Ovistrix Myth in Manifold Sky | World Anvil


An ovistrix is a mythical creature formed from the union of a rostran and ovinex. An intense, aggressive, and disconcerting hybrid of rostran and ovinex traits, the ovistrix was originally an urban legend born from xenophobic cultural taboos which later evolved into a potent symbol of forbidden enlightenment.


Ovistrix are generally depicted as faun- or satyr-like beings. Hooves, digitigrate legs, horns, long ears, wooly body hair, and four-fingered hands with keratinized digits are inherited from the ovinex parent, while flatened faces with long noses, pinkish skin between the wooly parts, and large eyes are inherited from the Rostran parent. Ovistrix are said to possess all the cunning and heightened senses of a Rostran, but are intense and degenerate creatures possessed of all the violence of the old ovinex slavers.

Historical Basis

Ever since the Rostrans put a stop to the ovinex slave-taking raids at the conclusion of the Rostran-Ovinex War, the two species have grown together into a somewhat mutualistic society. Among the Ovinex Island Tribes during the Age of Civilization, wars often concluded with an exchange of females between the warring tribes; ovinex (with certain exceptions) are polygynous, rallying around dominant males, and these exchanges would serve to cement peace agreements through new blood-bonds. When the war ended, the ovinex tribes which surrendered sent numerous ovinex females with the conquering Rostran admiral, as was their tradition, out of a misunderstanding of Rostran psychology. These females, along with ovinex prisoners of war, were kept among the Rostrans, eventually becoming the Civil Ovinex known to the Manifold today.   Despite the semi-domestication of the Civil Ovinex, the Rostrans recognize that their client species is of a more animalistic nature. Not only is this the case with respect to the ovinex physiology, being of ovine extraction, but also with respect to general intelligence. Though the Rostrans and Civil Ovinex have come to view one another as family, the more bestial form of ovinex - coupled with the high importance placed on genetic family among Rostrans in general and Low Rostrans in particular - has generated a strong taboo among most Rostrans against romantic engagements with their ovinex counterparts. It is notable that this taboo is not shared by the ovinex, especially for Native Ovinex who still live under the old traditions of flock member exchange as a method of conflict resolution.   The dissonance between these beliefs has resulted in both High and Low Rostran cultures having to establish post-hoc reasoning to disabuse certain segments of all cultures involved of the desire to explore romantic connections between the two species. It was in this milieu that the notion of an ovistrix sprang into being. The brutish nature of ovistrix behavior is believed by some scholars to have originally derived from early Rostran accounts of encounters with Ram Rex, who both embody many of the violent and immoral qualities of that class of ovinex society and serve as a means of divorcing the fear of creating an ovistrix from any implied predjudice against 'normal' Civil Ovinex allies.

Variations & Mutation

Over time, the image of the ovistrix has softened somewhat in the eyes of Rostran culture. As Rostran Esotericism has refined its beliefs over the centuries, the ovistrix, as a hybrid entity suggested by some myths to be infused with the 'Woolen Spirit,' has taken on the connotation of a guide to the deeper mysteries of the practice of spirit binding. In this view, an ovistrix represents Rostran who, through long and deep study of the ovinex oral tradition as it stretches back into the unknown Curved Time, has been transfigured through the binding of spirits before that time. In those days, all mammals were derived of one source, one which birthed, nursed, and drew warm breaths as all its descendants continue to do in present day; the ovistrix is simply closer to that source than any currently living entity.

Cultural Reception

As the understanding of genetics has developed over time, it has become increasingly apparent that there is no risk of an ovistrix-like hybrid creature coming into existence through natural means. It may very well be that, through a long period of breeding under the same selection pressures which have shaped the Rostran peoples, Civil Ovinex may eventually evolve to take on a more hominid appearance; this is far from certain, however, as control by a dominant hominid counterpart has not had this effect on other creatures (i.e. cats) so far.   Even with this knowledge, however, the underlying cultural unease which spurred the original taboo has simply demanded different moral justifications from Rostran cultures. For High Rostrans, a new concern over the possibility of inter-species transmission of diseases has replaced the old fear of the ovistrix, as inter-tesseract trade (which requires the use of airships has tended to expose the High Rostran mountain-dwellers (being closest to high altitude skyports) to more foreign epidemics than other Rostrans. Among Low Rostrans, the taboo persists over a perception that ovinex, for all their efforts at furthering the alliance between the two species, face a discrepancy in social power on account of their lower intellectual and technological prowess. This ethical quandary has faced the Low Rostrans since the end of the Rostran-Ovinex war itself, with the victorious Admiral (a Low Rostran himself) noting the differences in psychology between the species as one reason why he decided to accept the ovinex surrender instead of consigning them to extinction. With the Baxbr pro-intellectual movement threatening to overturn this Low Rostran reasoning behind the taboo, it remains to be seen whether the taboo will remain or disappear among the Low Rostran over time.

In Literature

The ovistrix began as a piece of oral folklore among Low Rostrans and spread to High Rostrans over time. Around the time that Exivaun was coalescing into a metropolitan area from numerous smaller settlements, the esotericist heirophants put the folklore into writing; this was also around the time that the ovistrix-as-sage imagery and potential methods to bind the Woolen Spirit into oneself began to enter esotericist thought.
Date of First Recording
6000 AE
Date of Setting
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Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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