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Although sighting of giant and tiny reynkes have been reported, their natural proficiency at illusions means such claims must be taken with a grain of salt. Human-sized reynkes stand a few inches shorter than humans on average, with usually lean and youthful bodies and their build is typically weaker than that of a common human. Even though they can somewhat bypass their genetic disadvantage through intense physical training, an untrained reynke will have little strength and endurance, with only notably high agility and a well developed sense of hearing. Their brain and spirit however is highly developed, giving them an intellectual edge over many other species. Their mental power, as well as their knack for learning is amazing. This, along with their instinctive understanding for the arcane arts and their ability to feel magic to a certain degree, makes reynkes natural born mages. Reynkes ears sport a fluffy filling protecting their softer tissue from wind, dust, and insects. While it somewhat reduces their ability to hear quiet noises, it gives them exceptional detail on what they do hear. This is an advantage for them where it comes to discerning the nature of any sounds they hear in the wilderness as well as in learning about the exact pronunciation of arcane words, where subtle differences in height and frequency of the voice may have a great impact on the efficiency of the spell casted.
Another notable reynkes feature is their fluffy tail or multiple thereof. Reynke tails are not only used as a means for balance and support when moving, to provide warmth in cold environments, but also serve as emitter for their personal scent. Lastly, reynke tails also function as magical catalysts, just like a fairy's wings. It is possible for an individual to gain more tails over time as their understanding for magic and arcane power increase, causing one tail to not be sufficient as a magic manipulator anymore. Similar to how a body grows more muscle tissue when the present muscles are unable to handle the stress put onto them, the body will grow more and larger tails. Naturally, growing a new tail is infinitely more difficult than growing more muscles and thus it takes a reynke a very long time to accomplish the addition of even one tail.
Due to their mortality, it is very unlikely for a reynke to grow many more tails in a single lifespan, so usually a combination of controlled breeding, and individual training along with the passing down of knowledge and progress is what allow a reynke bloodline to develop further. For a reynke, the growth of a new tail is a slow and extremely painful process that is widely seen as an event of great cultural importance, the culmination of which is heralded by an intense pain in their aft section as the spine reshapes itself to develop the extra tail. The reynke undergoing the process is expected to endure the pain using nothing but meditation and self-control, as gaining a new tail requires to strengthen the body and mind as well. The growth of a new tail is seen as a great honor both for the reynke and their bloodline and act as an important status symbol among other reynkes. For a reynke, losing a tail is a great disaster and even if fully healed or regrown they will struggle to use it to their previous potential ever again.
Lastly, reynkes possess scent glands, mostly in their crotch area and around the base of their tails, but with a proportion of them throughout their skin, most notably on their neck, armpits and between the toes. Reynke permanently radiate a pleasant scent that serves as a means to identify each other, notify of their sexual readiness and attract potential partners. It is generally developed during adolescence and slowly recedes upon entering their old ages. That scent is not just limited to the noses of other reynkes however and species such as humans are also affected by it. While the scent is discreet most of the time, higher concentrated doses may actually work similar to aphrodisiacs and drugs, causing prolonged exposure to their scent to result in actual psychic or physical addiction. Its effectiveness varies heavily between different reynkes though, as many factors such as genes, sexuality, age and size come into play. Reynkes are aware of that effect on other species and may use it to their advantage if needed, even though some reynkes try to hide their scent using magic or perfumes because of the dangers inherent to permanently radiating a smell. Due to the potential trouble coming along with being exposed to a reynkes scent, simple countermeasures such as circulating air or a simple nose plug may serve humans well; bureaucrats make it a point of wearing the latter when dealing with confirmed reynkes.
Little is known of reynkes in Felarya. To them knowledge is power, and thus they are reluctant to share their cultural identity with outsiders. What is known is that they were and most likely still are the dominant species in their home world, and take pride in being one of the most intelligent species known to them. They are very proud of their culture and history; every reynke can look back upon millennia of ancestors, the memory of whose accomplishments they pass on to their children. These tales spur every reynke to greater accomplishments in return, for the glory of their house and bloodline, and so each new generation shall slowly pave the way to enlightenment, which is what most family branches strive for.
Despite their wisdom and progression, reynkes have a deeply seated disdain and defiance for technology: It's not that they minimize or look down on the possibilities it offers, but they feel offended that devices place such possibilities at anyone's grasp. Believing that true power may only come from within, most reynkes rarely rely on any technology above simple tools and prefer magic instead. The reynke who embrace technology would face a small stigma, if it weren't for their universally explicit pragmatism and their desire to leave no boundaries intact: "No limits, anything goes." is a reynke saying. Their magical affinity, their habit of favoring of pragmatism over ethics and their intelligence is what gave reynkes the advantage on their home world, and they have not lost it since then. They have, however, grown rather conceited and arrogant, often considering themselves superior to other races. In times of war, the loss of one reynke to no less than fifty defeated foes was considered a horrible trade. This also shows in their favorite sport called the hunt, where a reynke will try to kill and devour beings of other species inside an arena. Often pitted against foes of superior strength or size, or given additional handicaps, the original idea is to both sate the reynkes underlying lust for blood and to display their race's superiority over others. The latter might be questionable though, given how the fights and rules are largely arranged by and for the reynkes, in order to make sure the reynkes taking the challenge is granted victory with little risk.
As they favor quality over quantity, reynkes spend a lot of time and energy mentoring their youth. This results in a low birth rate, and a strong sense of individuality. Their habits and traditions are molded by their immediate family and later refined and altered by themselves, but beyond that, they are loners. Two reynkes from different families may have very different, perhaps even irreconcilable traditions, and the thought of a mainstream society horrifies them, as does having to adapt to it instead of devoting all their energy to their own cause. With their distinct lack of morals and ethics and poor empathy with other species, reynkes regard the concept of good and evil in a very different way than most human societies do. They show little mercy in general and perform killing and eating prey as an art form, making them regarded as cruel and ruthless by other species. A reynkes' artistic hobbies and professions can include but are not limited to the mastery of martial arts, calligraphy, music or painting, but also ritualized swordsmanship and archery. These activities are often taken to a level of mastery far beyond that of simple hobbies though.
Reynkes in Felarya
Once reynkes heard about Felarya, it didn't took them long to find out about its soil's power to preserve life and age as well as fantastic rumors about powerful artifacts scattered across this magic-rich world. Many reynkes came to Felarya, lured by the prospect of long lives to achieve enlightenment and the promise of strong magic and ancient arcane treasures. For many of them, however, this decision turned out to be a fatal mistake.
Felarya is a perilous place, even to skilled and smart magicians and while the mind and magic have little limitations, a mortal body does. Many reynke died during their first week on this dangerous world, usually vastly underestimating the threats they were pitted against and only a handful of them managed to survive for a prolonged time within the deadly jungle. Newly arrived reynkes quickly realized that the best capabilities and intellect were worth little when faced with unseen or gargantuan threats they only read about in books. Their scent easily gave them away when hidden and their magical signatures were like shining beacons for predators'senses. Given how reynkes are used to either outsmart, surprise or defeat an opponent with the use of superior magic, their lack of endurance and constitution showed pretty soon as well. Even though they were skilled enough to fend off a dangerous threat or two, the hazardous jungle would just throw countless more at them, leading to reynkes numbers to dwindle very quickly.
The survivors quickly realized they had to adapt and eventually dropped their arrogance and superiority in order to join forces with other species, whose strength complemented their own. Reluctant at first, some of them discovered that living in human cities such as Negav wasn't so bad after all and offered a lot of new opportunities. They learned to see other species as almost equal, just different, although they would never completely drop their confidence in their superior intellect. Some of those new residents found themselves so comfortable with this arrangement that they even took mates outside their race, rather than trying to return to their home world. Though the latter was still preferable, some reynkes found themselves stranded with no way to return, and because of the small number of them, they consider the need to extend their bloodline to be more important than tending to its purity. Felaryan reynkes have grown quite varied in appearance as a result. Today, reynkes lives in Felarya can have different shapes. Some may prefer to stay in the safety of a Negavian library, others try to just make a living among the Felaryan society or actively go on a quest to join other magically adept species such as fairies, in order to learn from them. While many reynkes are fated to solely learn about the deadly nature of said species' stomachs, others manage to get accepted. There is a small amount of reynkes living within the Forest of whispers, near the Lake of illusions and in Kortiki. Most reynkes however decide to settle with humans, whom they see as easily to manipulate and to use to achieve their goals.
There are many rumors and mysteries surrounding the reynke species, a common one being that a reynke will devour the souls of those they kill, along with their bodies. True or not, the promise of a smart and cunning magician as an ally often outweigh the risks for many adventuring groups. Those who join force with a reynke would be advised to be as certain as possible of their true intentions and motives, though. Dealing with a reynke is inherently risky. Even if their intentions are honest, a reynke will most likely strive to become the group's most influential person, either as the leader or as the hidden hand guiding the leader. Their scent is their most powerful tool, making people slowly grow addicted to it, causing them to want to be in the reynke's presence and to generally like them more. The more time elapse, the easier it becomes for a reynke to be the most popular group member and to slowly bend and wrap people around their fingers. If a strong-minded member resist their influence, the reynke will often try to get rid of them, either by disposing of them in some tragic arranged accident or by more subtle means such as having them expelled from the group by turning other member against them. There have been many groups of adventurers whose last sign of existence faded away upon leaving the city walls alongside a freshly recruited reynke.
Reynkes are very vindictive, and never forget what they perceive as an insult or slight. Holding a grudge is almost an art form to them, and they derive great pleasure in finding a fitting punishment for those who wronged them. They don't shy away from causing injury or even death, however, to them, the worst fate one can suffer is to lose what they are. As intellect is held in high regard for reynkes, they consider losing control of one's mind to be the greatest of all punishments. Some especially vindictive individuals engineer such fates for their offenders, turning them into addicts to their scent. After being exposed for long enough, their mind will melt away and they will merely serve as toys and trophies to their new owner, humiliated hulls solely lusting after the scent of their desire while becoming literally incapable of living without it.
Abilities and Hunting Habits
Some reynke prefer to not reveal their true identity, hiding their tails with magic or clothes specifically chosen for that purpose. Others proudly and openly display the attributes of their species, relishing the surroundings appreciation, fear or respect. The fact about a reynke's magical strength increasing with their tail number is widely known or at least assumed, so some sneaky felaryan reynkes use that popular knowledge to fool their surrounding. Some would make themselves appear as having more tails than they really possess through illusionary magic, others would actually reduce their number of visible tails in order to appear weak and vulnerable. Reynkes naturally excel at illusionary magic, but most of them may also choose to master different arcane schools. Thus, some reynke become master elementalists or demonologists and there are even some very rare instances of reynkes managing to become adept at fairy magic. Even without magic though, a reynke knows how to get around in felarya by making use of intrigues and manipulation. Some reynkes prefer to plot elaborate traps and ambushes, and a few have adapted to use stealth, speed, poison and a reliable knife rather than magic.
Reynkes remain a predatory race and never completely cease to look at what isn't a reynke as potential food. Since they don't feel compelled to limit themselves to only small, bite-sized prey, that includes the humans they live among with. They will hide it of course and repress this feeling deep inside to not become disturbed by the Isolon Eye and most humans they interact with will never even suspect that fact. However, deep in the jungle, no one is able to tell if or how long a reynke may resist their urges, especially when convenient situations or abilities are at hand. Even so, a reynke still try to be aware of which individual is expendable and what the potential consequences of their actions are, so they pick and perform their killings very carefully.
- Credits to Amaroq for the design and description of the Reynkes.