The Opened World
The Melali are a race of sentient beings evolved by an ancient group of Zoarchs to the point of consciousness and development of a tarsi. They are far less developed technologically than the Remnant or Alathans, being only at the latter end of stone age technology for the most part. Melali have a pale golden skin and large amounts of grass-like hair protruding from the top of their head. They have a linnear mouth, large green eyes, five fingers, and thick knotted feet reminiscent of the roots they will eventually put out.They live almost entirely in tribes on the main or outlying islands of Moa’loli, although each individual tribe may be quite different than the others. The tribal groups are categorized by shared rituals and often by dwelling type. Unlike the other two races, especially the homogeneous Remnant society, the Melali tribes often war amongst each other, even occasionally within a tribe. This is sometimes highly ritualized and more of a competition for resources. Other times it is quite vicious and bloody (Melali blood is a clear pale green) and resultant in large amounts of hatred between tribes. The Loapu are especially known for their aggressive raiders. Melali categorize ages by special terms (see chart on right), which seem to be universal amongst all the tribes. Additionally Melali reproduce asexually via seeds that are produced during the Old Growth stage, when fully mature Melali settle down in areas called Copses, literally putting down their roots and eventually growing and dropping seeds. The gender differences seem to be nearly all visual, probably mimicking the Remnant who created them.
Melali tribal leaders are called chiefs or chieftains, who are often supported by various gatherings of sub-chiefs and elders within the tribe, as well as tribal shamans who consort with the spirits of ancestors. The Melali also honor the somewhat hermetic groups of druids who live outside the tribes in wilderness areas and commune with the vegetation they revere.
All Melali revere honey deeply and the name Melali itself means “[Those] of the honey tree”. However, honey is not just what is collected from piki domes or hives. (Piki are called A’a by the Melali, which is the word for beast or animal or creature, as they are seen as the most significant or apex of animal lifeforms). Honey is also the excretion from other insects (honeydew) or the saps or syrups from certain trees (most notably the honey tree, a type of ash from which they derive their name.) There are different names for each type, but each is considered a type of honey. Melali eat nearly no food, but gain nearly all their nutrients from drinking various liquids, most of which are various combinations of honeys, often with spices or other extracts added. The Melali have a very strong sweet tooth and have little care for any non-sweet liquid unless it is an elixir (potion or medicine).Stages of Melali life
- Sprout -infancy, 0-2
- Seedling -childhood, 2-15
- Sapling -adolescence, 15-30
- Young Bough -young adulthood, 30-60
- Full Trunk -middle age, 60-90
- Old Growth
old age, 90???
- Ancient -sometime into their hundreds, Melali dig their root feet into the ground and become increasingly tree-like
- Manianii – Occupying the center of Moa’loli, the Manianii are probably the largest tribal group, due to a set of ancient alliances among their peoples. They live in longhouses made of woven plant fibers and subsist mostly by growing and harvesting resources around their settled villages. Their largest city, and in fact the largest amongst any Melali, is Samara. The greatchief of the Manianii, Uncheuay, makes his home here.
- Loapu- The Loapu are probably the most feared name amongst the Melali tribes due to their raids on other villages and warlike nature. They are a nomadic people, usually dwelling in large collapsible yurts and draw most of their resources from gathering and raids. Thier traditional homelands are in the northlands and the north-central peninsula is entirely Loapu.
- Poroani- The Poroani live in north-central Moa’loli, with a few smaller tribal offshoots extending into Manianii lands. They are matriarchal, settled agriculturists, noted for their careful cultivations of beautiful gardens. They make their homes from clay and earth and built into the ground in rounded adobe structures.
- Kalakaii- The only tribe to obtain most of their food offshore, the Kalakaii are master sailors and shipwrights. Harvesting sugar kelp and other aquatic species provides most of the resources for this tribe, who often live in plank houses that house large amounts of people.
- Pualolo – Living in domed wigwams of woven palm fronds, the Pualolo spend the rainy season in one place on the south western peninsula and the dry season in another. They are primarily “hunters” and gatherers, with the rainy season in larger communities in more coastal areas and the dry in the jungle brush in smaller “lodge camps” of roughly 25 villagers. The Pualolo are much more likely to train in beastmastery than other tribes.
- Na’alisoo- The Na’alisoo make their dwellings in traditional chickee stilt house rising from the water. Their lands in the far south east are more tropical than much of the rest of the continent and they have the least contact with the Loapu raiders. Their use of aquatic resources is second only to the Kalakaii.
- Druids – Druids live in monastic groups in the wilderness where they commune with the plants around them and protect sacred places such as ancient groves, copses, and elemental eyes and portals. They are capable of summoning all manner of plants to their aid, shielding themselves, inflicting lethal damage, and quite often manipulating enemies to where ever is easiest for the druid to deal with them. Druids carry a sickle as a symbol of their devotion.
Due to the positioning and shape of the continent, most of Moa’Loli gets significant amounts of rainfall. Anything along the western seaboard is considered rainforest, much of which is tropical jungle, although the northwestern portion is more temperate, even reaching freezing temperatures on great occasion. The central section becomes bayou and shallow wetlands as it progresses into the mangrove forrests and finally tropical reef coves of the far southeast.