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 silver blood, pointed ears, and eight digits. Their limbs are typically longer and more slender than most humans. Their facial features are typically triangular, with wide set eyes and and overall youthful appearance. To mortals, both sexes often appear androgynous.
All Exekians have either black or white hair, though there may be some variation in shades. Typical eye colors include black, yellow, amber, violet, or blue.
Abilities and Weaknesses
The average Exekian is physically stronger and faster than the average human. 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, but do not become sexually mature until they reach 214 years of age. While they may engage in sexual activity at any time, they can only conceive offspring roughly every 214 years. This process is known as kluuda.
During kluuda, males and females mate in a manner similar to humans. The female will carry the resulting child for approximately four months, then give birth to a chrysalis. The chrysalis must be kept in a cool, damp environment such as a cave until it hatches roughly three weeks later. It is common practice to cut a small hole on the end of the chrysalis shortly before hatching, to prevent the child from drowning in amniotic fluid.
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.
The Exekians attacked human settlements, 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 wastelands. 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 originated Akhenism, although many are atheists. 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. It is expected of adults to provide food and lodging to any child who comes to their home.