The Kiar (ki:.ɑ:r) are a diminutive and short-lived race that diverged from humans early on in Aserran prehistory. They currently inhabit the prairies of North Kalesten, but the Kiar originated in valleys of the western mountain range of Ageond. They lived in seclusion, until the War of the Gods when servants of Darkness fell upon the Kiar and twisted them to serve the Dark Gods. Those who succumbed would be the progenitors of the kuzo.
The Kiar race was decimated, but survivors were able to flee west by sea to Kalesten where the survivors established a new society. Today, many modern Kiar keep to themselves, occupying small villages outside of the borders of Chawoven, Belvon, and Serdenaugh. Though there are some that live within these nations. Chawoven affords the Kiar special protections, allowing them to live in peace. In Serdenaugh, Kiar try to maintain a separation from the nation, but are responsible for their own protection and often pay tribute to warlords to secure peace. In Belvon, Kiar are integrated into human society, and while they have their differences in lifespan, the quick minds of the Kiar are highly valued and respected in the industrious nation.
The most marked difference between Kiar and humans is their lifespan and size. Despite this, they are capable of reproducing with most other humanoid races. Due to their short lifespan, Kiar also have fast metabolisms in comparison to humans.
Kiar appear to be miniaturized versions of humans with perfectly scaled proportions. The average male Kiar is around 4’5” (130cm) and the average female around 4’ (120cm) when fully grown. They have a variety of body types, just like humans, and can put on fat and muscle in the same patterns. However, the Kiar metabolism is faster than humans, which makes gaining and losing fat and muscle mass relatively faster in Kiar.
The Kiar are mostly fair in features with pale to tan skin. Their hair and eye color cover a similar range as humans. Hair texture is straight to curly, often fine and soft. Kiar in the southern prairies are now tending toward tan complexions and darker hair and eyes, though their ancestors who fled Ageond had light complexions, much like northern Europeans in our world. As with humans, Kiar have small, rounded ears that lay close to the head.
Kiar have a lifespan of generally around 30 years, though this varies depending on environmental factors and health. Their aging process is similar to humans, only it progresses far more rapidly, around 33% faster. A year and a half old Kiar is the equivalent of a five-year-old human child; a three-year-old Kiar is the same as a 10-year-old human; four and a half years is equal to 15; six years is equal to 20, and so on. Whereas humans reach the peak of the development at 25, Kiar are fully mature at around seven and a half years of age. Thus, for the Kiar, 30 years is the equivalent of 100 years for a human. Since most humans do not actually live to 100 (and few live longer), many Kiar see severe health declines by age 20 and pass away in their twenties. A few may live into their thirties.
Kiar reach reproductive age around their fourth year, the equivalent of the early teenage years in humans. Many young Kiar marry and begin having children around age five or six.
Kiar pregnancies last around three months and female Kiar tend to have many children throughout their lives, especially in rural villages. Thankfully, the reproductive cycle in Kiar women does not occur more frequently than in humans, spanning a month. Kiar menstruate like human women, but it only lasts a day or two. They are also able to conceive around once a month, adding an element of control to an otherwise rapid reproductive cycle. As in humans, ovulation is also suppressed by lactation, so Kiar women are not likely to become pregnant soon after giving birth. However, Kiar still face many of the same risks of childbirth as human women and have a similar maternal and infant mortality rate.
Kiar are able to reproduce with other human-like races, but such unions are rare, even in places where they intermingle. Outside of cultural differences, issues of size and lifespan are often a barrier to romance. Half-Kiar born of such a union tend to mature quicker and have a shorter lifespan than their non-Kiar parent's race, but slower growth and a longer lifespan than their Kiar parent.
Kiar are primarily agrarian and their diet is very similar to humans—only smaller in portion. They grow a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains, and raise animals small enough to manage. They tend to small varieties of chicken, ducks, and other fowl for eggs and meat. For milk and meat, they rely on goats and sheep, of which they have several small breeds that are easier for them to maintain. Other small animals, such as rabbits, can be kept for meat as well. Some Kiar participate in limited hunting and forging, and if near a water source, they fish as well.
Due to the differences between Kiar, humans, and other races, most Kiar societies keep to themselves and maintain their own traditions. They place high value on their concrete knowledge and are fastidious record-keepers, however they place little value in more abstract concepts such as religion or magic. Most Kiar are very invested in their agrarian lifestyle, though some integrate with humans.
With their short life-spans, Kiar are especially adaptable. Little remains of their original culture on Ageond, but primarily by choice. Kiar will readily release themselves of traditions that no longer serve them. Their original language has been largely forgotten, instead opting to adopt local languages to communicate with human neighbors. However, their history as a greater whole is not forgotten. They maintain accounts of the pogrom on Ageond, the voyage to Kalesten, their struggles pioneering in a new land, and their experiences during the Cataclysm. These records were oral for their early generations in resettlement and throughout the Cataclysm, but were put to paper as soon as they found stability, and have been transcribed and translated across their multitude of generations.
Kiar record-keeping is renowned for it's precision and practicality. With their short lifespans, Kiar tend to be quick learners and the written word is the fastest way for them to absorb the knowledge of their elders outside of practice. Every Kiar village has a library of histories and accumulated knowledge and each household has its own library of familial histories, recipes, records, almanacs, and educational materials for their children, all of which are updated as needed.
Despite this wealth of the written word, Kiar are not particularly fond of fiction or religious texts. The closest they get to any sort of storytelling is their own racial and familial history. Fiction is seen as non-essential clutter in their memories, wasting time (of which Kiar have a limited supply) that could be put to use with more practical information.
Gender and Relationships
Overall, Kiar societies tends toward a patriarchal model, or at least a division of labor based on gender. Their structures tend to be quite rigid; men are responsible for the heavier labor of farming, construction, and animal husbandry. Women are responsible for the bulk of child-rearing, food preparations, maintaining the household, and managing resources. Both genders participate in planting and harvesting, general record-keeping, and village governance. Deviance from the typical order is frowned upon, so any individuals who feel as if they do not fit the mold of "man" or "woman" often find themselves forced to adapt or be ostracized.
Kiar follow a monogamous marriage model with a strong emphasis on having multiple children. Couples marry between four and five years of age, often choosing their own spouse, though family may make recommendations and arrange meetings. Before any marriage, family trees are closely examined to avoid inbreeding within a set number of generations. Kiar are rarely unfaithful to their spouses, but in the event of a spouse's death, remarriage is an option for an individual who is young enough to still have children. Elder Kiar rarely, if ever, remarry. The value of marriage, in their society, is to create a cohesive unit to produce future generations, not as much for companionship. They also tend to live in extended familial households, so loneliness is rarely an issue.
When it comes to romantic relationships outside the heterosexual norm, Kiar tend to avoid the issue. Same-sex dalliances are an open secret, but so long as the participants are still maintaining a fruitful marriage with the opposite gender, it is dismissed as simple sexual gratification. However, were an individual to forswear marriage to the opposite gender, they face ostracization.
The Kiar are non-religious, though not atheistic or agnostic. Rather, the simply do not concern themselves with the practice of worship. They acknowledge the existence of gods, but they see no benefit to pleading for divine favors that may or may not be granted. Instead, they are a highly practical people who rely on their own power to meet their needs.
Much as with religion and fiction, magic has no place in Kiar society. They are not incapable of it and have the same potential for magic as humans. Their ability to absorb knowledge would make them ideal mages, but very few ever pursue it. Those that feel a calling or have a fascination with magic do so amongst humans or other races and leave Kiar society behind them. Kiar are also typically very scared of magic.
The Kiar intermingle with humans more than any other race and often trade with them. With their aversion to magic, they tend to be wary of the elemental races. For the most part, Kiar keep to themselves, with some exceptions. Belvonese Kiar are heavily invested in the nation, alongside humans, but still tend to group together in their own neighborhoods.