“The Néva of the north...nothing could be described as more enigmatic, intriguing nor as ancient as they are. They can only be described as eldest; with language as old as time and with magic as pure and as primordial as the earth itself. They were here long before us and will likely be there long after we have gone from this world. There is almost too much we do not understand of them...”
- - Elder Khas-Kharassa of the Eza'naerani Dominion, c. 1,800 BNA
The Néva, known also as Frost Elves and the Ancient Northern Elves are an elusive and primitive culture of Deiwos originating from the northernmost reaches of Koldenwelt. Described as a loosely-knit nomadic culture of various religious practices, the Néva are understood as possibly the oldest surviving culture on Koldenwelt, with histories and individuals attesting to a time before that of the Echdrarothrayu. Several attempts to better understand the nature of the Néva have been enacted with varying degrees of success, although their active practice of isolating themselves from the rest of the world has earned them a reputation of being primitive savages by the Empire of Man.
Very little is known of the antiquity of the Néva; their oldest myths and legends survive in times before the Orichalcum Age and speak of a time where the Colossi and immortalkind reigned over Koldenwelt. Due to this, Néva have unique creation myths and stories pertaining to divine wars that raged over the mortal plane that only vaguely survived in the Orichalcum Elf Imperium and have no presence in any civilisation after them. It is largely agreed that Névari civilisation existed in times long before recorded history, and perhaps the Néva were among the first kinds of life to exist after Koldenwelt's creation. It is a subject of mystery however that the Néva themselves are not a part of immortalkind; magisterial thought across Koldenwelt currently believe that mortality afflicted the Néva at a similar time to the destruction of the Echdrarothrayu at the turn of known history.
Due to the geographical isolation of the Néva, southern cultures had no knowledge of the Néva until Koldenweltian society began to interconnect in the recent centuries. The Orichalcum Elves in their earliest expeditions in the 28,000s BNA may have had some contact with the Néva - legends persist of these encounters in both cultures, yet the descriptions of these encounters have not survived. Northern cultures were rather well exposed the nature of the Névari tribes over the millennia, and a number of tribes into the current day retain a sense of communication with these cultures. It was only recently understood by more southern cultures that the Néva vary in cultural practices; a number of expeditions led by the Sovereignty of Dryada and the Empire of Man opened a dialogue between some Névari tribes - understanding of the Common Tongue was delivered to them and accounts of Névari culture now survive in the studies of Koldenweltian cultures. However, several Névari tribes are hostile towards outsiders, and a number of these expeditions ended violently, with accounts of cannibalism in some tribes.
The Néva have only become prominent in world history within the last years - in the events of the Eschaton, the Névari armies aided in the campaign against the Legion of Shiarchon, with several sacrificing their lives in the process. The Sovereignty of Dryada was threatened with a large scale invasion by a Névari Tribe known as the Bone-Shields in 34 NA, which was quashed with the efforts a number of warriors led by a Névari king known as Riad.
Névari Biology Edit
Despite being elven in academic thought, the Néva have idiosyncratic tendencies in their biology that set them apart from both elves and humans. Whilst typically lean in stature, possessing a wiry physique, Néva are short in height and several of them stand a number of inches shorter than the common human. Despite this, Néva are notorious for their physical might; descriptions from both men and elves suggest they are of a similar degree of physical strength to that of most orcs, and possess an agility akin to that of an Aithrena Elf. Some Névari hunters have been witnessed to sprint at speeds reaching almost twenty yards a second, superseding that of a horse at its fastest gallop. Their physical characteristics lend towards the hardships of survival in some of Koldenwelt's harshest regions. Néva also possess keen eyesight that can differentiate predators and prey in low visibility, although it is thought they are somewhat sensitive to light.
Néva are carnivorous; living in some of the least vegetated regions of the world, Néva primarily use hunt as their form of sustenance, although cannibalism is somewhat common as a ritualistic aspect. As a result, Néva possess an unusual array of teeth that are more akin to feline teeth than that of Deiwes. Relating to their more magical nature, Néva also gain significant sustenance from drinking blood, and thus the Néva often cultivate blood from their hunts for further consumption. Néva typically live to approximately one thousand years of age, although it is thought that a higher affinity with magic has prolonged the lives of some Néva; some for instance have lived past thirty millennia. Due to their strong relationship with magic, Néva can undergo physiological changes from magic strengthening their bodies; some Néva are recorded to be much greater in stature, some as large as eight feet in height.
Néva are fundamentally accustomed to magic; how Néva cultivate their magical knowledge is unknown, yet a number of Néva are naturally powerful sorcerers in several schools of magic. Historically, Néva were known to harness aetheromancy, yet as the practices died out, only a small handful retain that knowledge. The Névari culture as a whole do not capitalise on their magical abilities, although it is known that blood magic, especially through the mediums of cannibalism and consumption of magical flesh and blood draws power onto Néva. The Néva have strict rules concerning blood magic, several of which have been broken by more insidious tribesmen in the past. Such uses of blood magic has caused Néva to be able to harness therianthropy as a voluntary transformation.
Névari tribes are primarily nomadic by nature; governed by a calendar derived from lunar phases and seasonal change, the Néva are ubiquitous across the northern periphery of Koldenwelt. Tribes often follow a pattern of a month of settlement and a month of travel, entailing approximately fifteen thousand miles of travel a year. Such tribes have been witnessed travel as far east as the Great Eastern Wall and traversing the frozen seas into Talmyr. Whilst several tribes are nomadic, some of the older known tribes are static and retain territory in the northeastern extremities of the world, which are considered sacred grounds by most Néva tribes. These grounds are also impossible to enter by foreigners, who have been known to be speared to death even at a distance.
A codex of tribes was compiled in the first century BNA by scholars across Koldenwelt to define the known tribes of the Néva. There are a total of thirty three known tribes to the rest of Koldenwelt, with a total estimate of tribes reaching to over two hundred.
Culture & Religion Edit
Névari culture in the modern day is varied, although all of their cultural practices originate and revolve around their religion. The Névari religion is a loosely polytheistic religion based on deities of the Nalashtannylor and/or Aethereus. What is understood of the Night-Father in Névari religion is that he is revered as near enough a masculine equivalent of Isiris, although unlike most religions revolving around Isiris, the Night-Father is absent of morality and delivers both benevolent and malevolent intentions equally, reflecting the nature of nature itself. Other deities are also revered in Névari custom, such as Nalúnt, Kartansimal and even Harstag who has prevailed in Névari religion as an incarnation of terrestrial nature.of Koldenwelt, although the Névari religion's most referred to and chief deity is known as the Night-Father, which is mostly considered to be an analogue to either
Névari culture, as primarily nomadic is governed by its religion and its necessities concerning tribal survival. All Néva are skilled hunters and warriors in their youth, although many are called upon to fulfil roles to further propagate a future for their tribes. Among the most common of these roles are shamans, of which are usually taken upon by females. Névari tribes vary on their gender roles, but most appear to be patriarchal to some degree. Névari women are considered sacred as givers of life, and past a certain age are expected to marry and reproduce. Men and women that do not marry and reproduce are sometimes considered outcast, or some consider their duties as a hunter or a tribesman to be sacred in itself. Névari bloodlines are intertwined with one another, which creates alliances within certain tribes. Royalty of these tribes are customarily expected to marry off their daughters to those of allied tribes, and refusal of these terms is a grave insult to tribal custom.
Funerary rites in the Névari culture tend to be uniform; Névari funerals typically consist of either a cremation or occasionally a sky-burial as per the more traditional nature of their death rites. Most Névari funerals consist of a sacrifice of an animal as a form of appeasement to their gods, although more malevolent tribes have a tendency to carry out sacrifices on their own tribesmen. Some of these particular sacrificial rites still occur concerning the deaths of tribal leaders, of whose funerary customs tend to be more elaborated. If within reasonable distance of their sacred grounds, Névari tribesmen tend to carry out their funerals there. There are thought to be a number of funerary grounds scattered across Koldenwelt that Néva utilise for funerals, due to vague evidence of burnt funerary pyres.
“At least they are honourable. Deiwos have forgotten to respect nature.”
“They remind me of my own people! Live in the cold, use lots of magic! I wonder if their girls are like ours...”
- - Hachi