Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Xendauni a guest post by Edward Larel

Edward Larel

The xendauni are a race of shape changers from the world of Pnumadesi. Each xendauni has the natural ability, called face-blending, to become a human, dwarf, elf, or any other humanoid. Through training and experience, some xendauni can also become animals with which they are familiar. Xendauni do not have to leave their altered form, but when knocked unconscious or in the presence of a special breed of canine they call xendaugs, members of the race will revert to a natural state.

The native xendauni form is like a blank canvas, undefined and indistinct. Everything about a xendauni’s features blends in with the rest of their appearance. Skin tones range from anthraquinone (the darkest shade of blue) to deepest purple to black. Male xendauni have no natural hair on their body, while females’ hair always match their eyes.

Because of their lack of distinct features, xendauni express their emotions with their eyes. No matter the form a xendauni takes, her eyes will begin to shine and trail monochrome shades of blue, green, purple, or red when under stress or duress. This trait, called a xendauni’s glare, can make it difficult for inexperienced xendauni to appear as another race when in danger.

Xendauni have a tribal society based largely in a region of Pnumadesi called the Black Forest. A ruling council of one or more elders oversees each village, and each elder meets regularly at the xendauni capital to make important decisions regarding the leadership of their race.

The people of the Black Forest often dress in simple white, gray, or brown clothing, but the rich and theeccentric have also been known to dress in dyes to match or contrast their glare. During celebrations, xendauni wear jewelry made of the duskwood trees that grow throughout the forest.

The dangerous nature of the xendauni’s home necessitates the training of specialized soldiers, or sentinels, in how to fight with the savagery and ferocity of the lycanthropes with whom they share the forest. Masters of armed combat, sentinels channel primal magic into their weapons to battle their enemies. Over time, the use of this magic alters the sentinel’s form to resemble that warrior’s particular spirit guide or totem animal.

In addition to protecting their people, xendauni also train to battle the elementals from the southern reaches of Pnumadesi. There has been a long-standing hatred between the two races that many times in the world’s history turned to violence. The most well-known battle was shortly after the second war of elements when the xendauni used a powerful artifact, the Gauntlets of Brister, to bring the fight to the Elemental Plateau itself. They had almost defeated the elementals’ fire general Ragnar when the cunning overlord somehow stole the gauntlets and used them to turn the tide. The elemental ruler then chased the xendauni back to the Black Forest where he used the artifact to banish the entire region to its own demiplane.

Five hundred years later, the fire general’s daughter, Araelia, has retrieved the gauntlets and brought them back to the xendauni. Unfortunately, the gauntlets have no lasting magic without the Gems of Power to charge them, so the xendauni appointed their prince, who also happens to be a sentinel of considerable talent, to leave the forest with the last of the gauntlets’ power. That warrior, Arawn Segomo, begins his search for the gems in Arawn’s Quest.

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