The Karithians are a very strong hybrid race. It is not clear what animal they draw their features from, though many think they are simply cruxgoat-men. They also somewhat resemble bison or buffaloes, though they do naturally grow armoured plates over their bodies. Almost all Karithians wear lots of large robes -- usually tattered and frayed from their lifestyle -- despite the constant heat. They fight with clubs, axes, and bows, much like Cullashin do. They are an aggressive race but their territoriality and lack of ability to survive in other climates forces them to remain within their own desert in central-eastern Baracsa. They are often hunched over and they walk in a sort of shuffle. Despite this, they can charge and it's never wise to stand in the way.
All Karithians have horns which come in many shapes and sizes, including straight long horns, spiraled, curved, jagged, rough, and more. It is not uncommon for Karithians to have more than two horns, even up to six horns. Females more often than not have only two horns, which are usually short. It is rare to have a female Karithian with four horns and is not known whether they are capable of six. Though Karithians can use their horns in battle, most do not, possibly because it is a great shame to break one's horns. A Karithian warrior that has lost all his or her horns, however, often seems to be a tactician, advisor, or shaman. Some Karithians tend to their horns often, strengthening them by unknown means. These ones are distinguished by their bands of metal around their large horns, and are feared in battle.
Culture and Land
Direct communication with Karithians is rare. They are very vicious towards other races and every attempt at drawing information from them has been unsuccessful. It is estimated that Karithians were created by an Odanon known as Yorguvim, more commonly spelt as Jaugevim. This figure is also their immortal leader and he resides in their legendary city of Kvoch Natkun somewhere in Yrtkuam. They have numerous stone towns and cities scattered throughout this area of the desert, and those who have seen them say that the Karithian lifestyle revolves around two things -- protection of their land, and trading resources with one another. It is thought that they have been like this since they were born, protecting their way of life and trading to sustain their small but powerful culture.
The land of the Karithians is known as Yrtkuam, and sometimes the term Yrtkuam is also used to refer to Karithians. The western end of this harsh desert is marked by the Dead Mountains, and the eastern end by the Glasslands. The southern border is where the Hmou Plains begins and the northern border is the start of the red Simbean Desert, though even this region is far beyond the borders of Simbea itself. Cruxgoats or karathas are also native to this area, giant desert goats with between four and six horns. They seem to live alongside the Karithians as their primary form of livestock.
Karithians have been living in Yrtkuam for as far back as history goes. They emerge on a consistent basis to raid surrounding civilisations before retreating back into Yrtkuam. They attacked around 1400BD in the Age of the Sun, forcing Sur Vastin northward into Umberia; they attacked around 700BD in the Grey Era, forcing the growing Xilou Empire to develop military formations, plate armour, and swords; they attacked in 350AL, razing the Xilou Empire's capital and prompting their downfall; and they have been emerging in the past few decades, attacking the nearby Eber Empire.
Despite their reputation as hostile, relentless, beast-like monstrosities, Karithians have fine glass artworks, the likes of which humans are yet to match in quality and beauty. It is believed that glass naturally forms in the Glasslands in various colours (including crimson, bright blue, olive green, dark purple, pale gold, sea green, and even iridescent glass) and arrangements. Aside from using the naturally forming glass, they make their own out of the materials in the same area, crafting the glass into beads, spear and arrow heads, cups and amphora, vases and vessels, many ritual and shaman-related objects, teeth, daggers, eyes, ingots, and sometimes false horn tips to replace missing ends of horns. Though they don't trade their glass with anybody else, they make for extremely valuable finds in the surrounding deserts and many foolhardy adventurers go out and search for such relics, despite the likely possibility of being found and killed by Karithians.
Karithians also use shamans in battle as another fighting style. Shamans are endowed with magical abilities called jaratk and they carry bones and feathers on sticks. Upon shaking their staffs almost any enemy could find him or herself in dire danger. It is said that Jaugevim is the source of this magic; the creator of it, the one who makes it possible to do these things.
Though little is known about Karithian culture, it is known that Karithians have a certain rank among them, dubbed by humans as shamans, but called jaratkn by Karithians. Jaratkn use something called jaratk, an ability much like magic but entirely different to the things Carson studied. Indeed, jaratk is said to come from Jaugevim, the leader of the Karithians, and magic is believed to come from undying channels of elemental power. Though both are referred to as magic, jaratk is, in fact, not properly called so.
Certain brave and clever individuals over history have taken it upon themselves to discover more about jaratk -- partly to enable humans to better handle shamans, and partly because it is simply intriguing to them. Several things have been determined as jaratk fundamentals, such as below:
All jaratk works on a scale from zero (natural) to either negative or positive
For example, living flesh in its natural state is 0. If there is a rash upon the skin, the scale may descend to -5. When the skin is punctured, its state will descend to -10. If there is a gash, -15. A fatal blow may push the scale below -100. It can be guessed that forcing something into its negative state causes damage and forcing it into its positive state encourages healing. If, for example, natural flesh is cured, its properties will simply continue to amplify; it may become callous, tough, almost like armour, and the hair will grow longer and thicker, etc.
The scale only moves up or down and does not disappear entirely
One would think removing a limb knocks the scale off altogether, yet it has been claimed that Karithians can regrow limbs, implying that scales cannot be removed and only go up and down. To restore the limb to its natural state, it only needs to be cured until it reaches 0 again.
Limits on the scale are set by the shaman's capacity and state of the target
It is believed that not every shaman can use every jaratk. People have witnessed shamans attempting to mend themselves and failing, likely due to a lack of jaratk. This could also mean that it causes fatigue, thus imposing another limit to using jaratk. It is not known what would happen if an object was simply to continue to be destroyed, even once it had been "destroyed" in all perceivable manner.
The jaratk of the shamans, told by numerous witnesses, with a brief description.
- Growth -- positive: heal flesh, repair inanimate objects / negative: wound, disintegrate inanimate objects.
- Infect -- positive: remove disease or illness / negative: invoke disease or illness.
- Heat -- positive: increase temperature / negative: decrease temperature.
- Eyes -- positive: heighten sensitivity / negative: decrease sensitivity.
- Bind -- positive: make objects stick together / negative: make objects repel one another.
- Nutrients -- positive: add nutrients to target / negative: drain nutrients from target.
- Move -- positive: force object to move / negative: force object to remain still.
- Ears -- positive: heighten sensitivity / negative: decrease sensitivity.
- Light -- positive: brighten / negative: darken.
- Shield -- (unknown; possibly a cleverly used move jaratk to repel the attacks from the target?)
- It's also been said that shamans have the ability to use "elemental" magic described by Carson
Most jaratk is its own cure; if a door is bound shut, it must be unbound (or destroyed) to be opened. If a person is blinded, sensitivity must be restored to their eyes. If one has been paralysed, one must be made allowed to move. In this way, it is difficult to counter shamans, as their kinds of magic seem to be beyond human capability. This makes shamans widely feared in battle.