species:yazata

Yazata Ahura

Gol Shir-del, artwork by Farisato

Alluring and mysterious, the Yazata Ahura are the humanoid sibling of the Yazata race, they are often rugged individuals who use their shapeshifting abilities to their own advantage. Outside of their own nations on Liang (Tai Pan) they are often exotic and useful agents to any organizations.

They are native to Liang, where they enjoy freedom of movement to almost any corner of civilization. Often the femme fatale in popular memory, but ranging anywhere from beat cop to body double, the Yazata who do choose to leave their reservations are often driven by a mission of some kind. Be that education, justice, or power whose threat they can use to take with them back home.

Yazata Ahura come from many walks, they could have been raised in the cities of their mothers learning the arts of civilization, agriculture, and warfare. Perhaps an Altar adopted into a nomadic clan of traders, mercenaries, or travelers, taught how survive, to keep moving, and the hardiness to continue no mater what. Or the awkward lives of the Ajai and the Akai, rarely knowing anyone quite like yourself, trying to fit in as best you can either in the cities or on the road, perhaps taking advantage of their unique position to play off of both.

Yazata may wander the worlds, searching for meaning, knowledge, power, or just a plain good old time. But they are most commonly seen by outsiders while embedded in human society, travelling, working, and living like the rest. Many take up trades, acting, protection, or old fashioned working. Using their magical energy throughout the worlds.

Common Yazata Upbringing:

  • Hanefolk: The Hanefolk are the most famous culture block, decorated with white feathers and no horns, with many members of their nation travelling the worlds and achieving success, they believe highly in learning, demeanor, and beauty. They can be arrogant of over Yazata. Their women often value the academic or pious, and enjoy fine silks and materials. Their men travel over hardy mountains, and climb great heights.
  • Kanaifolk: The underground dwelling Yazata, displaying as batlike and fearsome, often more secretive and manipulative than others. Kanai tend to be realists, swindlers, and actors. Using their skills in disguise, and infiltration to perform a wide variety of legal or otherwise endeavors. More wily, pragmatic, and shrewd than some. Their women play Machiavellian politics and desire real power. Their men tour between canyons and the underground, and adapt to these changes easily.
  • Ashfolk: A coastal people, living amongst islands and long shores, their horned appearance can be fearsome, but their hard work ethic makes them invaluable agents. They are often peaceful until disturbed, and raised from salt bitten lives. Their women live on mountainous islands or forested shores, fading into the jungles when others approach, and value peace, productivity, and homogeneity. The men sail great distances trading, raiding, or warring to earn their pay upon greater or lesser galleys and will return to the islands periodically to court.

When the Minya Hini created Liang they placed two species to tend to the planets ecosystem and magical energies. The first were the Tatya Hini, the elves, the first creatures created by the Minya Hini to tend to their planetary creations. But the Tatya Hini were imperfect, they could not replenish the magical ecosystem anywhere near as fast as they consumed it, and each variation across the stars failed to correct this issue.

The second species the Minya Hini created on Liang were made to correct this issue, the Yazata, who would make sure magic stayed in balance. The magic of Liang was named the Song, and like its sibling node the Word, it too now had new beings to tend to its needs.

But the Minya Hini were not satisfied. They toyed and argued about their new creation, to give them wings or not, to base them on Tatya Hini or not, to consume magic users or drain them. The disagreement was such that the Yazata became two peoples. The humanoid, shapeshifting and sly Yazata Ahura, and the beastial, mighty and hungry Yazata Mazda.

The Yazata Ahura mingled amongst themselves and Tatya Hini, and the humans, and even the Taienese when they came to the planet. They made reputations as travelers, mercenaries, agents, and rogues. Heros and villains, the Yazata in any of the old legends is rarely a quiet figure in the story. Oddly, after Liang became the first Taienese dominion, much of the Yazata population has been left relatively intact compared to the destruction of elf and human societies, and Yazata are free to travel between worlds and nations as they see fit.

Ahura use their shapeshifting to defy almost all known physiological examples, some may have humanoid legs, others may prefer those of animals, birds, goats, and the like. Indeed, in extreme conditions many revert to near beastial forms themselves to adapt to their environment. Even their dimorphism is extreme, producing four distinct bodytypes even within their shapeshifting limits. They do have two sexes, but each sex has a primary and secondary form.

They may live for two hundreds or more, spending only ten of those years reaching maturity.

Ahura

Gol Shir-del, artwork by Farisato

Yazata Ahura are the primary female form and namesake of their kin, slim, agile, and winged. The ones people think of when the Yazata come up as their wings and aesthetic features mark them out from regular humanoids easily. Ahura are able to disguise their wings but many dislike doing so due to the amount of energy and time required to grow them back. Because of this prominence in popular memory, and multiple Yazata actresses, the entire humanoid clade of Yazata are named after the female gender.

Fully capable of flight, but often needing updrafts and thermals for long range sustained flight over large ranges, Ahura wings give them fantastic aerial maneuverability and grace.

Altar

Art by Nicoy

Altar are the primary male sex. Large and muscular, while they do have wings they are a vestigial remnant and they cannot soar like the Ahura. They live nomadic lives on the ground and low countries in caravans and bands. Far from tribal savages, the movement allows them to pay visits to many Ahura settlements and attempt to court the residents. Although these courtships are often rebuffed if not backed up with significant clout.

Altar mercenaries are considered an exotic display of hubris by kings and rulers, being wild and sometimes unpredictable combatants. In the stories and histories also appear bands of Altar as scavengers and gnawers of the dead, being attracted to the pain of the battlefield that gives them magical sustenance and profiting off of the loot. Altar will also sometimes appear in stories as healers, although their medicine is purposefully rough, acquiring magical energy from pain of the wounded.

Ajai

Kara by Boosted Bonobo

Yazata Ajai, the masculine females, larger, bulkier than the other Ahura, although possessing feminine primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Because of the added mass their wings become vestigial, and they are grounded within Ahura settlements. Culturally they are seen as protectors and creche defenders, their physical prowess has given them a respected place amidst Yazata society. Internationally they are popular stars in specific genres of adult movies. Within many Ahura communities they may also become a kind of sheriff, keeping the peace, helping others with problems, and protecting the weak.

Akai

Jinan by Venchiin

Akai, the feminine males. Slimmer, similar in body shape to Ahura. With their reduced size their wings become usable, and indeed Akai are some of the most successful Yazata in their histories. It is not only their aerial mobility, but social mobility that gives them a tremendous edge. Being able to deal with both the masculine elements while being palatable to the feminine means many are effective go-betweens the two genders.

Reproduction is done sexually, with all female and male forms being compatible. However Yazata seem unable, or deny ever being able to reproduce with other humanoids, elvish or human. Yazata are born in a state other humanoids would consider severely premature after a roughly six month term, this is due to the dangers of shapeshifting and mothers being unable to survive long without flight. While pregnant the mother will generally migrate towards safer settlements within her nation which house the creches and nests, post-natal Yazata will vary in how long they stay with their children, some only until they recover the use of their wings, while others may stay longer to tend and raise the child before leaving after a year or so. Leaving their offspring in the local creche, probably with a well paid Ajai to protect and care for them.

Any Yazata mother is able to give birth to any other Yazatan form, however Ahura and Altar are the more common of the forms, while Akai and Ajai are treasured as uncommon children within their creches.

Yazata eyes are supremely good compared to a humans, giving them the uncanny to see details at up to twice the distance of regular human vision.

Yazatan muscles never atrophy, meaning they're able to keep whatever strength they attain without losing it due to disuse.

Diet is similar, if not identical to humans at first glance. Yazata also delight in magical sustenance, absorbing magical ambience in places where magicians frequent. However, their most favorite magic of all is human power, the stirrings of emotions within the mortal soul. Pain, ecstasy, it can all be tasted by a Yazata, however personal preferences to flavor must be taken into account, rather like how licorice can be an acquired taste to some.

Ahura, being winged creatures, often live in vertical or other difficult to navigate environments. Their wings making them perfectly adapted to living in the valleys of Liang. While Altar are often more nomadic, moving through the valleys and gullies of the landscape trading and gathering as they go.

Ahura are naturally long-lived compared to humans, living for roughly two hundred years before passing away quickly, and ten of those reaching maturity. A Ahura is considered mature when she is able to fly, and an Altar when he is able to walk on his own with the tribe.

Yazatan society is often segregated by gender, with Altar living in the low valleys or along nomadic routes, while the flying Ahura glide up air currents to vertical cities against the sides of cliffs, or mountain ledges. Each flinging insults at the other any other time they do not meet to copulate, and even then insults are not uncommon.

Being creatures of the air and land, their laws are rather simple compared to most societies, with dueling being common and stakes being high even if blood is not spilled. Justice is often delivered by ones own force of arms and rarely by a larger force.

Young Yazata are often creche raised, with the young Ahura being kept nestled safely in the havens of mountaintops and deep caves, while the young Altar are raised only until weaning, upon which they are given over to a suitable group of Altar. Parental relationships are naturally, rather weak in their society.

In order to gain influence and power within their own societies, many of the more adventurous Yazata may leave the valleys and mountains of the reserves to move among the other races. Cultivating and acquiring knowledge, strength, and influence to make use of in their own power struggles. Indeed, the draw of their hunger for magic has led many of these wanderers into unconventional situations throughout their history, where their particular skills and abilities have made them useful for powerful figures. Indeed, it’s quite possible that some Yazata even worked with the Taianese in their wars, helping lead to the comparatively relaxed treatment Yazata have been granted to this point.

This is somewhat the limit of commonality between the different nations, many having their own traditions, aesthetic features, and lifestyles that greatly clash with each other. For instance, the angelic like Hane clan live organized and industrious lives compared to the bat-like and daring Kunai No Machi who dwell in the cavern riddled cliffs of their own cities and live secretive, dangerous lives.

Nations of the Yazata

  • Hane Nation - Sometimes known as Celestial Yazata, these bird themed folk once dwelt in floating cities before the destruction of Liangs mana node.
  • Kanai Nation - Deep dwelling Yazata from the underground canyons and ravines of the deep country and mountains, known for their hanging cities.
  • Ashgrove Nation - The southern most Yazata nation, upon fertile lands, black sands, and basalt rocks.
Art by Nicoy

Ahura clothing tends to be light and practical, able to shift with them and secured by straps and ribbons. Their styles may be an eclectic mix of elven, taianese, and even alliance depending on the personal experiences of the individual. With the ability to grow or shed fur quickly some Yazata forgo the need for clothes at all when not dealing with outsiders.

After trading with early human settlers, Yazata and Ahura in particular became avid buyers of elastic fabrics, being supremely well-suited to their shapeshifting abilities. To this day many younger Yazata enjoy elasticated fabrics such as leggings previously a precarious prospect for their ancestors.

Yazatan food, much like their lives and culture, is picked fresh and consumed quickly. Meat seasoned with spices, beer, and berries. Grilled mushrooms with thick, cloudy wine with bits of grape pulp still in the bottle poured on top. Beans, boiled and cooked overnight by the residual heat of ashes and coal in a ceramic jar. Fruits, nuts, and all many of foraged foods such as grubs and meat bugs.

Yazata historically share language with the elves, but being cultural chameleons have quickly picked up the language of other nations. Alliance Standard is common, and taught to many Ahura and Altar alike, especially to those planning to travel abroad and to converse with tourist, or clients. Taianese Kantongo is less common, but useful for many who venture outside their territorial homes.

Their specific dialect of the elven language is almost intelligible to elvish speakers when spoken casually due to its addition of words either of their own creation of that they’ve picked up from somewhere else. It’s well known their language has many more insults than the common elf tongue, indeed, it seems they make a sport of finding new ones and introducing them to their friends.

Being the cultural corvids they are, Yazata names run the gauntlet from native, to elvish and even taianese and human. Yazata tend to only have one name, family lineage having little value to them. If forced to give a second name many will simply supply their native town or community name. Despite this, many are willing to adopt a second name in alliance with powerful figures or families.

Yazata politics make for some of the best parliamentary fist-fighting videos on the internet as their leaders frequently come to blows. What other races describe as a small civil war might only be an important but minor political disagreement. Each of the nations has a different way of organizing its leadership, some through rulers based on the accumulation of personal wealth and power, while others may have a council. Either way, discussion between nations is often strained and difficult at the best of times.

If a Yazata sees something as a good idea, they simply take it back home with them. Many have tried to ply the Yazata with promises of infrastructure and technology, but rarely do these offers get taken up often Yazata simply fly or drive to wherever they need to be. If a Yazata requires something beyond his usual needs, they may simply barter for it, or learn how it works and make it themselves.

If a Yazata needs a spaceship, they simply hitch a ride. If a Yazata needs to cross land, they use whatever they can, be it wings or the humble automobile. The towns and cities of the Ahura may be contain a diverse collection of architecture from many eras and cultures, while the caravans of the nomadic Altar could be filled with anything from animal-drawn wagons to hover vehicles or airships. The acquisition of the helicopter is something many Ahura have never forgiven the Altar for.

Where Yazata really shine however is in their magical abilities. Yazata magic is far less grandoise than other magicks, being rather wild and individual, with their ability to shapeshift their bodies drastically within the basic limits of (a very malleable) bone structure. Many are able to influence weak willed individuals, and make use of quick, instantaneous magical effects.

Yazata primarily regain their magical energies via parasitic skimming of emotional energy from other humanoids (they regain no magical energy from each other), particularly from strong emotions such as pain, pleasure, or depression. Tastes vary by individual, but Yazata are known to be attracted to large gatherings of people for this reason, be it for parties, battle, or otherwise.

While this parasitic relationship with other sapients does give them a cheap source of power they are remarkably inefficient at using it, discharging much of it back into the magical ecosystem. Making them powerful, but magically hungry beings, just as intended. If two Yazata try to feed of each other they will simply equalize charge.

In battle a Yazata is fully capable of using everything from the latest laser rifle to magically guided throwing daggers, however rocks are likely to remain mundane. However, the thrill, terror, and pain of battle is all fuel for a Yazata's magical powers, sometimes driving them into berserk rages, thirsting for more energy to gather into themselves. This effect is noted in several battles in elf history prior to the Taienese arrival.

Yazata economics are difficult for outsiders to trace as their markets use a bewildering variety of currencies with their own exchange rates and even social barter between each other, one yazata promising influential support to another.

OOC

  1. Gol Shir-Del, art by Farisato, commissioned by Mike.
  2. Lady Miranda, Velmaia, Gol Shir-Del, and Gol Shir-Del again, by various artists including Nicoy and Farisato.
  3. Kara, art by Boosted Bonobo, commissioned by Jabonicus.
  4. Jiann, art by Venchiin, commissioned by Kipper.
  5. Lady Miranda, art by Nicoy.

I would like to thank the other members who assisted with the making of this page, from suggestions, encouragement, and even donating art. I want to thank Kim for planting the seed of this idea and giving me the opportunity to help it grow in what small way I can. I want to thank the admins who put up with the emails at odd hours as I've been writing on this wiki. You're all truly wonderful.

That out of the way, I have some notes for future content. First, I want to give each of the four forms their own name. I want to get some art put together of a Altar character for the page. At some point I want to sit down and start nailing down enough of the vague details to give players more to chew on.

Ideas for future expansion. Perhaps within each of their cultural blocks they divide further into clans or tribes, and work out their own internal politics through there. I wonder if the Kanai nation should be famous for hanging cities. I will come back for that physiology section some day.

  • Halifelism is their major religion, venerating Halifeli, the deity of wisdom, through her prophet Shanoz
  • species/yazata.txt
  • Last modified: 2021/06/28 05:11
  • by jimmy