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Aq'Ryss
5d01d74195edc005041a1cb3d6fb0d5f
An Aq'ryss sifting through debris.

Height

4' - 4'6"

Weight

85 pounds

Form

Beastrace - Insectoid

Lifespan

30 - 40


The Aq'Ryss are an insectoid beast race native to the island of Kurn'mar'moor. The Aq'Ryss were unknown for the first several centuries of the island's habitation by Khorrum and later the Nokana Empire, however they were discovered in the late Red Era as they gradually emerged onto the surface of the island from their vast underground settlements.

The Aq'Ryss have a hive mentality, and it is thought that individuals from the same clan of Aq'Ryss may experience a form of limited telepathy with each other. Because of their ability to be easily directed, as well as their docile and relatively dim nature, the Aq'Ryss have been pressed into slavery en masse by the Jarvah of Usareik, and can be found throughout the north and east of Atheryin in this capacity.

Physiology

Bipedal insects, they have two sets of arms, one larger pair for normal use and a second smaller pair for more detailed use. Their centuries of scavenging for food on their almost inhospitable homeland deserts has lead to the race being cannibalistic and their immune systems to be able to fight off most diseases and illness just shy of magical origin. Their digestive systems are so refined at pulling nutrients from food and destroying the excess that an Aq'Ryss can eat small quantities of stone, wood, or even metal without coming to harm. Their stomach is massive, despite the race's small size, and it can take days for one to become full; even then, some may even continue eating until emesis occurs. They reproduce at an alarming rate when they have a reliant food source; in their homeland, food was scarce to the point that cannibalism was necessary.

The Aq'Ryss lack the ability to manipulate magic, according to extensive (and mostly unethical) studies conducted by the University of Arctun. Instead, they appear to consume residual magic energy from their food and the surrounding atmosphere, which their body converts into food which they use to feed their larvae. If they are unable to accomplish this, the magic energy is converted into a crystalline form which coats their outer shell in a a faint white dust. The sectrive Oro'moor clan appears to have overcome this obstacle, according to the initial Mhenuur survey of the Aq'Ryss, and have gained the biological ability to consume the magical energy of living beings.

Personality

The concept of personality as it is traditionally understood by the other races of Atheryin cannot be readily applied to the Aq'Ryss. Due to their origin as an insectoid race, the Aq'Ryss share a common hive mentality, with the personalities of individual members of the race often being molded by the view of the tribe as a whole. The mental links provided by this allow the Aq'Ryss to intuitively divide up labour, meaning that individual Aq'Ryss typically focus on a single task above all else, such as hunting for food, maintaining their nests, or fighting rival clans.

Culture

Aq'Ryss society within the underground cavern systems of Kurn'mar'moor can only be guessed at because of the lack of written records, however scholars (Particularly Tel Talesia of the College of Rekkan, who conducted a wide-ranging study into the pre-contact Aq'Ryss society) believe that the Aq'Ryss were divided into a number of clans, which were all highly isolated and independent of each other. Mhenuur records from the late Red Era suggest that the vast majority of Aq'Ryss - perhaps 65% - belonged to the two largest and most moderate clans, the Oro'ryst and Oro'skur, which were located in the eastern reaches of the island. At least two other clans of Aq'Ryss have been both suggested by Mhennuur records and attested to by Talesia's study. These are the the Oro'kaal, the first clan to be encountered, who reportedly differ from the other clans in that they "...consider their Queens to be somewhat akin to cattle, and are instead led by the male castes" (Later studies suggest that this deviation from standard Aq'Ryss behaviour was a result of high concentrations of potentially hazardous minerals in the caves where they lived) and the Oro'moor, which scattered Mhennur records refer to as being "attuned to the Grynn". Of these four known clans, only the Oro'moor, by virtue of their seclusion, have managed to escape destruction at the hands of slavers.

The Aq'Ryss are believed to exist in a highly stratified society in which exists some form of caste system. Research has suggested that, similarly to non-sapient insects such as ants or termites, Aq'Ryss society is centered around a large underground hive, in which the entire clan resides. These hives can be truly monumental in scope - with populations rivaling the largest cities in Atheryin - and extend for miles underground. Most Aq'Ryss clans are led by Queens, who are the broodmothers of the entire clan. The one intact Aq'Ryss Queen specimen returned to the College of Rekkan during Tel Talesia'a study of the Aq'Ryss exhibits high levels of sexual dimorphism, being much larger and older than the typical male Aq'Ryss found throughout the continent. Mhenuuer writings indicate that the other castes of Aq'Ryss (which can be expected to include warriors and workers, in line with ants) also had significant biological differences, however all Aq'Ryss enslaved on the mainland appear to be of the same caste.

What little remains of the Aq'Ryss religion suggests a primitive faith primarily based around worshiping basic elements such as fire, water, and air, and an understanding of the spirit world which could only be described as lacking. The Oro'moor clan reportedly worship the Grynee Man, an entity of extreme negative influence that is recurring in the early histories of many races in eastern Atheryin.

History

The island of Kurn'mar'moor was originally settled by the Lyrian Empire in the late Zenith Era following a colossal earthquake which destroyed part of the jagged mountains which had surrounded the island and made previous attempts at colonization impossible. The Lyrians referred to the island as Kamunori (Lyrian: "High Cliffs"), a name which has remained in common use outside of Khorrum and Usareik. The Lyrians maintained settlements on the island because of its large mineral wealth, particularly large deposits of gold which was craved in Lyria. With the fall of the Lyrian Empire in Autumn 273, the successor Nokana state maintained its control over the island. Due to instability and civil strife, Nokana was forced to abandon many of its exterior colonies, including Kamunori, in the late years of the Brave Era.

The island nation of Khorrum, to the south of the Lyrian peninsula, then sent several expeditions to Kamunori (Which they called Kurn'mar'moor, a corruption of the original Lyrian name) in order to ascertain the viability of establishing a limited trading operation on the island. During one of these expeditions, traders from Khorrum came into contact with the newly-emergent Aq'Ryss (It has been theorized that the Aq'Ryss have underwent several periods of exclusively underground existence as a survival mechanism against drier periods in the island's history, however many scholars consider it equally likely that the Aq'Ryss retreated underground to avoid detection by the Lyrians and later Nokanians). The Mhenuur initially came into contact with the Oro'kaal clan, and took several of them back to their homeland for inspection.

During this period, raiders and slavers from Usareik heard word of the discovery of the Aq'Ryss, and the Jarvah slaving fleets soon arrived at the island, where they found the Aq'Ryss astonishingly easy to capture and control. Usareik soon established control over the island, which they used as a base for their extremely lucrative slaving operation. Eventually, the Nokana Empire reconquered Kamunori, however by this time many of the Aq'Ryss breeding colonies had been relocated to Usareik, where they continued to function as the backbone of the slave trade in eastern Atheryin until the conquest of Kvuria by the Nokana Empire in the middle of the Red Era.

By the middle of the Lords Era, Aq'Ryss had started to vanish from the shores of Atheryin once again, however many of the eastern kingdoms had become so reliant on the cheap slave labour provided by the creatures that large-scale operations to find new clans of Aq'Ryss within the interior of Kamunori were common.

Magic

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