Verdant Hollow Guardians

Herd
Hidden in the forest, these Enivi are more "one with nature" than any other herd.

 

The Druaesi are secretive and watchful. Living deep within the Dark Forest, these Enivi have kept to themselves since their creation. Now, their leader Rowan has decided it is time to meet the other herds, and to give the herds a chance to know them as more than monsters in the deep, but as the protectors of the Verdant Hollow.

 

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Physical Appearance

The smallest of any known herd, the Druaesi are also the most unique.
Following the will of their deity, Druae, these Enivi have taken on pieces of their environment to build their physical forms.
Their bodies are often a strange mix of flesh, plants, and stone, all working together and held by their personal magic. 
Their soul orbs are generally stored within a protective slot in their throat, chest, or abdomen, which helps hide the glow and keeps the Druaesi hidden.

Druaesi each have a particular 'mask' that can be worn to show their family line or special abilities. These are often crafted by their parents at birth, or may be recreated later as the Druaesi ages to better reflect their view of themself. 

Their glowing eyes and unusual appearance have made other herds reluctant to befriend the Druaesi.

 

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Culture

Druaesi are a secretive herd of Enivi that reside within the Verdant Hollow, a well-defended area located deep within the Dark Forest.

Led by their Monarch, the herd is divided into countless sub-sections that gather together to celebrate births, mourn deaths, and honor Druae, who the Druaesi claim still walks among them.
The Monarch is not chosen by the Enivi nor by Druae, but instead simply steps into the position and begins to lead when the previous leader 'withers', or steps down from the position. The Monarch is expected to defend the herd as a whole, give direction in times of need, and keep the teachings of Druae alive in the herd when Druae is not present. 
The previous Monarch often falls into an advisory role and shares their wisdom and experience with the Monarch until they return to the soil.

Kids in the Druaesi herd are raised primarily by their parents, though the rest of the community is often viewed as family as well. Education is more often than not nature-based, as the herd doesn't have much contact with the outside world.

Much of their teachings involve natural magic, communicating with the flora and fauna in their area, herbal studies, and basic survival skills like hunting and securing your home.

While you'll find no large farms or fisheries in the Verdant Hollow, the Druaesi do keep small, hidden garden plots to grow a variety of useful herbs. They also hunt for food through the forest and are primarily carnivorous and insectivores. 

Although Druaesi life is peaceful and they are well versed in herbology and survival, having been kept away from the other herds for so long meant they do not share the same values regarding traditional education. Many of the other herds view them as "dull" or even monsters within the Dark Forest.

The current Monarch, Rowan, has been working to dismiss that stereotype and to share their rich culture with the other herds.

 

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Beliefs

The Druaesi believe the best way to honor Druae is to honor their environment.
Living with and becoming part of the natural world around them helps them stay connected to their home, their deity, and to one another.

 

Druae's Silent Aid

Long ago, when Eniv was still Na, and the world was still being formed, Druae watched quietly as their more outspoken siblings took on bold and daring tasks to form the world.
Druae looked upon the collaboration. While there was potential, much still seemed to have been overlooked. Yes, the nava would be warmed by the sun, watched over by the stars, and brought to peace by the vesper, but what of the world around them?
The ground lay hard and barren, so Druae began to walk silently through the rough stone and dirt, and with each step greenery grew. They continued onward, walking through valleys and over hills and mountains, spreading life wherever they went. 
With each plant that grew, Druae left a piece of themself behind to nurture the new life.
When they were done, and the ground was green, they watched tiredly as their siblings congratulated themselves on a job well done. 
Lonely, but too shy to speak out, Druae set to work again. This time, they carved an intricate mask from bark borrowed from a nearby tree. They then plucked one of their own bones from their body and entwined it with plants and magic.

This is how the first Druaesi was born, and why they are still so close to their deity to this day.

Associated Location

Herdland: The Verdant Hollow