Apologies in advance if this is not the correct place for this.
Lifespan: 200-250 years for Resurgent; 2000-3000 years for Remnant.
Typical Height: 5'4" - 6'1", depending on gender.
Distinctive Traits: Large, angelic wings; lack of a shadow; geometric patterns covering the skin.
Where Found: Generally in or around human settlements (Resurgent, Embraced). In solitude in the wilderness (Remnant). Ancient ruins and caves (Fallen, Ravenous).
The Icarids are a race of people originally hailing from the Light Realm. They bear a resemblance to humans for the most part, but can be easily distinguished by their huge, angelic-looking wings; notable lack of shadows; and odd looking patterns that resemble birth marks found covering most of their bodies.
An Icarid's wings are usually between 14' and 18' in span at full spread, depending on the size and gender of the individual. Even with wings so large, the Icarid body is accustomed to living within the Light Realm, so flying can be difficult for some.
Icarids have a low rate of reproduction in regards to breeding with each other. There is only a brief window that females are fertile each year, and the odds of conception are somewhat dismal. If an Icarid female does become pregnant, the gestation period is about 12 months.
Icarids can breed with most other humanoid races, but the rate of conception between an interspecies couple is even lower, and the hybrid offspring is always sterile. A hybrid child usually does not inherit the Icarid parent's wings and always inherits the non-Icarid parent's shadow.
Icarids are relatively rare, numbering only in the tens of thousands. Other species often regard them in awe, taking their angelic appearance and affinity for light magic as a sign of divinity. On the contrary, they are quite mortal and stand the risk of becoming extinct if they aren't cautious.
All Icarids, regardless of variety, can trace their origin back to the Light Realm. Once a proud race of warriors, the Icarids' hubris lead to their downfall when they became overrun and infected by creatures of the Shadow Realm. The wise fled to the Material Realm, where they chose to stay to avoid complete destruction at the hands of their shadowy predators.
The great Icarid sorcerer and exile, Daedalus, knew that the Icarids were still in danger even in the material realm. He developed a plan to ensure the survival of his species: to starve the shadowy parasites out. The Icarid children and a relatively few chosen "guardians" were to be sealed within a powerful spell of Daedalus' creation, one that would keep the young ones safe in their own pocket of frozen time and space. It would be centuries before the deal on Daedalus' spell was to be released...
The Icarid species is divided into five distinct groups, referred to loosely as castes. Though many of these castes differ from each other greatly in physical appearance, they are all genetically Icarids.
The most common kind of Icarid, the Resurgent constitute the first generation of their kind to be born outside of the Light Realm, and the few hundred "guardians" who accompanied them into hiding. There are perhaps 10,000 Resurgent in total.
Sealed away in a powerful time spell as children just after the Cataclysm, Resurgent are primarily young adults living among the various human civilizations in Vaxia (namely in and around Ramsalon). The youngest of these youths are around 10 years of age, the oldest in their early twenties.
Their guardians are somewhat older Icarids that raised them after the time spell was released some years ago. Guardians are mostly 50 to 150 years of age. Guardians serve as the teachers, protectors, and de Facto leaders of the youths.
Most of the Resurgent follow a strict moral code that involves remaining humble, selfless, and honorable in all that they do, namely in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of their forefathers.
In spite of their caution, the youthful Resurgent are quite adventurous and rowdy by nature. Most try to contribute to the community they are a part of in any way they can, most often finding work as guards or within local military outfits if possible.
Resurgent Icarids mostly stick together within the confines of the various cities they live in. Icarids of blood relation stay the closest, sharing living space and forming something resembling a small family. Several of these small families form Icarid communities, the likes of which are usually under the watch of one of the older guardian class Resurgents.
Most Resurgent know how to speak the original Icarid language, Idyllic. Idyllic is a very artful sounding language, with lots of lilting inflections and fluid pronunciations. Some have compared listening to Icarids speak in native tongue to a pleasant song.
An Icarid's given name can usually find its roots in Idyllic, male names ending in the suffix -os or -us (I.e. Aquillos, Validus) while female names often end in -ia or -ede (I.e. Andaria, Palamede). Surnames often refer to a great deed an ancestor may have preformed, or perhaps something memorable that is related to the individual's family (I.e. Fiendslayer, Goldenbow).
Other young Resurgent have chosen to adopt new names more suitable to their locale.
Icarids are known venerators of the sun. The religious individuals of the Resurgent often have faith in the original Icarid pantheon of gods, the primary deity of which is known as Elliosh, Sovereign of the Dawn. Though there are many gods and goddesses within the Icarid pantheon, Elliosh (being a solar deity) is the only one that is universally accepted by all Icarids of the classic faith. Elliosh worshippers are known for giving fervent prayers to him each morning at sunrise and adhering to a more strict version of the Resurgent moral code. They are also known to wear Elliosh's symbol, the winged sun.
Elliosh worship is not the only religion commonplace among Resurgent, however. Many have taken to following the writings of the hero Daedalus as an almost religious devotion. Other Resurgent have chosen to adopt sun-related deities of other cultures. Others still have asserted that the gods abandoned the Icarid people long ago, and simply choose not to worship deities that must be either dead or ignorant.
Though most Resurgent are content to live among the other races of the Material Realm, there are some Resurgent that aspire to rebuild some of the ancient, floating Icarid structures so they can once again live closer to the sun. This act, like many others that call back to the old Icarid ways, is a controversial one. While many Icarids take pride in their heritage and see such a place as a new place to call home for the Resurgents, others see it as a dangerous act that could once again draw the wretched shadow beings called Nihiloths to infect and destroy the last of the Icarid race.
A rare breed of Icarid with numbers speculated to be only in the thousands (if not less), the Remnant group are Icarids who were born just in time to witness the downfall of their once-great civilization. The last generation to be born in the Light Realm, they have much greater longevity than the young Resurgent. The Remnant are all quite old, and it shows in their physical features. Some Remnant may be even be the parents of some of the Resurgent, though the likelihood of this is low and the validity difficult to prove.
Remnant Icarids are reclusive, choosing most often to avoid civilization and other Icarids at large. Additionally, they do not have quite the affinity for light magic that Resurgent do.
Remnant Icarids are often fluent in Idyllic, and their names reflect their stature as Light Realm born individuals by being quite regal sounding as compared to the young Resurgent.
Remnant Icarids are mostly non-religious, owing to having seen their society destroyed and the belief that the old Icarid gods are either dead or uncaring. Some Remnant still quietly praise Elliosh in their own way, however.
Remnant Icarids are all infertile, owing to their advanced years, and none of them had any children in their centuries in exile.
Monsters, the Fallen and Ravenous:
These are the remains of Icarids not so fortunate to have escaped their civilization's collapse.
The Fallen are mindless shells that hide in abandoned ruins and caves that attack anything that comes near. Driven mad by the entities that once possessed them, they are little more than ghouls now. Fallen Icarids have lost their wings and their bodies resemble withered corpses, though perhaps their most disturbing feature is their incredibly elongated, clawed fingers. They cannot speak (only grunt and shriek), and they are very sensitive to light. They nest in groups of varied size, ranging from small packs of 3 to 5, and huge hordes consisting of hundreds. The most common nesting place for Fallen are the dilapidated ruins of Icarid structures, the likes if which were jettisoned from the Light Realm many millennia ago.
The guardian class among the Resurgent are wary of the Fallen and urge the youths to avoid them at all costs, but many Resurgent feel that the Fallen should be sought out and eradicated so that the tortured souls can finally be at peace. Despite their weakened, zombie-like state, Fallen can be dangerous in large numbers or to the unwary.
The Ravenous are perversions of once powerful Icarids, now totally consumed by the predatory Nihiloths of the Shadow Realm. The Ravenous' only purpose in existence hunt and kill other Icarids. Ravenous are immensely powerful creatures that both Resurgent and Remnant Icarids fear. Unlike the decrepit Fallen, they still possess their wings, magic, and some level of intelligence, though all of a Ravenous Icarid's physical features have been contorted into something that could almost be described as demonic. Their skin is dark grey, their skin patterns and eyes frequently red or dark purple, and their wings appear rotten or leathery.
Nihiloths and the Embraced:
Little is known about the parasitic entities known by the Icarids as Nihiloths. The beings hail from the Shadow Realm and feed on misery and madness. They appear as wispy, ghostly looking, dark grey blobs before attaching themselves to their host. Nihiloths can apparently only feed from creatures that don't have shadows, becoming the victim's shadow themselves upon attaching. Nihiloths drive their victims into a state worse than insanity, usually leaving their host as a desiccated husk like the Fallen.
There is one exceedingly rare exception to this parasitic relationship and its inevitable result: the fifth breed of Icarid, the Embraced.
Embraced are Icarids who have fallen prey to a Nihiloth and not been driven entirely mad. Instead, through various means, Embraced manage to form a mutually beneficial bond with their shadowy tormentors. The physical and psychological trauma of this event typically leaves the Icarid bereft of both their wings and their memory, while simultaneously instilling the Nihiloth with a new level of sapience.
Embraced are not recognized as Icarids by the Resurgent. Most don't realize that an Embraced can exist at all. Other Icarids generally assume that an Embraced is human, and the amnesiac embraced usually believe they are correct. The very limited few who are aware of the truth of the Embraced find them repulsive. Icarids already have a deep-seated fear and hatred for Nihiloths; for an Icarid to have bonded with one is seen as abominable.
The few existing Embraced live among various human societies on the Vaxian continent. With the exception of their skin patterns, Embraced appear human and thus blend in relatively well. Embraced have a tendency to fall in with some of the more unsavory groups of Vaxia owing to their dark origins, though this is not always the case. The Embraced's most resounding characteristic seems to be their insatiable ambition. Low-ranking positions or jobs are rarely satisfactory to an Embraced Icarid, so they are often noted to be the first ones to push for higher levels of power within an organization.