- 1 A Day in the Life
- 2 History
- 3 Appearance
- 4 Clothing and Grooming
- 5 Religion
- 6 Common Attitudes
- 7 Communication
- 8 Outlook on Others
- 9 Culture
- 10 Reproduction and Aging
- 11 Travel
- 12 Sub Race: Raskithecal
A Day in the Life
Elthert Ivorian woke with a start, the remnants of a bad dream still hanging about his head. Looking around his room, Elthert yawned before rolling out of bed and onto his tail. Slithering over to his armor stand, Elther pulled on the padded tunic he wore under his plate armor before slithering out of the room, running a hand through his short black hair. For a bit, he slithered around the headquarters of the Militia, greeting a few other members of the militia who were waking themselves up with a morning slither. After a while, the Ithecal slithered back to his room and bolted down a cold but still good chunk of pork and a bit of pastry before buckling on his armor and picking up his halberd. After looking himself over in his mirror to make sure he'd pass inspection, Elthert slithered out of his room to join the other nine Yalical he worked with while Arich Ivorian, the Phithe they served under, did his inspection. As usual, they all passed perfectly and it wasn't long before they were receiving their orders for the day.
Not five bits later, the 10-squad of Yalical under Phithe Arich's command were on their way out of the city to inspect the northern farms. There had been potential sightings of raiding groups from Athart and the slavers were a definite reason to get extra forces out to that part of the countryside as fast as possible. To that end, they had been licensed six of the city's chariots, capable of carrying two Ithecal each, to get them up to the farms north of the city as fast as possible. Elthert rode alongside his childhood friend Tholan Ivorian, the two going over an old discussion they'd had numerous times over the years over whether pork was better than beef and how well the two could be cooked. This managed to last them the several hours it took to get to the farms they were being stationed at.
That night, after Arich introduced himself and the rest of the group to the farmer and his family, Elthert and Tholan slithered up to the north border of the farm, with Elthert taking the first watch. As Tholan settled down to sleep until it was turn at watch, Elthert took his halberd and began to slither along their designated post, keeping an eye out for any sign of raiding parties. It hadn't been long, maybe a Break, when Elthert heard some strange noise from out of the shadows. At first he started to go investigate, slithering towards the sound with his halberd raised, but after a moment remembered what he'd heard about the Athartian raiders during the briefing. "Paralytics...no, that would be moronic." he muttered as he moved back away from the source of the sound, alert from any motion. The raiders of Athart coated their weapons with a paralytic venom, the better to capture their prey with, and Elthert had no interest in being on the wrong side of that.
As he retreated, Elthert wondered what he should do about the sound, but before he could make any kind of decision on the matter, a pair of slavers in their iconic red armor rushed him and he had no more time for thought. Both were carrying swords and he firmly believed that they were coated in paralytic venom as he used the reach of his halberd to keep them back. Letting out a cry and hoping Tholan heard it, Elthert kept up his defense against the two slavers, turning their blades aside with his halberd and waiting for an opening to present itself. Before long, his chance came and one of the slavers used to much force in his swing and left himself open as his sword was parried. Taking a chance, Elthert swung his halberd and decapitated one of the slaves, but he was barely able to block the second raiders sword with his armor and now the bastard was too close for comfort.
Fortunately, before the slaver could utilize his advantage, Tholan arrived and swung his shield in front of the Athartian's sword before following up with his own blade, piercing the slaver through the chest. "Thanks, Tholan. He almost had me." Elthert said, panting slightly. Tholan, who rarely spoke during battle, nodded and turned towards the farm, where it seemed there had been a breach in the perimeter. "Someone must have been injured...Ethelynda's protection be with them." he said, hoping against hope as he and Tholan rushed to the farm that they were able to keep any injured from being taken to Athart.
It didn't take them long to get to the farm where they found the rest of their squad engaging a group of slavers. Two of the of the six Athartians were already dead, but while there weren't any Ithecal bodies, Elthert felt a chill run down his spine as he counted and came up two short. "We have to hurry." he said simply. Tholan nodded and the two Ithecal sped up, slamming into the raiders flank. There was a short, furious struggle, but the unexpected hit from the side threw the raiders teamwork out of alignment and shortly the Militia stood victorious.
In the aftermath of the battle, Elthert turned to Arich to ask about their missing companions, along with the rest of the Yalical, but the Phithe held up his hand to stall them and spoke. "Seliana is injured, but alive. She's currently stunned by the paralytic. Unfortunately, Athos is less fortunate and perished, taking his and Seliana's attackers with him." he said grimly, his face sober. Elthert and the rest of his squad lowered their heads for a minute in mourning before they set about cleaning up the bodies. The Athartians were burned, while Athos' body was put in a chariot for the return to the city.
Elthert and Tholan returned to their post, both quiet and somber. Tholan took up the watch, but Elthert doubted either of them would sleep that night as he lay awake thinking about Athos' parents. They'd be proud, but he doubted that losing a son could be anything but agonizing. However, despite his misgivings, Elthert slept until Tholan woke him to take watch again, and the next morning the squad returned to the city, Seliana riding with Athos' body. Part of him wanted to instead ride to Athart, to punish the slavers, but he knew that wasn't Ivorian's way, that attacking them in a fury would do no good, not for them or anyone else. He knew that it would come one day though, and he hoped to live to see the day the slavers were driven out for good.
Once, the Ithecal were a small human settlement, barely surviving in a small fishing village that had for the moment escaped the war of the Immortals. However, one day the injured Immortal Ethelynda came to them, afraid and in need of treatment. Taking pity on her, the people of the village took her in and treated her. However, assassins soon came looking for the Immortal and demanded that she be turned over to them. Unable to turn their backs on an injured person, be they mortal or Immortal, the villagers took up their crude arms and attempted to repel the assassins. At first, it looked grim until the injured Immortals power ripped through the villagers, transforming their bodies into a strong, agile, venemous mix between serpent and human. Strengthened by the Immortal they had defended, the people of the village were able to defeat the assassins, and when Ethelynda emerged after the battle, they thanked her for her gift. Smiling, the Immortal named them Ithecal and taught them how to defend themselves and other from the threats that populated Idalos, be they mortal, monster, or Immortal.
As she taught them, the Ithecall grew and multiplied in numbers, becoming a massively larger population than they had originally been, and they built a great fortress city where their fishing village had once stood, calling it Ivorian after the leader of the original fishing village, who had tragically lost his life in the defense of Ethelynda. Eventually, Ethelynda had to leave the Ithecal to return to the realm of the Immortals, but she still visited her followers and they have never strayed from the path she set them on.
The Ithecal are a snake-like race, with the lower bodies of a serpent but the upper bodies of a human. The tail itself tends to be between nine and twelve feet long, and the human torsos tend to be about three to four feet. They have venom, but it's mostly a paralytic rather than a killer. Their eyes are slitted like a reptiles, and while they're warm blooded, they don't function as well in the cold unless they put effort into it. Once an Arc, usually around the day of their birth, the Ithecal shed the skin off their tails, an occasion which takes roughly a trial to complete and is always ended with a small celebration involving close friends in which the skin is burned to mark the passing of another year of the Ithecal's life.
Clothing and Grooming
The Ithecal clothing habits are somewhat indicative of the character of their race, as they don't tend to wear fancy silks and clothes, instead leaning towards simpler materials and clothes. Hatchlings are commonly found wearing jute tunics due to how cheap it is to mend or replace, whereas children and young adults usually wear hemp tunics or, for the women, dresses. Full adults are commonly seen wearing cotton or wool, depending on the season, and this is usually complimented with a simple cloak of some kind. It is worth noting that men and women both wear skirts or similar garments, largely due to the physiology of the Ithecal not lending itself well to pants, trousers, or briefs. Alternatively, an Ithecal might wear a tunic or other long garment, and dresses and gowns are still seen amongst the women. Wearing fancier clothes, or clothes made out of fancier, more expensive fabrics, is seen as disgustingly arrogant amongst the Ithecal, unless it is a formal occasion demanding such opulence, traditionally a meeting with a delegate from another city or Immortal.
The Ithecal as a whole tend to have either short hair or keep their hair braided in such a way that it could be worn under a helmet. Facial hair on male Ithecal is kept short trimmed for much the same reason.
The Ithecal are incredibly devoted to Ethelynda, feeling they owe their entire current existence and lifestyle to her, and have dedicated themselves to her cause. Religious ceremonies are militaristic affairs, almost like a troop inspection in nature, though usually shorter. After a battle is won, there is a short ceremony giving thanks for the victory and a prayer that they need not engage in combat again.
There are several special days throughout the year that are of special importance to the Ithecal, such as The Warding of Cylus. However, no day is more important to the Ithecal than The Day of Remembrance, which falls every Arc on the 42 Trial of Ileia. This is the day that Ethelynda first found the people that would become the Ithecal, and she returns to her people on this to day to talk to them and be among them, listening to anything they might want to say to her, no matter how trivial or unimportant.
The birth of young Ithecal is traditionally marked by a day-long celebration and feast to welcome the new Ithecal into the world. This is more for the newborn than the parents, and while there a few gifts for parents, the majority of the gifts are for the newborn to use as he grows older.
The death of an Ithecal is marked by a day of mourning for close friends, during which the deeds the Ithecal performed for those under their care are detailed, marked down, and celebrated. At the end of the mourning day, the deeds of the dead Ithecal are returned to their home city, as well as the city they served if they had moved, and kept as part of the city records so that their service is never forgotten.
The Ithecal marriage ceremonies are quiet affairs, reserved for close friends of the couple. The Ithecal tend to marry for life and while a widow or widower may take other lovers, it is very rare for them to marry again. In truth, it is often seen as unseemly to even take on another lover if the death of ones spouse is still recent, and in some cases has led to suspicion as to the widow or widowers character.
Only the most skilled Ithecal live to an old age, so those that manage to live that long are considered living legends. Most die in their 40's or 50's due to battle injuries, or even due to mental damage. Those that make it to their 60's tend to retire from active combat duty to train young Ithecal in the ways of combat or education.
Ithecal tend to be very honorable, but at the same time very strict. Not a race to shy away from a challenge, they tend to look upon backing away from a challenge, whether it be a fight, sporting event, or even a game intellect, to be cowardly, unless one member is injured, ill, or there are other circumstances that allow a Ithecal to honorably decline the challenge. Not exactly a close family minded race, the Ithecal tend to view the entire city, regardless of race or creed, as their family, and members of the city are both rewarded and punished as if they were the Ithecal's own sibling, parent, or child. While the Ithecal tend to be welcoming of trade, they are strict about bargaining, viewing it as something that can lead to unwarranted anger or jealousy, and thus consider bargaining to be a dangerous practice and tend to prefer to pay for everything at the marked price. Though somewhat strict and militant by nature, the Ithecal are not usually aggressive, preferring not to fight unless challenged or attacked.
What an outsider thinks of an Ithecal depends on where their from. If one hasn't heard of the Ithecal before, they might find them unnerving at first meeting, though most tend to warm up to them after getting past appearance. For those from cities in conflict with Ithecal cities, they are likely to think them self righteous and uppity, whereas someone from a city allied with an Ithecal city are more likely to think them fairly humble, though odd in their ways. Those who have had contact with the Raskithecal are likely to fear the Ithecal, associating them with their more violent predecessors, though if they can conquer their fear and get to know the Ithecal, they will come to realize how different they are. The one thing that can be agreed on is that the Ithecal are hardy warriors and not to be underestimated should one find themselves in combat with them.
As they were originally human, the Ithecal is similar to regular human language. The names for ranks are taken from the names of villagers who fell in the original battle to defend Ethelynda and the species as a whole does not use individual surnames. Instead, they use the name of their home city as a sort of surname, so that even if they leave home, they will not forget their original family.
Outlook on Others
Ithecal are very welcoming of outsiders as long as they obey their laws. However, this is partly due to the Ithecal viewing other races as being somewhat lost and in need of the help and defense that the Ithecal offer.
The Ithecal have a rather militant culture, and anyone who volunteers for military service is treated with great respect. No one is treated as less than an equal outside of the military, and all are welcome in their territory as long as the laws are obeyed. Court is strict but fair, with judgement passed as soon as the issue is settled beyond doubt in the judges mind. Trade is welcomed, but bargaining is seen as dangerous and suspicious behavior outside of their territory. When under attack, all residents of Ithecal territory, regardless of race, are required to take up arms and defend the territory. Despite their militant behavior, the Ithecal are not by nature expansionist, preferring to make their home territory as good as they can rather than claim more. The Ithecal are largely meat eaters, though they do eat fruit, bread, and vegetables at large meals. They also tend to have a massive sweet tooth.
Schooling is mostly done at home for young Ithecal, starting at about 5 Arcs of age. About the time an Ithecal reaches 14 Arcs, they begin to learn from either tutors, if they are out on a farm or otherwise outside their home city, or at the militia headquarters, which doubles as a school. From 18 Arcs and above, they are allowed to pursue their education as they wish. As for literature, the Ithecal ban nothing except on terms of age, as they feel that hiding things will only cause more harm than it could potentially prevent, and any information they have is available in their libraries.
The only craft the Ithecal are particularly known for is the crafting of armor and shields, largely due to the emphasis they place on defense and the fortunate location of a nearby quarry wherein a number of high quality metals can be found. However, while the race as a whole is known for armor and shields, individual Ithecal crafts are rather varied, and most Ithecal are involved in some kind of craft or another. They're also known for making rather high quality meat dishes, though these aren't as frequently exported.
The Ithecal value honor, courage, nobility, and humility, as well as skill in both combative arts and the various crafts. Leadership is also a highly valued quality for the Ithecal and one they look for amongst young members of their militia so that it can be trained and improved. On the reverse side, the Ithecal detest cowardice, cruelty, and arrogance. As such, they have a particular dislike of the slave trade and it is universally outlawed in Ithecal cities.
Reproduction and Aging
Ithecal mating isn't that different when compared to human mating, the main difference being that the mating pair intertwines their tails, and that, as a race, they tend to take mating very seriously, not on the whole being fond of casual sex. Reproduction itself is fairly difficult for the mother, with gestation taking roughly two Cycles, after which the mother lays an egg containing the child, an incredibly painful process. After the egg is laid, it takes another half a Cycle before it hatches into an infant Ithecal. Ithecal Eggs are soft shelled, with the infant Ithecal bursting out of the egg when it outgrows it.
Long distance travel isn't exactly easy for the Ithecal. Their serpentine tails make riding a horse or similar animal remarkably difficult. This means that the majority of travel is done by wagon or carriage, making travel expensive at best for most Ithecal. The Militia has developed a chariot that they use for fast travel in combat situations, but they are difficult to use and uncomfortable for long periods of use. There is a method of mounted travel available to the Ithecal, but it requires a remarkably well trained horse and a lot of training and discipline. An Ithecal can mount a horse by wrapping the majority of their tail around the horses torso and sittiong atop a small portion of their tail resting on the horses back. The horse has to be trained virtually from birth to be comfortable with this, and the Ithecal has to train themselves not to wrap their tails tightly enough to stay on the horse, but not so tightly that they crush the horses ribs. In addition, they have to train themselves not to squeeze their tails around the horse in a moment of panic.
Sub Race: Raskithecal
During the early days of Idalos, there was a small tribe under the protection of the Immortal Ethelynda. When they died, she would revive them, granting them a form reminiscent of the serpent. Calling them the Ithecal, Ethelynda trained this young race to defend the people around them from the various threats of the world. For a time, the Ithecal worked happily with their beloved leader, and the land around them was safe. But when Ethelynda left, the Ithecal were bereft of her wisdom and without her guidance, what should have been a legend became a tragedy. The Ithecal were bound to defend only what was theirs to defend, and they saw people that they had no claim on suffering. In a misguided attempt to do what they thought Ethelynda would desire, the Ithecal began to conquer the people around them and the area soon erupted into bloody war.
When Ethelynda found out about what her followers had done, she returned and implored them to stop what they had begun and return to their own lands, but the Ithecal would not cease. Despairing, Ethelynda called the Ithecal back to their own lands and sealed them there, cut off from all others, both Mortal and Immortal, unable to interact with the other people of Idalos in any way. It was a banishment that was a true torture to the Ithecal, as they could not fulfill what had become the center of their entire being, a punishment without end or hope of release, a prison that could not be escaped. An end to the terror the Ithecal had wrought.
But it was not to end so easily.
In despair and desperation, the Ithecal called out for any guidance, any voice to say that they had not been forgotten. It was then that Raskalarn, Ethelynda's greatest rival, appeared before them. Knowing of what had been done to them, Raskalarn promised the Ithecal that she would not only free them, but give them power and skills to complete what they had begun, if they agreed to serve her instead of Ethelynda. After only a moments hesitation, the Ithecal bowed before Raskalarn and became the Raskithecal.
Centuries have passed since those days, and now Raskalarn has finally loosed her Raskithecal upon the world and returned to the realm of the Immortals. Now free to resume their reign of conquest, the Raskithecal prepare for war once again, this time in the service of Raskalarn. However, deep in the hearts of the Raskithecal, there is a longing to find Ethelynda...though not even they know whether they want to beg her forgiveness and serve her again....or slay her and present her corpse to their new Immortal.
To say that the Raskithecal think other races to be beneath them wouldn't exactly be correct. Any who come to serve Raskalarn as they do are welcomed and treated as equals. However, anyone from a recently conquered territory who doesn't choose to serve is looked upon as lesser, as it shows that they have not yet come to share the beliefs of their rulers. Outsiders are treated with suspicion at best, open hostility at the worst. Raskithecal do not do well outside of their own territory, being aggressive and generally hostile to other people and generally unable to adapt well to being in other culture, largely due to their long isolation. They also tend to be dismissive and insulting towards other cultures and even Immortals. No matter where they are, they tend to be easily angered and somewhat destructive, though they calm down fairly quickly and are usually willing to help repair what they break.
Raskithecal as a whole share a fondness for meats and tarts, though they generally dislike sweet things. They are fond of fish in particular, and can waste entire off-days at the shores of a river.
Perception of the World
As stated above, people from outside their own territory will be met with suspicion if not outright hostility, unless they serve Raskalarn. Despite this, they are generally accepting of new ideas, as they are aware of how much they have stagnated during their isolation and seek to advance their culture beyond that of what they view as lesser cultures, rather than remain technologically behind them.
Life in a Raskithecal controlled city is very regimented, with deviation looked on with mild suspicion, though suspicion is quickly alleviated when a reason for deviation is provided. Highly military in nature, the Raskithecal think of a member of their own race who does not serve when they are able to do so as a coward. By the same token, they look at members of other races who join their military with a great deal of pride and treat them very much as equals. Large crowds and load noises are generally looked upon with annoyance unless it's a festival or other pre-planned or military gathering.
Travel for the Raskithecal is difficult, as they have no method of mounted transportation other than wagons or carriages, thus giving them speed disadvantage when facing mounted forces, though the sheer size of the Raskithecal offsets their other disadvantages. They are, as a whole, unfond of aquatic travel due to the difficulty they have with ship, their size making it difficult for them to be inside most ships.
The primarily occupy Korlasir and the surrounding territories. They make up a smaller part of the citizinry in the furthest reaches of The Eternal Empire, but there's always at least one high-ranking Raskithecal around.
Clothing and Grooming
The Raskithical a human torso and a serpentine tail, and snakes for hair. In addition, the majority of their upper body is covered in scales just as their snake tail is. They have the same type of eyes as a serpent, as well as a venomous bite. Once an Arc, around the time of their birth, the Raskithecal shed the top layer of skin off their entire bodies, including their serpentine hair. This process can take the better part of two trials. The tails of a Raskithecal are between 9 and 12 feet long, their torsos are between 5 and 6 feet in height, and they tend to weigh between 190 and 240 pounds on average.
Arts and Crafts
Fitting the aggressive nature of the Raskithecal, they are primarily known for their skill in armsmithing. However, they are also skilled fishermen and tend to have an unexpected skill in catching particularly stubborn fish.
Technology, Religion, and Worship
The Raskithecal are almost fanatically loyal to Raskalarn, as they view her as their rescuer. As such, while actual religious ceremony is rare, they are held with absolute conviction. The most important ceremony is the celebration of conquest, held each time the conquer a new territory. Any surviving leaders of the new territory are brought before the Raskithecal leaders and made to swear fealty to Raskalarn and the Raskithecal. Any who refuse to do so are executed on the spot. Afterwards, there is a group ceremony where any trappings of the leadership positions formerly associated with the territory are burned as a tribute Raskalarn.
The only other major ceremony is the mourning of the fallen. After a battle, all those who fell in combat are gathered together and laid on a ceremonial funeral pyre. As they burn the fallen to release them from the suffering of Idalos, their names are read from a scroll and their weapons and armor are gathered to serve as a tribute to their memory.
The birth of a new Raskithecal is marked with a small ceremony in which the infant is welcomed into the family, but other than that, there is little celebration of the birth of the child.
The death of a Raskithecal is marked with a brief ceremony where close friends of the deceased mourn their death. During this time, the deceased's body is burned and the ashes are scattered over the place of their death.
Raskithecal mating isn't that different when compared to human mating, the main difference being that the mating pair intertwines their tails, and that, as a race, they tend to take mating remarkably casually, not putting any significant importance on it. Reproduction itself is fairly difficult for the mother, with gestation taking roughly two Cycles, after which the mother lays an egg containing the child, an incredibly painful process. After the egg is laid, it takes another half a Cycle before it hatches into an infant Raskithecal. Raskithecal Eggs are soft shelled, with the infant Raskithecal bursting out of the egg when it outgrows it.
Language, Script, and Names
The Raskithecal speak a very archaic form of the common language of Idalos, sometimes rendering them difficult understand. This also has the side effect of making them sound more formal than they usually are, as well as making them seem colder and more controlled than the majority of Raskithecal even have the capacity to be.