The Etterkin (ET-ter-kin) (s. Etterkin, adj. Etterkin) are the descendants of some of the slaves of the Etter. The Etter altered these slaves through complex rituals of transmutation magic and alchemical processes, granting them a natural aptitude for magic.
The Etterkin are not a united people. When the Etter left Highfane, many of their slaves were left to fend for themselves. Ever since, their descendants have taken to a life of wandering or seclusion, while others have sought the relative anonymity of greater cities. Whatever the case, they have no true place to call their own.
Today, the Etterkin are stigmatized, reviled, and often hated or persecuted in many lands. The Gaurik is an exception; there, the Etterkin are valued for their innate skill in magic and accepted.
In story Priests & Kings
Etterkin vary in appearance just as their ancestry varies. Those Etterkin born in northern Oest or in the Gaurik may resemble Gaufolk or the original Aedligs and have darker skin and features, while those of southwestern Oest, including Eadland, may be fairer of skin and hair like the Stedda. Others in Oest and Eadland may resemble the Ulder, fair of skin but dark of hair. However, all Etterkin share the Glimm: colored, swirling patterns that cover their entire bodies, including their faces. They are a legacy of the alterations the Etter made to their ancestors. The density and patterns of the Glimm vary, as do the colors. Gold, silver, bronze, and dark shades of green, blue, red, and purple are most common. Usually, the hair color of an Etterkin matches the color of their Glimm. Alternatively, the hair may contain strands or highlights in that color. When an Etterkin practices magic, their Glimm will slightly glow.
Since Etterkin have no distinct culture of their own, they are most likely to adapt to the culture of those among whom they live or—if they were raised among a particular group of people—to retain their native culture. As such, they will likely clothe and style themselves in whatever way is appropriate in that culture.
The Etterkin have no societies of their own. They are the descendants of slaves who lived wherever the Etter brought them. Since the dwindling of the Etter, the Etterkin have mostly scattered. Many Etterkin are drawn either to large cities, where anonymity is easily achieved, or to the remoter places of the world, where they can live in seclusion. In many civilized societies, Etterkin are shunned or at least mistrusted. Sometimes, they are outright persecuted. A notable exception to this rule is the Gaurik, where Etterkin are regarded as equals. The Queen-Sorceress of the Gaurik is claimed by many to be Etterkin herself.
The history of the Etterkin begins in the Age of the Etter, when the Etter first altered their slaves to better suit their needs. Scholars believe the Etter initially only so altered their most favored slaves, but that they began modifying their slaves en masse toward the end of the Age of the Etter, likely in response to an increased need of capable battlemages to deal with uprisings. Still, not all slaves were changed: the vast majority of people in Highfane descend from Etter slaves; only a few of them are Etterkin.
When the Etter withdrew from Highfane and left their cities and fortresses behind, many Etterkin were first to claim a right to rule, being the closest thing to an heir that the Etterkin had left behind. Some fortresses and settlements were under the control of the Etterkin for a short while, at least until free people came to reclaim such places, and a very small number of fortresses remain under Etterkin or Ettergyta control to this day. Generally, such places are shunned and feared. Bearing a stigma for their marks of corruption, many Etterkin were exiled and ostracized, in some cases even captured or killed.
Since those dark days, many Etterkin have fled to the anonymity of large cities or into the untamed wilderness where society and its stigmatizations are far away. Some Etterkin fled to the Gaurik as it rose from the ashes of the realms of the Stedda, for the Gaufolk are more tolerant of their kind. Those Etterkin that live on the fringes of the world, in the wilderness or in secluded communities or cults, likely live together with Ettergyta, who share their ancestry and many of their struggles.
The Etterkin have no single religion that unites them as a people, since they are diverse and spread over Highfane. They are most likely to keep to the deities of those around them, be it the worship of Damas, the Wendel, or something more exotic. Some Etterkin worship the Infinite, seeking to follow in the footsteps of the masters of their ancestors. However, such worship is almost universally prohibited and likely a well-kept secret except among the most remote and secluded.
Etterkin are often regarded with suspicion, if not outright hostility, by other people. The rule of the Etter was vile, made viler still by legend and the passage of time, and people often associate the Etterkin with the Etter and believe them partial to the crimes of their foul overlords. Tales of Etterkin being ousted from their homes or even murdered in a public outbreak of rage are not uncommon, for men are quick to blame the Etterkin for any change of fortune in their lives. Etterkin generally find most tolerance in larger cities.
Among the Gaufolk, these stigmas do not exist. The Gaufolk appreciate magic and are aware of the part the ancestors of the Etterkin played in history: they were slaves too, victims of a reign of terror, however deluded some may have been. Additionally, the ruler of the Gaufolk, the Queen-Sorceress, is rumored to be an Etterkin herself. On the other hand, the Yslings especially revile the Etterkin, whom they view as corrupted and nefarious. It is only among the most tolerant and traveled of Yslings that an Etterkin will be endured, and even then reluctantly so.
Etterkin are found throughout the whole of Highfane. They have no large territories of their own, although some have laid claim to places where the Etter once lived. They are most frequently encountered in larger settlements, places of devoted study to the arcane, and as hermits or in secluded communities in the wild. There is an especially large number of Etterkin among the Gaufolk.
Etterkin speak no language of their own. Instead, they are most likely to speak the language of whatever people they grew up with or among whom they currently reside. Wandering Etterkin are likely to have picked up a smattering of many languages.
The Etterkin have no naming customs of their own. They are most likely to follow the example of the people with whom they grew up.
Loeg: an Etterkin with Ulder background.