The Arxus are a race of rugged humanoids who have a particular propensity for survival in the harshes landscapes and climates of Sidereus. They are well known across the land for their innate ability to resist the effects of the Wyld. Arxus hail from Indratan originally, but can be found nearly anywhere in the world.
There was a time when the people known as the Arxus could only be found travelling the realm of Indratar, the southernmost continent of Sidereus. In the Third Age, the solitude of the Arxus was disturbed by the frenzied violence of the Naga. The bestial creatures swarmed the shores of Indratar and forced the hand of the various Arxus clans there. With the help of Eäminn, their creator, the Arxus learned to hone their skill at hunting and their massive physical prowess to defend themselves against the tide of Naga. The Arxus warred with the Naga for ten years before finally pushing the vile creatures back from the shores of Indratar. Though they had won, life for the Arxus was irrevocably changed. After the great battles with the Naga, it was the decision of the various clan elders that the Arxus strike out from their homeland and investigate the world beyond. The Arxus gathered up portions of the various clans and traveled to the northern shores of Sidereus on their great ships crafted from the bone of the massive lizards indigenous to Indratar. This exodus lasted for three hundred years, and on rare occasion, more Arxus will travel from Indratar to explore the world. The Arxus settled in the other deserts of the world, seeking refuge in the icy arctic, among the Crownspire Mountains, and hidden in the arid unforgiving expanse of the Hellsreach Desert. The Arxus chose these places because above all they are survivors. The Arxus made fast friends with the Dwarves and the Chatûl. The dour and steadfast Dwarves had much in common with the rugged and self-reliant Arxus, and their views on friendship, honor and loyalty were very similar. The Arxus immediately respected the wisdom and hunting prowess of the Chatûl. In the view of the Arxus any race that can hunt so skillfully and tend to the land so carefully is deserving of respect.
At the end of the Third Age, when Onûs despoiled the world with the blight of the Wyld, it was feared the Arxus were lost forever. Many Arxus settlements were destroyed in the wake of the Great Change, and the creatures of the wildlands were warped and twisted into wicked and unforgiving beasts. Yet for reasons that scholars have not been able to discern, many of the Arxus were untouched. While the Arxus did lose some of their number in the initial days following the Great Change, many of them developed some unusual resistance to the effects of the Wyld. To this day the Arxus are one of the only sapient races that will travel the Wyld unhindered by its effects; as such they have become valuable scouts, hunters and explorers.
The Arxus have grey or white skin mottled with unique patterns of darker brown, black or on rare occasions red. Arxus also have bony protrusions on their face, above their eyes and ears, and near their elbows, knees and sometimes elsewhere. It is believed that these physical traits are at least partially responsible for the incredible environmental tolerance of the Arxus that allows them to survive and even prosper under the most severe circumstances. Arxus culture is one of stoic resolve a determination to overcome the hardships of the world. Arxus warriors are dangerous on the battlefield, but most of them are particularly skilled when hunting their chosen prey. Arxus society is kind to outsiders as long as they do no harm to the clan and leave in peace when their welcome is spent. In wilderness areas, Arxus clans will live in relative isolation from their fellows, sometimes as far as a day’s travel away from one another. Despite this distance, any Arxus would think nothing of making the journey to visit a neighboring clan. On occasion, smaller Arxus clans will band more closely together and form semi‐permanent settlements to improve their odds of survival. Such settlements are relatively rare, but a welcome sight to any traveler in need.
For reasons that are still not fully understood by scholars, Arxus can only conceive children around the time of the summer or winter solstice or the vernal or autumnal equinox. The exact time during which conception may occur varies slightly from individual to individual, but it remains generally consistent. This means that nearly all Arxus children are born near or during an equinox or a solstice event. Because of the necessity to procreate, Arxus clans will meet and have grand celebrations during these times, celebrating marriages and mingling with the other clans in the hopes that children will be born.
The Arxus have a more shamanistic religious tradition, though as a people they tend to gravitate toward devotion to Snædís, their creator, or Fënrir the Windrider. Arxus shrines tend to be rather Spartan, reflecting their lifestyle, and Arxus are more likely to practice their faith by tending to the world around them rather than sitting in a temple in silent reflection. Arxus spellcasters who do not follow a divine path will often take up the path of nature magic for obvious reasons. There are very few Arxus Arcane spellcasters, but those who do use Arcane magic are not a force to be trifled with. Arxus characters may not be for everyone. Playing an Arxus requires a large amount of makeup and a significant amount of patience to apply it. Keep in mind that preparing to play an Arxus before an event can result in a long time before you will be ready to enter the game.
For much of the Third Age, the denizens of Sidereus were largely unaware of the existence of the Arxus people. Far to the south, in their home realm of Indratar, they struggled against the harsh forces of the Wyld, the rampaging fury of the Naga, and the shadow-infused creatures of the aquatic deep. Surviving on the meat harvested from the thunder lizards of the frozen southern lands, they crafted great ships of bone and hide to make their way across the great expanses of the arctic seas. Snædís, the Icemaiden, created her chosen people to inhabit the harsh, unforgiving land of the southern arctic. It was her intention that they would be a testament to the mortal propensity for survival in the most brutal of conditions. Each of them blessed with the ability to not only survive, but prosper in the Wyld, they flourished under intense winds, flesh-tearing ice storms, and the climactic rending of ice and snow all around them. Shortly after the first Arxus were created by Snædís’ hand, she sent her Harbingers to them to teach them the ways of survival in the harsh, icy lands of the south. She taught them of warfare and hunting, and encouraged them to rely on each other to survive the most difficult challenges.
The Arxus did more than live up to the expectations of their mistress. In fact, the Arxus tribes surpassed the Icemaiden’s vision, striking out from the barren arctic and moving north into the world as a whole. In their great ships of bone they sailed the seas of Sidereus, slaying kraken and leviathan with relative ease and proving their prowess as warriors and hunters even further still. Some of the greatest Arxus chieftains lived in these days, beings of power and strength with a primitive grace that belied their mighty frame. When the Arxus first made landfall, it was on the seemingly utopian shores of Catherna. However, the Arxus were put off by the peaceful and warm surroundings, finding them rather uncomfortable and strange. Their concern was well founded as it was not long before they were met by the brazen assault of Jade Elven pirates. The Jade Elves were a strange new people to the Arxus, who had never seen another humanoid race before save for the vicious Naga and their Drake-blooded kin. The Jade Elves fell upon the Arxus ships with bloodthirsty zeal, fighting with speed and grace and reveling in the bloodshed and violence with depraved glee. The Arxus responded with the resolute determination that was their nature. Mighty warriors, flesh hardened from the cold and unforgiving winds of the south the Arxus stood before the Jade Elves, shrugging off wounds that would have felled a lesser being ten times over. They fought as monolithic titans, each of them facing a number of foes on their own. Mighty axes and hammers hewed from stone and bone crushed the frail bodies of the Elves, sweeping away the thrall of Xi’rian with unimaginable ease. So unfaltering was the defense of the Arxus that the Jade Elf raiders were forced into a rout, fleeing their titanic foes.
It was then that the fate of the world was almost twisted even further toward darkness. When the Arxus set foot upon the shore and explored the wilderness around them, they were met with the cautious eyes of the Chatûl who looked upon them with great curiosity. The Harbingers of Jolarä had told them of the coming of the children of the Icemaiden, and they were prepared to meet the newcomers with kindness and generosity. Despite their best efforts, the Chatûl emissaries were met with cold regard as the Arxus were still wary from their encounter with the Jade Elves. A conflict between the two peoples was narrowly avoided as the Celestial High Priestess of Jolarä, Sunseeker Evren, stepped forth and summoned a Harbinger of Jolarä to act as an intermediary between the two groups. The Angel worked with the High Priestesses of the Chatûl and the Chieftains of the Arxus to formulate a covenant of peace and cooperation. Since that first fateful step the Arxus have slowly integrated more into the lands of the North, becoming quite commonplace in the more mountainous regions. Even in the early days of the Fourth Age, the original covenant between the Arxus and the Chatûl is remembered, and the two races share a deep appreciation and respect for one another.
Arxus are a unique people in terms of behavior and outlook. They are hardy and stoic survivalists by nature, able to weather the fiercest storms and withstand the most brutal conditions. This seems to have made them mentally resilient as well. Arxus are not often put off by misfortune or calamity, and will often choose to work harder in the face of adverse conditions rather than surrender or give up. This will often result in the death of an Arxus warrior who has been captured by foes, rather than the subjugation that would take place with a Human or another race. Arxus have no use for the standard Human idea of “civilization”. They make their own rules and have their own laws that are all based around the idea of survival of the tribe. Arxus have an almost noble idea of community, expecting every member of a tribe to pull their own weight and keep a watchful eye out for the wellbeing of their fellows. Arxus are a rugged people, with little use for the common comforts the other races tend to pursue. While they will sometimes partake in ale, mead or well-cooked foods, they will similarly not complain about less luxurious amenities which they view as entirely commonplace. Arxus absolutely despise the idea of being subjugated or made to be anyone’s slave. For an Arxus to submit to slavery or imprisonment would be a grave insult not only to the Arxus as an individual but to her tribe and her people as a whole.
Arxus tend to be good-hearted and generous. They will be hospitable to strangers as long as the newcomers do not intrude upon the ways of the Arxus, and after an extended stay all guests are expected to contribute to the maintenance of the tribe and the wellbeing of the community. Arxus rangers and hunters have been known to assist strangers in need at seemingly random intervals, stopping to assist them in a hunt or leaving food for them just before they wake in the morning. On rare occasions, an Arxus ranger has been known to bring a rescued traveler into town that she saved from certain death at the hands of some calamity or another.
Generally speaking, Arxus live simply. They will hunt and fish to feed themselves, though they will often use spears for both tasks. Arxus hunters have been known to slay dire boars and other titanic animals in single combat, bringing the meat home to their tribe to help sustain them all. Arxus hunters often prefer boar spears, tridents and polearms to weapons of other kinds. Most Arxus can carry all of their personal possessions in a single pack, allowing them to travel lightly. Even though Arxus are not, as a rule, nomadic, they do tend to range relatively far from their homestead when they hunt. As they travel, Arxus will often spend days away from home in small hunting parties to ensure that they can return home with enough food and supplies to sustain their tribe for weeks to come.
Like most cultures, Arxus have warriors and adventurers as well as common folk. Arxus warriors often wear heavy leather as armor, usually made from the tanned hides of giant lizards, dire boars, or similarly massive creatures. However, Arxus have been known to enjoy trade with Human and Dwarf craftsmen and can sometimes be seen wearing goods of those styles. Arxus warriors will often choose to wield two-handed swords, axes, hammers and polearms into battle. On rare occasion, an Arxus will wade into battle with a shield and bastard sword. Aside from weapons, Arxus equipment rarely employs metal as they prefer to use more natural materials. Arxus weaponsmiths are often highly skilled in the crafting of weapons made from bone, stone and wood. Most adult Arxus have at least a basic grasp of how to fight with a weapon, as this is considered an essential survival skill to the Arxus. It is highly unusual for an Arxus adult (or even an Arxus youth for that matter) to be unfamiliar with the use of some weapon or another, though the “basic” weapon for the Arxus is usually considered to be the spear.
The Arxus do not generally concern themselves with art. To the Arxus, storytelling and performance are the greatest art forms, and these are often practiced spontaneously and without regard for ideas such as rehearsal or preparation. There are a few Arxus who do study the visual arts, though many of them have learned their skills from the other races. The music of the Arxus people is strong, loud, and rhythmic. They make heavy use of drums, horns and flutes, most of which are crafted from materials harvested from animals they have hunted. The Arxus tongue is one of the many lost languages of Sidereus. There are a few sages around the world who still know the language and use it learn more of the Arxus people.
Out-of-Game, the Arxus language is the real-world language of Norwegian (Bokmål dialect).
Generally, Arxus are not highly demonstrative in their religious beliefs. While they do believe fully in the Ilith’ari, they do not generally tout their beliefs or attempt to use them for political purposes. Most Arxus hold special reverence for Snædís, their creator, but not all worship her. Worship of Eäminn is very common as well. In some tribes, worship of Xi’rian is even known to occur in substantial numbers. It is not unheard of for Arxus to follow the dark gods, though it tends to be uncommon. Worship of Gilana and Zaria is generally unheard of, as they hold domain over ideologies that the Arxus simply do not understand.
Ecology & CultureEdit
Arxus are truly comfortable in the arctic, sub-arctic, and tundra regions of the world. They may dwell on mountains or plains, but they always prefer the weather to be cool if not cold, with a brisk wind at their backs. It is not uncommon to find Arxus in temperate climates, but Arxus are a rarity in tropical zones. When they were encountered by the Chatûl in Catherna, the Arxus were at their strongest, having survived for most of the Third Age in the untamed barrens of Indratar. Many of the Arxus still live in the southern regions, and it is said that the only expansive Arxus settlement can be found hidden deep in the frozen lands of the southern arctic.
Arxus are often skilled hunters, and they hunt for large game in hunting parties of three to five individuals. Usually these hunting parties will depart for large periods of time where the hunters involved will be gone from friends and family, ranging out into the wilderness to secure food for the whole tribe. The members of the tribe that stay behind will hunt small game and gather edible plants to feed from, but it is the success of these hunting parties that determines the tribe’s ability to feed itself since Arxus commonly live in inhospitable regions. Hunting parties will often seek out particularly large game such as dire boars, mammoths and similar creatures that will feed the entire tribe for an extended period. Hunting parties will also do what they can to keep the tribe as a whole safe from larger predators such as lions, drakes, and similar creatures. Arxus tend to eat larger quantities of food than other humanoids, and as a result they must keep up these aggressive hunting practices to sustain the tribe.
Arxus are totally monogamous. When an Arxus pair mates, they do so for life. Arxus couples are intensely devoted to each other, and it is said that the most passionate displays of emotion from any Arxus are seen during time spent with their partner. Arxus will often have massive festivals where an entire Arxus tribe will gather to celebrate new births, new marriages and other such events. These festivals occur during both solstices and both equinoxes, and are called the Vidar, or the Vidar festival. As a rather peculiar quirk to the species, Arxus are only generally fertile within a range of about two weeks of one of these events. This causes a large number of Arxus children to be born in proximity to each other.
Arxus females have a five month gestation period, and births are most commonly single. The dangers of life in the wilderness reduce the number of young Arxus to a certain degree, but generally Arxus encampments are so well defended that this does not become a major concern. Arxus tribes are separated into smaller homesteads comprised of large family units led by a patriarch or elder. This patriarch will oversee the entire family unit, and speak for the family at tribal gatherings. All Arxus in a tribe, regardless of age, are expected to attend these gatherings as Arxus generally treat their tribes as massive families of their own. These smaller family units will often consist of a Patriarch and his wife, his sons and their wives, and their children. When a family unit becomes too large, the eldest of the sons will take his wife and their children and start a homestead nearby to begin a family unit of their own.
Arxus tribes will generally meet once a month to discuss important issues concerning the tribe. The Patriarch of each family will attend and speak for his family unit. If the Patriarch is somehow unable to attend, the eldest son will attend in his stead. If there is no eldest son, the family matriarch will attend, and onward down the family line in order of age and gender, with males receiving the priority. During the Vidar festivals, the Arxus tribal council will meet to announce marriages, new births, and celebrate important events and holidays.
Arxus children are considered to reach maturity at the age of 14. Arxus are not one of the long lived races, and have a general life expectancy of 80 years of age. Most Arxus do not reach this venerable age, as it would require them to survive the many harsh trials they must undergo in their life. Arxus are naturally Wyld walkers, making them immune to the corrupting influence of the Wyld. As a result they do not fear the creatures that inhabit the Wyld to the same degree as most mortals, and it is not uncommon for Arxus civilizations to exist within the dangerous barrens of Wyld infested locales. Arxus will not commonly mingle with the larger Human civilizations for an extended period, though they will often work as guides and scouts for a high enough price. It is not unheard of for Arxus adventurers to leave home and not return to their tribe for many years, or sometimes for their entire life.
Arxus are a culturally simple people. The race exists solely relying on semi-permanent structures such as longhouses and other such shelters. Most Tribes will set their camps in a relatively secure location, choosing to send their hunting parties out in a predictable pattern around the central location.
A typical Arxus tribe consists of 10 to 15 families, and a typical Arxus family consists of from 15 to 20 individuals. The traditional leader of the tribe is the Chieftain, or the Steinar. The Steinar is typically the oldest male member of the tribe, though historically there have been female Steinar on rare occasions. In most cases, the Steinar is a seasons veteran of many battles and many hunts, and will often lead the charge into any battle. The Arxus do not believe in leaders who remain in the rear of a conflict. A strong leader is expected to lead from the front, wading into battle with his warriors beside him. The Steinar is given the responsibility of greeting all visitors of any importance and making final judgments in the case of disputes between families or similar situations. The Steinar will typically choose one of his strongest warriors to act as the war chief to help him lead in times of war, and a huntsman to choose and organize the hunting parties for the tribe. In particularly small tribes, these roles may be assigned to the same individual, but this is not common. In particularly large tribes there may be lieutenants assigned to each chief to help them with their duties.
A young Arxus male has very little standing in the community, and a young Arxus female has even less. To gain any sort of status or respect, a youth must prove themselves worthy in battle and the hunt. This process will frequently take a number of years and can be very grueling. In some situations, a young Arxus male can improve his standing rapidly by challenging an older Arxus male. Challenges are resolved through unarmed combat, where the two Arxus will wrestle in a display of physical strength and martial prowess. The combat is rarely fatal as the greatest danger is usually that of a broken leg.
Arxus females who wish to be warriors or adventurers must challenge a young male before they have any standing at all. If they can best a young male in the tribe, they may begin to be treated like a male in terms of duties and responsibilities in the tribe. This is often a temporary change to their position, and does not often last, as Arxus society does not generally approve of such behavior.
Young Arxus of either gender will sometimes leave their tribe to seek glory and fortune as mercenaries, adventurers or the like. This quest is responsible for many of the Arxus adventurers known to exist in the world today, and is somewhat commonplace in recent years.
Relationships with other RacesEdit
Because of their relatively recent debut, the Arxus do not have particularly well established relationships with the other races of Sidereus. In most cases, there is little to be said about how they do relate. The Arxus still respect and revere their original covenant with the Chatûl, and the Chatûl return that reverence. Arxus tend to have a sort of confused respect for the Elves, as they do not understand how a race so lithe and graceful can be at all able to hold their own in the wilderness. This being said, they are particularly respectful of the Copper Elves and the Obsidian Elves for the mastery they display over their environment. Arxus tend to have a dislike for the Jade Elves because of their original experience with them, though this prejudice is not universal.
Arxus and Dwarves share an innate understanding of each other. A love of hard work, determination, and the crisp purity of the mountain air binds them in ways that make it very easy for them to relate to one another. Arxus believe Satyr and Satyr-kin to be flighty and irresponsible, and have a great respect for the Derew, often viewing them as mystical creatures and holding them in unusually high regard.
Neither the Eidolon or the Nephel have walked the surface of Sidereus long enough for their encounters with the Arxus to hold any weight, but Humans and Arxus have had a very mixed history. If the Arxus community as a whole has learned anything about mankind it is that they are all extremely different and are best evaluated on an individual basis.
Smaller Arxus bands can often be found seeking refuge with Chatûl or Dwarven benefactors as they travel, often offering manual labor in return for the hospitality. This is a mutually beneficial relationship as Arxus are often strong enough to lift immensely heavy loads and hardy enough to do it under the harshest of conditions.