• Oodine

    (ooh-dyne)

    The Oodine were created by the Alfnari long ago. The Alfnari were an ancient and hyper-civilized race of Aelfs. Even their creation was not a happy one. They were born into a second class caste, one where they 'worked' for the Alfnari as deep sea laborers. For the Alfnari they helped to build an artificial city that laid on top of the Merus ocean. The city itself was named Rivos. The Alfnari never bothered to tell their Oodine workers what the city's purpose was and most Oodine never tried to ask.

    For most people, being forced to build a city for another and be made to be nothing more than second-class citizens would be enough to birth a deep hatred, but the Oodine were and are a special people. They were like the water, taking more and more abuse like drops of rain. Their ability to accept Alfnari exploitation was seemingly infinite.

    So while their life before the great civil war was not a happy one, they never rebelled against their Alfnari masters. Instead they were diligent workers that rarely bucked against their role in life. The few that did...well, they are not remembered.

    So great was the Oodine's ability for forgiveness, or perhaps so great was their fear of rebelling, that during the Alfnari civil war the Oodine tried to help their oppressors. Their freely offered aid was met with ridicule. What could they hope to provide? Alfnari warriors were too strong to need the help of pitiful beings like the Oodine. The Oodine were forced to continue as laborers, despite their desire to help a home that hated them.

    They were called upon once the war started to turn south, though, but not in the way they had wished. The Alfnari, looking at defeat, threw their living creations at their enemy as fodder. Countless Oodine were killed and their corpses walked on by combatants on both sides of the war. The poor Oodine were nothing more than bodies for the Alfnari enemies to tire themselves out on.

    Predictably, it was Alfnari pride that doomed their beloved city. It was the Alfnari's own magical tech and magical horrors that left the city barren and wiped clean. Even Rivos was not spared, the magic that once held it up disappeared and plummeted it to the depths of Merus. The Oodine sank with the city they helped to build and decided that the bottom of the Merus ocean was a better place to live than on the surface where so many horrors had been inflicted upon them. For a long time they rarely ventured above their comforting waves.

    Wartime

    The Alfnari civil war was still remembered by the Oodine by the time the war of the Mages Folly came to be. The congresses of the Oodine refused to subject their people to another war and the tragedies it would cause. They readily signed a treaty with the Mages that guaranteed their people would be left alone; but the price was a high one. For their safety they gave up any and all Alfnari artifacts still left in Rivos and half of all their other resources, including food, ores and magical knowledge.

    Not every Oodine was so ready to trade their history (even though it be an unhappy one) and their resources for safety. Especially not against those they felt would rise to be worse than their ancient oppressors. Some were appalled at the cowardice their congresses showed and vowed to help the resistance movement against the mages. Fearful of bringing the mages wrath down on them, the Oodine congress banished these freedom-fighters to the surface and declared them traitors. They gave up their right to be a citizen of the very home they wished to fight to protect.

    These brave few joined the world resistance and fought bravely. They rarely fought above the water, but they brought valuable information to the resistance, spying on the mages from below the depths. They also acted as underwater saboteurs and combatants. Their presence was not a huge one, but their involvement helped to save lives and joined with the others in the resistance, they eventually won out over the mages.

    With the war over and the would-be oppressors overthrown, the congresses overturned their exile and granted them full citizenship again. The Oodine that had been branded as traitors were welcomed as heroes. Mostly. There were those that thought they had risked too much for what was largely considered a surfacer's problem, but most of Rivos celebrated their lost sons and daughters home-coming.

    Current Day

    The war of Mages Folly taught the Oodine they could not spend the entirety of their existence beneath their beloved waves. They as a people are unable to forgot how poorly treated they were by surfacers and how much of their blood had been shed by surfacers and their problems, but though they distrust much of the world on land, they try to not let their prejudice color them too much. They travel more and more as the years go one and are willing to trade with all people of the world.

    However, their willingness to work through their own prejudice is not always met with the same. Many people still remember Oodine as nothing but cowards that hid beneath their precious Merus ocean when trouble threatened everyone. Many call the people themselves cursed; but almost as many remember that while the country's congress may have taken what seemed to outsiders a coward's way out, there were still Oodine that fought alongside the resistance.
    Personality:There are always outliers, but by and large, the Oodine are a calm and peaceful people. They drift as if water, going whatever direction the currents pull them. The memory of all their hardships are deeply held, thus many of the Oodine avoid risk like a drought. The people as a whole are more isolationists than outgoing and even when traveling will keep mostly to themselves. While they are friendly to all with no specific hatred towards any race, not even the Alfs, most still have a great distrust of surface walkers. They will rarely cause any issues because of this distrust, but they will keep a tighter grip on their pouches and a warier eye out when surfaces are about.

    Physical Traits

    Over the years the Oodine have bred with numerous types of Mer people, such as the Naiads, Mermaids, Mermen and Fish-folk. Because of this, this a wide variety when it comes to how they look. However you must choose at least two.

    • Very Pale Skin - The Oodine have spent generations underwater and have largely lost much of their color over time. There are still variations in color, some being very pale green, blue, grey.. There are Oodine with more color to their skin, due to the other races they've bred with, but the vast, vast majority are incredibly pale.


    • Gills - Gills should be placed on each side of your neck, either behind your ears or anywhere else on your neck is acceptable. A bit of scar molding wax and some make-up and you can make some very nice gills. However, some Oodine do have their gills hidden behind their ears, so this is not necessarily a requirement.


    • Webbed Hands/Feet - Again, this seems like it should be a requirement, but the Alfnari realized that webbed hands and toes might be problematic for any surface labor, so not all Oodine have them. You're welcome to add them, but they're not a requirement.


    • Webbed Ears - The Alfnari were not terribly concerned about their creation's ears, so long as they could hear, so they're many variations when it comes to ears for Oodine. Some are round like human, others pointed like elves, and others yet are webbed. The decision is yours.


    • Ridges/Fins/Barbs - Some Oodine were created with more combat in mind, to defend other laborers from ocean-life attack. You are welcome to add fins, strange ridges or barbs. These are not a requirement, but you are welcome to add them if you like. This is understandably a bit difficult and is completely optional.


    • Scales - An Oodine that is completely covered in scales is unheard of, but due to breeding with more scaley humanoids, there are some that have scales in certain spots.

    Clothing

    It almost seems strange for an aquatic race to want clothing, but the Alfnari ingrained a sense of modesty within them that lasts today. They do allow their children to swim nude with no shame, but once they reach adulthood they are expected to cover sexual organs.

    While some Oodine will dress more like a surfacer when out on land trading, most of their actually clothing is designed to be practical for swimming and made from underwater materials, such as: seaweed, kelp, scales, and shark/dolphin/seal skin. They also typically make armour from coral or shell and weaponry from the same materials. Feel free to costume accordingly. Keep in mind that the Oodine live deep underwater and are well used to the cold. Remember that for your costuming. Their clothing tends towards either tight or quite revealing, anything with an emphasis on mobility. For certain festivals they might wear more flowing clothing, but by and large they don't want to risk their clothes catching on anything down in the deep. The richer Oodine might use glowing coral as decoration.

    Age

    Oodine have roughly the same lifespan as humans, ranging to about 100 years. However, there is one major difference between Oodine aging and human, the Oodine reach adulthood at a much younger age. After all, there's no sense in making a race of laborers if you have to wait two decades for them to be useful. They reach adulthood at ten years of age and remain in prime physical shape well into their seventies.

    Relations

    Due to the Oodine's relatively easy-going and anti-confrontational nature, they have little issues with other races. They are, however, greatly distrustful of most any surface dwellers. They don't often deal with surfacers, preferring to keep to themselves. They are always polite when it comes to trading and dealing with others, but rarely all the way trusting.

    Due to their history, a lot of other races look down on the Oodine as cowards and some treat them with active disrespect. Alfs in particular tend to look down on them, some considering them barely real people given it was their ancestors that created them.

    Acceptance

    The Oodine are by and large non-confrontational and very easy-going. They accept pretty much everyone, but rarely trust any surfacers fully.

    Prejudices

    They don't have many. They distrust almost all surfacers, especially those that are stranger to them. They aren't rude about their distrust, but the fact of the matter is that while they might be smiling at you, they're keeping a close on you and are unlikely to get involved with anything you're doing unless they absolutely have to.

    Half-Race Interactions

    The Oodine have a long history of interbreeding with aquatic humanoids, so they are by and large fine with half-race children. However, this being said, while they'd never kick out a child that is half-Oodine and half-surfacer, most of them would not know how to handle that child. If the child could even survive underneath the waves, it would take a great deal of work for the child to be fully trusted.

    Lands

    While the Oodine once called the same land as the Alfnari home, that time was so long ago that the city's name is barely remembered. They've lived in Rivos, deep below the surface of Merus' waves for generations.

    Rivos once had numerous Alfnari artifacts and much of their home-land was decorated in the same manner as their ancient oppressors' home. Over time, though, those remnants were either all given to the Mages or simply degraded. Merus' depths were not kind to the Alfnari's at one-time grand architecture and much fell to ruin. The Oodine had to rebuild their city with materials they could find in Merus' depths.

    Now their city is a wonder of coral that they've helped to grow into buildings with shells and volcanic rock to add support and decoration. They've even bred a specific type of coral that glows to provide light for themselves in Merus' depths. It is an amazing sight to behold, and one that surfacers are unlikely to ever catch glimpse of.

    Even if a surfacer was able to travel to Merus' depths and reach Rivos, the city itself is quite protected by the ocean's natural defenses. It is a dangerous journey, even for those that know the ocean well and one that borders on the impossible for those that are unused to underwater threats.

    Where They Can Be Found

    The Oodine prefer to stay at home in Merus' depths or venture just to its surrounding shore. Those that do stray any further than Merus' shore tend to be traders or quite odd among their own people, though the desire for travel is beginning to grow, especially among the Oodine young. Those that do travel from Merus' shore might travel anywhere, but they do tend to find comfort in cities or towns that are near water. You are unlikely to ever find any Oodine in a desert area.

    Religion

    The Alfnari never bothered to teach the Oodine their religion, so the Oodine were allowed to find their own. What they came to believe in was Merus. Merus was their lives, their comfort, and eventually their home. It is no surprise that the only deity they believe in is their beloved Merus.

    Merus is the ocean they live in and the god/ess they worship. They believe that the Merus ocean is their god, but only one way that their god manifests. They believe that their deity can choose to manifest in whatever form they so wish to. After all, Merus is the water and water is ever-changing, so why should their god display themselves in the same manner all the time? Merus does have some shapes they tend towards, though.

    Merus' manifestations are always different, but their favorite is an androgynous looking Oodine. They also often manifest as an Oodine woman or as an Oodine man. Depending on Merus' message, their manifestation differs drastically from a comforting image to warlike. The only guaranteed similarity between Merus' manifestations is that this symbol: displayed on their forehead. All of Merus' dedicated followers have this symbol tattooed somewhere on their body, though never on the forehead.

    The Oodine treat their ocean with a great respect, viewing it as an extension of their god and they view their god/ocean as an almost parental figure. After all, their god is their home so every Oodine has a deep connection to Merus. They interchange gender pronouns for Merus when they talk about her/him. While they celebrate Merus and dedicate a great deal of beautiful dances, songs, and others works of art to her/him, they also know that Merus can be quite unforgiving and cruel. They view Merus as a contradiction that completes itself, one that protects and endangers them, one that loves and cares not for them, one that is both good and bad.

    Most Oodine choose to follow Merus as this contradictory being, but others choose to dedicate themselves to specific facets of Merus, such as Merus' cruelty and destructive abilities, or Merus' ability to provide shelter and life for those that live in its comforting depths.

    In short, the Oodine worship Merus alone, but they are many ways to worship such a contradictory god.

    Language

    The Oodine tend to have issues with languages. They are perfectly capable of speaking, but due to spending most of their lives underwater, words are more foreign to them than most. At home they communicate via singing, but almost all of them are taught at least a little bit of the common tongue, in case they ever find themselves in need of communicating with a surfacer. Their accent is a little odd and they tend to speak stiltingly but with a lilting accent. They also tend towards either very loud speaking voices or very quiet ones when they first start traveling, due to the sound differences between below surface and above. You can usually tell how long an Oodine has been traveling by how close to a normal speaking volume they speak with.

    When it comes to the written word, the Oodine are rather advanced. Many of them are experts at reading ancient texts and most are quite adept when it comes to picking up any written language quickly. Their own writing is a mixture of old Alfnari and picture symbols that have evolved into a language unique in and of itself and is quite difficult for a non-native to ever fully understand. Many of their words look very similar to each other and it is only by feeling the letters that a true understanding of them can be had.

    They are perfectly capable of writing underwater, using an oil based ink that they derive from animal fat and seal coal to write with and slabs of coral or treated animal skin to write on. These are only for temporary messages though and most of their permanent written works are engraved in someway, which means that most of the Oodine written language is meant to be felt. The way each word is shaped changes its meaning and connotation, the same word engraved in different ways can change it from a compliment to an insult to an implied threat. It is almost impossible to learn the Oodine written word unless trained in it from a very young age.

    Government

    The Oodine are largely democratic, though they pay great respect to their religious leaders. They're ruled by a congress that they vote into being every three years. The congress is 19 strong so they can never have a dead-lock and the populace can call for a re-election at any time through various means. Due to Oodine's easy-going nature, they rarely have any real need for laws or lawmakers and most disputes are handled between families or with the help of a respected community member. The religious leaders and followers often act as their advisors and can be on the congress is they choose to run for it. Why they have no issue with religion and government intermingling and near every Oodine has a deep connection with Merus, they do not follow religious leaders as if they were political leaders. Instead they do not mind overlap and give great respect to both religious and political leaders, but while there is great intermingling, there is also separation.

    Society

    The Oodine society is a very home-centered one. They hold their people (which they consider to be almost all underwater humanoids at this point, due to great intermingling between the races) in a high regard and show great hospitality to any underwater dweller that comes to them. They're happy to help strangers, going so far as to even allowing them to stay in their home for a time. They don't have a monetary system in the strictest regards, but instead prefer to barter. However, while there isn't a strict monetary system, they do tend to trade favors as money. In other words, if someone is highly respected in the community, many people would owe them favors and either work for that person to pay that favor off or give them gifts to pay off that debt. That's why the wealthier Oodine have more material possessions and often of higher quality and rarer materials than most. They do understand money, though, and know to scavenge some together for when they travel to the surface.

    They also treat the ocean with great respect and do their best to never pollute it. To them, polluting the ocean is blasphemy, because Merus the ocean is an extension of Merus their god. It is one of the few things that will push them to violence, and even then, not always.
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