Ottara are often considered to be uncommon or rare, depending on one’s location. Most Ottara are secretive by nature, avoiding the humans that had once nearly hunted them to extinction for their luxurious coats, but there are a few holts that have opened themselves up to trade with surrounding villages. It is extremely rare to find an Ottara working for man because they want to – most all employed or enslaved Ottara have been washed at some point in time or another. They typical prefer to be in groups and work as craftsfurrs and fisherfurrs. Few furr are as skilled at fishing as an Ottara and they pride themselves at their net weaving skills.
One will never find an Ottara far from a reliable, moving water source. Their livelihoods, magic, and physical build make moving inland nigh impossible. While generally shy of city life, Ottara are extremely social creatures by nature and many will stay in their birth holts their entire lives. Those who leave do so to find either a mate, their bonded, or work and they usually travel in groups. It isn’t all that unusual to find a vessel completely crewed with Ottara.
Physique & AppearanceEdit
The Ottara are a tall and lanky lot in general, but there are some key differences between sea and river Ottara. Sea Ottara tend to be taller and burlier than their shorter, thinner river counterparts. Due to their athletic and highly active lifestyles, an overweight Ottara is generally considered to be impossible by most. Ottara tend to be well toned from their active lifestyles and all possess webbed hands and feet, as well as a long, thick, rudder-like tail.
Ottara are only born with naturally coloured fur, though it can range between pale, dusty greys and dark, ochre browns. Their throats and bellies are usually lighter than the rest of their coats and few natural markings exist in these furrs. On occasion they are born with a solid coat or points. Despite this, Ottara are known for bright colours – namely the tattoos that they zealously decorate themselves with throughout their lifetimes. Their tattoos are like another language in and of themselves, broadcasting profession, birth holt, current holt, alliances, temperament, and so on. They are often extremely intricate and interwoven and thus far no other species can decipher them like an Ottara can, though the humans that sometimes trap them for slavery have often studied them in an attempt to understand. It is said that the art of tattooing originally began to “ruin” their coats for prospective furrers and then developed into something else entirely as time passed. Just as the tattoos often denote holts, accomplishments, and other vital information, they also are used to mark criminals and traitors. Those usually found in service to man, by their own free will or not, are branded as outcasts. The brand all depends on the severity of the individual’s crime.
Clothing is completely optional in Ottara society and only those who have been washed and indoctrinated into human society are ever embarrassed by nakedness. Ottara are excellent swimmers and clothing easily impedes their natural talents. They never, ever wear pants for this exact reason. Those who do choose to dress usually wear simple vests and tunics. They often coat their clothing in what they call “shellay,” which is a poultice made from the oil of a sea dwelling fish and the sap and bark of the cambaya tree that grows along the coastline. The mixture protects clothing from absorbing water, which makes it highly sought after by all holts. Ottara also usually decorate themselves with handcrafted trinkets of wood, metals, bone, and feathers.
Ottara temperament is as varied as any population and can range from friendly to gruff, but they have a reputation for having lots of energy, being sociable, and living in tight knit clans. One will almost never find an Ottara alone. Even those who leave the holt surround themselves with other furr or aershaa to combat loneliness. They are usually considered to be trustworthy and noble, in both daily life and on the battlefield, though they will not participate in violent fighting unless the livelihoods of their holt or their allies are at stake.
Hierarchy is usually established by age and experience and leaders are usually decided by the holt as a whole. They are typically also a very competitive lot and will participate in nearly any sport or athletic competition, be it with other species of furr or aershaa. They hold their own summer games for local holts and will often make a large celebration of it, partaking in food, ale, and fun. Young Ottara often use these games to find future mates and holts.
Society & DwellingsEdit
Ottara normally live in tight knit groups that they call holts. Their holts are large and often made up of a few different bloodlines, though numbers can vary. Though they speak the common tongue, they also tend to communicate through tattooing and long distance chirrups and squeaks when out fishing or hunting.
Offspring are usually raised by all members of the holt. Mothers will take watching the holt’s young in shifts and each member will teach the youngsters what they know. “Each creature you meet knows something you don’t” is an old saying amongst these furrs. This sort of communal rearing only further serves to tighten the bonds between holt members.
Their dwellings are normally none too complex. Many will take to living in caverns near running waterways, while others will build their holts by the shore out of wood, dried mud, and rope. The huts that they build are usually built on stilts and linked together via bridges made of rope and wooden planks. Many traditional Ottara continue to build their dwellings underground and will often excavate complicated tunnels deep beneath the drey, the entrances being hidden beneath the water.
Culture & ReligionEdit
Ottara have worshipped Draiah for as long as any creature can remember. She is as woven into their lives as the water is and most holts worship her fervently. They will often feast in her honor and make efforts to treat her with respect, only taking and using what they need and leaving footprints in their wake. Mother Draiah lets them live on her back, after all, and brought them all into being.
They also worship a minor goddess known predominately to their own kind. It has been said that when man hunted the Ottara to near extinction, Draiah handpicked one young mother to lead them all to safety. It was young Glenna’ri who insisted they start living below ground to make it that much more difficult for man to find them. It was she who started staining their fur and tattooing their bodies. She was crafty and wise beyond her years and all Ottara love and reverie her and she lived well into her nineties – old and grizzled, yet spry and active until the day Draiah called her home. Those who can trace their lineage back to her are considered to be of strong blood and it isn’t unusual for many to wish to take her offspring as their mates. Despite favoritism towards her bloodline, Ottara all consider themselves her children and thus often call themselves the Glenna’ri or the children of Glenna’ri in her honor.
They are also a rather supersticious bunch. Nearly all Ottara are born with water magics, but only few are naturally psy mages. Those who are tend to be holt shaman and will often dabble in fortunetelling and parlour tricks during summer festivities, but are generally highly regarded despite the holt they hail from.
Ottara tend to stick to Standard Dreyullian, but with a bit of a twist. They tend to adopt their birth-holt’s name as part of their title and holt names tend to be tribal in nature and consist of two parts. Thus, should an Ottara named Kaieela be born to the holt Oakhaven, she would call herself Kaieel of Oakhaven or simply Kaieel Oakhaven. Should she join her mate’s holt, Greenbarrow, her children would carry the Greenbarrow name. So on and so forth.
Outcasts are technically supposed to give up their holt name as part of their punishment, though some still cling to it as though it is a lifeline, many in hopes of being once again accepted home.
Growth & AgingEdit
Ottara are considered children until twelve years of age and adults at the age of twenty. They grow much like human children in speed save for one significant detail – Ottara are born knowing how to swim. It is in their blood and their baby fur helps to keep them afloat until it is shed and adult fur is grown in.
Ottara tend to start thinking about finding a mate around the age of seventeen or so, but are not permitted to do so until the summer of their twentieth year. During the summer festivities, available males and females will compete for each other’s attention through sporting events and storytelling.
All nearly all Ottara are born with water magic of varying strength. They use it often and start training early in life, considering it Draiah’s blessing to them all. Those who are born without a lick of magic to speak of aren’t exactly shunned, but they are often overlooked and it is rarer still for them to ever take a mate. Likewise, it is uncommon for an Ottara to be naturally skilled as a psy-mage , but not unheard of. Those who are “touched by Draiah” are highly sought after. They tend to be reared as healers and shaman within the holts, but are usually treated with caution. It is thought that they know and see too much and it is also rare for them to take a mate, simply because people tend to fear what they cannot completely understand.