|Languages||Kathar Altalar, Wyld Altalar|
|Naming Customs||Fantasy Elven with Harsh Consonants, but not Tolkien Elven|
|Distinctions||Void-worshipping Nelfin with a dark, magic-inclined culture and a penchant for wickedness|
|Maximum Age||500 years|
To the Kathar, there is no cost too great to pay in the pursuit of absolute power. Seen by outsiders as an inherently malevolent people thanks to their radically different cultural views on things most Races would consider morally reprehensible or outright evil, the Kathar keep the spirit of the old Allorn Empire alive in a new and changed state. Descending directly from the Altalar, the Kathar began their lives as the scholarly and magic-obsessed elves before a selection of them sought to dig deeper into the magic there was to be had in the world and found their answer within the Void. Changed drastically by the Void Essences they brought into the world, the Kathar have managed to master the Void that once controlled them in order to forge a new Empire in the ashes of the Allorn: the Dread Empire, their new home and position to spread their influence across Aloria and cement their place as the new heralds of magical supremacy in the modern world. The Kathar, or Dread Empire Elves, are the westernmost Nelfin species that occupy the Shadow Isles, the Kathar Steppes, the landmass of Saivale, and the Wolond Walds that altogether make up the Dread Empire. Their Empire is at war with nearly every other state in the world (though not necessarily by their own aggressions), constantly butting heads with the other Elven states, the Pōlorcs of Daen, and the Regalian Empire first and foremost. The Kathar themselves, often also referred to as Shadow Elves, are less a singular Nelfin species and more so a cultural collective of subspecies all referred to together as Kathar that share common ideals about vice and the power inherent in Magic. Furthermore, they have vastly differing cultural groups and societies that make them seem otherworldly in comparison to other Elves.
- 1 Physical & Mental Characteristics
- 2 Kathar Abilities
- 3 Summary of Racial Abilities
- 4 History
- 5 Culture
- 5.1 Language and Dialects
- 5.2 Politics
- 5.3 Other Great Kaahls
- 5.4 Family Life
- 5.5 Religion
- 5.6 Fashion
- 5.7 Holidays and Festivals
- 5.8 Magic
- 5.9 Combat and Warfare
- 5.10 Economy and Technology
- 6 Trivia
Physical & Mental Characteristics
All Kathar subraces are divided among so called tribes. Each of these tribes is distinct from one another, but mixing between tribes does occur, creating half-model Kathar (who themselves have varying acceptance in Kathar society). Below follows a breakdown of all the tribes within the Kathar race, with a summary of half-models at the end. The following tribes exist: Saivalthar (pronounced Sai-Val-Thar), Zolathar (pronounced Zo-La-Thar), Shenathar (pronounced Shen-Na-Thar), Oscithar (pronounced Os-Kee-Thar, Bakrathar (pronounced Bak-Ra-Thar), Wolathar (pronounced Wow-La-Thar), Wylathar (pronounced Wai-La-Thar) and Solstithar (pronounced Sol-Sti-Thar). Note: there is one linguistic difference between Princes of Osc’ïrd and Oscithar, in that Osc’ïrd is pronounced as Os-Sheerd.
Saivalthar, sometimes also referred to as Saivale or Saival, are a predominantly aristocratic upper crust of the Kathar race that strongly favors politics, intrigue, power and intellect. The Saivalthar appear similar to Teledden Altalar in many ways, having a slender body type with a pristine clean and bright skin, with angular facial features and sharp ears. Their hair is often pure white, but can also be raven black. What notably sets them apart from Isldar, is that their eye sockets are permanently dark, almost as if they have a permanent smoky eye-shadow even among men, and their facial features are far more pointed, including sharpened and enlarged canine teeth that have nothing to with Vampirism. Saivalthar eye whites are light gray, while their irises can range from blue to green to brown. They are among the taller Kathar, and bear themselves with a great deal of poise and class. Saivalthar tend to be arrogant, self assured, haughty, stubborn and with a great deal of love for magic, and inflicting misery on others, even their own race. Saivalthar frequently clash with other Saivalthar or Zolathar for control of Kaahls and other groups where Kathar come together.
Zolathar, sometimes also referred to as Zalots or Shenath-Pathaar (leading Shenathar), are a predominantly aristocratic upper crust of the Kathar race that strongly favors religion, tradition and customs, military leadership and warfare. They are visually identical to Shenathar, having general Fin’ullen Altalar proportions and physical traits (thus unlike Saivalthar being capable of body hair and facial hair), and ranging from athletic to slim. Their skin tone is distinctly gray, but ranges more closely to the lighter gray variants. Zolathar are shorter than Saivalthar, but taller than Shenathar, and have the same bone-white or raven-black hair. Zolathar facial features are more rounded than Saivalthar, but still more distinctly angular than most other Nelfin races. Their eye-whites are light gray or white, while their irises can range from blue to green to brown. Zolathar are less self-absorbed than Saivalthar, but have the same craving and obsession for power and control, though taking a different angle. The Saivalthar use scheming and politics, while the Zolathar use the military and religion. Zolathar, when acting as priesthood, frequently clash with other priests, vying to get their interpretation of Ancient Worship to become the most popular.
Shenathar are visually identical to the Zolathar, but have some minor visual differences. They can achieve a higher Body Shape than Zolathar, namely Muscular, and tend to be shorter than Zolathar. Their skin tone is distinctly gray, but ranges more closely to the lighter gray variants. Their eye whites can also be white or light gray, but they can additionally also be dark gray. Shenathar in contrast to Zolathar are more wild and tribal, engaged in more outwardly passionate expressions of emotion, and more prone to outbursts of violence and hedonism. In many ways, Zolathar are Shenathar with self control and future planning, while inversely Shenathar are Zolathar but free of the yoke of Saivalthar-imitation. Shenathar love physical combat and partying, and are particularly prone to appreciate flattery in conversation. They are proud (though not as prideful as the Bakrathar) and hold firm to their traditions and religion.
Oscithar are visually identical to Fin’ullen Altalar, with some notable differences. Oscithar can be taller than Fin’ullen Altalar, reaching about the same height as Zolathar Kathar, and are also capable of reaching Muscular Body Shape. Their skin tone is slightly darker than Shenathar and Zolathar skin tone, though not quite as dark as Bakrathar. Oscithar have one curious physical trait: their skin patterning. On top of their regular medium gray skin tone, all Oscitar have a pattern of stripes and lines that are reminiscent of a tiger’s stripes running along their back, around their sides, along their arms, legs and some into the neck and chest area. For each Oscitar, these patterns are unique, and can be used to identify them. For some these lines are thick and touch each other, for others they are thin and run along the natural contours of the body like thin blades. These patterns are always striped with pointed edges, and are also always a much darker pigment than the natural skin tone. Oscithar have much in common with the Teledden and Fin’ullen personalities combined, being arrogant and snobby to each other and the poorer classes, yet outwardly hedonistic and self-serving without embarrassment or shame. Oscithar (like Solstithar) are commonly described as the ethical Kathar however, as they do have a sense of duty to history, particularly the Allorn Empire, and upholding a concept of honor and discipline, something that lacks in most other Kathar tribes. As such, they can best be described as more Altalar leaning in behavior, minus their Void related quirks.
Bakrathar are visually identical to Orcs, with some notable differences. Bakrathar have far more Nelfin facial features, lacking a large square Orc jawline, shortened and upturned Orc nose, or enlarged brow bones that are frequent among Orcs. They also have smaller tusks, and smaller lips to accommodate large teeth in their mouths, giving them the appearance of more sophisticated Orcs (for those who expect Orcs to be unsophisticated based on appearance). Bakrathar, much like Orcs, are large and usually more Muscular or Strongman in Body Shape, due to their inherent Orc biology roots. Their ears are pointy like the other Kathar, and much like Shenathar, they can have facial and body hair, have eye-whites that can be white, light gray or dark gray, but exclusively have green irises (any shade of green including lime). Bakrathar are bulky and taller than most Kathar subraces except the Saivalthar, and have a temperament to boot. Bakrathar are in many ways what one expects an Orc to be, except with no honor limitations or discipline restrictions. While not quite reaching yub-yub levels, Bakrathar are simple in their pursuits for food & drink, and combat & glory. Many of them work as gladiators, body guards, shocktroopers or other rough-fighting positions both inside and outside of the Dread Empire. Enslaved Bakrathar are a high value commodity even in Regalian fighting rings, due to Bakrathar’s exceptional endurance and will to continue fighting, having not only just embraced the Orc thrift, but made it part of who they are. Note, despite the close proximity to Orc biology, Bakrathar cannot actually cross-breed with any other race save for other Kathar. This is a lingering side-effect from their magical birth.
The Wolathar are a bit of an oddity in the Kathar race, as their skintones and overall color themes are not near-gray, but something else entirely. Wolathar are often described as Shenathar who have traveled into the woods, and absorbed the essence of the dirt from which they grow, and to some extent, this is true. In contrast with Shenathar, who they resemble the closest, their skin-tone is more bronze-like, albeit still very dulled and with a great level of gray-ness to it, that can be described as “like tungsten ore”. Their hair, while black, has a distinct bronze sheen to it. Wolathar are about the same height as Shenathar, are capable of growing body hair and facial hair, and their male variant is probably the hairiest Kathar subrace. Their eye-whites are dark gray, and their eye-colors are always some variant of brown or green. Wolathar are in many ways Shenathar: tribal, festive, communal, but at the same time also not. They have a great deal of paranoia to outsiders, being distrusting of many and friendly to very few. They are quickly aware of small changes in body language or the position of objects, being keen on their direct surroundings, and always having an escape route ready in case things go bad. The Wolathar are far from skittish or cowardly, rather, they just prefer being prepared, and still have some of the best warriors in the Kathar Dread Empire. Wolathar often have small horns and cranial ridges in their skull, either on their forehead, chin, or cheekbones. These are natural bone growths, but can be enhanced with bone singing.
The Wylathar are even more odd than Wolathar, in that they seem entirely out of place in their race due to the wild mutations of the Dream-Scream Woods or Warpwoods, their homeland that was wildly twisted by unchecked magics. Wylathar are a subrace in and of themselves, but any Kathar can become a Wylathar also by lingering in the Warpwoods for too long, changing their body to that of a Wylathar. Wylathar at their base are the shortest Kathar subrace, but are heavily mutated. Some mutations manifest as abnormal animal anatomy, meaning that for example parts of the body are replaced with insect or mammal features. Batlike ears, vestigial skins of flesh between arms and torso, beetle horns, moth antenna, are all possible. Another form of mutation that occurs is colorwarping, where (Wylathar can have any skin tone from their prior subrace, or a light grey skin tone like Shenathar) this starts discoloring in various areas. For example, they might develop bio luminescent scales on the sides of their face and on their arms, their hair might take on a vibrant blue or purple color and start glowing in the dark, their eye-whites might turn blue, and they might sprout horns that glow and give of trails of ghostly dust. Wylathar are frail however, being no larger than Slim Body Shape, and never being anywhere close to a reliable warrior. Wyldwarped tend to be whimsical, quirky, and creative. They might also be accused of being haphazard and random, changing their thought processes or how they feel about something seemingly on a whim, or sometimes just to provoke a reaction out of someone. While externally Wylathar may seem arbitrary, there is always order to their chaos internally.
The Solstithar or “Regalian Gray-Elves” are Kathar that have long abandoned their roots of the Dread Empire and Ancient Worship, and integrated into Regalian society. Many of them worship Estel, or even Unionism, with only trace levels of Evolution Cultism (not Ancient Worship) being present among them like a lingering tradition. Solstithar have worked and earned their place in the Regalian Empire, but still remain somewhat separate from it due to their innate self-gratifying attitude. Solstithar look identical to Shenathar in every way, except for their hair and eyes. The hair of the Solstithar is always some variant of light or dark copper (not just brown), while their eye-whites are always white, with a green or blue iris. Solstithar love parties, entertainment, soirees, drinking, feasting and watching gladiatorial fights. Many of the rich Solstithar households within the Regalian Empire are slavers, acquiring gladiator slaves from across the world, making them fight in the ring for coin and entertainment. While most Regalians are still very suspicious of Solstithar and their Void Cultist leanings, nobody can deny that a Solstithar party is always all-inclusive, perfectly hedonistic, celebrating all joys of life, and distinctly un-bigoted. Solstithar can generally be described as “the only race that will try anything, and shuns nothing”.
The Kathar race has a unique ability to create more-perfect half-races within their own racial spectrum. While other races (such as Allar and Altalar) usually have a very one-or-the-other approach to racial geneology, Kathar create more perfect combinations of parents from two different tribes (subraces). That being said, each Half-Model has a different reception among them, and may as such have varying experiences. Kathar can reproduce with other non-Kathar, though in those cases, the rules default to the Half Races page. This section is purely for full-blood Kathar who become an internal half-subrace. At a baseline, Half-Models become the middle ground between their parents. For example, if a Bakrathar and Shenathar mix, this could result in a larger Shenathar with darker skin and smaller tusks. If a Oscithar and Saivalthar mix, this could result in a Saivalthar with more body hair, and a striped pattern of discoloration, yet pale white skin. Aesthetically, mixtures between Kathar tribes can be any combination of visual features defined by the tribes above (though only ever from two different tribe parents, there is no such thing as a 1/4,1/4,1/2 Kathar). Functionally however, several rules need to be followed:
- Physical Stat is the average between the two parents. For example, if the max for the father is 60, and the max for the mother is 20, then the Physical Stat Cap becomes 40.
- Average or Max Height is the average between the two parents. Refer to the Proficiency Page for information on Height and Physical Stat Cap.
- Proficiency Boosts may only be chosen from one of the parents (for example, just the father). There is no Proficiency Boost mixing or picking.
- All Half-Model Kathar have access to the Common Kathar Abilities. For tribe-specific Abilities however, they must pick one primary tribe Ability from one parent, and the secondary tribe Ability from the other parent. Each tribe has a primary and secondary ability, and a Half-Model may never have two primary abilities.
- On Character Applications, Kathar Half-Models should be identified as: “Race: Half-Model Kathar (Shenathar/Wylathar)” for example.
Paramount among the goals of the Kathar people is the conversion of as many Nelfin as possible to their superior, Void-influenced way of life. With this desire in mind, the Kathar are able to harness the latent power within their blood and a few other simple reagents and transform a Nelfin into a Kathar of a particular tribe through the use of a ritual. This ritual cannot create Half-Model Kathar. The Ritual of Dread Rebirth (called Kall’arahk among themselves) is a very sacred act, requiring the participation of 3 collaborative Kathar in order to conduct it properly. What must first be acquired is a special sort of ritual bath carved from the black stone found plentiful in the Shadow Isles and Saivale. This bath must be large enough to lay a person up to 7 feet tall within, and is inscribed on every inch of its surface with intricate Void Script that sings the praises of the Void and of being Kathar. Once this bath is built or located, all 3 Kathar must donate a cup’s worth of their blood into a basin together and add to it a pinch of bone, a bottle of red wine (always unfiltered, as the natural minerals within are necessary for the concoction) and a bottle of ink in the chosen color they want their subject’s Sire sigil to manifest in. Once these things are mixed together until homogenous, it is poured into the bath until it covers the very bottom of it. Together, the Kathar link their hands around the bath and recite a particular prayer that calls out to the Void and its powers, beseeching it to come bless the wayward Nelfin that they intend to rebirth. This activates the latent Void Essence stored within their blood and the concoction inside the bath rapidly expands in volume until it fills it entirely. There, the Nelfin is submerged within the blackish-red liquid entirely and steeped within it for five minutes, after which they will emerge fully transformed into a Kathar. Altalar can become Shenathar, Zolathar, Solstithar or Saivalthar, depending on their personality; Avanthar become Wolathar, Bakrathar or Shenathar; Isldar become Saivalthar; and Cielothar become Wolathar or Wylathar through the ritual. Oscithar and Solstithar can be achieved by any Nelfin race being given Dread Rebirth. Additionally, Half-Elves can be Reborn, and will emerge as a tribe most closely fitting their personality, depending on the limitations set by their Nelfin parent. If after 3 days the subject has not embraced their new life as a Kathar and their spirit does not desire it, the transformation will be suddenly and painfully reverted. If they do accept the change, though, they are left as Kathar for another month. Then, a second choice point arrives after exactly 30 days, and if they still choose to remain Kathar, they will remain Kathar for the rest of their life, thought there exists a rumor that there are some ways to revert it. (OOC Note: If the player desires this process to be "forced" on their character and both parties are consenting OOCly, this is also possible. Otherwise, the character must accept the change.) It is not possible to perform this ritual if the person in question was already race changed through the Manathar Ritual.
In addition to Nelfin of both full and half-blood, non-Nelfin can be affected through a similar process, though not as intensive nor entirely permanent as Dread Rebirth. Any Kathar is capable of mixing their blood with a portion of ink, wine and powdered bone and then bathing an accessory or worn object in it. After an incantation is spoken above the receptacle, the object is infused and can be withdrawn, now inscribed with She’llaq. If a person wears the object, it binds itself to them with a flash of Void energy all around them, and begins to subtly change them in a number of ways over the course of 12 hours, lasting up to 7 days. Most prominent are the physical changes: depending on the Kathar who created the binding, the person will gradually take on features of their tribe like skin color, hair color, eye irregularities, body shape and fat becoming similar to a Kathar, though none of these changes are as full or dramatic as a complete Dread Rebirth would be. Additionally, their mentality changes to become more similar to a Kathar’s in their psyche, and they grow a sort of embedded loyalty to the Kathar who created their binding that manifests in different ways depending on the person: spiritual dedication, a sort of authoritative or military-like respect, or even romantic fondness are all possible and depend entirely on the person who is Bound. Dread Binding can be ended early through use of an exorcism, possession removal, or curse removal ability. After the effects wear off, or are removed, a new totem can be applied. Another person must then physically remove the enchanted object from the Bound person afterward.
For more manipulative and subversive efforts, a Kathar may infuse a piece of jewelry or decorative accessory with a feeling or emotion to give to a competitor, enemy, or potential ally, in an attempt to sway or sabotage them. These trinkets, when accepted by the victim, will warp the characters' personality based on whatever the Kathar imparted onto it for up to five days. Because of this, it is common for those Kathar who plan to enter combat to refuse any such gifts, as a single ring infused with slothfulness or cowardice can easily ruin their chances. Regardless of the emotion imparted on it, the effect of the spell ends after five days, and leaves them with the consolation of a mundane piece of jewelry.
Any Kathar can target another person, giving them (and themselves) a Target Curse of Dread Linking. This Curse causes any physical sensation felt by either person to be also copied and transferred to the other. This is not only limited to pleasant feelings (such as the the mouth-watering in anticipation of good food, or the butterfly stomach feeling of a passionate kiss) but also unpleasant feelings such as pain from being struck with a weapon. This Curse can be removed any time by the caster, or broken with any Exorcism or Possession removing Ability on the victim. Only one Curse can be active for the caster, and after it has broken, this Ability goes on a 24 hour cooldown, and the target cannot be re-cursed for another week.
Any two Kathar (or more, but only Kathar may be part of the Pact), may create a so called Dread Pact. All participants must stand in a circle (in the case of one person, holding both hands, in the case of bore, all inter-linking arms) and speak the incantation of the Dread Pact. Then, they must all repeat clockwise what the agreed upon stipulations are. A common Dread Pact is to deter a group from betraying one another, but it can also include tasks. If all persons in the link repeat the same wording, then the Pact is activated and their hands burn with cold Void Fire for a few seconds to signal the start. This Pact is made to the Sires, meaning the Sires are also the guarantors of the pact. If one of the members violates the pact, they (or any other participant) must send a Discord Ticket Bot message to the Lore Staff informing them of such. From that point onwards, somewhere between 24 hours and a month, the Sires will come to punish the Pact Breaker, entirely unexpected, and unplanned. This punishment may include, but is not limited to: Character maiming, destruction of rental property, Proficiency loss, criminal framing, reputation loss, removing memories or other harmful effects. Lore staff endeavor to always make the punishment some form of roleplay, but it will always be severe and impactful. Pact violations are counted if: A member violates the agreed upon “Do not’s”, or a member does not complete the agreed upon task within 14 days. Only the first person breaking the pact is counted, anyone else breaking the pact after does not get punished, and as long as nobody breaks the pact, it remains active indefinitely (or however long it takes to complete a task). As many Pacts as desired may be active at any time, though punishments for breaking multiple do stack, so it is always recommended to have a single Pact active. Only live-server Dread Pacts are counted, and while it is not mandatory, messaging Lore Staff to inform them a Pact has been made and what participants/stipulations there are, is a good courtesy call.
Summary of Racial Abilities
|The Following Abilities can only be used by all Kathar|
|Dread Rebirth||Racial Spell||-||A ritual requiring 3 Kathar, performed on a Nelfin or Half-Elf, allowing them to transform the person into a Kathar. The transformation is temporary for 3 days, and if the target was unwilling, it will revert after 3 days. Players who are consenting however may also make it permanent. This Ability can be reused on those who have had it used once on them already, but it can never be used on Manathar.|
|Dread Binding||Racial Spell||-||A less intense version of the Dread Rebirth, requiring only one Kathar. This ritual allows the Kathar to produce a 7 day lasting Target Curse totem (which can be an object of any kind that can be worn or kept on a person) that when accepted by a person as a gift (or forced on a person), gives them visual similarities to the Kathar who gifted them the totem (skin, hair color, eye color, Body Build). They can additionally also graft mentality changes onto the gift receiver, particularly making them more favorable to the Kathar for the duration of the totem’s effects. After the effects wear off, a new totem can be applied. Additionally, the Curse also gives the target loyalty to the Kathar who made the totem.|
|Dread Tampering||Racial Spell||-||A ritual allowing a Kathar to infuse a piece of jewelry or decorative accessory with a specific feeling. If the item is accepted as a gift by the (unsuspecting) receiver, it will cause their character’s personality to change with the change imparted on the item for 5 days. For example, a ring can cause a person to become more slothful, or to become less kind, or to become more lustful. After the time is over, the item becomes mundane. Items infested by Dread Tampering are considered an Object Curse.|
|Dread Linking||Racial Spell||Direct Touch||Any Kathar can target another person and touch them, giving them (and themselves) a Target Curse of Dread Linking. This Curse causes any physical sensation felt by either person to be also copied and transferred to the other. This is not only limited to pleasant feelings (such as the mouth-watering in anticipation of good food, or the butterfly stomach feeling of a passionate kiss) but also unpleasant feelings such as pain from being struck with a weapon. This Curse can be removed any time by the caster, or broken with any Exorcism or Possession removing Ability on the victim. Only one Curse can be active for the caster, and after it has broken, this Ability goes on a 24 hour cooldown, and the target cannot be re-cursed for another week.|
|Dread Pact||Racial Spell||Direct Touch||Two or more Kathar can make a binding agreement with each other, which can be a goal, set of goals, actions, or clear tasks to be fulfilled. The first person to break the pact is punished directly via Lore Staff. Multiple pacts can be active at the same time, and Pacts must be created on Server, and cannot be backstory’d.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by Saivalathar.|
|Secret Masks (Primary)||Racial Shift||Self||The Saivalthar is capable of producing a shift state in which they create an alternative Nelfin appearance for themselves, where they can appear like any Nelfin race or sub-race, change gender, or change their height and Body Shape freely. This template can be changed once a week, and Physical Stats remain unchanged. Usage of this Ability can only be detected by those who have had repeated and prolonged personal contact with the individual, such as friends, lovers, and family. This Ability cannot hide visual effects and mutations caused by Afflictions. Additionally, the Saivalathar can speak even if their mouth is closed.|
|Power's Reach (Secondary)||Racial Spell||Self||The Saivalthar can turn into a mass of black ink, which though malleable, cannot exceed 1.5 times their original mass. While in ink form, the Saivalthar cannot be injured or damaged (but is still affected by any additional effects from Abilities), but cannot squeeze under doors or through cracks or use abilities. Additionally, the Saivalathar repels anyone within a 2 block radius around them. One person cannot enter this radius, but more than one person attempting it will instead push the Saivalathar away (but never trap them in the case of corners or surrounding them, they will always be able to slip out.) This does not apply if the Saivalathar moves into someone, only if someone tries to approach the Saivalathar, and cannot be used to 'block' entryways-- the person will warp around them. They can only maintain this form for 10 minutes, after which they must wait another 10 minutes before re-puddling. While in this puddle, they are also immune to immobilization or stunning.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by Zolathar.|
|Realm of Want (Primary)||Racial Spell||Direct Touch||The Zolathar have a pocket dimension called the Maw of the Void, in which they can store items up to a closet’s worth of space. The Maw opens up next to them, where they must physically put things in/take them out. Things inside do not rot or decay or experience time, and a single person can be trapped or hidden in the map for up to 10 minutes, after which they will be ejected (but not items). A person can only be placed inside of the Maw if the creator physically puts them there like any other tangible object they would be storing, and only if they are fully restrained and incapacitated (or willing). The same person can only be trapped once in the Maw every 24 hours.|
|Lordly Change (Secondary)||Racial Spell||Self||The Zolathar is able to change the length and color of their hair at will, as well as their Body Shape, Height, Body Fat, and sex, though not the structure of their face or their skin color or eyes. Regardless of the changes, they will still be recognized as their prior appearance. Additionally, they can make pieces of clothing that they are wearing disappear and reappear, but they can only make clothes disappear they were already wearing, and make clothes reappear that they were wearing previously.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by Shenathar.|
|Fire Dance (Primary)||Racial Spell||Self||The Shenathar becomes cloaked in purple or magenta Void Fire, and becomes immune to pain, but not harm or damage, while this ability lasts for 10 minutes, and can only be used once per 24 hours. This includes natural pain from wounds and artificial pain created by Abilities.|
|Passion Dance (Secondary)||Racial Spell||Self||The Shenathar is able to, in mockery of the creators, turn their body hair into red or black Void Fire. This fire does not produce light or heat, but does obey gravity and the movements of the Shenathar. In addition, they can "set fire to" any mundane or magical Tattoos they have, causing them to flicker and smolder with Void Fire, though still not producing light or heat. While Passion Dance is active, the Shenathar’s nails turn black and extend more like claws, capable of shredding skin and with repeated strikes, even metal. There is no upper limit to how long this Ability can be active, though while it is active, weapons cannot be wielded.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by Oscithar.|
|Serve the Void (Primary)||Racial Spell||Emote Distance||The Oscithar can Target either a willing or restrained person to attach a Dread-Collar to their neck, a golden chain with black gems in it. While the Oscithar is in Emote Distance, any command issued must be followed, else the collar will give an electrocuting sensation to the victim that is very painful. While within range, any number of commands can be issued, but only the last command will remain active when leaving Emote Distance. Dread Collared individuals cannot be infected with Afflicitons, and the Collar can only be removed by any type of Exorcism-Like Ability that removes Possessions. Oscithar may only have up to three individuals collared at once, and while in Emote Range, can hide the Dread Collar through an illusion that only those with Target Illusion Immunity can see through.|
|Exist Nonexist (Secondary)||Racial Passive||Self||Once per day, the Oscithar can entirely stop a single Exist-based ability, Prevent it from being used, stopping an ongoing ability, and Cancelling or removing any effect it has already imparted as long as it is used within 10 seconds of the Exist Ability being used, and as long as it was specifically aimed at or targeting them.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by Bakrathar.|
|Dread Warbeast (Primary)||Racial Passive||Self||Bakrathar are passively immune to Abilities classified as Werebeast Spell, Greater Werebeast Spell, or Magic Spell from an Exist-oriented Mage kit. Additionally, Bakrathar are incapable of contracting or being infected or changing into any type of Affliction (including but not limited to Vampirism, Werebeastism, Witchblood, Dragon Wardens etc.). Finally, if a Bakrathar takes on Ritualism, Sorcery, or Magic, their Physical Stat Cap is reduced from 45 to 35.|
|Orcish Biology (Secondary)||Racial Passive||Self||Bakrathar passively have +20 Physical Stat, even without any Proficiency investment. This does not break the Physical Stat cap. Additionally, the Bakrathar is immune to any poison or toxin or venom when ingested (but not inhaled or injected)|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by Wolathar.|
|Beast Warp (Primary)||Racial Spell||Self||The Wolathar can summon an extra set of functional arms (normal Wolathar arms, or furred beastly arms) that appear directly under their normal arms. These arms operate at the same Proficiency levels as their normal arms. They are also able to sacrifice these arms for four Void Tendrils appear from their back. These tendrils each operate at 25% of the user’s Proficiencies, rounded down, but are prehensile, and about 1.5 times as long as their normal arms.|
|Woldwalking (Secondary)||Racial Passive||Self||Wolathar are the recognized masters of the woods and walds, and all non-ability summoned, non-magus animals respect this. When a Wolathar, and up to 1 other Character, are traveling in natural environments, no animal will attack them, regardless of if the Wolathar enters their territory. Additionally, The Wolathar can naturally manifest any Mutations from the Monster or Pagan Mutations Category, and can additionally shed them while sleeping, should they choose. Mutations manifested with this Ability do not count as Mutations for the purposes of determining Aberrancy.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by Wylathar.|
|Wyldblooded (Primary)||Racial Passive||Self||The Wylathar can learn 1 Sorcery Ability for free, but only from the following category: Aesthetic Abilities. This follows all rules for Sorcery. If the Wylathar is also a Ritualist, Sorcery gained from this Racial do not count for the normal limitations on Ritualism when combined with Sorcery. (Any further Sorcery gained will remove this, however.) For example, if some Mutation or Affliction does not allow Sorcery learning, this Racial Passive is disabled. Additionally, Wylathar are well versed with trees in particular. Wylathar do not need any Athletic Training to quickly and effortlessly climb into trees.|
|Whimsy Change (Secondary)||Racial Spell||Direct Touch||The Wylathar is capable of changing the appearance of another person at will, as long as they are within 3 blocks distance, and not actively engaged in combat. For as long as the Wylathar remains within 3 blocks distance, the person’s appearance modification remains intact. If they are touched by anyone other than the Wylathar, or engage in conflict, the appearance change is removed. This change can include but is not limited to race, mutations, gender, hair, facial shape, body build & height, but does not transfer Racial Abilities or Traits aside from the physical default state, and can hide visual features from Afflictions.|
|The Following Abilities can only be used by Solstithar.|
|Solst'irc Solstice (Primary)||Target Curse||Emote Distance||Solstithar are able to “curse” a person with anti-racism and anti-discrimination, by invoking the Solst’irc Solstice, that plants a Target Curse on a person within Emote Distance (it is not visible in any way). This Target Curse makes them indefinitely unable to distinguish race between anyone they look at, including their own, nor will their mind be able to perceive any level of racial bias or preference. It additionally also makes the target unable to express classicist, religiously intolerant, or sexist/sexual orientation intolerant attitudes, becoming a bastion of tolerance. The person is still capable of being offended and capable of being violent, but will no longer be able to have bigoted thoughts. This can affect up to 2 people at any given time. These Curses are indefinite, but can be removed by any Exorcism or Possession removal mechanic. The person is also not aware that they have been Cursed. Additionally, if a Solstithar has not activated this Curse on anyone, they can cast this Ability over an Event venue, removing innate racial bias and racism (but only racial bias and racism) from all guests for the duration of the Event. When a person has had their Curse removed, they cannot be re-cursed for another week.|
|Sollerian Insight (Secondary)||Racial Passive||Emote Distance||Solstithar are exceptional socialites, able to detect the hidden emotional state of a person. Any person is able to act tough on the outside, but the Solstithar can read their dominant emotional state on the inside. They can read the emotional state with a person by conversing with them, reading both the emotional state the person is trying to project, as well as what is hidden underneath.|
Worshipping the Void, the cornerstone of both Kathar society and history, has existed throughout the millennia of Aloria’s existence, dating all the way back to the zenith of the Seraph. Devotion to the Void, no matter how many states attempt to extinguish it, has always wormed its way back into the world through the most unexpected ways. The first true origin of worship to the Void among the Elves of the Allorn Empire is hard to accurately pin down because of how most of the early worship was done in secret. With their numbers swelling over the centuries, however, the so-called Vlae’lonä, or Void Cult, grew in number and boldness. Around 90 BC, many positions in the Allorn Empire’s high ranking government were filled with worshippers of the Void Cult. The Faith of the Dark Ancients was very innocent early on in recorded Elven History, promising everlasting pleasure and joy for a basic sacrifice, often that of blood. Indeed, the effects of Void worship and the extended influence it had over the Elven population through its leaders, started demanding more and more, but was very effective in providing exactly that elation that the Elves sought, while also empowering their magic usage.
The concentration of the Void Cult was especially strong on the western isles which would later become the Shadow Isles. This early Princedom had a flourishing elite that publicly relished in Void worship, using Asha as blood sacrifices. Many of the Shenathar cultural heritage actually descends from this specific state, giving birth to wild traditions like The Dance of Llöv and The Carnage of Thräl’laniir. Around 50 BC or so, some unknown interaction with what was later presumed to be some Arken, led to the creation of the first Shadow Council, though it is more commonly known as the Princes of Osc'ïrd to the Kathar. The Princes of Osc'ïrd were the noble rulers of this western isle princedom within the Allorn Empire, as well as the lands further stretching towards Saivale, that were transformed into the first Kathar beings (notably Shenathar, Saivalthar and Oscithar). With their gift, they learned of the first Kathar forming rituals, which did exactly as Void worship had always promised. In exchange for servitude, the ritual would grant the Elf extreme ecstasy. Within a period of ten years, most of the island principality converted. The remainder of the Allorn Empire was either oblivious to it, or partook in it as well as droves of Elves converted to the gray skins (early on, there was very little difference physically between the Shenath and Saivale, the Saivale changed later), the infiltration of Void Cultists in the Imperial government making the Elven Emperor and purists blind to the changes that were overtaking the Empire.
When the first generation of the Kathar had reached critical mass, the Shadow Council enacted its first great act that would shape the future of Aloria, the Great Fire Dance, which is commonly known as the Night of the Fallen Star elsewhere in Aloria. The Kathar used vile magics and fire to tear down the Nenya, first servants and emissaries of Estel, slaughtering the fading loyalists to the Faith of Estel in the thousands. With one massive event all across the Allorn Empire, the Kathar shattered the Faith of Estel and tore down the foundations of the Allorn Empire, weakening it and making the Void Cult the true force in the religious vacuum left behind. It was however also this act that caused the Oscithar to secede from the Kathar, a first sign of dissent among their ranks. The Oscithar, while completely onboard with the hedonism and Void worship of the Kathar, were not on board with destroying the Allorn Empire, and believed that keeping the Allorn Empire intact for conversion was preferable to destruction and then ruling over the remnants. Their secession led to the independent Princedoms of Osc’ïrd, ironically the birthplace of the Kathar race, which then quickly shifted its homeland to the islands beyond. The Kathar (minus the Princes of Osc’ïrd) were poised to absorb the Allorn Empire in its entirety over the following years, had it not been for the Cataclysm. The rampant destruction and magic usage by the Kathar had thusly saturated the world with Magic so much that the Veil tore open once more, laying bare all the demonic forces that now poured into the world of Aloria intent on destroying all. The remnants of the Allorn Empire fought to resist the Fifth Void Invasion, while the Kathar continued to usurp more and more land and power from the true Altalar. An event that shattered their momentum, however, was the destruction of the Veil and the collapse of the Demonic Invasion. The death of the Allorn Emperor created a power vacuum that exposed the true downside of the Kathar collective, their unquenching desire to be at the top. The empty throne became a hot contention item and even the Shadow Council turned in on itself as they all vied to become the strongest Kathar. What eventually halted their rise to power and diminished their numbers greatly was the unexpected arrival of the Orcs that occurred shortly after the Cataclysm, which in itself already caused massive casualties besides the Kathar. Successive slave revolts by Humans and the Asha brought the Kathar to their knees, their shattered remnants retreating to the Shadow Isles, a last final haven where none followed them. All the land they had gained on the continents of Daendroc and Teled Methen was absorbed by the Orcs and later reconquered by the Avanthar and the petty kingdoms of the Altalar. Even though the Orcs presented a great setback to the Kathar, some Saivalthar and Shenathar saw benefit in what the Orcs could bring, and started experimenting with dark magic on some captured Orcs. Eventually, through the sacrifice of many Orcs, the Bakrathar were born, a mixture of the most violent Kathar and Orcs far greater than even Half-Orcs, into a new race of Kathar, joining their fold.
It was on the Shadow Isles however that the Kathar found new allies in the same Arken that had originally interacted with them to form the Shadow Council. The Shadow Council was all but abandoned, and the Arken aided in the rise of the Empress of the Dread Empire, giving shape to the new state. The Arken then went out into the remnants of the Allorn Empire, using a mixture of false promises, bribery and trickery to draw more and more Elves who were fleeing the destruction of the Orcs or simply chasing power westwards into the hands of the Kathar. Over the decades that followed, the Kathar were taught the principles that would eventually form their psyche, culture, and statehood by the Arken. Others yet fled into the deep walds where the rampant magic had mutated creatures into strange tall monstrosities that hid among the canopies. They would eventually become the Wolathar. Of the Wolathar, the Wylathar were created when one particular section of the deep wald was infested with a large explosion of wild magic, causing the entire hectares large forest to turn into a dreamscape of mutated plants and trees, among which the Wylathar would make their home. The Wolathar continued to be distant from the birthing Dread Empire, but eventually started interacting more with it, and took up a distant albeit involved part of their society. With much of the Dread Empire having formed its modern-day borders around 150 AC, the following decades were spent simply consolidating into the terrifyingly powerful Empire they went on to become. They began to insidiously spread their influence and roots throughout the outside world, dispatching small clusters of loyalists to begin undermining the other powers that stood opposed to them.
All the while, the Oscithar continued to diverge away from the Dread Empire, and even engaged in conflicts with it, as they tried to defend the Suvial Altalar lands from Dread Empire invasions, attempts they believed would benefit them in the long run when the Allorn Empire would be re-established. The Oscithar remained stalwart in the survival of Altalar culture among them, albeit corrupted by Void worship and a complete rejection of Estel. Similarly, a few brave pioneering Shenathar, as well as some odd-ball Saivalthar moved to the Regalian Empire to infiltrate the flourishing Ailor society. These infiltrants however grew so comfortable there, or engaged in some less-than-planned-out Dread Rebirth among the Solvaan, giving rise to the Solstithar. The Solstithar were neither at home in the Dread Empire, nor among the Solvaan Altalar, and thus moved further north to settle on the islands near Solleria, eventually becoming properly integrated into the Regalian Empire as the “Grey Regiments” in the military. Similarly, in Dread Empire society, more and more Shenathar were raised up to leading positions, giving rise to the Zolathar aristocracy, propelled into power through the occupation of priestly positions that were by and large dominated by the Zolathar.
The Dread Empire continued to wage war with the Fin’ullen, Suvial, Teledden and Oscithar neighbors, an eternal tug of war where land had to be conceded, but was also conquered, only to be lost again several years later. Around 306 AC, tensions between the Dread Empire and the Regalian Empire came to a violent apex, and war broke out. The Kathar sought to make a massive push to reclaim the remaining territories of the fallen Allorn Empire in order to expand their successor state and bring the remaining Nelfin there into their newfound and rebuilt glory, and Regalia intervened. Hard-fought and bloody on both sides, the Regalian Empire and its allies eventually pushed an offensive into border territories of the Dread Empire and began applying enough pressure that the Dragon Rikkira eventually made herself seen in a climactic battle and fled. The war came to an end there, with the Kathar efforts blocked entirely, and a tribunal was called by the Great Kaahls to speak to the Empress Volessa and her Champion. In the midst of a speech that aimed to excuse their loss, the Empress’ younger sister Melanxes immolated her in a burst of infernal Void flame, killing her before the entirety of the gathered Warlords. She was proclaimed the new Empress then and there and even earned the respect of some of the Warlords, though others still remain dissatisfied with their loss in the war and rumors of insurrection continue to spread. Nowadays, more and more Kathar leave the Empire’s borders, seeking brighter prospects in the world at large, and even begin to create their own Kaahls outside of the Empire with the hopes of amassing their own groups of power.
Language and Dialects
- Saivalthar speak Kathar Altalar, and have names similar to Altalar, but with more strong consonants like r,k,v,t,p etc.
- Zolathar speak Kathar Altalar, and have names similar to Altalar, but with more strong consonants like r,k,v,t,p etc.
- Shenathar speak Kathar Altalar, and have names similar to Altalar, but with more strong consonants like r,k,v,t,p etc.
- Oscithar speak Modern Altalar and Kathar Altalar, and have the same naming principles as Altalar.
- Bakrathar speak Wyld Altalar, and have Bakrathar (real world: Carthaginian) naming principles.
- Wylathar speak Wyld Altalar, and have Wylathar (real world: Persian) naming principles.
- Wolathar speak Wyld Altalar, and have Wolathar (real world: Hittite) naming principles.
- Solstithar speak Modern Altalar, or Common, and have the same naming principles as Altalar, but frequently also choose more Common sounding names, using their “anglicized” name for ease of use among Ailor.
There are four distinct political entities among the Kathar. The first is the Dread Empire, which is a colossal Kathar Empire spanning much of the far south-west of the collapsed Allorn Empire. Within the Dread Empire, all variants of Kathar Tribes exist (except the Solstithar and Oscithar) interwoven in a complex political system. It mirrors much of the Regalian and Allorn Empires, in that it has a large civilian population ruled over by aristocrats, who in turn are ruled over by princes and princesses, who in turn are ruled over by the Empress of the Dread Empire. Structurally speaking, the Dread Empire is a fairly decentralized state unlike the Regalian Empire or even the more modern Altalar-ruled Altalar States. The Dread Empire is, however, the largest political entity that Elves control in Aloria, and also boasts the largest number of inhabitants even if the Kathar are not in the majority. Many coastal cities are controlled by the Dread Empire through mutually beneficial vassalage but also through annexation and military conquest, thus bringing vast numbers of Altalar into their empire as slaves or resources. At the very head of the Dread Empire are the Voidborne, the Pathar Dynasty. The members of this Saivalthar and Zolathar mixed lineage claim descent from the Void Prefects of Pride and Pleasure themselves making them the so-called Perfect Silven. While this cannot be ascertained as a complete and absolute truth, there does seem to be some validity to it as all their members are born as Void Silven even without the direct conception of an Arken, and they all seem to possess otherworldly skills in magic and manipulation and are sometimes compared to the Archmages of the Allorn Empire old.
They Voidborne rule the Dread Empire officially through two seats: that of the Empress, which is usually the matriarch of the family, and the seat of the Champion, which is usually not the Empress’s husband but one of her lovers who happens to be an imposing and skilled warrior. The Empress uses a variety of magics and Void Essence to enhance her Champion through mutation and enchantment and uses him to both profess and enforce her will to the people. The Empress, however, has only limited directional power for the Dread Empire at large and usually acts as a neutral party between the warring Warlords. She can still declare war and outlaw individual Warlords, but must tread with caution as the Warlords could at any time rise up and dethrone her in favor of one of her sisters. The Imperial seat is also not inherited, but taken. Any woman from the Pathar family that kills the previous Empress takes her place, and any male that kills the previous Champion becomes the new one. This has on occasion led to brothers or sons or fathers becoming lovers and Champions of the Empress, which is considered natural and normal among the Kathar, as strength supersedes family ties. While the Empress possesses the societal power to take as many lovers as she wishes, she typically constricts her carnal affairs in fear of bearing so many daughters that her successors’ lives become nonstop bloodbaths in the pursuit of the throne. The current Empress, Melanxes the Weaver, slew her older sister in the middle of a post-war meeting with the Warlords after their defeat at the hands of the Regalian Empire, a ploy that earned her their due respect.
The real, practical power is vested in the Warlords which are the 14 Great Kaahls (Kathar term for families, though not all are necessarily related by blood) who are divided across the tribes of the Kathar (except Solstithar and Wylathar), mostly concentrated among the Saivalthar and Zolathar while only one is for example held by the Wolathar. The Warlords enforce their reign each with their own hereditary artifacts called the Sceptres of Power, terrifying magical weapons that are said to have been made by the Void Prefect of Power long ago. They each command vast armies and it is not unheard of for Kaahls to engage in feuds with one another, which the Empress will then attempt to solve. That being said, they will for the most part work together to expand the Dread Empire and are content fighting the Altalar on the mainland or slaving across the coasts of various western kingdoms and states to provide the Dread Empire with labor. On a more local level, the military controls the population, which makes the Dread Empire very similar to the Regalian Empire. Officers in the armies of the Warlords often double as magistrates and important officials of towns and cities, and their soldiers under them control neighborhoods or businesses. The Dread Empire’s military structure is far more advanced and mature than that of the Regalian Empire, putting the simplistic Levy system of Regalia to shame. In practice, the Dread Empire’s army is constituted entirely of professional soldiers, which makes their army so terrifyingly strong.
The Empress regularly holds a sort of collected court where the Warlords are called to meet in Paärthalaär, where the symbolic seat of her power is located in the grand palace. These gatherings are almost never without their own melodrama and inevitably fall to squabbling, threats, or entirely off-topic distractions like revelry and spontaneous Henate Duels. The purpose of these gatherings is to provide the Warlords with an opportunity to profess their displeasures with the state of the Empire or make their case to rally other Warlords and even the Empress’ influence in a declaration of war on another Great Kaahl or an exterior foe. As of the Empire’s staggering loss to Regalia, 3 Warlords and their Kaahls have pushed themselves to the forefront of the Empire’s politics, consolidating power beneath them and taking stances on the state of the Kathar. The 14 great Kaahls are as followed:
- The 4 Saivalthar Kaahls of Len-zolathaar, Len-manrathaar, Ylbakhrai, and Reiaan.
- The 3 Zolathar Kaahls of Koor-zol-Makkaar, Ruirimaanat, and Ay’llat.
- The 2 Shenathar Kaahls of Qormeiaan, and Pakhrathei.
- The 3 Oscithar Kaahls of Maelaanan, Elvonnai, and Sil’salaï.
- The 1 Bakrathar Kaahl of Doumat.
- The 1 Wolathar Kaahl of Kuwatalla.
Note: In practice, the Oscithar Kaahls are disloyal to the Dread Empire, and at war with them. Each Oscithar Kaahl has a representative in the Dread Empire, but at the same time, their Kaahls in the Princedoms of Osc'ïrd are actively engaged in military conflicts with the Dread Empire. This weird technicality is largely overlooked by day to day politics, and the Oscithar Kaahls are also largely ignored, though still mentioned by name to acknowledge their power, and probably the level of control and infiltration they have inflicted on the Dread Empire. While the Kaahls do not directly engage in politics with the Oscithar Kaahls, they would be silly to pretend that these Kaahls do not have extensive contacts in the Dread Empire through their intrigue.
The Slaughter Games
The Slaughter Games are less of a single unified hierarchy beneath their Warlord and more a collection of similarly-minded warbands who function as a collective army. The Slaughter Games are all run by former slaves, rebellious soldiers and other dissatisfied Kathar who operate their armies independently but all share in their respect and loyalty to their Warlord, Kur’ozz the Inferno. At the Slaughter Games, violence and bloodshed are the zeitgeist, their society being a series of almost nonstop battles: every single argument or decision is made through combat, and local leaders are regularly challenged and overthrown for their positions of power. The right to rule is earned by might and might alone and must always be proven. Though mostly composed of Shenathar and Bakrathar, the Games are particularly inclusive even toward non-Kathar, allowing anyone to join their ranks and try to prove themselves strong enough. As of the present, the Slaughter Games pay next to no respect to the seat of the Empress, though do not presently push upon the other Warlords and Kathar settlements, seemingly content to fight and bolster for the time being. Paramount among them all, though, is their Warlord Kur’ozz the Inferno. A violent psychopath who relishes in bloodshed, Kur’ozz is said to pierce his own skin with burning stakes before charging into battle. Many other Warlords and even leaders of external states come to him with propositions to buy him and the Games’ loyalty, and very few survive the ensuing negotiations.
The Court of Mortal Delights
The Court of Mortal Delights are the materially wealthy and self-titled upper crust of the Empire’s society, all gathered together with the singular goal of endlessly expanding their wealth and reach at the direction of their Warlord, Illana. Life among the Court is like a never-ending revel: indulgence is encouraged and almost demanded, with feasts and parties being held at every possible occasion and social status being mostly determined by how well one reigns at the celebrations they attend. Revelry is seen as a form of worship: to the Court, endlessly consuming and satiating one’s desires is how one pays homage to their chosen Prefects and the Void, and so they happily indulge in whatever hedonisms they wish. The Court is happy to accept non-Kathar among them, so long as they can provide, but they will take any opportunity to seduce Nelfin into the embrace of the Void and transform them into Kathar. The Court is overseen by Lady Illana. By and large, Illana is a kind ruler, but her goals are altogether sinister: she has her sights set on the other Nelfin populations in the world and hopes to one day convert them all to Kathar and extend the Court’s reach as far as possible.
The Duskeye Syndicate
The Duskeye Syndicate are staunch Imperial Loyalists who firmly support the ruling blood even after the Empire’s recent failures. Their leader, Viceroy Ekk’thellis, operates mostly in quiet, doing everything he can to support the Empress in her goals and keep her protected from the machinations of the other Warlords. The Syndicate mostly keeps to itself, with their standing army almost never venturing outside of their city, operating from an as-of-yet unknown place within the Empire’s borders. Rumors say they dwell underground. Societally they are quiet and reserved, and mostly focused on research, plotting, and the acquisition of knowledge. There is supposedly a great and grand library they all contribute to in their possession, filled to the brim with knowledge, no matter how dark or taboo. The Syndicate also has a subtle presence in lands distant, though how far their reach is cannot be accurately stated, as it is kept under wraps. Hardly any of the Syndicate’s members themselves have seen the Viceroy, but his presence is known nonetheless: pulling strings where they need be.
Other Great Kaahls
Beside the most prominent, 11 other reign their own pieces of the Empire, all at varying states of loyalty or dissatisfaction with the current ruling family thanks to their loss in the recent war. These Warlords are typically incredibly skilled warriors who earned their rank through strength and merciless ambition or particularly powerful mages that control and exert their influence with tact and precision. The least strong of them at times die out and are replaced by particularly ambitious lesser families, with their Sceptre of Power changing hands then.
Princedoms of Osc'ïrd
The second political entity among the Kathar, is the Princedoms of Osc'ïrd, where the Oscithar rule. The Oscithar are distinct from the Kathar Empire, in that they maintain much more of their Altalar heritage, and actively rejected joining the Dread Empire, even fighting the Dread Empire on occasion with their Suvial Altalar allies. Oscithar politics follows much the same model of the Dread Empire, however it lacks a central royal figure. The Oscithar recognize the Allorn Emperor or Empress as the sole rightful ruler of their people, but since the Allorn Empire collapsed, the throne remains vacant and the princes rule through a regency council. It remains up for debate whether the Princes of Osc'ïrd would relinquish authority to an Emperor or Empress should one be crowned by all of Allorndom, but for the time being, their close connections to their Allorn history makes living under them a lot easier for Altalar. Oscithar do not permit many of the Kathar tribes to live in their lands, the vast majority of their subjects being Altalar. Still, some Zolathar do exist, albeit less politically relevant than they would be in the Dread Empire. Some Solstithar have moved to the Oscithar lands to work with them against the Dread Empire, though migrations remain minimal since the Oscithar lands are in a near constant state of war with the Dread Empire.
Anchal Sollen Sols
The third political entity among the Kathar, are the Sols of Anchal Sollen, particularly the islands of Sciermanna, Helvalonaam, Ulmaanisla, Sadeiennaar and Solvalonaam. These islands are inhabited by the Solstithar or as the Regalians call them “acclimated Kathar”. Many of these regions contain Solstithar that were previously Altalar and through Dread Rebirth chose to stay Kathar, or simply descendants of those who wished to live in the Regalian Empire’s society, perhaps spies send centuries ago that saw Regalian society as more pleasant to live in, and decided to betray the Dread Empire. The Solstithar are the smallest of Kathar tribes, and far outnumbered by even the Solvaan Altalar living further to their south, but have played minor roles in whatever conflict Solvaan regiments were also present, creating a reliable source of Kathar collaborators for the Regalian Empire. The Solstithar rule as Sols, thus part of the Regalian Empire as nobility, serving under the Regalian Emperor.
The fourth political entity among the Kathar, are the Kaahls. Kaahls in theory exist in all the previously mentioned political bodies. A Kaahl roughly just refers to a family unit, whether among Saivalthar, Solstithar, or Oscithar, but a Kaahl can also be stateless, and roam freely. A Kaahl of Wolathar might for example have left the Wolds of the Dread Empire, and roamed all the way up to Fendarfelle where they established a self-ruled region that owes no allegiance to any political entity. These groups tend to be more nomadic, and eventually expelled wherever they go, as they still maintain their old religion and customs, which most other races and societies find repulsive. Generally speaking however, Kaahls can be found in practically every continent, except Jorrhildr, Ellador, Sendras, and Farahdeen.
Tribal relations are sometimes a bit more complicated than clearly outlined beliefs, but in order to get a better picture of how Kathar society operates, it is necessary to understand a default. These defaults are based on the idea that every tribe is raised to believe a certain way. For example, Shenathar are always raised to believe that Solstithar will screw them over, and Bakrathar are always raised to believe that Solstithar are weak. That does not mean that characters can change their mind over time. Additionally, all tribal relations assume neutral favor/disfavor by default. What this means is that only outliers are mentioned below for exceptional positive relations, or exceptional dislike. Note, also just because one tribe dislikes another tribe does not mean this causes endless civil wars in the Dread Empire. There is a common understanding that tribes may compete and dislike each other, but that ultimately, they are all still Kathar and as such united.
- The Saivalthar like the Zolathar, but dislike Oscithar and Solstithar.
- The Zolathar like Shenathar and Saivalthar, but dislike Solstithar.
- The Shenathar like Zolathar and Oscithar, but dislike Solstithar.
- The Oscithar like Solstithar, but dislike Wolathar and Wylathar.
- The Bakrathar dislike all tribes until they find someone worthy of being strong.
- The Wylathar generally like or are apathetic to all other tribes.
- The Wolathar are distrusting of all other tribes but have no overt dislike.
- The Solstithar are apathetic to all other tribes, but like Oscithar particularly.
Saivalthar have inherited much of their family lives from the Teledden. They are largely monogamous, with no clear superior gender in the household. Saivalthar Children have a somewhat happy childhood, but are mostly raised to become political schemers and have parents with extremely high expectations of them. Same-sex relations are permitted among the Saivalthar, cross-breeding with other tribes is however taboo. Zolathar inherited much of their family lives from the Fin’ullen. They are at face value monogamous, seeing only one “life partner”, but permit free roaming outside of a single unbreakable partnership. There is no gender bias among Zolathar, though matriarchies tend to be in the vast majority as they style themselves after the Dread Empire’s all-female leadership. Zolathar children have a happy childhood, and frequently make many childhood friends due to busy and overpopulated households, but many also end up in priesthood. Same-sex relations are permitted among the Zolathar, and cross-breeding with other tribes happens frequently.
Shenathar are far more tribal than Zolathar, and do not strictly practice monogamy or polygamy. Shenathar can be monogamous, but can also be bigamist, or simply choosing to remain free of becoming settled down. There is a slight male bias in the Shenathar household, because of the tribal nature of their culture and Shenathar men usually being more confrontational and violent. Shenathar children have a happy, but wild and sometimes violent childhood where early competition with other families and peers is encouraged to make good warriors. Same-sex relations are permitted among the Shenathar, and cross-breeding is only permitted with Zolathar and Bakrathar, other pairings are taboo. Oscithar, much like the Saivalthar, maintain their old Teledden roots, and are almost exclusively monogamous, with no clear gender bias in the household. Despite this monogamy, Oscithar do practice polyamory. They may only ever have one intimate partner, but may entertain romantic non-erotic relations with others. Oscithar children are raised much the same as Saivalthar, with high political aspirations. Same-sex relations are permitted among the Oscithar, cross-breeding however is strictly forbidden with any Kathar tribe besides the Solstithar.
Bakrathar do not entertain the idea of marriage, and instead live with partners on a seasonal basis for however long it takes for offspring to become capable of surviving on their own. Bakrathar have a strong male patriarchal bias due to the men being larger, and more violent. Bakrathar children live a somewhat unhappy and chaotic childhood, with weak ones weeded out through malnutrition and violence, meaning only the strong survive, and become excellent warriors. Same-sex male relations are shunned in Bakrathar society, as while they do occur, the less physically imposing partner is subject to ridicule. Same-sex female relations are permitted. Cross-breeding with other tribes is responded to with a so-so attitude, as the matchings are only approved of if the children survive. Wylathar do not believe in the concept of marriage and treat intimacy and close contact as a form of basic social interaction. As such, they are neither monogamous or polygamist, the best way to describe their habits being “whatever”. Wylathar have no gender bias in their families, but do have an age bias, where elders end up running families. Wylathar children live a very creative and stimulating childhood that often leaves them thinking of the rest of the world as bland and boring. Same-sex relations are beyond the Wylathar comprehension as gender is largely ignored in their society. Cross-breeding with other tribes is also wildly encouraged, as Wylathar believe in the benefit of diversity.
Wolathar practice a mixture of bigamy and polyamory, but do not have believe in traditional marriage. In their tribes, which are majorly nomadic, they establish close-knit family units that can range from two parents to five. Wolathar have no gender bias in their families, but do have a bias for whoever is the most capable hunter and protector. Wolathar children have a happy, albeit dangerous, childhood as they are cared for closely by their family unit, but are quickly included in the hunting and warfare practices of the Wolathar, leaving them at risk. Same-sex relationships are permitted amongst the Wolathar, as long as, somehow, every Wolathar has children. Cross-breeding with other tribes is strictly forbidden, as the Wolathar are very insular in their own tribes and units. Solstithar have adopted whatever the Regalian Empire defines as an acceptable societal norm for their families, meaning that they are by far and large monogamous. Solstithar children have the safest and most peaceful raising, as they are raised and educated in the Regalian Empire, thus also having many options further in life. There is no gender bias in their households, and use a form of democratic elder council to lead the family, often with grandparents adorning these positions. Same-sex relations among Solstithar are permitted, and cross-breeding with other tribes is also, but only on the stipulation the child is born in the Regalian Empire.
All Kathar tribes (save for the Solstithar and Oscithar who follow Void Cultism) follow a syncretic faith that combines aspects of traditional Arken worship as well as Ancient Worship. As such, a Kathar can both be a Katharist (a follower of the Kathar faith) and an Ancient Worshiper at the same time. The way this works is that the Tribes each have a patron Prefect of the Void. This Void Prefect is seen as their great patron, but not specifically their god. In many ways, the Prefects could be seen as the prophets that proclaim their own specific version of a Void God’s central theme. This means that even though the Shenathar of Kaahl Käyth, for example, follow the Void Prefect of Pride, this Prefect can represent very different views of life depending on what Void God they are applied to. The Void Prefects are also based on real-life individuals that were most likely Arken, though the actual connection between modern Arken and what the tribes call Prefects has not been established with complete certainty. Below follows a list of all Void Prefects, and how they are seen as Prophets of the Void Gods.
- The Void Prefect of Pride (also called the Pride Host) is generally considered to have been a very powerful Elven Arken during the waning days of the Allorn Empire. The Void Prefect of Pride has always been described as an extremely powerful mage with an arbitrary temperament, and also the creature that taught the Kathar how to read and write Void-Script. The Prefect of Pride assisted the rise of the Dread Empire by collapsing numerous strong Elven Principalities that tried to smother the Empire in its early creation. The Void Prefect supposedly took the shape of beastly terrors, assaulting city walls with armies of beast men and murdering every living being in sight. The Void Prefect of Pride is worshiped through a small shrine which includes a stone or granite statuette of a wolf-like beastman with long claws and limbs, half wolf half man. Beastmen are very frequent in Kathar folklore and legends.
- The Void Prefect of Trickery (also called the Trickster Lord) is generally considered to have been a relatively low-publicity Arken during the waning days of the Allorn Empire that trapped thousands of Elves with trickery into joining the Dread Empire, some to become rulers, others to become slaves by the many. The Prefect of Trickery is said to thus have assisted the Dread Empire by providing necessary early resources. The Void Prefect of Trickery is rarely actually worshiped through a shrine, but more passively praised by deeds of betrayal and subterfuge. Each time an act of betrayal is performed or a clever plan is hatched, the Trickery worshipers bring a small food offering to wandering black cats. There is a single massive temple to the Trickery Prefect in Saivalthar lands that houses over 900 black cats.
- The Void Prefect of Misery (also called the Bottomless Misery) is considered to have had a pivotal role in the induction of the Zolathar into the Saivalthar aristocracy, by teaching them the vessels of power and ambition through the opportunities presented by the Saivalthar. That being said, his message became corrupted over time as he also caused a lot of misery by forcing the Shenathar into service under the Saivalthar, and in many ways also brutalized the people he championed by consuming them through cannibalistic rituals, a harrowing metaphor for the ever damning cycle of life and death that exists inside the Dread Empire where the strong survive and the weak die. Offerings to the Misery Prefect are brought through feeding wild animals, which seems rather mundane but is actually quite violent. Worshipers seek out a hungry pack of wolves and tie down slaves or captives where they either starve to death and have their carcasses eaten by the wolves or are eaten alive by them.
- The Void Prefect of Power (also called the Sceptre Lord) is considered to have had an important role in the creation of the fourteen warlords that control the lands of the Kathar and lead their armies. The Void Prefect of Power supposedly created fourteen sceptres or staves of great magical power, items which by today’s terms are considered artefacts of great dark magic. These were supposedly able to incinerate a person by will or mutate a person by mere touch into a horrible monster. The holders of these sceptres continue to be the warlords that control most of the Dread Empire on a local level to this day. The Void Prefect of Power is worshiped by crafting ceremonial staves with intricate carvings, and then burning them on a once monthly Prefect Festival where these staves are planted in a circle and then set aflame.
- The Void Prefect of Pleasure (also called the Bride of the Void) is considered to have had a crucial role in the rise of the Dread Empire Voidborne, which is a lineage of Zolathar and Saivalthar which are considered the truly ruling classes of the Dread Empire. They are a single lineage of strongly inbred Elves that claim their lineage from a passionate encounter between the Void Prefect of Pride and the Void Prefect of Pleasure, two of some of the strongest Void Prefects, giving birth to a permanent lineage of Silven, or the “Perfect Silven” as the Kathar call them. These Perfect Silven or the Pathar Dynasty, have ruled the Dread Empire ever since its creation, enforcing their rule with their extremely exceptional control of magic, and abilities that seem to thread into the realm of the Arken themselves. The Void Prefect of Pleasure is worshiped in acts which are understandably related to the concept of pleasure, usually in groups of at least four or more.
- The Void Prefect of Control (also called the Void Chains) is considered to have had a pivotal role in the allowing of Void domination by the Kathar. The Void Prefect of Control appears like a sickly old man, and is often also worshiped through small statuettes resembling that, but was always immensely powerful. The Void Prefect of Control supposedly performed the ritual on the entire Kathar race that made them immune to the Dulofall and Dulo infestations and disease. The Void Prefect of Control also taught the Kathar how to shield themselves from unintentional Void Mutations and Void control, allowing them to retain their sanity in the face of the corruption of the Void, at the cost of their humanity.
- The Void Prefect of War (also called the War Beast) did not have any particular role in the rising of Kathar culture or the Dread Empire, but is worshiped nonetheless by the Wolond as the prime form of what it means to be strong, to defeat the strongest, and to become more powerful through martial force. Curiously, the Void Prefect of War resembles the Void Prefect of Pride through beastmen folklore among the Wolathar, though there are some differences. As opposed to the Void Prefect of Pride, the beastman form was the Void Prefect of War’s natural form instead of a shapeshifting form, and the Void Prefect of War was supposedly also much larger than a house, a monstrous beast that could wipe out entire regiments with a single slash of its claws. The Void Prefect of War is worshiped through the hunt of dangerous beasts.
- The Void Prefects of Nothingness & Beastliness are barely known, surprisingly even to the Kathar themselves because of the relative secrecy among the Wolathar and their isolation. Supposedly they are actually the same Arken in representation, but nothing more is known than the fact that this Arken supposedly had no face or hair, and had long limbs with sharp nails.
- Smaller Cults exist outside of the boundaries of the Prefects with a variety of Arken based worship. These are including but not limited to Betrayal, Dread, Avarice, Destruction, Gluttony and Sloth. There is no centralized rules or traditions for these Cults, however because they only take up a miniscule part of the population and in general are only just acknowledged through public festivities without any real worship rituals, once a year.
It is finally not uncommon for Kaahl members of various tribes to move to the society of another tribe when cross-breeding, and then to convert to a different Void Prefect when a new child is born. While the Kathar have some temples with venerable priests and oracles spread across their Empire. While there is no official church body like the Sancella in the Dread Empire, priesthood is an official position in society. The power wielded by (female or male) priests, is often proportional to however many faithful they can gather in their temple. This is usually why powerful priest lineages tend to galvanize, as they build ever bigger temples housed by ever larger numbers of faithful. There is very little conflict between the faithful of different gods, however priests of the same god might sometimes engage in what amounts to clan warfare between the faithful to be deemed the more powerful and more righteous priest.
Separate from their faith in the Prefects is the Kathar’s dedication to the Sires, three metaphysical and philosophical conceptual figures that are known through myth and muddy, lost history. These Sires are said to have all been incomprehensibly strong wielders of magic in Aloria’s past and are something of proto-Kathar in their Void-focused mindsets, having held their ideals about magical arts, power and vice millenia before the Kathar came to be. Each of the Sires represents a collection of recognized vices and malices that a Kathar following their path chooses to embrace and dedicate themselves to. When a Kathar of any kind, excluding Solstithar, reaches maturity, they undergo a simple ritual where they choose one of the Sires and have a family member mix their blood with ink and tattoo them with their chosen Sire’s sigil that will grow and spread outward with a web of tattoo markings over the course of their life. Due to Oscithar’s relationship with tattoos, however, they instead wear a unique type of jewelry along their neck and upper arms to represent their Sire, which can vary in appearance from Kaahl to Kaahl. This also goes for Dread Reborn: the marking placed upon them as a result of their rebirth will transform into the mark of the Sire they choose when they willingly submit to the change. This choice is singular however, and cannot be re-made or undone. All 3 Sires’ values overlap with one another in key places. Vaalek and Lumeria both embody passion and compulsion, Lumeria and Ytthanhos both encourage manipulation to achieve what one wants, and Ytthanhos and Vaalek both seek to establish and maintain order through their own methods. As a result, there is not a bevy of internal conflict among Kathar depending on what Sire they model their philosophy from, though at times there can be found some snobbish senses of superiority.
Vaalek, Sire of Rage
Vaalek, Sire of Rage, embodies fury, pride, violence, war, pain, conquest, competition, bloodshed, victory, passion, and order established through force. Vaalek is depicted as a towering figure with a multitude of weapons run through him, constantly set ablaze and bleeding. Vaalek’s sigil is a burning head with a sword or other weapon stabbed through it. Adherents of Vaalek typically believe in a ‘right by might’ style of leadership and enjoy combative pursuits above others, valuing violence and physical domination as exemplary tools in the quest for power and victory. Many of the Empire’s warlords owe their lifestyles to Vaalek and employ these teachings among their soldiers.
Lumeria, Sire of Want
Lumeria, Sire of Want, embodies hunger, lust, greed, sloth, gluttony, desire, indulgence, debauchery, hedonism, love and ecstasy. Lumeria is depicted as a great, horned figure, garbed in luscious fabrics and jewelry and always eating or drinking something. Lumeria’s sigil is an open mouth with rows of teeth and a prominent, monstrous tongue. Adherents of Lumeria see sheer wealth, physical size and raw, material possession as signs of power. Most of her adherents are found among the mercantile and wealthy in the Empire, and the pleasure-seeking are drawn into the circles where dedication to lives of hedonism are sought after. In fact, it is typically through promises of such bliss and wealth that many Nelfin who become Kathar are tempted to do so.
Ytthanhos, Sire of Secrets
Ytthanhos, Sire of Secrets, embodies deceit, subtlety, betrayal, knowledge, cunning, shadows, manipulation, law, ingenuity and discovery. Ytthanhos is depicted as a masked, cloaked figure of many limbs, wrapped in darkness. Ytthanhos’ sigil is a blank, masked face encircled by tendrils of the Void. Adherents of Ytthanhos value political intrigue and cutthroat cunning and other displays of intellect in terms of power, and politicians usually base their lifestyles off of their teachings. Knowledge is power, and words can be bent to one’s advantage instead of always needing to draw steel.
Kathar fashion differs wildly from tribe to tribe and even from Kaahl to Kaahl. The more simplistic Kaahls and their people, typically composed of Shenathar or Wolathar or Wylathar enjoy leather and light tunics or cloth wrappings. Armor is typically integrated into their ensembles, with decorative bracers and greaves often adorning wrists or legs. They do not much concern themselves with color choice (except for the Wylathar who definitely do), and typically opt for the natural colors of their materials: leather, wool, iron and blacker metals, though at times blood-red dyes are incorporated for the sake of intimidation. The most brutal of them, especially those found among the Slaughter Games, don pieces of crude metal; these are typically salvaged from the armor of those they slay and painted roughly, often fashioned into freakish masks in the shape of monsters. The higher and wealthier Kathar such as Saivalthar, Zolathar, and Oscithar prefer fine silks; their clothing is of a very fine and skillful weave, usually even outcompeting the silks found in the more eastern parts of Aloria creating a truly sensational demand for Kathar weave in other parts of the world: Regalia, for example, where the fabrics are typically smuggled in and seen as a sort of daring and avant-garde fashion choice. Tassels are a frequent decoration, as well as swirling wave-like patterns that represent the washing of the ocean and the strong waves crashing onto a shoreline from powerful gusts of wind.
Among the Saivalthar, elegant facemasks are a common accessory: intricately crafted things that stretch up from the neck and all the way to the nose, particularly noteworthy or wealthy Saivale have theirs engraved and designed with patterns and symbols they find a particular closeness with: sometimes engraving designs related to their Sire or their Prefect or even their Kaahl. Many of the Kathar primary colors are white, black, red and purple, though others are not unusual colors and to say that the Kathar are devoid of color in their life is not accurate. In fact, the Kathar have a very lively Ruby and Emerald industry and intricate and expertly crafted jewelry sets that glimmer in the sunlight. The Bakrathar wear clothes similar to Orcs, keeping the upper body bare, while wearing some sort of wide belt, sash covering the loins, and leather pants with fraying edges, and no shoes. Their bodies are usually adorned with trophies of slain foes, or loot captured from battle. Solstithar on the other hand just emulate Regalian fashion, taking whatever normal clothes they can get their hands on, and unlike other tribes, end up being far more reserved. Most universal among Kathar fashion, is their willingness to expose far more skin than their Altalar predecessors did by and large. Because of the time spent on their intricate tattoos and the predominant vanity among them, baring one’s body to show off their personal artwork and physical beauty is commonplace and even used as a mark of power and status among some circles of society. The only exception to this is the Oscithar, among who tattoos are a taboo, because their skin already has a natural pattern coloration, that if disturbed by tattoos, sends a clear message of trying to obfuscate one’s identity, believing that an Oscithar’s most personal expression of identity are their skin markings.
Holidays and Festivals
The Dance of Llöv
The Dance of Llöv is a blood sacrifice hosted on different days in the first four months of the year which involves the sacrifice of large numbers of slaves and sometimes even weak relatives of Kathar families. Neighborhoods in Kathar cities are often built in such a way that their streets all pool down to a central area with a large pit. This feast asks for the ritualistic slaughter of sufficient pre-selected slaves and relatives at the top of these streets, causing their blood to seep down to the central square and the pit. The feast effectively continues until the pit has filled to the edge in blood, after which the Kathar that are still alive come together in the pit which is often filled with blood to knee-high level, to dance, sing and revel for the rest of the night. This feast is attributed to the Cult of Dread, as it often inspires intense fear in the weak and the slaves.
The Carnage of Thräl’laniir
The Carnage of Thräl’laniir is a tournament consisting of fights to the death which is often hosted somewhere in the middle eight months of the year. During this tourney, the fighters are challenged to kill each other in the ring, after which the victor must consume the heart of the loser and bathe in the blood of the arena. With each fight, this arena becomes saturated with blood more and more until the sand is so drenched in blood that it turns almost muddy. The winner of such a tournament is declared Mi’trais, avatar of Az’shaq, the Void Cult of Fury. After the tournament is over, the spectators revel in three days of excessive drinking until the entire city or town is in such a drunken stupor that it simply ceases to function for three days more.
The Brawl of Ultharanc
The Brawl of Ultharanc is the less deadly cousin of Thräl’laniir, a tournament in which the contestants fight for the honor of strongest of the Brawl. While Thräl’laniir is more chaotic, Ultharanc is structured and organized. It is called for when an Arken or Perfect Silven visits a Dread Empire or Kathar Society gathering, and announced the Ulthar to those present. This essentially means that the Arken or Perfect Silven demands a show of strength in their honor and for the Kathar to engage in a tournament of which the victor will be chosen to perform in a night of passion that could lead to the birth of another Perfect child.
Fenestrations of Melir
The Fenestrations of Melir are a less deadly and more cultural feast that Kathar engage in, during which they approach strangers and outsiders (even other races) and hand them black ribbons. Those who discard the ribbons on the spot are labeled as enemies of the Kathar, while those who wrap the ribbon around their right wrist are welcomed to move among the Kathar for the period of three days, as long as they show interest in learning and discussing the Kathar ideologies in a peaceful setting. While those Melir ribbbons are on their wrists, it is a heresy to the Kathar to attack them, unless they themselves break the vow to the Void by uttering insults on the Kathar and their beliefs.
Henate's Duel is the penultimate Kathar battle ritual between two or more individuals for honor. If one Kathar feels dishonored by another or a group (or tries to prove a point about how they are stronger), they may challenge the other to the Henate Duel. The Henate Duel is held in a Kathar pit or duel ring, which is glyphed and enchanted with Void Ritualism She'llaq writing from a ritualist. While Henate's blessing is intact (which will remain for an hour after casting, or break after the duel is over). The duellists enter the ring, after which the ring is magically closed, it becomes impossible to enter on account of an invisible wall that pains to the touch. The fight between the fighters is to the death, but not final. That is to say, if a duellist should die inside the ring, they die, but then are immediately revived and their wounds are completely removed. This resurrection is perfect, but only works for the duration of the Duel, and cannot heal wounds gained before the duel. The winner is then declared the stronger and more honorable, and the loser(s) is often tasked or demanded to nurse or serve the winner for a period of time while they recover from their wounds, as the winner does not have their wounds restored after the fight. When the fight is over, the ring becomes inert.
Feasting of Kolthar
The Feasting of Kolthar is a strangely peaceful feast for the Kathar, which is mostly aimed at food. Every participant Kathar must bring their own made dish (no matter how terrible it is) and present it to all the others at the table. Then, when the feast begins (usually after a speech from the highest ranking Kathar), the Kathar have to present their food in bite-size chunks and with no cutlery, and feed the others present. For example, a Kathar who produced a plate of friend squid curls, will have to take several in their hands (or in a bowl) and proceed to present them to the others present, and if they accept, hand-feed them with the food they produced. Every participant Kathar continues to do this until all of them signal that they feel satisfied, and then the Kathar say a collective praise to the peace and stability of the food table. Why this feast is so peaceful is not known to even Kathar scholars because of how old it is, but it is speculated that this feast was appreciated as one of the few times when the Kathar did not need to fear being poisoned by anyone, since the participants have to hand feed everyone else, and if they had poisoned the food, this would immediately be seen, and they would be slain on the spot.
Dawn of the Golden Hour
The Dawn of the Golden Hour is a Kathar revel in which each group of Void God and Prefect worshippers gathers together to choose a single representative among their own. Generally, this should result in a representative of Pride, Trickery, Power, Pleasure and War, which are the largest groups. Then, all these representatives challenge at least 3 of the other representatives to a tactical game of Thonq (which is very similar to Chess). Those with the highest amount of wins is declared the Golden Hour Lord, and thus announce to all the others present that their chosen deity is declared the most favorable and most charitable in blessings to the Kathar. This is generally seen as a means to try and convert followers of other Prefects to one's own Prefect. (For the feast, it is recommended to make use of a free online chess program to actually play out the games fairly).
The Blackheart Union
The Blackheart Union is a more commonly-occurring celebration and is simply the name for a Kathar wedding ceremony. The Kaahl of the proposed to gathers and selects a single champion to represent them, where the suitor must then decide upon a challenge to face the champion with. If the suitor is victorious, they are allowed to wed, a ritual in which the Kaahl’s name is tattooed onto the new suitor and then the pair are ushered off to seal their binding in a bed of their choice. The rest of the Kaahl eat, drink, dance, sing and make love in a grueling 24-hour celebration, after which the ceremony ends.
The presence of the Void and specifically magic play a key role in the functions of Kathar society. To be a child born with a Magespark is something seen as a blessing from beyond the veil, and children who exhibit signs of having Sparks are treated preferentially among their Kaahl, something that is reflected in Altalar society for Mages. Most end up becoming battlemages in a Warlord’s army, though the most powerful are groomed for leadership in politics or warfare and go on to amass great power and influence by virtue of being born with a Spark. These particularly talented Mages make up a great deal of the Great Kaahls’ leadership and inner circles. Those born without a Magespark who still see magic as a calling pursuit resort to Sorcery and one of the many broadly-accessible schools among the Empire’s territories, learning from well-established Mages and sorcerers. To take up this path earns less respect than the fortune of a Sparked birth, but is still an avenue into channeling the Void’s blessings nonetheless. Sorcerers on the battlefield are unfortunately used as fodder often and eventually replaced by a new batch of fresh students. Kathar society does not have much upper mobility, but Kaahls that have magical children born in them are usually raised up to aristocracy, where they remain until their magical pool runs dry and they become common once more.
Combat and Warfare
Kathar Combat and Warfare is very two-fold, the Dread Empire having both a strong army and a strong navy. While the Navy itself is largely based on slave labor, both in construction and rowing, it largely focuses around naval boarding. The Kathar do not possess any artillery and use only limited skirmishing capabilities, thus focusing entirely on reaching their foe as quickly as possible and then to board their vessels. Once boarded, the Kathar proficiency for combat combined with magic really shines through like it does on the battlefield also. Regalian vessels often fare well when outnumbering Kathar vessels, but when overrun, no naval foe can outspeed or outrun Kathar ships.
On land, the Kathar boast massive armies filled with mostly Shenathar and Bakrathar soldiers and Saivalthar or Zolathar officers. Throughout nearly every level of rankings within the army, combat oriented Magic is frequently practiced and Mages are a staple warrior in any combat unit. Kathar themselves prefer fast and light combat styles, mostly related to daggers, short swords and unconventional weapons like javelins and whips, though their relatively lightweight battalions are bolstered by massive Void-warped beasts of war called Uul’thaak, the strongest of Shadow Bovine who endure magical mutation to become frightening monsters covered in layers of crude armor, their horns set ablaze and strung up with barbs and bladed chains, charging through enemy formations and scattering them out of fear. With these, Kathar tactics are typically to overwhelm their opponents and optimally force retreats from them, exerting their sheer power and bullying their enemies into submission. Kathar soldiers have a particular dedication to their weapons of choice and oftentimes name them, treasuring them and keeping them close at all times. It is not uncommon for them to spend most of their wages on the most finely-crafted weapons available and decorating them with personalized engravings and trinkets. Additionally, Saivalthar and Zolathar officers have something of a standard of fashion among them: found in heraldic, ornate armor even on the battlefield, they display their familial, Prefect and Sire ties proudly.
Kathar have something of an obsession with single combat, though unlike other proud races like the Orcs, honor is almost a non-factor in these engagements. Any advantage one can gain when crossing blades with another is an advantage one should take, because to dispatch an enemy is an honor itself, no matter the method. Slaying another in single combat is seen as something of a religious sacrifice, as all dead depart to the Void: to send a soul to the Void yourself is a contribution to the Essences and power that all Kathar share in, and the greatest of combatants tally their lifetime of kills in order to prove their swath of donations to the Void. The Oscithar and Solstithar have far less violent expressions of combat, but are still very fond of watching gladiatorial fights or even participating in them. Their combat tactics usually align more with their Altalar cousins than the Dread Empire. Kathar principles of combat are also best known for producing the School of Tarakhal and School of Akhl'xarak.
Economy and Technology
The Dread Empire has a self-contained economy that does not interact with the outside at all, which also covers its technological progress (of which there is surprisingly little). Most if not all of the economy is fueled by slavery, notably Altalar slaves but slaves range from Ailor to Asha to even Orcs. Above the production engine of slavery (which usually takes care of all basic resource gathering and crafting), Magic controls a large sector of the economy too. Magic is primarily also used as a substitute for Technology, and magical trinkets and resources are bartered. The more mercantile-inclined Warlords all contribute personally to the industry of the Empire, with the Court of Mortal Delights specializing in winemaking and spirit distilling and others spending their time mass-producing armaments or even making clothing. The Dread Empire Elves and thus the Kathar by extension are the only people in the world not familiar with the Regal Coin, and maintain the use of their own currency, the Shard Tablets which are small rectangular tablets made of Void Stone. Oscithar and Solstithar on the other hand are far more integrated with the global economy, trading in the Regal coin, and engaging in trading with faraway places. The majority of the Void Artifacts that get smuggled into the Regalian Empire come from the lands of the Princes of Osc'ïrd.
- Recent instability between the Empress and the Great Kaahls and doubts in the future of the Empire has supposedly led some Warlords to consider total secession in line with what the Oscithar did many centuries ago.
- There are no recorded instances of Exist mages being born out of Kathar. Whether this is because it is impossible due to their blood’s influence by Void Essence or simply because these children are quietly dispatched is entirely unknown.
- The Kathar are remarkably competent smiths and have perfected the creation of lightweight metalcraft armaments to aid them in their wars.
- Despite their brutal culture, the Kathar are actually rather fond of artistic pursuits, though their idea of art differs vastly from the rest of the world’s. In fact, some Kathar became so enthralled by the Ithanian and Dressollini styles of music and theater that they adopted them and began to create operas to tell the stories of their own people.