Albos

a.k.a. Elf.

Albos come from a world they call Palladium. They are an ancient race and very long-lived. It is not unheard of for an Albos to reach a thousand years (Earth equivalent).

Basic Information

Anatomy

Albos look surprisingly human for a race of creatures from another planet. Their skin and hair are variations of earth tones just like humans. The biggest differences are in the ears and eyes. Their ears are pointed and long and their irises appear to be made of gemstones. The more magic an elf has absorbed in its life, the more gem-like their eyes become. For ancient elves exposed to a thousand years of magic, even their sclera become gemlike.   (fun fact: On palladium elves were hunted for their eyes. Tombs of ancient albos were a prime target for graverobbers aiming to harvest the eyes.) It is possible that some Splugorth may also be interested in harvesting elf eyes, especially if someone can make them into a viable Mageiron alloy.

Genetics and Reproduction

Albos do not have a biological sex, nor do they have any discernable sexual organs; so it might be appropriate to call them androgynous.   Reproduction occurs by the act of kissing. As inherently magical creatures, not much is known about how kissing creates offspring other than sunlight plays a role. Several months after the kiss, one of the kissers basically pushes out a child surrounded by a flexible egg-like membrane. The membrane ruptures and a child is born.   Small breasts do grow on the bearer of the child as well as a widening of the hips and these changes will remain to some extent after the child is born, long past the need to provide sustenence to it. Such endowned Albos are mistakenly identified as female by dimorphous species. Albos are willing to accept this gender identification from strangers who don't know any better, but would consider such labelling an insult by closer associates and friends. It is also unknown if these breasts produce milk as a mammal's would or if they produce some other sustaining substance associated with their magical nature. But due to the nature of language translation, it is called milk nonetheless.

Growth Rate & Stages

Since Albos live such long lives, they are in no hurry to accomplish anything; and that includes growing and maturing. An albos is considered immature for close to thirty earth years.   While human children on earth are eager to run and play, albos children are more inclined to wander gracefully, attempting to leave no trace of their passing and to study the world around them; being too easily distracted by this and by that. This curiosity is one thing they have in common with human children in that their lack of judgment due to inexperience causes them to wander into unsafe situations.   Albos are prepared to have children by the time they are about 100 earth years old.

Ecology and Habitats

As long-lived as they are, Albos will often observe life for several seasons before affecting it. This applies to hunting, harvesting and any other action which may impact the world around them. Because of this, their habitat is often indistinct from a virgin wilderness with the exception that it appears well maintained.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Albos are omnivorous but do not need much sustenance. On their homeworld, they required more food, but on Rifts Earth, the amount of ambient magic provides most of their needed sustenance. As such, albos encountered on Rifts Earth will only need occasional snacks. They will partake in meals only to politely defer to guests or hosts or for the pure pleasure of it.

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Albos are most common on the island of Great Britain. The connection between the worlds of Palladium and Rifts Earth is most persistent there. However, Rifts to the world of Palladium are one of the most common rifts on Earth (with Hades being the most common) and so the denizens of that fantastical world can be found on nearly every continent across Rifts earth.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Albos have the innate ability to detect arcana as in the power of the same name.

Civilization and Culture

Gender Ideals

As a genderless species, Albos do not have gender based vocabulary nor fashion.   But since only one individual of a mated pair will give birth to a child, the Albos do have terms for Parenthood. What we would call a mother, the individual who bears the child, is given the honorific: lifb'hersprynga. The other individual who took part in the conception kiss is called a ghab'hwyll. The terms translate roughly as "lifespring" and "giving well" respectively. Only the first is used as an honorific title, while ghab'hwyll is used only as a descriptor of the person to answer the question of who the kisser parent is. Lifb'hersprynga are treated with respect in Albos culture due to the added responsibiulity they have earned and undertaken to rear the child. They are often the most intelligent and talented in any Albos community.   Children will often shorten the title of their mother to just sprynga, which would be about the same as "mom" in English. Conversely, older mothers who's children have matured will often have their honorific title shortened to lifb'her as a sign of respect and acknowledgement of their contribution.

Courtship Ideals

Albos place high value on beauty. Physical beauty is but one aspect. They believe in the beauty of purity and truth, the beauty of music and the beauty of romantic love. Even the beauty of raw natural violence has its place of value to the Albos.   So when it comes to courtship, the Albos seek the most romantic and pure expressions of devotion, adoration and love. They view self-debasement as abhorrent and so fawning adoration will only result in a lack of respect. Rather, the adoration of an Albos courtship is one of an honorable surrender. It is the acknowledgement that one has placed the safety of his heart and soul on the sacrificial altar. If the reader can not tell the difference between a simp and a courtier, then the reader has a long road to travel still.

Relationship Ideals

The Albos take the sanctity of pure romantic love to levels unheard of by mortal man. Wooing one's mate is more than an artform, it is a lifestyle of continuous effort and improvement. Likewise with trusted companions who go to extreme lengths to show their trust and dependability to each other. Their word is their bond and they would die before ever being accused of shirking a responsibility or dishonoring a debt.   Because of this, they will in turn avoid situations in which they pass on a responsibility or place others in a position to owe a debt. To do so would not be the action of a true companion.   It is uncommon but not unheard of for an individual to be both a ghab'hwyll and a lifb'hersprynga to different children. This is usually because of the death of that individual's previous mate. Most Albos do not think highly of anyone who would take a second mate after the death of one, however. The romantic ideal being one of a lifelong saudadje for the lost mate.

Common Taboos

As albos have no sexual organs, they are not offended by nor do they consider nudity offensive. However, they do find the sexual organs of other species to be curiosities.   On the other hand, kissing to them is the utmost expression of romantic love. While it is not censored, per se, it is avoided as a form of affection in any but the most romantic of occasions in which it will be treated with the respect it deserves.   Albos look with disdain upon any species that kisses for any reason less. They will view species who conduct themselves with such crass behavior as no more than rutting animals.

History

Albos have been to Earth before, long before the great cataclysm.
  The island of Great Britain once had a ley line eruption that lasted for almost five hundred years. At its peak, several hundred years after the last roman legion departed, it created a small transient repeating rift; but while ephemeral, it was a rift nonetheless. The rift connected to the Palladium world and it attracted some of the denizens of that realm, Only the most magical creatures felt the pull, such as Albos and faeries. Whether they came to earth out of curiosity, conquest, escape or perhaps a sense of adventure is immaterial. They came. It is unknown whether they were able to establish an actual living society here on Earth. After the ley line eruption that brought them here finally returned to normal there was not enough magic here to sustain them and they probably all died out if they did not return to Palladium. In the best case, they survived in the wilds of Great Britain into the 20th century, in the least case, they returned to Palladium while the Rift was still active. In either case, their presence in the British Isles was noted and they entered the mythology of Man. The impact of the Albos sense of beauty, truth and perfection is evident throughout British literature for a thousand years after the roman departure, inspiring tales of the knights of the round table and the adoption of chivalry. One of the finest examples is Edmund Spencer's 16th century epic poem The Faerie Queene.   The Albos have since came to be called Elves.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Albos have no problem with attraction to other races. They are usually the objects of affection, however, as their stately and graceful air and youthful and fit appearance seem to attract all nature of admirers.   (Game Master's Note: Due to their magical nature, it may actually be possible for Albos cross breeds to occur with other magic-capable beings. Go magic!)
Albos is both singular and plural (like Moose)
As magical beings, their bodies do not accept cybernetics and bionics as readily as a human's would. Albos take twice the strain from any technology-based implants. Conversely, they take only half the strain from arcane implants. Albos suffer normal strain from purely biological implants
Lifespan
600 to 1000 earth years


Cover image: Tree Sprite by Yao Zi Dong

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