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Guyari

Appearance

The guyari are forest spirits from the woodlands of Mala Batar, the Orcish homeland. They’re roughly the size of a human (though assemblage can make their size vary), and are made of bark, vines, leaves, moss – any organic, living material. Some have the dark, rough skin of an oak tree, and some the papery white skin of a birch. Though their features are humanoid, there’s also something of a deer in their appearance, especially in the face. The guyari’s rough assemblage of organic materials gives them a mish-mash look, some parts not quite fitting together logically. Each guyari looks a bit different. The only part of a guyari made from scratch is its eyes, which often are an animal-like yellow or gray.

If a guyari loses a limb, it simply assembles a new one from branches, vines, anything it finds. The same goes for holes in the body. The only way to truly kill a guyari is to remove the head. This ability to assemble itself also makes the guyari incredibly flexible, using extra matter to stretch itself. To a guyari, appearance is temporary, and many guyari undergo incredible changes from the beginning of their life to the end.

History

The ancient guyari were reclusive and secretive, living in small communities throughout Shi’ker Forest and the island of Guyar, where they got their name. They seldom had contact with the neighboring orcs, and even then the guyari were thought of as mythological beings. For a time, the guyari offered wisdom and guidance to orcs who paid their respects, and according to Orcish folklore it was the guyari who taught them the principles of magic. However, a misunderstanding flared into warfare between the two races. The guyari then withdrew from the world and faded into folklore and ghost stories.

Be wary if you walk through the woods at night – those might not be fireflies in the air above you but the watchful eyes of the Guyari instead.

Millennia passed before the guyari emerged from seclusion. What brief encounters they had with the orcs during this time were added to their “legend” – guarding sacred groves, confusing travelers at night, gifting treasures and wisdom to deserving orcs. In reality, the guyari couldn’t contain their nurturing and inquisitive nature. They simply chose to act from the shadows, mindful of the savage nature deep within the orcs.

When the Sun God was defeated on Mt. Tumavori, his being was fragmented into countless shards that fell across the world. One such shard landed on Guyar and began to change the guyari living there. Their curiosity with the world became a cruel obsession, and they lost their empathy for all other living beings. At first, only the guyari near the shard were affected, but it soon spread to guyari who had close contact with the afflicted. In the following decades, these cold and cruel guyari made their presence known to the orcs, often violently and suddenly, and it seemed their disregard for other beings became stronger as their numbers grew.

In the year 687 AF, during the War of the Fire King, a group of young guyari emerged from Shi’ker Forest and made their way to a nearby town, hoping to avoid another war born from misunderstanding. They asked for help against the shard’s affliction in exchange for the secrets shared by the guyari over the millennia. But despite these efforts, more guyari have fallen to the shard’s influence, and now there are newborn guyari coming into this world already afflicted.

Culture

To the guyari, life is about discovery, growth and change. Throughout their long lives, they reshape their bodies seemingly on a whim. Younger guyari tend to use material from all sorts of plants, developing a preference as they age and mature. Truly ancient guyari can be indistinguishable from trees, both in terms of size and array of materials that they’ve crafted their bodies from. This cycle of growth and reshaping also ties into the way they “eat” – in addition to gaining energy from the sun, their food comes from the natural decay of their plant matter bodies.

Their talent for mimicry goes beyond their physical appearance. Guyari can perfectly imitate most sounds in nature, from trilling birdsong to roaring waterfalls to whispering breezes. The ancient guyari used these talents to avoid detection, but those guyari afflicted by the Sun God shard now use this same mimicry to become the ultimate assassins. It’s rare to spot a guyari when they don’t want to be seen.

The guyari don’t live in traditional buildings and villages, preferring the open air of their groves deep in the forest. Due to the infectious nature of the shard’s affliction, the exact location of these groves are kept a secret, even to close allies, although neutral groves have been established where the guyari can trade with all peaceful travelers. They mostly sell herbs and medicines in addition to their rare mushroom alcohols. While the effects on guyari are pleasant and subtle, other races have found these alcohols to be somewhat more intense, although the benefits can be well worth the side effects.