Races of Avendar, Chapter VII: The Shuddeni

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An excerpt from the Races of Avendar, an in-game text found in the school of heroes, this chapter covers the shuddeni.

Shuddeni: Section 1

The shuddeni are a subterranean race, living in underground cities and
temples far below Avendar's surface.  They appear as extremely thin,
ashen-grey humanoids.  They possess no body hair, and often apply oil to the
unusual folds and ridges of their skin.  Their most distinctive trait is the
complete absence of eyes.  Instead, they have nothing but a slight
indentation there, and no open or empty eye sockets.  Thus, shuddeni possess
an unusual and alien sense of sight that is not fully understood.  

Most shuddeni culture revolves around life in their cities, which were
originally established by successful clans of shuddeni.  In time, the holds
of these clans came to incorporate their allies, until they eventually grew
large enough to sustain themselves.  Shuddeni cities are typically dominated
by a ruling caste of priests, who maintain their power through magic,
wealth, and fear.  

The shuddeni race is said to have been shaped by Tzet-Askhari, Great Dragon
of the Void.  They are thought to be Its chosen children; through them, It
unleashed the diabolic magics of Void and demonkind into mortal Avendar. 
The time of their rise is not fully understood, only that by the time of
their contact with humanity, the Dragon's grip was absolute.  

Shuddeni: Section 2

Human contact with the shuddeni occurred in the years leading up to the War
of Night.  Mining expeditions in the Brintors revealed a passage into the
underworld of the shuddeni, and opened up a permanent link between the
shuddeni settlement of Yithoul and the surface.  After several initial,
failed ventures, the shuddeni established a working relationship with the

What the senate did not know was that these initial peace overtures were
merely the first step in a campaign of shuddeni conquest.  Extending their
power to disenfranchised groups, such as the srryn or humans desirous of
forbidden magic, the shuddeni began to gather allies and prepare themselves
for battle.  

When the shuddeni burst to the surface, they brought with them the
nightmarish magics of Void, which included demonic servitors and horrifying
plagues.  As well, the shuddeni legions were bolstered by their savage chaja
slaves.  The shuddeni first struck in the Brintors, emerging through a
formerly unknown link to the surface world.  

Shuddeni: Section 3

Once the shuddeni offensive began, the warlike srryn and dissatisfied humans
fostered conflict and rebellion on the southern front.  The shuddeni
consolidated their foothold in the Brintors, and began a quest of expansion,
establishing themselves in human settlements throughout the mountains.  Once
secure, shuddeni conquest slowed, but remained dreadfully certain.  

As humans and their allies fought in desperation, the shuddeni sought a
swift and complete victory.  They drew together the greatest archmagi of
their people, and began to fashion an immense nexus to the outer void.  The
gateway was to open for three days, allowing the greatest demonic host ever
conceived to assemble and march upon Earendam.  

The result of their summoning, however, was not what they expected.  Fleeing
the ravages of Tzet-Askhari, the ch'taren and their goddess, Rystaia
Lightbringer, emerged onto the Prime.  These refugees brought with them the
magics of Spirit, which shattered demonic and shuddeni forces with vengeful

Shuddeni: Section 4

With the defeat of the shuddeni and the end of the War of Night, the
shuddeni racial ego was deeply wounded.  How could the might of their
Father, the mighty Tzet-Askhari, have failed?  It was during this time that
a new god rose to bloody power within the shuddeni temples.  He called
Himself Arkhural, and mobilized the remnants of the shuddeni war machine.  

At Arkhural's bidding, the shuddeni marched upon the fledgling havens of the
ch'taren who had so smote them.  They arrived at Ad'masteisa, the haven of
wind, and wiped it from the face of the earth.  Even with their eventual
defeat by the Warband of Calaera, the crushing blow dealt to the ch'taren
was more than enough to cement Arkhural's power for the ages to come.  

To prevent more shuddeni incursions onto the surface, the keep of Kor
Thrandir was built upon their most direct path, and a great seal erected. 
Despite their obvious evil, shuddeni ties to the surface world were never
fully ended.  The weakening of the Republic allowed shuddeni scholarship and
magic to flourish and draw interracial attention.  Their bizarre music and
exotic bards also found great fame by way of entrenched nobility.  

shuddeni: Section 5

In the modern era, shuddeni have integrated themselves into surface society
on an unprecedented scale.  This led to the rise of their newest god,
Rveyelhi, whose oppressive designs have often been forwarded by the
adventurer caste.  Their prodigious intellect has seen their expansion into
any number of domains, in business, magic, and study.  

As a race, they are still mistrusted, but generally accepted as a necessary
evil during the post-War detente.  They have continued to push the limits of
what the surface is willing to tolerate, as they led a daring and bloody
series of battles against allied forces known as the Eyeblight War.  Their
hatred of the ch'taren, in particular, was especially evident before their

Below the surface, shuddeni still scheme, and undoubtedly intend further
conquest.  They view themselves as the predestined rulers of Avendar, and
the claws of the Deathbringer, Tzet-Askhari.