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Frostkin

I'm not gonna lie, Frostkin creep me out. The Thawlings aren't so bad, though they're a bit eccentric. But the Whitefrost are just sorta... I dunno, they're rather uncanny in a way. So, for lack of a better word, cold and detached. You can never be sure if you're on their good side, if they even have one. I know that's probably rude to say, especially considering I travel with a Whitefrost, but I'm pretty sure Norstein physically could not care less. Literally, I don't think he has the emotional capacity to be mad at me. At least he's not a Darkfrost, those guys don't even make for halfway decent conversation partners. Probably because they're a bunch of homicidal maniacs I suppose...
— Excerpt from the memoirs of Venyur Chase
  All natural life in the material world came from the union of the gods Empasia, the Heart of the World, and Ignathis, the King of Cinders, who came together and created the original spark of life, the ember that burns deep within all living beings who cling to their existence. All life that is, save for the Frostkin. The Frostkin are the children of not Empasia and Ignathis, but Frigia, the Ice Witch. Mirroring the flame taken from Ignathis to ignite the hearts of all that lives, she took from herself a shard of the coldest, blackest ice, and flung it into the world, spawning the enemy of all that thrives in warmth: The Frostkin. A people formerly of conquerors and destroyers, now having forgotten their purpose after millennia of inactivity. Their former wish to obey their purpose has been replaced by a great curiosity of the world beyond their limited scope.  

Subraces

Divisions and evolutions across history have caused the rise of three distinct subraces: Whitefrost, Darkfrost, and Thawlings.

Whitefrost

The Whitefrost are the purest and most common variety of Frostkin, and the closest in physiology and appearance to their original forerunners. Their features possess the telltale whites and blues of their ancestors, and their physiques are the most average among all Frostkin.

Darkfrost

The Frostkin who would eventually become the Darkfrost were those who one day remembered their people’s ancient duty to be the scourge of all life. The remembrance of this caused a great darkness to enter their empty hearts, tainting their ice and turning it black.

Thawlings

Thawlings are the result of ancient Frostkin being brought to death’s door, and feeling for the first time a profound fear for their lives and a desire to cling to the world around them. This ignited a spark of life not previously there, and filled their empty hearts with empathy and warmth. These ancient Thawlings grew resentful towards their divine mother for depriving them of these feelings for so long, and separated from the rest of the Frostkin.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Frostkin are humanoid in structure, and are made entirely of ice. Their bones, muscles, organs, and skin are all constructed of pure frost. Despite their apparent need to breathe, eat, and sleep, their organs don't seem to actually do anything. Their bodies will react with the same disfunction of a human's if parts are damaged or destroyed, but the mechanism behind this is completely unknown. The exception to this is the Thawlings, whose internal organs actually seem to function, as their hearts actually beat, sending real blood through their bodies. They are still made of ice however, and the mechanism by which this warmth does not cause the ice to melt is also not understood.

Biological Traits

The Frostkin are made entirely of ice, and thus their bodies are sensitive to external temperature. Their bodies tend to shed layers of ice similar to how a human sheds layers of skin, and this process is either sped up or slowed down depending on the temperature. In addition, Frostkin possess the ability to channel their cold essence into their hands, allowing them to freeze anything they touch should they choose to do so. This ability cannot be used indefinitely, as it causes their bodies to take in more heat by expending more cold, and thus must be compensated for by consuming more ice if used. This limitation becomes less relevant during the biting winter of the Span of Frigia, as the ambient cold allows them to thrive without worry of melting away.

Genetics and Reproduction

Frostkin reproduction is unlike anything else observed in the world. They do not possess sexual organs, in fact gender differences seem to be entirely cosmetic for them. Therefore, they do not reproduce naturally as most other creatures do. Instead, their reproduction is truly bizarre. Two Frostkin take from their abdomens a chunk of ice, press them together, and together they form a smooth crystal ball. This crystal is then kept in a cold place for roughly 100 days, slowly growing. Every 10 days, the parents take another chunk of ice from their abdomens and add them to the mass of the ball. After roughly 100 days, the ball will have morphed into a fully grown humanoid form, at which point the parents will take a chunk of ice from their craniums and press them into the offspring's head. The offspring then opens its eyes and begins its life, possessing an intellect equivalent to that of a human who has just reached the point of physical maturity.

Growth Rate & Stages

Frostkin, once they begin life, do not experience great structural changes the same way humans do, as they start out life fully grown.

Ecology and Habitats

The Frostkin make their homes in frozen, borderline desolate places, such as frozen tundras and atop high mountains. Darkfrost prefer to make their homes in areas with less illumination, such as caves. Thawlings on the other hand, given their comparative physical warmth and empathy, prefer to live closer to sources of warmth and life, while still keeping to cooler areas. Despite their willingness to approach other sentient beings, Frostkin tend not to wander too far from optimal environments, lest they be rendered unable to find ice during the heat of the Span of Ignathis and suffer great fatigue, physical deterioration, and even the possibility of death by melting.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Frostkin subsist entirely upon water, frozen or liquid. This keeps their bodies from deteriorating as their outer layers are shed, similar to human skin. The amount of sustenance they require depends on the heat. During the Span of Frigia, they require almost no water, as the winter is generally cold enough that they experience minimal melting. In contrast, during the Span of Ignathis they must either retreat to extremely cold areas or consume a great quantity of water, to keep themselves from melting away in the intense summer heat.

Biological Cycle

During the Span of Frigia, the Frostkin thrive, as the whole world descends into 49 days of winter. However, as the Span of Ignathis arrives, the Frostkin tend to keep indoors or in their natural habitats, surrounding themselves with ice to both keep their bodies comfortably cold, and to serve as sustenance as the heat accelerates their growth and shedding of ice layers, similar to the generation of skin layers in humans.

Additional Information

Social Structure

Frostkin society tends to operate under meritocracy. Their logic dictates that those who actually perform above expectations and achieve great feats will naturally possess qualities conducive to good leadership. That being said, each subrace values one trait above most others that can turn the tide in a tie: Whitefrost value intellect, Darkfrost value bloodlust, and Thawlings value empathy.

Facial characteristics

The facial features of a Frostkin denote their subrace. The Whitefrost possess glassy eyes with blue or white irises. The Thawlings possess amber colored irises indicative of their greater warmth. The Darkfrost by contrast possess black sclera and deep blue or purple irises, as well as white pupils that glow ominously in the dark.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Whitefrost are most abundantly found high up on tall mountains, and in desolate, frozen lands. Darkfrost tend to inhabit darker places, such as frozen caves, and other places where the sun doesn't shine. Thawlings by contrast are found notably closer to warmer territory, such as lower on mountains and in snowy taigas.

Average Intelligence

Frostkin are born with the intellect of the average human young adult, and are universally on par or slightly above humans in terms of intelligence. However, even for the Thawlings who actually do experience emotion, their emotional maturity and understanding is greatly lacking in comparison to humans, though in contrast, their logical thinking tends to exceed humans by a fair margin.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Darkfrost, thanks to their lightless habitats, possess heightened vision in darkness.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Before the conquest of Norrikjord, the Frostkin did not have names. When they adopted the culture of the Norrik, they took their naming conventions as well. A Norrik is not given a proper name at birth. Instead, they are referred to as a portmanteau of the names of their parents. When a Norrik reaches maturity at age 15, they are developed enough to choose how they will be called for life, keeping their original name as a surname from that point forward. Because the Frostkin are born fully developed, they recognize the lack of relevance the age marker has on their kind, but they retain the convention as a symbolic gesture, though reducing the age to 3 instead of 15. While Frostkin normally don’t develop attachments, those who were commonly associated with each other during the 3 years of "childhood" will sometimes call each other by their family names, as a detached recognition of their time together.

Beauty Ideals

The Whitefrost and Darkfrost do not possess any concept of beauty, though they are of course eager to learn about it through other cultures, and even the culture of the Norrik, who saw beauty in strength, resilience, and structural integrity, creating large, long-lasting castles and other structures that withstand the test of time long after the eradication of their inhabitants. Thawlings, by contrast, see all living things as beautiful, in addition to the ideals of the Norrik.

Gender Ideals

Because Frostkin do not possess biological gender, as any differences between "men" and "women" are purely cosmetic and don't actually play into biology at all, the Frostkin lack any concept of gender differences in their own culture, having discarded the gender roles of the Norrik due to their biology making such things redundant.

Courtship Ideals

The Frostkin do not typically court. When they mate, they mate not out of love or necessity, but out of a desire to see their knowledge carry on. This is even true of Thawlings, as while they love and appreciate all life, they are comparatively apathetic to each other, as they don't see their own species as anything special, though they do appreciate companionship amongst other Thawlings when they find it.

Relationship Ideals

Whitefrost do not typically seek companionship, seeing as they lack the emotional capacity to appreciate it. However, for unknown reasons, Whitefrost tend to find companionship regardless, though they treat each other more as research partners than actual love interests. Thawlings tend to act the same way, though they grow to appreciate their partners over time, having the ability to do so. Darkfrost, by contrast, mate with warriors of equivalent strength, and care nothing for each other as they do so.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Each subrace has their own dialect of Frigian. The Whitefrost are characteristically monotone, the only emotions appearing in their speech being curiosity. The Thawlings allow more emotion to be present in their speech, and their accents sometimes mimic those of other cultures. The Darkfrost, by contrast, possess a sort of "hissing" in their dialect, a sound compared by others to that of ice placed against a hot surface, as if the Darkfrost are constantly seething with hatred for everything around them.

Common Etiquette Rules

Frostkin of all types generally have a lack of etiquette, seeing it as somewhat redundant and unnecessary, though Thawlings tend to apologize when they realize they are acting offensively and correct their behavior. Whitefrost, by contrast, approach the concept with their characteristic curiosity, seeking to learn why other creatures exhibit such behaviors, and never truly being able to relate to their discomfort.

Common Dress Code

The Frostkin adopted the dress of the ancient Norrik, and in the thousands of years since have never really adapted their fashion. As such, they tend to look almost a bit out of place and anachronistic with how old their clothes appear, as if they hopped straight out of a textbook on ancient fashion. They even keep consistent the gender differences of Norrik clothing, despite the redundancy given their biology. Men wear a tunic that is tight fitting across the chest with a broad skirt, accompanied by trousers which can be either loose fitting or tight. Women wear a long, loose-fitting undergarment with a suspended overdress. Both men and women wear a long cloak or a jacket to provide warmth and protection in inclement weather, which seemingly doesn't contribute to their physical deterioration, suggesting that the main factor in their melting is environmental temperature.

Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals

When going to battle, Frostkin of all types perform a sort of guttural, roaring chant or song. A battle mantra which supposedly helped get the ancient Norrik psyched up for a fight, but which is merely a formality for Frostkin.

Common Taboos

The only taboo Frostkin recognize is, for Whitefrost, the destruction of prime research material, and for Thawlings, the senseless destruction of life. Darkfrost are not considered when discussing Frostkin taboos, as they see the mere act of existing in a form other than Darkfrost as a taboo worthy of death.

History

The first Frostkin were spawned during the Godless Age, in the far, icy north of the western continent of Occida. They slowly grew in power and number, until their conquest was ready to begin. During the early Primordial Age, they set out on their first and greatest conquest, conquering a large, ancient kingdom known as Norrikjord (translated: "Rich Land of the North"). After this conquest, they searched far and wide for new prey, but Norrikjord was the only civilization for a great distance, and the ancient Frostkin lacked the transportation to explore farther.

Upon the realization that their conquest was the only one within reach, they instead turned inward: if they could not find new prey on their own, perhaps the civilization they conquered would provide new leads to follow. And so, they studied. They learned how to read and speak the language of the now exterminated Norrik, which they renamed to Frigian in honor of their divine mother. They learned of their society, their laws, their history, their culture, and with each grain of knowledge, their curiosity grew ever greater. Eventually, they forgot about their ancient duty entirely, replacing it with their now boundless curiosity. They adopted the culture of their fallen foe, replacing those whom they had conquered and keeping their society alive beyond the deaths of its people.

At some point, they gained the ability as a society to create transportation which could carry them to other civilizations. Most were eager to learn. However, a subset of their kin experienced something different: Remembrance. They recalled their ancient duty to exterminate all life, and when they attempted to enact this extermination, they were fought back by their own brethren, who wished to preserve life for the sake of knowledge. Driven out from their society by their own kinsmen, this betrayal sparked a deep hatred and corruption within them, becoming the Darkfrost we know today.

During this battle, something else happened. Some of the ancient Frostkin who battled the Darkfrost were brought to near death, and instead of accepting their deaths with detached apathy, they became afraid, and this fear sparked a fire within them, a fire of determination. This fire raged until their lives were secured, and then the burning passion for life petered out into a warm glow of empathy. These Frostkin, who were dubbed Thawlings, decided to remain closer to life out of appreciation rather than simple detached curiosity.

Common Myths and Legends

The Frostkin see no worth in sharing their own myths and legends. They are curious of other cultures' myths though, and the reasons why they create such stories in the first place. They did not understand the worth of Norrik myths until other cultures and people explained it to them, so they cannot recall any of their myths. The myths still exist however, in the tomes and texts of the ancient Norrik from which the Frostkin gleaned their culture. But nobody really has any understanding of what their mythology was like, so it remains a mystery.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Whitefrost are generally curious about other species, as well as life in general. They view it as something to learn about, and you can't do that very well if it's dead, so they will try to preserve life out of obligation. Thawlings tend to appreciate life on a more emotional level, since they have the capacity to do so, and will actively protect the lives of those they care about. Darkfrost, by contrast, despise all life with a cold, detached hatred, and exist solely to end it all.

Scientific Name
Homo Glacies
Lifespan
150 years
Average Height
5 - 6 ft
Average Weight
90 - 130 lbs
Average Physique
Whitefrost and Darkfrost tend to be bulkier, their features more angular and their muscles more pronounced. Thawlings by contrast possess far smoother features, appearing more lean and fit.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
The Frostkin are easy to tell at a glance, due to their distinctly cold appearances. The skin of a Whitefrost ranges from a light blue to stark white, and their flesh glistens like the ice they're made from. Their hair always contains white to accompany the blues and grays, whether as an entirely white head of hair, white tips, or white streaks. Darkfrost generally take on more ominous features: their hair takes on darker colors, from dark blue to black, and their skin can be anywhere from a dark gray to a deep purple, as if their entire bodies were frostbitten. Thawlings, by contrast, take on much warmer colors. Their hair becomes warm reds, oranges, and yellows, and their skin becomes a fleshy pink with patterns of white streaks swirling across their bodies, all while still retaining their telltale icy glisten.

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