Ifrit
Ifrit
Type Elemental
Distinctions Amorphous
Naturally adept at fire and earth magic
Lifespan Varies
Regions Efrea
Virae Mountains

Indigenous to the Virae Volcanic Field, Ifriti are generally regarded as living fire. Some say that they are the voice of the mountains, born from Spirit gathered in the dips and valleys of the Virae Mountains and given life by the earth itself. They are a common sight around the markets of Efrea, engaging in trade and barter, and they do have a trade alliance set up with the Faolain family regarding the use of hot springs and mud baths for leisure. Although they can withstand many other environments, being impervious to cold, they are a rare sight beyond Efrea and parts of southern Shuya.

Biology

Although they can take on a human form, and many do spend the majority of their lives in it, by default they don't seem to have a fixed form. Some Ifrit who spend a long time masquerading as human may find it difficult to change an aspect of their shape, but that is born from personal preference and not by biological imperative. Ifriti can be recognized by their glowing eyes, usually a shade of red or amber, and a pattern of light that may occasionally flicker beneath their skin. Some Ifriti may feel hot to the touch instead of merely warm during high emotional states, and the stereotype of an angry Ifrit accidentally setting something on fire is, unfortunately, not without merit. In colder weather they tend to steam, especially while in snow or rain as their body temperature is much higher than the ambient air. Ifriti seem incapable of feeling cold; another way to spot them in winter is to look for people who are dressed in seasonally inappropriate ways.

Those who know of Ifriti tend to know that fire magic comes easily to them, but fewer know that they are also adept at channeling the earth, instinctively shifting the rocky slopes that they call their home. Some Ifriti warriors who take on more combative roles within Kardia work to keep this secret, well, secret, attributing the supernatural ease at which they use weapons made of stone or metal to luck or skill. In their natural form, the colour of their Heart can be seen in the outline of their aura. Blighted Ifriti find it harder to keep a solid form, and they are notable for being the only race wherein the Blight appears to have a 100% fatality rate. As the Blight progresses, the Ifrit in question will fade smaller and smaller until one day, they just seem to disappear.

While Ifriti are usually regarded as simple fire spirits, that is not quite true. There is something that seems to tie them to their homeland. While they can leave the Virae mountains, too much time away appears to weaken them and Ifriti who live abroad, or even in a different region in Efrea, must periodically travel back to their homeland. The amount of time that individual Ifriti can spend away lengthens with practice, and there are some who have not returned to Virae in years who are still going strong. Although Zetrium has similar volcanoes, they do not seem to exude the same effect. Still, some Ifriti do find comfort in the reminder of home.

Known History

For much of known history, the Ifriti have kept to themselves. Occasional contact was made between them and humans, mostly for the purpose of trade, but until recently there was little effort to integrate Ifriti into human society. Before recent advances in magic and technology, the Virae Mountains were rightfully viewed as a death trap and humanity steered clear of them. It wasn't until the invention of geothermal energy (or, rather, the ability to use geothermal energy) that humanity showed an interest in the home of the Ifriti.

Many Ifriti did not take kindly to the intrusion, as their lives were tied so strongly to the land, and the early years were fraught with tension and skirmishes. Eventually, the Faolain family brokered a deal wherein they can decide what areas humans can use to harness power, in return for doing business exclusively through them. As the years wore on, the agreement extended to luxury uses of the area, along with mined resources, though in recent years the exclusivity clause is not adhered to as strongly as the Faolains now have their base of power and the Ifriti expand to other interests.

Age and Development

Even the Ifriti themselves aren't quite sure how they reproduce. They are borne in the centre of active volcanoes, though no one has been able to document the process. Children tend to appear once every 2-10 years, though it is not unheard of for only months to pass between youngest and second youngest or to wait as long as 200 years. When the baby Ifrit has developed enough, they send out unconscious telepathic signals that call to the adults in the area. Parenthood is voluntary, and though a young Ifrit might be assigned a primary guardian they are raised by the entire village. Young Ifriti are forbidden from leaving the Virae mountains; the adverse effects they experience away from them are stronger than in adult Ifriti, and some have died before. Plus, they don't really have as much control over their shapeshifting abilities at that age, and considering they're basically living fire…

The lifespan of Ifriti can be highly variable as it is tied to the volcano that they were born in. When it dies or goes dormant, the Ifrit in question dies as well, and this decline can be quite sudden. They don't age so much as disappear, reverting back to their natural shapeless form at the end of their life and fading dimmer and dimmer. Hence, why they were so aggressive to the thought of humans infringing on their homes, as they feared that harnessing geothermal energy might cut short their lifespans. More than one individual can be tied to a given volcano at a time, with larger ones holding larger numbers of 'siblings'. Those who spend more time away from the Virae mountains seem to decline slower than those who stay within the ranges, and some might even show evidence of aging before they die.

Mixed Ifriti tend to live around half to twice as long as humans, developing normally until mature. Their lives are not tied to a single volcano, though it is recommended that they be raised near the Virae Mountains as they may otherwise feel ill at ease. What traits they get from their Ifrit parent is highly variable. It is known that Ifriti cannot carry children, so any half-Ifrit child will always have a human mother.

Relations With Other Races

Nowadays, they are regarded as an everyday sight by Northern Efreans, and an exotic curiosity by the rest of the world; a lot of people from beyond have not even heard of them. Many an Ifrit have made a living from entertaining the tourists that flock to Efrea, either on the streets or in more formal shows. Some distinguished Ifriti have even made friends within the Efrean aristocracy. Unlike many other non-human races, they do not find the concept of money puzzling, and druz is used as often amongst themselves as with humans. Ifriti are known to be capable smiths as they are able to use the anoxic conditions of volcanoes as natural kilns, and have steadily carved out a niche for themselves in the export of metal, glass, and ceramic. Ores mined from Shuya regularly pass through the Virae mountains for extraction and refinement.

In recent years, more and more Ifriti are venturing forth from the Virae mountains to seek for living elsewhere, or just to travel. Their dependence on the Virae Mountains does hold them back somewhat, but, as it can be improved with practice, they are reaching further corners of Kardia. Many tend to stay close to the shores and mountains and avoid grasslands and dry forests like those found in Efrea and the lower latitudes of Shuya. It is actually not uncommon for Ifriti to venture into the southern rainforests and swamps of Uclain, as it is too wet and humid there for them to commit any accidental arson. However, recent tensions between Efrea and Uclain have mostly put an end to their presence there. Some Ilim may regard them with trepidation, but the two races rarely come in contact with each other.

Throughout history, the Ifriti have been viewed in many different ways by humans, not all of them positive. The older Ifriti have not forgotten this, and some are not so forgiving. This has caused contention between the younger members of the race. As Ifriti society runs on seniority, and there is much pressure for them to conform, those who speak out tend to be given the cold shoulder or forced into making amends. Unsurprisingly, this does not sit well with the younger Ifriti, hence why so many of them are leaving the nest to carve out a living elsewhere.

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