The Verduren

Introduction:

Back in the Second age of the world, a group of humans choose to meld with the organic elements of the world and thus became what other humans eventually called the Verduren. After the 'change' they could blend themselves into the wild and hinder detection by demons seeking humans to feed upon. Their bodies and skin mimicked the foliage around them, and even their temperaments came to be tied to the Verdurenway of flora.

Patience is a hallmark of the Verduren. Never ask a Verduren to tell a story, this is because Verduren stories are inherently long, complex and with hidden meanings, and most races think they will grow old before the Verduren storyteller reaches the end. Their sense of humor is very complex, too complex for most other races who don't understand what the Verdurens are laughing at, which is almost always something about their rash behavior. For this reason other races find them haughty and aloof.

The Verduren race is long lived, like trees, and they are slow to change. Due to this long life they are often ambivalent to other races, and amused or even annoyed with what they consider rash and childish behavior. They believe in being careful, unless there is no other choice available. Some races see this as cowardice, but Verdurens are not cowards in any way, in fact, some of their solutions are brave beyond measure. They just don't believe in taking stupid risks, but they are all about calculated risks.

They value nature in all its forms, revering the world unspoiled by machine and technology. Their villages tend to be a part of the landscape, melding in look and feel to the surroundings. They adapt the living foliage to form their homes, and hide them from enemies. They can live in the tops of trees, pulling nutrients directly from the tree, which gains it from its roots. But Verduren can also live in other places, like grasslands, or even in the fens of a river. Pretty much anywhere that dense enough flora is found. In many places they gain their own nutrients directly from the soil, though all Verdurens need sunlight for part of their energy and life.

Appearance and Camouflage:

The Verdurens have ears the shape of leaves and skin the texture of foliage. They have long tilted eyes, thin lips and mouth, and small noses. They stand tall like humans, and their bodies, once derived from human stock are very similar to their human origins in form and size. They can blend into live foliage with uncanny camouflage, particularly the type of fauna that was their bower. However, other Verduren can and do transfer their knowledge of other flora between clans, teaching their patterns to other Verdurens. This is a magical ability, rather than that of science (like a chameleon), thus their armor and clothes can also take on the hue and texture of the foliage around them.

They have worse night vision than some of the other races and prefer the day when they are strong from the sunlight. In daylight they can see further than a human. Verdurens can hold very still, like a tree. This helps them hide in shadows or use their camouflage ability to best effect.

Due to their extended life span and the way they take the long view of world events, Verduren are famous for their thinking skills, of never leaping before they look, and of deep complex plots. Their solutions to a problem will seldom if ever be a temporary fix. Even when a temporary fix is used, it is the best choice of the moment, and they are already working on a longer solution. That solution might take the form of causing some seemingly unconnected event somewhere else in the world that over time will eventually cause the change they desire many years in the future. The mind of a Verduren is often associated with the endlessly twisted maze of a briar patch, and unwinding one of their plans is equally difficult.

The Verdurens self appointed themselves the guardians against the return of the Demons from out of the Darkhalls. They guard the known entrances from the Darkhalls with the patience of trees and seek out new entrances. It is said a Verduren sentry will never fall asleep on duty, but they may grow leaves from holding still for so long. Though the Verdurens hate the demons, they have also gained a recent hatred for Morphael because he uses machinery and destroys nature in his pursuit of power.

Flora Control:

Even Verduren Sprouts (young) have the ability to commune with flora, and guide its growth and other abilities to their desire. Verdurens communication with Flora allows them to form their homes, platforms, walkways, thorny protections, and many more things from the living flora around them. They learned this innate ability from growing within a bower for all those years. For this reason, cross spliced humans (those who become Verduren after being born human) do not have these same abilities in controlling flora. Some skills can be taught, like camouflage, but the deep connection between Verduren and Flora is never fully gained.

Nourishment:

A Verduren who goes without sunlight for long periods can suffer some adverse affects, and yet recover quicker than humans when they can find water.

Because of their affinity to water, Verduren clans have adapted to water life. They can hold their breaths for inordinate amounts of time; up to ten minutes or more. Because of this they are at home on the shores or rivers and lakes as well as in other areas, though they do not have dwellings under the water.

Verdurens love to drink, mostly for the smell of the liquor, though they are not affected by it mentally. And though they can eat they tend not to bother and just absorb nutrients from the sun or the earth. At night, since there is no sunlight, they extend roots down through their feet into the ground to nourish their bodies.

Aroma and the sense of smell:

Verdurens can eat, but do not prefer it, however, what they like is aroma. To them a banquet of smells are like a seven course dinner to a human. They have complex recipes of aromas. Beyond their scent parties, Verdurens use their acute sense of smell in other more practical ways. They can smell things further than the other races, and can use this while adventuring.

Matriarchal Society:

The Verduren forged their own matriarchal society. Just as the flora world is personified as 'Mother Nature', the Verduren leaders were always mothers. For the Verdurens revere what grows, and a child is sacred in their eyes. Matriarchs (and truly all Verduren) find politics annoying. You do what your Clan mother and conscious tells you, in that order. The politics of other races are short lived to the view of Verdurens, who generally believe in letting other races do what they want because fifty years from now it will all be different anyway, and yet the Verdurens will remain the same. Only when the politics of another race will adversely impact the Verdurens do they take note... and then they will move in subtle and planned ways to alter the course of another races politics. Thus they get the reputation in other races as being manipulative and meddlesome, and definitely unfathomable.

Becoming Verduren:

Verdurens revere nature, solid unchanging values and they take the long view on everything. They are inherently tied to the magic that was used to create their unique blend of flora and mammal. It takes special commitment to become a Verduren. Petitioners must prove their reverence for nature before they are allowed to go through the splicing that makes them change into a Verduren.

Sumar:

When a Verduren's clan is wiped out through war or disease below a self sustaining level of about thirty clan members, a terrible burden is put on the survivors. Their clan is everything to them. In order to mentally survive they adopt the Verduren race as their new clan and they become what the Verduren call Sumar, warriors whose sole purpose in life is to protect all Verduren. They are dedicated to the eradication of all that is evil, all that threatens the sanctity of nature and the Verduren race as a whole. Such were the Verduren that became Fallen Heroes; they were all Sumar before being trained by the Enchantress. And when new humans choose to become Verduren they too are Sumar, for they were not born of a clan, nor did they join one after a Seeker Quest. Morphael and all Demon kind are now their sworn enemies and they are relentless warriors.