This page contains the history of the ketucari world, an overview of its landmasses, and the sentient species aside from ketucari that inhabit it.
The BeginniningLegend tells that Velukaelo (vel-OO-kai-ELO) began as a planet devoid of sapient life forms. It was created by the goddess Oreki as a sanctuary, free from the destruction caused by intelligent species. For a time, Oreki and her son Asli lived in peace on this flourishing and vibrant planet. One day, Oreki left to see what had become of her past creations, leaving Asli alone on Velukaelo. Bored, Asli decided to take advantage of his mother's absence in order to explore a cache of hers which he had been forbidden to enter. There Asli discovered the essences of his mother's favorite (and most dangerous) creations. Being young and foolish and not completely sure of the extent of his abilities, Asli began to experiment with these essences and eventually managed to create living creatures from them. His initial excitement over the breakthrough was short-lived, for he soon realized that his creations were emotionally and mentally incomplete, causing them to be destructive and hostile. Asli attempted to right his error, but his creations turned against him.
Just as they were about to corner him, Oreki returned with a vengeance upon seeing the carnage Asli had caused. Though she saved Asli from being killed by his creatures, she was furious with him and spared him no mercy when it came to exacting her revenge for nearly destroying her sanctuary. Oreki shredded Asli's soul in countless pieces, which she distributed among his creations as a substitute for their missing parts. This gave them ability to think and empathize, but also gave them the capacity for wielding magic. This was not the end of Asli's punishment.
Oreki's rage was so great that she created a shadow to Asli's personality, a brother who was aptly named Anti, for the sole purpose of making Asli's life a living hell. Where Asli still loved his creations as well as the planet itself, Anti found them abhorrent and wanted nothing more than to see it all destroyed. If Anti were to succeed in his mission, Asli, too, would be killed due to his soul being entwined with mortals. It was thus that Asli was trapped on Velukaelo, forced to keep his brother in line not only to save his beloved creations, but himself as well. Finding that this punishment was sufficient, Oreki abandoned her sons and the planet in search of a new place where she could find peace.
The Middle AgeIn spite of the backdrop of Asli and Anti's constant conflict, Velukaelo flourished. The races spread north over its three largest continents: the southern continent of Lucedar, the middle Darsha, and the northern Aegrus. As a result of Asli and Anti's doings, new gods and demons began to spring up and eventually became heavily intertwined with Velukaelan culture. As the original creations evolved, they spread into several distinct races: the Lucedarians of the south, the akadri, the jordskar, humans, and the hibridi barbarians. Hybrids between the races, called heldyr, eventually became their own people as well. Over time, the akadri became the dominant race due their ingenuity and desire to advance their technology. Their civilization was constantly growing, making them proud and arrogant. Sensing an incoming conflict, Lucedarians slowly began to cut ties with the akadri's main territory of Darsha. As Lucedar once paved the way for the relationship between mortals and gods, the separation caused the akadri to lose touch with their respect for the deities. In this way, Lucedar inadvertently contributed to the brewing storm.
Around this time, a great battle between Asli and Anti resulted in the two gods going dormant. A new goddess named Kohtoyasa, the daughter of Asli, began to rise in power through Velukaelo's pantheon. However, the lack of a powerful sovereign deity to keep them in check only emboldened the akadri.
Rise of the God HuntersWhile no one knows exactly where ketucari originated, there has been some speculation that they may be descendants of Asli and some mortal creature. For whatever reason, they ended up living as wild animals and existed that way for many years. They weren’t regarded as anything particularly unique by Velukaelo’s sapient races. One of the nomadic tribes of Velukaelo eventually noticed them because of their excellent tracking and hunting ability. By following the ketucari and studying them, they learned where to find and how to kill animals that could sustain them over winter. To their surprise, the ketucari began to show interest in them as well and would often approach their camps. Though the ketucari initially fled or acted defensive whenever they were approached, over time they got to the point where the nomads could get near them and even touch them. The more they interacted, the more ketucari began to integrate themselves into the nomad tribe. The nomads gave them their name, which in their language means “divine hunter”.
The relationship between the nomads and the ketucari was always a partnership rather than a master-servant arrangement. Being that dragons (and anything resembling them) are sacred in Velukaelo, the nomads never even attempted to make ketucari yield to any type of servitude. The nomads had a deep respect for nature back then and considered their bond with the ketucari to be spiritual. They discovered that ketucari also had the capacity for both magic and speech and they were happy to help them hone both abilities. In turn, the ketucari held a great sense of gratitude toward the nomads for “giving” them the gifts of words and magic. As their survival and culture grew more dependent on each other, the nomads and the ketucari formed an unbreakable friendship that continued on for thousands of years.
Because they stuck to remote terrain, ketucari and their people lived apart from the woes of modern Velukaelan society. Thus, it came as a huge surprise to them when they were attacked by the akadri empire. By this time, the akadri had long since been waging a war on gods. Led by their false god, a sapient machine named Aterrin, they sought to destroy the deities whose thumb they felt they were being held under. At this time, deities and demons were so widespread that there had indeed been a few instances of them abusing their power and terrorizing mortals, so in some ways the akadri’s sentiments were justified. However, part of their conflict with the gods was also due to the aforementioned lack of respect for them. Due to their reliance on their inventions, the akadri had only very weak magic and were seeking to add it to their arsenal. The ketucari and their people had drawn their attention for this reason, as rumors had spread about their hunting and magical abilities.
By now, ketucari were powerful enough that they could have put up a fight as they and their people were enslaved by the akadri. They chose to go quietly, however, as they did not want a rebellion on their part to put their people in danger. Pulled into the akadri army, they were forced to go up against divine creatures they had no reason to tangle with before. They killed benevolent and evil deities alike, even those who had benefited the people who worshiped them. Though this deeply bothered them, they had to learn to turn off their sense of morality and complete their missions in order to avoid trouble with the akadri.
The akadri war eventually wrought so much destruction that Velukaelo’s most powerful deities had to step in to end it (and even they had a bit of a struggle). They defeated the akadri and Atterin, bringing the empire to its knees. All of the people the akadri had enslaved were free to go, but for ketucari and their people the damage was already done. The people of Velukaelo hated and feared them for the atrocities they had been forced to commit during the war. They tried to flee back to their old territory, but even then they were haunted by their reputation as god killers. Kohtoyasa took pity on them and paid them a visit in order to give them a new task. She understood the events that had led to the akadri rising against the gods and knew that in order to avoid something similar happening in the future, there would need to be a balance between gods and mortals. She encouraged them to turn the situation to their favor and make their burden their greatest strength. It was far too late for them to go back to the way things had been before, so their only option was to go forward on this new path. With Kohtoyasa's blessing, the ketucari and their people accepted their new role as god hunters. Not as ruthless killers, but as keepers of balance.
As the years passed, they eventually began to participate in Velukaelo's black market for god and demon body parts as another way to sustain themselves. Not only did they earn vital income, but it also helped them ensure that every part of their kills would be put to use. They still have a bit of a nasty reputation and generate quite a bit of fear among villages whose prosperity is largely dependent on deities. Though they generally only kill deities that are causing trouble among the mortals, they may also be hired to kill by certain people or villages. While most ketucari see their "job" as a necessary part of life, others enjoy it a lot more than they should. Most of those who enjoy it do so because of the challenge of killing this type of quarry and don't really have any respect for the place of deities in the world. In spite of the very different view points, the two trains of thought tolerate each other for the most part and can be found living in the same tribes with their people.
Click the image for a larger view!
AegrusThis is the northernmost continent of Velukaelo. The climate here is similar to that of Eurasia. It is comprised of a polar desert, tundra, taiga, montane forest, temperate steppes, and some temperate broadleaf areas. Presently, a good portion of Aegrus is controlled by the Akadri Empire, though it is also more wild regions are held by hibridi. Due its harsh climate, much of Aegrus is very rural, though it does have several large modern cities on its southern coast.Known Regions
DarshaThis is the central continent of Velukaelo with a climate similar to North America and parts of Europe. It is controlled entirely by the Akadri Empire. Cities in Darsha are either extremely high tech or very rural-- there is really no in between because their social hierarchy doesn't leave much room for mixing. It is comprised of mountains, montane forests, temperate broadleaf forests, steppes, subtropical dry forest, chaparral, and some jungle. While the main cities of Darsha were once very "sterile" due to their deification of technology, their past war with the gods has seen a drastic change in their architecture. Statues of gods are often built into the architecture of even rural buildings in order to show respect and to declare allegiances to the various deities. The wealth of this country is reflected in their bright garb and colorful dwellings. Darsha's capitol city is called Messus. Most ketucari and their nomadic companions roam the wilds of Darsha.Known Regions
LucedarThe southernmost region, for the most part separate from the rest of the world. It is home to the ancient and powerful Lucedarians, who try not to concern themselves with the affairs of the north. It is rich in wildlife, gods, demons, resources, and magic. Though this continent is a wealth of resources, the Akadri Empire has not made an attempt to conquer it due to fear of retaliation from the gods themselves.Known Regions
Vorim HataarThis is a very inhospitable country between Aegrus and Darsha that is laced with volcanoes and mines. It is the world's largest producer of gems, metals, and natural fuel. While it is mostly comprised of rocky, volcanic terrain, it has a select few areas of temperate broadleaf forest near the southern parts. Because it is so rich in resources, it is often the cause of skirmishes between akadri and hibridi.Known Regions
LetoThis is a country between Lucedar and Darsha. It is a very sacred land and doesn't have many inhabitants. It is considered the refuge of the most powerful gods. There is a rumor that the home of Velukaelo's sovereign deities, Kohtoyasa and Asli, is built into Mount Vitian (Velukaelo's tallest mountain). At one point, Leto was heavily populated by people who almost drained it of its wildlife and resources. Most of the people were either driven to Leto's coast or out of it completely when the gods struck against the akadri. The sun god Hyperion was responsible for resetting the balance of Leto and makes his home there.Known Regions
Salamander IslandA mysterious tropical island off the south coast of Darsha. It is home to the god of destruction, Garoch, and his underlings- small dragon like creatures called salamanders. This island is extremely dangerous because Garoch is fiercely territorial, even patrolling the waters close to it. Most people steer clear of it, but some fortune seekers try to go there in the hopes of killing salamanders as their parts are highly valuable.Known Regions
Akadri are the most numerous people of Velukaelo. They live on every continent, but are found primarily in the Darsha region. They are very advanced, but they are also very xenophobic and keep their inventions to themselves. At one time, they had enslaved most of the other races they shared space with in order to build their empire. They used to be quite reliant on their inventions and managed to create some awesomely destructive weapons. While they are still pompous and look down upon other races after losing their war with the gods, they have developed a healthy respect for the natural order of Velukaelo. The highest populations of akadri can be found in Darsha's capital, Messus, as well as high-tech cities in close proximity to it. Many akadri also live in remote farming villages that support the higher population areas. Akadri are part of the reason ketucari and their companions have somewhat of an evil stigma, as they worked with them (sometimes by force) when trying to destroy Velukaelo's pantheon. Akadri can use magic, but their reliance on technology is so great that many of them have forgotten how.Appearance: Akadri fur is most commonly found in shades of white and gray. Occasionally, mousy brown or pale yellow may be found. Because they have very little variation in their fur colors, akadri enjoy tattoos, using dye or powder to make their fur bright colors, and wearing vibrant clothing to express individuality. Horn styles vary wildly.Average Height: 6 ft - 7.5 ftAverage Weight: 180-300 lb.Average Lifespan: 150 yearsOdds and Ends:
- Akadri fashion, architecture, and art forms are inspired by Indian culture. Even the futuristic city of Messus, these elements can still be found.
- Akadri horns are incredibly strong, but they are breakable. The blood supply in their horns makes this a very dangerous injury as they can quickly bleed out.
- Akadri accents are similar to the South African accent.
- While males are generally bigger, a rare mutation will cause certain females to be even larger, more muscular, and sport bigger horns than males. Akadri have no name for this condition as, though unusual, it isn't seen as anything noteworthy or upsetting.
- Additional information can be found in the second image above.
Jordskar (yord-skar) are a dwindling people located in very remote areas of Aegrus. They used to populate much of Aegrus, but the hostile hibridi have been hunting them down for thousands of years and driving them into more remote regions. Jordskarn was once home to the largest population of jordskar, but rubble and ghost towns are all that remain of many of their dwellings. The few jordskar who remain are peaceful, but understandably wary. The highest, coldest mountain peaks are they are most likely to be found due to them being uniquely adapted to survive in such conditions. The largest of all the races of Velukaelo, jordskar tend to use their brute strength rather than magic to get things done. However, greheli users among them are fairly common. They raise crops and livestock, the latter being allowed to roam and forage for themselves in the even that the jordskar have to freeze themselves (see below). They are nomadic and in the summer they separate into family groups/tribes and in the winter they all unite to pool their resources.Appearance: Jordskar have very little sexual dimorphism. Females have slightly more refined faces and the smallest hint of a bosom, but that's about the end of the differences aside from their reproductive organs. Like akadri, their fur colors are most commonly shades of white and gray. Jordskar have a rough, reptile-like hide. While their toes end in hooves like akadri, the majority of a jordskar's foot is soft and leathery, much like a camel foot. As they are highly cold resistant, they often go barefoot even in extreme weather (this is also because their feet are vibration-sensitive, which can be crucial to navigating their harsh environment and detecting incoming danger). All jordskar are heavy-set.Average Height: 7 ft - 9 ftAverage Weight: 250-500 lb.Average Lifespan: 200 years (natural lifespan), 60 years (lifespan due to hibridi persecution)Odds and Ends:
- Jordskar clothing and culture is inspired by ancient Norse civilization.
- Jordskar have one of the most extreme adaptions of all the races: the ability to freeze themselves. Their bodies naturally produce cryoprotectants that allow them to hibernate when conditions get too extreme to survive (cold that is deadly even for them, food shortages, etc.). They are completely dormant during this time and usually appear dead. Their bodies can go through multiple freeze/thaw cycles in a single season, and they will live as long as no more than 65% of their body water freezes. Of course, hibridi looking to hunt jordskar will often exploit this adaptation as they are defenseless during hibernation.
- Jordskar accents are similar to those found in Scandinavia.
- Jordskar use their wide tails as extra fat storage to survive winter.
Heldyr (hel-deer) are a numerous but low-standing race. Most of the population was enslaved by akadri during Atterin's war. They are a mixed-race people like the hibridi, but are far less aggressive. They make up the majority of the nomadic tribes the ketucari live with. Heldyr can use magic better than akadri, but not as well as Lucedarians. They teach what they do know to the ketucari. They are located primarily in Aegrus and Darsha. Many of them still provide cheap labor to akadri, especially in the harsh region of Vorim Hataar where akadri aren't keen on working themselves.
Appearance: Heldyr do not have a standard appearance. As they are comprised of mixtures of all the races, all of their features have huge amounts of variation. Heldyr may have fur as seen on the akadri and jordskar. Not all heldyr have horns or tails. Due to a small percentage of god blood sometimes found in heldyr, they may even have some features not found in other races, such as unusually ornate horns.
Average Height: 5.5 ft - 7.5 ft
Average Weight: 140-300 lb.
Average Lifespan: 160 years
Odds and Ends:
- Heldyr customs tend to mirror that of whichever the dominant race is where they are living. Nomadic tribes of heldyr are the exception to this rule. Each tribe has their own dialect and lore and all of them are experts at living off the land.
- In the image above, the male heldyr in the coat sports the clothing style commonly found in nomadic tribes of heldyr. The woman on the far right has garb common in heldyr working on Vorim Hataar.
- Because humans have a drastically different hand/foot structure than the other races, it isn't at all uncommon for heldyr who have human ancestry to have deformed hands/legs/feet. There is a bit of stigma around them because of this. Akadri especially view them as lesser due in part to this. Most heldyr have such a long lineage of inter-species mixing that their anatomy has gotten fairly stable, however. In spite of the current levels of racism and ableism, modern Velukaelo is far easier to live in than it was hundreds or thousands of years ago. Natural selection caused mostly the early heldyr with more sound anatomy to survive and contribute to the current population's anatomical stability. Also, because of all this, heldyr are the most likely species on Velukaelo to also be automatons. Even though automatons have their own stigma, the technology can greatly improve a heldyr's quality of life.
- Heldyr may have padding on their hands (see the hand examples), but it may be more sparse than that of the other non-human species.
Hibridi are violent, cannibalistic barbarians who live in Aegrus. Some hibridi have mixed in with nomadic tribes the ketucari live with. Some of the more vicious ketucari can be found living with the more war-like hibridi out of preference. Hibridi are very much "mutts" and don't have one consistence appearance. They are avidly involved in Velukaelo's black market for god parts and ketucari as well as their nomad companions must deal with them often.
Appearance: Hibridi very closely resemble heldyr, although they are consistently more sturdy, larger, and have far less instances of deformities found in heldyr.
Average Height: 6 ft - 7.5 ft
Average Weight: 175-300 lb.
Average Lifespan: 160 years (natural lifespan), 75 years (due to dangerous lifestyle)
Odds and Ends:
- Hibridi clothing resembles that found in ancient Norse civilization with some nods to Mongolian and Siberian garb.
- Aggression is such a valuable personality trait to the hibridi that it could now be considered a common genetic trait among them.
- There are many tribes of hibridi with their own leaders, but all of them answer to Gunagi (above), an apparent immortal who has been at the race's helm for centuries.
- Hibridi believe they can gain power by eating other sapient races and will do so whenever given the chance. They are highly dangerous and have made Aegrus difficult to delve into even for the technologically advanced akadri.
- Hibridi are likely descended from heldyr slaves who were forced to explore Aegrus and determine its survivability before being left there by their akadri captors.
Lucedarians inhabit the region of Lucedar. Even though akadri have the means to invade Lucedar, they are too afraid to do so after Aterrin's fall because of legends that Lucedar is protected by the gods. Lucedarians are the most avid magic users of all the races and specialize in nuclear magic. They are so good at it that they can actually temporarily change their own bodies into other elements at will. Lucedarians are seen as Velukaelo's original race, from which all the others evolved from (with the exception of humans). They are primarily desert and jungle dwellers and maintain a close spiritual connection with Velukaelo.
Appearance: As far as their bone structure and anatomical features such as their feet and tails, Lucedarians very closely resemble akadri. However, Lucedarians are far darker in hair and skin color. They tend to have coloration that has a brown or reddish undertone, as opposed the muted colors in akadri. Charcoal-colored skin and hair is common as well. Due to living in a hotter climate, they have less fur than akadri, particularly around their faces. While they do have manes like akadri, they are able to grow them longer and tend to wear them in braids or dreadlocks. When kept short, their manes will stand on end like akadri manes. They tend to be larger and more muscular than akadri and can sport sparse scaling on their skin as seen above.
Average Height: 7-8.5 ft
Average Weight: 200-350 lb.
Average Lifespan: 200 years
Odds and Ends:
- Lucedarian culture, language, architecture, and garb has influences from Ancient Greece as well as Middle Eastern, African, and ancient South American cultures.
- Lucedarians used to be the same size as akadri, but have gotten larger through the years as it makes their magic more effective. The more mass they have, the more they have to work with when changing their own body parts into different elements.
- Technology in Lucedar is only used where it is practical. They are wary of technology and in general, their cities are not even as advanced as modern cities of Earth. They would rather use magic to do what they need done. However, their cities are in pristine condition and what they lack in technology is made up for with the beautiful ways in which nature has been incorporated into them.
- War is rare among Lucedarians. Most of the population is wealthy enough to be comfortable, and when paired with their desire to live in harmony with nature, there is very little incentive to fight. Most violence in Lucedar is instigated by Anti and/or his minions.
- Lucedarians tend to be quite humble and kind, though they are wary of outsiders due to tales they've heard of the violence in other countries.
The humans of Velukaelo are very similar to those on Earth. However, since they have been required to compete with the stronger races for their place on the planet, they tend to be taller and stronger than Earth humans. While they don't have as high of social standing in Darsha as the akadri, they do well for themselves and have been able to keep their numbers at a healthy level. Humans on Velukaelo are also able to use magic. Like the heldyr, they tend to adopt the customs of the dominant race in whatever country they're living in.
Appearance: Nearly identical to humans of Earth. Skin tones vary as much as they do on Earth, but most humans are a medium brown.
Average Weight: 150-250 lb.
Average Lifespan: 150 years
Odds and Ends:
- Velukaelan humans are thought to have been created at the same time as Lucedarians due to Asli's tampering with "essences" from Oreki's favorite creations.
- Their success in Velukaelo has been hampered by their weakness compared to Lucedarians and the races that sprang from them, but in recent years they have begun to catch up in numbers.
Automatons are any cyborg, android, or heavily robotically enhanced person of any race. They were quite numerous during Aterrin's reign, but since his fall they have become something of a taboo. This is especially true for sentient androids since they are seen as pseudo-souls who have no place in Velukaelo's cycle of reincarnation. Automatons are most likely to live in poverty in an attempt to keep themselves hidden from those who see them as abominations.