When the Setlians first discovered Templehelm, they found that it has been inhabited by various native cultures. They were the Giants, buried in great tombs; the Aurites, who worshiped themselves; the Apothic Knights, and their ancient god; and the many varieties of seemingly elfin tribes.
"Who are you?" asked the settlers.
But the early natives did not have a name for themselves.
The natives replied, "Whom are we?"
"What foolish humans," they say, "to ask us who we are."
Húmari is the all-encompassing term used first by Emeraldite Scholars to refer to any of the Templehelm natives part of the same race of animistic humanoids that do not belong to the Giants, the early Zeolites, the Aurites, or the early Mycelyites. This term is, in fact, born of a misunderstanding that occurred between early Emeraldite scholars and a tribal leader.
In modern times, these peoples are simply called "natives," rather than the scholarly term húmari. The natives themselves do not have a name for their own race - they had never needed to use one to discern themselves from the Aurites and Zeolites. Usually, one would refer to his or herself based on the name of their community.
Sometimes the word húmari is mistakenly thought of as a native word.
The natives are fae humanoids that are easily mistaken as Elves. However, they are not part of the Elven race.
They are slender beings usually no taller than 6 feet/182 cm, they have strong, flexible bodies.
They have bat-like ears shaped to hear hidden sounds, though the size of these ears varies by tribe. They have eyes with large pupils and irises, that dilate on command in order to aid vision, and reflect light in a similar manner to animals. Their eyes vary between shades of gold, brown, green, and grey. Their facial features are generally reminiscent of the humans of the Far East. They have hair that grows in hues between auburn and black. The hair colour of silver, or white, is present in most bloodlines but rarely manifests as it is a recessive trait.
Infants are born pale, almost grey. Skin pigmentation appears with sun exposure, staining their colourless skin with caramel shades of brown. Babes age at the same rate as human infants, until a certain point at which the process begins to slow. Children age slowly - taking almost twice as long as humans to mature. However, Templehelm is a dangerous place, and many natives die before reaching the later years adulthood. They do not have much luck with the Templehelm Effect, and more often than not, one death may be the last. Templehelm is an unforgiving mistress, and history tells of various native tribes finding a tragic end. Learning from the past, surviving groups try to live in peaceful solace.
Masks play an important role in all tribes. Masks exist to mark the traits, actions, and roles of certain people.
- Mothers wear masks, so that their children will never see their face until she decides her children are ready. This is so that children first appreciate her for her actions, and not for her potential beauty.
- Singers and Dancers wear masks, for song and dance is treasured in their society. Ancient verses form the basis of many incantations, called spellsongs, and entertainment music is mostly vocal, with rhythms from the warping of fabric and the tapping of a dancer's footsteps. Some forms of hand-to-hand combat are modeled after acrobatic dance. When the first harps were invented from bows, these musicians also wore masks.
- Hunters wear masks. There is a different mask for certain combat professions for a hunter. A spearman's mask helps protect and hide him on the ground, while an archer's mask helps protect and hide him in the trees, or wherever their perches may be.
- Warriors generally wear masks, because people who have killed other people wear masks. When tribes goes to war, it is not unusual to see an army of masked men in combat with another army of masked men.
- Masks can serve as spiritual mediums by which ghosts and spirits can communicate. Haunted masks are one of the more sinister artifacts left behind by the Húmari peoples.
The purpose and reasoning behind a mask varies between individual and their specific subculture. Nevertheless, masks will always remain a distinct part of native culture.
Animals play a large role in society. While some human civilizations may have "spirit animals" and astrological "star signs," the tribesmen of Templehelm have their animal signs. When one finds themself to have an affinity for certain creatures, they acquire a totem or effigy of that creature. The animal signs most common are the wolf, bird, ocelot, lamb, hop, fish, and oliphaunt.
The entire list is:
Birds, Canines, Lamb, Hop (Rodent of any kind, usually a rabbit), Fish, Oliphaunt (new age animal sign brought about by the appearance of oliphaunts in the Savannas), Felines, Serpent (applies to all long-bodied reptiles), Deer, Boar, Wyrm (Dragons and Dragon-ken)...
Finding one's animal sign could take years. Sometimes one could not even have an animal sign. Sometimes, finding an animal sign is less than pleasant - such as many close encounters with dangerous creatures.
The Diet of a usual native is comprised mostly of fish, game, and scavenged fruits and vegetables. Wild fruits are often turned into various sauces, beverages, and candies, served upon meat and fish. It is a common belief amongst the youth that farmed food is weak, and will make them and their children weak. If a plant needs help growing, it is weak and not worth eating.
Ethnicities, Tribes, etc.
Pohawten Village was the last refuge of the remnants of The Brothers' Unity, a confederacy of tribes led by their eldest brother Warchief Pohawten. Slowly dwindling, it survived the trials and tribulations of war, peacetime, and degradation, until finally falling to ruin at the advent of the 2nd Deiotakas and the Great Upheaval. They were the most well known for their historical contributions, such as the revival of the endangered Witch Trees, the creation of the Sun Peach, and the overgrowth of Darkroot Territory.
Dese Vukrr is a tribe which survived until the 1st Deiotakas. They left their original territory behind and became known as the Eaqe Vukrr. Unlike most modern Húmari, this tribe interbred with humans and has lost certain signifiers of their heritage. Being the most open to new concepts, they welcomed other races into their village, making them honourary Eaqe Vukrr, so long as they worshiped Wildaven.
When the Setlians came, the sorcerer Oroses led his disciples deep underground, where they would be hidden from most other beings for many ages. Due to their isolation, they slowly adapted to their environment. Their skin is ashen, nearly translucent at birth, and their eyes sharp in the darkest of nights. Their ears are also more pronounced. It was said that they had good relations with the Giants, for they too had a city underground. Unlike their brethren, they can grow to be taller than 6 feet/2 metres.
The Jungle Wraith, known as Nur-Han by his lover, Kaman, was among the many spirits quieted by the descendants of their supposed union. The descendants of the priestess of the Haunted Jungle are said to linger there still, practicing rituals to appease many restless souls.