[Pykanthrope – People of Spiritual Fire]
A broad shouldered man stood with his sword in his right hand – a short simple blade, equally narrow along the entire blade and tapering to a fine point at the tip, all the while having a slight curve to the cutting edge. As he waves his other hand over the length of the sword it becomes lined with fire. He charges into the fray cutting down a few enemies before engaging into a duel. His opponent, a man of a tall slender build raised his sword to parry the strike. The broad shouldered man sent out a blast of flame from his left hand and left his opponent smoldering in the dirt. “That’ll teach you about messing with the Champion of the Lykausts!”
A slim woman of an olive complexion wearing a slender graceful dress, made out of some kind of silk, began descending the staircase into the large hall before her. Lifting her dress so she could move comfortably without tripping she walked into the hall, and then stood at the door to the ballroom. Pausing to summon forth a little fire she was announced to the room, “The Lady Miradel, of the House Mynn.” The Crowd in the room turned to watch her enter, flames surrounding her in aura.
Blasting fire from both hands, Pyren covered the group as they passed through the gauntlet. All these are examples of the Canthrope, or more properly the Pykanthrope. Hailing from the richly-fertile volcanic continent of Ignaval this race of fire-wielding spiritualists is a force to be reckoned with.
Humanoid-Elemental. The Average Canthrope has an olive skin tone, stands about 5’6”-6’1” and weighs roughly 120-180lbs, with females usually being a little lighter. That being said a more medium skin tone is also quite common, and some Canthropes can weigh more than this.
Eye color varies depending on which region of Ignaval the individual comes from. Canthropes from the north more commonly have Violet, Orange, Yellow, and Blue colored eyes, and Canthropes from the East typically have Yellow, Brown, Green, Gray, Hazel, and Silver eyes. Whereas Canthropes from the South have Red, Black, Gray, Silver, and Hazel eyes; and the individuals from the Western portion of Ignaval have White, Silver, Green, Violet, and Orange eyes.
Canthropes believe that tattoos can actually harm a person’s Spiritual Energy or “Aki.” Usually when a tattoo is used, it is for the purpose of marking known criminals and as punishments for dishonorable acts. In addition, piercings of any kind are believed to detract from the natural beauty of the individual and as such is frowned upon in Canthrope Society.
Canthrope culture is defined by its spiritual, honor-based, and family-centric society. Each of these aspects plays a key role in the life of every Canthrope, from the peasant farmer, to the Emperor himself. Because of their emphasis on honor, the worst crimes are those that bring dishonor to your family.
The Age of majority is 17. Often times though, one is considered an adult at age 13 and would be considered eligible for certain responsibilities, such as ruling a nation or province with the aid of an advisor that has less power than the regent did during regency. Also at 13, all Canthropes, regardless of station or gender receive military training as part of their education. During this stage of life, it is customary for Canthropes to get married. The majority of the Nobility has pre-arranged marriages that are the sealing function of alliances and deals; however, most Canthropes have a strong desire for love in their relationships. This is due to the values ingrained in their society. Honor, Courage, and Family are particularly appropriate for this practice.
The Canthrope Family consists of the Head of House (usually the oldest Male, but sometimes a younger male or older female may take the position); his wife and sons, and their wives and children. Often times up to four generations are living in the same superstructure, with wings being added for each individual family unit. In addition many Noble Families have had the same families be servants to them for many years (and in some cases, centuries). A servant family is under the protection of the Noble Family it serves and relies upon them for their support in terms of housing, food, and livelihood. Serving a Noble Family is one of the highest honors a commoner can have. The Connection between servant and Lord goes even deeper than it might appear.
Canthropes are tolerant of women in positions of power, though men are far more common to see holding titles. Examples of powerful women include Aseira Loyter, the consort of the Emperor Pyreth. She through her station was able to secure her family’s control of the islands in the east of Ignaval post-War of Ashes.
Canthrope cities feature large market places in the center, and large farming communities outside the walls. Banks, Inns, Shops of every kind, and Homes are common place to see throughout the city. The crown jewel of the Empire is the Temple of Pyrus, a city carved into the inside of long-since dormant volcano it shows off the height of Canthrope engineering, and it comes fully stocked with all the normal locations that might be found in a standard city. Moreover, arson is considered more of a compliment, as opposed to a crime. Fire setting shows beauty in the object it burns, rebirth and rebuilding in all.
Canthropes by far have the shortest lifespan out of all the sentient races, leading them to act impulsively and out of emotion rather than reason. They often act in their best interests, but not necessarily everyone’s best interests. This gives them the reputation of being fiery and passionate.
The tongue of the Canthropes is Pytokau or, as it translates in the common, Burning Tongue. According to its speakers, it has many phrases that describe the sounds of fire, crackling and popping. Upon closer inspection it appears as though the sounds are merely inflections designed to highlight the tone of the speaker. For example a sarcastic remark may feature both a sarcastic tone, and a popping inflection if the speaker is being facetious, or with a crackling inflection when speaking to a loved one about a private joke. When written Pytokau uses a simple character set, very common among the more human races.
Canthropes believe that their control over fire was given to them by Pyrus as a gift for their devotion to Nüré’i. Volcia has gifted them fertile lands to grow their people on and a vibrant landscape. Xeratos has gifted them knowledge of the sun and the warmth of their hearths and lands. Spiritual Leaders include the Oracles and the Emperor himself. Pyrus, Volcia, and Xeratos are the preferred Dragon Lords – seen as a boon from Nüré’i. Oracles who have received their gifts directly from God, teach the people about the Return of the Dragon Lords and the Coming of the Orange Dragon with Violet-Eyes. The Religion also holds that the Emperor is appointed servant of God, and caretaker of the people. Canthropes believe that to honor Nüré’I, one must live and Honorable life and devote yourself to your family, faith, and ruler.
Canthropes have small shrines inside their homes where the family (often many generations) prays together. Each village also supports a priest (scholars of the written prophecies) that teaches and uplifts the spirituality of the whole community. The Temple of Pyrus is a Holy City, also a stronghold for the Canthropes. This is where Pyrus supposedly brought the first of the Canthropes to, where they were gifted the “Aki” and the Control over fire.
Religious ceremonies for the Canthropes include a highly ritualized funeral service in which a portion of the ashes of ones ancestors (stored in a communal urn for each house/family) is spread over the remains of the deceased. The body is then cremated and a portion of the ash is collected and placed into the Ancestral Urn, the remainder is scattered to the wind. This represents the belief that the Canthropes hold that ever though their family may no longer be on the earth, they are all tied together in the heavens.
Another ceremony is the Dance of the Phoenix and the Dragon. It is a duet of woven fire to produce a retelling of how the land became so fertile. It later became symbolic of the fall and the rise of the Empire of Ashes.
The adherents to this faith believe that the “Divine” gifts of the Canthropes are actually a curse given them by the Dragon Lords. The religion holds that this curse marks the Canthropes as “Corrupted Souls” and that the Dragon Lords have in turn become corrupted, else why they remain absent. “The only good Canthrope is one that is already dead, or nearly so,” stated the founder of Dyrkism “the Emperor.” They believe that they will be rewarded in the next life for being the scourge of the Canthropes. (This faith was born on the eve of the Genocide of the Canthropes and died very quickly only three decades later. However, there are still a few humans who hold these beliefs).
The believers of this faith, the Selykites, follow the Dragon Lords and the Oracles by believing that the Dragon with the Violet-Eyes will come one day to restore both balance to the world, and renew it to its original state, before the corruption entered. Ascribes divinity more towards the Dragon Lords, believing that Nüré’i is actually a Powerful Angel in the Heavens, but not an Omnipotent force. This faith also holds that marriage between siblings is divinely appointed – just as the first mortals were united. (This faith maintains a strong presence in the islands to the east of mainland Ignaval, even after their land is ceded to the Canthropes).
A Kænist believes much of the same as the Canthropes, but rejects the belief of the Dragon with Violet-Eyes. They also believe that the Canthrope Oracles are merely a way that they can keep undue influence over others, including their own people. They hold that Nüré’i just does not speak to anyone anymore more, but prophesied of the time when the Dragon Lords would return.
The Fyrenist movement shares the majority of their beliefs with their Canthrope allies. However, their main difference is that the hold that Oracles, while very gifted, are not needed. They believe that each individual is their own Oracle and that there is no need for an established clerical order.
The Zeirites hold that the Dragon Lords exert too much influence upon Mortals, trapping them, preventing them from reaching their full potential. According to the Zeirites, the Demon Lords hold the key to true freedom, achieving your full potential, and they provide ways to break free from the rules of the unjust. Believers hold that the Demon Lords chose Zeira Black Flame and her many, many children to free the people from this illusion. They deny the Oracles, claiming that they are just another tool the Dragon Lords use to unjustly Lord over the people. They believe that Zeira and her children contain “Holy Blood” and that is must stay within the faith – marrying close relatives when needed.
The Kyrites believe that to counter the spread of the wicked ideology of the Canthropes, the Demon Lords (true advocates for freedom and happiness) sent two Oracles – of their own blood, two brothers. These two “True-Oracles” began to teach about the Demon Lords, the correct way to live and what they offer. They taught that Man’s purpose in this life is to fulfill all of their own desires and that nothing was a sin. Rruin Emperorsson and Flynn Flynnsson also taught that their blood is “Holy” and that all should desire to unite with it, even if it means marrying close relative and having multiple wives.
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