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Created by Entra and incarnated with the souls of Nymphs, the Ochae’nafod inherited the shape-shifting talents of their fae souls and took to shifting forms into creatures of the forest to escape from danger. The Ochae’nafod are broken into many tribes, each bound to a distinct species of animal native the forest which they inhabit. This covers a broad spectrum of wildlife, but only within a certain size range. There is only so much the mass of an Ochae’nafod’s body can be shrunk or expanded. Over time, the various tribes have began to take on subtle traits of their bonded animal’s appearance and characteristics, leading to cultures that are unique from tribe to tribe.

Location and Settlements The Ochae’nafod inhabit mostly forests, including the temperate forests of northern Thiskel and Kalesten to the jungles of Ertia and southern Kalesten. However, some Ochae’nafod tribes inhabit the savannahs of Ertia. Tribes consist of all individuals bonded to a species and may be spread across the continent or continents where their species ranges, and the tribes are broken into small clans that form communities. Clans have very small populations, with only ten to twenty individuals per community, which makes it easier for them to keep hidden.

The construction of Ochae’nafod homes may vary, but they typically meld with the environment, made of growing plants and protected by dense thickets and shrubbery. Communities are often constructed in a ring with homes along the ring and a common area in the center.

Appearance and Garb Ochae’nafod appearances also vary greatly depending on their bonded animal. Originally, they began as delicate, beautiful beings, even the males were quite effeminate and easily confused for women. However, modern day Ochae’nafod can hardly be described the same. Each separate tribe of shape-shifters has taken on subtle features and some personality traits of their bonded animals. These subtle traits included a facial structure that is still human, but reminiscent of their animal in the shape of the nose, cheekbones, and jaw. Height and build are also affected; for example, members of the Ursus (bear) tribe are quite large and stout, while members of the Vulpes (fox) tribe are small and delicate, and Odoco (deer) are willowy and graceful. Eye color often matches the eye color of their bonded animal, and hair color often corresponds to the predominant coat color (though it won’t be patterned or motley). Ochae’nafod skin color, however, is more dependent on their region (northerners will be fairer, while Ertians and southerners are tanner). Some tribes may also have small, permanent traits from their animal, such as small horns, or tufts on the ears (Lynx tribe).

The traits that do remain constant amongst the Ochae’nafod are their long, tapered ears native to all elemental races, and good looks. While they may not have the enchanting beauty of the Nymphs or the ancestral Nafod, they are still often good-looking despite animal traits; they have symmetrical and defined features that are aesthetically pleasing to most people.

Clothing is also varied, but in general carnivore/omnivore tribes will dress in leathers and skins, while herbivore tribes will wear woven fabrics, all of which is also dependent on resources. They do not forge metals for armor or weapons, but they may be outfitted with found, purchased, or traded armor. Most Ochae’nafod prefer clothing that simple and easy to remove as shape-shifting does not include what they wear!

Lifespan and Reproduction Ochae’nafod are one of the longer lived elemental races, most lifespans spanning 1,000 years, regardless of their bonded species’ natural lifespan. Like other elemental races, they mature at the same rate as humans until the age of twenty-five, at which point they cease aging until the final few decades of their life. Nafod can extend the lifespans of their elder fellows through magical intervention with their Life Elementalism, but this is rarely done. After a thousand years, most Ochae’nafod come to terms with their mortality.

Like other Nafod, the Ochae’nafod are slow to reproduce. Females only ovulate one year for every ten years, starting between the age of 16 and 20. Reproduction is not wanton, most children are planned, and females typically have only one child throughout their life—though there are some exceptions to this rule. Even if bonded to an animal that commonly bears litters, Ochae’nafod typically have single births, with twins and other multiple births no more common in occurrence amongst them than other races.

The reproductive proclivities of their bonded species have no impact on how they actually reproduce, though it may influence their relationships and sexual nature. Some Ochae’nafod tribes practice monogamy, others are polygamous, and others prefer short-lived romances with the intention of sexual satisfaction or reproduction.

They can reproduce with—and sometimes maintain relationships with—individuals of other races, which leads to interracial children that may inherit limited shape-shifting abilities and unique traits. They cannot reproduce with animals, and sex with animals is considered taboo, but is known to occur with the animal they are bonded to and in the form of that animal.

When cross-breeding between Ochae’nafod of different tribes occurs, it can mean a number of results. If the two animal species are compatible (like lions and tigers, horses and asses, etc.) the offspring can transform into a hybrid (liger, mule, etc.). If the two animal species are incompatible the offspring may end up being bound to one species or another (random chance) and may have complications with transformation, or they may be completely incapable of shape-shifting.

Religion The Ochae’nafod are devoted followers of Entra, their patron goddess. They honor her by protecting their habitat from unnatural devastation, and caring for the animal life in their region when populations need to be stabilized. Their practice of Life Elementalism is governed by rules set forth by Entra, and she is further honored by adhering to her rules, or risk the loss of one’s abilities. Entra has the power to strip the Nymph from the soul of an Ochae’nafod and leave them powerless.

Magic and Abilities The Ochae’nafod have the inherent ability for Life Elementalism, granted to them on behalf of Entra, though it is not a talent of the Nymphs they are incarnated with. Their ability allows them to manipulate the life-energies of people, animals, and plants. Their abilities are usually only used for beneficial purposes (healing, restoring life force, etc), but they can also drain life force, though doing so risks incurring Entra’s wrath and the punishment of their people if their cause was not justified.

The shape-shifting abilities of Nymphs was inherited by the Ochae’nafod. After their initial creation, they bonded with single species of animals across Aserra, and can shape-shift into their bonded species to varying degrees. They can shift useful features from their bonded species such as fur, claws, or horns, go to an intermediary anthropomorphic form, or fully shift into the animal. Staying in any shifted form requires concentration. If the Ochae’nafod loses consciousness or dies, they will return to their normal form. Experienced shape-shifters can maintain their form while they sleep, but younger ones must hone this talent. Shape-shifting does come naturally from birth, however. Young Ochae’nafod can shape-shift into juvenile forms of their animal at an equivalent stage of development if it would help them escape danger, and sometimes do so just for play. As they mature, they learn mastery over their ability, even without a mentor to guide them.

Ochae’nafod, like all elemental races, have improved hearing in part thanks to their long, tapered ears. Most clans have a heightened sense of smell compared to humans, and is comparable to their bonded species. Vision may also be improved depending on the traits from their species. All enhancements to their senses are tied to their species, however. They are also more inclined to telepathy and empathy than some other races.

Personality Ochae’nafod personalities vary depending on their bonded animal. Predatory tribes are often more primal, while vegetarian clans are peaceful. One thing they usually do share is their regard for nature, and distrust of humans.

Relations Ochae’nafod generally prefer to avoid humans, but they often have close relations to the other elemental races with whom they live alongside. Those that live alongside the Idayn are often kept at arm’s length due to the rigid society of their people, though the Ochae’nafod always open their arms to them. In the Ardir, Fayl’Idayn and Ochae’nafod often live alongside each other and even intermarry. Ochae’nafod and Ur’Idayn of the southern rain forests of Kalesten usually keep their distance from each other, as the Ochae’nafod are often untrusting of the primal nature of the Ur’Idayn. Other races such as Brech’mar, Zaedyn, Asath, Eain’Idayn, and Oir’Idayn that share their regions are usually on good terms with them. Kuzo are occasionally a threat to them.