Xeriin are humanoid creatures with animal features that coincide with a specific affinity they are born with, and can be sorted into four different Kin types. These Kin types are Sky, Forest, Ocean and Myth. The magnitude of the affinity's physical manifestation ranges from mostly human to completely anthropomorphic and is determined on a seemingly individual basis. Unlike most species that populate the Realms, xeriin - with the exception of the myth-Kin - do not have any inherent magic.
Average Lifespan:: 1000 years
Average Height:: 5'10
Average Weight:: 150 pounds
Location Found:: Xaeri and abroad.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Children A child's Kin type is typically determined by their parentage. Each Kin type will render their own when rendering offspring from within their own type; forest pairings render forest children, sky pairings render sky children, and ocean pairings render ocean children. However, mixing two of the other Kin types may result in a myth-Kin, and such interbreeding is strictly forbidden. While two myth-Kin xeriin often render myth-affinity children, they have the uncommon chance of rendering children of other Kin types.
A xeriin child's animal affinity will manifest in the womb, though their developmental stages are very similar to a human's up until the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy. From then on, the animal affinity will alter the infant's growth, and they will gain the attributes that will mature and grow after they are born and begin to age. As such, a child's affinity - and Kin type in the case of an inter-Kin breeding - is known from the moment they are born.
Kin Types Xeriin are born with an affinity to certain animals controlled entirely by what Kin type they fall within. Those with an affinity for airborne creatures are called sky-Kin, and often include birds and bats (though flightless avian animals are also common). An affinity for water animals is evidence of an ocean-Kin type, and may include anything from a common trout to a large crocodile. Land fauna affinities result in forest-Kin, and often encompass things like deer, wolves, horses, bears, and most other land-based mammals.
Rarest among the types are the myth-Kin; these are the xeriin with affinities for creatures based in mythology, such as dragons or unicorns. For some time, they were thought to be extinct, and still are in many circles. While a myth-Kin may hide among others in the other three Kin types if their fantastical features can be hidden, most cannot, and many do not survive past childhood unless born in Ereinlen or in a Haven of the Silver Claw.
The Silver Claw The Claw is an organization based out of the Xaerin country of Ereinlen to save and offer protection for myth-Kin xeriin. They have hidden Havens - small villages that harbor myth types and protect them from the tribes that hunt them - scattered throughout Xaeri, and often will attempt to rescue and raise new myth-Kin that are born before their tribe kills them or drives them away. While the end goal of the Claw is peace between all Kin, most know that it is - at least for now - an impossible dream.
Tribes Xeriin of the same Kin type naturally draw together, and many of these tribes exist scattered all throughout Xaeri. Those in other Realms may form tribes, clans, or groups of their own, but may be markedly different than the common ones in their home Realm. All Xaerin tribes are ruled by the Great Three: Falen, Myrae, and C'zerane. The Falen Tribe has the respect of all the smaller sky-Kin tribes; the Myrae Tribe controls the forest-Kin; and the ocean-Kin look up to the C'zerane Tribe.
Myth xeriin have largely broken away from the tribal cultures of their other Kin, and live primarily in the hidden-away country of Ereinlen far to the Xaerin west.
Myth-Kin xeriin are a limited store species; please do not make one unless bought. Thank you!
Species info credited to Skyeh, Bucketorandomness, and Verridith.
Appearance The xeriin are unique humanoid individuals that are granted an animal affinity, and the physical manifestations of their affinity, at birth. In general, a xeriin can exhibit different degrees of their affinity - while some may only show subtle traits from their affinity (such as ears and a tail), others may appear as a fully anthropomorphic variant of their animal. This disparity is seemingly random, and even those born from mostly humanoid parents can come across as more animal, or vice versa. However, the appearances of these affinities is directly tied to the various Kin types.
Sky-Kin: Xeriin that are born with sky-Kin lineage hold affinities for flying creatures. These include birds and bats of any kind; as with most of their race, sky-Kin xeriin skin tones and eye colors vary greatly, and often coincides with whatever animal they were born with. Most tribal sky-Kin individuals enjoy many decorations, and favor more flamboyant outfits and designs. Yellows, oranges, and whites are common sights in sky-Kin tribes.
Non-Xaerin sky-Kin may integrate well with avians, kaveri, and a variety of winged species very well. Those without tribes that live in other Realms may often adopt other clothing, though many will have to have garb specially tailored or altered to allow for their animalistic features.
Forest-Kin: Forest-Kin are xeriin with affinities for any sort of terrestrial animal, and include many land-based mammals, reptiles, and other such creatures. Examples include wolves, deer, squirrels, lizards, mice, cats, llamas, snakes, but countless others are possible and common. Usually, they exhibit earthier tones and natural colors - browns, reds, and greens are common in both coloration and decoration.
Non-Xaerin forest-Kin mingle well with nearly all other land-based humanoid cultures. Many can be found with an assortment of clothing, armor, and weapons that tribal forest-Kin do not use in any style under the sun.
Ocean-Kin: Ocean-Kin are xeriin with affinities for animals that trend towards life in the water, be it the sea, rivers, lakes, swamps, etc. Incredibly varied, ocean-Kin xeriin may have an affinity that can range from a deep sea squid to a crocodile, and from a freshwater eel to a frog. Blues, greens, and purples of various shades are most commonly found on and around these xeriin, and they are the most common to have odd skin colors and bright, extravagant markings. Shells, bones, and other natural jewelry are exceptionally common.
Unusually, ocean-Kin xeriin are also the only Kin type to exhibit a third form in some of its affinities. Those sea-xeriin that are bound to the ocean are able to take more humanoid forms so that they may walk on land and breathe air. Some may be more humanoid than others; rarely, an ocean-Kin xeriin may be able to shift into a form that shows none of their animalistic features.
Non-Xaerin ocean-Kin often settle with merfolk and other such similar races. They will affect the garb of whatever sea kingdom they may find themselves in, and are commonly found in somewhat less extravagant clothing than their tribal kinsmen.
Myth-Kin: Those xeriin of the myth affinity are individuals with affinities for creatures often of a magical nature, and those from mythology. Dragons and gryphons, pegasi and unicorns, phoenixes and basilisks all are common; more unique creatures, such as d'jini, deathcats and morra sin are also counted among this type. Myth-Kin are more likely to have unusual or unnatural colors, though many also show similarities to one of the other Kin types, allowing them to hide their true Kin type more successfully.
Most myth-Kin do not dwell in tribes, and thus their clothing reflects influences from other Realms greatly. They integrate well with any non-Xaerin culture in other worlds and often adapt their garb accordingly. As their population is very small compared to other xeriin, a myth-Kin is a rare sight save for the country of Ereinlen.
Culture In Xaeri, xeriin primarily divide themselves into Kin-aligned tribes working beneath their leading three. Xeriin tribes range from peaceful to aggressively territorial in nature. As a race, xeriin tribes are relatively secretive and wary; they shy away from contact with other races, even fellow xeriin who hail from different Realms. Xeriin are firmly neutral, and many will remain so, even during war times; although they do not relish contact with outsiders, many xeriin do not hesitate to help another in need should they be found within the boundaries of their tribe. More warlike tribes are rare, and disputes are often handled by the ruling three: Falen, Myrae, and C'zerane. Territorial skirmishes are frowned upon, but are not barred as long as it is only between two or three tribes.
It is common to see saurians in the tribes' homelands; xeriin have long lived and worked alongside the species. In some tribes, a young xeriin is partnered with a saurian for life when both are mature enough to choose. These saurians may be of any type, though must vow to keep the peace between their own kind and the xeriin - even carnivores may bond to the members of various Kin tribes. Saurians that are unattached - save for rogue tyrants and other similar beasts - will respect the law of peace and leave the xeriin tribes alone.
Each Kin type favors a specific biome, and the worship of the gods of Xaeri there are rather specific. The intricacies of the Xaerin tribes are explained below.
Forest-Kin: Forest-Kin tribes prefer forests and plains. They regularly dance around maypoles during celebrations of their deity, and are the most ritualistic of the Kins. Kills for carnivorous members are blessed, and the spirits of prey sent to the gods in bonfires where bone, claw, and fang offerings are made. Herbivorous members will often burn a single leaf from each harvest plant in thanks to Rhathor. Anything made with the parts of animals or pieces of nature is often blessed by a tribal shaman, as part of a belief to dissuade the spirit of the land from taking its revenge upon both maker and wearer/user.
Ocean-Kin: Ocean-Kin who do not live in the salty depths regularly travel to the C'zerane city, often for festivals and an assortment of ancient celebrations. There are also a number of dances going on at all times, and though some of them have lost their total meaning over time, many still perform them for the traditional value. Nearly everything is done in honor of the god, Nicaen.
Sky-Kin: Sky-Kin favor the mountains, and they have perhaps the most dangerous of Kin traditions; a challenge of skill open to all of their Kin, and often presided over by the ruling members of Falen. Starting with pebbles and eventually working up to small boulders, sky-Kin are challenged to show their devotion to their god by catching these thrown projectiles before they hit the treeline. Afterwards, great bonfires are lit on the mountain peaks, which are watched and tended by masked, winged guards. These contests are held somewhat frequently to honor Naerex, goddess of the sky.
Myth-Kin: While the three largest Kin types will tolerate one another, most Xaerin tribes work together to cast out and sometimes outright hunt down myth-Kin, believing them to be a danger to their own and an abomination against xeriin as a whole. As they cannot be a part of traditional xeriin tribes, myth-Kin live in secluded Havens guarded by an organization called the Silver Claw. A great many are hidden in the land of Ereinlen, protected from the dangers of their fellow Xaerin kin.
Abilities In the primary three Kin types, magic of any kind is almost nonexistent beyond their inherent shifting ability. All xeriin learn at an early age how to shift into their animal forms, and retain this over their entire lives. Depending on the affinity, multiple physical benefits are present in and out of the body; anything else is almost certainly determined by their Kin type.
Sky-Kin: Most have the ability of flight in both their natural and animal forms, and keen vision is common among them. They also typically possess hollow bones and lighter frames to assist in flight. However, land-based avian affinities are not rare, and some sky-Kin have been known to manifest their animal features without the advent of wings in their natural forms.
Forest-Kin: Stamina and agility are common among these xeriin, as well as an increase in the senses of smell and hearing. They also have more resistance to extreme temperatures than the other Kin types.
Ocean-Kin: Swimming and the ability to breathe underwater are common among those in this type. Ocean-Kin are also the only ones who may take on a near-complete or fully human appearance, though they must remain close to bodies of water so that they may take their xeriin form regularly.
Myth-Kin: These are the only xeriin who may possess magic of any kind. Elemental abilities are common, and are often very strong. They also have the benefit of their particular affinities being more extravagant than most other xeriin; as such, myth-Kin are greatly feared.
Once, many years ago, Xaeri had humans as its founding race; given life by the Xaerin gods, they settled into small tribes by the sea, in the forest, and amid the towering mountains. However, the beasts of the wilds were many, and humans were a race weak both in magic and strength; they were not fast or agile enough to escape the hunting claws of larger predators, and even their inventions fell short of keeping them safe. Thus, humans began to die.
The gods saw this and grieved, for they had not perceived the humans as being so weak. They had been gifted with bright minds - the brightest - and the gift to create. Xaeri was a wild Realm, filled with life, and yet… their most precious species was dying off with every moment.
Humans were, as a race, compassionate and sympathetic; the gods of Xaeri had instilled this upon them. They were somewhat unlike the humans of other Realms, and especially shared strong connections with nature, to the places they lived. Some even learned to speak with the beasts that hunted them, and to form friendships and partnerships, though these were few and far between.
One such human caught the attention of Naerex, as she flew amid the mountains, hidden in the stormy clouds. He had been wounded by a large feline, his leg broken and was stranded upon the snowy peak unable to get home. However, no despair about his own condition bothered him - he had accepted his fate. But he worried over a young eagle who had taken note of his plight, and had been blown into the rocky cliffs - a young bird who now lay out of reach with a broken wing.
She heard the human's prayers to save the young eagle; to mend his wing and set him free. She heard him cry, and watched him struggle to reach the dying eaglet, as the bird's blood began to freeze and life began to fade. Revealing herself in her blessed splendor, Naerex drove away the stormclouds and let sunlight bathe the mountain, as she landed in the snow. The human, a young male with hair white as the snow, his cap lost somewhere in the scuffle, looked up at her in awe and fright.
Do not be afraid, young one, the goddess said gently, allowing her healing light to mend his leg, even as she picked the half-dead eagle up carefully in her claws. He scrambled upwards once she was done, and began to speak - but with a flick of her feathered tail, she silenced him. You were not concerned for yourself and your death in these mountains, but this young eagle alone. Do not fear, young one; all will be well.
It was a simple thing for the goddess to restore the eagle's wing, and blow the shadow of death away; when the eagle righted himself and peered up at the divine dragoness, she smiled as his confusion. Your heroism saved this eaglet, not me, human, she said, turning to the amazed young man. You deserve a reward for your efforts. For despite being wounded yourself, you cared only for the life of another. Be bestowed with the spirit of my kin, human; and be human no more. Suddenly, the human's skin glowed brightly with light, and golden claws grew from his fingertips and toes, ears lengthening and coming to a sharp elven point. Four wings sprouted from his shoulders, ripping his snow-coat, feathered and webbed. A long, draconic tail flicked out behind him, ending in a white, fluffy tuft.
You are xeriin, one of Xaeri, of the Myth-Blood, Naerex said gently. You are the first of many to come. Fly back to your village of Sky, and witness my work; the gift of your honor will be bestowed upon your people, and all that come after, far and wide. Naerex pushed off into the sky, then, leaving the eagle and xeriin alone; she called the other two gods to her and explained what she had done, and what her plan was. They agreed that the changes would bring light to Xaeri, and the Xaerin gods split off to find those that lived closest to their domains - as the First Xeriin flew swiftly to his village, across the mountain peaks.
From Naerex came the sky-Kin, those blessed with affinities of birds and flying things; from Rhathor came the forest-Kin, those blessed with all manner of earthly animal; and from Nicaen came the ocean-Kin, those that dwelt beneath the waves and along the shore. However, those like the First - those with the blood of myths within them, called myth-Kin - were born of unions between different Kin-types, and white dragons born of such were once held in the highest honor known in Xaerin culture.
With the Bloodreign War, and the vast disappearance from most of Xaeri of the myths, the tale of the First has been largely lost. Instead, most xeriin of the three Kin types say that the Ancient First was one with the affinity of an eagle, lost to time's age many eons ago. However, the true First still slumbers to this day, ever guarded by his Sage.
The xeriin Ancient First is angelic and beautiful; he is aligned with the type of Myth and spirit of a dragon. Four large, weathered wings - opalescent white in color - spread to either side, both pairs of similar size, with feathers sweeping over slender shoulders and arms. Long, curved claws tip delicate fingers, colored gold, while a slim spattering of white scales cover the hands. Feathers trail down his back to a long, feathered-and-furred tail with a white tuft of silky fur at the end. Traditionally, he tends to walk on his sharp-clawed toes with no footwear, the pads on the bottoms of his feet thick and strong.
This xeriin is gifted with eternal youth, and looks almost childlike in his innocence; he has a young, delicate face with wide red eyes, fluffy white hair, and long gold horns twisting from its wild roots. His ears are faintly pointed, like an elf's, and his skin is very pale. He rarely wears much in the way of clothing; most often, he likes to don lightweight, airy tunics and breeches, or shirtless and a pair of shorts. In battle, he will craft white armor for himself, and go into battle as a paladin wreathed in light.
In his dragonform, he is a gargantuan four-winged western covered in thick white fur, with a feathered crest around his face that devolves into a thick, wavy mane that trails all the way down his tail. His horns, claws, and spikes are all gold, while his feathers and fur remain opalescent white. His eyes remain red.
He has an incredible grasp over light magic, as well as the ability to craft and shape crystal and metal as an elemental affinity. He's a source of energy himself, as he pulls strength from all life around him; however, in places where there is little living, he becomes very weak and lethargic, unable to cast anything. His name is Amatlapaliztac, apparently meaning in a lost language 'one with white wings'.