“ The land does not belong to you, it does not belong to us; it cannot be owned. Ki’Mara belongs only to itself, and it will show no mercy to those who forget. We remain its greatest allies and sole protectors because we have remembered, always.”
-Siennah Hakan, Tribal Chief
The Ecferus are an extremely populous group, second only to Amarans, as far as most of their sages know. The truth of their numbers is somewhat obfuscated as many tribes have isolated themselves, and are utterly unaware of the ever-growing population of Humans, Pallidus, and Balicai settling in their homeland. Those who are aware have had a mixed reaction to the newcomers, ranging from offers of alliance to savage violence. Most Ecferus practice a simple, tribal lifestyle based on the old ways of spirit worship that were once common to all peoples of Ki’Mara. Their ability to commune with the Meliae and the land itself is unparalleled, though even they fear what lives in the long untouched places. This fear and a desire to honor their tentative covenant with the dark continent have kept them from expanding or developing past their ancient ways… but long held traditions have been challenged by contact with new civilizations, and now the future of the Ecferus is uncertain.
Though recorded history begins with the Ecferus and Pallidus as separate, established civilizations with radically different physical features and cultural tendencies, the most ancient lore of the Ecferus sages suggests that both once belonged to a single Elven race, which was building cities long before human and dwarf antecedents had developed even a glimmer of sentience. At some point, the Ecferus, Pallidus, and perhaps other, long-forgotten strains emerged and became distinct. Whether it initially defined them or only later became an essential quality of the sub-species, the Ecferus were known for their intense mysticism and closeness to the spirits of the natural world. More than any of the other races shepherded by the primordial, dryadic beings known as the Grum, the Ecferus maintained a strong relationship with these enigmatic mentors until they disappeared during the Generations War.
About two thousand years ago, the human Kingdom of Acheron developed a dangerous, unnatural form of magic that devastated all living things wherever it was used. Though historically they had often been at odds, putting a stop to this “new magic” became a source of unified purpose between the Pallidus and Ecferus nations, an alliance which led to the bloody conflict now remembered as the Generations War. Though they were superior to the humans in almost every way, including numbers, training, and armament, the great and terrible power of the Acherian magic brought swift defeat to Elven opposition at every turn. The final battle was waged in the forgotten city of the Pallidus, but in the end the elven forces were brought to their knees. The two races sought to avoid extinction each in its own way; the Pallidus chose to surrender, becoming prisoners of war, and eventually slaves to the Humans, while the Ecferus fled into the deep forests of Ki’Mara, there to wait and to plan their revenge. The Ecferus who survived saw the Pallidus’ choice as the height of cowardice, and to this day have not forgiven them for it.
While the Ecferus were in hiding, one of the most mysterious and controversial events in their history took place; the Trolls appeared and brought their strength to bear against the humans. Although where the Trolls came from is unknown even to the wisest of Ecferus sages, their loyalty to the elven cause seemed unquestionable. With their natural immunity to magical effects, the Trolls made short work of every Acherian force they encountered. Reliant on a weapon that was useless against this new foe, the humans were forced to retreat again and again, until Ecferus and Trolls forced them from the shores of Ki’Mara. For a few short weeks, a tenuous peace settled over the continent, but darkness followed fast- the trolls began to turn on each other in a protracted, devastating struggle, with the Ecferus attempting with fruitless desperation to keep the peace. As the years went on, the Trolls seemed to lose their grasp on sentience and sanity, eventually becoming wild beasts of extraordinary violence and cruelty.
While long lived, the trolls were unable to reproduce, and so within a century or so, their reign of terror was over. They left Ki’Mara an utterly devastated land, with the handful of remaining Ecferus scattered to the winds, long having lost all sense of civilization in favor of simple survival. This regression, coupled with the devastation to local flora and fauna that was caused by the use of Acherian magic during the Generations War, kept the Ecferus from rebuilding their once great nation. Over the centuries, several tribes were established, but remained small and had little contact between them- eventually developing into radically different cultures. A century ago, their ancient Human enemies returned, bringing the still-enslaved Pallidus with them. The first tribe to come in contact with these “Amarans” was wiped out, but not without significant human losses as well. This brief conflict was followed by an immediate, if somewhat tentative peace between several tribes and the Amaran Empire- an agreement called the Stonebridge Treaty. Some Ecferus believe the return of humans to Ki’Mara is a boon, and will restore their dreams of advanced civilization, but most regard the resource-hungry Amarans with some measure of distrust, and a few tribes kill them on sight, often collecting their ears for trophies. The future of the Ecferus, just like the future of Ki’Mara itself, now hangs in a delicate balance.
Ecferus in the Caravan
As an Ecferus in the Caravan, you may have grown up in a small, isolated tribe, and still be deeply rooted in your people’s culture- or you may be from a tribe that has had long-standing contact with outsiders, and has even adopted some Amaran customs. You might have joined the expedition to prevent your people, or the land of Ki’Mara itself, from coming to harm at the hands of the imperialistic intentions of the Amaran Empire. The Caravan is well placed to discover uncontacted tribes, and so you may be there in order to help them rejoin a larger Ecferus community, or perhaps to keep them from waging war against the perceived threat of human presence. Alternately, the political and cultural issues faced by your people may be of no consequence to you; the colonial frontier is a place where any enterprising spirit has an opportunity to achieve fame, fortune, and great discovery, so the reason for your presence may be entirely personal in nature.
It is important to define your relationship with the potential future of your people, as the choices made by the Caravan will inevitably affect it. Do you wish to see the tribes unified and restored to the large-scale civilization of their past, or do you believe such efforts are hubristic, and will only lead to another catastrophe? Is their tribal spirit-worship a relic of the past better done away with, or the sacred key to survival and prosperity in the living wilderness of Ki’Mara? Should the advanced technology of Humans and Dwarves be shunned, or embraced? Can peace be made with the Pallidus, or can their ancient betrayal never be forgiven? Knowing your answer to these questions, even if the only answer is uncertainty or apathy, will help define your role in the Caravan.
Role-Play and Costuming
“They’re all uncivilized
Many Ecferus live in a primeval hunter-gatherer state, and practice an ancient form of spirit worship that appears to outsiders as primitive, even savage. Very little structure exists to protect them from each other, as many live and die by the laws of the wild alone.
"They wear what they kill."
Their clothing is largely made up of rough-cut leather and furs, with minimal tailoring or decoration. Some also wear elaborate, feathered headdresses. Many Ecferus sport tattoos made with ink found inside the giant squid, hunted in Brighton Bay and the Tengu-Anga river.
“They care more about trees than
Relations with Other Races
- Amarans: “They may have changed
their name, but we are not fooled; these are the same humans who long ago
devastated our sacred land so utterly that it has still not recovered. Now they
have come to reclaim their ill-gotten land… but this time, the land is fighting
back- and justly so.”
- Arachnis: “They came from nowhere,
building their hives and webbed cities far from our lands, and appearing to us
only after the Amaran arrival. While they seem to possess the proper respect
for the Meliae, their true purpose remains shrouded in mystery.”
- Balicai: “Like us, they are a
spiritual people have been utterly devastated by human ambition. They have been
our voices in the halls of Parliament when we had none of our own. In them, we
see an unlikely ally, but one who may be unequaled in their ferocious devotion
to justice for Ki’Mara”.
- Dwarves: “We mourn the terrible fate that has imprisoned them within their iron cages, but perhaps it is a fitting punishment for hiding when they should have stood and fought at our side. Their technology is surely impressive, but in the end, it has brought them nothing but ruin.”
- Harena: “Far more enlightened than
their other Human counterparts, they have shown time and time again that they
possess stronger principles than most. For all their wisdom, they have been
marginalized almost as badly as the Balicai; we would seek to follow their
example while avoiding their fate.”
- Odun: “A strange people, they have
been hardened by the bitter cruelty of the sea, and so set themselves apart
from all races, human or otherwise. They are to their waters what we are to our
land, and perhaps in this resemblance we can find kinship with these wayward
- Pallidus: “No event in our
history has equaled the betrayal and humiliation felt when our closest kin
chose to kneel in servitude instead of standing for freedom- and this choice
continues to define them. For all the dark ambition of mankind, we trust these
slaves even less than the masters.”