They say, gods do not beg - they demand. Yet, in my experience, the opposite is far more true.Across the stars and the far reaches of the planes, one will find the ashen remnants of the many civilizations that came before. Some remembered by the boons or scars they’ve left behind, others nameless - their legacies having been long-ago claimed by decay. Only a humble few alive today can trace their lineage back to the nascent days of early creation. And few of those that can, are anything but a blight upon the living. The Qythe are a unique blight though, for they are both hunters of the living and of the divine. The downfall of gods and the death of their followers has become the bedrock upon which this people flourish.
Few of the oldest species still linger on now; in this age of darkness ascendant. One such survivor is the people known as the Qythe. They were one of the first people to crawl from primitive beginnings and look upon the young infinity that lay before them. Their home was a humble realm, a demiplane created by a goddess of thought and wisdom known as Viaratea. She created the Qythe and invested within them a great deal of her divine might. The living creatures she sculpted were in possession of divine power, will, and the same thirst for knowledge that their creator had. They came to call her Mother, for she nurtured and raised as only a parent could.
For a time, the Qythe and their goddess prospered within the demiplane. They even began to expand their reach into other layers of reality beyond their own. In these ancient times there was little to resist them- elemental entities mostly and perhaps a few other early planar species. They built their library-temples to their goddess wherever they spread, and drank deeply of whatever new knowledge they uncovered during these crusades of enlightenment. With each new morsel of wisdom presented to Viaratea, she would use it to plumb deeper toward her own personal goal - uncovering the origin of the gods and evolution of divinity.
Mother would soon learn that her ability to see into the time was insufficient to pierce the veils obscuring what she sought. In order to make any progress Viaratea would need to reclaim what she gave away to her beloved Qythe. One by one she would ask them to make the ultimate sacrifice for her. She would consume them - at first she would only take back her power (a fatal process) and in return gift the Qythe soul with an eternity of reward beside her. Yet, she would soon realize that by consuming the memories, experience, and psyche of her sacrifices, it would allow her to break through even more layers of the veil of time.
Viaratea became a ravenous thing very quickly. She would dispatch her Qythe to raid and conquer, pushing them to greater and greater heights of prowess so that she might feast on the most exceptional survivors. And, with each bloody step deeper into the past, her mind would fray at the edges a bit more. Soon, sacrifices were being claimed just to keep her thoughts from fully unraveling. Vast corners of the Qythe domains were becoming silent ruins picked clean of their kind. Vermin, vagrants, and things of horror would come to lay claim to many of these lost colonies but this mattered little to Viaratea, the Goddess of Hunger.
Her Qythe were, at first, eager to make the sacrifice for their creator. It was a brief moment of suffering for the sake of eternity at their great mother’s side. However; this would not last. Soon, the Qythe would learn the means of peering into other planes of existence, including that of their creator. They expected to see a realm of light and knowledge where their ancestors lived peacefully. Instead, they bore witness to a crumbling realm of shadows that was littered with the soul husks of those Viaratea ate. In that moment their faith died and the Qythe took on a new purpose, to slay their god.
Qythe of any power or renown fled their remaining cities to escape the predation of Viaratea. There, in the murky border regions between one realm and another, they plotted the downfall of their goddess. Mother Viaratea’s search for the origin of her kind was single-minded; anything else she learned along the way was tossed aside. And, while useless to her, one of these castoffs would prove invaluable to her kine. Psionics.
Within the repository of discovered lore existed the means of harnessing the ebb and flow of mana with the mind, rather than through power gifted. They would not need Mother’s divine spells or arcane formula but instead could rely entirely on their own force of will. Embracing these powers would come with consequences though, as power often does.
The Qythe were the product of a divine being and to truly work against their Mother they would have to sever all connections with her; both oath and soul alike. One of the secret powers they uncovered was known as the Vorpal Thought, a means of permanent disjunction. One by one they would remove the treads that bound them to their creator. And, once removed, their physical forms would wither into gaunt, ghoulish things. Only those able to master their new psychic disciplines would survive this untethering. The rest would die free, but die all the same.
They weaponized their new powers, including the Vorpal Thought. Attuning it to blades that could cut through the barriers between realms, the armors of the most powerful of Mother’s servants… and even through Mother herself. Once this new armory was forged they invaded the charnel realm of Viaratea and waded through the endless sea of husks belonging to their kin. They confronted their Mother, rejected her lies of eternal reward, and fueled by spite, they would cut her off from the leylines entirely. This act transformed their once-great goddess into a mortal thing that meekly begged for her life. Their hearts had no room for mercy, for hate so thoroughly drowned them that no other emotion could survive.. Their Vorpal blades spilled Mother’s blood and sundered her divine demiplane. What little was left would sink into the astral realm to drift aimlessly forever. But, she would not be left alone there for long. Viaratea would become the first of many gods sent to their grave by the Qythe.
Today, the Qythe people operate in martially minded communities similar to mercenary companies or armies. While the names for most of these structures will vary, they are most typically called Covenants.
These groups are fully dedicated to improving their own psychic mastery, honing their weapon craft, carving out resources enough to sustain their operation, and spilling the blood of the divine. Each god, ancient power, divine being, or infernal entity they cut down adds to their trophy racks and to the armory they use to claim more.
Qythe Covenants, when not engaged in a god hunt, are dispatching smaller groups, often called Orders, to further the needs of the whole. That might take the form of diplomatic relations with other species, bloody raids, explorations into the far realms or to distant stars, or even selling their services to the highest bidders in exchange for the resources they require.
Lone Qythe are rare. They may be agents of their Covenant sent out for a singular purpose or dishonored exiles, but more likely than not they are the last survivor of a failed hunt. Such individuals are truly cursed for they are the target of a scorned god and all the wrath it can bring to bear.
Genetics and Reproduction
Qythe were designed by their Mother to reproduce via sexual intercourse and to be brought into existence via live birth.
Growth Rate & Stages
Due to the nature of their psionic heritage the growth rates of Qythe are rather slow and rife with potential to go astray. They are a bespoke species created by a god, yet have rejected their divine natures. Few Qythe would successfully grow to adulthood with the aid of genetic editing via their psionic disciplines. Skilled biokinetics can help advance the growth rates of young Qythe while preventing any of the degeneration hidden within their genome from manifesting. Qythe do experience old age just like any other species. Without their psionic disciplines they would likely suffer the debilitation of age quicker than most species. Yet, few of their kind actually perish from natural causes. Their psychic talents and increasingly long periods of hibernation(see biological cycle) allow them to refresh their bodies regularly. Practically, this means that even the oldest of Qythe will function as smoothly as youth in their prime, but at the cost of ever-lengthening stretches of hibernation.
Ecology and Habitats
As beings without a natural origin there is no habitat they specially suited for. That said, while at home in any life-sustaining environment, Qythe are most at home when in the planes rather than the material realm. In particular, they find the ebb and flow of the astral plane particularly serene. If forced to exist in the material realm they gravitate toward places of quiet such as the void of space, frozen wastelands, and dead worlds.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Qythe are omnivores but because of the martial lifestyle they engage, protein and fats do make up a considerable portion of their diet
Qythe do not sleep. Their goddess intended to replenish their bodies with her own divine energy, making the need for sleep unnecessary. However; when they cut themselves free of their creator one of the consequences that came with this blasphemous act was the loss of this constant refreshment. They instead turned toward periods of meditation where they guide their own bodies (and the bodies of their children) in a cycle of mindfulness and repair. These periods of meditation tend to last for about three to six hours. In addition, Qythe engage in periods of hibernation as well, another byproduct of using the Vorpal Thought to free themselves. They will generally slip into states of hibernation when learning new psychic disciplines, honing existing ones, or deepening some other type of skill. During this time their minds and bodies are evolving to meet new challenges or threats. However; as they age, these periods of hibernation last longer and longer. Younger Qythe may only need a few days hibernation while particularly ancient members of their species can spend years or even decades in this torpor.
Militaristic. Qythe society is shaped like a well-disciplined fighting force that prize deed, glory, and honor above all else. They obey their hierarchies to zealous levels of adherence with little in the way of unrest or dissent. Authority is handed down from the Lord Marshal of each covenant through strict chains-of-command. Each Lord Marshal is a being of tremendous power, many of whom actually fought in the battle against Viaratea herself. The chains of command these ancient beings lay out are filled with only the most reliable of Qythe, for Lord Marshals of such an advanced age will hibernate for decades on end. All Qythe are tasks with more than just combat and martial training. Each has a dual-purpose in fact. When not engaged in combat, military training, or meditation, they are expected to become masters of a domestic vocation as well. Thus, even those most deadly of warriors might be equally skilled gardeners, sages, and architects.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Qythe are still built from divine matter, no matter how deeply they detest the idea. There are certainly uses for the blood, flesh, and bone of such creatures.
Often skull-like and with thin skin. Several teeth will end in longer fangs. Eyes will generally be sunken in along with other gaunt features
They are a deeply intelligent race. Intelligence is prized equally beside prowess in combat and personal honor
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Due to their highly developed psionic abilities the Qythe are able to perceive the environment around them with incredible accuracy. While not capable of a visual-level of detail with this extrasensory ability, they are aware of general object placement for inanimate matter. When it comes to thinking minds their perception is much more accurate, allowing them both detailed physical and mental awareness.
Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms
There are certain brain parasites that view the minds of Qythe as a particularly choice meal. Also, despite their rejection of their their divine origin, anything that might prey on divine entities will happily include the Qythe as a potential target.
Civilization and Culture
Qythe names are typically separated into two parts. A noun of some ferocity or strength and a qualifier that further describes the noun. In practice, such names will often translate to something like Cutting Storm, Silent Death, Raging Viper, or Withering Glare. These names are not typically awarded until the Qythe comes of age and earns honor for themselves for the first time. The names are often based upon their performance during this first quest. Prior to this time they will often have "pup" names such as: child, git, youngling, pup, ect ect ect. Parents will often add harmless qualifiers here as well, thus having children with names like Crying Pup, Scampering Git, and Vanishing Child for example.
The Covenants are the most dominate part of Qythe society. These Covenants will often have peaceful yet competitive relationships with each other. Within the Covenants are numerous command structures that often form their own cliques. Lastly, most members of Qythe society are organized into smaller units known as Orders. These orders operate like military units when away on mission or as domestic coworkers when home. Outside of their own society there are countless organizations that an Order or even a Covenant might engage with, sometimes peacefully, sometimes not. Lone Qythe might even seek out such organizations to serve.
Qythe forms can often be rather twisted. They have long since eschewed ideas of external physical beauty and instead prefer to peer into the mind and look upon the psychic embodiment of their fellow Qythe.
Qythe make no distinction between genders and only care that the covenant has amble new births to fill vacancies in their ranks.
Deeds and accumulated honor are perhaps the most attractive characteristic a partner will look for. During courtships Qythe will often engage in training exercises together as a means of quality time. Joining potential partners on raids is another favored past time. Also, meditating together is perhaps the most frequent form a Qythe date might take.
Committed partners will often sync their hibernation cycles and enter into each others minds during this time. Partners are expected to help each other attain the glory they seek, share their honor collectively, and join each other during battle.
Average Technological Level
Technology is not something the Qythe easily embrace. It was not a priority under Mother's rule and even now they prefer to use their psychic talents, planar mastery, and magic rather than have to resort to advanced tech. While most of their machines are medieval in complexity they compensate with psionic disciple and dedication to their domestic crafts.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Qythe have their own vocal language which they use while communicating with each other. This language was taught to them by Viaratea, before their exposure to psionics. Now, they often communicate simple messages via telepathy but Qylthelesh (as their language is known) is still broadly used. Thanks to their mental disciples they are able to quickly learn the languages of other species as well.
Common Etiquette Rules
Honor is of utmost importance to the Qythe. It can be accumulated through battle, via the perfecting and teaching of martial or mental disciplines, through the domestic endeavors they practice, and by the station they hold within the covenant's chain of command. Acknowledging one's honor and offering respect are keystones within the Qythe etiquette hierarchy. Other common actions worthy of Qythe's respect include: being invited into one's home, choosing to fight for the cause of an ally, being allowed to train under respected teacher, being of particularly ancient age regardless of actual rank or station, showing mercy to insignificant opponents, defeating great foes in single combat, having been involved in particularly noteworthy battles, destroying a place of worship, possessing trophies from divine sources, currently being involved in a divine hunt, and many more
Common Dress Code
When not in combat Qythe will often prefer very simple clothing that aids in their regular domestic duties. When they are engaged in conflict or even during downtimes whiles on missions they prefer their armors. These can range from thick suits of plate smithed by Qythe armorers and inlaid with powerful psychic circuitry, to the favored black gi and cowl of the more evasive warriors. Qythe are rather fond of jewelry as well. Rings, necklaces, pendants, wrist or arm bands, beads for their hair, and piercings of all kind. Sometimes these are prized trophies earned in battle, other times they baubles selected purely for vanity's sake.
Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals
Celebrations and holidays will vary from covenant to covenant but they universally recognize the Advent of Repudiation. This is a 98 hour long festival of sorts, though in common Qythe fashion there is little that is festive about it. The Advent lasts 98 hours because that is said to be the amount of time it took for the invaders of Mother's domain to finally reach and slay her. During the event many divine hunts are launched and many currently on hunts will attempt to return to show off the trophies earned thus far. Trade between covenants is common as well. Battles outside of divine hunts are ceased (aside from perhaps the most dire of missions). In addition to trade, recognition, and melancholic reverie, they will sacrifice captured holy figures to their cause. The exact nature of the sacrifice is rather malleable across Qythe communities but one thing that is not is who these sacrifices are. They must be only the strongest, most dangerous, and deadly leaders of divine faiths. This means victims such as clerics and paladins, divine servants to the gods (be they angel, devil, or anything in between), strong mortals with divine blood in their veins, and even a god should the covenant be blessed with the opportunity. While a god will always be killed if they are brought for sacrifice, many covenants actually prefer a gauntlet of tortures or revelations designed to make the victim renounce their deity. Those spared are often sent back to their homes as grim inspiration to the remaining faithful. Those who refuse are put death in only the most brutal of fashion.
The first and most obvious would be to show any signs of devotion to a deity. This is entirely repugnant to the very core of Qythe beliefs. Secondly, is to dishonor one's self, order, or covenant with failure. The shirking of one's domestic duties also a rather rakish thing to do in their eyes though exceptions are made for ambitious youths. Compromising one's morals, honor, or oath for the sake of success on a mission is also deeply taboo (much to the chagrin of demons and their tempting pacts or the patron entities of many warlocks.
Common Myths and Legends
The defeat of Mother is a central myth shared by all Qythe. Additionally, the defeat of any god quickly becomes the stuff of legend
six to seven and half feet on average
Generally between 140 and 180 lbs
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Before severing their connection to Mother, Qythe were a vibrant and colorful collection of creatures. However; once cut free of their oppressor their bodies blackened like kindling in a fire. They now range in color from dark grey to the most jet black but seeing a Qythe this way is a very rare thing. They will often paint or tattoo their faces with splashes of gold with accents of purple. They will take on a quiet regal or imperious image when given the chance. The gold is meant to represent the glory of their purpose and the honor they seek. The purple accents are symbols that denote their station, deeds, and oaths to their covenant.