Biqaj


Fast Facts
Height........................ 5'7-6'2
Weight 115-190 lbs.
Life Span Up to 80 arcs
Creator U'frek
Population 17,000,000
Notable Features Changing eye color, pointed ears
Religion The Siera'ja
Mostly Live In [Ne'haer], Western Idalos
Racial Bonus Seafaring +25
Fast Track Skills Navigation or Fishing
Scribe Jade

History

Before the war, while other civilizations were still catching up, there were humans that occupied the western coasts where rumors of their charm and brilliance drew people to them, even the Immortals. These humans were known for their excellent fishing skills as well as their ships and the haste and craftsmanship they portrayed when building them. They were seafarers, often traveling for months on the open seas looking for what mysteries lie ahead.

When these humans first began traveling by ship, U'frek was intrigued by their abilities. He had never seen such a species spawn so quickly, grow, and develop so quickly. The Immortal soon took an interest in these voyages and decided to journey with the humans on the open oceans. Days past and the more time U'frek spent with the crew slowly started to change his perspective and likeness of the Humans. Months later, the Immortal couldn't see a day without them though he would never confess those feelings to anyone but Vri. It was during this time that U'frek felt the change in the world, the tension and destruction each of his siblings radiated with was almost palpable in the air. The war had begun... The first confirmation to his suspicions was when strange creatures began to spring up out of the oceans, morphed and deformed... as if they were fused with some aquatic species. These creatures clawed at the ship's hull, as if trying to climb aboard it, but after many futile attempts, they ceased. On their journey home was when U'frek's suspicions of war were confirmed by none other than his sister, Chrien. Enraged, she sent a gale across the ocean waters, effectively flipping the ship and causing most of the crew to drown. The ones that remained afloat and alive were quickly dragged to dark depths by the creatures U'frek had previously seen.

U'frek had no reason to fear these creatures for he's dominion was water, however, it perplexed him to see that his sister was collecting his deceased crew members. Following Chrien, U'frek realized after many days of tracking her that she was using her own abilities to kill humans and turn them into mutated creatures of their creator, Fei. Disgusted by this while silently loathing Chrien to the core of his being, U'frek cursed his sister and her creatures to the waters and attempted to save the remaining bodies that Chrien had taken. In a heated battle between the two, U'frek was successful in driving her away and capturing almost every body from his sister. Meaning to give them a proper seafarer's burial, U'frek, in the mists of battle and power, had accidentally resurrected the deceased he saved. This race is known as the Biqaj.

Psychology

Each person within Idalos has their own personality as no person is the same as the next. This being said, lifestyle and socialization have a lot to do with a person's habits, views, and judgments. The Biqaj have common attitudes and perceptions of the world but not all of them think alike. Most of the time, this race is very enthusiastic and optimist when it comes to life and opportunities. They find even the smallest things to smile about and join in conversation as if they were speaking to an old friend. Nobles turn their nose up to this kind of behavior as they feel the Biqaj attempt to pry themselves into things they shouldn't. Which is true. A Biqaj can be a handful at times and may very well be the cause of a person's gray hair. They are thrill seekers, in love with the wind, waves, and the freedom to go wherever they please. Often times, the Biqaj are not accepted well into cities because of certain rumors involving trafficking of people and illegal items as well as harboring Aukari for war purposes. The Biqaj have been known to involve themselves in these kind of situations since they have the luxury of freedom. Typically, a Biqaj is just your everyday charmer looking for a peaceful life, just like the rest of the world.

Perception of the World

The Biqaj are seen as uncivilized yet charming and mysterious beings- a race full of stories and legends of wondrous and frightening things unknown to Idalosians. Commoners may fawn over this race simply because of their charming and adventurous personalities, their uncanny ability to entertain, or their religious views. Biqajs are well taken to most areas, including the cities known for their unwelcoming attitudes. Though they can be a friendly race, there are a few Biqaj's that dabble in trafficking and other illegal activities. Like all races, there are both positive and negative views of the Biqaj. High class and nobility tend to avoid this race for ethical reasons. To them the Biqaj are viewed as a race of immature adults looking to cause havoc in the cities. Some do, others tend to stick to the law.

The Biqaj typically serve the coin. One does not usually feel in danger of a Biqaj, unless they are a pirate, but will be wary of the Biqaj’s ability to find brilliant ways of gaining the coin from one’s purse. The Biqaj’s weakness can often be their undoing as they will do things that are usually out of character for opportunity to gain wealth. Gems, in particular, are particular potent when used in this way.

The Biqaj generally do not meddle in the affairs of the other races and they are extremely strict about this. They will only comply and work for other races for pay, unless they morally object to the work that is assigned to them. The price to employ a Biqaj is quite high as they usually make a decent salary working as a trader out at sea. Therefore, the Biqaj are not seen as useful tools by other races.

The Mer and Biqaj were both created in the midst of the sea and from this a complex connection between the two races since their inception. The Biqaj and the Mer can sense the presence of one another, almost in the same way as the Mer can telepathically communicate, but in a muted whisper so subtle that it is only felt, similar to the feeling of déjà vu. This sense between the two has lead to a mutual respect. It is permissible between the two that the Biqaj is to rule the surface, while the Mer is torule the depths and that either race is able to partly delve in either domain for a time. Given this special connection between the races, coupled with the Biqaj’s general neutrality among the races, disagreements do not occur between these races.

Culture

Food

The Biqaj are capable at spending their lives almost entirely out at sea, however stop overs are necessary in order to maintain an adequate and healthy lifestyle. It's obvious that given their time out on the seas that the Biqaj lean toward sea food and other fish entrees. Often these are salted for sake of preservation. Most Biqaj are very much into seasoning anything that is edible, whether or not it needs seasoning. Those who invest their time in the culinary arts can expect to be naturally skilled at such a craft. However, anyone who decides to taste a Biqaj's cooking will note the overpowering taste of different spice. Depending on the Biqaj's skill in cooking, it can taste fantastic or horrifying. One of their most favorite and sought after dishes is anything involving chocolate. No Biqaj can resist the smell and taste of chocolate.

Fruit is replenished at shore often, preventing debilitating conditions such as scurvy. Meat is eaten only occasionally by the Biqaj and is often salted to keep it from going foul. For means of getting fresh water, the Biqaj rely solely on Salt Buoys, a plant that is native to Southern Waters, which draws salt from water through its flesh to leave its bulb full of fresh water. It is commonplace for a ship to have several of these plants with some small barrels of its flesh for emergencies.

Traditions

To the Bijaq, the ship is a place to live, a way to travel and a means to survive. The size of a ship can range from a small sailing boat manned by a Biqaj fisherman, to a trading cog manned by a handful of hardy sailors and even to a fleet of ships housing a grand merchant family and protected by looming galleons filled with Biqaj fighters. The Biqaj are unmatched sailors and spend much time at sea. This does not condemn the Biqaj to loneliness, for it is typical to keep a family on board and non-family members to make up numbers for the crew. Women, as are men, are both expected to run the ship and to raise the children. It is customary for the parents of a Biqaj to not only teach them the Rakahi language but to also show them how to control a ship and navigate the oceans. Parents are critical in a Biqaj's upbringing as they play a large part in their child's acceptance within the race and culture. A Biqaj who is not trained by their parents or relatives in the art of seafaring and language is seen as an outcast. These Biqaj are viewed more as children than anything else. They are given limited opportunities to prove themselves and their mistakes are looked down upon more harshly than a Biqaj who is more cultured and well educated.

Often non-Biqaj are also able to join a family crew on a ship. Since most of their lives are spent on a vessel or ship of some sort, it is customary for Biqajs to be tested before being inducted into the crew. Otherwise, anyone on the ship must stay within a certain area till the end of the voyage. They are only allowed a certain portion of meals per day and they must follow the directions of the crew no matter who it is. The test is composed of a few simple tasks that one needs to complete within a time frame. One task include swimming while another includes fishing. The test usually involves a knowledge of ships, knots, and navigation as well. Becoming apart of the crew can be difficult, however, very rewarding. Once inducted into the crew, the ship hosts a celebration for the new member(s), whether that is before they leave or while they are on a voyage.

Promised One

When two Biqaj wish to promise themselves to each other, they take part in a ceremony which will entwine the two together. Two ships, belonging or provided to each of the promised two, are brought side by side in the water. Each family member on the ship will cast a rope to the other. The end of each rope is tied about both masts. The process continues until a bridge of rope between the masts are created. The two promised Biqajs from either ship walk from either side of the rope bridge and meet together in the middle of both ships. The final two ropes are held by each of the promised two, but the rope is thin and fine, made of a simple braided thread. These are linked about the neck of the other to symbolize their entwined bond that will ‘til death.

Trade

To make a living out at sea, some Biqaj families will commit themselves either to fishing or trade. Trade ships are common and competition is immense. It is important to the Biqaj to find their edge, either by timing the supply of goods well, taking well calculated risks and venturing out into the unknown to obtain rare or unusual goods that are bound to sell well. Over time, merchant families will bear new generations of Biqaj who grow up to obtain their own ships. It is typical for these new Biqaj to sail with their parents and stay true to the family business. Entire dynasties of merchant families exist this way and can be quite powerful. Fleets can range from a couple to over fifty family ships, galleons and store ships. These large merchant ships monopolize the trade route with the impressive storage capacity to move goods and their fleet of galleons to protect themselves from pirates.

Deal Making

Most trading Biqaj, if they have any chance of being successful, understand the true value of things. When trading between each other, the deals can be, from the outset, extremely playful and humorous, when in reality the dealings are quite ruthless. Items are bartered, bought with gold and can even be purchased with favors or protection. To the Biqaj, all of these dealings are a game. However, to show anger and violence is a show of losing control and whatever dealings are made are rescinded by the other party. This sort of behavior is not tolerated and is expected of lowly members of society such as pirates.

When trades are made with other races, it is normal for most Biqaj to inflate their prices as much as they believe they can get away with it, using their customary wit, charm and humor to easy the other party to comply. Competition among the other Biqaj keep prices from rising too high.

Items Traded

Items for trade among the Biqaj are anything that have value with a few exceptions. Most Biqaj will not deal with items of the black market, drugs, cursed items and the like. The Biqaj will also not deal with rare creatures and plants that may lead to their ultimate extinction, especially to those that live in the sea.

One item that is often the subject of controversy, is the looting of shipwrecks. To the Biqaj, to die at the sea, is to be reclaimed by nature and that the ship belonging to the dead belongs to any who find it first. The Biqaj who discovers a shipwreck will keep it secret among their own ship and do so with a ‘Finder’s Pact’. Swearing to this pact means that to break it is a death sentence. The items of shipwreck are either looted entirely or in parts over time. Some are kept intact and left in the deceased’s will. Many Biqaj ships and Biqaj possessions are composed of shipwreck loot and material and other races, are constantly reminded of this, fueling resentment.

Trading Times

The timing of trading is in line with the movement of the three moons: Zilis, Rahkrii and Telva. These moons are capable of creating large changes in sea tides, depending where they are in the sky and what part of the Cycle it is. This therefore dictates ports that are accessible at certain tides and therefore at particular parts of the arc. This is constantly monitored by the Biqaj who possesses the eyes that can read the movements of these moons.

Pirates

Most Biqaj involved in trade despise pirates, more so than even other races. Pirates are against everything the Biqaj strive for due to their threat to their trading economy. Those who are pirates are never accepted back into society and there is no penalty for a Biqaj to kill a pirate. Unfortunately, Biqaj who become pirates are extremely effective and difficult to eradicate and so the battle between the traders and pirates may never have an ending. These brilliant pirates often form a crew or a fleet and use the same navigational and sailing skills, to target trading ships that are unprotected. Pirates often avoid the large merchant fleets as they are highly prepared for such assaults.

Cities Occupied

Biqaj are found in almost every city. Their seafaring leads them all about Idalos and therefore are more populous in coastal cities, or cities on major river, with ports that allow passage for ships. The exception is of course Etzos, though landlocked, attracts Biqaj from all around to take part in the city's rich gem trade.

The largest concentration of Biqaj is found in Na’haer, in Western Idalos, a city that specializes in fishing, ship building and trade. A lesser concentration of Biqaj are found in Salvoris, in Eastern Idalos.

Clothing and Grooming

The Biqaj (Beh-Kih) appear as common folk, though they have several hidden features that set them apart from the typical human. Their ears are slightly pointed, though not overly so that attracts unwanted attention. A Biqaj's ears are almost always covered in the presences of others, however, some members of this race use their uniquely shaped ears as a way to charm and seduce their love interests. During special occasions, the Biqaj are known for their elegant yet slightly causal attire and the many jewels they adorned themselves with for the events. From their ears to their face, neck, arms, wrists, fingers, to their waist and even their ankles and feet. Another feature this race possesses are their ever changing eyes. A Biqaj's eye color changes with the position of the sun and moon and consists of a mix of colors ranging from silver, gold, green, blue, purple, pink, and red. There is almost always two or three colors showing at once but depending on the emotions of the Biqaj, sometimes their eyes may appear only one color. The presences of silver or gold colored eyes is often related to intense positive or negative emotions and is usually very quick to change. The eyes also possess the ability to instinctively recognize star constellations and planet alignments and understand a sense of direction in the sea. A Biqaj has been known to 'glow' during the night. Though they don't actually produce light, their veins house thick, silver blood that causes their skin to shimmer, especially under the moon. Normally, Biqajs are very rugged and appear unclean due to their life style.

Arts and Crafts

The Biqaj have many free spirited, creative thinkers among their people but the practice of art is usually kept to oneself and done in private. Those of the Biqaj who do create art, engage in painting, drawing and sculpture, with whatever medium they can get their hands on. Their involvement in trade allows them to experiment with materials not usually used before and draw influences from around Idalos, to create an eclectic and deeply profound art that is sadly, rarely seen by others. Those who are permitted to see their art are allowed on the basis of great trust and viewers are very rarely disappointed with the results. Biqaj will also exchange works with others, solely for the purpose of obtaining artistic influence from their counterparts and improve their own artistic practice.

Jewelry is one of the few creative works of the Biqaj that is worn and presented for all to see. For the Biqaj, jewelry is a sign of wealth and an avenue for self-expression. The Biqaj have access to numerous jewelry styles and techniques, along with a vast selection of gems, precious minerals and metals, through trading, travelling and looting, used for the creation of jewelry. The Biqaj are particularly interested in the gem trade in Etzos. Despite being a landlocked city, the Biqaj are able to put aside their discomfort and indulge in the city's rich offerings.

Technology, Religion, and Worship

They practice no set religion, thanks to their Deity. Even though this race was made by accident, U'frek is not an Immortal that would use the Biqaj to his advantage for combat purposes. His demands no loyalty or religious practice and would rather see the Biqaj live out their days on the open ocean like they did. This race is able to worship any deity they choose, excluding Chrien. Though they are only rumors, the Biqaj are hesitant to trust any sea folk they come across while journeying the sea because of the history between their Immortal, U'frek, and his sister. Even rain storms and other unpleasant weather conditions they look at as an attack from Chrien, whether it truly is one or not. Often times, the Biqaj will look to U'frek when praying or practicing any form of religion. Though he requires no set rituals, U'frek is known to give his blessings freely to the Biqaj who remain dedicated and loyal to him in prayer and faith.

The Siera'ja

A religion formed to worship the Immortal U'frek, the Siera'ja (Sir-ah-jah) act more as traveling clergies than conductors of the masses. Often times, the Biqaj practice religious values subtly and are not very open to others about their faith and loyalty to U'frek. They would rather spend their time enjoying the waters and sun above than guide others to their faith, though they are always accepting of new members, whether they are Biqajs or not. The Book of Mek'ta was written by a champion turned preacher of U'frek's who dedicated their life to praising the Immortal's name and tolerance. It was this book that allowed others to have trust in some of the Immortals, namely U'frek. Though there are not frequent, large gatherings of the Siera'ja, anyone can visit a temple or shrine dedicated to the Immortal of water and chance upon a clergy. They may even meet U'frek himself. The Siera'ja faith as a whole is very well taken across Idalos. Siera'ja members do not force their faith upon others but instead, gently voice the stories of the scriptures they read. Since their religious book is quite massive, the Siera'ja tend to orally tell the works of U'frek and his kindness.

Traveling Clergy

A traveling clergy can be either a man or a woman. They do not have to be apart of the Biqaj race in order to practice this religion though, most of the time it is a Biqaj that is spreading the word. Some members of this race feel the need to give back to the Immortal who has given them so much freedom, thus, they spend their time traveling and preaching the Book of Mek'ta. Traveling Clergies are often very clean and adorn better quality clothing than most travelers. The book of Mek'ta is quite large to carry, so the clergies of this faith will have items with scriptures from the book or songs of it's stories.

Siera'ja Follower

A follower of this faith will have a better chance at gaining U'freks marks. Each follower practices their faith in different ways and settings, though almost all prayers and rituals are done involving or around water. Followers of this faith will, at some point, possess some kind of mark from U'frek through the deeds they have done, in his name. To tell if someone is involved in the Siera'ja religion, one must be very observant to the gestures and jewelry and individual wears. Siera'ja members usually adorn some kind of gold jewelry with scriptures engraved into the metal. Typically these are bracelets, necklaces, or rings. Other signs may be hand signals from the eyes to the sky, or water.

Taj'thara "New Years"

There is one day out of the year where all Siera'ja followers and Biqaj celebrate the existence of U'frek. This day is marked by the end of Saun and beginning of Vhalar, when the skies finally darken and the moon arises from its 40 day slumber. During this time, though the sun has fallen below the horizon, the sky is alight with auroras of different colors. This is an emotional time for the Biqaj as it acts as their "New Years" and is a time of reflection on what they've lost, what they've gained, and what lessons they learned. The celebrations can include song, dancing, drinking, and more drinking.

Navigation

It is no surprise that the greatest seafarers of Idalos are equipped with the greatest navigation instruments and knowledge. The eyes of the Biqaj contains the ability to recognize constellations of the stars and planetary locations almost instinctively and understand their position and direction from these. There are other magical instruments, such as certain crystals that held up to the sky, can point the direction of north with its refracted light. This helps the typical Biqaj seafarer to an extent.

To steer safe course through the roughest of seas, avoiding rocks, currents and even sea monsters, the Biqaj rely on a vast mental store of knowledge of voyages, that is either experienced first hand, or instructed by another Biqaj. Such knowledge can include the speed of current, the strength and direction of wind, the type of birds and fish and the type of seaweed; all are used as indicators of where the safest course may lie. The reason that this knowledge is held in the confines of the mind is that a Biqaj's livelihood hinges from it. For the Biqaj, knowing how to travel through the most difficult seas in Idalos is very advantageous. Therefore, it is far too risky to commit all knowledge of the sea to a book that can be lost, or worse, stolen.

Ship Building

The Biqaj have an unmatched skill at building the best ships. Ships to the Biqaj are seen as the epitome of naval power and saw these ships as possessions of high value. Large ship hangars house the ships under construction, or ships that require repairs. Teams of skilled carpenters will work on the construction of most of the ship and will use of slaves for the simpler, menial tasks. Once the ship is completed, it is then transported on top of large logs of wood and into the water.

Reproduction, Aging, and Death

Like the other races, the Biqaj are not unaffected by time. They age just as every human does and can live anywhere between 60 and 90 arcs. A Biqaj is able to reproduce both pure blooded children and mixed races depending solely on the race of the parents. This race is known for producing a number of infants as any mother carrying Biqaj children may carry twins or triplets. Having children is seen as the ultimate honor in a Biqaj's life as it signals true adulthood for the men and women. It is a sign of ultimate dedication by the parents, whether the pregnancy was planned or accidental.

Language, Script, and Names

Rakahi

Rakahi is a language passed down through the many generations of Biqaj. Learning this language defines their heritage as most pure blooded Biqaj can understand one another through Rakahi. This is another way they can weed out the mixed bloods and impostors. Though it is very subtle, the language has specific accents and undertones when certain words or syllables are uttered that gives a clue to other where you were raised. Most Biqaj's are raised in Ne'haer, thus, they have a very soft, yet husky accent and their syllables are often slurred together yet crispy sounding. Rakahi can be a difficult language to learn, however, it is not impossible. With a lot of work and fine tuning, anyone can speak like a true Biqaj

Common

Being multilingual, some Biqaj may have a very thick accent to their common depending on how well spoken they are. There have been rumors of individuals with the ability to hide their native tongue, so it is quite possible for a Biqaj to do the same, but most of the time they have no problem putting on a show for others. Especially when it comes to seducing women. Common is a second language that almost all Biqaj understand and can speak with little difficulty.

Biqajs are clan focused. Their bloodlines and heritage are sacred to the overall culture of this seafaring race. With this, most clans are formed under one name that usually speaks as a last name while their first names may differ from childhood to adulthood. Biqajs undergo a rite of passage when they reach the age of 20 Arcs. At this age, they are considered mature enough to either take over their family's clan or begin a new one. Not only does this mean their last names may change, but their first name as well. Biqajs may decide to address themselves under a new name after their rite of passage, where their first name will shift to a middle name.

When a Biqaj marries or is promised to another outside of their race, they have the option to take on their partner's last name, however, that Biqaj will be known to the rest of their clan as Ej'qy or Forsaken of Clan. To some, dropping their clan name for an outsider is a disgrace while others view it as a true act of love, courage, and promise. When formulating a last name, Biqaj's will drop the letter after the apostrophe if the letter is repeated both before and after it. An example of this would be: Raj'Jihai would change to Raj'ihai and Qe'Enaq would change to Qe'naq.

Popular Clan Names
Qy' – Clan of
Raj' – Light of
Qe' – Warrior of
Zyq' – Champion of
Dj' – Bearer of
Nji' – Seeker of
Vy' – Weaver of
Qau' – Heart of
Yv' – Craft of
Ej' – Forsaken of
Ryj' – Seer of
Ki' – Merchant of
Zy' – Defiler of
Jihai - Earth
Ufnaj - Water
Dajal - Air
Azour - Fire
Ihadi - Dreams
Ryn - Stars
Enaq - Death
Nacj - Life
Gwar - Balance
Toraj - Truth
Ouj - Lies
Oriq - Strength
Akor - Love
Pyrj – Darkness
First Names
Ryqet - Male
Korim - Universal
Pythera - Female
Gwyvith - Female
Jovy – Universal
Orik - Male