The Ookami are the descendants of humans that the Great Wolf Spirit Asena had blessed with wolf-like qualities. The Ookami as a whole are in tune with nature, worshipping the very spirits of nature that have taken wolf form; Asena and Saekanis. Ookami tend to be discriminated against (and in darker times enslaved) in Valmasia. People see them as either feral, dangerous wolf children, or warped and twisted versions of former humans. Even those who do not either tend to feel that Ookami are lacking in intellect compared to the other races of Valmasia, that they are simply 'dumb mutts'.
"Those that do not understand, fear. Those that do not understand or fear, ridicule."
Ookami are much more agile than humans and tend to be shorter and weigh less as well. An average height for an Ookami woman would be about 5"2 feet tall. Ookami men usually average out at 5"6. The level of musculature varies, even between the genders, though there is a tendency towards more dexterous, supple builds. All Ookami have two large and sensitive wolf ears in place of regular human ears, a tail growing from their back, unnaturally strong, pointed, and long carnivorous teeth, and sharp, thick claws in place of proper fingernails. Their hearing and eyesight is far keener than the average human's.
The Ookami genes are recessive. Children of two Ookami will also be Ookami. The children of an Ookami and another race may not be granted the blessings of Asena (and will likely be spared the attention of Saekanis), but even if they aren't considered touched by the Great Silver Spirit, physical traits such as excessively pointed canines and sharp fingernails are incredibly common. Due to the recessive nature of Ookami genes, Ookami children may appear further down a line to human parents.
There are legends of the wolf spirit Asena choosing specific humans to gift, but otherwise Ookami only reproduce sexually.
Please see A Treatsie on Blood Mingling for more detailed information as to what happens when different races reproduce.
(NB. Half Ookami are not a thing. Perhaps they were in the past, but they are no longer.)
Ookami are naturally swift, incredible predators. Inherently gifted with an affinity for wind by the touch of their patron spirit, most Ookami have incredible reflexes and speed. Ookami are usually graced with finesse, but the most dangerous amongst their race are blessed with savage physical strength as well as the agility and dexterity of a wolf. It is, therefore, unwise to underestimate the flurry of blows that an enraged Ookami can deal out; able to strike with more speed than the average human eye can follow. That aside, their on average smaller than human frames tend to make Ookami pack fighters who work by overwhelming their opponents.
Subservience to a human rebels against the very essence of being an ookami, and such individuals are simultaneously loathed and pitied. Should an Ookami be identified as such, at worst, they may well risk being ostracised from their community. It is likely though that other Ookami would instead worry about such an individual and attempt to bring them back to the fold and into the grace of Asena and fearful worship of Saekanis.
Most (if not all) Ookami are inherently disinclined towards laws, preferring to follow a somewhat hedonistic 'do what feels good and don't do what feels bad' approach - though they do take their fellow race in consideration in this regard. The world is a difficult enough place for their kind without having those of the wolf blood stab other wolf blooded in the back. It is this disinclination towards lawfulness that perhaps leads many Ookami to be inclined towards taking a five finger discount, and in fact, in some packs of Ookami there is no such thing as property or even money. Objects are instead given freely to those who need.
Leaving causes or being able to abandon them readily is antithetic to inherent Ookami values. While two stereotypical Ookami can be the most vicious of opponents against each other due to their loyalties, usually nothing will gain the ire of both more than a turncoat, no matter whom it benefits. Ookami are loyal and stubbornly so.
Ookami hold some pride about their lineage, though not in the same way as a Drakanite-- their pride is in their race in general, not in family lineages. Most Ookami; whether they be Ookami who reside in the wilds, Ookami who live in the city, or Ookami who live somewhere inbetween, accordingly look to mate with other wolf blooded.
While wandering packs of Ookami are common, Ookami are not compelled to do so by instinct, but circumstance. Ookami who have claimed a territory and people can be nothing short of utterly ruthless in protection of it, but oftentimes discrimination means that most Ookami stick and travel together to avoid being chased and hated by non-Ookami.
Ookami are at home in nature for the most part, but even so, today there are serious divisions between 'traditional' ookami; who stay with these urges they are born with and live within Wychwood and Bygonegrove and caves across the land, and the 'modern' ookami.
Modern (City) Ookami Edit
The modern ookami are those who have adopted more human ideals. While it is true that some of these modern ookami attempt to assimilate into human culture and human cities, many of the wolf blooded discover that their natural inclination towards a more beastial, primal nature may see them at ends with the human establishments. On average, an isolated Ookami in the city would find him or herself marginalised and pushed to the very fringe of society. It may be for that reason that enclaves of Ookami have started to spring up, especially with the races' innate loyalty to other wolf blooded. It is unsurprising that these communities may have an inclination towards crime, as Ookami tend to not share the same views on property and ownership as the rest of "pure" humanity or even other races, such as oscuri or drakanites! While this rather blasé attitude to laws may seem like quite a negative trait, to characterise the Ookami as a people of mere thieves would be disingenious. They are characteristically generous to their fellow kinsmen - and those outsiders who have perhaps tugged at their heartstrings. Often, modern Ookami may travel together from city to city, careful not to exceed their welcome or to attract the heat of the law, as "merchants" happy to deal and trade in anything, including apparently in stolen goods. While they may not refer to themselves as a pack, the hierarchy and absolute loyalty to the group is all the same.
Traditional (Wild/Feral) Ookami Edit
Traditional Ookami are sometimes insultingly referred to as 'feral', the term is often used indiscriminately by non-Ookami (along with the hated mutt or dog insults). Traditional Ookami would much rather be known as 'Wild', if any descriptor to their way of life is needed. They live in the forests, often in close-knit family groups or packs. It is also common for Ookami of similar ages to split off into smaller packs for specific purposes - usually the most common of these is to protect the forest in which they live or to shadow and protect the weaker family members. The traditional Ookami often reject many things that modern Ookami might have adopted from the cities. For instance, they are far more likely to reject contact with outsiders, to wear more simple clothing (though stolen 'modern' weapons and armour often does somehow end up in their possession), and to participate in large-scale rituals in order to invoke the spirits of Asena, Saekanis, or minor wolf spirits. They are vastly more spiritually minded, and it isn't uncommon for the traditional Ookami leadership to be twofold. A martial leader, whose power comes from their military might and ability in battle, and a spiritual leader or shaman; the greater the ability to summon spirits, the greater the shaman. Though a traditional pack of Ookami might look to the physically strongest and fastest amongst them first for guidance, they would not hesitate to replace such a leader should they become weak. Replacing a shaman is almost unheard of. Where traditional Ookami hesitate to meet with outsiders, a modern Ookami may have far more luck than any other race as, despite their differences, the two groups still consider each other to be kin.
Racism towards the Ookami Edit
Racism against the wolf blessed often stems from the Book of Kraus and its vague allusions to them being not of Kraus' design. But even when it doesn't, their inherently inhuman features and often belligerent personalities, and their vast differences in culture-- typically the Ookami are not interested in the human constructions of marriage, monogomy, politics, currency, kraus-worshipping and social tact -- can mean that Ookami are percieved as disagreeable by other races and become an object of ire and scorn. None of these things are necessarily true (especially of some modern Ookami attempting to maintain some sort of sad existence assimilating to society at large) but the stigma of them being bestial, sub-human savages remains.
The first Ookami were given their gift/curse by the Great Wolf Spirit, Asena, who chose them all as children, a few dozen of them in a few villages (for ~200 total) that lived nearby. They were given ears, a tail, fangs and a decisive change in personality that compelled them away from the villages they were in. Not much else is known about these original Ookami -- these original few becoming figures of legend rather than fact.
There are also legends of the fearsome wolf spirit Saekanis blessing humans of his own. These did not turn into Ookami, as Saekanis was not a god of creation and life but of entropy and death. These unfortunate souls were transformed shades of themselves, creatures of pure destruction. They perhaps would have destroyed the Ookami entirely, so the legend said, had the wolf blooded ancestors of the Ookami of today not decided to worship Saekanis in fearful reverence as the flip side of the coin to their creator, Asena. Accepting their worship as acceptable tribute, they were spared by the great and terrible Black Wolf of destruction. And so the Ookami still worship him in fearful reverence today, though a good Ookami would be keen to keep such worship in balance with the worship of their creator, Asena.
Ookami history is often recorded orally, and so with the wiping out of several lines due to various conflicts or famines, vast amounts of the history of their people has been lost. There is an increasing effort amongst a few modern Ookami to record their history in a more permanent form, but the majority of the Ookami are rather lackadaisical it seems, with regards to their own history. However, it is common knowledge that major packs have developed. Ookami are social creatures and enjoy hanging out with their packs when hunting or exercising, and typically follow the most powerful or successful individual as leader
The legends of the past allude to battles between packs, periods of great bloodshed and violence, and in the modern day only a few traditionalist packs remain, so perhaps there is some truth to the legends. However, perhaps the dwindling numbers has something to do with the recent increase in vampire numbers across Valmasia. The traditionalist Ookami were amongst some of the earliest victims to the increasing vampire threat, especially as vampires took up residence inside some of the Ookami dens in the Wychwood, but due to their isolation in the woods either no-one noticed... or more likely, no-one cared, save other Ookami. Ookami numbers, never that great to begin with, have taken a steep hit from these events.
Currently, as of year 877, many Ookami refugees have fled to Antegria and take shelter in the strange, spooky forests there.
Notable Ookami Edit
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