We’re nearing the end of the #My30DayWorld challenge, and though we’re several days behind we are still going to finish. For this question about misunderstood races, we’re dividing the post into two parts. I’ll take the first, giving a little story about a race called the rittauri, and Æsc will take part 2.
The Legacy of Ash began as a role-playing setting for us, slowly evolving into fantasy fiction as the characters and cultures we created began to take on lives of their own. We hope you’ll follow us over the next few weeks as we reveal a little more about our world and the characters who bring it to life.
This post will cover day 25. We’re doing them all on our Legacy of Ash Facebook page as well, so head over and give us like.
4/13: What is the Most Misunderstood Playable Race?
I’ve already mentioned the kinasahr, and Æsc has told you about the veirellin. The lands of Calus Rukan are filled with different races. In Alrend’ris, between the Inturian Republic and the Kingdom of Kilaon lies the Rittauri Wetlands. A region of vast swamps and bog-laden plains is the homeland of the amphibian rittauri.
Large, bipedal amphibians, the rittauri resemble humanoid toads or frogs. Most stand about 4’ to 5’, and have skin ranging from yellow and green to muddy, mottled browns. Some few are born with blue spot. Large vocal sacs are found on male rittauri. For the most part, they remain in the wetlands, devoted to their cities, dependant on the wetlands. Some do leave the comforts of their home, and they can be found in Kilaon or Mgen Riy to the south, as well as the coastal regions of the Inturian Republic.
During the age of Rukara, before the Sundering, the rittauri were largely ignored by the other races. A vulgar and bestial race, the rittauri were left alone in their swamps. When the Sundering shattered the world, when the Rukarans pulled their cities up into the sky to escape the devastation below, the rittauri suffered. Like the kinasahr, the rittauri were left behind to fend off the demonic hordes. Unlike the kinasahr, they did not possess the raw strength necessary to fight for their survival. So, the rittauri that survived became slaves and servants. After the long decades, and then centuries, the rittauri began to worship the demons, seeing them as gods. Though the world has changed yet again, the rule of the demons passing as the strength of the mortal races returned, the rittauri continue to worship the demons as deities and saviours.
“I hate this place,” Jall said, spitting into the sludge around their raft.
Saque, standing beside her companion with a crossbow spanned and loaded, remained silent. The raft drifted nearly silently through the fog-shrouded bog. The two thieves peered into the green haze, flinching at the sight of a gnarled branch or snaking vine emerging without warning before them.
Behind the two thieves, crouched on the raft with a long pole in its webbed fingers, stood their rittauri guide. Shorter than either of the two, the guide wore a ragged loincloth around its waist and a collection of charms around its neckless shoulders. A few rough knives hung from a rotting leather belt. The two had met the small, hunched creature in the only tavern in Bog Cross. A small town at the edge of the rittauri wetlands, Bog Cross was a town on the verge of being consumed by the swamps. Every day, the ground there was a little more sodden, the stink in the air a little more stagnant.
“Hey Croaks, how much further?” Jall asked the guide.
“Don’t call him that,” Saque said softly, her eyes still fixed on the swirling green haze. Beside the raft, a bubble burst, spraying her boot with slime. “His name is Irrix.”
“How’d you know he’s a he?” Jall asked. “These toads all look the same.”
“Dust’s kiss,” Saque hissed, turning finally to stare at her companion. For a moment she thought about hitting him, but he flinched before she struck. Guilt rose up in the back of her throat, and she lowered her hand.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, a cruel humour to his voice. “We might’ve paid for this thing to guide us across the wetlands, but I’m not certain it won’t sacrifice us to its demon gods, given the change. You need to stop staring at the mist, Saque, and start watching you back. I know I am.”
“Damn it Jall. Haven’t learned a thing here, have you? How many years’ve you been here? And still… dust’s kiss, you need to be more considerate.”
“Alright, alight,” Jall said before spitting again into the sludge around them. “Hey Irrix, how much farther?”
“Not far,” the rittauri said, his voice harsh and jagged. “Not far. Mind your feet.”
The raft hit a log hidden just below the sludge, and rocked suddenly as Irrix righted them with the long pole. Jall hissed a curse, slapping at a mosquito buzzing around his neck. Saque peering again into the fog as they continued through the swamp. The haze cleared and for a moment Saque saw a large statue half consumed by the swamps, a face of stone carved as if in absolute terror. Too perfect to be carved, Saque thought. Too real.
“Sooner we cross this infested swamp, the better,” Jall muttered. “Got a job lined up in Greyven.”
“I know all about the job,” Saque said, her nerves at the absolute edge. “Now shut up, will you.”
“Why? Not like we can do anything, right?”
Irrix stopped pushing the raft. They came to a slow stop in the middle of the mire. Saque looked at their guide. The rittauri shook his head and raised one long finger to his broad mouth.
“What is it?” Jall said, nearly stomping his foot.
Saque lurched forward and grabbed the man, one hand over his mouth as a primal fear flooded across her body. Something knocked against the raft again, but this time they had not moved. Not a log or a rock, Saque realized, but something else had hit them. Something alive.
Saque felt Jall go limp in her arm. As he fainted, she tried to keep a hold on her crossbow. Catching a glimpse of a long, scaled serpentine body in the putrid water, she wondered how effective the weapon would actually be against something so massive. The raft was knocked again, but this time Irrix fell to his knees. Saque could not help the scream that tore from her throat. Clutching Jall’s unconscious form, she watched as Irrix pulled on the charms around his neck. She could smell cinnamon suddenly, the weight of it heavy in the air. The scaled body swam by again, Saque realizing now that the thing, whatever it was, was circling the small raft.
She watched in horror as Irrix began croaking and clicking, speaking, praying in his tongue to the thing that had them trapped. He is calling to it, she thought. Offering us to this beast. The raft was hit again. Saque lost her crossbow, the weapon sliding off the side of the raft into the sludge, but held tight to Jall. Irrix held tight to the raft, raising his long arms into the air, his charms held up as he continued to pray. The raft shook one last time, sludge crashing up over Saque, covering her face and hair, and she screamed once more. But then, clutching Jall as he began to wake, she knew it was over.
“Irrix?” she asked, slime dripping down her forehead.
“The immortal is gone,” the rittauri said, rising to his feet, the long pole once more in his long, webbed fingers. “You are safe.”
The Challenge Will Continue…
Thanks for reading about the world Æsc and I have built. We’ve fallen a bit behind in the questions, but we will answer them all and we’ll post more about the Legacy of Ash and the continents that make up the world of Celduras. This has been part one for day 25, but look out for part 2 where Æsc presents a tale about the varukhiri.