|Homeland:||Isles Continent - Lutras Islands|
Lutras are a species of anthropomorphic otter, bipedal with digitigrade feet, standing at roughly four feet and two inches to four feet and ten, and weighing between sixty to ninety pounds. Their fur colour varies from a pale creamy tone, to various shades of brown, but the most common colour is gold. All Lutras have blue eyes, though the shade varies from sea greens to gray tones.
The Lutras race, as a standard, are very strong, their bodies able to swim with great speed and proficiency for hours on end at depths that most other races would find unbearable. They're just as comfortable on land as they are in water, but prefer the water for a broad variety of reasons. Much to the annoyance of other races, there is extremely little sexual dimorphism; both males and females have a very similar build, and the latter only begin to show obviously feminine physical characteristics while pregnant.
The Lutras are the youngest race on Aesira, their origins only spanning back as far as 766A1. The common otters of Menes were being hunted to near-extinction for their fur, meat, and even simply just to be kept as pets; this was noticed by the Ocean Spirit, who didn't wish for one of the species of her realm to be wiped out, and so appealed with the greater gods to help save them. The gods Lynx and Pasca both contributed a portion of their power for the Ocean Spirit to use, but did not grant her the full power of a god, believing her to not yet be ready for such a responsibility.
Now with a considerable well of power at her disposal, the Ocean Spirit brought the common otter into the light of sentience. Over ninety percent of the species' population was changed, enlightened, and ascended into a new form and consciousness, and then directed towards the islands between Menes and the Isles of the Empire. Here, the species started again, and a new sapient race began its life on Aesira.
The Lutras have since become a thriving civilization, using their swift, acute minds to build floating villages around their island homes. Here, they have all but forgotten their true origins, and have descended into a blissful life of fishing, swimming, and regaling in puzzles both mental and practical. They enjoy learning new things, and collecting items of all sorts, and so have quickly allied with every race they meet, even opening up trade with the Empire to the north.
As a result of the Ocean Spirit's direct interaction with their species, the Lutras have a natural affinity for elemental magic, specifically the control of water and other liquid substances.
The Lutras have their own island cluster between the Isles and Menes (rather uncreatively albeit appropriately named the Lutras Islands) but don't actually inhabit them; instead, the race has split into several small groups of a few dozen or so, each building their own wooden village that floats on the water. These consist of a few perfectly water-tight wooden huts and homes that can be entered through either an external door, or a trapdoor down into the water - these are all connected by walkways and simple rope binds that keep the village from drifting apart. Generations of having to constantly build, repair and upgrade the designs of their villages means that the Lutras have developed a very keen mind for problem solving and puzzles in a very short time.
There are six main villages of note (these aren't the only ones, however: at least four dozen have established connections with each other). None have been given official names, but have adopted the Empire's own terms for them: the Village in the North, the Village in the East, the Village in the South, the Village in the West, the Traders' Dock, and the Fisheries. As uncreative in their naming as the islands, but Lryo is a very literal language. The Lutras prefer to use shorter adaptations, however: North Village, East Village, &c and Long Port, though they kept the name "the Fisheries". These villages are of particular note because of where they are and what they can do; Long Port is at the very centre of the islands and villages, and so has been adopted by Pryconian merchants and the sort as a half-way house. From there, they can easily navigate to any of the other villages, or simply trade with the Long Port locals who can then trade it on at their own leisure.
The four "compass point" villages are of note simply because they are the villages furthest out in their given direction, and so they serve as a marker of the Lutras' official territorial control and ownership. Finally, the Fisheries (though further south than the actual South Village) isn't a true settlement, but rather a specially maintained area of net-and-wall-controlled water that provides the Lutras with a rich variety of fish - if not for their own peoples' tastes, then for trade with the Empire's merchants.
Social and Family LifeEdit
Every individual village is a very close-knit community; every member knows every other member - their name, age, family ties to other villagers, and even random and obscure factoids. As such, if anybody new enters the village, or someone goes missing or begins to act out of the ordinary, pretty much everyone becomes aware of it right away.
Lutras traditionally take a single mate for life, and while there is no official term or ceremony for it, a pairing is taken extremely seriously and never made frivolously. The two typically remain together for life, though should they for whatever reason "fall out of love", the two will mutually agree to end the relationship.
Single births are the norm, and children are raised by both parents with equal responsibility. A baby doesn't leave either its mother or father's side for more than a few minutes at a time for the first six months, and even from six months or older is kept in the care of another trusted member of the village when both parents are otherwise occupied. They are raised with a strong sense of community, learning to treat every neighbour with the same respect they show for their parents.
A favourite pass time of the Lutras is puzzles. They have extremely good knack for fast and lateral thinking - this does not mean they are particularly smart, however. Rather, they can see multiple - if not all - possible outcomes of a given situation relative to the information they have about it. After watching the weather patterns for a month they might be able to tell you when it will next rain, or they could even successfully "count cards" in a game of chance, or predict the actions of a person they know particularly well, but they don't often have reason or chance to think beyond that. They could tell you when the rain will next come, but not why the rain falls: scientific thinking is not their strong suit.
The lexicon employed by the Lutras consist of an extended set of expressive sounds from those employed by the rest of Aesira (which summarizes to roughly the same lexicon real-world languages use). They use an additional set of vocalizations that can be approximated to a collection of squeaks, chirps, chirrups and low growls. These are blended into their language almost seamlessly, which is spoken at speeds that would tie the tongues of most other races; the Lutras treat a specific "chirp" no differently than anyone else would the th sound. These sounds appear in roughly one quarter of all words in the language.
Comparatively, Lutras names are very simple, and very rarely use the extended lexicon. Rather, the names are meant to be short, simple, and stand out compared to the rest of the language in order to make a clearer distinction of proper names.
Examples include: Ari, Braye, Eryn, Ferrik, Iori, Irio, Lal, Nor, Rin, Ryle.
The actual syntax of the language itself is rather simple and literal, made up of no more than a few hundred words (as well as another hundred or so they have adopted from the Lryo tongue of the Pryconians). In spite of this, or maybe because of it, the Lutras adore learning about the Empire and Coalition languages, and their fascination and sharp minds make them quick to learn to speak fluently in both - in some villages, a sort of dialect has appeared that blends all three, though the native tongue still stands out prominently over the others.
An odd quirk of note. For a long time, the Lutras had no words for colours - in their eyes, it was a rather pointless trait to describe an object by, especially given that they all share similar eye and fur colours, live on the almost-always-blue water, under the almost-always-blue sky, and build with the rather limited tones of wood. Instead, colour names were introduced by the Pryconians - when traders came bearing many beautiful clothes and bolts of cloth in a vast range of hues, suddenly colour became a relevant detail. As such, every word for a colour or shade is an almost direct copy from Lryo.
Lutras are unique in that they are the only race on Aesira to be culturally atheistic. They don't recall their being ascending into sentience, and believe the ambient magic of the planet to simply be natural. They do, however, see the ocean as a single living creature, and so the closest thing they have to a god; the Lutras do not worship the ocean, but instead simply show it respect and make sure others do the same. A few who have deigned to live among the Pryconians have sometimes shown leanings towards the native religion (be it the Temple or Fire Cult), but the number who have actually joined are thus far in single digits.
Relations With Other RacesEdit
Lutras have managed to open strong trading agreements with the Pryconian Empire to the north, exchanging fish, corals, pearls and other deep-sea items that the Pryconians cannot get, for whatever they might need or just want. There have been a few strained meetings when the Lutras refuse to rip up an entire reef for a trade ship, but beyond that things are relatively peaceful. Their trading with the Empire is rather odd, as Lutras have no grasp of "money". They see gold coins as simple shiny discs, and they're usually turned into simple jewelery, along with the "oyster stones" they get from their usual ocean hunting.
Traditionally, Lutras wear no clothes, never tattoo or pierce their bodies, and wear jewelery only rarely. This is because clothes and other loose items are a burden on a species that spends over half its time in the water, and because any permanent mark to the body is seen in the same light as a scar. However, around Pryconians (simply to make them more comfortable) they will wear a simple sash or sarong to keep themselves "decent". Typically, any given Lutras can name exactly where, when and why they acquired any one item of clothing or jewelery they own, and most were from Pryconian sources (in trade or as gifts).
The only other race the Lutras have any "contact" with is the Reptus. When an individual strays too far south-west from their islands and villages, the powerful currents that flow there will drag them to the Broken Isles, the home of the Reptus. Here, they are quickly tracked down by slavers to be sold off to the highest bidder. They're greatly favoured as slaves, for many reasons - they are rare to come by, are in some way pleasing in appearance to the Reptus, make excellent "pets" and manual labourers, and are even commented to taste extremely good. To many slave traders, a healthy female Lutras is worth over a dozen normal slaves.
- Notable Lutras characters: Rin, Ryle.
- The name "Lutras" is used as both the singular and the plural; there is no single "Lutra", and using that singular name will often offend any Lutras who happens to hear.
- A Lutras will do almost anything they can to get their hands on sweets. Given that their natural diet consists of fish, shellfish, sea flora and occasionally meat from sea birds, sweet foods like fruits, candies and chocolate are a rare treat. It didn't take long for the Pryconians to notice this, and so sweets are now the second largest import into the Lutras Islands after cut lumber.