From Mizahar Lore
The Warriors of Cyphrus
|Major features||Deep dark skin, elongated ears, very muscular, all male|
|Abilities||Infravision, Impressive Strength, Incredibly skilled weaponsmasters|
|Most common in||Cyphrus and Mizahar Wide|
|Racial gods||Wysar & Akajia (Others Common as well)|
|Racial bonus||+10 Unarmed Combat|
The Akalak are Mizahar's most notorious fighters. Strong, powerful, and intelligent, this all-male race is known for their sense of honor, always upholding their oaths and acting as champions of various and numerous causes. Though they are not truly nocturnal, Akalaks function equally well at night as during the day due to their formidable night vision. The Akalak have a small home city in the eastern part of Cyphrus called Riverfall. Riverfall is an vertical city built on the side of an enormous waterfall where the Bluevein River plunges three thousand feet down a solid stone cliff into the Suvan Sea. Considered one of the safest and most scenic cities in the world because of its views of the Suvan Sea and the Akalak that populate it, Riverfall routinely welcomes visitors and receives them warmly - especially women.
The Akalak have an unusual secret that they fight to conceal from the outside world. Few outside their racial circle would truly understand. They have a dual nature which manifests into two distinct personalities and indeed two different souls housed in one body. The light personality, which is often mistaken for 'good,' is actually the dominant personality that is normally exposed to the world or 'in the light'. The 'dark' personality is the Akalak within that is less dominant and often remains concealed or 'in the dark'. Extremely healthy and balanced Akalaks share equal body control time with each personality while less healthy Akalaks attempt to suppress their less dominant personality. People who get close to an Akalak will eventually cross paths with both individuals dwelling within a singular body, especially when the warrior is wounded, severely stressed, or exhausted, and might often discover the truth. Outside forces, especially powerful Djed, can also release their hold on their inner selves and gnoses like Divination and dreamwalking can reveal both personalities. Each individual personality has their own Chavi in the Chavena.
Akalaks are generally born with one personality. Usually around ten to twenty years of age, their second personality emerges. By the time their Rites of Trial are performed, individual Akalaks have full knowledge of their personality and have excellent control over their emotions and sharing time in the body. Each personality is aware of what the other personality is doing, even if they are not in control at the time.
The Akalak have been a part of Mizahar's demography for just about as long as humanity has been in existence. Once they thrived in a great inland city called Valkalah, which now is located somewhere in the southern region of the Suvan Sea's sea floor, having been completely destroyed and submerged during the Valterrian. The Akalak took an incredible hit during the cataclysm that almost drove them to the brink of extinction. Modern Akalaks have little knowledge of why their society thrived before the Valterrian, though records have survived, mainly from Akalaks that have recorded stories of those living prior to the Valterrian, stating that reproductive rates were far higher prior to Ivak's wrath. Somehow, something happened in those times of upheaval that negatively affected the race as a whole, devastating their ability to repopulate their race after the Valterrian. Prior to the Valterrian, the Akalaks' numbers were estimated in the tens of thousands. Now, only about five thousand remain, and of those very few young adults exist. Thus, as a whole the Akalak concentrate on surviving as a race and increasing their numbers. Just after the Valterrian, their entire population was rumored to be only about fifteen hundred strong. In five hundred years, they've only produced about a hundred offspring every hundred years, which is not enough to sustain their society. Modern Akalaks have regathered, regrouped, and managed to build a fortress paradise at the edge of Cyphrus on the Suvan Sea where the enormous Bluevein River empties into the inland sea.
Although there are no written records of such due to the Valterrian, the Akalak teach their sons that their entire race was born from the union of Wysar and Akajia, God of Discipline and Goddess of the Night. Both deities are often in Riverfall and quite a large number of Akalaks wear gnosis marks from this pair, which seems to validate their claim of being Sons of the Gods.
The Akalak are extremely physically fit for several reasons. First, their society revolves around discipline, so conditions like overeating and slothfulness do not persist long in the bloodlines. Unfit males have almost no chance of reproduction, so only the fittest males generally pass on their genes. Secondly, because they are so long lived and obsessed with unarmed combat and the working with their blades, they have far longer than average warriors and have a great deal more time to train. Those Akalaks with physical imperfections become artisans, advisers, and craftsmen, generally leaving the warrior castes behind.
Akalak skin tones are so dark that they can easily be mistaken for ebony. Shades of deep midnight blue, cobalt, and cyan are common. More uncommon are the deep greens, violets, and reds that are so dark they are again often mistaken for black. All Akalaks have black hair that tends to go silver as they age. They wear their hair in numerous styles, none favoring long over short. A popular Akalak hairstyle is the mohawk neatly plaited with either side of the scalp shaven. Akalaks tend to be clean shaven as facial hair growth is not common for them. Their bodies tend to be hair-free as well, though most Akalaks are quite capable of growing the hair on their head to incredible lengths. The Akalak tend to have pale shades of eyes, some even having white or pale gold irises. Pale blues, greens, and even pinks are not uncommon. Their icy gazes tend to give the Akalak the overall impression of being 'cold'. Akalaks have a special inner eyelid that sweeps across their gaze from the outer corners of their eyes to their inner tear ducts which cover their lenses and give them infravision when and where they desire it. This trait can be used in daylight and in the darkness.
For the most part, the Akalak are a quiet, steadfast and stoic race. They are slow to anger, but once their temper has been unleashed, it is almost impossible to control it until their emotions have run their course. As they are fit, strong, and large in stature, people who truly don't understand the Akalak might consider them gentle giants, but that is about as far from the truth as possible. Akalaks are incredibly dangerous individuals, teetering on the brink of losing control from moment to moment. Neither truly good nor evil, each Akalak has two different souls and thus two different personalities within their single bodies. One personality usually dominates their actions with the other lurking just beneath the surface. Individuals that strike a balance between the 'light brother' and 'dark brother' are often some of the most powerful and mentally strong of the race. Those individuals that suppress one side or the other are often the most dangerous. The individuals that have absolutely no control whatsoever, or those that are considered the most dangerous, are often delegated to the Cerulean and wear their faces tattooed to denote their unbalanced state.
The entire Akalak culture revolves around discipline. This might lead someone to say they are quite passive and calm as individuals. Unfortunately, that is about as far from the truth as possible. Akalak feel everything acutely. They are passionate, emotional, and in some sense incredibly tragic. This is one of the reasons fathers almost immediately seize their sons from the birth mother. Young Akalak, although well-balanced until their secondary soul emerges, can be quite dangerous because there is no way to predict when a second personality will emerge. The rule of thumb is, the older the Akalak is when the dark brother or light brother appears, the stronger that opposing personality will be and the more dangerous that individual Akalak can become due to the potential for emotional instability. This is generally because the 'dark' brother feels repressed or resentful towards the dominant 'light' personality. In very rare cases, second souls can be prominent from birth, often endangering females if they inadvertently anger the infant. Nursing babies who are teething have been known, on rare occasions, to physically maim their mothers if they aren't providing milk fast enough during their feeding (or their milk is drying up) or if the babies aren't changed fast enough or picked up, put down, or entertained in a satisfactory manner. It is generally far safer for the males to raise the children, because they understand the signs of unbalance and because the Akalak are driven by the need to protect females that do manage to produce offspring for them. These 'breeders' are revered and often made as comfortable as possible in Riverfall in hopes of repeated success in producing whole, healthy offspring.
Mortality is high in Akalak gestation. Human and Eypharian women frequently miscarry or produce stillborns. If an offspring is born alive, the odds of the mother's survival is less than seventy five percent. The rate of success is fairly high among Kelvics, though the preferred mates are always Konti as they have an almost one hundred percent survival rate and tend to carry their babies full term.
Akalak males are often reserved when it comes to their romantic relationships with humans and other shorter-lived races, especially Kelvics. They desperately try to not get attached because of both the high mortality rate within reproduction scenarios and the far shorter lifespans of most other races. To an Akalak, falling in love is more about tragedy and loss than anything else. If you sire a child on your human mate, odds are fairly high she will have one of several issues that ultimately take her life before old age. Though Kelvics take well to acting as wombs for the Akalak, keeping one is a great deal like keeping a pet, for they grow old and die in the blink of an Akalak's eye. This does not, however, stop the Akalak from buying Kelvic females of all sorts, especially those unwanted species (non-predators) from Ravok's breeding pens. In fact, Riverfall has a high percentage of these females acting in all sorts of capacities, even as bondmates to Akalak warriors. Oddly enough, when a Kelvic bonds to one, it often will bond to just one personality and not the other. It is for this reason the Akalak suspect their dual natures are in fact twin souls, though Akajia and Wysar have never confirmed this.
There has never been an EthaefalF/Akalak offspring.
Akalak men have a hard time reproducing because simply conceiving can take years. A woman who conceives with an Akalak will always have a male Akalak child. Konti are excluded; they have equal odds of giving birth to either a Konti female or male Akalak. A pregnancy involving Akalak children takes a full three hundred and sixty five days to come to term in any race. A human woman's chance of complications (even death) during birthing is triple the racial norm when giving birth to an Akalak, excluding the Konti and Kelvic. Thus, it is hard for the Akalak to recruit females to produce offspring for them. As a result, the Akalak race is in real danger of extinction, a fact of which the entire race is very conscious. Akalaks who get involved in a relationship with a Konti do have a chance of producing an Akontak, which is a hybrid between the two races that can be either male or female.
Life for the Akalak is fairly simple. The oldest surviving member of a bloodline is the patriarch of that 'family' and is often referred to as an Elder, though not to be confused with the Council of Elders in Riverfall. Those Elders are referred to as 'Elder Councilor' and must be a family Elder (with living members) to qualify for getting elected to a seat in Riverfall's Council of Ten. The more members in that bloodline, the more prestige that family has and the more status and respect they've earned.
Riverfall is a small community of only 8000 people and is set up with Akalak values in mind. The belief structure that Cauldric Chivan, Founder of Riverfall, created was one of community. In order to keep the city from being a monarchical ruling society, Cauldric created a ten-person Council of Elders to handle all the affairs of the city: whom to trade with, what businesses to create, and how to wisely spend the money of the city. Cauldric made up the 11th seat, which is passed down from firstborn to firstborn. All other seats are voted on by the entire city. The term is for life, but the Council can remove a member. The role of a council member is one of community first. They are never allowed to think of themselves when making a decision. When a council member shown even the slightest hint of corruption, that the Council of Elders will remove the person and ask the city to vote on a new member.
Growing up, an Akalak boy who survives to age fifteen undergoes the Rite of Trial. He teams up with other fifteen year old boys and goes on a hunting trip with them in which they must hunt down and successfully kill a Glassbeak without adult aid. The older and more ill tempered the Glassbeak, the more prestige a boy brings his family. Glassbeaks are vicious solo and pack predators that resemble giant flightless birds, with long wicked claws on their feet that are as translucent as the sharp beaks the birds sport. Properly trained Akalak boys, especially working in groups, have no trouble dispatching these predators if they have paid careful attention to their lessons. The family then celebrates by eating the bird in a feast at the conclusion of the hunt, and there the boy announces his intentions and what profession he's decided on in terms of training. Any boy that does not successfully complete his Rite of Trial will not be able to declare a profession and hence will have absolutely no status in Riverfall. The Rites of Trial are important because it tests the combat skills of young boys who by age fifteen have been training most of their childhood in the art of war. Though it is a horribly sad occurrence, those children ungifted in the arts of combat often perish in this first rite, strengthening the bloodlines of the Akalak.
After a successful Glassbeak hunt, a boy is then free to take up training in whatever profession he wishes. No matter what it is, an adult Akalak will be willing to train him. Sometimes boys get training from their mothers, if their father is married and she is in the picture. Common arts learned from females include gardening, weaving, sewing, and medicine, especially via Konti mothers. At age 30, the Akalak is considered an adult, but only after he has completed a Rite of Passage wherein he completes a Zith hunt either solo or with a group of his peers. After the Rite of Passage, the Akalak boy is considered a man.
By age 45, Akalaks are expected to start seeking out mates and attempting to reproduce. Often they start younger, but it is absolutely expected that they have made some sort of arrangement by age 45 to locate a willing female and start trying to sire a child. When an Akalak sires his first healthy living boy, he is considered Esteemed. When that son in turn sires a healthy living grandson, that Akalak male is then considered Exalted. Only Exalted Males can be considered Elders and then are thus eligible for election to the Council of Ten.
While most Akalak speak common fairly well, they do indeed have their own language. Tukant, as it is called, is an agglutinative language, in which words, especially verbs, tend to be quite complex with several morphemes strung together. It is difficult for outsiders to learn, though long-lived races that generally have the time and patience can indeed learn it. Unlike some languages, like Kontinese, that can take a large paragraph in Common and condense it down into a one-sylable word, Tukant does just the opposite. A simple phrase or sentence in Common will sound incredibly drawn out and complex in Tukant.
Akalak names are somewhat random because the Akalak fathers often name their offspring with some of their mother's name and some of their own name combined. Because the females used to produce the sons come from a wide range of cultures, the names themselves recombine to be interesting and varied. Often there is a second name used in the family lines that the father gives his son at their Rite of Passage. Until this coming of age ceremony though, where Akalak youth go hunt and kill their first Zith, there is no award of a second 'family bloodline' name. Instead they simply have a single name. Adults with a single name often indicate that they have been removed forcefully from acknowledgement of their bloodlines, were raised away from Akalak society (hence no rite of passage) or are Cerulean (who often drop their surnames). Example Names
Family life is highly structured and varies depending upon the Elder's situation. Whole families can live together in Riverfall or at least live in close proximity on the same Tier. If a family is a large one in which the Akalaks have married and taken wives, it's not unheard of for the family to have its own section of accommodations affording privacy to the masses from each other. It is not uncommon for a family unit to have their own courtyard and meeting hall within Riverfall. They use such halls for weapons and unarmed combat training as well as leisurely pursuits like art and science.
Truthfully, though, family life varies from family to family and from bloodline to bloodline. Some families are rich with individuals and house several dozen people, while others are just single remnant survivors who know their bloodlines will die with them. The larger the family dynamic, the more challenging it is. Larger families have far more activities and problems than families with just one or two individuals left.
For the most part, the vast majority of an Akalak's day is taken up with physical training, weapons training, riding training, and scholarly persuits. They often start and and finish their day off with exercise as well as sparring with their fellows and those still in the same age or skill group. The Akalak are accustomed to the sweltering heat of the plains during the summer, so they are often eager to take a mid-day break which often comes in the form of a short nap. Having big appetites, the Akalak often eat multiple times a day to fuel their high-energy, demanding lifestyles.
Other than exercise, the Akalak often pursue music, the arts, and even history. Though the Akalaks' intellectual nature give them the capability to learn a great deal of material in a short time, they often shy away from magical training unless they have been introduced to arcana by a non-Akalak family member. There is no good reason for this hang-up except perhaps the Akalak feel Djed has been misused and the destruction of the world was totally unnecessary.
Art and Industry
Known for their outstanding gem mines, the Akalak are famous for their ability to acquire gemstones and for their jewelcrafting. Riverfall has a rich mine that has all sorts of valuable gemstone veins running through it. They even have access to pre-Valterrian gold and silver mines as well. Although their area is not rich in iron and they must import most of their raw ore, the Akalak are excellent metalsmiths and weaponsmiths. Each Akalak is required to forge their own Lakan just before their Rite of Manhood begins, and they are expected to use that weapon as often as they can. Thus each Akalak potentially has had exposure to weaponsmithing right around age thirty. As well as growing food, the Akalak are wonderful fishermen, sailors, and vintners. The rich topsoil of the Sea of Grass has been slowly transformed to orchards by the Akalak, who dearly love their quiet, brooding glass of wine.
These twisted daggers are a unique part of all Akalak warriors. At birth, the Akalak are trained in the ways of combat. A wooden Lakan is given to them at their time of training. The true Lakan is forged just before their 30th birthday to be used as part of their Rite of Passage into manhood. It is the only weapon allowed for this Rite of Passage. The Akalak warrior is present at the time of the creation, and it is rumored that a part of their soul is imbued within the blade, making these weapons sacred to the Akalak. No two Lakan are ever the same because of this creation process. This special infusion gives the Akalak the ability to always know where their Lakan is and if the person possessing it is in trouble. If anyone saves an Akalak warrior's life, they are honor-bound to gift the rescuer with their Lakan, which the person can keep until an equal debt is repaid. Should an Akalak's life be saved before they reach the age of 30, they will often give his rescuer their Lakan once it has been forged. An Akalak warrior will only create and own a second Lakan if the first has been gifted.
Akalak warriors are also well-trained and skilled in the unarmed arts, thanks to the incredible athleticism that Wysar gave his race at creation. This unarmed combat style is the basis upon which all other forms of combat are built. Even the training regiment of the Lakan is built around their exceptional umarmed combat ability. Akalaks enjoy combat so much that. along with unarmed combat and fighting with the Lakan, each warrior pursues training in at least one other weapon of choice. Some Akalaks have excelled in multiple weapons and have become great weapons masters within Riverfall.
A true master of both blades and body, a mature Akalak will be a thing of deadly beauty to witness fighting, combining both his unarmed combat training with his incredible mastery of blades. Often, when they are over the age of a hundred, they have mastered Dual Wielding and might carry not only their own Lakan but their father's or grandfather's as well.
The Akalak primarily worship Wysar as the father of their race and Akajia as their mother. Wysar's worship is very important because without his discipline, they would never be able to survive their dual nature, which of course they blame upon their mother, Akajia. The night is both soothing and dangerous, sheltering and deadly, and it is the duality of their beings that Akajia is most often assigned blame for. However, the truth might be far simpler than one might think. Both the Akalak and the Konti are products of couplings of the Gods and subsequent births. Many scholars suspect that, because both races are closer to the gods and longer-lived than most mortal races, they must seek other races to reproduce. Otherwise, their purebred nature would lead them down the road to becoming an entire race of Alvina. The Akontak are proof that such purebred mingling indeed produce powerful yet still mortal creatures.
In terms of other deities, the Akalak do worship a wide assortment. Religion depends on the personality and life experiences of an individual. However, it is quite common for Akalak to have both gnosis marks from Wysar and Akajia exclusively.
Active Akalak PCs
|Mizahar's Interwoven Brothers|
|Goss' Vblog- Lakan and Suvai||Gossamers discussion of Lakan and Suvai|