Ilborn is a generic term given to somebody who is afflicted with a maladus, which is a lifelong condition or disease. Many maladus are purely superficial, while some distinctly and negatively affect the health of the person, and can reduce or shorten their lifespan. While maladus are very rare, many of them band together with those who suffer the same condition, giving the appearance that the maladus is more common than it actually is, if one were to come across one of these communities. No maladus are hereditary, though some cultures may selectively breed to increase the likelihood of a certain maladus being present, and many maladus seem prevalent in certain geographical areas. For traits which are hereditary, see Heredity.
Ildemin are possibly the most despised humanoid "race" throughout Riiga. Their origins are unknown, they can be born to almost any non-ildemin at any time, and they are distinguishable by their animal-derived addition to their bodies, which varies from person to person, such as parts from dogs, cats, snakes, birds, lizards, and so on. They are sometimes called illmen and are widely considered to be curses, and they are all sterile.
Also known as hroda (ash-like), saarha (grey one), or irenen (iron one). Similar to ildemin, the origins of ashen are not known and they can be born to non-ashen. They have greyish skin and reddish hair but it seems to have no other effect on their health, though some say they do are unaffected by the cold. They can be born to otherwise healthy people -- or to other ashen -- of the people who live around the Durdundus and Great Opal mountain ranges. The great clans of Batur tend to reject ashen from their societies, so the ashen are left to form smaller clans together.
Also known as duorintan (made of jewels), sartae (gold-ified), or goldskin. Though undetectable at birth, those who are goldflaked develop flakes of a tough, scaly, shimmering gold scales on the convex extremities of their bodies, such as the forehead, cheeks, shoulders, and the nape. Exposure to sunlight seems to speed up the growth of these flakes. Despite being referred to as flakes or scales, they actually are very hard to remove, though prolonged friction (such as the rubbing of clothing) can wear down these patches. And despite being referred to as gold and looking like gold, once removed, the flakes are very thin, translucent, and nowhere near as valuable as gold. Regardless, some parts of Temanea use these flakes in old medicine, making goldflakes sought after. They are mostly born in Temanea, in or near the Golden Basin, and they are known to have poor hearing, but do not need as much sleep as others.
Gigantes (plural), gigas (singular), or giants, are people of extraordinary height, and is one of the most common maladus, though extreme occurrences are only found among people of more pure Harnu, Hadakri, Ashkri, or Into descent. These people are known to be as tall as 274cms (9 feet) in height. Such people are highly prized in the Oolu slave trade. While there are stories of many great fighters who are also gigantes, it seems equally likely that a gigas will suffer from severe headaches, problems with joints and sleeping, and poor eyesight, making a healthy gigas all the more valuable to slavers. In Suribia, gigantes are associated with the ancient warriors and mighty tlars of Into, and are commonly the villains in Remdorian and Vaman stories of old. It is said that some gigantes never stop growing.
Pygmies and Dwarfs
Pygmies or dwarfs are people of unusually short stature. While very similar, the words are used to describe slightly different people. Pygmies are generally below 150cms (5 feet) in height, tend to live in very small, remote tribal groups in Windas, and on the islands around the Grave Sea. Despite their size, pygmy people seem otherwise healthy. Dwarfs, on the other hand, are visually distinct: their limbs are disproportionately shorter than the torso, the skull is larger, and the spine is more curved. Dwarfism is known to occur almost everywhere in Riiga, though the fates of dwarfs vary wildly, ranging from being seen as curses, demons, or potential slaves, to being regarded as sacred, magical, or genius.
Albinism is the only maladus in Riiga known to affect both humans and animals. In humans, albinism is identifiable by extreme paleness of the hair and skin, and eyes that tend to either be reddish or pale. Albinos are known to be sensitive to sunlight, and are much more likely to lose their vision. As with dwarfs, albinos are regarded in a wide variety of ways depending on the culture they are born in.
Also known as woodskins, husken are born with reddish areas of skin on random parts of their body. It tends to occur almost exclusively in Armalia, especially to those of Yyele descent. Within a year, these patches have grown and formed hardened scales very similar to tree bark. To the unprepared, a husken can die in their early age, but sometimes the condition is embraced and "tamed" and the patches are guided, shifted, and cultivated to certain parts of the body. This process is called carapacing and is mostly practiced in central-north Armalia. If done correctly, carapacing can leave the person with a sort of natural armour, and can have little impact on the person's ability to express and articulate the affected parts of their body. Removing the material is also sometimes an option, but this is a very painful process and usually exposes muscle, bone, and tissue. Despite this, husken are sometimes hunted for their material, which gets used for medicinal or spiritual purposes.
Also known as werewolves or lycanthropes, gruitin are born with an unusual amount of hair and crying loudly and frequently, with these cries often said to resemble the cries of an animal. As the child grows, it shows an aversion to walking on two legs, instead preferring to get about on all fours. They never show any ability to speak, seem to be of low intelligence, and will only eat raw meat. The child becomes more and more like a wolf as it gets older in both appearance and behaviour, and most gruitin are either killed in mercy or escape to the wild. Adult gruitin are mangy, hunched, wild, fur-covered people and are mad, spiteful, dangerous beings that will go so far as to dig up freshly buried corpses for a chance to eat humans. There are tales of some gruitin learning to walk and even run on two legs while wielding weapons, and other tales that say getting bitten by a gruitin will turn one into a gruitin, but these tales are old and not regarded as factual.