Verdant | Races

Yenya of the Red Wastes

Race Profile

Long ago, the Yenya people were said to rule over a vast empire to the South. Their lands were great, yet they were at war with the Orc folk, each kind always seeking to expand in favor of their kind. One day, a terrible Cataclysm struck, and the heart of the Yenya empire was destroyed in a pyroclastic cloud of ash and a river of lava decimated their capitol. Over time, the Cataclysm had a far more devastating effect, and it has corrupted their homeland into the Red Wastes. A barren, desolate wasteland with danger around every corner. The Yenya are a determined group of survivors, and while they have never lost their sense of pride, many have taken to banditry in order to feed their families.

The Yenya were once a much more diverse group of bipedal canines, with some of their folk resembling hyenas, jackals, fennecs, and maned wolves. The aardwolf appearance of today is the most commonly found, though others are not entirely unknown.

Art & Depictions

Rulers & Government

Banded together in small packs for safety and survival, the Yenya have no official ruling body. They are long departed from their empirical roots, now turning to one another for decisions that effect everyone. Every Yenya of age has a voice and is permitted to speak in any gatherings held. Decisions are then put to a vote with the majority outcome ruling. When two or more Yenya packs meet, they will exchange information about where they have been and any relevant trouble they may have met along the way. Occasionally two smaller packs may join together to help each other, but with resources scarce they often avoid making the group too big and thus more difficult to provide for.

While no one Yenya is in charge, some members are very well respected and have earned a little more say so in the way of things. While decisions still come to a vote, their words are taken with due importance. One does not come of age in the Yenya packs until they have successfully completed a great hunt or taken actions that provide for or protects their pack on a large scale.

Allies & Enemies

The Yenya have a long-standing feud with the Orcs, but since their people are largely based in Ta’Nakahour, the two do not meet with one another as often as they once did. Now the main focus of their ire are the humans of Verdant. In the past, the humans were said to ally themselves with the Orc in order to eek out a place in the desert. This set them against the Yenya people. Since Verdant has come into power, they have consistently rejected the canine folk and denied them access to their nation’s lands. This has not stopped the Yenya, who break the border constantly out of a need for food and supplies, which sometimes results in acts of banditry. On occasion, a bold group will attempt to establish a settlement, but if Verdant soldiers discover them, it is quickly rooted out and the Yenya marched back to the Red Wastes. Likewise, since the Minotaurs ally themselves with Verdant, the Yenya remain less than fond of the great horned folk. However, they are less likely to attack a group with a Minotaur included in it. The Gabelins are seen as trustworthy traders, and no Yenya will attack them or allow their nomadic group to come under attack. Vadels are untrusted, largely because they are not well known among the Yenya, but they are a favorite subject of harassment as these wealthy ‘tourists’ always seem to have something good on them.

Religion & Belief

The Yenya were once said to have great and powerful gods who aided them in the advancement of their civilization. But such gods have long been forgotten, only old ruins of what once were majestic temples left as a reminder. They now follow a more tutelary system of worship, believing that each pack has a special protector to lookout for them and lead them to good fortunes. The name of their guardian is not always known, but any Yenya will promise you that they leave little offerings to them, even when they have little to give at all.

The only one whos’ name the entire people know is Kitappa. A towering behemoth of a speckled hyena, she is known throughout the Red Wastes and Verdant for her missing eye, her immense stature, and the broken spears sticking out of her hide from failed attempts to kill her. She is said to be capable of summoning sandstorms and eating mossback tortoise whole. Many wild canines often follow in her wake, and while she is not known to attack unprovoked, Kitappa is somewhat protective of the Yenya who revere her and will defend them if she can. Many believe she is not a hyena at all, but a geni who has simply chosen this form to suit her purposes.

Yenya believe heavily in a cycle of reincarnation that continues on and on without end. “No soul has ever lived only one life.“, or so they say. This is cause for some alarm, as it means that every year there are more Yenya souls without a body to go into so that they can enjoy life again. Many feel this is the cause of their bad luck and dwindling survival as a people. For this reason, many Yenya will craft dolls to give to their families, with instructions to treat it as a pup so that a new soul will be able to reside in it until the time comes for them to have a new body.

Survivors, Raiders, & Storytellers

These are a people who live. Despite the best efforts of humans, Orcs and perhaps even the world itself, they live. The Yenya are a hardy people who put their pack first, even if it means putting the individual at risk. The Red Wastes is an unforgiving territory, and while they can manage there if necessary, it is by no means a stable life. The younger members have often found themselves taking up with bandits in order to provide, much to the dismay and scolding of their elders. Anytime Yenya are reported as having attacked a caravan, the patrols along the border increase, which makes it more difficult for scouts and foragers to get across and bring back supplies quietly.

Yenya are cunning and capable hunters, their superior noses able to track prey for leagues even in open desert. They can smell running water and can even tell if it is safe to drink. They have a resistance to venom and poison to such an extent that even their pups are capable of picking up a scorpion off the ground and eating it without trouble. This is a huge boon, as the Red Wastes is teeming with toxic flora and fauna. They are very good at engineering, making sure nothing goes to waste. While their yurt-like homes may look simple, they are well crafted and can withstand even the brutal sandstorms of their homeland with ease.

While they can be temperamental towards outsiders, the Yenya are not without their own virtues. They will not harm anyone they see as a child, nor anyone who may be with child. They won’t attack the desperate or injured, and may even be willing to offer food and water if they have any to spare. While they make occasionally work with raiders, the alliances are temporary. Usually, ending the moment the Yenya have what they need to sustain their families for a while.

Much of their empire is now rubble, and as their people decrease with every passing generation, much of what was the Yenya culture is now lost to them. Few still speak the old tongue in it’s original form, and much of their history has been destroyed. Stories and traditions are passed from generation to generation, an oral tradition kept alive by the fireside and traded from pack to pack. Orators were once considered to be high-status individuals within the Empire, and storytelling is a valued trait to this day, though the artform is dwindling with few left who can teach it.

Family & Marriages

Unlike many of the other races, the yenya encourage their young to go and find love for themselves. There is little to no adult arrangement involved, though like all parents they want to ensure their young find good matches. It is the male yenya who make an effort to display themselves, dying their fur bright colors and dancing at pack meetings to get the female’s attention on them. If they catch her eye, the female yenya will make the next move, going to his tent at night and enticing him out with the promise of food and drink. Groups of newly adult yenya will sneak off to carouse in the night, to flirt and compete for affection.

If a marriage is agreed to, the couple moves out of their parent’s huts and begins to put a considerable amount of work into the construction of their first home. No one is supposed to help them, and they are expected to do all they can to ensure it is a fitting domicile for them to raise a family in. Once married, the pack rejoins them to celebrate their union and to encourage them to get to pup-making as soon as possible. No newly married Yenya couple with any amount of pride will leave the hut for several hours, as it is considered that a good union is proceeded by copious amounts of love-making. Married couples will often greet one another by pressing their noses together in gestures unique to the yenya known as ‘snooting‘.

It is worth noting that the yenya have no stipulations against same-sex marriage and it is relatively common for same sex couples to adopt offspring whose parents may have died. It is also worth noting that a sizable portion of their people are intersex to some degree, with non-gendered pronouns being applied. The general thought is that this Yenya had such a good and healthy form that many souls decided them to be suitable. For this reason, marriage to someone who is intersex is seen as good fortune and a blessing to your family.