SummaryA relatively recent addition to Veltrona, no records of anything like the gehurm existed until after the destruction of the World Gate. Some scholars linked the cataclysmic event to a deeper disturbance in the world, one that rattled the Underworld itself. The gehurm, thus, fled from a different calamity, and many of them eventually arrived at the surface world proper. Having suffered generations of hardship, much of their once-greatness crumbled away, leaving nomadic tribes and familial clans as their survivors. The richness of the surface became their saving boon, even with all the strange troubles it brought with. Having long adapted to living underground, the gehurm couldn't tolerate open atmosphere very well. The endlessly tall sky became terrifying to their innate kenophobia, and so the gehurm nomads fled to mountains, dense jungles or forests, and other locations suitably 'closed in'. There they sought to rebuild their civilizations, living in the likes of Etzli Cuauhtla, Immensio's northern and southern vast mountains, Lophern, Nerzin, and parts of Fauverngarz. With their hardy nature, living in such rough places proved simple enough, and they had few actively trying to compete with them. Hence, several centuries after arriving at the surface world, the gehurm had established themselves when the other civilizations recovered from the Great Darkness. Newer generations of gehurm learned to live with the atmosphere, though it still messed with their senses somewhat. These braver explorers went out into the world, the first forays to finding what their home had. As they have naturally higher temperatures, the gehurm didn't like the sunlight principally because it was hot. Having no idea what light is, they inadvertantly became a primarily nocturnal species. Or, in their cultures, 'cold dwellers' rather than 'hot dwellers'. This simple solution, unfortunately, made first contact a terrible affair for them. For many species, the gehurm are intimidating in broad daylight, and downright terrifying in darkness. Violence and fear became a first response, shying the gehurm away and making them alarmingly concerned over their new neighbors. Some did meet fairly compatible species, such as the rachtoh and petrakin. While not inherently nocturnal, they often bridged the differences first and became many gehurm nations' allies. Others, being less fortunate, turned inward and xenophobic to protect themselves. No matter where, the gehurm often came to be called the 'black wurms', a name of fear or respect depending where on Veltrona it was heard. Their slow taming of the harsh wilderness around them created bastions of resource-rich civilizations, and bravely reckless traders often tried to visit them. In time, their strangeness disappeared as tales of how they lived, and their own mysterious works, started to spread throughout the world. In turn, dragon-kind came to scorn them for their disdainful appearance and similarity to lindwurms. The latter of which, actually did have a pre-existing relationship with the gehurm. Many of their religious myths involve creator or mother-like deities, who are almost entirely lindwurms themselves. The 'world breaking serpents' were forces of immense power, regardless of being good or evil, and the original gehurm saw them as their goddesses. In time that superstitious awe faded away, but the many gehurm cultures maintain immense respect toward the lindwurms. For them, to be called of the same blood became a mark of respect, rather than insult. So it was, many people obsessed with the ways of dragons flocked to study and live amongst the gehurm as well. While even their own records can scarcely remember their former nations, different parts yet survived and carried through. The gehurm as a whole could be called an industrious people, carrying on forgotten traditions of craftswomanship, architectural design, smithing, and more. Perhaps invigorated by the works of dragons, they took to engineering with a zealous dedication. Being as different as they are, gehurm works came to be strange and bizarre innovations that somehow still came together in the end. They eventually drew in the attention of the mertakan, and the two developed a sort of academic rivalry against one another. So it is the reclusive gehurm continue to build in the far reaches of the world, yet proving unimaginable possibilities await.
A humanoid species predominantly similar to the lindwurm, and hence are derided by dragons as wurmlings. Other species often mistake gehurm for being of draconic lineage, and some scholars wonder if they are actually a proper species rather than a race. Overall, the gehurm take after humanity in their physique. Like lindwurms, however, they have a thick, enveloping 'scale' growth across their body. Their upper skull is enveloped in this scale growth, fortifying their heads and covering up to where their eyes would be, rendering them naturally blind. The scale growth extends down the head, following along the spine as it branches out. Where the hard parts of the skeleton are, such as the cheeks, jaw, collarbone, hips, knees, and joints, the growth connects to. Theirs is not fully enveloping into a natural suit of armor, however It could be thought of as a 'half-armor', exposing much of their muscles and naked, glassy-smooth skin. Their feet are fully armored by the scale growth, but only the topsides of their hands are. While it is durable, the growth itself has numerous open 'frills' underneath solid portions of scale. These frills act like heat-exchange vents for their high-temperature blood, similar to how goat horns work. A long, floor-reaching tail extends out of their buttocks, fully enveloped in the scale growth, with the tip of it is often some kind of club or hammer-headed shape. Its usually a fairly flexible, prehensile 'third arm' in a sense. Foolish is the one who underestimates it. Similarly, they have long, prehensile tongues capable of surprising dexterity. Gehurm do not have hair of any kind on their bodies. Their closest equivalent is how their scales grow, as it can be varied in how smooth, rough, jagged, sharp, flanged, and physically grown it can be. There is no real distinction in the sexes for this; rather, one's growth's characteristics is more of a familial or regional lineage. Because it can grow in ways that may sometimes impede them, gehurm groom themselves and each other by 'filing' down and shaping the growth. They also sometimes ritualistically scar the growth through cutting, chipping, and carving indents within it. This functionally acts like semi-permanent tattooes, as far as they care. They are sexually dimorphic, with the females having physically powerful frames, taller height, an enlarged breasts, and wider hips. They often have more heat vent frills compared to the smaller, more 'armored' males. As a result, female scales can appear more disjointed, growing in odd directions, and visually diverse to people with eyes. Their color ranges are predominantly black, brown, or silver for their scale growth. Their skins are a complimentary pale or peachy tone. Generations of crossbreeding with other species has introduced more varied colors, such as red or green scales, and black or brown skin. Those who have these non-traditional colors usually are from lineages with mixed blood. First generation hybrids may exhibit much wilder scale growth and varied, erratic color patterns. Those with fathers from scale-bearing species may take on those scales characteristic quite extremely, becoming very different from ordinary gehurm.
Robust – Gehurm are physical resilient, both in terms of endurance, and their overall state of health. They can endure in harsher climates without much concern, and physical confrontations are less of a problem for them. While nowhere close to the legendary prowess of the dragons, compared to many others they are a formidable force. Increased Density – They have a heightened bone density, making them harder to break. However, their overall physique means they cannot swim all that well. Gehurm quite literally sink to the bottom of water, and so their species has an intense aversion to anything dealing with liquids that isn't in a cup or bowl. Nimble – Despite their incredible hardiness, the gehurm are extraordinarily agile, and capable of doing powerful jumps up to three times their own height. They are excellent climbers, and often surprise others with how they can get to seemingly impossible locations. Extraspatial Senses – Being naturally blind, the Gehurm navigate the world with a bizarre, and difficult-to-conceive extraspatial sense. It is principally similar to sound waves and echolocation, but rather than 'send' a wave and 'listen' for a response, the Gehurm can 'feel' the world immediately. This means they possess a unique understanding of what color and physical architecture is, often in a way completely alien to most other species on Veltrona. Some scholars suspect it may actually be a form of 'gravity' sensing.
Civilization and Culture
Gehurm often look for an opposite or 'sufficiently different' person to fill out their lives. Their inborn sense of self-confidence means they aren't necessarily looking for more of the same. It tends to be a rather polarizing cultural divide: find someone as reliable as yourself, or find someone who is very different. This varies greatly depending on the home situation, as those in more wild territories need assured skill and capability to make sure everyone survives. Those in cities and other easy places have the luxury of entertaining more volatile courtships. Many of them tend to be romantics at heart, finding stories of love, courtship, and overcoming difficulties especially endearing. In a sense, they tend to take relationships with a far more serious readiness than others. This has made them appreciably familiar with the rachtoh, who approach relationships similarly. While actual romantics is one matter, the two species tend to get along well in business at least. Given their hardiness, the gehurm are a very physical people–commonly clapping their hands together in greeting, smacking one another on the shoulder, and other types of 'rough housing'. This activity immediately sets the tone for a lot of their social settings, and one can gauge how the gehurm feel by how they physically express it. An example would be a stand off meeting, where there is no clapping of the hands, bracing of forearms against each other, etc. Physical distance is a literal distance in every sense for them. They are mindful enough of the other species that not everyone works that way. It's usually a measure of a gehurm's experience in how they treat with them. Young or inexperienced ones typically smack around like they're other gehurm, much to the potential harm that can entail. The flipside to this matter is that the gehurm come off as very invasive in a lot of species' notion of personal space.
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Gehurm exhibit their robustness in a variety of ways, often surprising other species in how they do so. For instance, a timid gehurm can still dig their heels in, whether to oppose someone pressuring them, or resolving to take care of a matter. Ambitious or self-confident gehurm can go to great lengths to achieve something, often past the breaking point for others. The gehurm penchant for perseverance means they'll endure hardships and difficulties far longer than most others would expect. So begets the saying, 'even a gehurm would break', in human vernacular. Meaning that even the most stubborn and resilient of people would capitulate in a given situation. In spite of this reputation, they are not a solitary or standoffish people, and matters of family and friends are dreadfully important. This is especially critical in the harsh lands they often live, where the only friendliness to be had is from family. In this way the gehurm look out for their own, even if it isn't readily obvious they are. This intense social connectivity puts them on a wavelength similar to the rachtoh, and the two get along well because of it. They are, for better or worse, not nearly as talkative as the incessantly endless rachtoh.