Races of Citaria, Part I: The Rir

The most populous of Citaria’s various indigenous races, the rir were the primary species created by Gori Sensullu.  These are the people believed to be created in Gori Sensullu’s image, though the various types of rir were created at different times and in different places, lending a variety to Gori Sensullu’s people.

The first were the terra-rir, the “basic” variety of rir to which all others are compared.  These semi-draconic humanoid people are mammals, giving live birth (though their gestation process is unusual) and nursing their young, and possessing black, human-like skin instead of scales.  Curiously, a terra-rir possesses silver blood.  A typical terra-rir stands between five and six-and-a-half feet tall, with males possessing broader shoulders and generally being a little stronger, while females have wider hips and slightly thicker tails.  Their eyes are quite human-like, with a variety of colors: blue, green, golden, red, black, or slight variations thereof.  They have hair on their scalps, most typically white in color, though it may come in any of the colors their eyes can, with the exception of green.  Their bodies are otherwise completely hairless.  A rir’s nose is comprised of a pair of horizontal slits in the end of their draconic snouts.  The rir have many teeth in their draconic jaws, ranging from flat central incisors like a human to many more longer, sharper teeth before the molars.

An offshoot of the terra-rir, the terra-dracon are a genetic mutation that grow large, black, leathery, dragon-like wings.  Though these wings never develop the proper strength for true flight, a terra-dracon can glide fairly well, and in dire circumstances may muster the energy to maintain “flight” longer than drafts and currents of wind might otherwise allow.  The terra-dracon is in all other ways just like the terra-rir, for that’s what they are beneath the genetic mutation.

Other rir races appeared over the millennia as more lands were discovered by the intrepid and adventurous, who were usually the humans.  In the southeast of Askies Island, terra-rir hero Kerry Kijana, who would later become the god Garra Ktarra, discovered the terra-bengal people.  The terra-bengal people are very much like the terra-rir, but for a few cosmetic differences.  The terra-bengal people are more lithe than a typical terra-rir, and possess white, tiger-like strips all over their bodies.  They also possess cat-like pads on the bottoms of their feet, a trait that has puzzled scientists and scholars for a long time, despite the obvious uses.

Two more rir species were discovered as explorers began to settle on the continent of Terrassia: the fures-rir and the shakna-rir.  The fures-rir are impervious to cold temperatures, and have thrived on the tundras and frozen expanses of the north end of Terrassia.  They are like their terra-rir cousins but for a few differences: they are impervious to cold, they have a natural dexterity and sense of balance that allows them to walk on ice many times, and they always have blue hair and eyes, though the shade varies.  The shakna-rir, by contrast, are generally considered desert-dwellers, though this is not exactly accurate.  The shakna-rir prefer hot climates, whether arid or humid, and so are equally at home in a desert or a tropical rainforest.  The shakna-rir are resistant to the effects of hot climates, not fire, and they have green skin, unlike all of the other species of rir.  Their hair and eye colors are usually in the red or brown ranges, but they still possess the silver blood common to all but one species of rir.

Hailing from the far west island of Kirelia are the kirelas-rir, a mystical variant of rir that possesses psionic powers not seen in the other species of rir.  These psionic abilities can range from being empathic to being telepathic, or even the ability to hibernate or heal wounds.  The kirelas-rir tend to be shorter and lighter than other species of rir, and possess hair and eyes in a broad spectrum of fluorescent colors.  The other notable difference is that they have light blue, vertical stripes along the sides of their snouts that react to the use of divine or arcane power.  This is most curious to scholars, who wonder how or if these naturally-occurring stripes are responsible for the kirelas-rir peoples’ natural affinity for magic.

Most curious of all the rir species were the seterra-rir, created quite recently in Citarian history.  These strange rir are more like humans in several ways, from their red blood to their human-like gestation.  On the outside, they have only fluorescent hair and eye colors to distinguish them from the other rir species.  Due to their “odd” blood and gestation, the seterra-rir were the target of a genocidal war, as the other rir species believed they were an attempt by the Devil Queen to infiltrate and corrupt the rir bloodlines.  More on this will be the focus of the War of Purity entry.

Finally, there are the serilian-rir, better known as half-demons to most people.  These people, the product of crossbreeding between any variety of rir and a serilian demon (actually called serilis-rir), typically have many similar traits to their fathers.  Black hair and red eyes are dominant among the serilian-rir, though their genetics are quite complex, and there are many possibilities if the right combination comes together.  The half-kryon is generally a dim-witted but otherwise unremarkable rir; only their black serilian-rir blood gives away the fact that they’re not a full-blooded terra-rir.  The half-corlyps tends to be a cowardly or insecure creature, but they are muscular and very hardy; they are easily given away by their wings and often by small horns.  The half-brys stands out because of its small frame, wings, and occasionally horns; they sometimes also have dragon-like eyes that further betray their mixed heritage.  A half-elite is usually a burly individual, muscular and stocky with broad wings and sometimes horns.  And half-guardians tend to be unforgettable specimens, muscular with large frames, horns, wings, and a sexual allure that’s hard to explain.  Serilian-rir also all share one other trait, regardless of their sub-type: they are generally looked down upon or despised by other races, though this is slowly beginning to change.

These are the various types of rir.  Next up, we’ll be taking a closer look at the non-rir races of Citaria, from the lizardfolk called czarikk to the catfolk known as kwarrasti.

Deity Profile: Kaelariel Arakiel Jir’tana, the Ascending Dawn

The final deity to join the Citarian pantheon was none other than Gori Sensullu’s own son, Kaelariel.  Genetically altered to appear as a guardian demon, Kaelariel was the savior prophesied to destroy Seril, end the wars between the rir and the serilian demons, and bring peace to the world of Citaria.

Born son of Queen Deanna Jir’tana in the terra-bengal city of SouthWind, Kaelariel was raised by his mother, her court, and the archmage Percival Cintalas.  Despite his appearance, his unique nature quickly became obvious to the terra-bengal people, who did all they could to keep his birth and existence a secret.  They were successful until he reached the age of fourteen when, at the advice of Gori Sensullu, he was sent to the underworld city of Anthraxis.  Anthraxis was a completely neutral ground even in the world of demons, so it was deemed that Kaelariel would be safe finishing his maturing there.

Kaelariel was raised among the humans of Anthraxis’ Mortal Quarter, most specifically by an aging monk named Li Huang.  It was from this mentor that Kaelariel learned to control his temper, to more properly respect his elders and even those he didn’t care for, and to channel the rage that came with his serilian demon blood into a controlled but fierce fighting style.

During his time in Anthraxis, Kaelariel also befriended and spent a lot of time with Craell Nall Chinchala, one of the many sons of the demon king Celigus Chinchala.  The two had quite a penchant for getting into trouble of all kinds, and for a time, Kaelariel fell away from the teachings of not just his family, but the humans who had helped raise him since arriving in Anthraxis.  It was during his time with Craell that Kaelariel killed three people in a drunken rage, something he still regrets to this day.

Eventually, Kaelariel accompanied Craell back to his father’s realm of Sansrigar, and the young deity spent considerable time with Celigus Chinchala and his court.  The demon king, too, had a hand in raising Kaelariel to the age of majority, and though Celigus’ teachings were more egocentric, Kaelariel took a lot from the lessons in the areas of tactics, negotiating, and running a household.

Kaelariel returned to Citaria at the age of twenty-one, and thanks to his appearance and the fact that his divine heritage was still a closely-kept secret, he was able to challenge for lordship over the serilian demons.  Kaelariel brutally killed Gaelix the Shadowborn and, despite Seril’s reservations about trusting him, took command over the serilian demons under the Devil Queen.  With his divine heritage a secret, even the other deities of the pantheon had no idea who and what they were dealing with, and this led to very strained relations between the young Kaelariel and his father’s subordinate deities.

That changed, however, with the advent of the Fifth Demon War.  Using a truce between her forces and the mortals to drive out the Bah’Qitur Invasion, Seril turned on her “tentative allies” and attempted once more to capture Askies Island for herself.  With the trust he’d already garnered specifically with the Elite and Guardian demons, Kaelariel turned much of Seril’s army against her, and helped the mortal forces win a decisive victory.  Beyond the victory itself, the guardian demon Serenjols also slew Seril’s son, Urukh, crippling her military capabilities.

Kaelariel is well-remembered for the speech he gave at the end of the Fifth Demon War, wherein he pledged peace between “his people” – the serilian demons – and his father’s people, the rir.  Only then did his lineage become common knowledge, and he was granted the mantle of god of freedom and death by his father.  Kaelariel took his place among the pantheon, and though many of his fellow deities remained a little suspicious of him, his status as the prince of the pantheon and lord of the allied serilian demons won him a lot of trust from the rest.

Kaelariel’s final part in the prophecy was leading the Light Forces in the Apocalypse, and slaying Seril at its conclusion.  His ties with Celigus Chinchala, largely regarded as the most brilliant tactical mind across the cosmos, served the Light Forces well, as the demon king served as their tactician and second-in-command throughout the War.  Kaelariel’s ties with Celigus and other demon kings still leave lingering doubt in some peoples’ minds, but most are assured of his purity, especially in the wake of his father’s death.

Kaelariel now serves as the head of the pantheon, and continues to rule the spheres of freedom and death.  He had a son named Kris Jir’tana, who also served as a brigadier general during the Apocalypse and has been granted the nickname “The Warlord.”  There is much more to Kaelariel’s story, but that’s a tale for another time…

Coming soon: Races and History of Citaria

Deity Profile: Tisa Ch’Brakkh, the Dawn of Hope

Born Deanna Jir’tana, a terra-bengal princess, Tisa Ch’Brakkh eventually became one of the most important figures in the history of Citaria: the woman who gave birth to Gori Sensullu’s son.

The eldest daughter of the royal family in the Jirtorex Kingdom, Deanna was raised primarily among the temple of Gori Sensullu, where she learned faith, discipline, and etiquette.  When she was only twenty-four years old, she was exalted to the position of high priestess among the terra-bengal people.  She served in this role for nearly seven years before her mother abdicated the throne to her.  Deanna, a direct descendant of Garra Ktarra like all of her family before her, ascended to the throne in 2848ME, and ruled the Jirtorex Kingdom for about thirty years.

Not long after she ascended the throne, it was revealed that Deanna, who was not mated, was carrying a child.  Her pregnancy received a scandalous reception from the terra-bengal people, who were astounded that their queen – and a high priestess of Gori Sensullu – would end up pregnant by an unknown man.  The queen urged patience, telling her people only that the truth of things would be revealed in time.  When she gave birth to a serilian demon, the people thought she had turned traitor, until it was revealed that the child had blue eyes, fulfilling a long-held prophecy.

At Gori Sensullu’s request, Deanna never revealed that her child, whom she named Kaelariel, was the Creator’s son.  It was enough for her people that they understood the queen had given birth to the prophesied deliverer: the blue-eyed serilian demon that would turn and destroy the Devil Queen.  A few years later, Deanna gave birth to a second blue-eyed serilian demon, and the people wondered if it meant the prophecy was false, or if there might now be two who could fulfill it.  Deanna raised Kaelariel for the first fourteen years of his life, after which he was sent to the city of Anthraxis in the underworld to protect him from the Devil Queen.  Kytarras, the other son, remained with her in the Jirtorex Kingdom, where he lived a sheltered life, afflicted by an unusual insanity.

Deanna ruled the terra-bengal people until 2878ME, when she abdicated to one of her well-qualified nieces.  The elder queen and high priestess was then taken up directly by Gori Sensullu, and granted deity status.  Her name was given as Tisa Ch’Brakkh, meaning “mother of death,” in reference to the fact that she had given birth to Kaelariel, who had become the god of death as well as freedom.  She served as an advisor to her divine mate, Arakiel, until his death at the end of the Apocalypse, and she continues to serve that function for her son Kaelariel now.

Those who have seen Tisa Ch’Brakkh’s avatar are very few and far between, but they say she is the most beautiful rir that they’ve ever seen.  It is little wonder why she was chosen to be Gori Sensullu’s mate according to these people, but scholars agree that it had more to do with her divine lineage, being descended from Garra Ktarra.  It would seem to most that both sides are right to some extent, as Tisa Ch’Brakkh is the goddess of grace and beauty.

Next up: Kaelariel Arakiel Jir’tana, the Ascending Dawn

Until then,

Shoeless

Deity Profile: Carlos Bouron, the Beast

Probably the least understood deity of the pantheon, Carlos Bouron – more commonly called “the Beast” – is nonetheless one of the most well-known because of his story.

A ranger of the Sandur Jungle network for most of his life, Bouron followed in the footsteps of his boyhood idols, the Satachi twins.  Though he lived a fulfilling life serving the ranger network, when he reached the end of his life, Bouron started to become jealous of the longer-lived elves and half-elves he encountered over the course of his career.  Unhappy with his comparably short life, he prayed to Gori Sensullu to extend his life, that he might guard the forests for as long as his elven companions.  In keeping with the old adage of, “Be careful what you wish for,” Gori Sensullu granted Bouron’s dying request – just not in the way he had anticipated.

The long-time ranger found himself reincarnated into the body of a sylvan beast, and immediately assumed that he had been cursed by Gori Sensullu for his selfish prayer.  Even still, he resented the head of the pantheon for his cruel “trick,” until the day Bouron realized he was no ordinary sylvan beast, but a deity.  Unlike his counterparts among the pantheon, Bouron was able to continue living on Citaria despite being deified, and was thus able to influence his primary charges – shapeshifters and “uncivilized” humanoids such as gnolls – directly, rather than through a priesthood or other followers.

The Beast is known to be a dour and grumpy person to speak to, but many speculate that this is simply a way to keep from being bothered by mortal visitors all the time.  Since his reincarnation in deified form, he has taken a sylvan beast mate and even produced a few children.  He lives in a cave where the Barrier Mountains encroach upon the Sandur Jungle.  In addition to working with the ranger network when necessary, the Beast also draws lycanthropes and shapeshifters to his service, and gradually tries to reintegrate them into the grand scheme of things, if not actual civilization.  The ranger network is integral to these efforts, as they are able to spread the word to nearby cities and towns when a group of lycanthropes or shapeshifters should be left alone.

The Beast’s most famous follower was none other than Saint Carly Bakhor, a priestess who, while she may not have spread any particular doctrines in his name, certainly spread his name around through her work.

The Beast has little to do with the pantheon as a whole, but is known to have a good working relationship with the Satachi twins, whose rangers just as often help the Beast as their own deities.

Next up: Tisa Ch’Brakkh, The Dawn of Hope

Until then,

Shoeless

Deity Profile: Mitreus & Zitenius Satachi, The Sandur Striders

Two of the more prominent heroes of Citarian lore, the twin human rangers Mitreus and Zitenius Satachi earned their fame and their positions as deities during the eighteenth century.  Members of the Sandur ranger network, which linked information and resources between the great Sandur Jungle and the northern Ceritan Forest, they worked tirelessly to form a shield against the invasion of the west coast of Askies Island by Seril’s forces.  With the ranger network largely able to detect any force, large or small, moving through the great forests or the mountains, it became nearly impossible for Seril’s forces to approach the holy city of Sarchelete without being noticed.

Despite being identical twins, the human rangers were very different in most every other way.  While they shared chestnut eyes, dark brown hair, and tanned skin, when it came to personality, they were vastly different.  Mitreus was the naturewalker of the two, and one of his greatest accomplishments was establishing not just peace, but cooperation between the ranger network and the sylvan beasts.  He worked tirelessly to strengthen the network and its influences, and since he was proficient both as a melee combatant and an archer, he was frequently a first responder to threats in the woodlands.  Mitreus lost his life in battle with a green dragon in his early forties, and thus ascended to deity status long before his brother.  Due to his work as a lord of the woodlands and his love of nature, Mitreus was made the god of fertility and a patron to rangers and hunters everywhere.

Zitenius, by contrast, was foremost an ambassador for the ranger network.  Where Mitreus was frequently one of the first to respond to threats with force, Zitenius was typically the one to respond in situations where a more peaceful solution was possible.  While Mitreus was credited with establishing cooperation between the sylvan beasts and the ranger network, Zitenius was able to bring about a tense but lasting truce between the gnolls of Talon Rock and the cities of the Askies heartlands.  Zitenius continued this work throughout his life, even well past his brother’s death and into the late years of his life.  When he passed on, Zitenius was offered a position beside his brother among the pantheon, and became the god of mercy and peace, attracting ambassadors and negotiators of all kinds to his service.

Another accomplishment of note for Zitenius is that when the harmauth smith Terx broke free of his compulsion to work for the celestials, Zitenius convinced him not only to remain in the celestial realm, but to continue working for its denizens.

Among the pantheon, Mitreus and Zitenius work most closely with each other, but their servants are known to aid followers of their fellow deities whenever possible.

Next up: Carlos Bouron, “The Beast”

Until then,

Shoeless

Deity Profile: Kristofer Fletcher, The Armored Shepherd

The greatest hero of the third century, Kris Fletcher was a paladin who served among the higher echelons of the military of the holy city of Sarchelete.  Only a couple of generations removed from humans who arrived on Citaria from among the stars, he was a devout Christian, a fact that made him a curiosity and a wonder to the rir people.  Fletcher was widely regarded as handsome, standing a little under six feet with shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes.  Interestingly, those who meet the deity’s avatar always remember him seeming much, much larger and more imposing.

Fletcher’s greatest achievement and claim to fame was his heroics in defending the city of Sarchelete.  During his service to the military, a quartet of Seril’s newly created assassin demons, called brys, infiltrated the city and began decimating the population from the shadows.  Fletcher sought them out and exposed them, using the gifts of his paladin faith to find the crafty demons.  Though the brys were sleek, quick, and deadly, Fletcher slew all four of them in direct combat, a feat that even brys still talk about to this day.  Fletcher was honored as a hero, and named Lord Protector of the holy city.

Fletcher lived out his days in the holy city, a quiet man of contemplation and faith who chose to lead by example.  He drew many junior paladins to his tutelage, and trained them up in the way of the holy warrior.  When the years finally caught up with Fletcher and he passed on, he was offered a position among the pantheon by Gori Sensullu.  Though confused, the holy warrior accepted the position, and became the god of honor and loyalty.  His first appearances among the people of Citaria in avatar form, coupled with the tenets of his Christian faith, led to him being nicknamed The Ghost, a nickname that has not only stuck, but become the most common form by which to address him.

The Ghost is a patron deity to paladins and holy warriors, and his servants are a terror to the forces of evil.  His most staunch followers are the paladins known as Avengers, who have stepped up from defense to seeking out evil on its own grounds to destroy it.  The Ghost’s paladins are well-known for working with the military and those who serve Sechre Tori, who has become on of the Ghost’s closest friends among the pantheon.  The Ghost is also particularly close to Kaelariel, who has assumed leadership of the pantheon, and helps him safeguard Citaria.

Up next: Mitreus & Zitenius Satachi

Until then,

Shoeless

Deity Profile: Zalkar the Unyielding

Patron of the Demonhunter Order and law enforcement the world over, Zalkar has a storied history that remains one of the greatest legends of the people of Citaria.  An imposing human who stands over six feet tall with a military crew cut and icy blue eyes, Zalkar has a reputation as a humorless taskmaster and fierce soldier.  The latter portion is true, but despite the zeal with which he pursues his goals through the justice system and the Demonhunter Order, Zalkar exemplifies the ideals behind his church’s single greatest tenet: Love Justice, but Do Mercy.

Born Jacob Zalkarov, he grew up among a family that was part military, part clergy, and accordingly, he ended up in a position where both of those came into play: chaplain of the Sutherland Battalions.  While he also served as a commissioned officer, Zalkar was the most devout of his fellow soldiers, and was depended upon to pray for and bless his brothers.  Zalkar was well-known not only for his strict discipline and strong faith, but for his love of his countrymen and willingness to stand in the front lines, wearing his faith on his sleeve.  Though never officially a priest of any specific church, Zalkar was beloved by the pantheon, and considered a disciple of Gori Sensullu himself.

It was during routine training maneuvers that Zalkar’s legend began.  His battalion was practicing combat tactics on the plains southwest of Gnarr when they were ambushed by a squad of brys laying in wait.  Though they took losses, they were able to put the brys to rout, but found they were simply led into a greater ambush.  Nearly the entire battalion was lost; only Zalkar and a handful of others escaped, falling back to the forests around Gnarr where the serilian demons were unlikely to follow.  After returning home to Gnarr and being debriefed, Zalkar resigned his commission to the Duke’s military and began one of his own, one that would lead to the creation of the Demonhunter Order.

The ex-soldier studied under the then-tiny order of paladins known as Avengers, learning their tactics for fighting the serilian demons, as well as how best to use his faith as a shield.  At the same time, he spent days in the temple of Sechre Tori, and from the war god’s priests, Zalkar learned to bless his weapons, calling upon the fervor of the god of righteous battle to inflict terrible wounds beyond the basic damage his weapons normally would.  He further spent time with the night watchmen of Garra Ktarra, learning to be fearless even when confronting the enemy in their element: the darkness.  And once this training was complete, he lived among the ranger network of the Sandur Jungle, from whom he learned various methods of tracking and harrying his serilian demon foes.

Armed with this knowledge, Zalkar became the first true demonhunter of Citaria.  Other soldiers – particularly other survivors from his ambushed battalion – came to serve and learn from Zalkar, and over time, they became a close-knit group.  They eventually began to call themselves “demonhunters,” and established a home base in the city of DarkWind, from which they were able to send members to wherever trouble arose.  Over time, they began training others in their ways, and established a campus in DarkWind that would later come to house Zalkar’s own temple, once he was deified.

Zalkar’s glories were many, and he left behind the greatest law enforcement agency upon Citaria: the Demonhunter Order.  Though their primary focus was combating serilian demons, they were also tasked with assisting law enforcement wherever they went.  When Zalkar’s life at last came to an end, he was fittingly offered a position as the god of law and the patron of demonhunters, a position he readily accepted to continue his work.  He is now served by law enforcement, those who work in the justice system, by many members of the military, and of course by the Demonhunter Order.

Zalkar’s closest friends among the pantheon are Kris Fletcher and Sechre Tori, and though their ideals and methods don’t always align, he has a strong relationship with Garra Ktarra, having trained under the Night Runner’s priests.

Next up: Kris Fletcher, whom I forgot.

Until then,

Shoeless

Deity Profile: Karmi G’Dorrinn, Lady of the Depths

Of all the deities of Citaria, Karmi G’Dorrinn is the most unique.  Though human in form, Karmi was created whole as a deity by Gori Sensullu, and was never a mortal.  With the rir species’ aversion to water-based travel, it was long left to the humans to establish navies and shipping lanes, and to chart and conquer the oceans of Citaria.  In response to this, Gori Sensullu created a protector for them, and fashioned her in a human form to be more fitting for his human charges.

Karmi G’Dorrinn, whose name translates roughly to “the mighty sea,” is a deity that few people know much about.  Since she was never mortal, she has no historical lifetime for scholars and priests to refer to, and much of her influence is put into effect with subtlety and silence.  She has a fairly small worshiper base, but it is no mystery that nearly every sailor and ocean-going vessel at least pays homage to the goddess of the waves.  The Royal Navy of Askies Island is known to have a shrine or even chapel aboard every vessel that pays homage to her in some way, regardless of the individual faiths of the captains and crews.

A stately woman nearly six feet in height with sea-green eyes and sandy blonde hair, Karmi G’Dorrinn is rarely, if ever, seen in her avatar form upon Citaria.  Still, her presence is seen and felt in the dispersal of dangerous tsunamis and tropical storms before they reach land and devastate coastal societies.  While hurricanes and tropical storms do sometimes damage cities and civilizations on the coast, these instances are few and far between, and the sea goddess’ favor comes whether the people pay homage to her or not.

Unlike the majority of her counterparts, Karmi G’Dorrinn is quiet and reserved, and interacts with her peers among the Citarian pantheon only for certain emergencies.  Since the enemies of Citaria rarely attempt to cross the seas and oceans, her influence is better put to use caring for and providing for the people, and that is where she focuses the majority of her time and effort.

Next up: Zalkar the Unyielding

Until then,

Shoeless