Darks. Sadistic. Menacing. Cruel. Sunborn pups and furr children hear their name, and think of the nightmarish tales told to keep them well-behaved and obedient. They have been called body-snatchers and bloodthirsty, unforgiving tyrants who see no world beyond their perfect image of darkness. These, however, are just stories. Stories that speak truth, and stories that stretch it far beyond its boundaries. It is true that many Darks are seen as cruel, and that many Darks are vicious and heartless. However, there is far more to this deeply religious, self-searching, knowledge-and-power seeking breed of aershaa than simply their illusions, fangs, and claws.
Physique & AppearanceEdit
Darks are muscular like Waters, but insulted to be even slightly compared to them, taking pride in their slightly larger form and furred hide. They are built for landspeed over short distances; Darks can produce blinding attacks in close range with both fang and blade, and have an outstanding amount of stamina to attack and keep attacking, as well as running over great distances. Though they have stamina for distance, their blinding speed is lost to reserve energy for travel, reducing down to 15MPH - however, a pack of Darks could clear a quarter of a continental journey in merely a day's time on foot.
Darks are as darkly colored as their name, but also well-marked in most cases. Their markings are either patched or sharp, jagged, and specific, bearing tribals, runes, stripes, and other similar markings in far brighter colors than the base of their pelts, oftentimes bioluminescent. Where most aershaa use their bioluminescence to blend in to the lumivine that spreads throughout dreyrull, Darks will cloak their shine with either mud or illusion to hide in the shadows.
Darks have a darkly-colored basecoat with low to medium saturation. Only their markings are brightly colored, and occasionally their wings. Manes will typically be closer to pelt color than marking color.
Body & ManeEdit
While Dark axe-like tailblades are thick and only slightly flexible, the blades on their forelegs are highly flexible and slightly retractable, falling partially into a shallow cavity where the blade is embedded when not needed. The tailblade is utilized in a typical aershaa fashion, the long tail serving as a long, flexible handle to the weight of the blade as the body is spun to give it momentum. It is the arm blades that make Dark weapon usage so unique. Their massive wings and powerful back legs allow for tall leaps above and towards the backs of prey and enemies. The uniquely "fish-hooked" arm blades can then dig in and latch on to the flesh of the opponent, giving the Dark time to make the final blow with their unique, extra-long fangs.
Darks are heavy wing-beaters with a flight pattern much like the bats of Earth. The membrane of the wings runs all the way to the ankles of their legs, which are held together in flight. There is a very small, collapseable membrane between the thighs to keep them aloft, just large enough to assist, but not tight or obstructive enough to interfere with their swift movement.
Darks have what is commonly called illuminated eyes, an eye structure native to Dreyrull that makes the eyes appear pupiless. The bioluminescence within the core of the eye allows for sharper, brighter sight in dim, dark, and cloudy situations, making them particularly good at seeing at night. With this, Darks are primarily nocturnal.
The problem with illuminated eyes is a defect that can commonly occur within them. If they are born with too much bioluminescence within the reflective core of the eye, it can render them blind, or wash out the majority of their vision, like always trying to look through the glare of the morning sun.
A Dark's fangs are both a hindrance and a blessing. Like all aershaa, Darks speak the common tongue, but their large fangs, often in the way, interrupt several consonant sounds. S and v sounds most of all are turned into soft Fs, amongst other issues, depending on the length and setting of the individual's teeth. Another issue is their fragility. Dark fangs are often broken after puncturing the neck of prey, and can take up to 10 suns to regrow to their fullest. That is a positive note, however – no other aershaa breed has fang regrowth, and there is no aershaa with a bite as instantaneously deadly as a Dark's.
Darks have a common problem with retaining their thin, often mangled-looking manes. If they are not born without a mane altogether, 4 out of 10 Darks will lose their mane by their 3rd, 4th, or 5th cycle. In rarer cases, they will also lose the rest of their fur.
With Dark x Air mixes, the tailfeather gene will often cross with the genetic code for the leather wings, creating a sort of bone-structured tail fin. It is this unique mixture, amongst other things, that inspired mankind to start breeding the Storm.
The world calls Darks the cruelest of aerkind, and perhaps, at times, they are. But there is a further depth to their temperaments than just cruely; an undying will to follow their great laws and respective gods drives them forward through life unwavering. You can call them zealous, but a Dark will call themselves religious, or even spiritual, no matter the twisted and cruel things their god may ask of them.
No matter how gruff and tough a Dark tries to make his or herself sound, Darks do not handle the cold well at all. Their fur is thin, thickening only slightly in the winter seasons, and the skin beneath it is prone to both sun and windburn. Thus, Darks prefer areas with low-wind and little sun, such as dense forests and huddled close to the low bases of mountains.
Culture & ReligionEdit
Sing us the laws of the packsong,
As ancient and vast as His eye,
Run by them, and live eternal,
Run from them, and forever die.
At sunrise, sleep and be peaceful,
By moonlight, you run with the pack.
Strength of your heart from your tailblade,
Your bite can return what you lack.
The weak, the lost, and forsaken;
Those tainted by sunrise's glow,
Weep not, for they may awaken
If shown the true might that we know.
Magic is our greatest refuge,
Illusions paint truth in our lives,
Frightening foes here before us,
With blades that crash down from the skies.
Sing us the laws of the packsong,
In battle, in life, and in love,
Your blades will be long, your teeth will stay sharp,
With blessings from Great Khan above.
- "Packsong," the Law of the Darks.
Darks are highly religious, superstitious, and faithful to their ways. They are the greatest stronghold of the Safikhan religion that still stands in the world today, most Darks still following in Khan's path. They believe that worth is measured in one's physical strength, displayed for the sake of their faith or their pack, taking high value and pride in their skills with their blades, fangs, and magics. Khan is the very embodiment of the night sky, forever watching their actions with his two-moon eyes. Perhaps it is the fear of always being watched that drives them to be so faithful, or perhaps the stern upbringing of their fathers before them, but it can be certain that there are few in the world left without a mighty god to follow in the shadows of.
Death is an event to be celebrated to a Khan-loyal Dark, as the body has been cast away for the soul to return to run with Khan until needed once more on the Drey. A celebration is held on the spot of the fallen, one of dance, howlsong, and feasting, before the body is hoisted up to the highest point achievable to release its soul into the sky.
Darks, like Fires, tend to stick to their own breed, looking down their noses at mizpups as tainted and weaker. A mate of another breed truly has to prove his or herself to their Dark suitor to even be considered, in most cases.
Valued for their ferocity, Darks are used commonly as manor guardians and hunters, and are one of the most prized variety of Bladehunter. They are not to be found in houses with children, nor as simple companions except in the rarest of cases, and are only occasionally used for show. Dark showla tend to be dark-pelted with bright markings, with glossy coats and manes and finely-sharpened blades. This is one of the few cases where the maneless variety is acceptable in show, outside of purist circles, as Dark manes do not grow in thick or lush, and most often have a more scraggly, rough appearance, no matter the care given to them.
Darks use the Standard Dreyrullian naming system.
Growth & AgingEdit
Dark aershaa grow at the standard aershaa rate, covered here.
Darks are Illusionist Mages, but also share the Air's unique ability to utilize lightning with great amounts of difficulty. Typically, a Dark must be born with the inherent talent for lightning magic, otherwise they will not have this rare skill. Those who are skilled with lightning have a much weaker sense of Illusionist magic, if any at all.
Ostrydeo 23:12, August 28, 2012 (UTC)
Minor Edits: Candle at 17:21, Aug 6, 2013 (UTC)