The Gyta (GEA-ta) (s. Gyta, adj. Gyta) are a race of caprine giants marked for their similarity to goats, their size (they easily reach nine or ten feet), and their strength. In addition, most Gyta are skilled climbers and runners, easily matching horses and mountain goats for speed and surefootedness respectively. The Gyta are divided into many subraces that are spread across Oest.
Generally, the Gyta prefer hunting and gathering to sedentary agriculture. As a result, many Gyta lead a (pastoral) nomadic lifestyle, although some have taken to permanent settlement. Either way, most Gyta prefer to live in balance with the land that provides for them. Their settlements are generally not very advanced since Gyta place little importance in innovation. Spiritually and magically, however, the Gyta are a highly developed race, and their strength and size often compensate for their inferior tools.
The Gyta have suffered under the expansion of humans in Oest. Many of their kind have sought refuge in the wild lands they sprang forth from, and they defend these well.
In story Priests & Kings
Two Gyta may be as different from one another as two humans are. Still, there are some generalities that they share. All Gyta bear resemblance to a caprine race, such as goats, sheep, ibexes, takins, muskoxen, serows, and gorals, with specific resemblance being an hereditary trait and thus often linked to a sub-race. At first glance, many Gyta appear as an upright walking goats. They are hoofed mammals and their faces and bodies are fully covered in a coat of fur, the color and consistency of which vary depending on their sub-race. They also have tails and other caprine features, such as horns (rarely more than two), beards (even the females), tails, and elongated snouts. They are usually between seven and ten feet tall, with nine feet being the average among males and females. Their build varies according to race, but all Gyta have two arms and two hands with three fingers each. Generally, Gyta are stronger and faster than humans.
Outward appearances and choices in grooming and fashion vary depending on the sub-race. Most Gyta do not cut their hair, which has a maximum natural length, and no Gyta shave or remove their beards, although some tribes remove the beards of criminals, outcasts, and exiles, often scarring the skin so that the beard will not fully grow back. Male and female Gyta are very similar and difficult to tell apart to the untrained eye. Gyta have a strong sense of smell and usually recognize each other and their gender based on scent. To catch such scents, they tend to stand close to others, which is sometimes off-putting to other races.
The lifestyle of most Gyta limits access to luxury fabrics, and most Gyta do not use wool or any other products of sheep or goats. However, since Gyta are covered in fur, they need little clothing but may use leather and hides as armor. Most Gyta appreciate simple decoration; it is common for them to braid their hair, beard, and fur or to wear simple cosmetic items, often with some spiritual significance.
Most Gyta of Oest consider themselves one of the elder races of Highfane, together with the Alps. Those who adhere to the Wendel believe that they were made by the Wendel Wuraf, who created wilderness as his own home. Feeling lonely and desiring to speak and teach, Wuraf created the first Gyta by making two goats walk upright. With his blessing, they mastered speech and thought. Later, when Wuraf desired servants, he fashioned the Alps out of clay and stone. However, not all Gyta adhere to this belief or, indeed, worship the Wendel.
At first, the Gyta roamed and gazed in wonder at the wilds. For centuries, they spread and multiplied, living in harmony with the land that provided for them. They lived in peace with The Alps, who were always more industrious; they founded settlements and built ships to explore the seas. The Gyta followed in their wake. Thus, they came to Eadland.
A dark page in the legends of the Gyta is the meddling of the Wendel Ualla, the Pale One. The peacefulness of Highfane displeased her, and so she came in beautiful guise to trick Alp and Gyta. With promises of immortality she tempted them to hide their souls from the Wendel so that they could live forever. Thus severed from the home of the gods, these Alps and Gyta became the Hidden Folk, corrupted and vile, seeking ever to slay and to destroy. Especially the Pyske of the Hidden Folk bear a close resemblance to the Gyta and are believed to be the corrupted descendants of those tribes that accepted the Pale One’s offer.
After the coming of the Hidden Folk, the Gyta were often beset by strife. In Oest, the first race of men, the Ulder, came and drove the Gyta to the forests and mountains. Many Gyta believe that humans were made from the cadavers of slaughtered Alps and Gyta left unburied in the mud, roused by the constant din of battle and instilled with new spirit and lust for conquest. Even more humans came after the Ulder. These new men, the Stedda, conquered all and drove the Ulder into the arms of the Alps and Gyta. Then finally, the Etter came to Highfane to conquer and enslave all.
Caught unaware by the Etter, many Gyta were made into slaves. Strong, tall, and fast, the Etter preferred the Gyta as laborers or as warriors in slave armies. However, the vast majority of Gyta lived in areas that the Etter had little or no interest in, and many more managed to escape to such areas as the Etter spread over Highfane. Many Gyta thus maintained their independence. Those that did serve were nearly all altered through magic and alchemy to better suit the needs of the Etter. These were the ancestors of the Ettergyta and Ettercoarnu. However, some good came of the Etter invasion: the Ulder were forced to coexist with the Alps and the Gyta and forged an alliance that, while uneasy at first, would at length become the foundation of a great friendship that still endures to this day.
With the aid of their newfound allies, many tribes of the Gyta on Oest resisted the Etter. Chief among these efforts were the Tunnel Wars. This series of campaigns against the Etter was successful until the Hidden Folk, the Pysk Jorr Thukka foremost among them, allied with the Etter and began attacking the free peoples en masse, forcing them on the defensive. Many Gyta believed the end was nigh: they could not fight both the Etter and the Hidden Folk. However, before the final stroke fell, the Etter began withdrawing unexpectedly and left Oest for reasons that to this day remain unknown.
What followed in Eadland was the Filleadh—the Return—of the Ulder. For four centuries, generally reckoned from 0 AF to 400 AF, there was a Golden Age for most of the Gyta in Eadland. During this time, the Gyta retook their wilderness and rebuilt. Coexisting in peace with Alp and Ulder alike, the Gyta prospered. It was a less pleasant time for the Ettergyta and Etterkin, who were ostracized and feared.
On the mainland in Oest, however, the Sormans emerged. These descendants of Stedda slaves of the Etter took control of the mainland and drove out the Gyta, remembering well the wars that their Stedda ancestors had fought with the Gyta. Alp, Ettergyta, and Etterkin suffered similar fates, and soon the Gyta were where they had been before the Etter came: in the wild, ever watchful, and ever on the precipice of war with humans. However, not all of Oest was conquered by the Sormans. Several Gyta managed to hold their ground and raised kingdoms of their own that would stand the test of time. Great among these are the Five Nations of the Coarnu on the northeastern shores of the Deniza Sea; the plains of the Tavalin to the southeast where the Ringalind Gyta rule; and the holdings and city-states of the Fellgyta and the Lammasi in the mountain ranges of Oest.
The lot of the Gyta in mainland Oest changed with the coming of the Aedligs around 100 AF. Tolerant of magic and other races and hostile to the Sormans, the Aedligs allied with Alps and Gyta—the oppressed and exiled Vaelgyta were first to join—and began to carve out a realm of their own. Many were the victories of this alliance and many were the tribes of Gyta that forged a lasting friendship with the Aedligs. By 559 AF, the Aedligs had fully conquered the former domains of the Sormans on Oest. The Sormans fled piecemeal to Eadland, where their coming heralded the end of the Ulder reign. They took control of Eadland, and drove the Gyta that lived there into the wild with their Alp and Ulder allies.
In Oest, the descendants of the Aedligs established the Gaurik under the Queen-Sorceress and eventually became known as the Gaufolk. By then, many mainland tribes of Gyta had become subjects of the Gaurik, often left free to retain their own religion and customs. Still, some Gyta were drawn to Gaufolk society and settled among them, while many converted to the service of Damas-of-the-Dagger, most notably the Coarnu of the Five Nations and many tribes of the Vaelgyta.
Today, the Gyta are as divided as they have always been. In the mountains and the forest many remain vigilant, strong and independent, while others roam free in the cities of Sormans and Gaufolk alike. However, the Gyta have found few friends among the Yslings, many of whom reckon the Gyta to be Hidden Folk. Should conflict come between the Yslings and the Gaufolk, it seems likely that the Gyta will either remain neutral or side with the Gaufolk, who have been true allies to many Gyta.
The Gyta are well known for their musical voices and languages. While they have a great variety of languages between them, these are nearly all known for their musical qualities and frequent and diverse deference to spirits and gods. In many of these languages, this musical quality is strengthened through a variation of which syllable is stressed. Usually, this is rhythmic and dependent on the syllable’s place in sentence rather than its place in a word. This is a quality that carries over when Gyta speak other languages.
Several well-known Gyta languages are Yalala, the language most Gyta in Eadland speak; Tavalini, the language of the Ringarind Gyta; Osamergu, the language of the Vaelgyta; and Llimba, the language of the Coarnu.
|Race||A race of goat-like giants of amazing speed and strength.|
|Territory||Spread across Oest|