Ildemin are possibly the most despised peaceful race on Riiga. Nobody knows where they came from originally. They are distinguishable by some sort of animalistic addition to their body, yet they still try to continuously fit in to human societies. They are commonly called illman or illmen, with "ill" referring to their impure or inhuman appearance. This term is purely derogatory. Some think the term "Ildemin" actually derives from "ill demon".
Though generally culturally diverse and chaotic, Ildemin share common beliefs concerning their own metanarrative and deities. The Ildemin openly speak about the superiority of the one high god without acknowledging the contributions or even existence of any variations of Nikina or Garukavar. Any significant gatherings of Ildemin share a belief system known as Feliss, passed down through Ildemin societies, with some variation from land to land. It is not known how Feliss started. Ildemin believe in a single high beast spirit known as Enfelen. He is known to maintain divine balance in the world by means of 'tilting the scales'. This can take the form of birth or death, and so Enfelen is treated with great respect for fear of disrespecting his great power.
Below Enfelen is Leveni, the beast spirit of passion. She is associated with love, beauty, and life, as well as with sacredness and divinity. She is a mother figure to the Ildemin, believed to look out for all who follow her lifestyle. Enfelen's spouse is Enkiden, the hunting beast. He is associated with physical power and great fighting prowess, as well as with good health, food, and wellbeing. He is celebrated with feasts and good hunting, and is worshipped more by the primitive Ildemin as opposed to those living in town and cities.
The next beast spirits down are Kemenkin, Meseter, and Rekeni. Kemenkin is the peaceful beast. He represents endurance, eternity, restfulness, and peace. Meseter is the storm beast. He is associated with independence, anger, light, and vigour. Rekeni is the mystic beast. He is associated with grandeur, logic, science, and confidence. Rekeni is seen as a very righteous divine beast, who battles always for the greater good. As Rekeni opposes The Empire in all religions who acknowledge him, he is one of the most popular divine beasts to the Ildemin in South Ideitess.
Below those four are Mefeni, Rek, Biribel, and Erest. Rek is the dreaming beast. She is associated with family, hope, and dreams, and is often seen as loved by all and hated by none. Biribel is known as the rebellious beast. Due to the oppressive history of Ildemin, Biribel's actions of rebelling against the dark beasts is glorified and is often shared as an inspirational story of rising against opposition. He is also known as the father of willpower, bargaining, and victory, and is believed to bring good fortune. Erest is the nomad beast. He is associated with change, movement, and soulfulness. He is also connected with good fortune, chance, and spontaneity. Mefeni is the kind beast. She is associated with helpfulness, humility, serving, kindness, and mercy. Ildemin believe that when they die, they meet with Mefeni, and she has mercy on those who ask for it, and their beast spirit within may pass on to "eternal grazing", which is seen as a kind of endless state of pleasant restfulness.
Nobody knows exactly where Ildemin came from. They have no real history, no leader, and no area which they dominate. They are often considered to be "mistakes", or twisted byproducts of humans mating with other hybrid species, such as Gruitin and Sirins. What is unusual, though, is that Ildemin can not only be part wolf or dog, but can be part cat, snake, bird, lizard... almost any animal which is generally smaller than a human being. This isn't to say that the Ildemin's parents were a human and an animal. On the contrary, all Ildemin have wholly human parents. It is generally as inexplicable as a person born with a missing finger, but because it is an extreme far beyond the norm, Ildemin are often rejected for being so drastically different.
Most of the time, Ildemin babies or young are given to or picked up by travelling groups of Ildemin who wander from town to town in groups of a several caravans. These are most common in places like Benevis and Temanea. Sometimes Ildemin similarly form gangs instead of joining nomadic communities. In Yvatshun, they are sometimes given over to nature either through sacrifice or by abandoning the child, as it is believed they don't belong in society. Sometimes, given enough motivation, someone may also dispose of an Ildemin child, especially if the animal feature would seem to be too much of a burden.
Public opinion is often negative toward Ildemin for various reasons: The animal feature is more likely to be disadvantageous than advantageous, making Ildemin a general burden to their family; Ildemin body parts are sometimes sought after for various purposes, or Ildemin themselves may make unique slaves; some Ildemin -- sometimes rightfully -- turn to criminal activity to survive and/or get back at greater society, but this often casts more negative light on them as a whole; giving birth and then finding out that your baby has a random animal part attached is understandably a traumatic experience for everyone involved; any Ildemin born into esteemed or reputable families will likely not want a child who can't continue the family lineage -- as Ildemin are sterile -- or could be interpreted in any way undesirable.
Appearance and Nature
The majority of Ildemin stick together, supporting one another in a subtle way, as they also tend to live in or near civilised human areas in hidden regions of towns. This is mostly because Ildemin are often physically handicapped due to the minimum of one animal part which they grow on their body, and normal humans are all quite capable and strong people who take all the resources they like. It is easier for Ildemin to live in small groups with other humans than to try and survive on their own.
The aforementioned animal features of an Ildemin can be rare, or they can be subtle, but they are almost always a hindrance, because at the very least, it gives away their "imperfect" blood and is usually a just cause for mistreatment by a human. The animal part is usually a tail, ears, nose, whiskers, teeth, or claws, but can sometimes be fur, scales, or a more animal-like appendages altogether. These features are what make an Ildemin. Because they usually have only a single animal feature, they can rarely be mistaken for other hybrid races.
There is occasionally an upside to their animal feature. For instance, one born with the ears of a dog would gain acute hearing, or one born with the claws of a cat would never need to wield a knife in their life. There are no records of there being an Ildemin born with wings or more than two arms and two legs. Oddly, an Ildemin sometimes takes on characteristics of its animal, too. For example, one with a bull's tail might be unusually aggressive and strong, with a bulky body, or one with lizard claws might enjoy soaking up sunlight and may often seem indifferent, slow, and calm, like a reptile.