Getragen (Biata, Highblood, “Gryphon Touched”) Location: Cloud Empire, many cities and Imperial Houses. Year of Reckoning: Imperial System of Government: Socialist Empire, House Protectorate Historical Overview: The Cloud Empire, in one form or another, has existed for over 20,000 years and it once covered the whole continent, stretching from the southern coast thousands of miles away up to the mountains bordering the Glacier. History says that when the Maelstrom was first discovered that it was the size of a city, in the center of Maelstrom bay. A whirling mass of water, wind, lightning, and black mists that spun in the center of the water, with cyclone waves drawing ships in to their destruction. The Empire sent sages, scholars, and thousands of slaves(including dark elves, stone elves, and humans) to study the anomaly quickly constructing a port, Wolkestadt, from which they could send exploratory ships to the Maelstrom in an attempt to harness it’s power to fight their enemies on the seas. The One (a powerful order elemental who had declared a genocidal war on Getragen, and who had shattered the Gryphon’s Homestone of the First Dominion 1500 years prior which ultimately gave rise to the Getragen, “the Children of Gryphons”) was waging an elemental war against the citizens of the Dominion. At the time, Gryphons were enslaved and kept as beasts. It is speculated that the One was somehow able to magically trap the Getragen Clans in some form of slumber far in the south. Historians believe that the magical reverberations were what caused the Maelstrom to expand, destroying the town (and the entire surrounding area) in what became called the First Maelstrom Event. The Maelstrom cut the Getragen off from the shattered remains of their Homestone. The Getragan lost their claws and feathers and mental abilities, as well as around 500 years of their lifespan, and merely appeared as long lived humans with occasionally prophetic dreams and are considered “Gryphon Touched” or “Highblood” by other races Survivors worked to gather any slaves who escaped during the Maelstrom Event and rebuild a city calling it Wolkestadt, which became the capital. In hindsight, the Highbloods decided that when they were bound to their shattered Homestone that they had all been quite insane (the Homestone had been screaming in pain in their minds their entire lives for generations), and that being disconnected from it allowed them to more clearly focus. Gryphons, who had previously been monstrous slaves, were freed and allowed to participate in society Within a generation, the Gryphons establish themselves as kin to the Highbloods, like older, more powerful cousins, to protect and establish the burgeoning Empire. Historians consider the First Era to be the time of the Dominion. The expansion of the maelstrom trapping the scouting force in the region and the rebuilding is the beginning of the Second Era. About 14 years ago, the Highbloods all began sprouting feathers from their foreheads, some grew claws on one hand or another, and they developed mental powers similar to Gryphons - it is assumed that they will now have much longer lifespans, and that something must have happened to enact this change. The Highbloods began calling their people Getragen (or Biata) ever since the year of the change, calling back to their ancestral roots. Almost all Getragen within the Maelstrom live in the Cloud Empire where they enjoy all of the privileges of Citizenship, and their families can advance to any level. Celestial Magic: Celestial Magic cannot be learned by any Biata, and in fact, causes great discomfort and pain at higher level spells, or near powerful Celestial magic sources. Proximity to the Maelstrom causes pain, so it is theorized that some of the magical energy within is Celestial in nature. Getragen who are kept in Celestial circles of power or Wards/wizard locks, or carry celestial magic items, will have difficulty resisting and breaking commands, or using any mental powers, until they “normalize” by being outside of the area of effect for half the time that they spent in the area of effect. (RP only, skills are not impacted.) Getragen recognize the usefulness of these magics, however. Gryphons and Riders: The Gryphons of the Empire have recalled a time where there were a special breed of Biata who had strength and powers much greater than the their ilk, and that these individuals had unique and powerful mental connections to Gryphons. Since the great change a few years ago, they have been scouring the Empire to find any such individuals but thus far have not been successful. Mental Abilities: Kino, the Theater of the Mind. This is a recent Organization that is dedicated to studying and teaching the mental abilities. It was established by Gryphons, who have always had feathers, claws, and mental power. This Organization is open to all Biata and is quite popular, with small schools popping up in every major city in the Empire. Due to an incident centuries ago Gryphons do not go into the minds of Stone Elves. Sages suggest that there is some kind of incompatibility with their mental powers which drove a Gryphon irrevocably insane. Feather Colors: Biata feather color is based on the general consistent attitude of the individual, though they are not hereditary, certain colors may start out as hereditary and then change from the base color to show temperamental change. Changes to color take weeks and reflect the true personality of the biata, which of course can change over time. The colors match the function of the feather colors of the Gryphons. Rarely, hematite color (including the reflective nature and dark grey color) can occur. Those with Hematite colored feathers are blessed with a deeper awareness of mental abilities and powers. (OOG: This is an LCO effect, you must have plot approval to have these colors as feathers and must maintain a high number of racial skill point purchases.) Erinnerung- the Library of Memory: In the year 996 of the Third Era (5,004 years ago), the Empire expanded into what would become the city of Berghalten in the Sudenberg Mountains and constructed the Library of Memories, an inverted tower deep within the mountain itself. Rather than books, the library contains Hematite Shards. Gryphons are able to use their mental powers to record important memories on a shard of Hematite for the posterity of the Empire. Speeches of former Emperors, discussions on trade agreements, coronations, battle, pivotal moments in history are recorded in their every detail (from the perspective of the person making the memory). When the first memory keeper died (of old age) she was interred as per her wishes in the Erinnerung, she was known to always carry a personal piece of hematite, and when the stone was brought into the Library, the chips of Hematite began hovering, and then slowly spinning around the center of the floor (it was noted that they spun in the same direction of the Maelstrom). These memories are stored in the Erinnerung and can be accessed by a powerful mentalist who must mediate in the tower and call to the specific memory being sought, it will float to them, and they can put it in a hematite receptacle where any in psychic contact with the mentalist will experience the memory in vivid detail, even being able to interact with some parts of it. There are known to be a handful of other receptacles throughout the Empire including the Imperial Assembly Chamber. Life/Death: Humans, called Sapiens, and Highbloods, frequently intermingled and intermarried throughout the course of history of the Empire. There are many mixed families. Highbloods were just like humans, but with extended lifespans (approximately 750 years) and with a discomfort around, and an inability to learn, Celestial magic. During pregnancy, Highblood mothers used pieces of hematite and small bits of Gryphon blood (if able to obtain it) to “bless” the child in the hopes it would be born Highblood - this was especially common in families with high numbers of Sapiens (human) . Those born Highblood often had a handful of feathers mixed in with their hair which almost immediately molted. Since the change, Getragen children are born with these feathers and they stay mixed in with the child’s hair on the head, and eyebrows. Children are reared by servants in rich households, or one or the other parent in lesser families. The Empire pays for four years of child care. Children reach physical age of maturity by age 25 when they can hold jobs, join the military, and are generally considered adult by society. For Highbloods, at age 100, the young adult undergoes a ritual of Erwachsen. At this point, they are considered a full adult by the other Highbloods in the empire and can lead houses, marry, and own familial/House property. There is a dichotomy between Imperial Society and Highblood society due to the vast numbers of humans. Getragen under the age of 100 can excel in human run Houses. Ambitious members of the Getragen frequently are encouraged to go outside of their family house for the first 75 years (or join the military) but are always welcomed back, sometimes Human Houses have become Highblood houses because of this tradition. When a Highblood dies of old age or natural causes, it is a sad affair for their whole extended family. Most leave extensive and complicated wills detailing how things are to be handled when they die. Huge funerals are held, the higher the honor and wealth of the family, the more attendees are expected. When an Emperor passes, a weeklong funeral is held and any Imperial Citizen may come and pay respects. The Dead are interred on shelves or sarcophagi in barrows, in cave systems or artificially constructed catacombs, these are either owned by the family for very wealthy families, or are Imperial crypts for commoners. Customs: Each Biata has a personal code of honor, which is very important to the individual. Typically, families have very similar codes passed from generation to generation. Family feather colors typically influence what is and is not considered honorable. General tenets of a Code of Honor are: Loyalty, Elder Reverence, Purity, Dignity, Honesty, Integrity, Lawful Conduct, others may include Stoicism, Benevolence, Fundamental Respect, etc. Mating is done for life. As such, weddings are huge affairs, frequently lasting two days in larger families. Food, dancing, music, and drinking are done by all participants in the wedding for days, after which the couple is sequestered alone for a period of up to one month. The parents permissions are sought and often they have long negotiations prior to announcing engagements. The “Joining” is a tradition that has been common in the Empire since the beginning where a meditative bond is shared after consuming Gryphon Blood. In the years since the Highbloods became Getragen, this tradition now has a psychic component, and those Joining share a mental connection, sometimes having joint dreams and knowing what the other is thinking. The Joining has declined in popularity, and weddings have somewhat diminished since the change. Extended families are large, but individual family units are quite small. Typically there will be one child, and since adulthood is not fully acknowledged until one century, the family unit remains small. Most couples have between one and three children over the years. Families very frequently reuse deceased relative names. Familial last names are so important that when a couple marries, they must gain approval from the family whose name they wish to jointly use after the wedding. All children are given public formal education. Reading/writing, history, math, and other skills are taught. Higher forms of education can include military tactics, healing magic, and combat skills. Each City has an Institute which is publically funded. Military Service is very common, over half of the population spends a tour of duty in the military in some capacity. Tours last for five years, and as much as a century can go by before the commision expires and must be begun anew if that path is chosen, as such, many “military families” have a tradition of joining up every century to keep the commissions and rank active. There is a military academy in Berghalten for officer training. Fudge causes Biata to become intoxicated much as strong spirits do to humans. Chocolate has a similar but diminished effect. Bloodwine is made infused with the blood of Gryphons, it frequently causes Biata to have strong visions or trances touching some of the power of the Gryphon who donated the blood for the wine. It also causes a very fuzzy intoxication, can cause amnesia, and even death. Hematite Although there were stories from the days of the Dominion that Getragen could store their memories in hematite stones they carried with them and have the stone absorbed into a Homestone, they are only stories. There is no Homestone within the Maelstrom. Hematite itself exists, but is quite rare and the sources of it are directly controlled by the Imperial House. There are a few enchanted hematite items called “Mnemonic Observers.” Small chips and tiny pieces of hematite carried on a Getragen (or Gryphon Touched before the return of the Getregen) would capture small memories and could be re-experienced when combined with an Observer, but the chips could only hold small amounts of memories. There are very few Observers within the Empire as the secret to making them was lost after the First Maelstrom Event. All attempts to create another one have failed. Most (though not all) viewers are housed within Berghalten or the Imperial Palace and access to them is very strictly limited. Celebrations: Masquerade Balls are often held by socialites and elites, and the fashion is done among the less well off Getragen as well but they are far less extravagant. Generally, these are only held by Getragen but it is not unusual for other Imperial races to be invited to them. Masks and costumes are often bird of prey themed. A very common custom for the Empire’s celebrations are parades. Almost every Imperial day of celebration includes local or citywide parades. Each house and guild participates, as do some wealthy families. The parades are very colorful, often with floats, and even occasional Gryphons in their natural forms in flight or meandering slowly. Dyed bird feathers are often thrown as confetti both to and from the parade. Parades usually start and end with speeches and dedications. There are very few Getragen-only large scale celebrations. They generally follow the traditions of the Empire when it comes to these sorts of things. An exception is Feather Day - day that feathers grew celebrated exclusively by the Getragen via a parade and many fancy parties. Specifically, these are not Masquerade balls because the idea of the celebration is a de-masking of the human countenance for that of the Getragen. Many turn this into an excuse to wear garments that match their feather colors, with dyed bird feathers sewn into the garments, and woven into their hair. Attitudes towards other races: Humans - the backbone of the Empire! Humans are seen as the brawn/muscle of the Empire, while Biata are the brains/organizers. Stone Elves - Seen as the auditors and book keepers of the Empire. They are seen as loyal members of the Empire, but not to be engaged in personal arrangements. Dark Elves - mysterious and mistrusted universally. Very occasionally a dark elf will be born to a Getragen household, and these children are given to the Dark Elves, the children are never spoken of, and there is great shame among the biata for a birth such as this. Elves - The elves hate the Empire, so in turn, the Empire hates the elves. They are frivolous, and waste their long lives doing nothing of any importance. MWE - Generally not trusted, and seen to be “taking away” from the Empire. Many wish that they had never been included in the Empire and that they should leave. Dryad - Not generally known by the biata, many do not see them as people and think that they may be nature fairies, or elven spies. Ogre - Not much is known about them but they are respected for their honesty and dedication to protecting the earth. Orc - Orcs are sought in the Empire as guards, and mercenaries. The Orc nation of Orentis , however, is not trusted. Oathsworn - Despised as disorderly, disdained as foolish. Selunari - They are entertaining but not to be trusted. Wylderkin - Generally, they are considered barely above animals. Most Getragen feel that they were better taken care of as slaves and are not suited for self governance. Dwarves - Stalwart citizens of the Empire, they are honorable, trustworthy, and hardworking. Hoblings - It is a unique privilege to eat hobling food (though Biata are better at making fudge), many are shocked and angry that they left the Empire and think that this may be because they didn’t want to lose money on the slave trade.