From the books of Mar/Xor, granted by
In the Exodus from the Great Dimensional Rift in the Eighth Age, many colony ships fled to the core worlds to escape certain destruction. In the choas of diaspora, sometimes ships were lost in the far reaches of space.
The colony ship Ugabi
was a titan-class vessel that carried peoples from the remote reaches of continent of Efrikand on Anwe. They were headed for a planet of deserts and tropical oceans as suited their southern constitutions. Enroute, they experienced a critical failure which forced a crash landing on exodus planet LZ 109-A.
Recorded in the imperial charts as "Qurban", after a cursory scan by a satellite probe, LZ 109-A had been classified as sub-prime for colonization due to its year-round frigid climate.
The crash was not catastrophic in terms of loss of life. However, damage to systems and supplies was severe and irreperable. The beacon was destroyed beyond hope of repair. Cut off from other colonies, reduced to pre-industrial levels of technology, the civilization remained undiscovered by the empire for over 2 millenia.
The peoples of the Ugabi called their new planet "Abissa", and themselves Mauw
, after the ancestral tribe to which most of the colonists had belonged. They found their planet to be one of sere beauty. In the winter landscape of steep passes which opened into stone-littered plains, they developed a culture rich in mythology and ritual.
The Abissian Cloud Beasts were creatures of great mystery to the Mauw, considered sacred and the subject of many stories and legends. The herds were always surrounded by the great roiling masses of Cloudbreath, the heavy mist of the Beasts' exhalation, said to be itself a living thing. They were often seen before they were heard, the thundering of hooves, and then the Cloud would hew into sight in the distance. As they approached, their great curving horns could be seen in the mists, and then the beasts themselves could be glimpsed.
The most remarkeable feature of the Cloudbeasts was their fur. It hung in long, dreded knots; colored a deep wine or purple or crimson, or more rarely, a gleaming silver. If collected and carefully unknotted, this fur could be spun into the richest, warmest and softest material in the known worlds.
Collecting the fur was extermely difficult. The Mauw all attempted it at least once in their lives, as a right of passage into adulthood. A small number continued to risk throughout their lives to collect the locks of the Beast, whether drawn by the riches to be made from this valuable material or by the sacred thrill of the Beasts themselves.
The locks could only be cut by silver shears, and one had to approach through the writhing, sharp-smelling Cloudbreath without stealth. It could never be known if the Beast would allow the 6 handfuls of its locks to be cut without incident, or if it would turn and charge, all 2,000 pounds of muscle and sharp horn ready to rend and tear and trample. If the Beast decided to charge, one could attept to run, though without much hope, for they were swift despite their size. It was forbidden to attempt to fight back and harm the sacred Cloud Beast, however, and most stood their ground and accepted the judgement of the Beast and the honorable death it brought.