History: The Burning Sands
Created by Moseke, the Qi'ora never quite found a synergy between their minds and that of their creator, whom they found ready to leave them in the pits of the Hotlands. Travelers in their early stages, the Qi'ora quickly found themselves able to adapt to a life on their own. Once sensitive feet quickly adapted to the hot sands of the desert, water carried easily in the Qi'ora body as the nomadic race traveled in search of a home to call their own. It was not until they caught the eye of Chamadarst, however, that the Qi'ora truly came to know the Hotlands and call it theirs. Finding the Qi'ora suited to works of crafting, he taught them to hammer metal into shape, to build stone structures high above the ground, the works were in reverence of the sun and oases that kept the Qi'ora healthy, but as time passed, more constructive uses came to being. It seemed that all would fall into line when the Nasha, the largest of the nomadic Qi'ora tribes, met with the fledgling humans who also inhabited the desert.
Conflict was avoided through careful enticement, bribery on the side of the Qi'ora building a relationship with the humans of the desert. As each had their directive from Chamadarst, each without knowing the other's affiliation, they worked together to erect the walls of Nashaki, filling them in with structures over time. Though both tribes would later come to know Chamadarst to be the source of Nashaki's rise, neither would worship him for it, for the Immortal would have no such thing. With the absence of religion, the collective mind of the now-stable Qi'ora went to the creation of artisan-based professions. Craftsmen, smiths, artists and the like spawned from the nothing, a renaissance erupting within Nashaki as the threat of death and the fear of starvation dwindled away, the Qi'ora at last safe to amass their knowledge of crafting.
Once the city of Nashaki was raised, it quickly amassed a reputation for housing master craftsman, and as the Qi'ora began to demonstrate and sell their works, tales of the plant-like masters of stone and glass spread throughout the world. With this, the once isolated Qi'ora found employ and renown throughout a world that they were unfamiliar with, most choosing to stay in the Hotlands, though the brave ventured without, finding satisfaction in their lot in life.
The body of a Qi'ora, while human in appearance, works radically different than a human or even any sort of mammalian organism. The Qi'ora have skin laden with chlorophyll and their bodies gather nourishment predominantly through the process of photosynthesis. This leaves the Qi'ora as a people who predominantly inhabit places that take in strong sunlight, and as such they have a strong love for the sun, and hot, humid climates. While the Qi'ora do eat conventional food, their primary nourishment consist of sunlight and water, taken in through the skin. However, proteins and amino acids must be taken orally and worked through the Qi'ora's digestive system. Rather than intaking water orally, Qi'ora 'drink' with their skin, using their hands or feet to bring water into their bodies.
The body of a Qi'ora is hairless, their skin naturally lacking of hair follicles. The hands of a Qi'ora have very long, thin fingers that widen at the tips to provide a bulb-like appearance. Qi'ora in different areas of Idalos have slight differences in their physiology, the race's ability to adapt to survive a very profound, quick process. Due to their ability to absorb energy from sun and moonlight, the Qi'ora retain energy at a higher rate than other mortal races, bringing their need to rest to mere hours in the coldest, darkest hours of the night.
Skin: The skin of a Qi'ora looks, at a glance, like normal, human skin. Dark in colouration, elastic and taut on the flesh, it is not until one takes a closer look that the differences are apparent. Closer inspection of a Qi'ora's skin reveals that at the surface of the skin there are veins that sink deeper into the body and entwine with the bones. As such, the integumentary and skeletal systems of the body are linked, with water that is absorbed by the skin being stored in the skeleton, where it stays until it is fully used by the body's remaining functions. These veins are very thin, with only a small number of them on any given body part. However, these veins connect into several key locations, including the fingertips, the soles of the feet, the scalp, back of the hands and shoulders. At these locations, the veins are more pronounced, the surface of the skin taking on the texture and appearance of the leaves of conventional plants. Consequently, due to the tendency of the skin of a Qi'ora consistently absorbing water, the surface of the skin is very temperature resistant.
Bones: The bones of a Qi'ora are dramatically different than those of other races. Rather than being entirely solid structures, the bones are structured so that they have approximately half an inch thick of hollow space in larger bones such as the arms and legs, while thinner bones have smaller hollow segments that are proportional to the size of the bone. Neither the skull nor the spine have these hollow segments, nor the hands and fingers. These segments provide a space for the water that does not increase the overall mass of the body nor the need to carry large amounts of water for a journey, allowing the Qi'ora a greater freedom of movement, particularly when traversing the unforgiving desert region of the Hotlands. Consequently, the fact that the skeletons of the Qi'ora are thinner and not as sturdy as other races makes them less suitable for combat. Bones cracking and splintering can also be an additional danger to the Qi'ora if the excess water in their bones' hollow segments invades the rest of the body, as it can upset the body's internal structure and expose it to organ failure.
Feet: The feet of the Qi'ora are by far the most variable part in relation to region and adaption of the race to their environment. Qi'ora traditionally travel barefoot, their skin's natural resistance to high temperatures allowing them the freedom to do so. In relation to this adaptability, the Qi'ora, per generation, will be able to adapt to their environment. In the feet, this adaptivity is shown in width and the rate of absorbtion of water from the ground. In the desert, where the highest concentration of Qi'ora live, the soles of the feet are extremely tough and resistant to high temperatures, with none of the veins that absorb water present. In temperate regions and regions with high humidity, the veins are highly concentrated in the feet, specifically in areas with high quantities of vegetation, where water is found in abundance.
There are three major tenets of the Qi'ora that extend into every aspect of their lives and how they compose themselves. The origin of these tenets come from the Qi'ora's habitation within Nashaki, with oral tradition keeping the tenets alive ouside of Nashaki, where the tenets are inscribed for all to know on the hallowed ground of a monument within the western walls of the city. The three tenets consist of the following:
- No honorable Qi'ora will wage war.
- Sources of fresh water will not be tainted by any pollutants given off by the actions or businesses of a Qi'ora.
- No Qi'ora will teach the techniques of glassblowing heralded by the Qi'ora to any other breed of mortal.
These three tenets are the foundation behind the racial pride of the Qi'ora, their pride taking the form of an isolationist philosophy in regard to artisinal knowledge and loyalty to one another. While the Qi'ora are generally not an arrogant race, they know that their natural advantages over certain races have allowed them to become incredibly renown and talented artisans. As beings with a longer lifespan than some of the other races, the Qi'ora have become detached from others, and while not isolationists, they tend to place their profession above all else when they grow into adulthood. Many of the Qi'ora have spread themselves into other parts of Idalos, finding great wealth and comfort in other lands as renowned artisans. The arts of war are all but lost on the Qi'ora, their bodies less than suited to the task. They find themselves far from the battlefield. If the need arises for a Qi'ora to take to battle, they traditionally learn to use crossbows and other ranged weapons. Often they will use their kind's unique glass-tipped bolts and arrows when utilizing these weapons. Generally, Qi'ora will not find themselves inland with the exception of the city of Nashaki, preferring to live in areas with nearby sources of fresh water, though there are some that choose to venture inland in the search of wealth and adventure.
Perception of the World
To the Qi'ora, the world is a transient thing, their lifespans providing them with a knowledge of the fleeting nature of the other races. In their knowledge of the world around them as temporary, they seek to make their own, permanent marks. The world of Idalos is one of war and conflict and the Qi'ora do their utmost to stay away from it all. They will generally not fight unless they are directly attacked, taking Chamardast's stance of neutrality and instead focusing their energies on the advancement of their own ambitions. The Qi'ora are fascinated by wealth, knowing the luxuries that it can bring with them, though more than anything, it is renown that they seek, immortality through their name and craft being spread far and wide through Idalos, spoken in the guilds and halls of inferior craftsmen.
General Society and Culture
The Qi'ora are welcomed into any society with open arms, their pact into neutrality proving to many their lack of vicious intention. Seen as some of Idalos' most talented artisans, the Qi'ora keep to the assumption, acting as able business people and entrepeneurs in their cities of choice. While the practice of the Qi'ora is to never wage war, they have no problem profiting from it, happily taking exchanges that will benefit any given side of the wars. With this practice, many Qi'ora that live outside of Nashaki find themselves indirectly drawn into the war, regardless of their desire to remain neutral.
The Qi'ora live in almost every city, though they are notably absent from Oscillius. Their native city with the highest concentration of Qi'ora is Nashaki, which accomodates more than 60% of all Qi'ora.
The Qi'ora value quality craftsmanship above all else. Whether their trade is in masonry, glassblowing, blacksmithing or art, they expect nothing but the best work from themselves. Laziness is something unknown to them and Qi'ora craftsmanship is coveted throughout Idalos as a result.
Clothing and Grooming
The Qi'ora traditionally favour silks, cotton and lighter clothing, completely avoiding furs and pelts. The Qi'ora also avoid using a great deal of cosmetics, preferring their natural beauty over an altered fantasy of appearance. Their favoured garment is a cloth garment worn over their head in different styles, made of silk and at times decorated with fine jewels. This garment is called an Ahlet and is worn primarily by Qi'ora women though men have been seen wearing this garment as well. Dresses are popular smong women while men wear trousers and tunics, though the Qi'ora wear any style of clothing that appeals to their high standards of quality.
Arts and Crafts
An artisinal people, most of the art that the Qi'ora participate in are glassblowing, in which their trade is without a doubt the best and most beautiful in Idalos. In addition, their glass crafts include stained glass fixtures, chandeliers, and glass cutlery made with precision and class. Master craftsman, art such as painting and drawing are seen as wastes of time, the Qi'ora preferring to enmesh functionality and beauty into one. Many weapons made by the Qi'ora are ceremonial rather than functional, however; this irony is purposefully perpetuated in order to show their commitment to nonviolence.
The Qi'ora have no set Immortals that they worship. Most pay homage to Moseke and Chamardast, their creator and the Immortal that they empathize with most respectively. However, their praise and adoration instead go to the sun and water that sustain them, as well as to any who show their mastery of their trade. Renowned artisans are hailed and deified by younger Qi'ora, as tales are spun and their accomplishments sung high and low by their fellows.
Reporduction, Aging, and Death
The Qi'ora, for all of their differences in physiology, reproduce exactly as humans do. Though it is there that the similarities end. Qi'ora, if allowed a natural lifespan, live far longer, the oldest Qi'ora calculated to be approximately 280 arcs of age before her death. Some say that the Qi'ora live as long as they do because of their means of obtaining nourishment, some comparing them to the trees for they live longer than other mortals can care to know. THis assumption is supported by the fact that a Qi'ora's veins thin with age, eventually becoming invisible under the skin, at which point one will know that a Qi'ora is near the end of their natural lifespan
When a Qi'ora dies, their life is celebrated with their families before their bodies are wrapped and then, in ceremony, thrown into the nearest source of fresh water so that their bodies may serve to contribute to the waters as a food source for the creatures that live within. Qi'ora do not show traditional signs of aging with the exception of the thinning of their veins. Though to one who has lived with or around a Qi'ora through arcs, they will notice that as time passes, the colour of a Qi'ora's eyes will fade with age, eventually turning white upon death.
Language, Script, and Names
The Qi'ora verse themselves in the common tongue of the mortal races, though in honour of tradition they do keep their own language alive. Umaya is the language of the Qi'ora, a tongue spoken with long, fluid vowels followed with short, curt consonants. When reading Umaya, one reads vertically from left to right. Characters resemble etchings, drawn in three strokes of a brush. The Qi'ora tongue generally favors shorter words spoken slowly, with each word emphasized carefully. Subtle emphasis can change the entire meaning of a word or phrase.
A Qi'ora receives three names in their lifetime. The first is their birth name, akin to a casual nickname. As they walk through life, a Qi'ora earns a second name, given to them by an artisan that has taken them as an apprentice. The last name a Qi'ora earns in their life time is one forged by their own hands, shaped as if moulded as art. A Qi'ora who identifies with three names is generally a master of their craft and far older than they appear. Birth names commonly have one or less likely two syllables. Their second generally has two or three. The last name a Qi'ora takes can have any number of syllables.