In the past century, Evangless has risen to prominence. With the help of their legendary founder, Velkya, Evangless pioneered the steam engine and raised the first modern metropolises. Though it’s doubted that they’ll ever reach the breadth of the Haudi Empire, Evangless spans the width of the continent, reaching from the west coast to the east.
While humans are transitioning, they are also quickly learning. Following the recent Hurricane Wars with the underwater ayodins, the humans have learned the trick to true flight and taken to the skies.

 

While human society is thriving, it is doing so at a price. The metropolises of humanity are surrounded by the pollution of the so-called “cities of ash” where industry has taken over. Abundance is the name of the age, and technology is growing every day. And humans will do everything they can to stay at the forefront of it all.

Satyr

Satyrs are counted among the greatest successes from the long list of experiments that the Haudi Empire conducted. The Haudi Empire, long obsessed with combining their own knowledge of science and alchemy with the knowledge of nature’s inner workings that their gnomish slaves possessed, endeavored to create a race of slaves. Many of their experiments failed, leading to a number of warped and horrible creatures, creatures that the Haudi Empire – to this day – is still trying to entirely exterminate. Eventually the Haudi Empire would create the satyrs, a race of people that are known for their speed, their empathy, and their loyalties. This servant race has not stayed loyal to the Haudi Empire, though. Satyr rebellions added fuel to the fire, helped crack the unbreakable Haudi Empire, and today most satyrs are free to do as they will.

 

The most common satyrs combine what, at first glance, look like the features of a goat with a human. Though they’re bipedal, their legs look like those of a goat. Many satyrs will also have horns, but the sizes and styles will vary from a small slight curve to large, spiraling horns.

 

Satyrs are found all over the continent now, having fully integrated with humans. Though there are still a number of satyrs bound to slavery in the remnants of the Haudi Empire, most have escaped to free pastures. Satyrs are common in Evangless, where they are largely seen as equals. Free satyrs, especially freeborn satyrs, tend to be loud, rabble-rousing, and fun-loving. They drink all day and frequently share with their friends. Unfortunately for their friends, satyrs are almost completely immune to the negative effects of alcohol, so it’s only their friends of other races that are affected.

 

Well known for their fun spirit, their never-say-die attitudes, and their newfound love of freedom, satyrs who have broken free from slavery make the best of it. Unfortunately, individual experiences can quickly alter the satyr norm, as satyrs born into slavery can differ drastically from the easily excited freeborns.

Ayodin

Elf

Farishtaa

Gnome

Human

Satyr