IndroductionEditThe word “Hengeyokai” refers to both the race and culture of the Heneyokai Clans, a powerful, if reclusive, interstellar culture that spans across thousands of distant galaxies. Known throughout the 'verse by many names, the Hengeyokai are considered an old race, once thought extinct by many of the current powers in the core of the galaxies.
Throughout the ages, the Hengeyokai's influence has waxed and waned on far distant worlds. Never numbering in large numbers, their influence has been the control of key worlds and pathways though the slipstream, making them powerful players in the intergalactic travel and trade lanes.
The Hengeyokai have recently become more active in interstellar affairs, emerging from an extended period of reclusiveness to reclaim many lost colonies following an event they refer to as “the awakening”. The new colonies of the protectorate are beacons of knowledge, culture and learning. They house libraries, galleries and institutes of education as well as being power projection platforms for the Hengeyokai agenda.
The Hengeyokai maintain control of a widely distributed number of worlds collectively known as “the Protectorate”. While the Protectorate numbers in the hundreds or thousands of worlds, their wide dispersion (often a single world in an entire galaxy or galaxy cluster) belies the size and power of the Clans.
Typical Protectorate worlds are very old, orbiting Red and Brown Dwarf stars in dwarf galaxies known as very small Mallengetic Clouds. These locations are often natural meetings of multiple slip-pathways, and home to ancient facilities common to Hengeyokai worlds.
Hengeyokai Colonies typically blend with the natural environment as the Clans are not prone to building large cities. While small, the colonies typically house advanced technologies and facilities to support both the Hengeyokai Sentai, as well as the colonists who settle with them.
While the Protectorate is widely dispersed, making its defense more difficult than a contiguous territory in a galaxy core, the Hengeyokai's access to the Slipstream and slip-travel via the Star Gate or Astria Portia network allows for quick reinforcement and communication between worlds. This quick access and means of travel makes the Protectorate much more closely knit than it seems.
The nature of Slip Travel as well, makes war against the deep space colonies much more difficult than it may first appear as the Large Warships typical of modern militaries are unable to travel the stream without the cooperation of the receiving location.
The Clans are organized into a Caste system, with the Hengeyokai themselves at the top of the ruling structure.
Hengeyokai (Ruling) Caste:Edit
The ruling Caste of the Protectorate are thinly spread in Sentai throughout the colonized worlds, providing leadership and protection for the many people of Hengeyokai society.
Consisting primary of the Colonial Rangers and their Trueborn kin, the Warrior Caste provides leadership and protection in the Sentai's absence. Often fighting alongside the Crinos warriors of the Fera, that Caste is widely respected (and feared) throughout Hengeyokai culture.
Consisting of Artists, Scientists, Educators and Physicians, the Artisan Caste is focused on the continued technological and cultural development of the Hengeyokai people as well as the protection of culture and knowledge. Many Trueborn Kinfolk are members of the Artisan Caste, as are many washouts from the Agoge's difficult Warrior Caste training program.
Tasked with the exchange of goods and ideas between peoples, the Merchant Caste is an important source of influence and income to the Hengeyokai. The Caste counts many Romani Kinfolk among its members.
The upkeep, repair and operation of technology and equipment is the purview of the Technician Caste. Members of the Caste include important, (yet less skilled) disciples of the Artisan Caste, such as paramedics, mechanics and engineers.
Members of this Caste farm the fields, move the cargo, operate factories and provide all basic services within the Protectorate. In short, it is composed of all the common free citizens.
Bondsmen and Slaves, including those taken as isolra. The Ward Caste consists of those not free by a matter of law or circumstance to include those who would commonly be referred to as slaves in other cultures. Hengeyokai take a unique view on slavery, seeing it as a temporary condition of service and consider such people wards of the Hengeyokai. There are stiff penalties for the mistreatment of such people within the protectorate.
The criminal, outcast and disgraced. The dark caste has no voice in Hengeyokai affairs.
The Hengeyokai appear to be a diverse people. Organized into Clans, each centered around a Totem animal, each clan counts both “man” and “beast” among their number. The Hengeyokai refer to themselves as “Fera”, with three distinct “breeds” among their kind: Homid, Crinos and Dyret. Each clan also claims kinship with many of the diverse people of the 'verse, these Kinfolk play a unique and important role in Hengeyokai society.
Homids are the Humanoid races of the Hengeyokai. Most often they are human in appearance but may also take on the various racial appearances of many of the diverse humanoid races that populate the 'verse. The age of the Hengeyokai people, and their dispersion though the 'verse would likely account for this diversity. Homids are the most likely Hengeyokai to be encountered by visitors to the Protectorate and abroad, as they head most Hengeyokai diplomatic efforts and delegations with outsiders, or “gaje” as they are often referred to.
Crinos are the powerful warriors of the Hengeyokai people. Often standing over two or three meters tall, the Crinos give the Hengeyokai their well deserved reputation as a warrior people. Crinos appear in all clans, a powerful representation of the clan's totem, blending the beastly appearance of the totem with the homid form on a massive scale. Crinos Fera have shown themselves to be a match for many of the elite warrior races of the 'verse, engaging Jedi, Sith, Spartans, Elites, Jaffa, Ori and a host of others. Their natural strength and agility puts them on even ground with the many versions of power armor employed by the younger races.
While they often shy from the overt use of technology themselves, the Hengeyokai are a technologically advanced people, and while not obvious, their Crinos warriors often employ technologies which level the battlefield. Of all the Hengeyokai people, Crinos are reported to be the most “force sensitive” exhibiting unique abilities often compared to the famed Jedi Knights of the Republic. Crinos are dangerous opponents in battle, but are rarely encountered outside of the Protectorate.
Dyret are the animal species of the Fera. They are the animal species totem of each Clan of the Hengeyokai. Dyret appear to be the strongest, healthiest examples of the Totem species, and often appear to posses greater than animal intelligence. Dyret come in two sizes, that of the common animal species itself, and a larger, “Dire” size. Like Homids, Dyret are represented by the many subspecies of the totem animals, found throughout the 'verse.
Kinfolk make up a large percentage of the population of the Hengeyokai Protectorate. As an old race who have been scattered across the 'vesre, the Hengeyokai have had contact with many people on many worlds. Some of these peoples are now considered Kin to the Hengeyokai. What constitutes Kinship remains somewhat of a mystery to outsiders, though it has been postulated that some shared linage at least partially exists between the Fera and their Kinfolk.
Kinfolk are spread throughout the Clan's Castes, though they tend to rise much faster to the higher castes than freeborns, or gaje. Many Kinfolk and Hengeyokai intermarry, as it seems to be the cultural norm for the ruling caste to take a mate from among the Trueblood, as the Kinfolk are often called.
The Hengeyokai regularly return lost Kinfolk to Hengeyokai society, with an active program of resettlement for families discovered to be Kin on Hengeyokai worlds within the protectorate. Orphan Kinfolk are recruited into the sibko's of the Agogee, where they are trained to join the elite Warrior Caste.
Regardless of their origin or Caste, Kinfolk enjoy many benefits and increased opportunities within Hengeyokai Society.
The Hengeyokai are organized into thirteen clans, each having its own rich history, culture and values. The Clans are united by the Grand Council, a governing body which can issue decrees applicable to all Clans. Each Clan is represented by a Khan and saKhan. During times of war, the Grand Council is headed by an ilKhan.
The Grand Council meets at the Salr, located on the Hengeyokai and Clan Wolf capital world of Fenris.
Each clan is organized into Tribes, Khanates and Sentai. Tribes traditionally organized by Fera of shared linage and heritage act as cultural sub divisions within the Clans. Khanates are political organizations of several Colonies and their associated Sentai, headed by a Khan. Sentai are the smallest grouping of Hengeyokai, usually numbering two to seven Hengeyokai. Sentai are located at each Hengeyokai colony, and act as both the ruling caste as well as the official Hengeyokai presence, responsible for the colonists and safety of the protectorate. In modern times, Sentai often contain members of multiple clans. Sentai of a single clan are often known by their clan's designations, such as Packs in Clan Wolf, Prides in Clan Bastet, and Pods in Clan Cetacean.
Clan Wolf, also known within the Hengeyokai as the Garou, is the largest, most powerful Clan of the Hengeyokai. Clan Wolf is the most militant clan, producing the most warriors and largest war parties of all the Hengeyokai. The Garou also operate the Agoge and train the Colonial Rangers on their home world of Fenris.
A large influential Clan, the Bastet have often operated separately from the rest of the Hengeyokai. Always a secretive and private people, even among the Hengeyokai the Clan has recently returned to the Grand Council, due in no small part to their young Khan's actions during the Awakening. The Bastet have been a foil to the Wolves agenda in the Grand Council for many generations.
Clan Fox, also known as the Kitsune, have maintained a small but influential presence in the Grand Council over the years. Often working as the Hengeyokai's Ambassadors, the Kitsune have a natural affinity for such work.
Embracing technology more than any other Clan, the “Spiders” of clan Ananasi produce and educate the most talented scientists in the Protectorate. The Ananasi's close relationship with the weaver is a matter of contention within the Hengeyokai.
Also Known as the Nagah, Clan Serpent is even more reclusive than the Bastet. The Nagah are talented Assassins, and on more than one occasion a problem for the Hengeyokai, or within them, has quietly been removed from the equation due to the silent efforts of the Clan.
Nezumi are a dezgra Clan, along with their Totem Rat, the Nezumi defied the Grand Council at the end of the Fourth Age. Subject to a trial of Grievance with Clan Wolf, the Nezumi were defeated and caste out of Hengeyokai Society. While Nezumi still exist on the fringes of Hengeyokai society, they and their kin are members of the Dark Caste.
Also known as the Rokea, this clan has Shark as a Totem. Native to aquatic worlds, Same-Bito care little for more Terrestrial issues and thus their influence with the Grand Council suffers. Given that life in the 'verse is almost universally tied to water, the Same-Bito are however, never very far from Hengeyokai Affairs.
Also Known as the Corax, are the only avian Totem in the Clans. Clan Raven serves as the Clans' messengers and pilots. Clan Raven has long played the intermediary between the various clans and has a long, close association with Clan Wolf.
Claiming to be the oldest among the clans, Clan Dragon known by many names including the Zhong Lung & Mokole. Dragon is a powerful Totem in Hengeyokai myth, and appears in the mythology and lore of many people throughout the verse. The Clan suffered greatly during the War of Rage, in the Fourth Age, never fully recovering from their terrible losses at the hands of Clan Wolf.
Closely related to Clan Wolf, the Ajaba were believed lost in the War of Rage along with the Camazotz, Apis and Grondr. Recently emerging from hiding, the surviving Ajaba and their Kin participated in the Awakening and have returned to the Grand Council. Much friction remains between them and the Wolves, though the current leaders of both Clans seek to reintegrate the Ajaba into Hengeyokai Society.
The Gurahl of Clan Ursine also suffered greatly during the War of Rage. Retreating from Hengeyokai culture for many generations, the Clan returned to the Grand Counsel during the Fifth age and was key in healing the rift between the other Clans and Clan Wolf. The Gurahl are noted healers of both body and spirit among the Hengeyokai, and often side with Clan Bastet as a counter to Clan Wolf's power in the Grand Council.
The Nuwisha of Clan Coyote have a long history as being a foil to the larger, stronger Clan Wolf. Coy and tricksters by nature, like their totem, Clan Coyote has often succeeded by guile where some of the other clans failed by force of arms.
The youngest of the Clans, the Cetacean are also an aquatic people, having much the same concerns as the Same-Bito. While the Same-Bito have the Wolf's parchment for dealing with their problems head on, in battle, the Cetacean are more like their Kitsune and Coyote brethren, preferring to deal in guile and diplomacy where possible.
Clan Camazotz: An Avian People, of Totem Bat, the Camazotz were lost during the War of Rage in the Fourth Age.
Clan Apis: Once the People of the Minotaur, the Apis were lost during the War of Rage. Unlike the Camazotz, many of the Apis Kin were known to survive, and can be found on worlds scattered throughout the 'verse.
Clan Grondr: The last Clan to be lost during the War of Rage, the Grondr were not lost solely at their brethren's hand, but were believed to have fallen to the wyrm after their numbers had been depleted in battle. While true Grondr, and their Totem Boar, have fallen, their Kin are said to have been twisted into the race of Ork.
Cosmology & Beliefs:Edit
The Hengeyokai believe that the 'verse is composed of two parts, the physical world, or Realm, and the Sprit world, or the Umbra. Both halves make up Gaia. Gaia is in a constant state of flux, with three forces of the Triat, eternally fighting for control.
The primal forces of the Triat represent the interplay and opposition of the forces of creation, stasis, and destruction. These primal forces are embodied by powerful, multifaceted spiritual entities: The Wyld (a force of chaotic creation), the Weaver (a force of rigid stasis), and the Wyrm (a force of corrupting destruction).
The Hengeyokai believe that the three members of the Triat were balanced with one another in the beginning. Creation began with the Wyld. The Wyld is chaos and the infinite realm of possibility, constantly swirling with change, shifting forms endlessly. From the Wyld's heedless creation came growth. The Weaver, the embodiment of order, selected portions of creation from the Wyld and gave them structure; kept them from dissolving back into chaos at the moment of their birth. In doing so, the Weaver began to create the fabric of the universe - the Pattern Web. The Wyrm was once the restorer of balance. Residing between the Pattern Web and the chaos of the Wyld, it ensured that neither the order of the Weaver nor the chaos of the Wyld prevailed throughout reality, removing all that was not harmonious.
According to Hengeyokai myth, this was the true cosmological cycle of chaos, creation, and destruction. It lasted an eternity, but was ultimately shattered when the Weaver gained consciousness. The Hengeyokai disagree on exactly how this happened. Regardless, the Weaver subsequently tried to spin the entire Wyld into full, patterned existence. The futility of such an impossible task drove the Weaver insane. In its desperation, the Weaver ensnared the Wyrm within the Pattern Web in its pursuit of the Wyld, in turn driving the Wyrm insane as well. Now the balance of pattern and chaos has been replaced by stagnation and decay, as the Weaver madly weaves its patterns unchecked or balanced while the Wyrm, trapped within the Pattern Web, works to devour Gaia and destroy all of creation from the inside out.
At once the most simply motivated and the least understood of the Triat, the Wyld is an unpredictable force that has little interest in hierarchies, fixed domains, or even names (naming, according to myth, is a creation of the Weaver). At its most extreme it represents creative chaos unbridled by rules. At more subdued levels, however, it is associated with untamed nature. As such, it does not so much create realms for itself as it brushes past places, objects, and beings, leaving its mark on them. In keeping with its total disinterest in civilization, its few servitors in the physical world (labeled "Gorgons" by the Garou) are wild animals blessed with unique abilities, acting as paragons of their species. Needless to say, no two Gorgons are alike, and many seem not to have a clear purpose - they simply exist. In the Deep Umbra, the Wyld is the most powerful member of the Triat. In the physical Realm, however, the Wyld is the least powerful of the Triat. Its very essence, limitless possibility, is constantly forced from the physical world by the Weaver and humanity's focus upon "logic" and "reason." As logic is forced upon an illogical world, there is less and less room for the magic of uncaused change.
According to Hengeyokai lore, the Weaver is responsible for three things inescapably associated with the rise of civilization: Dogma (the superior virtue of one idea over another), Science (a process for evaluating empirical knowledge about the universe), and Technology (the use of tools of increasing sophistication to enhance the abilities of an individual or group). Unlike the Wyld (which has no clear agenda) and the Wyrm (which is too schizophrenic to pursue a unified agenda), the Weaver pursues its agenda of rigid stasis (i.e. an eternally unchanging universe) with total clarity. To achieve its goals, the Weaver primarily relies on a vastly complex hierarchy of hyper-specialized spirits. These spirits engage in such diverse actions as calcification.
The Wyrm is the bringer of the apocalypse. Trapped in a prison named Malfeas, the Wyrm has formed a microcosm of the Triat. The Wyrm within the Wyrm is the Defiler Wyrm, the face of corruption. The Weaver within the Wyrm is the Eater-of-Souls, the face of consumption. The Wyld within the Wyrm is the Beast-of-War, the face of calamity. According to Hengeyokai lore, though the Wyrm makes use of a powerful army of spirits in a manner similar to the Weaver, the Wyrm most favors the subversion of existing entities. To this end, entire groups and societies have turned themselves over to the Wyrm and represent many of its most powerful servitors. The Wyrm employs this strategy because non-spirits do not have their nature written in stone and are therefore easier to subvert and because the Realm as a physical domain is the Wyrm's primary battleground. If the Realm falls to the Wyrm, the spirit world (which reflects reality in large part) will fall as well. The Hengeyokai see themselves as locked in eternal battle, to regain the balance of the traid. To this end, they battle the forces of stasis and destruction, safeguarding knowledge, culture and the wyld nature of the 'verse where it can be found.
The Wheel of Ages:Edit
Hengeyokai view history as being divided into major periods of time. Hengeyokai believe that Gaia set forth twelve periods in time. Recent events have been concluded to usher in the sixth age, with the Awakening signaling a shift from the Age of Shadows, to the Age of Awakening. The six known ages are:
Age of the Dawning - The First Age, in which the 'verse was created.
Age of the Ten Thousand Things - The Second Age, when the worlds between flesh and sprit began to divide themselves.
Age of Legends - The Third Age, when the realm began to become what it is today; a time of the first peoples.
Age of Testing - The Fourth Age, when war came to the Hengeyokai and the first peoples and their power began to wane and splinter.
Age of Shadows - The Fifth Age, when the children of the first people's rose to power, splintered and divided, without the knowledge of the old ways, giving rise to the Weaver and Wyrm in the realm.
Age of Awakening - The Sixth Age, that which is becoming. With the seeding of knowledge throughout the 'verse, the opportunity exists for the shadows of the Fifth Age to be replaced with the light of the Awakening. Or it is a time for the 'verse to pass further into darkness, time will yet tell.
The Hengeyokai Clans as a whole adhere to a fairly strict honor system, encapsulated in a set of rules known as Zellbrigen. While some Clans are far more strict and conservative than others, all Clans follow this concept of honor to some extent. Among other things, this code exhorts personal ability and efficiency above all. It formalizes most combats and many decision-making processes into a set of Trials, such as Trials of Position to earn rank, Trials of Possession to claim a resource held by another, and Trials of Refusal to legally refute the order of a superior officer or ruling body. It also encourages proxy battles and token fights in the form of a bidding process to minimize the forces involved in combat, and duels to minimize actual fighting while, again, emphasizing individual combat prowess. The Clan honor rules also discourage any type of involvement of non-combatants in combat, and strongly discourage wasting resources (such as urban areas, factories, and starports) in combat.
Outlander's typical lack of adherence to honor, and willingness to go to almost any lengths to win, are the primary reasons the Hengeyokai rarely work directly with outside militaries, who many consider to be barbaric. Foes who make egregious violations of the rules of honor may find themselves the subject of a form of Trial of Annihilation, where the Clans forgo the Honor Rules in order to prevent a greater destruction. Such instances are always the subject to decree by the appropriate Clan Council.
Shrink not from the tasks which have been given to you
Guard the wheel that it may turn in fullness
Presume not to instruct your cousin in his task
Honor your territory in all things
Honor the pacts with the spirit world
Let no one violate the sacred places
War only upon those who serve the unbalanced
Let mercy guide you in Gaia's court
The destruction of the War of Rage during the Fourth Age shook Hengeyokai society. The loss of three full clans, and the damage done to others, left the Hengeyokai a shadow of their former might. ilKhan Urvern Darkwatch determined that war would not claim the Hengeyokai, as it had so many of the first peoples. Instead of banning warfare, which he considered part of the natural order of things, he decided to control the scope of the destruction, and regain balance though rites and rituals. Thus, the Six Trials of Combat were established.
Most trials begin with a ritual challenge called a Batchall, where the challenger declares his/her name, the type of trial and other parameters depending on the type of trial. In most trials, the challenger and the challenged then perform bidding for the forces each will use in the battle. Each bid is less than the previous bid, causing both parties to keep undercutting each other until they reach the minimum amount of force. This is partly because to win with fewer forces is more glorious, but also minimizes the destructive waste created by the trial.
The trial is fought in a “circle of equals”. The circle is an area that the combat occurs in while peer warriors encircle the perimeter. During the trial no warrior can enter the circle of equals. The circle is usually a circle or sphere that has a radius of about five to ten meters for melee combat, two to five kilometers for armored combat and about a hundred kilometers for full spectrum combat. The circle of equals ensures no non-combatants are caught in the conflict, and in larger battles, there is no collateral damage to surrounding building and equipment. In individual trials, such as a personal conflict between two warriors, there is no batchall.
The warrior who is being challenged will decide if the fight will be augmented, meaning that two Hengeyokai will fight un-augmented, meaning a person to person fight using no weapons. Members of the Clans' Warrior class, such as the Colonial Rangers may choose various methods of augmented combat to include hardsuits, or aerospace fighters. The warrior who calls the challenge is allowed to choose the location of the fight. This may take place anywhere from a parade ground to a starship.
Trial of Grievance:Edit
When disputes arise between individual warriors that neither they nor their immediate superiors can resolve, both warriors must petition to have their differences heard by the Clan Council (or the Grand Council if the opponents are Bloodnamed or hold important rank). If the issue is not resolved by the council, the parties may then call for a Trial of Grievance. The rules governing the trial are many and strict.
Trial of Position:Edit
Trials of Position are used to determine advancement. There are three types of this trial; Training Trials, The Blooding, and Promotion Trials.
Trial of Bloodright:Edit
Trials of Bloodright determine the assignment of Bloodnames. Being a descendant of a Bloodnamed warrior gives a warrior the right to participate in the trial to earn the Bloodname. By Clan law, at any one time there are up to twenty five active warriors with the same Bloodname (there can be less due to Reavings). When one dies, a Trial of Bloodright is held to determine who should replace the Bloodnamed warrior.
Trials of Possession:Edit
Trials of Possession are between Clans over particular assets. This trial allows Clans to perform raids on each other while minimizing the military assets wasted in raids and eliminating collateral damage and danger to non-combatants.
Trial of Refusal:Edit
The Clan Council or Grand Council makes many decisions and laws using an internal vote. After a vote, the council member can challenge the decision to a Trial of Refusal. A council member with a losing vote fights a member with a winning vote. The forces applied in the Trial depend on the importance of the decision.
Trial of Annihilation:Edit
A Trial of Annihilation is the most extreme punishment the Clans can declare. It goes beyond the question of right and wrong. A Trial of Annihilation virtually guarantees that the warrior will die and his lineage will not carry on. This trial can only be invoked by a unanimous vote of the appropriate council, and only for the most heinous crimes against Clan society.
Other Ranks & Positions of Note:Edit
The Loremaster is the keeper of Clan laws and history. The position is honorable and politically powerful. The Loremaster plays key role in inquiries and trials, where he/she is often assigned the role of Advocate or Interrogator. To determine who replaces a retired or deceased Loremaster, candidates sit in a “Forum of Law” where they are asked questions about Clan Law and Lore. Candidates are required to quote from the Silver Record (the oral history of the clans). Only the most skilled and learned Loremasters from among the Hengeyokai are submitted to the Forum by their Khan.
The Oathmaster is a counterpart to the Loremaster in Clan tradition. That position is similar to that of an sergeant-at-arms, but it carries a greater degree of respect. The Oathmaster administers all oaths, and the Loremaster records them. The position of Oathmaster is usually held by the oldest Bloodnamed warrior in a Clan (if he or she desires the honor), and is one of the few positions not decided by combat.
The Ritemaster is the spiritual leader of Hegenokai Sentais. While Ritemasters exist at other levels of Clan society (Khanate, Tribe, Clan) it is at the Sentai level that the spiritual leaders have the most influence. Ritemasters lead Clan Sentai in their spiritual rites and rituals, connecting them to the spirits long lost to the Realm. The position is similar to that of priest but carries a much greater degree of respect and influence with many Sentai.
Allies & Enemies:Edit
The Hengeyokai and Romani have a long common history. Many Romani Clans claim Kinship with Clans of the Hengeyokai. The myths and legends of both people claim this relationship goes back to the Third Age, and the beginning of the First Peoples.
Like the Hengeyokai, the Romani range far and wide across the 'verse, calling few places home. This wide dispersion has led to the two groups helping each other across the ages. Romani Kumpania have found sanctuary in many worlds of the Protectorate, and many Hengeyokai warriors have fought to free the Romani people from imprisonment and persecution over the years.
The Romani provide the Hengeyokai with passage and transportation, as well as occasionally sharing information. Many Romani vardos trade in Hengeyokai goods, bringing coin and influence to both peoples.
The Har'ken race has been locked in combat against the Hengeyokai throughout the Fourth Age. They are the foot soldiers of a much older enemy, the Ku-Jin. The Har'ken attack on Botany Bay and their defeat (and that of the Ku-Jin master), set into motion the Awakening and transition into the Sixth Age.