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Nekos are a humanoid species with feline features. They are on average taller than humans, stronger, and much more agile. Their name is derived from the Japanese word for cat: 猫 (ねこ/ne-ko). They possess cat-like ears and furry tails, and sometimes claws and slitted eyes as well. Their face and skin are similar to that of a human, though some nekos also have fur on some parts of their body, usually their forearms. Nekos, like cats, purr when happy. Their behavior tends to vary a lot; you can find Nekos who are very used to living in human cities and that behave just like them, and you can also find other specimens who are much wilder, run on four legs, and can climb a tree in the blink of an eye. Nekos have a varied diet. While nekos living in cities like Negav eat mostly human food, those living in the wild are used to hunting and consuming small, living prey, such as small animals or Tinies. Even among urban nekos, many of them still love to indulge in a tiny from time to time. This is a source of unease and sometimes tensions with humans, when the latter realize they are essentially dealing with mini-predators...
The Vithe are a tribe of cita nekos who lead a nomadic lifestyle in the Great rocky fields. They often rely on being athletic enough to catch fairly large and nimble prey, and to escape from predators. As a result, the Vithe hold physical prowess above anything else, regularly training their lean, edgy bodies to survive the harsh conditions that the Rocky Fields throws at them. The Vithe Tribe emphasizes speed in their culture, loving to race each other as a competitive sport. This activity serves both as a training exercise and as a way to show off one's physical prowess, the competitions commonly helping to decide a Vithe's ranking and duties.
They create housing out of the greenish blue grasses that grow in the Great Rocky Fields, making their huts easy to assemble and disassemble quickly. It also gives them some protection, as the structures blend in with the grass, hiding them from the zone's flying predators, such as harpies. The Vithe are particularly well known for their habit of frequently moving around, as if they just can't stand to be in one place for very long. Some individuals, driven by the need to remain on the move, even leave the tribe to wander aimlessly throughout Felarya. Often, such individuals become couriers, selling their natural abilities to deliver messages, news, and warnings quickly. Many a tribe has been saved from a predator's stomach by the timely arrival of a Vithe with a friendly warning. Negav has several nekos of this tribe in its employ, and they can occasionally be seen racing through the streets to deliver their messages punctually.
Of course, some of the nekos who leave the tribe end up running straight down a predator's throat, so to speak; others simply wander around Felarya aimlessly for as long as they live. Nekos of the Vithe tribe who have survived are typically well-traveled and have seen a lot. If you could ever get one of them to sit still long enough to talk to you, who knows what they would tell of the things they have seen during their travels!
Selneit Tribe (destroyed)
Located on the northern side of the Frost Peak Mountains, this tribe was utterly destroyed by Felaryan predators a few years ago. The only known surviving member of this tribe is a female named Shallandra, who has currently taken refuge in the jungle Bowl.
Scorching Claws Tribe
This tribe lives in the Sandfall maze. Their name comes from their powerful fire-imbued weapons and claws, which are very painful. Even a giant harpy quickly learns to avoid contact with their long whips and combat staves. While Scorching Claws nekos still often end up in the bellies of the numerous harpies who inhabit the zone, the nekos have make pacts with a few of the harpy tribes. The pacts are an agreement that the nekos will feed the harpies the much more tasty human travelers they manage to capture in exchange for those harpies not eating the nekos. Surprisingly, the pacts have been upheld by both sides without fail for several years, which has allowed for some very odd (but solid) friendships to form between harpies and nekos.
Broken Hill Tribe (destroyed)
This neko tribe was unusual in not only being nomadic but also in its connection to the spirit world. It is (or was) their tradition to send aspiring shamans out alone into the jungle to contact their spirit guide. This spirit guide is usually the spirit of a deceased member of the tribe who connects to the shaman and shares the benefits of a lifetime of experience with them. Sadly, sometimes a shaman is contacted by a different kind of spirit entirely. It’s not uncommon for shamans to be possessed by malicious spirits, and to sometimes turn into creatures of great evil. Some say a few of these creatures are still roaming around. Sonya is the only known surviving member of the Broken Hill Tribe. The tribe became weakened by repeated assaults from predators, until one day the naga Crisis went on a feeding frenzy and ate what was left of the tribe.
A neko community situated in the eastern part of the continent, a day's walk west of the coast of the Topazial sea, half a day's walk east from the swamps, and south of the Jewel river. Rosic nekos are said to be the origin of the best music that’s ever come out of Felarya. Their village has surprisingly few defenses and they live on the ground, rather than up in the trees. They have developed a very original way of protecting themselves: they use music. They can fight almost as well as the average nekos, but they only ever fight animals, deaf predators, or ones that are too hungry to care about pretty music. Most intelligent predators however, and quite a few of the unintelligent ones too, will look for a different meal in exchange for a song or two. In fact, many of the local predators around the tribe protect the Rosic nekos from the more voracious ones. They don’t want their favorite musicians to become lunch! It’s like the saying goes: "Music soothes the savage stomach" ^^
This has allowed the village to prosper amazingly well. Of course, in order to keep up the high standard and reputation the village has, when young nekos reach maturity they have to pass a test: the Rosic test. On many worlds, in many cultures, youths are sent out into the wilderness to prove themselves. The Rosic test is exactly that: The young nekos go out into the jungle, either by themselves or with a band of friends, and look for a predator. Once they've found one this troupe must use their musical talents to prevent themselves from being devoured. As proof of their deed, the young musician(s) must take a memento from the predator: a naga’s scale, a harpy’s feather, a notch off a mermaid’s fin, etc. If victorious, the youth comes back and begins a career as a music-neko for hire. If the neko fails to impress the predator, they end up making a different kind of music in its stomach. In this way, the tribe weeds out the unskilled, and makes a reputation for itself among the nearby predators... or at least keeps them fed.
- Credits goes to SilentEric for the design and idea of Rosic nekos and the Vithe tribe, to Fish for the Vithe tribe, and to Zoekin for the Broken Hill tribe.