Rooks Species in Chimera D10 | World Anvil

Rooks

Our elders say that our ancient warrens were the first to collapse; bless the many who passed in the dark earth, pushed down to the hollow center of our world. Above ground, our elders saw mountains fall up into a shattered glass sky. We prayed aloud, calling our for our creator to save us, but no one came. We were steeped in the black tea of the abyss, sinking down like starfalls into a lake. Our elders say we stopped calling and held onto one another. That was when the star, sun, and moon dove into the abyss for us. We lifted our head to see a face with dozen eyes, a crown bearing a hundred gems, a scarf with a thousand arms--reaching for us. She put her great hands under us. She caught scores of our nations with a fingertip each. She pushed us up above her head, and we met the dawn of a much quieter world. She was not ours, the elders say, but still, she saved us.
 

Appearance

Hailing from bloodlines that adapted to harsh environments by mimicking other animals, the Rooks are master survivalists. Rooks take on the features and sometimes the complete appearance of other animals. Over the last thousand years, however, Rooks have undergone a shift in appearance: Most Rooks have grown to look more and more like Tarans while keeping small tells--longer nails, whiskers, tails, slit eyes, or even tails. Most conjecture has lead to the fact that Rooks are mimicking the appearance of the most common "animal" they are around.   Even so, Rooks come in about three different varieties: Faun, Taura, and Gnawal. Fauns are as they are described above--appearing as Tarans with some animal features. Taura are most akin to the tales of Centaurs and Minotaurs--sometimes an animal bottom half, or upper half. And finally, Gnawal are the "walking and talking" animals forms of Rooks. No matter how much a Rook looks Taran however, most Rooks are thought be be animalistic in nature, but this is not so.  

Personality

Fairly reclusive and secretive by nature, the Rooks keep to their family groups, living near the creatures they take after. Very few Rooks maintain a nomadic tradition and have mostly assimilated into civilization. Those nomadic Rooks carry a fierce disposition and survivalists. "Wild Rooks" --as they are sometimes called, live in a delicate balance with nature and are attuned to it; they will feel existentially lost if they leave it too long. Meanwhile, "Tamed Rooks"--those that live within civilization--often have scrappy personalities. They are often treated as second-class citizens and thus struggle to find someone who respects them and take them seriously; while some races would push each other away and draw a survival of the fittest mentality in this kind of situations, the Rooks never do. They understand suffering, exile, and needless isolation better than most. They tolerate or fight it, but they never let it push them apart.   For this reason, Rooks are the most likely to adopt others and even other races into their families. A Rooks family is not one traditionally made; it encompasses friends, acquaintances, even strangers by almost any association. With a deep caring for others and a wish for all to never suffer alone, a Rook hardly ever asks for anything in return. They simply want their little corner of the world to be safe, and for them to help anyone who happens to be caught in their same corner.  

Civilization & Geography

Most Rooks prefer to live in areas they have become ancestrally suited for--typically based around the animal they mimic. As such, what resources are geographically available to a Rook community vary from place to place. Even so, Rooks value tools and foods more than anything else. Rooks are often able to exchange hand-made or processed goods for these goods in trade, but Rooks are often among the poorest when compared to other races.   Among their own communities, Rooks are band societies that rely on egalitarian socialism to disperse goods back to their communities. Additonally,┬áRooks still employ chiefdoms, even among smaller communities integrated into other civilizations.  

Common Names

Some Rooks to date still aren't given names. They are known by smell instead. It should be noted however that this is a fringe case as these customs have, on the majority, been abandoned with the advent of Taran Empires. As such, Rooks have developed naming customs that intertwine with their older traditions; a Rook is given three names:   1) a Rook has a true name they must quest for, performing a rite or pilgrimage that earns them their name from the village elder, and when they receive it they must keep it secret except from their closest friends and loved ones; 2) a Rook has their given-name, traditionally given by their mother, and their ancestral surnames, a long list of their family's given-names, matrilineally; 3) a Rook has a astrological name, a mixture of their birth sign and the first thing their father notices after the son has been born.   As per the second point, a common Rook name might look like this: Gregr Hania-Abersted Lelia-Himlr [...]. These names are exceptionally long as they are meant to trace back ones ancestry to the first mother before the cataclysm. These names are fairly important to determining if two Rooks are related, and if so, where. Additionally, as Rooks will take most after their mother in terms of what animalistic qualities they inherit, the names are thusly tracked matrilineally.   As per the third point, Rooks are, usually, very superstitious, and will try to see omens in anything. They have charted the stars as a method of determining what kind of person might be born on a specific day. The constellation most overhead determines the birth-sign, and an omen is chosen by the father to help the child make the most of their nature. It is common for the father to relate the omen back to their tribe, giving a name that might look like this: Bear-Dances-with-Mice, Black-Fox-Rises, Four-Claws-Fishes-For-Snakes.   Common Female Rook Given-Names: Ailyn, Betsibi, Imeli, Min, Sitlali, Rin   Common Male Rook Given-Names: Abersted, Adr, Breban, Gerdr, Nog, Ormund   Common Nonbinary Rook Given-Names: Essel, Fal, Marih, Hrolu, Talik, Esera   Common Omen Rook Given-Names: Eagle-Catches-Nest, Deer-Dances-Silently, Night-Spirit-Watches-Winter, Soft-Rain-Defeats-Mountains  

Heroic Calling

Rook that become heroes or adventurers often do so as a way to rally their people, give them heroes and paragons to believe in, or inspire their race to once more include the other races around them, for, as these heroes would say, it is a cruel fate to live in constant fear of the world.  

Magic & Technology

Rooks greatly value magic and go to great lengths to train themselves in it, even if they have to self-teach. As such, the Rooks see magic as a force that surrounds all life, and is something can can be tapped into, like an instinct. This means that Rooks believe it is a sense that must be used in order for it to become stronger. Despite this zeal, The Rooks aren't all mages; instead, a single family might one have mage or spell caster. This is largely due to the Rooks being fairly poor and then due to the fact that those who are self-taught magics are largely unaware of the pitfalls of magic and don't live long thereafter. Despite this, the one rook that does become a mage is hugely valued in the community as a provider, a seer, or anything else the Rook happens to specialize in. As a sidenote, most Rooks, by the nature of their race, are predisposed to becoming Druids.   Technologically speaking, Rooks are fairly odd creatures. They never invented the wheel, as they never developed a need for it. What they could carry could help them survive and where they settled provided, in all practical terms, all they needed. What tools they did develop from here, however are a direct result of how much they relied on their own hands and efforts, how much space each small tribe of Rooks took up, and how often these Rooks came into conflict with other Rooks and other races.  

Religion

Rooks do not have a religion and are less likely to go out and seek other religions except out of curiosity. There is, however, an old practice from before the cataclysm that Rooks used to use to determine one's "birthsign". A birthsign is an archetype dictated by the movements of the stars that reveal a particular constellation associated with the Rook's ancient mythology; this archetype is then attributed to an individual and is used as a guide for how that Rook should behave, will behave under certain constellations, and more.   This practice has been largely adapted from their time before the cataclysm, as many of the stars they used are simply no longer in existence. Even so, the birthsign archetypes are as follows:  
Title Theme Virtue Vice
The Lovers Love / Life Compassion Obsession
The Hermit Caution / Strategy Growth Indecision
The Twins Wealth / Labor Prosperity Greed
The Rivals Action / Change Connection Troublemaking
The Lantern Ruler / Sacrifice Peace Judgement
The Shadow Vigilance / Wisdom Foresight Hubris
The Swan Death / Luck Oppotunity Misfortune
The Fool Warrior / Protection Sincerity Blindness
  In place of these Birthsigns, stories of paragons in place of them have become common folktales among the Rooks, who pass on an oral tradition of their history, which carries their values, their hopes for the future, and their warning against its evils.


Cover image: Art Chimera by Madeline M

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