For ten thousand years, the Old Exekian Empire controlled most of the habitable land and enslaved the humans. Eventually, the humans discovered that iron burned the Exekians' skin, and by creating weapons made of iron, they were able to successfully wage war against them.
Physiology and Traits
Exekians are distinguished by their mercury-based silver blood, pointed ears, and sixteen digits. Their limbs are typically longer and more slender than most humans. They have either black or white hair and black or gray eyes. Their facial features are often described as impish, devilish, youthful, fairy-like, or ethereal. They are known for the androgynous appearance common in both sexes, as Exekian females lack breasts and both males and females tend to wear their hair long.
Abilities and Weaknesses
The average Exekian is physically matched in strength to the average human. However, Exekians can move faster and have quicker reflexes than humans. They do not age and are technically immortal, though they may die of injury or disease.
All Exekians possess a tapetum at the backs of their eyes, making them appear to glow in the dark and allowing them a degree of nightvision.
Exposure to iron is extremely painful for Exekians, severely burning the contact area. They are so sensitive to the metal that even while wearing gloves they are afflicted with an intensely painful pins-and-needles sensation.
Exekians reproduce sexually in a manner similar to humans. They may engage in sexual activity at any time, but females can only conceive offspring roughly every 240 years. This process is known as kluuda.
A normal Exekian pregnancy will last approximately ten months, at which point the female gives birth to a child wrapped in a chrysalis. The child must remain in the cocoon for three weeks. As the time of birth approaches, it is common for those caring for the chrysalis to cut a small portion of the egg open to avoid their drowning.
Children born with any imperfection or birth defect are ostracized and often abandoned shortly after birth; in ancient times they would be made into changelings and forced to work as slaves among the humans.
For ten thousand years, the Old Exekian Empire ruled over much of the planet. The Empire attempted to be republican by having the ruling nobility elect the Emperor, who would then serve as supreme ruler for one era (294 human years).
The Exekians attacked the human settlements on the nearby island of Skadi, taking prisoners to be made into slaves. The humans were not only put to work as laborers and servants, but were also forced to fight in gladiator games or hunted and killed for sport by their captors, who viewed them as lesser beings no different from animals.
Only two hundred years ago, the human slave population successfully revolted. Led by Erasmus Stirling, the slaves formed an army and, wielding weapons made of iron, killed the Emperor, destroyed the capital, and overthrew the Empire.
In the decades since, the Exekians have been slowly driven south into the Shadowlands. Their government fractured into scattered tribes run by petty kings and former nobility claiming sovereignty. After a period of civil war, these groups eventually developed into the New Exekian Empire and the Clan, two rival factions who engage in constant open warfare.
The Exekians created Akhenism based on human religion in an attempt to control their slaves. A few have have embraced Vormundism. In primitive times, the Exekians held pagan beliefs, most of which revolved around Nunet, the apocalypse. During Nunet, all Exekians would die and become stone statues, existing in a state of limbo while a cosmic war was waged between the gods of light and darkness. Eventually the god of light would win and grant the Exekians souls, allowing them to live on among the stars.
The concept of marriage and the family unit is largely alien to Exekian culture. This is primarily due to their immortal nature and the manner in which they are born. While adult Exekians may have lovers, they do not bind themselves to each other by contract, as it is unlikely they will remain together permanently. Most Exekian children are not raised by their biological parents; while the children of the wealthy may pay to send their offspring to school, the poor are raised by their community. It is expected of adults to provide food and lodging to any child who comes to their home.