From Mizahar Lore
| Why does your race have so many arms? asked the traveler. Because the weight of glory demands them, said the wise one. |
- Common Eypharian Proverb
An old race supposedly steeped in divine blood, the Eypharians are the beautiful lords and ladies of Eyktol. Enthroned in the desert, they cling to the remnants of a once thriving culture, while balancing lives divided between the love of pleasure and the pursuit of excellence. Their most notable trait, multiple arms, fittingly reflects the complexity and grace of the race.
|Height||4.5' to 7'|
|Lifespan||up to 100 years|
|Major features||Lightly gilded skin, multiple arms|
|Most common in||Eyktol, Ahnatep|
|Reputation||Sophisticated and racist|
|Racial gods||Syna, Dira and Makutsi|
|Subraces||Halves, quarters, etc.|
The Eypharians are one of the oldest races in Mizahar, so their origins have taken on a myth like quality. The most popular explanation stems from a beautiful human woman, Eypha and a river spirit. Makutsi had appointed a river spirit named Royet to a great river that ran through what is now Eyktol. Royet was a follower of hers so devout he had been taken from the cycle of life and death to serve Makutsi's purposes. A spirit shape, Royet was one with the river. He was confined to his post in an eternal route from source to sea through the six arms of the river. All he could see was what passed near the water, and for decades, that was marvel enough.
For several years, Royet heard Eypha sing thanks to the river as she drew water, ask what it had seen in its travels or he watched her sleep happily on the river's banks. He began to look forward to Eypha's visits, and hearing her speak of her life. Eypha's family began to marvel that when she was near, the river seemed to rise.
After years of visiting its shores, Eypha began to tell the river of her upcoming marriage and her apprehensions. The man was wealthy and respected, but she wondered if he was kind. Especially upsetting was the idea she was to be the fifth of his wives.
For a time, Eypha stopped coming to the river. She did not appear again for months, and when she did it was far from where she used to dwell. In the heart of night, Eypha fled to the river. She took a raft of reeds moored on the shore and began desperately pushing it into the shallows. Her new husband came running after her, brandishing a sword. He stormed into the water threatening death for her defiance. The calm river began to churn and rise. Eypha and her husband clamored for the boat but could not reach it as they were swept into the current and deeper waters. Eypha's husband drowned while she was miraculously spared.
Eypha drifted to the shore as the sun began to rise. Its rays eased her freezing bones and painted the river gold. Before she reached the shore, the water around her took on a human like form with six arms and golden skin. It was the river spirit Royet, his skin gilded by the sun and each of his arms representing the branches of the river. Makutsi had seen fit to grant her servant a reward in allowing him a substantial incarnation. Royet carried Eypha to the shore and from that instant onward, they were inseparable until Eypha's death. From them, it is said, came the Eypharian race. It is also said the great river was glad to be destroyed in the Valterrian because it allowed him to re-unite with the soul of Eypha.
Before the Valterrian, the Eypharians were the strongest and wealthiest race in the region. They had vast farmland sustained by the bi-annual flooding of the great river that wound through the land and held several cities of marble and gold. A high noble, called Pressor or Pressorah, governed over four lower noble houses, all passing their titles through lineage. The initial grant of power was through the blessing of Syna. For service to her, Syna blessed the first Pressor with the highest marks of her gnosis. Syna was so pleased with this Pressor, she caused him to be elevated in the eyes of the ruler. Four people were appointed by the Pressor to aid him in governance and from them sprung the four noble houses.
The Eypharians' annexation by the empire was a peaceful one, orchestrated by Pressorah Sunematra. They were the first civilization in the Eyktol region to join the empire and benefited because of their amenability. Eypharian nobles correctly reasoned that the empire would have little reason to enmesh themselves in the daily affairs of such a distant and hard to navigate territory. The nobles were granted the power to act as magistrates and governors of sorts over the Eyktol region. The empire also allowed them to keep their ceremonial titles. As the Eypharians hoped, little changed in their daily affairs save they had to gather tribute or supply soldiers, both of which could be culled from the wandering nomads and tribes of the desert. In return, the Eypharians had the weight of the empire behind them.
Pressor Kyrus was in power when the Valterrian struck. Under his rule, the Benshiras had been enslaved and dispersed among the four Eypharian cities: Ahnatep, Menehat, Naphu and Bisret.
The Valterrian tumbled the Eypharian cities and covered them with sand, what Eypharians managed to survive were scattered. Living members of the noble houses were scarce, but what remained banded together, making them powerful forces among a fractured people. In time, the Eypharians returned to their only standing city, Ahnatep. They wept over its devastation, but were thankful that some of their glorious history remained.
The Pressor's line became kings and queens in their own right and won over the people through sacrifice and inspiration. Longing for the wonders of old, the Eypharians were eager to re-create the noble hierarchy of the past. Instead of being granted their role, though, the nobility were compelled to win back their status with strength and cunning. The culture that remains is one fraught with ambition, beauty and intrigue.
The Eypharians are a multi-armed race, having four or six arms. Their fair to olive skin is lightly gilded and their natural hair colors tend to be blacks and browns. Eye color varies widely. However, Eypharians commonly dye their hair with henna to a reddish tint or paint it vivid colors.
Adornment and Clothing
Very elaborate makeup is widespread on women and men even line their eyes in kohl or use mica dust. It is a common joke Eypharian women are born with such designs on their skin. Hair is sometimes painted and adorned with fine chains of precious metal. If an Eypharian woman is not in the habit of painting her hair, she will keep it exceptionally long. Either sex wears jewelry as a display of power and rank.
Clothing tends to consist of linen made from flax and is lightweight to combat the desert heat. Silk or exotic animal pelts are worn by the upper classes or those aspiring to such positions. Men wear solid color kilts that stop at the end of the thigh, a bandolier and some sort of light armor on their wrists.
Women wear sleeveless robes or delicate sheaths of linen bound at the waist with cords or gem encrusted belts. The neck is considered an erogenous zone by Eypharians, especially where it slopes into the shoulder, so women frequently wear collars to highlight the grace of their neck, or paint, the curve between it and the shoulder. Eypharians love color, especially since the richness of hue indicates the costliness of the clothes. Since true black is exceptionally hard to produce, only nobility may wear it.
Footwear is a simple sandal of leather, wealth being shown by the amount of semiprecious stones on its straps. Indoors, the lower class tend to wear slippers made of reeds.
Age and Reproduction
Eypharians age much like humans, but have a complexion that allows them to age more gracefully than many. This longevity of looks may also be attributed to their consummate vanity that encourages the use of creams, oils and makeup to protect them from sun exposure.
Reproduction and gestation is identical to humans in biology. However, Eypharian females produce an excessive amount of pheromones when at the height of their fertility, increasing their powers of attraction to humanoid species. The difference is not hypnotic, but has the effect of a tempting fragrance.
When Eypharians breed with other humanoid races, it will produce a child with only two arms. However, the child may inherit the powerful pheromones and coloring of the Eypharian parent.
The Eypharian mindset is that they are descendants of an Alvina and a human, which elevates them above the oldest race to slightly divine status. Only an Ethaefel or Konti would be recognized as a holier bloodline. However, Eypharians reason these races are not a true people group because they are either incapable of producing similar offspring or male heirs. This outlook creates a people immensely proud of their race and heritage.
Also integrated into the Eypharian psyche is the pursuit of excellence. Once an Eypharian has made peace with her position she will strive to surpass her own expectations. Losing to a fellow Eypharian is tolerable, as they are your own kind, but losing to an outsider is an anathema.
Eypharians are largely literate and have a good knowledge of their history and politics. They are rarely barbarous or wild in nature. Even the lowest warriors are disciplined and tutored in basic strategy. Most citizens fancy themselves sophisticated, whether they are or not, and will always array themselves in finery. Even work clothes are embroidered or dyed in rich colors.
While they are a cultured people not given to rampant bloodlust, the Eypharians are also known for a cold ruthlessness. For Eypharian glory, they will deceive, trample or enslave anything that dares cross their path.
Eypharians live by rigid standards of rank and class. However, the lowliness of one's parentage can be conquered through skill or beauty. Entering the desired social circle is feasible, but earning respect from its influential members is the difficult part.
Eypharians are also open racists. They do not act superstitiously around lesser races like the Benshira would, but merely pretend the lower creature is not even there. More animalistic races are treated like pets they must tolerate or a glob of something foul. Dhani are the one exception due to their years of collaboration with the Eypharians. Humanoid races are largely regarded with cool politeness, save Myrians and Benshiras. Eypharians have an active dislike for Myrians, considering them a primitive and ignorant race that would not know order or beauty if it bit them. Benshiras, however, were once slaves to the Eypharians, so there is often a condescending tinge to interactions. Non-Eypharian inhabitants have risen in the city's rank either by sheer skill or a thorough embrace of Eypharian lifestyle.
From top to bottom, the social hierarchy is constructed as follows. Within each class, save the very top, there are even further distinctions based on bloodlines and/or power.
1. The Pressorah Bashti
2. Sun Bearers or Inkara: The Pressorah's family, including only those with royal blood.
3. Jibade: Non-royal family members. A form of nobility, despite not being tied to any of the Four Winds. Their "House" is considered to be the Pressorah's. Jibade roles tend to be ceremonial.
4. Scepters: The Pressorah's most trusted. Overseers of particular areas. Commonly drawn from either the Four Winds or the Gilded.
5. Hawks: Martial Leaders moving in ranks from 1st (highest) to 3rd (lowest).
And The Houses of the Four Winds: the noble houses divided by North, South, East and West, defined by their relation to the original grantees of the first Pressor's blessing. Each have their own guard and enough means to pose threats to one another.
6. Gilded: the wealthy and clever who populate the Pressorah's court and feasts, but lack a title from the Four Winds. The pool from which she draws those fit for higher purposes.
7. Jackals: members of the guard, divided into various ranks.
8. Servants to the city.
9. Palace concubines.
10. Foxes: general foot soldiers in training who have not yet attained the rank of Jackal.
11. All other Eypharians and Dhani.
12. Humanoid races.
13. Monstrous races.
The Throne and And Positions of Power
Nobility is a rare thing in Mizahar. Few cultures are stable or large enough to cultivate anything resembling a proper nobility. Immediately after the Valterrian, Bloodline became secondary in seizing power. In the current time, Ahanatep has become peaceful enough to allow the role of blood to be a prominent feature in the ruling class. No longer a subset of a greater empire, the Eypharians are a power unto themselves.
Rights to the throne pass amongst the Inkara (family of the Pressor) through a rigid hierarchy. The order always moves from male to female then eldest to youngest. Initially, throne passes from ruler to eldest male child. If no males were born, the privilege goes to eldest female child. Should all the Pressor's children be dead, yet they left children the throne passes amongst the grand-children, should the grandchildren be dead as well, it goes to the great-grandchildren. Next in line are the Pressor's illegitimate children from male to female, followed by the great, great grandchildren on down the direct line.
If the Pressor left no direct heirs, the throne goes to the ruler's siblings first to the males then the females. However, only full siblings may take at this juncture, not halves. The power then passes to the children of those siblings, the Pressor's nephews and nieces. If none exist, then the right falls to half siblings of the ruler. Then to the elder uncles and aunts of the ruler. Then to their children and so on.
Should the Pressor be younger than seventeen, a regent, chosen by the Pressor prior to his death will be appointed. The regents are usually Eypharians late in years and not from the Inkara to discourage a usurping of the throne.
This web to the throne is also a model for the prestige of each position. Greater regard is given those closer to the the privilege. The current ruler is Pressorah Bashti.
The Houses of the Four Winds
Each House of the Four Winds is a force in and of themselves with their own guard and traditions. Power is maintained through blood and a governing of specific resources. Occasionally houses create alliances with one another through marriage. Otherwise, Houses of the Four Winds are in active competition with each other.
The Eypharian language, Arumenic (Aru= river, Menic= language), has close ties with the Ancient tongue. Out of the present day languages it resembles the ancient tongue the most.
The sound patterns are similar to the Ancient Tongue but have been strongly influenced by common.
Significant traits from Nader-Canoch (The Ancient Tongue) in Arumenic include:
- glottal stops,
- a guttural consonant sound represented as "ayn",
- the softness of the letter "y",
- the interpretation of "w" as an "ou" sound,
- the interchangeable nature of the letters "b" and "m". (When "b" or "m" are used they are pronounced like the "mb" in the common word "numb")
- the main vowel sound being "u"
- And the pronunciation of "t" as "tsh"
For example, the word Aynwba, companion, would be pronounced (roughly) Aiy-een-noum-a
Sentence composition is also irregular, compared to common with a verb subject object structure.
High Arumenic, is spoken by the upper class and any privileged enough to be trained in Semhu. It is an elaboration of Arumenic that includes both subtle gestures and nuanced tones to express deeper meanings than words alone. An outsider may hear an idea completely contrary to what the speaker is actually saying. It is also a treacherous style of speaking as it is difficult to pin a practitioner to a particular meaning.
Eypharian first names tend to favor the use of the letters "T", "K", "H", "A", "S" and "R" and frequently end in vowels sounds. These rules are not absolute, though. Names are often a reflection of parents' estimation or aspirations for their child. Many Eypharian spend their lives living up to or overcoming their titles.
Family names are only used in formal or legal proceedings and are preceded by "re". They originally stemmed from names for the great river and its branches or the city in which one was born. Since the river and most the cities are gone, Eypharians maintain the names of their ancestors, regardless of where they were personally born. Current names are drawn from the four old cities (Ahnatep, Menehat, Naphu and Bisret) as the river families died out amidst the Valterrian.
It is more common for an Eypharian to identify himself by title or profession. Khafre re Bisret would usually introduce himself merely as Khafre, Khafre the Jeweler or, if titled Khafre, of the Eastwinds
Average citizens will marry for whatever reason and abide by a complex courtship ritual drawn from their mythic history. More powerful Eypharians often use marriage as a tool to create alliances, and forgo the folksy courtship rituals, choosing to lavish traditional gifts upon the betrothed and their family. Women tend to give weapons and horses, while men bestow jewelry and precious oils.
If an Eypharian marries outside of their rank, they have the difficulty of navigating their children's social standing. A child takes after whichever parent is willing to bring them into their social circle, but the father has the first say as to which circle the child should belong. However, the higher the discrepancy between the spouses, the harder it is to introduce the child into one's rank.
Eypharian lives are split in two. They live to both pursue excellence and pleasure. These goals may cross paths or work against one another. An Eypharian is the kind of person who will revel until the wee hours but scorn any who do not rise on time for their daily work. Only nobility is allowed to laze to midday, but it is their peril if they do not maintain their position of power and respect.
Reflecting the complexity of their physiognomy, Eypharians must balance personal principles and sensual gratification simultaneously. Both goals are revered by the culture, but only as long as they do not impede the other.
Eypharians rise about mid-morning and their breakfast is usually a liquid tonic and bread to overcome the previous night's revelries or labor. They strive until midday when they take their first real meal. This is a lavish affair conducted on sofas around a circle of coals. Work is resumed two bells later and continues until the evening feast.
Art and Industry
Eypharians art tends to revolve around the adornment and physical virtuosity of the body. The most popular arts are theater, namely Semhu, jewelcraft and cosmetology. One displays the prowess of the body while the others adorn it.
Semhu (service to the spoken word) is an Eypharian style of theater. It is one of the oldest traditions in Mizahar, dating back over seven thousand-years. While the subject matter and training has changed, the performances remain a rare glimpse into Pre-Valterrian Eyktol.
Semhu is an intensely physical and visual artform, combining acrobatics, mime, and martial arts to produce a highly stylized and often vigorous dancing style. This bodily expression is paired with ornate singing and vocal phrasing.
For an Eypharian, jewelry is as necessary as sandals. The desert and its mines offer a fine selection of gems and metals to work with. Common styles use inlay, intricate bead patterns and metalwork.
More than any other race, the Eypharians have elevated cosmetology to an art form. Women paint their hair and faces in vivid hues, challenging the strictures of nature. Men will use kohl and occasionally mica dust. A portion of this practice has a practical aspect: defending Eypharian skin and eyes from the glare of the desert sun.
Most Eypharian industry revolves around portable luxury goods. Due to their distance from other cities they favor goods easily transported and worth the effort of caravans and ships. While the race produces a broad range of product they are most known for their perfumes, cosmetics, wadj (a form of paper) and dyes. For greater detail, please see the Ahnatep entry.
In regards to the gods, Eypharians are opportunists with a respect for past favors. They worship the gods they perceive as the most powerful or useful in their lives, with a tendency to honor traditional gods out of habit.
The Eypharians are not an especially devout people, on the whole. They enjoy the pomp and power of religion, and use faith like a talisman. However, there is little in the way of true devotion of heart and mind.
Dira, Syna and Makutsi are the traditional gods, a default for Eypharians who are not particularly swayed one way or another.
Racial Skill Bonus
- +10 In any weapon, ideally so a PC can work towards Dual Wield which requires 30+ points in a weapon as a prerequisite (Racial Bonuses cannot be stacked with Starting Package Skills to reach a sum beyond 30)