(Duenicallo pronounced do-en-ih-ky-yo)
Life on the continent of Ahbahss, back before the Duenicallo and AKB met, was very difficult. The land had become parched and dry, even becoming deserts in many places. It was a bit like life in ancient Egypt, with rivers flooding on occasion to make the land moist and fertile again. But life even in these slender fertile areas was difficult. For one, the waterways and surrounding lands were infested with ny'ah'lah; to imagine a ny'ah'lah, picture a large crocodile or alligator with feathers and a sharp, toothed beak. Being warm-blooded, the ny'ah'lah are faster, stronger, and meaner than crocodiles, and they eat more. They threatened not only Duenicallo but also their prey. There were also a lot of nasty critters of other sizes that lurked about, killing when threatened. So Ahbahss was a bit like a cross between ancient Egypt and Australia, on crack.
Prey was, naturally, scarce. Duenicallo mostly stayed around lakes, rivers, and the ocean, fishing to supplement their diet. But prey became so scarce that they began domesticating prey animals and herding them. Even so, this didn't help much, since the livestock still could not breed fast enough to suit the needs of the Duenicallo. Also, the ny'ah'lah ate many of their livestock.
As a result, they invented irrigation, expanding the fertile land for wild plants to grow upon, to feed their livestock. They eventually progressed to making artificial ponds and small artificial lakes, sheltered by trees.
Then someone had the bright idea to grow some shrubs they'd found that produced highly nutritious (for the livestock) seeds. They began growing fields of these, in such a way that the livestock could graze them easily.
Technology advanced. Artificial lakes got bigger, often covered by large stone structures that acted as roofs. Animals still had access to the water, and drains were built in so that if it rained, the rain drained into the lakes beneath. These were kind of equivalent in cost and power to build, as the pyramids of ancient Egypt. Life was one giant struggle against the sun.
Duenicallo also built ships and nets and square trawling traps to continue fishing the ocean for food.
Though there were nations, Duenicallo did not often fight one another. Though they had civilization and even agriculture, the shrubs they planted were perennials, and so farming was the easiest part of their life. They retained the “work together” attitude of their hunter days. What was more, they were successful enough at their efforts that competition for resources wasn't as big a deal, and such disputes as arose could usually be settled amicably. As technology advanced, as they beat the deserts back, life became better and better. The land eventually became lush. But they had endured so many setbacks and so much suffering for so long, and it remained a fragile lushness for so long, that fear of everything going back to hell became permanently etched into their psyche.
Life became good enough that some Duenicallo decided to explore beyond Ahbahss, funded by their kings. And the first land they found was the lush land of Tahlbahn.
The Duenicallo, used to a long hard life fighting deserts, rushed back to tell others of their discovery. People began starting colonies there. But within a year or so of the first colonies settling down, the Duenicallo began being attacked by some of the local animals they'd been eating. They fought back by eating more of them, naturally.
It is lost to history how long this continued before the Duenicallo realized that the attacking animals were sentient like them, but it seems to have happened once these beings started using the Duenicallo's own weapons against them. The Duenicallo were horrified that they'd been eating people, and somehow managed to communicate with the Ah'Koi Bahnis, and apologize for the misunderstanding. A truce was reached, and the two species started living together on Tahlbahn peacefully.
These Ah'Koi Bahnis were an odd people, to the Duenicallo. They were intelligent enough to have primitive shelters, and language, but they were herbivores living on a lush land and so had very few tools of their own, nor had they mastered fire. In fact, they were still terrified of fire.
After a few decades, the AKB seemed to decide that the Duenicallo were keeping their word and were genuinely sorry. Some of their members were fascinated by the houses and other buildings the Duenicallo were making. They were also fascinated by the fires the Duenicallo used for heat and cooking. Because of this curiosity, and the gentle nature of Duenicallo towards the AKB once it had been figured out that they were people, not mere animals, the two species began to grow close. The Duenicallo taught the AKB what they knew, and the AKB taught the Duenicallo what they knew. Which, as it turns out, was rather a lot. The AKB had a much vaster knowledge of herbal medicine, knowledge that not only benefited the Duenicallo themselves, but also their livestock as well. Their knowledge of plants to avoid was also very helpful. And nets made of native plants were much superior to nets made of plants from Ahbahss.
And so it was that civilization came to the Ah'Koi Bahnis.
Because of their history, the Duenicallo point of view remains a mixture of pessimism and defiance. Their basic philosophy is:
“The universe is immensely old, and huge, and uncaring, but do not let that defeat you. Living is an act of defiance. Life is forever giving a rude hand gesture to the universe and the forces of entropy. No matter how bad things are, they are rarely so bad that you should give up. Suicide is for those who have been defeated. Death comes to us all, eventually, but going into that darkness fighting tooth and claw the whole time, Death will be unable to defeat you; it will only be able to kill you. It may mean nothing in the greater scheme of things, but as I said, life is defiance. We will all be swallowed by the void, but our howls may yet be heard for millennia to come.”
Their gods come in three varities: the first, Vahk-tuma, are powerful forces of nature so ancient and terrifying that their names (when spoken) are spoken with fear. These entities, which include their sun god, Pofoshiintus, are never invoked; it is believed that they don't notice or care about mortals, and if they ever DID, then it wouldn't be good. A great way to terrify a Duenicallo half to death or more, is to tell them “May you be noticed by Pofoshiintus” or other Vahk-tuma. This is similar to the supposed Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times and come to the attention of important personages,” but infinitely worse. The Vahk-tuma aren't quite as bad as Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian figures, insofar as they don't cause madness, but Vahk-tuma are to mortals as a brontosaurus might be to a sentient ant.
The second class of Duenicallo deities is called Jolorsiikon. The Jolorsiikon are a bit like Vahk-tuma in size, power, and the vastness of their minds, except that they are mostly benevolent (yet still capricious) towards motals, and can produce smaller pieces of themselves that can relate to mortals. These can be invoked in magick, by cautious adepts. They may also approach certain mortals on their own. But they are still dangerous to work with, being powerful and capricious. Djao'Hkein and Ĩandyn are Jolorsiikon.
The third and fourth varies of Duenicallo deities is the one with the most usage in magick and prayer. Called Emblaath and Fetahkmadu respectively, deities in these classes are former mortals who were deified either before or after death. The only significant difference between the two classes is that Emblaath are older and more powerful than Fetahkmadu. The power difference is generally the result of Emblaath being used by more people, since attention is food for these kinds of deities.
Emblaath and Fethkmadu become deities either by being beloved ancestors, or by doing something that falls under the Duenicallo definition of heroism. Aside from the obvious of saving lives, other ways to be a Duenicallo hero is to contribute in a meaningful way to the betterment of future generations. So all the early kings that helped organize and finance the artificial rivers and lakes in Ahbahss are now Emblaath-class deities.
This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1157877.html
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