|Homeland:||Menes Continent - Ye'en|
Ye'en are anthropomorphic spotted hyenas. While their builds can vary just as humans' can, their lifestyles leave little room for an individual to become overweight, and those who are rarely stay that way for long. Thus, their builds are essentially based on what best serves their role in their tribe, and while Ye'en who are neither hunters nor warriors usually have physiques something like what could be called "fit" (essentially in shape if not great shape), the aforementioned two roles are usually as follows: hunters have a generally athletic build, while warriors emphasize muscle and toughness (to loosely draw on modern analogies, hunters are built like martial artists, while warriors tend to be more like wrestlers or bodybuilders).
Ye'en do not have the longer hair on the neck that spotted hyenas do: they simply have brown to black (that is, very dark brown) hair on their head, which is usually kept short, though individuals (typically a tribe's midwife, ritualist, shaman, or someone who fills similar (or multiple) such roles wherein their tasks require less physical ability) may grow their hair long. Their eyes are varying shades of brown.
Like spotted hyenas, Ye'en sexual dimorphism is somewhat reversed compared to other mammals: women and adolescent girls are, on average, much more physically capable than those of other races, having more muscle mass and upper body strength, and instead of the norm of men being taller, adult women are on average even with men in height (unlike true spotted hyenas, with the females larger than the males). Also unlike spotted hyenas, women have...conventional female anatomy.
The Ye'en tribal system makes telling a detailed history of the race a task that would require it be broken down to telling each individual tribe's past, but while they were never one tribe that fragmented into smaller ones, they do nonetheless share a common point in their ancestry: Taidu and the First Tribe.
When Taidu was ascended to divinity, his first act was to create a new race in his image. He was, however, too preoccupied with his new responsibilities as a god to both create and teach every one of his race how to survive in the land that was allotted to him, and based on his observations during his time as the Fertility Spirit he estimated he would need to create at least a thousand unique, unrelated individuals to have a permanent population; with these constraints in mind, he came up with a plan. He created the First Tribe of Ye'en, a small tribe of fully-grown and extremely long-lived Ye'en who he personally taught all they needed to know to survive and thrive in their new home. He tasked them with the responsibility of passing on their knowledge to the shorter-lived Ye'en who would soon be coming to them.
Over the years, Taidu created the Ye'en who became the ancestors of the future tribes and left them in the First Tribe's hands. When one group had grown up and was ready to go off on its own, the First Tribe sent them out into the world to become their own tribes. When Taidu decided there were enough tribes that the new race could support itself, he stopped creating more on his own, and the First Tribe's task of preparing its race to make its way in the world had come to an end.
What happened to the First Tribe after that has been lost to the Ye'en; every tribe has a story, but all agree that at some point in their history, the First Tribe disappeared to the rest of the race. Since that long-ago time, the tribes have developed their own unique histories and traditions, but one commonality they share is the influence of the First Tribe and the belief that the First Tribe is still with them, one way or another.
Social and Family LifeEdit
(to be continued)
On the surface, Ye'en have rather loose family structures: there are no taboos about having multiple-partner and same-gender relationships (so long as all partners are accepting of each other) or pre-marital sex (so long as the participants are of a consenting age), and children are raised as much by the entire tribe as by their blood parents. However, the concept of family is just as important to the Ye'en as it is to other cultures; it is just handled differently. Because of the need for teamwork to survive in their environment, Ye'en tend to focus on their community as their extended family. While sex to them is both a fun and natural way to express romantic affection, once Ye'en choose to remain with each other as mates, they are expected to remain faithful to their partner/s for life.
Ye'en have few gender-specific roles, both in their actual society and in their mindset: with women having always been as physically strong as men, and with a society based around teamwork, there is nothing unusual to them about women taking on roles most other cultures would consider masculine, or about men doing the opposite. The main exception is that women bear and nurse young for the obvious biological reasons.
Ye'en have no concept of or use for currency, and their economy is based entirely on bartering and sharing; because everyone provides for the tribe (or at least is expected to), everyone is entitled to what he or she needs to survive. That said, taking more than what one needs without the consent of others is stealing, and to steal from one tribemate is to steal from all of them.
Ye'en clothing is minimal at best: despite adapting well to their warm lands, clothing that could cause them to overheat is typically thought of as wasteful, so most only wear clothing for modesty as well as to keep the more sensitive areas of the body somewhat safe. Instead of any sort of formal or ceremonial clothing, they wear body paint to mark participation in special occasions. The only individuals who wear any great amount of clothing for function are hunters, who may dress in simple clothing colored to lend camouflage to their stealth or covered with leaves or underbrush, and even then it is usually only worn during twilight hours when the day is cool (during the day, they use body paint for camouflage, if needed).
Because naturally-occurring fresh water is often scarce, Ye'en rely heavily on magic to make up for water that nature does not provide. Every tribe has at least one expert in ritualism, using water collected from what rain does fall or from a watering hole to create more fresh water. When tribes are near the coast, they can use a combination of fresh water collected elsewhere and salt to separate salt water into more fresh water and salt, if they have the time. Adepts in water magic are actually fairly rare; while water is precious, ritualists have too many other responsibilities to dedicate themselves entirely to its control.
(work in progress)
While Dingo are exclusively spirit worshippers, Ye'en religion is a mix of deity and spirit worship. Taidu is seen as their spiritual parent, both in the sense of mother and father, while the First Tribe was (or is, depending on a tribe's beliefs) their earthly parents. As noted in their history, while all the tribes acknowledge the influence of the First Tribe, the details vary, whether a tribe believes they were physically born from the First Tribe or they were already on Ye'en by other means and the First Tribe took them in as their children until they were ready to live on their own.
Ye'en strongly believe in reincarnation, which is quite reasonable considering their god is the one in charge of the cycle. They mourn the deaths of loved ones, but not for long, for they know it is only a matter of time before they are together again, whether because their spirits have returned to the world or they have rejoined in the afterlife. They also believe that their personalities reflect past lives: a person who has long been known as aggressive and confrontational is often thought of to have been a hunter or warrior in past lives, while a wise individual may have been one of the rare Ye'en to live long enough to die of old age in her past life. Though some of this belief is correct, they know very little about the actual process: for instance, while they believe that the same soul has similar traits no matter the form in which it is incarnated, they do not know how very few traits are maintained. They also do not know that they may well end up in another god's realm based on how they behaved in life, or that most of their spirits are only now on Aesira for the first time. Taidu would like to keep this divine knowledge just that: divine, not mortal, knowledge.
While ancestor worship is common in cultures that focus on the family, the Ye'en belief that the spirits of their ancestors may already be with them again as well as waiting in the afterlife (which is just an interim period between returns to the world) causes this to lose its relevance.
Relations With Other RacesEdit
The Ye'en and Dingo are allies both as trade partners and as family; Taidu took in the Nameless God and helped him shape his race, and the Ye'en helped the Dingo shape their culture. In many ways, the Ye'en think of the Dingo as another tribe: while they each have their own customs, they continue to influence each other for the better. Unlike most other races, Ye'en and Dingo regard their Crosses favorably; they are not treated any better than other members of either race, but they are considered signs of their intercultural bond.
Beyond their continent and the Dingo, the Ye'en have no knowledge and little interest in the world and they have no real desire to explore, which may be just as well considering the culture shock they would experience. The closest they come to being exposed to another culture if what they hear of the Dingo's trading partners: for instance, "I met a Dingo at the last Crosspath who said she once went to a 'sih-dee' in the north where she got her hair braided and dyed."
Ye'en speak their own language, for which they do not have a name (there is no need, for to them there are no other languages).
The aforementioned lack of gender-specific roles extends to names: there are no names unique to men or women. Ye'en have two names, a given (first) name and a tribe name, the latter of which is simply what the tribe calls itself. Their given name is bestowed upon them by their parents, who announce the name of the child to the tribe several days after the child is born. Ye'en often pick up a nickname by the time they reach adulthood, though it is used more when dealing with outsider Ye'en than with one's own tribemates. While everyone in a tribe knows each other's given name, when Ye'en meet others outside their tribe, they will only share their given names after they know the others to be trustworthy; in group encounters, they share nicknames or shortened versions of their given names.
The Ye'en language has several noteworthy rules for referring to Ye'en and other races. First, the word Ye'en means one or both of two things, depending on the context: it is both the name of their land and the name of those who are from it. If a Ye'en were asked what he is (racially speaking), he would reply that, "I am Ye'en," with the implication being that the individual is "of" Ye'en. In many ways, this sample Ye'en would be saying, "I am of this, my land."
Second, during their earlier years, when they had contact with races outside of the Dingo, everyone else was called ea yen, "not of our land." This term is no longer in use as there has been no contact with any race but the Dingo since cultural memory can recall. During the early days of the Dingo, they were called ysa ye'n, "new to the land." Put simply, Ye'en means either "homeland" or "of the homeland," yen means "our land," and ye'n (stopping momentarily after the first syllable before continuing to the second: "yeh-n") means "the land." Ye'en refer to their Crosses (which have only occurred between Dingo as the Ye'en have no contact with other races) as oa ye'en, "of both homelands."
These linguistic tendencies for naming one's race and origin, were a Ye'en to speak to an outsider on such matters, would likely produce a conversation resembling the following: Pryconian: "I'm a Pryconian." Ye'en: "What's that?" P: "Erm...my people. We're Pryconians." Y: "...And they are?" P: "...What we are. Our race." And continue in this manner, the Ye'en not understanding that Pryconians have a different name for their lands than they do for their race unless told as much.
Their name is pronounced "yeh-en," and is both singular and plural.
Ye'en usually do not bury their dead. If someone dies, one of that person's loved ones brings his or her body into the wild, and then leaves it in a dignified manner for nature to retake. Only those who die of illnesses known to spread after death are buried, and even then, well away from the tribe and off tribal migration routes.
The Ye'en also have no strong moral objections against scavenging and in the hardest of times even acts of cannibalism, but only within the limits of no killing to meet this end (in other words, no murder for food), and only when there is no other food source available. Even then it is not something they take pleasure in, and any such actions when it is not the only option is punishable with banishment from the tribe at best.
|The White Ones|
|Homeland:||Menes Continent - Ye'en|
White Ones are tall and muscular anthropomorphic striped hyenas, men averaging 6'6" to 7'2" tall and weighing between 250 to 300 pounds. Women are slightly shorter and much lighter than the men, but still on average are more muscular than the women of most other races. Men and women often have scars or other signs of battle from their upbringing and lifestyles, even if they have never seen an actual battle in their lives. They do not have hairstyles per se: the fur on their head is as long as the fur on the rest of their bodies.
Unlike Ye'en, White One women have heat cycles much like the Hespero and Felines: it is quite uncommon but possible for women to conceive when not in heat, but during their heats almost any coupling with a compatible male will produce offspring. Their heightened fertility also results in fraternal twin offspring being the norm for the race.
A recent and extreme shift in the divine power structure of the Ye'en tribes has produced a strain of anthropomorphic striped hyena offspring. These previously unseen hyenas left their tribes to start their own elsewhere on the continent, and their numbers have grown. They resent being considered a Ye'en subrace even though that is what they are.
While the White Ones have no homelands (they refuse to call the mainland, where their earliest members were born, their homeland due to their hatred of the Ye'en), they have entirely moved to the Silver Isles, a subtropical smattering of islands off the northern coast of the mainland continent. Their goal, however, is to make all lands their own, starting with the mainland before going north to the much larger continent.
Social and Family LifeEdit
White Ones are aggressive, territorial, and industrious. If one thing defines their social structure, it is that all citizens either pull their weight or die. As soon as they are able to walk, anyone who fails to prove his or her worth is killed: this extends to the old, the sick, the injured, and even pregnant women. As a result, they continually strive to improve themselves, and while death awaits any who fall behind, their dedication is such that it is not uncommon to see, for instance, White Ones who lost an arm in battle continuing to serve, making up for the loss of the limb in some way (they would have to, or they would die). White Ones do not take mates: when two White Ones wish to produce offspring (generally because they feel their children would inherit desirable traits), they do so, and thereafter feel no special attachment to each other.
White One names are usually no more than two or three short syllables long. Men often have names that end with an "oh" sound, and women, with an "ah" or "ee" sound. White Ones do not have family names: if one wants to be known for his or her family ties, he or she states his or her name followed by his or her relation to some familial figure, such as "Shima, daughter of Kiori and Adjo." They are currently one single tribe so do not differentiate on such a matter yet.
Because of the hot lands from which they come, most wear only enough clothing for modesty, both to deal with the heat and to show off their bodies.
It should be noted that despite their lack of compassion for their brethren, White Ones have a subconscious desire to be around others of their kind, not only for the obvious reasons but also because they seek the subjugation or destruction of every other culture.
White Ones do not so much worship their creator deity Ohazi as follow his orders because he is the strongest of them. As a result, Ohazi is very directly involved in the culture of his fledgling civilization. Faithful who communicate his will full-time are uncommon but are often high-ranking warchiefs or personal assistants to them.
Relations With Other RacesEdit
Due to their territoriality as well as their drive to dominate all other races, White Ones do not peacefully interact with any other species; at least, not without the intention to attack them later.
When they came to the Silver Isles, they forced out the native Dingo tribes, so tensions are high between them. It is to their former tribes, the Ye'en, that they feel the most hostility, for the first step in their goal of continent-wide conquest is to destroy what they believe to be their imperfect selves...as well as the fact that their god commands it.
White Ones speak an accented deviation of the Ye'en language only because they have not been alive long enough to formulate their own language. Unlike the Ye'en, White Ones have separate words for their lands and for their race. They just as soon resort to animalistic barks, growls, and similar vocalizations than any real language when angry.
White Ones can interbreed with Ye'en, but while Ohazi is in control of the race, such couplings will only ever result in White One offspring. This fact has not been lost to the White Ones, who have no compunction to capturing healthy Ye'en for breeding. After all, to them, it increases their numbers and decreases the numbers of their enemies; monstrous, but effective.