|Subraces||Ka, El and Haat|
|Naming Customs||Fluently flowing names with frequent usage of Ls and Ms|
|Distinctions||Ancient sleeper Race re-awakened by the Cataclysm|
|Height||5'5 - 6’2|
|Eye Colors||Race Palette|
|Hair Colors||Race Palette|
|Skin Tones||Race Palette|
As the last remnants of the ancient Meraic Civilization and survivors of the Void Invasion, the Maraya are the oldest living Race in Aloria. When faced with imminent extinction, the greatest minds and Mages of their world-spanning society came together and constructed the Tohn Vaults: massive underground stasis chambers intended to preserve their species in a centuries-long slumber. Their slumber could only last so long, however. At the end of the Void Invasion that had pressed them into their Vaults, Magic was drained from the world, an event unforeseen by the Meraic. With each passing century, extinction loomed ever closer for the sleeping Maraya, with Vaults worldwide failing without the Magic used to sustain them. While some Vaults became the final grave of their inhabitants, others managed to preserve their lives, and others still were subject to magical corruption, altering the biology of the Maraya within. Eventually, with the destruction brought by the Cataclysm and the Wildering in the Allorn Empire, the Vault seals were broken and exposed, and the sudden burst of Magic preceding these events re-activated the mechanisms of the Vaults, awakening those within. Wrought by memory loss and the effects of long-term hibernation, the Maraya emerged into a world that was alien and hostile to them. Guided by a collection of knowledge known as the Tohn Sona, they set out in the world to try and reclaim some of their lost glory. But after many struggles, the Maraya have become divided and realize more now than ever that their past is long behind them. They have to adapt to survive in a world that is too full of other Races all fighting for dominion to even have a chance of their own, at least, for now.
Physical & Mental Characteristics
The El-Maraya are the most common form of Maraya found, as they were born from the Tohn Elaya, the vault for the common folk. Back in the Meraic Empire, the Meraic Race experienced speciation. This means that the Maraya were split between at least two Races that had a shared ancestor, but diverged in development at some point in history to form two distinct species. The El-Maraya resemble Altalar in many ways through their Body Shape, though there are some very distinct differences. The most obvious difference is their natural skin tone, ranging between pastel colors of blue, orange, yellow, and red, while their hair has similar pastel colors. Their irises are often a very bright variety of these main colors, for example sky-blue, bright pink, or vibrant yellow. Other prominent features are their cranial features and their ears. These cranial features are usually two triangular shapes with smaller ridges extending outwards growing up from their forehead, differing in shape between individuals. Some shapes can also be disk-shaped, and some can also be rectangular, as the edges differ wildly. Their ears are much like those of the Altalar, but twice as long and curved slightly upwards, with two butterfly-wing shaped lobes hanging on the underside. Their hair, despite not being made of real silk, has a very silken feeling to it, and can quickly grow to longer lengths. Male El-Maraya can also grow facial hair, but often shave it off. It is said that El-Maraya hair can grow up to an inch a day on their head, until it reaches to around their waist, when the hair growth stops. Their hair is capable of picking up objects and being used to perform minor tasks, such as opening a jar.
The Ka-Maraya are the less common form of the Maraya found as they were born from the Tohn Kaya, the vault for the scholars and philosophers. The Ka-Maraya are the sister-clade to the El-Maraya, sharing a common ancestor in the Meraic species, who represented a more philosophical and religious caste within their civilization (though have since abandoned that distinction). The Ka-Maraya are considerably larger than the El-Maraya who are generally slim and athletic. They are bulkier and larger, despite their more scholarly inclined disposition, and are often mistaken for the male dichotomy of the El-Maraya, even though both El and Ka-Maraya have male and female genders within their Subraces. The Ka-Maraya have a similar skin tone palette to the El-Maraya, but all their colors are generally less pastel and more gray-muted with darker tones. Their eyes are the same, and they also have cranial formations on their forehead. Additionally, they can also have these on their cheekbones, their chin, and they usally have two sets of horns that flow from their cranial formations on their forehead to follow the curve of their skull backwards.
Most Ka-Maraya don’t have hair on top of their head, though when they do it is usually a very color-muted variety of their skin tone. That means to say, for example, if a Ka-Maraya has a darker blue skin-tone, then their hair color is black but with a very light tint of midnight blue. Additionally, nearly all Ka-Maraya males have some form of facial hair growth that grows much faster than any other Race’s facial hair growth. It is very common to see a Ka-Maraya with a full beard, the older and more venerable ones even having beards down to their chest. Ka-Maraya also have a number of skin-deep formations on their cranial formations, their cheeks, and neck that often appear like sub-skin veins but are actually thicker skin shapes. These differ between individuals. They furthermore have long ears like those of the El-Maraya, but these ears tend to be more angular and pointed, and the lobes on their ears are not butterfly-wing-shaped but more like actual triangles. Finally, the Ka-Maraya have a non-prehensile strong muscular tail that is about as thick as their upper leg when flowing from their spine but narrows as it goes closer to the ground. Towards the end, the tail is shaped like that of a thresher shark. They can move this tail around with some efficiency to strike people, but it is not flexible enough to hold items or their weight. They are able to use this tail to swim faster than most other races, barring those who are naturally aquatic as well.
The Haat-Maraya were once El-Maraya but were corrupted by the Tohn Haat’s magical bindings failing and Void Essence leaking into their chambers. The Haat-Maraya as such physically changed away from the Meraic racial standard (of either the El or Ka-Maraya) but remained genetically Maraya and part of their racial category. The Haat-Maraya have the same shape as the El-Maraya but have a few minor differences that mark them as unique. The most prominent is their horn crown, a unique head feature with smooth, blunted horn formations that run lengthwise along the forehead and back along the head while sometimes also pushing forward. These horns never exceed two inches in length and do not prominently push off from the head. The tip of these formations are often a more vibrant, noticeable color than the dominant tone of the horn crown as well. Another difference is their hair, which is similarly long and rich like that of the El-Maraya, but also has the same possibility of vibrant tipping on the hair ends as the tips of the horn crown. Haat-Maraya colors naturally skew to the darker side, ranging from purples and shades of brown or green, with their brighter colors coming to the tipping of their aforementioned hair and horn crown. Finally, Haat-Maraya possess a tail, but it is unlike that of the Ka-Maraya, as it is prehensile, with smooth skin and sometimes, a split end. It can also have the vibrant tips of the other body features.
Haat-Maraya are capable of drastically changing when they enter the so-called Karross’rekallan, or Warped Form. This state is triggered when a Haat-Maraya willingly embraces a negative mindset and similar emotions, such as rage, pride, greed, masochism and so on. The different mental state that accompanies this transformation is described further in the Personalities section. Entering the Warped Form is not immediate. When a Haat-Maray gives in to this aspect of themselves, they gain 1 Point of Warp Corruption, and this can stack up to four times before, upon the triggering of a fifth, a Haat-Maraya becomes Lost. The Lost are Haat-Maraya who give in to the Warped Form, allowing it to permanently marr their bodies and minds. But, a Haat-Maraya can reduce their stack of Warp Corruption through refraining from embracing the corruption for one week. This only removes 1 Warp Corruption at a time, and after giving in, the Warped Mind also becomes dominant for 24 hours. Below is a list of traits Warp Corruption can cause. For each Point of Corruption, a Haat-Maraya gains one of these traits. Generally speaking, none of the mechanics (both the Warped form, and Corruption stacks) confer any combat advantages or buffs to a Character. In roleplay, the people you are roleplaying with may consent to lend your Character more combat functionality than is actually afforded to them, but this is not intended to be a CRP tool. The transformations should primarily be treated as a vehicle for storytelling.
- The individual’s horn crown grows larger and sharper, with three pairs of orange or red eyes manifesting along its surface in a mirrored pattern while the individual’s own eyes are altered to possess black sclera, bright red irises, an orange limbus, and the absence of any pupil.
- As much as 30% of an individual’s body becomes studded and marred by dark and jagged black, red, or dark purple crystals.
- The individual’s body mass increases, and they also grow up to a foot taller while their hair grows thick, moving on its own and tending to lash out at those around them.
- An individual’s skin significantly pales with black veins running underneath while their nails turn sharp, and their teeth develop prominent canines.
- An individual’s tail develops chitinous plating, and the tail tips significantly narrow into a whip-like state.
- Long thin spikes of dark chitin grow out from the elbows, stopping at the wrist.
- The individual’s legs from the knee down transform into spiked, pointed limbs, appearing like pointed ballerina shoes that allow them to walk on the single spiked tips. These are made of dark chitin.
- Hardened tendril-like extensions grow in a pattern from the sides and back of the head, matching the hair color. They are movable, but act like sensory organs, rearing up and turning in the direction of loud sounds or strong smells as they are detected by the individual. Their tips can be colored like the other tips of the individual.
- The individual’s voice drops to a deep rumble while a black, tar-like substance slowly oozes out from the corner of the eyes, defying gravity by moving horizontally back along the temple, and rapidly drying in the open air. This does not disrupt the individual’s eyesight.
When a Haat-Maraya becomes Lost, five traits from the above list which existed at the time of transformation into the Warped Form become almost permanently fused to their body and impossible to remove. This allows for easy identification, and these traits are impossible to hide from other Maraya. However, there are two ways of escaping the status of being Lost, and both are only recent discoveries by the Maraya of the City of Regalia. The first is through using Hacking to activate the Void Spire, and the second is Primal Cleansing by the Dragon Matron. In both cases, the individual is reverted to their former, un-Warped state.
Maraya Common Traits
All Maraya species share the same age and height restrictions, but do have different Body Shape restrictions, as noted on the Proficiency Page. Racial breeding between the sub-species can result in one of three options. If for example the mother is El-Maraya and the father Ka-Maraya, then a child may be born as either an El or Ka-Maraya, or it may be born as a Nol-Maraya. Nol-Maraya aren’t officially defined on this page because they are a form of semi-sterile (to their own species) mutt Maraya that is not able to reproduce with other Nol-Maraya and as such seen more as a physical abnormality than an actual racial category. Nol-Maraya take physical traits from both parents. They could for example inherit the mother’s ears and facial features but the father’s tail. They simply can't reproduce beyond mating with other Ka-, Haat- or El-Maraya, in which case they do, either they or their partner give birth to the Maraya variety of the other non-Nol-Maraya partner. Maraya age up to 400 years old, but this aging principle follows much of the Ailor process. Maraya become adults at the age of 20, after which they continue to age at a normal rate until they reach around 100 years old, which is 80 years in equivalence to Ailor. Then, they continue to live another 300 years after their 100th birthday, but remain as if 80 years old throughout that time, until they finally die of old age around 400. Maraya do not give birth like other Races, but instead, they produce small eggs immediately after intercourse (both males and females can produce eggs). These eggs continue to grow from fist-sized to about child-sized for over several months, absorbing plant matter that is put onto the shell. A child is eventually born with a connection to their biological parents, but able to adopt any person as their parent if their real parents are absent.
The El and Ka-Maraya have roughly similar personalities, which are seemingly conflicting with their world view of wanting to regain their lost glories. One would expect the Maraya to be very arrogant and cold like the Altalar, which is true, but not at face value. Many of the Races experience the Maraya as the most two-faced Race in existence, able to have a poker face that is so effective and thorough that it is said to be impossible for the other Races to tell whether they are being truthful or deceiving, before being capable of great personality and expression the next moment. Maraya are masters at masking their own emotions and intentions and know just what to say to make others comfortable around them, all while keeping their true motivations hidden. This doesn’t mean that all Maraya are inherently evil conspirators, however, it simply means they wield emotions differently than others. Many of the Maraya don’t buy into the glory reconquest ideology as professed by the Tohn Sona and are more than happy to just be alive, haunted with memories and knowledge of the utter destruction that came to the world millennia ago during the Void Invasion. Now living in a world where Void Invasions are seemingly a thing of the past, and with little loyalty to their old memory, the Maraya remain flexible and fluid in their movements between social circles, using their crafty personality to get in good graces anywhere they like. The El- and Ka-Maraya have an overarching ideology that wishes for them to become great again but ultimately there is no urgency to this plan, and many Maraya have accepted that they simply need to have a larger population before this can become a priority.
Haat-Maraya, however, are a different deal altogether from their brethren. While corrupted by the Void, it seems the Maraya mind was extremely resilient against these efforts, and the Haat-Maraya managed to lock away such corruption to a small part of themselves and their mental state. When outside of the Warped Form, the Haat-Maraya display a surprising range of complexity and mental breadth with how they handle life, perhaps being the most malleable of all the subraces in how they can be taught to act or engage with the world. In general, however, Haat-Maraya are known as exacting about details, and less able to obscure their emotions than the other Maraya, which can make them blunt or even harsh in discussions. They also feel that secrets have no role in society and often become obsessed with asking questions and seeking out answers, as well as stripping bare their relationship with others with honesty and pragmatic understanding ruling the day. This process gain’s one trust with a Haat-Maraya, and they will show very little care or real affection for those who are not trusted by them. However, this drive to know as well as the focus on detail is often used by others to make Haat-Maraya spies or scouts, something the subrace is uniquely suited to.
But then there is the Warped Mind, the term used for the almost second personality lurking within every Haat-Maraya which triggers when they enter their Warped Form. It is best described as an alluring but harsh voice in the mind of every Haat-Maraya, urging them to give in and do more to love the powers they have been gifted and care not what anyone else thinks of them while in the Warped Form. It encourages baring true the secrets of the universe through violence, and that pain is pleasurable to all. When giving in to the Warped Mind for the 24-hour period it has control, Haat-Maraya overall are harsh and downright mean with their friends or allies, alongside an aggressive impulse to defeat their foe as soon as possible, and then that foe’s allies, and then do a little more chaos because of strong impulsive desire. The vast majority of Haat-Maraya, however, have learned to resist the call of the Warped Mind beyond 1 or 2 Points of Warp Corruption every few years. But those that give in are called the Lost, Haat-Maraya who have surrendered to this mental state and form to become masochistic, bloodthirsty, and monstrous as one cannot deny the ugly nature of a completed Warped Form. When in this state, the non-Warped Mind still exists, but is said to be the secondary voice, urging the individual to stop, and reminding them of their past, and only sometimes succeeds.
Racial Abilities and Specials
Racial Abilities are generally a set of unique powers and effects that all peoples of that Race all innately have, while Specials are more passive, aesthetic focused capabilities. Specials are defined per-page, while Abilities can be searched on the Ability List page to determine their generic function. Maraya have mostly Specials and Abilities aimed around crystaltech, their ancient civilization, and some of the more unique insect-like physiological features. These Racial Abilities and Specials apply to regular Maraya. Haat-Maraya have their own set further down. There is no such thing as a Half-Maraya, because Maraya are genetically so far removed from the other Races that they cannot reproduce.
|Ability Name||Ability Type||Ability Range||Ability Description||Modifier|
|Body Tether||Restraint Power||10 Blocks||Grants the user Body Tether||Maraya Modifier|
- Ichor of Beauty: Every Maraya is a unique soul, with a unique so-called Crystal-Print. A Crystal-Print dictates the colors, shapes and aspects of Chrysalis made by the Maraya. Maraya hands have tiny pores that produce a resin-like substance that they can mold in their hands to whatever form they like, which eventually sets and hardens into a crystal. This crystal can have any appearance that the Maraya considers personal to them, as it is based on their Soul. It can sparkle, gently glow, have lights inside of it, lightning sparks, a gentle flame, or have other snow-globe like effects, though it can never effect anything outside of the crystal. The crystal can also have any shape, or even be used to produce small items like jewelry, bowls, drinking cups, and other. These Crystals can be used by Crystaltech Engineering Branch, as well as other Crafters or the Maraya themselves and they can practically make an infinite supply of it, with their unique design always being their own.
- Ancient Mind: Every Maraya's mind is like a personal palace, as Maraya treasure privacy greatly. Any crystals that they wear on them will start violently buzzing/glowing/humming if any individual is attempting to use a Special to read their Emotions, Memories, Preferences, Mind or otherwise, allowing the Maraya to block or allow such an attempt. This does not work on Abilities that specify invading the mind.
- Iridescence: The Maraya have some control over their own bodily features. Within the permitted color schemes, the Maraya can change their skin color and their hair color at will. They can also extend/shorten their forehead horns or cranial features, and extend or shorten their earlobes and ear-shells. These changes are instant and can be done as many times as the Maraya likes.
- Living Hair: Maraya hair isn't really hair but a living extension of their own bodies like any limb would be. The Maraya can extend or shorten their hair at will, and even move it around with prehensile dexterity, allowing their hair to grab and hold onto things. Any hand held object can be picked up, and any amount of items that could reasonably be stored into the hair can be stored in there like a pocket dimension. They cannot, however, store weapons, armor, or Artifacts in their hair. This grasp is tenuous at best however, if the Maraya is attacked by anyone or has a Displacement Ability used on them, all items will drop on the floor. Maraya hair cannot be cut by anything but specially attuned Maraya Crystals.
- Crystal Case: Maraya can use their Crysalis to instantly encase any hand-held item in crystals that are indestructible. These Crystals will resist any type of harm, and basically make the object unusable, with swords for example becoming so blunt because of the amount of crystals on it, that it can no longer be wielded or used to cut. These Crystals can be destroyed by touch from any Maraya. This Special cannot be used on weapons held by others, or Artifacts or living beings.
- Crystal Manifest: Maraya are capable of incorporating smaller crystalline or resin-like aesthetics to any item they use, or clothing they wear. Excellent examples are crystal-edged hems on clothing, eternally resin dripping earrings (where the drippage dissolves after dripping down), crystalline sparks jumping off weapons, and a resin-like mask on their face that adds a perfect smooth sheen. All crystals are styled after their personal Crystal from Ichor of Beauty. These effects can also be applied to another person, but in that case, they only last for 1 hour.
- Ancient Tohns: Maraya read and work from scriptures that are thousands of years old. This unique syntax of language grants them a linguistic insight other Races do not have. The Maraya get the Ancient Speech Pack for free without Point Buy investment. This free pack also does not lock them out of buying Distant Speech Pack, as it would for other Races. Additionally, instead of being allowed to only purchase one Linguist Pack, Maraya may Point buy two if they want to spend the Points for it.
- Balance Manifest: Maraya are capable of manifesting a tail of any size (though limited to twice their body in length) and of any thickness or material (scales, smooth, segmented, etc). This Tail is capable of holding things, but much more sluggish than for example an Allar tail which is very agile. This tail must still be colored similarly to their body skin tone.
- Luxurious Life: The Maraya were once (arguably still) a highly advanced civilization with Crystaltech. Even the simplest of Maraya is able to self-code their own Micro Golems to perform tasks around the house. All Maraya can make Crystal Servitors, which are singular large Crystals that hover in the air, and use limited telekinesis, gravity and magnetism to perform tasks around the house. They can for example automate washing dishes, brushing the floor, watering the plants, and collecting the mail.
- Hydrophobic Feet: The Maraya have unique feet that are so intensely hydrophobic, it counteracts their weight on the water itself. Maraya can still swim in water (so long as they dive head first), but if a Maraya lands or steps on water with their feet first, the water surface will act as a walkable surface. Maraya can essentially walk on water. If they are already inside water, they have to fully leave the water before they can walk on it again. It is not possible to climb out of water and stand on water. Shoes do not get in the way of this for aesthetic reasons.
- Defy Gravity: Maraya have tiny little hooks and attachment parts on their limbs, too small to see with the naked eye, but strong enough to hold up a Maraya's weight even when upside down or horizontal. Maraya can walk on any surface, whether it be the ceiling, the walls, pillars, etc. This cannot be used in combination with combat however, it is not possible to use Abilities or Mundane Techniques while standing on the ceiling out of reach for balance sake, a Maraya would have to come down to the ground. Shoes and gloves do not get in the way of this for aesthetic reasons.
- Fathaam Flare: The Maraya are capable of Crystal-crafting a Fathaam Flare. A Fathaam Flare will shoot up in the sky, producing a wild scattering of iridescent and opalline colors in the clouds, or just a flash of light if used in clear skies during the day. If this Special is used in Progressions, it instead produces a larger flare, and the Fathaam Flare can be used to request the arrival of the Home Swarm's Tohn Opaar who arrives on a small Crystal Drone. A Tohn Opaar is like a representative, who is willing to talk to the Maraya who summoned them, but may decline to arrive, and may decline to comment on what the Maraya has to say/ask/request.
Haat Abilities and Specials
|Ability Name||Ability Type||Ability Range||Ability Description||Modifier|
|Body Tether||Restraint Power||10 Blocks||Grants the user Body Tether||Maraya Modifier|
|Armor Summon||Summon Power||Self||Grants the user Armor Summon||Haat-Maraya Modifier|
|Weapon Summon||Summon Power||Self||Grants the user Weapon Summon||Haat-Maraya Modifier|
- Hateful Maraya: Haat-Maraya have access to all Specials common Maraya have access to as well. The only difference is that Iridescence only allows the Haat-Maraya to switch skin and hair colors between the Haat-Maraya palettes, they do not have access to the Common Maraya palettes.
- Chittering Shadow: Haat-Maraya are always Void Occult by nature, regardless of any other Afflictions or Point Buy investments. Haat-Maraya cannot become Afflicted (except Silven, they can be Void Silven). Any Magic they Point-Buy is always Void, and Haat-Maraya can always use Shadow aesthetics with Magic Spells regardless of whether they have purchased the Shadow Magic Pack.
Maraya history is an enigma, even to their own people, constructed around vague fragments of the Meraic Empire either through what still exists on the surface world or from the trinkets, writings, and memorabilia remaining in the Tohn Vaults. These scraps of knowledge allow brief glimpses into what the Maraya once were, but are scarce; such materials from other Vaults dwindle over time, lost from the failure of magical archive wards, or from the simple passage of time, destroying nearly all Meraic written material. Modern scholars estimate the initial period in which the Meraic were intended to sleep was for roughly 300 years; instead, their stasis lasted for at the very least 2500 years. Their Vaults numbered 177 initially, a number gleaned from one of the texts of the Tohn Sona, one of only a few surviving, complete remnants of Meraic literature, though only 56 of these Vaults have ever been discovered in modern times. Of these 56, only the Tohn Elaya, Tohn Kaya, and Tohn Haat are known for certain to have offered life; most of the rest of the 121 Vaults were reduced to ancient, intricate crypts with little more than dust, while others fell victim to natural disasters like earthquakes and flooding, only discovered by stumbling upon their last fragments.
When the Maraya awoke, they collectively could not remember their past. In three separate locations, the Ka-, El-, and Haat-Maraya awoke in utter darkness to irreparable ruin and failing Magics. Of the dozens of rings and levels constructed in their great underground silos, barely a handful remained, their heritage and ancestry crushed by rockslides and the erosion of time. The newly awoken Maraya spent months or even years still inside their Tohn Vaults, subsisting off Magics which needed to be manually re-activated to initiate a painfully slow opening process. The first of these Vaults to open was the El-Maraya Elaya Vault, which suffered no complications in opening, and released the Maraya Home Fleet. This Fleet, a large collection of airborne residences suspended and merged with a single balloon of Meraic origin, made the first preliminary scouting expeditions around the Vault, concluding to them the world had been taken over by new Races. The Maraya concealed themselves high above the clouds of a tropical storm, making use of devices left behind by the Meraic to observe and collect information on the Allar and Slizzar beneath them in the initial stages of the foundation of the Chrysant Kingdoms. Elsewhere, they watched as the Ailor established the Regalian Empire after casting off the shackles of their tyrannical Regalian King.
Here, the Maraya came to the realization they could not seek conflict; less than 50,000 Maraya had awoken from the Elaya Vault, they were receiving no communication from any other Tohn Vault, and their advanced astronomy and navigation skills opened their eyes to two dire truths; they had far overslept their target, and there were no remaining Meraic cities. What little had survived of their settlements and structures had been absorbed and cannibalized into Altalar cities. The tropical storms which followed their Home Fleet kept them hidden from sight by the surface dwellers for decades, until the reception of an emergency signal from the Tohn Kaya Vault, whose inhabitants were unable to open their main Vault door. The Home Fleet descended from the clouds to Sendras, discovering an Allar Void Cult making residence directly on top of the Tohn Kaya door. The first contact of the Meraic inheritors to the new Alorian Races was slaughter; the Home Fleet Maraya proceeded to utterly eradicate the tribal Allar and force the Tohn Kaya gate open, releasing the Tohnsa-Ka-Meraic, which would go on to become known as the Queenship in modern times. The Queenship was constructed by the Meraic civilization and outfitted with technologies still unparalleled today. Powerful propulsion systems enabled the Queenship to take its place at altitudes untouched by modern Alorians, and crystalline structures built into the Queenship allowed it to alter the very weather around it, creating the clouds with which it would hide itself in later times. United, the Maraya would bring together their Tohnsa and the Home Fleet, electing the Tohnsa as their capital ship, from which they established a government in 42 AC, and formally adopted the name ‘Maraya’, differentiating themselves from the Meraic civilization which had come before them.
The Tohn Haat, conversely, never released their distress signal. Upon being awoken sometime around 10 AC, the Haat-Maraya Vault descended into chaos as their unhappy society broke down upon the discovery of the Warped Form. A faction destroyed the distress device out of self loathing, while others attempting to leave damaged the locks of the Vault door. They did not follow the Meraic teachings that would have sustained them, though many now suggest they could not, their stored records of information damaged in the civil war, as well as with damage caused by age and the same corruption the Haat-Maraya had suffered themselves. By the opening of the Tohn Haat in 92 AC thanks to the work of Kathar and their slaves from outside the structure, the Haat-Maraya were a vicious, half-mad people who had resorted to cannibalism to survive, with many becoming what would now be termed Lost. While many from the external party were then slaughtered in this initial meeting, and conflict continued for weeks after, some Haat-Maraya more sane and born into the savage life of their parents emerged to meet with future Kathar out of a desire to leave behind the squalor and miserable self-loathing. Initially convinced that the Haat were nothing more than animals, tales claim that beings from the Void, be that Arken or Ancients, compelled the Kathar to make massive efforts in order to translate and negotiate with the Haat, which were ultimately successful. It helped that despite their initial savagery, the Haat-Maraya were energetic, complex people who quickly grew on the Kathar. By 100 AC, the Haat-Maraya were now part of the Dread Empire and had abandoned their original Vault.
The Home Fleet, led by the Tohnsa-Ka-Meraic, were witness to all of this, but could not intervene from their place in the clouds. Even with time to reproduce, and the bolstering of their numbers by the scholarly Ka-Maraya, they numbered only around 230,000. With only a few decades of existence as a formal state, they elected to instead record the events and their observations, and disappear back into the clouds, using all that had been learned to establish a plan at a later point. However, this event ultimately caused a division among the Homefleet’s inhabitants. While many agreed with the choices of the Queenship, a vocal minority stated that the surface was in need of Maraya guidance, and that Vaults like those of the Haat might exist hidden from sight until it was too late, with more tragedy striking. Over time, these groups became more and more outspoken until they finally left of their own accord, being allowed to leave but warned that their departure would mean a near-permanent separation from the rest of their fellows. They left anyway and separated from the Queenship and her resources, 40,000 exiles divided into four parties, descending to Aloria where they established new Tohns on the surface, hidden from the view of most. As decades passed, their numbers grew, and the Queenship continued to watch the Haat with disdain from afar. The Haat had also found new statehood. The Haat-Heshaksaa, a loose union of Haat-Maraya, expanded their people across the Meraic ruins of The Far West under the eyes of the Dread Empire. The Haat-Maraya proved their worth to the Kathar, but these acts were the last straw. Ultimately, the Home Fleet made their move.
In 221 AC, the Home Fleet with support from Tohn Bannomm Qinsheen located in Hyarroc descended to seize an airship carrying Haat-Maraya eggs between two of their recently founded colonies. This choice had been made under the leadership of a newly elected Maraya Queen, who felt that the Haat could not be allowed to spread unimpeded, and that raising their eggs among the Home Fleet might prove an act of unity for the three subraces. But in doing so, the El- and Ka-Maraya earned a lasting hatred from the Haat; long-envied by the Haat-Maraya for their lack of the Warped Form (for rumor of the untainted Maraya had seeped back to Rokhara over the decades), the two sister-clades had made their first contact with their relatives an act of theft, trying to steal the unborn children of the Haat. Although the theft was a success, a stowaway Haat warrior slipped aboard the Home Fleet and bided their time. As the Home Fleet was over eastern Daendroc a week later, however, the stowaway sprung into action, initiating a series of calamitous Crystaltech failures that disabled a number of engines on board a Home Fleet incubation chamber, which held a majority of the recently taken Haat eggs alongside El- and Ka-Maraya eggs as well. The chamber plummeted from the Home Fleet, down through the sky, and crashed into the earth in a long, dragging collision, killing dozens on the surface in its path while also killing all adults onboard the craft. The stowaway, still with the Home Fleet, was ultimately killed by Queenborn warriors, but this was little comfort for the Home Fleet who retreated up into the sky after they dipped low to survey the damage, unwilling to reveal themselves in a recovery operation as Altalar, Ailor and more closed in.
Unknown to any in the Home Fleet though, many hundreds, if not thousands, of eggs survived. In the fall, those alive on board the incubation chamber had loaded a number of eggs into escape balloons, which sent them to slowly drift elsewhere in Daen, or had reinforced the egg chambers at the cost of their own survival. Some of these eggs did not survive for long. Over the coming years, these unfortunate few were locked away as objects of curiosity and beauty by Altalar and Ailor nobles and collectors, leading to petrification and a lack of survival for the babies within. Others, however, managed to live, particularly among the Ailor. Attempting to keep the eggs warm with dried hay, many Ailor inadvertently provided them with the plant matter necessary for them to survive and gestate. When these eggs hatched, hundreds of Maraya emerged into the rural towns of Daendroc, the vineyard estates of Ithania, and even in the shadow of the reborn towers of the Altalar in Teled Methen or Hyarroc. While many initially suffered, the shock of the unfamiliar Race too much in the moment for some around them, a majority continued on to thrive and mature. Over the coming decades, all of the eggs from the infamous Chamber Crash, as it became known among the Maraya, hatched, the last one known to have emerged in 290 AC. The Maraya of the Home Fleet and among the Tohns on the surface soon named them Skyfallen, and they forged their own path, while also looking to their lost parentage for answers and knowledge over the coming century.
Many in Aloria were first properly introduced to the Maraya during the Chrysant War, as before that time, rumors of strange, pastel beings from the sky or the earth were largely disregarded by most in the Regalian Archipelago, or from those beyond the communities who had directly met Maraya. However, the Regalian Empire could not ignore the Maraya when the Regalians pushed into the territory of Tohn Maar Zintheer, dismissing the warnings given by local, captured Allar. There, the Regalians suffered a crushing defeat and were delivered the same ultimatum as had been given to the Allar: to leave Tohn territory and never return. The Regalian Empire, shocked at the destruction and unwilling to challenge those with abilities and technology so beyond their own knowledge backed down, and for the rest of the war, ignored that area of Hadaria. However, it was then the Essa Empire who suddenly began to suffer at the hands of the Maraya, but this time in the form of the Home Fleet. Sweeping in from the west of Hadar and proceeding south, dozens of Queenborn expeditions stripped the islands in their path of people, and materials. The Essan military leaders were helpless to stop them, and just as soon as the Home Fleet Maraya had emerged, they again vanished. This crippling of backline logistics earned the Maraya legendary status among the Regalian Empire, who were no longer antagonized by the Maraya’s strange nature, but deeply intrigued, if not grateful, for how they had likely shortened the war by several years. It took a long time for the Regalians to understand the divisions within Maraya society.
In the wake of so much Maraya activity in Hadar, Maraya elsewhere in Aloria began to make themselves known. Communes of Skyfallen emerged, dotted across Daen, rallying supplies and knowledge together to finally know more of where they had come from. In this, they were helped by Tohnborn Maraya who felt they needed guidance to avoid the fate of the early Haat-Maraya. This has been the way of things since the Chrysant War, with Maraya activity and discoveries only picking up in the last handful of years. A lost Vault in Ithania was discovered by scholars of the Regalian Empire, with ancient recordings revealing much in the way of past, obscure facts, while the Home Fleet and Queenship itself have been sighted with more frequency, engaging in more operations on the ground through small teams avoiding contact with even the Tohnborn as the Queenborn fully disregard all but themselves. There are also indications that the Maraya are looking into the past, as an ancient Vault, not of their kind, was discovered under the City of Regalia belonging to the Third Civilization, yet had been excavated by Queenborn Maraya before Regalian authorities reached it. Ultimately, the Maraya have been divided far more than they once would have liked, though with unique societies being forged out of one common ancient origin and much knowledge to recover in the wider world driving them to this day.
Maraya society has greatly divided in the past three centuries since they awoke in the wake of the Cataclysm, both on purpose but also by accident. There exist four groups among the Race, which sometimes cross the lines of subraces. There are the Queenborn, those from the Home Fleet who are named after the Queenship which so defines their existence. However, knowledge of the Queenborn, their home, and their ways are very speculative as they actively avoid contact with other Races, even Maraya born on the surface of Aloria. It is important to note OOCly: It is not possible to play a Queenborn Maraya from the Home Fleet or Queenship. The next group are the Tohnborn Maraya. Tohnborn are those from the quartet of Tohns secretly settled across Aloria who have since expanded to become microstates under the nose or eyes of most in Aloria. They largely keep to themselves, but their founding purpose, to seek out and aid the surface with Maraya knowledge, especially when it involves the Meraic, does see a slow trickle of their kind enter the world. The most common Maraya seen in the wider world, though, are the Skyfallen. Be they children born from the eggs that fell to Aloria’s surface nearly a century ago, or the offspring of such Maraya, the Skyfallen represent a far more blended society than most other Maraya. Polyglots and eager for more to life, they exist in Qomma or “Communes” dotted across Daen and the Regalian Archipelago today. At last, there is the Haat-Heshaksaa, whose followers and citizens are called Heshaphists by the rest of Maraya society. They are a loose union of Void-aligned Maraya dominated in number by the Haat located within the bounds of the Dread Empire, with colonies in Meraic ruins and Vault remains reaching into Daen. They are shadowy but known to most Maraya, and tend to keep close to Kathar, feeling an obligation to aid the Race which saved them from oblivion. Many Haat actually dislike Kathar society, as it is rife with the emotions which trigger the Warped Form in Haat and so they keep away, using Kathar proxies and other Maraya who have come to the Dread Empire to engage with matters of Dread statecraft.
Families and Romance
The Maraya are largely of a liberal mindset when it comes to the formations of families and romance among their society. Among the Tohnborn, Skyfallen and even Heshaphists, there is both gender equality and sexual equality as same sex unions and relationships freely take place alongside different sex unions and relationships. The male or more dominant partner is not under any pressure to make the first move and neither is the opposite party, though there are some nuances and slight differences across the different societies. Tohnborn have traditions which state female family members, and women overall, deserve the utmost respect, resulting in their consultation on many matters, as well as female friends or relatives to one’s chosen partner acting as a form of first defense, to weight and test a prospective partner before allowing them in closer, or alone, with the chosen individual. Skyfallen on the other hand, are diverse in their courtship rules or ideals based on where or how an individual is or was raised. Communes often emphasize large group gatherings before people are broken into smaller, more intimate parties to discuss this background, and to understand where each person comes from. The result is typically a mutual respect about the background of a chosen partner, and also ample time to learn about it before pursuing a courtship or close relationship. Heshaphists, meanwhile, follow Kathar rules of family, with often large, interlinked units of people and the capacity for more than one chief partner. Prospective partners size each other up in what is known as a “Life Dance”. This is where two Haat-Maraya, or members of the Haat-Heshaksaa, get in very physically close and disclose personal information, feelings, and background while their eyes are locked on one another, slowly moving in a circle in the middle of an open room.
Despite all of these practices, the Maraya are also a pragmatic people aware of a blunt truth: they are a rare Race, low in overall population when compared to the millions of Allar, Ailor and Altalar that commonly surround them. As a result of this, overall, relationships outside of their own Race are discouraged by the different societies, and matches with one’s own subrace are desirable. Among the Tohnborn, this is almost unsaid, since it goes with the territory of their isolation, though Tohnborn outside the Tohn are known to indulge, sometimes simply for the sake of understanding another group’s rules and manners of relationships. Among the Heshaphists, full and open lovers of other Races are acceptable, but actually bonding with one in a serious way as a life partner is frowned on. In fact, it is common for such partners to leave their home of origin for a colony, Void, or Kathar-aligned location elsewhere in Aloria to avoid the pain of social disgrace. Those who violate these different rules though often use the fact that the Maraya are a very long-lived Race to their advantage, and claim that they will have many decades to find and choose a Maraya mate. Only the Skyfallen lack such pressures to keep one’s amorous focus within the Race.
As one can imagine, the Maraya subscribe to a diverse array of family units, but the cultural ideal, expressed by many older members of each society, is the Nouyo. The Nouyo is the Maraya concept of the nuclear family, with two parents, and three children, with no gender preference or sexuality preference mentioned. Those who wish to become parents do not carry their young to live birth like other Races, but will instead produce one to two thin-shelled eggs which quickly leave the body. Over the course of several months, the shells of the eggs harden enough to protect them from most casual damage. While this happens, the eggs must be kept warm, and also periodically fed with simple foods like greens laid on top of the shell which is absorbed for nourishment by the baby within. The individual then hatches after about nine months, appearing like a humanoid baby newborn, and with the same reactions to the world as many others. Maraya eggs can go into hibernation, however, if they are not kept heated or fed, and this is also where another essential part of the Maraya familial unit comes into play. While many, upon hearing that Maraya have eggs, may comedically assume the exotic Race sits on them in some sort of nest, they are instead kept within small, private covered containers known as Shevell-Saamboq, or “Life-Nests”. Lined with warming crystals, and kept in near total darkness, family members must keep a very careful eye on the Life-Nests of siblings or relatives to be born. This also leads to family shifts tending to the egg, and often fosters a closeness that remains in Maraya families long after the child is born.
The Maraya all speak the Language of Shalota, a tongue even older than those of the Altalar given its roots among the Meraic. It is a melodic language which makes frequent use of double m’s, s’ and l’s with plenty of vowels, with the most common hard consonant being “q”. Whether Shalota was the exact tongue that the ancient Meraic spoke however, is up for debate. Due to the nature of Maraya reawakening, the ancient Meraic language and modern Shalota does share continuity in its alphabet, a series of 26 glyphs refined by modern Maraya but essentially the same as those found in Meraic ruins and old Vaults. There are also rumors of several different tongues among the Meraic, of differing sophistication and alphabets, and so some wonder if Shalota comes from a common, general tongue of the majority of the Race, or a more select group chosen to go into the Vaults for a reason. There is also one more quirk of Shalota, and that is in the use of the word “Tohn.” While it once had connotations to greatness or great places, it has evolved to reference locations, and as a descriptive term, has expanded to indicate traits in those from surface Tohns, who are Tohnborn. Thus, the use of “Tohn”, at least in Shalota, now requires context with surrounding words and minor inflection changes to indicate what it is referring to.
Lifestyle and Leisure
The Maraya of the different societies live very different lives to one another, with different sorts of leisure undertaken to match. The Tohnborn Maraya are perhaps the least troubled when it comes to their livelihoods, with plenty of leisure time to devote themselves to a myriad of arts and more. The Tohns are rich with Crystaltech devices, some as old as the Vaults, others crafted new or based on older machines or imagery of them found over the generations. These machines work to provide constant service and resources for the benefit of each and every Tohn, so ultimately, many Tohnborn go through their lives in need of little. However, given the ease at which they move through life, many might think them to have grown slothful or hedonistic, but this is not the case. With everyday mundane matters handled by machines, Tohnborn turn to training and education with fervor. Built on top of old Vaults, exploration of the silos and tunnels, alongside education in weaponry and Crystaltech sciences occupy many a Tohnborn’s time. But when there is true leisure time among their people, they tend to engage in reading or writing, alongside quiet games of skill to test on another in one-to-one situations, though some of their games also involve competition between four parties, or physical sports witnessed by small crowds.
By contrast, many Skyfallen are much like any other Alorian, working to survive and make a living for themselves in the wider world. However, their Communes allow them to pool their resources, if not live communally, so many have an easier life than others should they find other Skyfallen. Skyfallen leisure is often taken up with communal activities and, strangely, often involves not the exploration of their own racial culture but that of others. They might for a week, choose to eat Leutz-based cuisine, or take a month to study the literary works of a notable Ithanian playwright, and have a group discussion at the end of their experiences to assess what they liked, disliked, or found interesting about the topic. All of this is done in the name of understanding the non-Maraya of the world, and also often to benefit one member of the community from the Culture being explored. Actual Maraya culture is considered something to do when one is working, and to be actively pursued, so taking a break from that sees people turn to other Cultures and cultural practices. Skyfallen are also far more into the art of dancing and entertainment as part of their society than the other groups of Maraya. Communal synchronized dances with flowing, thin, silken robes as everyone moves about in circles, locking arms, and spinning, alongside acts of acrobatics and more are common features of Skyfallen celebrations. Much of this is taken from Daendroque and Ithanian festivals, but the Maraya always inject their own spirit into the motions. A number of Skyfallen Maraya also use their leisure time to learn Shalota, as Communes tend to have libraries or material and older members learned on the subject to help teach others.
Finally, there are the Heshaphists. Overall, they lack leisure time in the traditional sense and live constantly vigilant lives as many have, with the passage of time, come to view the Dread Empire as self-destructive. For that reason, martial combat training among their people is highly prevalent, as is stealth training, since the Haat-Maraya know that so long as they are useful to the Kathar, they will be left alone. Indeed, they are, and this focus on weapons and stealth as well as their underground homes breeds a fearsome reputation. However, the Haat-Maraya are capable of laying down blades for relaxation, with meditation common among their kind as they work to, as a community, retain a peace of mind. They are often surrounded by sweet-smelling incense, and the gentle humming of unique crystals as they do this, providing great scenes of tranquility away from prying eyes. Non-Haat part of the Hesha engage in this activity both for the community it generates, but also for its effectiveness at reducing overall stress. However, for some Heshaphists, aspects of Kathar tradition bring them joy, and they can take the time to attend Kathar religious festivals, participating with varying levels of enthusiasm in what happens at these dangerous parties of fun and sacrifice.
Maraya fashion is regularly compared to that of the Altalar, and in many ways this is true. Particularly among the Skyfallen, Altalar robes and vestments find a great frequency of use, from across all the Types based on the Commune’s location, but also where the Maraya was raised. There is also much in the way of Ailor-focused fashion among the Skyfallen. However, among the Tohns and often for special events with Skyfallen Maraya, more traditional clothing makes its appearance which, while also like Altalar fashion, has its own distinct flourishes. The most obvious is the unique patterning that Maraya fashion often makes use of, with vibrant colors in unique arrangements in large bolts fabricated by Crystaltech sewing devices, but there are other differences also.
Traditional Maraya fashion frequently involves a nondescript fabric top with a broad, circular collar around the neck, with a rounded edge more common among men and a pointed, or more “ornate” pointed edge more common among women. It is also common for men and women to not wear shirts at all, instead wrapping their upper body with bolts of fabric or wearing scarves and sashes over top. Bandoliers, either in a sash style or crossed over the chest meeting at a middle point, are also not uncommon. As for their lower bodies, traditional Maraya fashion has more variety. The most common, for both sexes, are short pants which end just after the knees or along the lower calf and are often puffed in size before being cinched close to the skin when the pant hem reaches an end. These are often paired with fanning flaps of fabric that rest on top of it which hang downward from the waist, sometimes with a simple rectangular design, or with a more ornate, oblong design that allows for easy leg movements. Another common style of lower body fashion are simple skirts called Sommpos, worn by both women, and men, which similarly end just after the knee. These often have a decorated front with a more embroidered flap of fabric hanging down from a metal belt that helps support the fashion’s structure. These belts are also commonly used with the short pants, as well as the final style which is a more baggy, loose puffed style of pants which end in tight wrapping by the ankles.
There are, however, some unique styles of Maraya wear which, while traditional, reject the styles mentioned above. First, there is the Bloomed Enrobement, a term for large, billowing and sometimes, ground-trailing fabric arrangements on a Maraya’s body decorated by shoulder features in the shape of flora with a single chain of Gold or Silver along the middle. This style is often worn at the most important of events, especially when meeting with nobility or attending formal functions, and is seen as a carry-over from the Queenship itself. The second style is unique to the Haat-Maraya, known as the Skin-cloak. They feel a greater need to show off their bodies as a way to indicate their difference from other Maraya, and so prefer skin-tight fabric. There are also frequently pointed aspects to the design, be that in the top of boots, or around the collar of an outfit. This style is particularly favored among the Haat-Heshaksaa, though some Skyfallen Haat-Maraya have adopted it as well. Maraya footwear is limited, and those of the Tohn and Haats often go barefoot through their centers of power, but sandals, and simple shoes are worn when out in the wider world. As for Maraya self-decoration, their jewelry is heavily based in crystals and gemstones that compliment their chosen visual color, alongside fairly mundane metals which make up the basis of the metal used in their fashion. However, Gold, Silver, Electrum, and other more valuable minerals are also used in bandoliers, belts and jewelry pieces. Some Maraya have also devised ways to cap their head crests and set coronets or headbands into their crests with ornate decorations within. Haat-Maraya specifically accessorize with metal necklaces, either draped stylized beads or tighter ones visually similar to chokers.
Maraya artistic efforts are often unique in Aloria for their lean toward the abstract. Most Maraya visual artwork is, in a practical sense, their Crystaltech work. While some within the Race might disagree and state that their efforts are not so much for beauty or aesthetics as function, and upholding their traditional visual language, it typically results in ornate creations with a gorgeous external appearance due to the minerals used to make it. However, formal art is part of the Maraya as well. Rather than making use of paint or pencil, Maraya artists align crystals of differing colors to shine light onto a canvas to produce vibrant fractals that have no express visual meaning, but are instead meant to evoke an emotional response in its observer. Although some non-Maraya have attempted to recreate this form of art using stained-glass, the sheer clarity and brightness of color found in authentic pieces cannot be imitated without the crystals themselves. Additionally, Maraya visual art can involve harmoniously aligned, if not oddly shaped or placed, collections of minerals slowly moving in a pattern or orbit around another object within a certain area. While beautiful to look at, these too are meant to craft an emotional response based on one’s interpretation of the movements and the colors at play.
However, there is one form of art that all Maraya, regardless of society, embrace when able: vocal music. While instruments are known among their people, the most well-known being strange crystalline half-spheres with a handle which hums and vary in an emitted pitch when touched and stroked called Pyppa, or crystalline rods akin to flutes, Maraya overall prefer to use their voices alone. Communal song is heard throughout their society, and often starts at home, or at least ideally does. Eggs kept in incubators are sung to by their families at least once a week, and newborn babies are brought before the community to witness “The Harmony,” a communal song welcoming a newcomer into the world. There are more times when communal singing takes place, on certain anniversaries both community-wide or personal, in the name of entertainment, or in the name of a union of two parties together in love or arrangement. There is even a communal funeral dirge for those who have passed on, sung when someone has died. All of this singing is extremely harmonious and melodic, Shalota almost naturally suited for singing as a tongue. Even bad singers, who might cause an issue, are incorporated into these musical efforts, and no one is shunned in Maraya society for their lack of a singing voice, or ability to play an instrument.
In comparison to other parts of their society, Maraya cuisine is fairly lackluster. Few if any records survived of Meraic culinary creations, and those that did often call for materials the Home Fleet was simply unable to acquire, given the world had changed so much over the millennia, or plants and animals involved in the cuisine had gone extinct with their forebears. As a result, even Maraya Tohns have culinary dishes that reflect their surroundings more than they do a shared racial heritage, especially seen at Skyfallen tables with Ailor and Altalar dishes being served regularly. Tohnborn and Skyfallen cuisine does have some notable aspects, however, that have been likely transmitted from the Queenship, and in the case of the Skyfallen, are eaten at special occasions. Traditional Maraya meals tend to favor soups and stews over other forms of food, and frequently make use of exotic spices and plants, which are easily grown in the controlled environment of Crystaltech greenhouses and Crystaltech-managed fields. They also make frequent use of seafood and craft a paste known as “Prall’hossq” from fish and seafood, which is used as the basis in much of their traditional cooking. As for the Heshaphists, and also some Haat-Maraya Skyfallen, they tend to favor the consumption of Kathar-based dishes with the table variety that comes with it.
It may be said that the Maraya have no architecture because they take it all from the Meraic, and that is ultimately correct. That is not to say there have not been developments and alterations to Meraic designs over the centuries, but on the whole, Maraya society keeps to the visuals of their ancient forebears. The Skyfallen do not build unique architecture, but instead use existing structures and decorating them with Crystaltech and other imagery of the Maraya to clearly illustrate their possession of an often Ailor or Altalar-built space. The Heshaphists, meanwhile, largely live in the tunnels and ancient ruin network of the Vaults, maintaining what exists but not building anything of their own. If anything new is raised, it is in a more Katharic style. It is only the Tohnborn who have built new structures based on the work of the Meraic, but even this is limited. All Tohns on Aloria’s surface are built over old Vaults, and so have an extensive underground network attached to silos, chambers, and tunnels hewn of stone and decorated in a Meraic way. This network of tunnels is guarded and explored by the Tohnborn Maraya, but also has small towns built on the surface meant to guard any exposed entryway into the Vault network. Many of these towns are simple, with large stone buildings built of blocks cut by Crystaltech machines, then assembled by other machines and Maraya working together. They tend to be one to three stories tall, and feature a broad, square base that slowly narrows into a “domed” roof though the outfit is often so ornate with carvings, it is more like a gradual cone. Others have a semicircular roof, with thick rod-style tiling formations sending water out two ways from the house, while the two ends of this formation are flat walls. Circular and square columns exist, mainly as decoration outside, but inside serve as actual structural support, while walls are sometimes carved to feature scenes reminiscent of those down in the Maraya Vaults, though with modern subject matter. These areas are also laced with Crystaltech, walls studded with gems and crystals as part of devices to provide light inside and outside when the sun has gone, or allow for doors to open without the need to push or pull on them.
There exist three examples of Maraya statehood in Aloria, all of which are divided from one another but function on similar forms of leadership and leadership selection. They are also scattered across Aloria, existing in hidden places, not in easy sight of most thanks to the rugged terrain that surrounds them, but also, especially in Daen and elsewhere, the forces of Magic and change brought to the world which allows for easy concealment.
Queendom of the Sky
The Maraya Queendom, or Queendom of the Sky as some also call it, is the formal name for the Home Fleet and their flagship, the Queenship, which is headed by an elected queen. She is chosen from a body of some forty “Rabba-Qarbannach,” which most translate to meaning “Count” or “Countess.” In truth, each are the leader of a section of the Home Fleet and might more easily be known as Captains or Controllers. The Queenship and its leaders are aloof to what happens down below, and most Tohnborn Maraya see all of this information on an elected leader, alongside the structure of Queenborn society, as out of date. Little else is known about the Queendom aside from a greatly advanced level of Crystaltech knowledge, far greater than the Tohnborn, and rumors of powerful war machines capable of flight or warfare on the ground to defend the Queenship’s assets.
Also known as the Haat Underground or the “15th Great Kaahl”, the Haat-Heshaksaa is a monarchy similar in scope to the functions of the Queenship. It is ruled by a Hesha, the Haat-Maraya term for “Queen”, and her rule is law. Their society is one built of family ties and alliances, with a host of lesser nobles existing in a court around the Hesha to help in relations with the Kathar, as well as organize their people. The Heshaksaa has a network of colony sites across Dread Empire controlled territory, with rumors of some existing on mainland Daen as well, but is based out of a Meraic ruin sitting underneath the Kathar capital city of Paärthalaär. This was not the original Tohn Haat, which itself is deeper into the continent of Rokhara, and is largely abandoned by the Haat-Maraya of the modern day. The Haat-Heshaksaa are not a subservient part of the Dread Empire, as some Kathar like to think, but are semi-independent on the understanding that they provide their warriors, spies, and scouts when called upon by the Dread Empress and other leaders. However, they also have individual contracts with a number of the Great Kaahls that provide them valuable resources. The Kathar also find value in the ancient technology and knowledge the Heshaphists are able to retrieve from their old Vaults and tunnel network. It is important to also note that there are Ka- and El-Maraya among the Haat-Heshaksaa, some lured there by Kathar and finding companionship with the Haat, while others view themselves on a more personal mission to learn, educate, and understand this often misunderstood people.
The Reborn Tohns are a grouping of four microstates on the Alorian world stage, scattered from the south into the west of Aloria, formed from the four landing parties which originally left the Home Fleet and Queenship nearly two centuries ago. They established themselves over the ruin of former Vaults, none of which were active, and after a period of exploration and salvage, properly founded their communities with the expectation of expansion, and learning more about both the surface, but also the Vaults across Aloria. This has overall taken place, though with the increased activity of the Queenship, some wonder if the Tohns will be contacted again soon like they sometimes were in older times. Each Tohn is ruled by an elected Potentate (called a Khallan’saa in Shalota) who is chosen from one of twelve Councilors. These Councilors each have assigned duties and are respected by the community, and while not universally so, are often older Maraya long settled into their roles in life. It is important to note that there are Haat-Maraya within the Tohns. While they were kept at arm's length upon first arrival, a small but vibrant group of Haat now exists within each Tohn scattered across Aloria. The four Reborn Tohns are as follows:
- Tohn Maar Zintheer: This Tohn was founded in Hadar and is the only one whose territorial boundary, as well as location in Aloria, is known for certain. As the most publicly known Tohn, it has a heavy military focus, certain they will be attacked by a large force someday, but is also commonly a point where Skyfallen come to meet Tohnborn Maraya. It is also the site of the Tohn Amantheet, a school of archeology open to all Maraya, and able to be attended by Skyfallen.
- Tohn Qaar Damman’llau: Located somewhere in the Hȏrtutor Wildlands, Qaar Damman’llau has kept itself hidden despite active searches undertaken by Altalar over the past century who are aware it is somewhere in their territory. It is probably best known as the Tohn of Light, given its unique technology focusing on lights, projection and more.
- Tohn Bannomm Qinsheen: This Tohn is found somewhere in Hyarroc, near the border of Avanthar Rokhaal, Talant Ilha Faial and Talant Sulleÿ-Fanhaal. Often called the Plains Tohn by Maraya given its location within the Ularen Plains, it is best known for its focus on harnessing wind power and for launching small, one to three-person airships powered largely by the wind. It is also theorized to have some of the same weather-control technology as the Queenship.
- Tohn Tharm Demm: The furthest Tohn of all them, Tohn Tharm Demm is found on Fendarfelle, in the rugged wilderness near its coastline. While it is not currently within the territory of the local Colonial Charters, many suspect their borders are creeping closer toward this isolated Tohn. The Tohn is best known for its unique systems of power harnessing, supposedly thriving off the heat generated by regional lava flows.
Combat and Warfare
The Maraya methods of combat and warfare have often been mischaracterized by non-Maraya until more recent times. This was largely due to a false conflation that the Home Fleet and Queenship were in the same society as the surface Tohns, with the Skyfallen more like infiltrators, and the Haat-Maraya distant dark assassins, representing a dark underbelly to the Race as a whole. As a result, Regalians and others viewed the Maraya in insectoid terms, a swarm that was spreading across Aloria with different avenues of infiltration and affiliation with those around them. Despite the offense it causes, many still use such terms, naming the Home Fleet the Home Swarm, and call the Maraya nothing more than bugs. It does not help that the Queenship’s tactics, when engaged in group combat, involves overwhelming force, from dozens of advanced Crystaltech machines leading the way for armored and masked warriors, guarding machines which then drop to start extracting material resources. This method of warfare is exclusive to them, however, and the other groups do not engage in it. The Tohnborn often fight defensive conflicts, with a strong offensive focus only when their regional territory is violated to drive out attackers. Skyfallen range from pacifistic to militaristic, all depending on their upbringing, while the Haat-Maraya take on combat roles as elite scouts and warriors, who work as special units within the Kathar military to fulfill the Dread Empire’s goals.
As for the individual forms of combat that the Maraya make use of, there are several varieties. Their best skills are based on their agile movements in hand-to-hand combat. Their agility and surprising flexibility further assists in their ability to defeat foes. El and Haat-Maraya commonly use whip and flail-like weapons, while Ka-Maraya are more prone to using their own fists and heavier weapons. However, there is also a form of combat different from these, which often doubles as a sport in Maraya society. Known as Meray Boraan, or the Meraic Boxing Art, it is the oldest form of unarmed combat that the Maraya are able to recall, with roots in meditative practices back from their Empire days.
Meray Boraan is a low-stance martial art, involving numerous kicks, clinches, and knees. Each Subrace has their own take on the discipline, with the El-Maraya form considered the default but simultaneously the most graceful and well-pivoted, the Ka-Maraya form considered slower and more ponderous but carrying heavy strikes and well-placed tail swings, and the Haat-Maraya form considered unstable and less composed but more aggressive, with strikes to poke eyes and bruise the weak points of limbs worked into attacking rhythms. When practiced in sport form, it is tradition to fight for the best of three blows landed on one’s opponent. Maraya boxers dip their hands in paint before fighting and allow them to dry until they are no longer dripping so that no one can doubt when a strike has been made from the fluorescent dye left behind. Regardless of society, all Maraya come together to bond over this sport, and Crystaltech Engineers compete to build so-called Pattern-Golems, crystal constructs that let a fighter practice against a pre-programmed opponent.
The Maraya lack a formal Religion, and there are some who believe the Meraic similarly lacked one. However, the Maraya of the Queenship and the Tohns did have, for a number of years, the “Tohn Sona”, or Great Purpose, which were a collection of documents stored in every intact Vault sleeping chamber. They were meant to be a guide to the world after the Void Invasion, with charts and maps included alongside copious instructions, written survival guides, and general information on the Vaults, to allow those who emerged to rebuild and thrive. However, the Meraic slumbered so long that they became a new Race, and that Race emerged into a world where the Tohn Sona was nearly useless. Instead it took on a philosophical edge, especially after the rescue of the Ka-Maraya from Sendras. It became a guide of morals and ways of living, but also how to treat the world. As time went on, and the Tohnborn reached the surface, the Great Purpose faded from focus for the Maraya. It claimed racial supremacy, that the Maraya would inherit the world. Instead, the Maraya were weak, forced to avoid large-scale conflicts of expansion as their population remained small and unable to prosper as had been imagined. Additionally, with the scholarly and philosophical bend of the Ka-Maraya, many soon began to profess different beliefs, or rejected the nature of the Great Purpose in favor of philosophies of life to guide existence. Nearly all modern Maraya writings are authored by Ka-Maraya scholars, with a keen affinity for the exploration of philosophy and the roots of the many external practices in other Races when it comes to faith. While many still study and make use of the Tohn Sona’s texts to inform their life, the prevailing theory among most Tohnborn Maraya is that there is an energy across all of the universe, between all Dimensions, which exists in the living, the dead, and the inanimate. Their Crystaltech is a manipulation of this worldly energy, and each Race has certain traits that benefit from the twisting of this energy through them. However, where one’s beliefs go from here is often up to individual interpretation. Meditation, observations of the natural environment, and the study of knowledge are all ways people are known to engage with this energy. Skyfallen and Heshaphists are often informed on these beliefs, but only sometimes practice them as they more commonly follow Ailor, Altalar, or Kathar faith practices respectively.
Economy and Technology
There is little to be said about the Maraya economy, as there is no trade to external powers from the Queenship or the Tohns on the surface. The Skyfallen and the Heshaphists, meanwhile, are part of the economies of wherever they are found, regularly exchanging their services and knowledge for resources for their broader communities. However, Maraya technology, known as Crystaltech, is far more notable given its unique status and visual appearance. Often appearing like Magic, with large carved pieces of Quartz and gemstones knit together with other smaller pieces, often in clusters, and sometimes with metallic sheets or flourishes set as a minority, Crystaltech involves the alignment and harmonizing of these elements together into a working whole. The knowledge is purely of Meraic origin, and now, is in the hands of the Maraya. Tohnborn are the most prolific users of Crystaltech of the three Maraya groups, and tend to teach others of their Race when outside of their Tohns and in the wider world. This technology is also what allows the Tohnborn Maraya to live such hardship-free lives. Their water is drawn from the air and up from the earth via moisture collections and automatic water pumps, farmed and purified for common use by their households. Giant crystalline machines slowly crawl through the agricultural fields and plant groves of Tohnborn farms, planting, watering, tiling, and weeding what lies beneath their appendages. Then there are the machines of pure convenience, unique lights that turn on and off, devices that play recorded sound, even records or stories of the past played for the viewing or listening pleasure of those around them. Other devices offer floating tables to follow after their owners, grant unique perspectives on the world around them through varied lenses, or are noisemakers to amuse, shock, or harmonize with. Ultimately, all of it is unique and comes in shades of purple, pink, blue, and green. Due to its etheric nature, and also beauty to look at, many outsiders desire it for this stunning appearance, especially wealthy outsiders. As a result, the provision of Crystaltech devices for a price can be said to drive a portion of the Maraya economy, not that they need it, given how much is often granted through their autonomous and helpful machines without the need to spend money.
Interactions and Customs
- Traditional Maraya often have greetings and farewells related to paths, energies, and currents such as “May your path be straight,” “Your energy mingles with mine,” and “Until we meet again, let the currents guide you well.”
- Allowing outsiders to witness and experience Maraya songs, especially their music welcoming a baby into the community and when an individual has died, is seen as a great sign of trust and respect.
- The recovery of the petrified Maraya eggs from the Chamber Crash is one of the most important missions any Maraya can find themselves on. Any Maraya on such a mission is virtually immediately given whatever aid is possible by other Maraya, even across society lines.
- Maraya absolutely hate carbonated drinks. When offered a carbonated drink, a Maraya would prefer to leave it standing on the table or counter to lose its carbonated property and become room-temperature before drinking it.
- Maraya generally avoid sharing too much information with outsiders about their origins, which has not helped misconceptions about their existence. One way to earn their trust is by providing them with crystals and gemstones, especially if they are Engineers.
- It is considered a sign of importance or closeness for a Maraya to change their coloration in front of someone else, as this is usually a private happening akin to getting dressed or undressed.
- El-Maraya greatly enjoy strong aromas and scents. While odd, it is customary to let them smell a dish made for them within a foyer of a home before they allow someone deeper in.
- Ka-Maraya greatly dislike any meal involving shark meat or shark fins as ingredients. Such meals are rare, but they tend to sit back, cross their arms, and thump their tail slowly on the ground when confronted with such a dish.
- Haat-Maraya have a fondness for dark places, given that they can see in the dark without much trouble, many not even bothering to properly light their homes which can prove troublesome when having non-Haat as guests.
- Lost Maraya are often referred to obliquely as “those off the path” and “that which is still” even when they are within earshot or directly in front of non-Lost. This can easily infuriate them, but it is a necessary part of Maraya society to reject these Haat-Maraya by compelling them to gain back their proper name in the eyes of their fellow Maraya.
- It is said that during their gradual awakening the Maraya sang to one another, serenading their newly emerging fellows until entire sleeping chambers were filled with their harmonious melody. There is thus a belief among some that Shalota was actually once a sung Language and not one that was casually spoken.
- There are unsubstantiated rumors of heavy Draconic imagery in many Maraya Vaults, and that the mysterious Leylines of Aloria, also tied to Dragons, played a role in the function of these Vaults.
- Maraya Engineering has a fondness for additional pairs of limbs in their creations, a trait most commonly seen in their Golems and Familiars.