An-Heir

To many in the world, there can be no more fearful, or hauntingly beautiful sight in all of Allornus than the majestic men and women of the An-Heir, descendent of the blood of Nofus. When the leaders of their tribe, the Nofo, consumed the flesh of their Divh, they brought a curse on countless innocent fellows, who fled the depravity of their own. These are the An-Heir. Seldom seen, even when they are present, the An-Heir share origins with the race of men, and yet the An-Heir have sworn bloody vengeance against all men, for causing the sundering. Living in the deepest woods, where the shadow is close, where they can hide, the An-Heir seek isolation from the rest of the world, though some few do venture out peacefully into the world.

Names

An-Heir (Self), Fey (Ghana and Haedrasia), Ghost-Men (Iria), Siele (Ahlonia), Travelling Folk (Ghana and Ralstaa), Trols (Ralstaa)

Stereotypes

Spiteful, Mysterious, Suspicious, Fey, Cruel.

Potency


Visage

An-Heir stand a good few inches taller than a normal man, but tend towards being lean with pale skin, made paler by a life under heavy boughs, and fine ebony hair that turns pure white with age. Their features are knife-sharp, with high cheeks, graceful brows and pointed chins. An-Heir eyes are usually almond shaped, angled down towards the nose, and the pupil and iris are unusually large, giving the impression that the eye has neither white nor iris, just a glaring solid oval of glossy black. Graceful and skilled in navigating their forested homes, An-Heir are often so at home in rough terrain that other men swear that they float when they sight them through the shadowy boughs - if they survive such an encounter.

Colour

The An-Heir love colour, but everything about their society emphasizes the desire to remain hidden. They forgo the trappings of civilization so that a traveller could pass within yards of a settlement and never know it, and are not about to give up their secrecy. For this reason they hide their colour, content merely to know it is there. An-Heir attire themselves in linen kilts and leather thongs, always in the greens, browns and blacks of their homes, but often their kilts or cloaks will be lined in bright, vivid colours. Blues, yellows, oranges or reds are all popular in riotous hues, and each region will have a speciality dye that is especially vivid. Similarly the home from the outside is hidden in the roots of a large tree, but inside it is strikingly decorated with colour and pattern.

Aetherial

The mystical and sinister An-Heir are undoubtedly Allornus' strangest landsmen. The ancestors of the divh-eaters have a strange affinity for the shadow world, perhaps because they linger closer to unmaking than any other race, or perhaps because they have an undeniable affinity for nightmare. Whatever the case, they seem at home near the shadow world, and those opal eyes cut through the lies of the dreaming world, and let them evade the worst of the un-world's perils with ease. This is a good thing, because while the An-Heir (and the An-Heir alone) dwell close to the shadow they seem not to age a day. Of course, time flows strangely on the jagged and misshapen seams of reality.

Perhaps because of their waking affinity for the dreamscapes the An-Heir never sleep, and cannot dream. They merely rest their bodies, staring off into the middle distance lost in their thoughts. This makes it difficult for them to remember things. It is not uncommon for memories of the previous day, faces, names, or details to simply slip away from an An-Heir in the long sleepless nights. Darkest rumour persists that though their own memories slip away like sand, the An-Heir are able to drink the living blood from another being to steal its thoughts and memories, until inevitably these become shadowy and vague. Whether this is true, or just the object of some damning myth remains unclear. In some lands it is also said that they fly about at night, beguile men into being their willing slaves, swallow infants whole, and survive solely on a diet of man-flesh, so as always secrecy makes the exact extent of their nature unclear.

Craft


Cunning

The An-Heir are an inscrutable people. It is said that none hold a grudge like the An-Heir. They are quick to anger, and slow to forget a slight, but alarmingly swift to forget all else. Not thinkers or particularly studious, the An-Heir work on instinct, not because they are foolish, indeed they are very perceptive, but because they have chosen to eschew the civilization of their fellows, in favour of the eternal flux of the shadow, and embrace the unsought boon of immortality it has loaned them. They have learned to judge, not by what they know, but by what they see before them, turning experience, not into an expectation, but a resource. Because of their great longevity, and their closeness to the land of the dead, An-Heir both fear death more than other mortals, but also venerate it. They will not kill when it is not necessary to survive or exact revenge, preferring to work with and around life. But they have no respect whatever for dead remains, and bone and skin of the dead, even their own, feature heavily in their crafts, as well as fallen wood. They tend to dislike fire, because it irritates their sensitive eyes, is hard to control, and attracts far too much attention.

Social

Despite their small communities, and remote homes, An-Heir are social creatures, living in communities comprised of several families. Thanks to their small populations, they are believers in equal rights, and as such posses no real social hierarchy, and no desire to form states. They tend to get by with much property being communal: if an individual has something he is using then others respect that, but if not he will usually pass it along, with the understanding that others will do the same for him. Outside of the settlement they will only accept fair trade however. When the An-Heir disagree they go to a mutually trusted individual to render a judgement, agreeing to abide by whatever solution that individual comes to, but when one individual refuses to live by the rules the community turns to a strong war leader, who exiles the offender - sometimes into the shadow world.

Civilization

The An-Heir believe in trying not to disturb the land around them, to remain as hidden as they can by the natural world. They hollow out dens below enormous trees, with the roots forming the ceiling, and encourage the roots to grow down the walls, creating oddly cosy burrows that are almost invisible from the outside. Broken slate, or timber forms floors, and sheltered platforms are woven or built in the canopies of trees, where food can be stored and sentries positioned. This process is a slow one, but the An-Heir are long lived and have the time and patience. While they are a people who do not place great stock in the value of things, they do love beauty, and living wood is often carved and whittled in beautiful patterns, as if the interior of the living structures were gorgeously tattooed, and inks create explosions of living colour. Wicker furnishings, flax carpets and hangings, and even carved bone, make them surprisingly comfortable. An-Heir communities are always built around nexuses in ley lines, where the shadow world looms near, so that time flows differently, and the natural and unnatural worlds come together, often making interior spaces not quite match their exteriors in scale, and seemingly solid, reliable things flow like water when caught in the corner of the eye.

Other An-Heir


Travellers

Not all An-Heir are fearsome wood savages however. Some have turned their backs upon the isolated immortality of the shadow world, and taken to wandering in nomadic troupes amongst the other races. Of course, these are not nearly so mythic as their wild cousins, and often believed to be of another race altogether - after all, the legend of these pale wandering traders is not nearly so exciting as the fey but vengeful nightmares of the deep woods. In Ralstaa and Ghania these troupes are rare, but make regular visits to select settlements, while in Iria every few generations sees some leave their homes then return. Usually these wanderers attire and equip themselves in the manner of the local peoples, though often their attire is generations out of fashion, and though they are guarded, mysterious, and enigmatic, they are approachable enough. Their own people often embrace the wanderers, An-Heir are free to do as they wish after all, and news of the outside world is rare amongst the other An-Heir, but many groups of wanderers are formed from outcasts and criminals of the An-Heir society, and their fellows will always be suspicious of the origins of any group.

Meezels

The horrors known as Meezels live amongst the An-Heir, though they are always alone, solitary within their community, as if they were some dreadful burden that the An-Heir must bear. If it is true that the An-Heir are the product of shadow-world nomads reshaped by their own vivid dreams, then the Meezels are surely the product of that race's most twisted nightmares. Built like their cousins in shape, their skin is the crimson of dry blood, and their fingers end in razor-sharp black claws. Their wild hair frames a face so horrific that few who see them ever forget a single detail. Their jet black eyes gleam with carnivore malevolence, and their immense maws split the whole breadth of their faces in a snarling rictus of savage fangs. Visible veins stand out darkly against their carmine skin, giving them the impression of a creeping venom in their bodies. It is said that Meezels are An-Heir who have paid a terrible price for feeding upon the blood of their own, but the Travellers, who will not have dealings with Meezels, say that they are the keepers of some dark and terrible secret hidden in the An-Heir's past. And they are the masters of the hidden.

Language


Names

Male: Bid, Brod, Burr, Dab, Dorl, Don, Dort, Dron, Fim, Geb, Jag, Jed, Klan, Klen, Kon, Kort, Med, Pan, Pik, Pin, Puk, Rad, Rub, Rut, Tan, Tel.
Female: Ann(a), Ara, Bled(a), Brit(a), Ena, Fey(a), Fima, Jun(a), Kor(a), Lana, Lar(a), Ley, Lin(a), Luna, Mala, Mey, Ray(a), Ro(a), Tey(a).

Troggort, City in the Mists


The mythical mist-city of Troggort, seat of An-Heir power of old, and their only true settlement, is said to be somewhere in the wildest, deepest parts of the Starwood. Or rather in various places, for reports from individuals who have stumbled upon the city and fled with their lives, but returned to find only wood or marshland are too common to discard Troggort as merely a myth. But in the same manner it is hard to catalogue exactly what it is. Troggort is a mystical place, forever shrouded in thick concealing mist, that even gale force winds will sweep away only for mere instants. The city is always set in a marsh, no matter where it is encountered. Delicate, willowy towers made entirely of smoky grey crystal and steel-hard glass rise up out of the ground, surmounted by broad balconies. Raised roads of glass give the appearance of walking on water. But the city is choked with moss, and roots have grown out of the marshes and formed archways over the roads, or wrapped around towers in weird, twisted shapes. Everywhere the mist hangs, still and cloying. The An-Heir here use seeing-glasses to watch all that goes on in their city, and so there are no sentries, but the roads are covered with traps designed to restrain intruders. However Troggort does not move as it may seem to, but it exists on the fringes of the shadow world, on the very cusp of a number of shadow gates, and so at any given time the city in the mists is in a number of places at once, and yet not truly anywhere.

Statistics


Talents
Graceful +2 | Tough +2 | Perceptive +2 | Knowledgeable -4 | Persuasive -2 | Insightful -1 | Brave -1
Unique Abilities
Memory Vampires | Out of Time | Reverie | Shadow Attuned
Ageing
Infant 0-5 years -5 to all Talents except Lucky
Child 6-15 years -3 to all Talents except Lucky
Adolescent 16-25 years -1 to Tough, Clever and Knowledgeable
Adult 26-75 years none
Middle-aged 76-85 years -1 to Fast, Hale and Strong
Old 86-99 years -1 to all Physical Talents
Venerable 100+ years -2 to all Physical Talents, -1 to all Mental Talents
Basics Variables
Morphology Bipedal Height 5'7" + Size' + 1d3' - 1d3'
Diet Omnivorous Weight 165lbs + (Sizelbs x5) + (Brawnlbs x3) + 1d10lbs - 1d10lbs
Cycle Diurnal Gender standard
Prime Sense Vision

Memory Vampires

Cannibalism is in the very core of the An-Heir now, and they seem uniquely attuned to the boons of profanity. Though their teeth are as flat as any man's, if a changeling-born creature is bleeding as the result of Wounding Damage sufficient to inflict penalty the An-Heir can consume his blood directly from the body. If the An-Heir inflicts Damage by doing this he will be privy to what his victim is thinking in that moment, as well as any memories close to the surface of thought. Doing this at the moment a victim dies results in the ability to seek more obscure information.

Out of Time

When they are in an area where the veil between the real world and the shadow world is thin, An-Heir will cease to age, not attaining new age categories, nor increasing their Skill Points.

Reverie

An-Heir cannot sleep as other races do. Incapable of dreaming, they simply rest their bodies and remain aware of the real world. This rest still yields Disadvantage with regard to being aware of the An-Heir's surroundings, but they are never entirely asleep. This generates Disadvantage on most healing actions that are benefited by sleep, and also to recall details from the short term past.

Shadow Attuned

An-Heir have a closeness to the shadow world. They can sense its closeness, and its energies, as a man might sense the heat. When they reach a place of adjacency to the shadow world they know implicitly where the seam between reality and unreality lies, and how not to step in. They will perceive any shadow world illusions as hazy and incorporeal.