Despite being created later than the Elves, they are no less wise or powerful than their Elven forebears. Possessed of a deep and spiritual connection to their patron deity, the Chatûl are insightful and wise beyond the comprehension of other mortals. In the early years of the Second Age, it was the Chatûl that stood beside the skill of the Elves to help face down the overwhelming might of the Naga hordes. Blessed by the insight and power of their mother Jolarä, the Chatûl engaged in long and bloody conflict with the Naga for centuries before the vile host was pushed back from the shores of Catherna and Linerra and the blessed living of Sidereus were free to roam the world once again. Even in the modern era, the Chatûl remain a powerful presence on the face of Sidereus], as a whole motivated by the will of Jolarä and seeking to do good and preserve that which is pure and true in the world.
During the turmoil of the Third Age, the Chatûl were among the most stalwart vanguard for the other races of the blessed living, defending the nearly helpless Human race and the peace-loving Satyr from the seemingly endless waves of Naga, Blood Orcs, and other horrors conjured from the dark and broken spirit of Onûs and the other gods of Darkness. Despite the shadows of doom looming on the horizon of the future, the Chatûl truly knew greatness then, and some of their greatest heroes and champions lived in these days. Many of the legends of Chatûl heroes that still exist hearken back to these days of glory and great accomplishment.
The spiritual strength of the Chatûl is arguably their most notable feature. Chatûl are bound to each other and to the will of Jolarä through their “spirit daggers”; small ritual knives carved from the bones of a favored ancestor. This link is nearly unbreakable, and very potent. The binding of the spirit dagger is a ritual that takes place when a Chatûl reaches adulthood, and it is considered possibly the single most sacred ritual of the Chatûl as a race. Over time and through ritual these ceremonial weapons can become powerful tools. For a Chatûl to have lost their spirit dagger is to be considered soul-less and burdened by great despair, so every Chatûl keeps their spirit dagger close at all times as these items are considered to be very precious indeed.
Chatûl appear to be closely related to wild cats of the natural world. Chatûl vary in appearance, always bearing a strong resemblance to one breed of “big cat” or another, much in the same way that other races differ in skin coloration and complexion. Chatûl also have large retractable claws that protrude from their hands, making them fierce foes in combat as they are impossible to disarm. Much like the animals with whom they share a resemblance, the Chatûl are often skilled survivalists as they are gifted with powerfully keen senses, particularly their sense of smell. Chatûl society embraces any who will contribute to the tribe as a whole, but the culture always reserves certain parts of the most intimate knowledge of the race for other Chatûl alone. Chatûl culture has separated over time into three significant subgroups, all differing greatly in what they believe it means to be a Chatûl, but all of these cultures value the ideal of kith and kin above all else. A Chatûl will fight fiercely to defend her family and close friends, to the point of death, without any hesitation whatsoever.
The Chatûl are a very sophisticated people, having preserved much of the knowledge they have gained over the ages and passed it down through the generations. Despite this sophistication, Chatûl are still very much in tune with their animal nature. Hunting is considered a necessary and sacred activity among the Chatûl. Hunting one’s own food or joining in a hunt to feed one’s tribe is considered an honor and a privilege. During the time when the Hunter’s Moon is high in the sky, the Chatûl people will gather together with their kin and participate in a massive festival called “the Great Hunt”. The Great Hunt is a time of revelry and celebration unmatched in Chatûl society. Close friends of the Chatûl people are sometimes allowed to participate as long as they are properly cleansed and ritually indoctrinated into the tribe. Dancing and song tell the stories of the past, most importantly of all the story of the Creation of the Chatûl. Each night, the Great Hunt festivities culminate in a massive hunting excursion. Nearly all Chatûl participate in this hunt using only their claws to kill their prey. Even young children participate; preparing themselves for the future when they will prove themselves worthy of adulthood by going on a hunt of their own. Afterward, the Chatûl gather together the spoils of their hunt and join together in drinking the blood of their prey. This ritual is intended to keep the Chatûl close to their roots, understanding their past and the history of their origin, and also to bind them together as a people. It is highly unusual for any Chatûl to miss the festivities of a Great Hunt, and most will go to very great lengths to ensure they are able to attend.
Chatûl are often quite intelligent and patient, despite their apparently bestial nature. Chatûl tend to enjoy and prefer more comfortable lifestyles, though they have no problem moving to less comfortable conditions if the situation requires it. Though the Chatûl have an immense level of innate talent as survivalists, they prefer to be at ease whenever they are able. In Chatûl society, there is no gender discrimination. However, motherhood is seen as a special gift and a blessing to be respected. Amongst Chatûl families and during large gatherings, expecting mothers are allowed to eat first; mothers caring for young eat second, and grandmothers eat third before anyone else present. This is not to say that being infertile is viewed in a negative light. Women who are infertile are commonly ushered into the priesthood, since it is believed that female Chatûl who cannot bear children are destined to consider the whole of the Chatûl race as their children and care for them as Jolarä would. This is not viewed in a negative light, but rather as a rare and special opportunity, since to other Chatûl this means the female was singled out by Jolarä to be the caregiver to the Chatûl people as a whole and a favored handmaiden of the Beastmother.
Origins of the ChatûlEditThe first Chatûl settlements appeared in the southern continent of Catherna early in the First Age. The Chatûl were an industrious and hard-working people from the very beginning, quickly establishing villages and erecting structures of stone, hide and wood. Gifted hunters and masters of the wilderness, the wide ranging wilds of Catherna were barely a challenge for the Chatûl, who chose to live in peaceful symbiosis with nature rather than attempting to bend it to their will. By the end of the first millennium of the Second Age, the Chatûl had established massive cities in the dense jungles of Catherna. Towering tree-houses formed a massive web throughout the thick canopy of trees, great stepped pyramid monuments dotted the landscape, and the Chatûl became prolific and strong. It was in this time of strength that Jolarä began to come to her children in person, sending her avatars in physical form to teach them the ways of High Magic. Under the tutelage of their deity, the Chatûl grew and prospered further still, coming to master the art of High Magic and creating powerful artifacts to honor their mistress. The Chatûl were among the greatest of craftsmen, leaving behind some of the greatest relics and artifacts of the Second Age.
During the tumultuous Second Age, the Chatûl played an important part in the Celestial War as they battled alongside the Elves and the Dwarves in a desperate attempt to stave off the unrelenting hordes of the Naga. In the midst of the centuries long war against the Naga, the Chatûl were in many ways more successful than their Elven kin in shaping the world in their image. They build massive temple-cities in the more dense and forested areas of Catherna, massive monoliths of marble jutting into the sky, and with the help of the Harbingers of Jolarä, massive astrolabes and other machines designed to chart the heavens. By the end of the Second Age, the Chatûl had fully populated much of Catherna, spread far and wide to the very borders of the continent with a number of substantial settlements in the southern reaches of Linerra. The greatest of these cities was called Chasiel, which means “Refuge of the Divine” in the Celestial Tongue. Here as in other great Chatûl cities, the culture of the blessed children of Jolarä flourished and grew rapidly. With the help of the Dwarves the Chatûl elaborated more on their astronomical and astrological machines, creating the twelve Great Astrolabes. These massive charting tools allowed the Chatûl unmatched precision and allowed them to perfect their understanding of astronomy, astrology and the various magics associated with each science. The Chatûl people knew a brief but exalted golden age. It was the actions of the legendary Chatûl high priestess Raincaller Najda that helped bring the war to an end. During the last days of the Celestial War, Najda called upon the strength of her ancestors and all of the Chatûl that had fallen in battle. Shortly afterward she underwent a mystic apotheosis, using the strength of her people to take on the mantle of an Avatar of Jolarä. As an Avatar of the Huntress, she swept aside the hordes of Naga and personally slew an Erebos demon, one of the dark minions of Onûs that had been leading the horde. Since then, many Chatûl priestesses have been raised to Jolarä’s side, to serve her as avatars on the mortal plane. Sometimes, the raw power of the conversion consumes their life force after the change, but on rare occasions what is left of the priestess is lent to another Chatûl in a sort of symbiotic exchange, leaving a bit of the divine power of the Beastmother on the physical plane.
In the middle years of the Second Age, the pride and dignity of the Chatûl soon led them into conflict with their Elven kin. Only a short time before the dawning of the Third Age, the Elves of Sidereus had become poisoned and corrupted with an array of inequities. A large number of Elves broke off from the core Elven community and led a war against their kin. Reveling in the dark and corrupting power of necromancy, these exiled Elves spearheaded a massive assault against the greatest cities of the Elven people. For a time, it seemed as if some of the greatest examples of Elven culture would fall before the dark power of these exiles, until the intervention of the Chatûl changed that seemingly inevitable conclusion. The armies of the Chatûl mobilized to aid those among the Elves that were still pure in heart, the White Lion knights leading the charge, as priestesses of Jolarä waded into battle alongside their finest warriors. The Chatûl managed to split the advance of the fallen Elves, scattering their numbers and sending them underground. This broken and dark-hearted host eventually changed to become the tainted people known as the Iron Elves. Often referred to as “the Exiled Remnant”, the Iron Elves are often looked down upon by Chatûl and treated as vagabonds, criminals, or worse.
The Chatûl are even now at war with the Naga, striving constantly to push the violent creatures back into the seas from whence they came. Since the origin of the Naga in the First Age, it has been the Chatûl and Dwarven armies of Linerra that have been doing the most to drive back the unrelenting hordes that threaten all life on the face of Sidereus. Because of this ever-present conflict, many Chatûl whose families have participated in the war against the Naga have heirloom weapons, armor and other relics that are of Dwarven or Elven manufacture due to this longstanding alliance of necessity.
For much of the tumultuous Third Age, the Chatûl were among the most stalwart vanguard for the other races of the blessed living, defending the nearly helpless Human race and the peace-loving Satyr from the seemingly endless waves of Naga, Blood Orcs, and other horrors conjured from the dark and broken spirit of Onûs and the other gods of Darkness. Despite the shadows of doom looming on the horizon of the future, the Chatûl truly knew greatness then, and some of their greatest heroes and champions lived in these days. The Chatûl had matured into a well-established and proud people, and some of the greatest warriors of the Third Age were bred from Chatûl stock. The greatest of the Chatûl warriors founded the Vigilant Order of the Champions of the White Lion, known commonly today as the White Lion Knights. This group of champions of the Beastmother quickly gained renown and struck fear into the black hearts of the minions of the Void Serpent. To this day the White Lions defend the church of Jolarä and the Chatûl people as a whole. These warriors are the militant arm of Chatûl society, defending the Chatûl people from all threats. They are named in honor of one of the symbols of Jolarä – a white lion. It was also during this dark time that the Chatûl church of Jolarä gained the political and social acclaim it still enjoys today, as the Chatûl High Priestesses of Jolarä strode forth into battle alongside their warrior brethren and slew demons and Naga alike, enlivened with the fervor of their faith.
At the end of the Third Age, when the Dark Lord wrought his evil blight upon the surface of the world, the Chatûl suffered great losses. Millennia of culture, development, research and knowledge were lost to the world when the great and aged Chatûl scholars were lost. All of the Great Astrolabes were destroyed, as were many of the other delicate instruments of Jolarä’s chosen people. The precious knowledge that had been accumulated over the course of thousands of years was swept away to the wind in what was but a moment by comparison. Due to the chaos that came in the wake of the Darkstorm, even the High Priestesses of the Beastmother lost their connection to their goddess for a time. The children of Jolarä would never completely recover.
Now, at the dawn of the Fourth Age, the Chatûl people are only just beginning to rebuild what they have lost and recover their great heritage and culture. Two of the Great Astrolabes have been recovered, and Chatûl scholars are only just beginning to rediscover the wealth of great knowledge that was lost. Now the Chatûl people look forward with renewed hope that the world of Sidereus can be reclaimed and rebuilt and that all they have struggled for was not in vain.
The Chatûl are as unique in outlook and world view as any of the other races of Sidereus. While not as hardy as the Arxus, and not as bound to the power of Nature as the Derew Orcs, they are also not hindered by those intense associations. Chatûl have been known to be survivalists, hunters and trackers beyond compare – but they have also gained great acclaim and respect as mages, scientists and philosophers throughout history. Chatûl will always up the wellbeing and safety of their kith and kin above all else, which has in many cases resulted in the untimely death of one Chatûl or another as they rush to defend their friends and family in the face of adversity. Much like the other survivalist races, the Chatûl are more concerned with the wellbeing of their clan and tribe than other more general laws. Despite this, their culture is quite old and they have had a considerable amount of time to adopt some of the moral standards of other races.
Chatûl also enjoy comfort a great deal. Due to this, it is not uncommon for their cities, villages and homes to have a very dichotomous nature. On the exterior, the places where Chatûl live are often elegantly designed, but pragmatic and strong. Their cities are built to be appreciated for their beauty, but also to compliment the guerilla fighting tactics that Chatûl warriors often employ. Low passages and crisscrossed catwalks are not uncommon. On the inside of their living spaces, Chatûl enjoy a number of luxuries. Fine silks, comfortable or loose-fitting clothing (or no clothing when outsiders are not present) and similar accoutrements are very common. While there are a significant number of Chatûl individuals and even groups who prefer to shun this decadent lifestyle, there are also a significant number of individuals and groups who embrace it. The standard for Chatûl society falls somewhere in-between.
Chatûl do not shun outsiders, but they are not entirely welcoming either. On many occasions, the Chatûl have unintentionally made foes where there should have been friends because the nature of the Chatûl is to approach such matters with great ceremony. As a result, the Chatûl will often unintentionally seem harsh or off-putting to outsiders when their intentions were naught but pure and just. When an outsider is welcomed into a gathering of Chatûl, they are treated with fairness and appropriate regard, but they are still treated as an outsider. The Chatûl have learned from grim experience that outsiders are too often eager to take, and not often enough interested in giving back to the community. When an outsider has proved that they are no threat, the Chatûl believe it is appropriate to test them with a task or a labor. These tasks are never over-harsh, and are often selected with the talents and skills of the individual in mind. This also serves to ferret out liars as they will be ill-equipped to handle whatever task they are charged with. While strangers are free to deny the task, this means they will forever be branded an outsider, and will not be accepted as a true friend by members of that Tribe or Clan. Strangers who accept are given anything they might need to accomplish the task that is asked of them and then set on their way. Tasks such as these are often centered around the wellbeing of the tribe, and may be as simple as retrieving some important item, or as complex and dangerous as slaying some beast or evil creature.
Despite their bestial origins, Chatûl have an uncanny understanding of science and lore. Many Chatûl have at least a passing fascination with the stars in the sky, often taking to the study of astronomy or astrology, while still others will focus on the study of their more bestial kin, taking a particular interest in zoology and further understanding the lore of the wilderness. It is not uncommon for Chatûl to take it upon themselves to provide medical care to domesticated animals, and some Chatûl take this even further and monitor the health and wellbeing of animals that are found in the wild. Chatûl do not believe in collecting extraneous items or keeping unnecessary mementos, though they will often have a small selection of very significant trinkets that they have kept over the course of their life. Chatûl consider weapons a very personal thing, and any weapons they do own will be kept in pristine condition and well cared for.
While Chatûl are generally not nomadic, there is a significant subculture that has developed in the past seven hundred years that feels that in order for the Chatûl to return to their more “pure” natural roots, they must travel the land and avoid laying down foundations in any one place. These Chatûl travel across the length and breadth of the world, generally trying to leave each place they pass through the better for it. Despite this, most Chatûl do live in villages or even cities, and will remain in one locale for much of their adult life.
Chatûl warriors are feared far and wide for their ferocity, tenacity and skill. Chatûl warriors will on occasion wear heavier metal armors, but they generally prefer heavy leathers and studded leather armors. The White Lion knights, and other such organizations, often adopt the ideas of other cultures and wear plate mail and chainmail, though this is generally for show. When traveling or exploring, even these warriors prefer the lighter armor common among their people. Chatûl warriors will often choose to wield heavy-bladed spears, dual blades, or dual axes into battle. While the Chatûl claws are more than suited for combat, most skilled warriors will only resort to them if they have no other recourse, though there are exceptions to this rule of course. Chatûl weaponsmiths are known for their skill at making elegant and strong bladed weapons such as swords and polearms. It is believed that Chatûl smiths developed the scimitar and the falchion, and passed that knowledge down to humans at some point in the Third Age. While it is not uncommon for Chatûl to be unskilled in the use of a wide variety of weapons, all Chatûl have at least some experience in fighting with their claws. Such skill is encouraged by activities such as the Great Hunt as survival remains a culturally important concept. The “basic” weapon for the Chatûl is generally considered to be their claws.
The Chatûl are highly active when it comes to the arts. Chatûl have a significant cultural appreciation for music, and spend a great deal of time performing when among family and friends. It is said that many Chatûl are at least passable singers or musicians of some sort, and it is not uncommon for them to take a liking to performing in front of an audience, though most would always prefer to keep such a display reserved to friends and family. Chatûl are also eager to learn, and will often adopt instruments or musical styles of other cultures to bring home and share with their kin. In addition, Chatûl artists are very common, many focusing on attempting to capture the beauty of nature on canvas or in sculpture. Chatûl music combines deep and abiding rhythms with deceptively light musical notes to create an extremely captivating musical experience.
Out-of-Game, the primary Chatûl language is the real-world language of Turkish.
The Chatûl have a very rich and detailed religious tradition. The Chatûl as a race have devoted themselves almost entirely to Jolarä. It is not unheard of, but uncommon, for a Chatûl to have a devotion to any other deity under most circumstances. Chatûl temples of Jolarä are always led by a high priestess. While there are males in the clergy, only females are allowed to lead a temple. Males often take on a role as defenders of the church however. The church of Jolarä is still defended by the White Lion knights to this day.
Ecology & CultureEdit
Chatûl have evolved to adapt to nearly every climate that can be found naturally on the surface of Sidereus. While this remains true to this day, the most substantial concentration of Chatûl remains in the dense jungles of Catherna, the continent the Chatûl call home. It is also common to find Chatûl in more temperate climates, which is why many of them have chosen to settle in Linerra. The largest Chatûl cities remain in the deep wilds of Catherna however, and any seeking to learn more of the Chatûl and their ways must venture deep into these lands to do so.
Chatûl are long lived, and as such they have time enough to develop significant skill in nearly any life path they choose. However, Chatûl are naturally skilled hunters due to their innate talents, and they do not hesitate to make use of these gifts. Chatûl often hunt in small clusters as do many other survivalist cultures. What makes Chatûl hunting practices unique is that these hunting parties are often dedicated within a tribe. Members will form in their youth, and remain together over the years to provide food to the tribe and help protect it from hazards and enemies. This causes very close bonds to form among the members of hunting parties, and they will often remain intimate friends for the remainder of their lives. Chatûl hunting parties will occasionally strike out on their own to adventure in lands beyond those of their tribe as well. Chatûl hunting parties consider their duty to the tribe a great honor as bringing food to the tribe is essential to its survival.
Chatûl are not entirely monogamous. They will commonly not choose a single mate until much later in life, though when they do so they are entirely loyal to their one partner. Polygamy is somewhat common among Chatûl as a result. Despite their relatively loose concept of marriage and monogamous relationships, the Chatûl do believe that from time to time two individuals are created as soul-mates. This relationship is believed to be sacred and insoluble by mortal intentions, and is generally celebrated through a ritual called “the Rite of Binding”. The Rite of Binding is a rare ceremony which combines the souls of two Chatûl permanently to each other. While the Chatûl do not always share the views of other races in practicing monogamous relationships, there will be occasions where two Chatûl are believed to be destined to be with one another for the remainder of their lives. In these instances, it is believed that the Rite of Binding is not merely an option but rather an obligation. Because of the relatively infrequent use of this rite many Chatûl do not understand the intensity of the feelings involved, especially because of the severe handicap it is believed to create for those involved. When the souls of two Chatûl are joined it is said that they will feel each other’s pain as well as each other’s pleasure. It is relatively unclear what this means though Chatûl scholars have, in recent years, begun to research the phenomenon extensively.
Chatûl females have a gestation period of seven months, and births are commonly as many as two or three young at a time. Chatûl mothers are extremely well protected and cared for, often by the whole of the community, and as such the survival rate out of birth is relatively high. In addition, many Chatûl priestesses of Jolarä are trained as midwives and will often prepare divine spells to care for expecting mothers and their unborn young. Chatûl tribes are simply large multiple family groups, comprised of a number of sub-groups or clans. Often times, a number of tribes will gather together in one area and build a village or city to inhabit, in a way maintaining the more ancient tribal structure while still engaging in a more modern urban lifestyle. Chatûl society is generally matriarchal, and as a result family lines are matrilineal. This is not to say that males are insignificant in Chatûl society, only that women are generally in charge of making important social decisions and are often given the responsibility of guiding the clans and the tribe when it comes to more important issues and concerns. Larger Chatûl societies have evolved past the need for regular tribal gatherings, though they will often come together to celebrate birthdays, feasts, and other joyous occasions. Clans will gather together regularly for the evening meal, as this is considered to be a time of communion between the family members, and a time to share stories and day-to-day experiences.
Traditional Chatûl cities will often operate as a republic, with an individual high priestess chosen as Chancellor, and other priestesses, ranking members of the White Lions, and powerful nobles comprising the remainder of the governing body, known as the high council. Generally speaking a Chatûl high council determines all of the major affairs of a city, and while the Chatûl are loathe to make strict laws to govern their society, the high council will manage most engagements with outsiders, and most importantly they have the power to decide if the Chatûl settlement in question is ready to go to war. Despite their bestial appearance, Chatûl deal with most interpersonal conflicts through the political arena. However, there have been isolated occasions where Chatûl will resort to duels to settle disputes. These are often quick and somewhat painless as most Chatûl duels are only to first blood.
Chatûl children are generally assumed to reach maturity at the age of 16. The Chatûl are a very long lived race, having an average life expectancy of 500 years of age, though some Chatûl individuals have been known to grow as old as 700. Most Chatûl individuals live long and healthy lives; a reality which is often attributed to their connection with their patron deity Jolarä. In Human society, this has led many to believe the Chatûl are immortal when in reality they are simply particularly strong of spirit. Many Chatûl remain close to their home for much of their life, however it is not at all uncommon for Chatûl to venture out as adventurers, merchants or explorers to see the world.
A typical Chatûl settlement consists of two or three tribes. A typical Chatûl tribe consists of 15 to 20 clans, and a typical Chatûl clan consists of as many as 20 individuals. The eldest female of a clan is the leader, and the eldest female of a tribe will be the tribal head, called a “Vezir”. The Vezir is almost solely female, though in extremely rare cases it may be a male. Often times, the Vezir of a tribe will also be a priestess of Jolarä, and commonly a high priestess. The internal structure of a Chatûl tribe has become very loose over the millennia as the Chatûl culture has begun to lean more toward the governmental structure of the high council for significant decision making. In general Chatûl individuals will defer to the judgment of the high council without question, generally complacent as long as their personal freedoms are not encroached upon.
Young Chatûl do not generally have significant social power within the community, though they can earn a significant amount of acclaim through impressive feats and deeds as in many other societies. As befits a hunter culture like Chatûl society, a youth is not considered able to care for herself or truly contribute to the community until she is able to hunt for herself. This is commonly a non-issue as it is highly unorthodox for a Chatûl to have no hunting experience by the time they reach adulthood, particularly thanks to festivals like the Great Hunt. Names are considered to be of vital importance in Chatûl society. When a new child is born there is often a great deal of debate within the clan on what the child is to be named. Ultimately it is up to the mother to name the child, and this process is called “the Rite of the Name”. On the third night past the birth of a child the tribe’s highest ranking priestess will meet in private with the mother and child before a scrying pool. When the priestess has prepared herself, the mother will present the name she has chosen for her child. Once the name is presented, the priestess then communes with the Beastmother to tell her of her new follower and to seek the deity’s protection and guidance over the child through its life and unto its death. Once this short ritual is complete, the child is presented to the tribe. This is generally a momentous occasion as new children are often met with great revelry and fanfare, and welcomed wholeheartedly into the family.
The Chatûl naming conventions are somewhat unusual in that Chatûl always place the family name or surname before the given name of the individual. While Chatûl are still referred to by their personal name, the family name is given primary attention. Chatûl names always follow a noun/verb format. Names such as “Sunseeker” or “Cloudchaser” are the norm, and will almost always have some story or tale attached to the ancestor who passed down the name. As befits a matrilineal family structure, the name of the mother is passed down through the generations rather than the name of the father as in many cultures. While the Rite of the Name is an important part of any Chatûl life, the official name of a Chatûl is not always the name they use. The name given during the Rite of the Name is considered the “adult” name of the Chatûl. Most Chatûl are also given a “familiar” name that is used by family and friends. Familiar Chatûl names are often similar to nicknames in other cultures, and are generally monosyllabic names of common items. Names such as “Wing”, “Claw”, and “Rose” are very commonly adopted. Names of common natural locations or seasons are also common, such as “Meadow”, “Autumn”, and “Savanna”. These familiar names are often given when the Chatûl does not wish to give their actual name, but are just as often left behind once the Chatûl reaches adulthood.
Coming of age is an extremely important event in Chatûl society as this is the time when a young Chatûl receives her spirit dagger and is believed to be fully joined with the power and will of Jolarä. This special time is marked by one of the most significant ceremonies in the Chatûl culture, “the Rite of Unity”. As she nears the age of sixteen, a Chatûl youth is considered to be approaching adulthood. The coming of this transition signals a significant social change for the youth, and to acknowledge this they are prepared by their family for the beginning of the Rite of Unity. The Rite of Unity is set apart into three steps. The first step of the rite is a special hunt called “the Unity Hunt”. This hunt is a challenge set forth by the tribe’s high priestess as a way of proving to the tribe that the youth is ready to be received as an adult. The challenge of the Unity Hunt consists of three tasks, one of strength, one of skill and, most importantly, one of intelligence and wisdom. The youth must bring back an item from each trial, for these items are essential for the final ritual to construct and consecrate a spirit dagger. The first item is always the fur of a great white beast, this is used as a symbol of Jolarä in the spirit dagger ritual. The second item is received by using a feat of skill to obtain, for example the top bough of a tree, a rare flower that only blooms on a mountain peak, or a bit of coral from the treacherous sea. The final piece requires the youth to seek out a single bone from the remains of a beloved ancestor. This bone will ultimately be fashioned into the youth’s spirit dagger and be used in the ritual to link the dagger to her soul.
The most famed and well known celebration of the Chatûl, the Great Hunt is an annual week-long festival that calls all children and devotees of Jolarä to celebrate the glory of the untamed wilderness and partake in its splendor and bounty. While generally speaking the Great Hunt is a Chatûl celebration, devotees of Jolarä from all races will come to participate in the festivities. In some cases, people from other races and other walks of life will participate simply to engage in the festivities, even with no particular allegiance to Jolarä, though this is far less common. The Great Hunt is known in some places of the world as a time of relative safety, as the number of battle-ready Chatûl increases to such a degree that any Goblin, Gnoll or Orc with any sense in its head at all will lay low until the festival passes. The Great Hunt festival is also a time where the young aspirants to the Order of the White Lion who have already completed their training and their preliminary tasks are charged with one great task to become initiated into the Order. This is also the time where other Chatûl who wish to become aspirants to the Order are reviewed and accepted pending completion of their first task.
Many activities take place during this seven-day festival. On each evening, a great feast takes place, with the most significant day of the feast being the day of the Hunter's moon. However, in preparation for this feast, there is also a hunt every evening, with a special type of prey being designated by the High Priestess presiding over the Great Hunt in that area. In some cases, this special prey is a particularly elusive type of animal, in other cases it is a foul and marauding beast that has caused great pain to the people of the region. In either case, the Chatûl participating in the actual hunt will do so only with their claws. They will not use ranged weapons under any circumstances, and will often hunt in large groups. Once they have claimed their first kill, the Chatûl participating will drink the blood of their prey to pay homage to Jolarä's act of giving life to her chosen people. While non-Chatûl are, in a sense, welcome to participate in the Great Hunt, they are often charged with a task or a duty to earn the favor of the Chatûl and of the Beastmother before they are allowed to participate in a hunt. Non-Chatûl must prove that they are able to contribute to the good of the group in some way, and these tasks will often revolve around gathering some item or another, or bringing back meat and hides to be distributed among those in attendance.
Providing for the mothers of the tribe is considered to be a sacred and important task in Chatûl culture, and the Great Hunt is no exception. Expecting mothers are given a place of honor and respect during feasts, and Priestesses of Jolarä will often use their powers of divination during this period to determine the gender and health of any expecting mothers and their unborn children present at the festival. While most Chatûl directly participate in the Great Hunt, expecting mothers never participate and are expected to remain in town or at the main camp so as to preserve the life of their baby.
The festival of the Great Hunt is seven days long, with the festivities reaching their peak on the day of the Hunter's Moon, which will always be the fourth day of the festival. On rare occasions, the Great Hunt will overlap the Day of Shadows festival, and will cause a great deal of internecine conflict between the forces of Shadow (particularly worshipers and devotees of Sléachta), and the loyal followers of Jolarä. These uncommon intersections are known as the Days of Blood among both devotees of Sléachta and devotees of Jolarä.
Relationships with other racesEdit
The Chatûl have long histories with many of the races of Sidereus. As the second-born race of the blessed living, the Chatûl have had the honor and duty of ushering nearly every other race into the world. Among the oldest and most highly cherished of these bonds is the friendship of the Chatûl and the Elves. The Chatûl and the Elves consider each other kin in many respects, and it is not uncommon for them to refer to each other as “cousin” to pay homage to the nature of their origins. Elves are commonly considered to be the “eldest brother” race, while Chatûl are the “eldest sister” of the blessed living. Many Chatûl families still bear heirloom weapons, armor or other items of Elven design from early in the Second Age during the Celestial War. Obviously this bond is closest with the nature-dwelling Copper Elves, though the Silver Elves and Obsidian Elves also enjoy very close relations with the Chatûl. Gold Elves are close in their own way, but can seem too formal for most Chatûl, and the Jade Elves remind the Chatûl too much of their blood-soaked past while under the thrall of Xi’rian. Chatûl will often scoff and look down on Iron Elves, as memories from the Second Age still run very deep in most Chatûl clans.
The Chatûl and the Gûndre also share a certain special respect. While the Chatûl relationship with the Dwarves is not generally considered to be one of friendship, it is most certainly one of shared history and mutual admiration. Some Chatûl families still find themselves indebted to the Dwarves for favors and deeds long passed, while others find themselves owed a debt by Dwarven clans for similar reasons. Of all the races, the Dwarves most admire the Chatûl for their craftsmanship. While the Dwarves will generally not consider any workmanship to be equivalent to their own, they will commonly give Chatûl handiwork the dubious compliment of “nearly Dwarven”.
The Chatûl look upon the Derew Orcs and the Satyr with the fondness of an older sibling to a younger sibling. They believe the Derew are passionate and devoted to the preservation of Nature, which is a goal the Chatûl people deeply respect. They respect the Satyr for the general outlook of acceptance and love, and appreciate them for their jovial nature even in the face of grave tidings and portents of doom. In particular, the Chatûl have spent a great deal of time teaching the Derew of the science of the natural world, which has resulted in a number of Derew druids pursuing more sophisticated ways to preserve, study, and understand the natural world.
Even after centuries have passed, the Chatûl still deeply respect and honor the pact of acceptance and understanding with the Arxus. Bought together by the very hand of Jolarä, the Chatûl consider the Arxus a promising race that knows honor, dignity, and has a keen sense of survival. In sharp contrast, the Chatûl are both watchful over and wary of the Human race. Humans, the unfettered children, are capable of a great deal, and as one of the oldest races in the world the Chatûl have learned that this could mean very bad things for the blessed living of Sidereus. Chatûl will commonly intervene in Human affairs, though it is not always to lend a hand. In some isolated situations, Chatûl have been known to turn against Humans during pivotal conflicts if the divinations of the high priestess deem this is necessary to prevent the Humans from becoming a threat. Because of the great propensity Humans have for both good and evil, the Chatûl are fearful of their future.
The Eidolon are a race that brings a strange sense of joy to the ears of the Chatûl. For reasons many of them do not understand, they are often enlivened and excited in the presence of Eidolon, and will often feel emotions that can only be described as relief from the burden of worry. The Chatûl people know little of the Eidolon, but they do know that a creation of the goddess Tal'rëa can only serve to help the blessed living of Sidereus. The Chatûl are one of the only races that are almost completely cognizant of what the Nephel are and what they represent. Many Chatûl look upon Nephel with the critical eye of expectation. The Chatûl know that when a Nephel arrives on the face of Sidereus they have a purpose they must seek out and fulfill, and it is not uncommon for Chatûl priestesses to aid recently formed Nephel in seeking out and meeting this purpose head on.