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Ælfscíene

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Jeddak are an ancient peoples from which several better known races would be formed from them. Their bloodline would include Dwarves, Elves, Leprechauns, Fey and Sídhe in relation to direct evolution or by mixing their blood with others. They would be most closely related to Dwarves and Elves standing no taller than five feet with heads disproportionately larger than necessary. The Jeddak had once existed across all the Worlds of Shadow before vanishing into the descendant races which sprang forth from them. Only on Vaalbara would they linger and thrive by becoming more xenophobic and driven to preserve themselves accepting change only if it comes from within. They would most closely associate themselves with Dwarves and called themselves the Ælfscíene in antiquity identifying themselves with the beauty of Elves and Faeries. While meaning no disrespect, they would refer to themselves as "the Pretty Ones" when speaking of Dwarves and their connections to them.

What set the Jeddak apart from other Ælfscíene would take place in their distant past when the first of their kind sought a means to increase her natural abilities. She was a lover of cats and had two feline companions who were near the end of their natural lifespans. Not wishing to be parted from them, she found a spell with which to physically merge them with herself thus also acquiring their abilities from when they had been in their prime. From the cheetah, she would gain speed and agility while gaining strength and climbing ability from the leopard. While her peoples lived in dwellings at night for protection against the wild, she thrived as a darktime huntress and protector of her peoples. But it was in choosing her mates well that she learned to use her newly acquired skills for survival and to pass what she learned on to her offspring as instincts. They would seek out other Ælfscíene with which to mate and to bring into their growing numbers as hunter-gatherers.

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Jeddak

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They chose the name Jeddak as a racial name for themselves based on an object called the Jedda Stone, a jet black gemstone which had fallen from the stars and been reshaped into the form of a big-cat named for the Mother Goddess Ki. They would thus, deify the first of their kind as Jedda-Ki and entombed her at the site that would later become the Imperial House of Zadara. Although preferring a solitary life or to live in small tribal groups, they also inherited instincts from the Ælfscíene leading them to form larger communities as their numbers continued to grow. Jeddak are born the way they are and females outnumber males ten to one meaning they are inherently polygamous as a race. Female Jeddak are typically a bit taller and slimmer of build than their stockier, more muscular males as well but males are physically stronger. Although a patriarchal society, there is a power structure among female Jeddak where the eldest, the wisest and the strongest are the most important.

As Jeddak civilization expanded, Ælfscíene would be granted positions among them as if adopted and forming a second class society. This would not mean that Ælfscíene would be made victims of discrimination as, indeed, female Jeddak would not be victims of discrimination in as much as they created a structured society through which order could be maintained. While inherently polygamous, female Jeddak can prove quite lethal to their males if they take more than the allowed ten to one ratio of wives. Only where a male Jeddak dies or is slain does this change as the wives of a slain Jeddak become servants to the wives of another male Jeddak. This is also a prime reason why magick will sometimes be used to transform a male Ælfscíene into a male Jeddak as female Jeddak will not easily accept being made into servants. Children sired between Jeddak and Ælfscíene will be Jeddak by birth fulfilling the role played by Ælfscíene in Jeddak society.

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Traits

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Should Jeddak choose another race or species as mates, their children will not be Jeddak and they will be forced into exile branded as traitors. While inheriting their xenophobic traits from the Ælfscíene, Jeddak are talented at forming alliances or selling their services as mercenaries and assassins. They are not a peoples well known for possessing great endurance and their fighting style tends to be striking hard and fast, then withdrawing. That doesn't make them weak in battle as they learned to fight in waves so that the strong emerge to the forefront of battle allowing the weak to fall back and to recover their strength. Their swiftness in battle makes them lethal but they prefer ambush techniques making them perfect guerilla style combatants while being as well known for their skills as providers and manhunters. Their ability to live in the trees and upon the ground would be greatly aided by their ability to camouflage themselves while in their transformed state.

Their beast-form grants them heightened senses, greater agility, speed and strength but, at the price of having less endurance. Jeddak can shapeshift into their felid form at any time they desire but rarely do so by day as there is less need and this ability is far more useful at night. In their therian form, they tend to be taller and their heads seem reduced in size because their body mass increases. The exterior part of their ears are relatively small coming to a point and possessing two ear channels in each. This gives them a normal eardrum and a secondary one that remains closed off unless they are hunting giving them increased hearing at longer distances. Their eyes are larger to better absorb light at night while possessing an extra protective layer that often gives them a mirrored effect. Male Jeddak possess feminine qualities to their faces leading them to grow facial hair and big bushy mustaches being unable to grow hair on their chins or thick beards.

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Imperial House of Zadara

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The Jeddak would rise in power to lead a confederation of many peoples against the then Lord Magistrate and cause the ultimate destruction of his Imperial House. A new Imperial House would emerge surrounding the location where the Jeddak had entombed Jedda-Ki seemingly to reward them for forming this confederation. But the Jeddak were not capable of sharing power once they held it firmly and with absolute authority. Like the Ælfscíene, their xenophobic instincts lead to them silently purging the Imperial House of all non-Jeddak except for the Ælfscíene who accepted their rule. Their one-time allies retained positions of power that was tenuous at best because the Jeddak viewed themselves as the rightful rulers over all of Vaalbara. Although protected within their Imperial House, the Jeddak were not in their environment hiding behind walls even as massive and extensive as these.

Theirs was a world within a world and as they had become increasingly isolated from the world beyond the walls, they became increasingly abusive in how they exercised their power. Alliances began to deteriorate, wars began to erupt and the Jeddak began to leave the Imperial House to join with its enemies. The Imperial House of Zadara would be ruled justly throughout much of its existence until the Jeddak within the Imperial House found themselves within a prison. Their rulers now turned their weapons inwards upon their own people and after several disastrous civil wars, one of "the Amarok" became unleashed within the Imperial House leading to its destruction. Because the Jeddak had brought about their own destruction and many had, in fact, allied with the enemies of the Imperial House; they would be allowed to rebuild from the ruins keeping the Tomb of Jedda-Ki and the Wilderness of Zadara as their homelands.