On this planet called Duendi, there are green puffs of smoke and glittering twinkles suspended in it’s atmosphere. There are clashes of rock formation, usually having an artificial looking matte red and grey surface.
A cool blue light bends and spreads after bouncing around the puffy emerald green and cyan colored clouds that occasionally rain yellow sulphur, and heavy showers of water a couple times a year. Those clouds are always present as thin floating sheets in the sky. The blue light comes from the white dwarf star 11 light minutes away, the sort of light that got distorted by the filtering skies. The sky looks like a big tub of moving marbling paint fixed right above everything, a slow but satisfying movement of swirls and ribbons where greens, blacks, light blues, and any other of the frequently changing colors that pierced through the stratosphere at different times of the day.
At the middle of a 65 hour day, just as the white dwarf star would shine brightly upon most of one side of Duendi, the skies would look thinner and less opaque. They would look like the depths of deep, rolling water. Most of Duendi has anywhere from a 60% to 95% humidity rate despite the infrequent water showers, but the ground and the air retain the humid rather well.
Uneven patches of temperature of hot 65 degrees and cold -35 degrees Celsius with subtle shifts between different zones of temperature is like this because of how the water reserves everywhere would absorb and sometimes heat up everything around as a consistent rate when hit by warming light rays. The feeling was often warm and damp, like a wet thick sweater being worn close to a fireplace.
Algae loved the humidity of this place. Duendi had plenty of water and other liquids that would pool together in cracks, deep holes, and dips in almost anywhere, but especially the ground. The algae adapted to the conditions of the planet by taking on a light color and fuzzy edges in parts of Duendi where there was sparse light and a lot of damp dirt and minerals. The fuzzy edges would bury deep, sometimes like roots, sipping on the rich mineral waters below. And in the places with an overabundance of water and light rays, the algae came in many different forms, some would float like flat buoyant disks that were dry and hard at the top, some would anchor at the bottom, others would fill themselves up at the edges of the water and inflate. And from those kinds of algae, there was everything in between. They thrived rather well on Duendi.
Why talk so much about such simple creatures? Well, they thrived so well that they make up a lot of things, influenced almost everything, and were certainly on or in a huge chunk of Duendi. When they bunched up together, depending on the situation they could either: A) Become brittle and break down into dust, enriching their surroundings. B) Pack tightly and under the heat and pressure of Duendi’s rock and 3.5G Gravity, become beautiful crystals that often decorated the oldest of formations. C) Explode in unison upon their death, in hopes of reproducing, often creating rainbows and sometimes becoming a part of the dense atmosphere and clouds.
Over time, different creatures formed, dependent on the over-saturation of algae in the environment to thrive.
“The vegetation” are all short and close to the ground, from round ‘bubbles’, underwater spindly tentacles, spirals that clung tightly to rocks, small beads that flew in the air and burrowed once settled, and so many more. Many species of vegetation provided more of the silicon, salts, and carbon (dioxide and disulfide and benzene) on Duendi. The green and yellow bubbling plants grew at high heights, the sulfide rains would slide on the crystalline rocky slabs they would pop up on. Those plants would drip carbon disulfide and absorb the rains, reproducing from the hot liquid that would overflow.
Conscious slimy blobs would eat and sip from these liquids and the plants themselves, digesting them slowly for many planet rotations.
These are the main thinking beings on Duendi, however there are more, but they do not have as wide an influence as these two.
—The Asanjei are individual masses of viscous substance and a central nervous system with several, specialized tiny brains branching off inside of them. They usually bind themselves in soothing bandages made of the fibers of drooping plants that grow close to Duendi’s pools of water, their outer layers of “skin” (a thin layer that forms around the surface of their bodies) are hyper-sensitive to many sensations. That skin works as a protective layer that prevents their insides from moving on their own and it can be uncomfortable to not be bound by woven fibers. The Asanjei move rather slowly (1.5 miles per hour when they exert themselves), have prehensile extended limbs that can retract into their bodies, and have slug-like lower halves. They do not have very specialized developed eyes but they can see with preliminary spots around their upper and middle half that can sense light. They also have concave spots spread out on their bodies that can perceive forms, as a result, they can “see” at many different angles like an extreme and somewhat blurry fish-eye lens as a result of the many inputs getting filtered through a couple of their tiny “brains” to have a complete image. They can secrete poisonous liquids from their skin as a result of eating poisonous plants that they build immunity towards, starting from when they are basically toddlers. They reproduce by using a “host” as a receptacle, which can be the corpse of a fleshy meal in rare occasions (it’s seen in bad taste to do that) or as is more common — using the warm fibers of trees and plants that grow close to them, and their nutrients left inside after many Asanjei members of age deposit reproductive materials. After a few rotations, in the Duendi equivalent of spring and fall, Asanjei pupas will come out and be cared for. They have 4 “genders”: they can be translated as spade, sphere, leaf, and fire. Anything from their receptacle’s temperature, the kind of nutrients they absorb, the climate, and anything else from before they are born chooses what gender they are. The way the different genders are distinguished between each other are through markings on their bodies and the colors they are. Their genders do not fundamentally change what they are capable of doing nor their organ’s functionality except through their culture’s expectations, variation in hormonal discharges, and who they are allowed contact with (only their own gender) until they grow up as adolescents before they are fully matured. Spades and Spheres are focused on physical exertion to get closer to their higher powers, Spades use tools more often, with Spheres more likely to be bare besides their bindings. Leaf and Fire are both covered a lot more for social conventions to allow for longer periods of reflective meditation and rituals without risking their skins, Leafs usually grow out spindles and tubes of gelatinous masses that serve aesthetic functions and can rarely act as extra limbs when they reach older age, and Fires are likely to focus on the teaching aspects of religion. Though this might seem as rather superficial or that it could heavily affect the kinds of jobs they get in society, any gender is capable of getting any job, however the way they are expected to act in the roles they get heavily relies on their genders, with certain methods and handicaps expected for each gender and how they act when doing jobs. For example, if a leaf Asanjei becomes a warrior, they are still expected to wear a lot of bindings and grow out (often vestigial) appendages, and as a result they have to pin those appendages in place so as to not get in the way and be careful not to overheat and are allowed to have more access to water than their different gendered warrior peers.
There are 2 main cultural categories of Asanjei, that are defined by their location.
The ones from Northern Duendi close to swamps and wetlands, that often live in the waters. They see the waters as holy and it is a rite of passage for a young Asanjei to be allowed to swim and practice their religious rituals in the large body of water their settlement was built around. They grow from their pupal stage (they are like balls of viscous slime with big faux eyes and thick “skin” and stubby limbs. Their appearance is similar to a pupal earth bee.) where they’ll have to be protected by an assigned “wet mistress” (like a temporary adoptive parent) until they metamorph to their final adult form after becoming much bigger and then hibernating for about 15 Duendi days. While hibernating, they are protected several at a time in cool-aired huts close to the large body of water, and tended to by several wet mistresses. The coming of age ritual is very important as the waters they are dipped in for the first time decide their role in later stages in life, like whether they are a priest, sanitations worker, wet mistress, warrior, food preparer, “manager”, teacher, etc.
The ones from West Duendi’s sweltering deserts wear more varieties of bindings and clothing to protect them, and rely on tool-making for survival. There are 15% more spades in Western Asanjei populations than in Northern ones. They are a nomadic culture unlike the Northern Asanjei. Western Asanjei are raised in groups with many children being raised by many adults. They eat much more meats and other slimes moreso than plants (2 to 1 ratio), with exception of poisonous plants they consume to produce their own poison. Early in life, they are taught various skills for survival and it’s mandatory for young Asanjei to cycle between different groups of adults with different roles, so that they learn from as many groups before maturing. However, they are not expected to have strong emotional connections until they grow up and are urged to focus on personal development instead. Despite being more “community” driven overall, young Asanjei are given different treatment and expectations to the point that they will not know how it really is to be a “part of a family” until they grow up, so they generally do not get attached to any specific group or individual as by the time they are adults those adult members that raised them often die or are no longer a part of their trade. There is a lot of importance given towards broadening their knowledge. Once they metamorphose they are expected to choose their roles themselves and are taken under the wing of an adult with a workshop for hundreds of rotations until they become independent, get to choose a more permanent group of the community to be a part of, and are allowed to participate in creating Asanjai pupas.
—Purple Jains. As their name implies they are purple, but not from their own pigmentation. It’s from eating and rubbing against purple spores that grow around Southern and Western Duendi. Their actual color is a very dark blue that borders on black, with grey flesh and skin. The spores help distinguish between them more and they use them to make markings on themselves, that can have many meanings between what time of year it is like holiday wear, when they were born, their religious affiliation, and so on. The spores also prevent parasites from getting on their skin. They are very small and often form beneficial relationships with other organisms, even the Asanjei. The average full-grown Purple Jain is 25 inches tall, have many thousands of spindly feathers that aerate heat through miniscule tube structures that are a part of the feather, have two long triple jointed legs that are good for jumping and assisting in swimming whenever needed, and 4 arms attached to insect-like sections to their abdomen that swivel as much as 80 degrees independently of each other. They have sharp chiseled beaks and blunt teeth inside their mouths. And they have a long strip of an “eye” above their beaks that can sense visible light and part of U.V. rays emitted by the white dwarf star, useful for finding prey rich in nutrients — those that usually bounce more U.V. rays in Duendi.
They don’t have societies that vary heavily from each other besides small variations of their main form of communication (dialects of language), they migrate often and keep constant tabs on each member of their race. They have a fast and efficient hub of communication between each branch of Purple Jains. Their language is modular and easy to learn for young Purple Jains. Adult Purple Jains make the babies and toddlers absorb the meanings of various noises, scratches, symbols, and smoke signals in the way they communicate as part of how they are raised. When a purple jain dies, for 3 days (around an earth week) they are mourned and given ceremonies of respect with their bodies covered, plants and objects are then presented around their covered bodies signifying how they were in life or what they could have been, and then they are stripped and spread where they originally died or where they used to live. Where a purple jain is buried or spread, purple flowers (buds of circular shapes) bloom. They are formed from a mixture of the nutrients of the Purple Jain’s corpse, their remaining unused energy before dying if any, and the spores that had become a part of their bodies and mutated in the Purple Jains’ presence to last longer on their bodies and survive. Those flowers are seen as the continuation of the purple jain’s spirit, and their buds are eaten on days of remembrance that happen every time the white dwarf star aligns with the Southern or Western Duendi skies to create rippling sky phenomenons (about every 3 to 8 earth months).
Purple jains do not have specialized roles or genders and are a jack of all trades. They are able to communicate with many species by imitating their sounds, body languages, and the smells of other creatures. They hunt, bathe, court, eat, nurse, and procreate entirely dependent on the time of day and season. In other words, everything has a set time to be done, and synchronization and pre-planning is what makes them strong as a sense of community and as force, besides their adaptability in forming symbiotic relationships with other native beings. They are born as tinier, featherless versions of adults with softer membranes and only 2 developed sections of their abdomens instead of 3 with rudimentary stubs for their second set of arms. The babies are carried around by their parents that gave birth to them through sexual reproduction, and are taught to hunt very early on, immediately after they learn how to communicate and understand their language. Purple jains always keep tabs of their frequency of hunting and the number of prey as to not have too little later on and complicate their matters. If a purple jain over-hunts or hunts when it is not time to, then they are punished, punishment can be anything from cutting a limb, being buried for a whole Duendi day, or being killed. The bodies of traitorous Purple Jains are also given respect and ceremonies through their rituals, but they are not given as much respect to be buried where they died or lived in unlike their non-traitorous counterparts, and instead are dumped in special graves for “the damned”. The flowers born of those bodies are not allowed to be consumed, it is believed they are somehow twisted. and are instead used for religious purposes to be burned and exhume evil 4 times a Duendi year to re-new energies.
In the Northern wetlands, beyond heavy fogs, lies a sparkling natural fountain with a sparkling bluish liquid that absorbs the energy of spirits and the rays of the white dwarf star, such that it is protected by the Asanjei as a politically and religiously important ground. The Northern Asanjei have a monopoly on the consumption of the liquid, nicknamed “the star’s tears”. They enforce and protect the sparkling liquid by any and all means, making it impossible to touch it without permission without dying. Once the liquid is consumed, they can transform the individual into a stronger, semi-immortal being whose frame of thought and understanding is forever changed (“enlightenment”). The issue with this is that the one who consumed are often inclined to separate themselves from their own societies to do the bidding of the One Entity and not necessarily do what was previously in their or their species’/culture’s best interest. It is rare for someone to be allowed to consume The Star’s Tears because of how they lose themselves, especially if weak-willed, and can be a serious threat. Regardless, there are fanatics that desire to one day be allowed access to it, whether for financial gains or to threaten the current status quo or to be strong enough to protect what they hold dear. Large bodies of water that western Asanjei settlements worship and hold dear have a very, very diluted version of the star’s tears. That’s why those bodies of water are closed off and a part of Asanjei property. Asanjei members (and other species even) are sometimes sacrificed or punished by being fed to the fountain, absorbing their life and dying as a dried husk.
–The millennium trees. These are located in East Duendi, and make it hard to inhabit the East as they attract chaos and death. Millennium trees are the only “real trees” on Duendi and are several thousands of years old. Under their soil and roots, they all connect to one point, towards the sleeping chamber of an unspoken entity that warps and crafts many aspects of Duendi in their slumber. No one is aware of this, nor are they allowed to by the many anomalies that appear in these several hundred of thousands of miles of woods.
–”Eternal fire pit”. It’s not actually eternal and they are not one specific place. These fire pits are located in southern, northern, central, and western Duendi as several separate spaces that connect to each other as an interconnected hub of fire (which is why they may be referred to as one place) and continually fuel burning. Useful for survival to find these fire pits.
The spirit is just as it sounds, it is a form of you beyond your fleshy body. All inhabitants of Duendi have spirit, spirit cannot be completely destroyed or created, they are basically recycled between each other bit by bit like matter and energy. It is strong enough to allow life and consciousness, and to allow the existence of magic.
Magic is quite simple on Duendi, the limit is how much spirit you have access to and there are limitations of how much can be used by one mortal at a time, as well as per lifetime. With this in mind, anything from using up your own limited spirit until you die or lose consciousness, to sacrificing others, or using material with a lot of spirit accumulated… are allowed. Magic is dangerous and risky, so it is not uncommon to restrict it’s usage in cultures. Magic is capable of healing, destruction, re-construction, and combination/reaction. Something that’s practical to be achieved by the average life form, assuming they would be allowed to use magic, would be to create an explosion of a 15 yard radius as destruction for one “spell”; capable of re-constructing a blasted limb up to a foot long; Heal one individual’s severe burn wounds; or make two otherwise non-reactive elements combine into a concentrated rich edible food that can fuel any organism for up to a week… before losing consciousness.
Duendi is home to The One Entity Being a mass of old spirit that never dissipated and has it’s own will, a great deal of power and influence due to it’s mass collection of spirit that keeps replenishing itself once spirit is used for magic by others or spirit is left unguarded / unclaimed and it decides to make that spirit a part of itself. It is so huge and enormous as a mass that would be hard to imagine and quantify for us, and it would virtually + practically never run out of spirit to use for magic even if it tried. Limitations of magic usage are not in place for The One Entity Being, as it has enough spirit and does not count as one consciousness / lifetime / individual such that it circumvents those conventions. The One Entity is the closest thing to a g-d that Duendi has. It is hard to understand it’s reasoning and self-interest, it can be benevolent or rather cruel with living inhabitants of Duendi, and the only thing known for sure is that it wants to keep existing for as long as it can.