I sit here this day, with quill and journal in hand, to write about my studies of a race of people. Those who know me know of continued study of this race, although some dismiss me as a crazy loon. This race is quite old, and most references to it lie only in lore. However, I know this race truly exists, and this journal is a collection of prior documented accounts of Alarian, albeit brief and vague, as well as my own personal experiences with this race. This race is the race known simply as: Alarians.
Alarians are a very old race, spanning at least until the end of the Age of Mourning, when the Penthanians unleashed the UnMagick. It is not certain if the Alarians existed before the Great Change, as that era in time is commonly known, or if the Alarians were yet another victim of the UnMagick. Unfortunately, any documentation on Alarian history has been lost, or well-hidden. One would assume that the Alarians themselves have documentation, however, the Alarians, as a general whole, have appeared to have taken to an extended isolation period, so any documentation they might have is unattainable. Keep in mind that one cannot just walk to the Alarian homeland. One must remember that Alarians are shapeshifters, and thus, if an uninvited guest tried to approach, the Alarians would merely shapeshift into a city of Hithuals, or a city of Secians, or what have ye. For this reason, the Alarian homeland has remained a mystery, a place none hav! e been able to find, much akin to the Leuian homeland of Leuia. As such, information on Alarian history, society, and culture are still, to this day, a near mystery.
An Alarian has two forms; two bodies if ye will. The first is their True form. The body with which they are born. This body, however, has never been described in any prior document or story, so I have nothing to document to that extent, as even I have nae seen the True form of an Alarian. All that is known is that the True form exists.
The second form is called it's Shift. It serves as a mask, hiding the True form from the outside world. How an Alarian Shifts into another object is uncertain. There are rumors of them being able to Shift at will, merely looking at an object or being and Shifting into that object or being. There is also the belief that an Alarian must consume the object or being it wishes to Shift into. I've even heard of the idea that Alarians use powerful magicks to achieve their Shifting. Which, if any, are true, none can truly say, as no prior documentation has accounted an Alarian Shifting in action.
While in it's Shift form, the Alarian assumes all characteristics of the being or object it Shifts into. * So, if an Alarian Shifted into the form of a Secian, it would receive the ability to fly, as well as the empathic nature associated to Secians. Since it assumes all the characteristics of the object or being it chooses, it also assumes the sustenance needed to sustain said object or being. If in the Shift of a being, it requires no special necessity, as such a need could breed possibility of suspicions arising of the Alarian's presence. To elaborate on this, it is an innate desire of the Alarian to remain unknown. This is the primary purpose of the Alarian's ability to Shift. Alarians thrive on anonymity. This allows them to do what they wish, when they wish, how they wish, without suffering from any consequences.
Once Shifted, it is unclear as to how long an Alarian can stay Shifted. Certainly, it could change Shifts when it chooses, however, if this is not a viable option, it is not certain if, after a certain amount of time, the Shift will fade or stay. However, since Alarians strive to keep their True forms from ever being seen, it is entirely possible that a Shift will last for an indefinite amount of time. Why, then, would an Alarian wish to change Shifts? Why do women of some races desire more than one outfit? A crude analogy, but one that will suffice. Alarians view their Shifts with great pride. They regard it as a sign of their talent and creative flair. While all Alarians can Shift, just as everyone can wear clothes, they view each of the Shifts with a critical eye, evaluating and reevaluating them. Thus, as some women are prone to change outfits more often than others, some Alarians are prone to change Shifts more o! ften than other Alarians. Among themselves, some, especially the children, will play with their Shifting abilities, coming up with such creations as a Human with Secian wings and a Leuian tail. Since all Shifts have a normal timespan in which they live and die, when the time of death comes, the Alarian will fake it's death, and assume another Shift whenever it feels comfortable in doing so. (Note: It could be hypothesized that there is a connection between the Alarians and the equally mysterious race known as the dhuvghal. However, since this is merely a thought of mine, with very little proof behind it, I present it merely as a note here.)
The question that now arises is, can one kill an Alarian? Obviously, the answer is yes. Though to permanently kill an Alarian, one would undoubtedly have to kill the True form of the Alarian, and to do, one would need to get through the Shift form. Killing the Shift form itself will only cause the Alarian immense pain. As with all life, Alarians eventually die, whether it be from old age, disease **, or unnatural causes, however, in it's death, it is not known if the Shifted form stays or vanishes. Assuming, of course, since the Shift is a process controlled by the Alarian when it is alive, it could be surmised that in death, the Shift form eventually does fade away.
Methods of Alarian Detection
The art of detecting an Alarian is a very ancient art. Alarian Revealers have used them for ages, as they can be quite precise. However, these methods are quite difficult to learn, and as such, a limited number of people know them and have mastered them throughout the world. It is possible, of course, for most people to learn these methods, however, even the easiest method requires much time, endurance, and self-discipline to learn. Naturally, the more precise the method, the harder it is to learn, and master. I've listed the four types of Alarian detection that I have discovered; those being the Olfaction, Auditory, Mental, and Magickal methods. Of course, there may be other methods that have yet to be discovered. If such methods are discovered, I would personally appreciate hearing of them.
This method is one which utilizes one's nose to detect the body odor of an Alarian. Of the four methods listed in this study, this method is the easiest. Although, it is still quite difficult to learn, much less master. This is due to the fact that to properly distinguish Alarian body odor, one must train his or her nose to separate the variety of smells in the air. This made doubly hard for, while in a Shifted form, the Alarian also gives out the body odor of it's Shifted form, so one must also smell beyond that. If done properly, one will find the smell of an Alarian to be rather queer. Imagine, if ye will, the smell of rotten eggs, mixed with a splash of cinnamon, mixed with the smell of roasted oliphant, only a lot more acrid. While this is a crude image, and while I cannae accurately describe the smell, it is as close as I can get to describing it. I will also point out that the smell of an unbathed Oog-ra or a sewage! -covered Go-blin-al and an Alarian are quite different, however, detecting an Alarian in a Shifted form or either race might prove more difficult to detect than, say, an Alarian Usil Elf.
This method of detection is similar to that of the Olfaction technique in that it requires an Alarian Revealer to train their ears to tune out outside noises. As with the Olfaction method, one must also be able to hear beyond the voice of an Alarian's Shifted form. If trained properly, a Revealer will be able to distinguish the natural voice of an Alarian; the voice that the Alarian would use in it's natural form. The natural voice of an Alarians is, for the males of the species, a very deep, guttural growl, while for the females, it is a slightly higher growl, but still guttural. For a Shifted form of races with more deeper voices, such as Thugian or Oog-ra, it is much like hearing two voices coming from one voice, and thus, it would prove more difficult to reveal an Alarian in such a Shifted form.
For those who have the gift of Psionics, there is also a mental detection technique. This detection is similar to that of the prior methods mentioned here, however, it requires more training to become learned in this technique, as it requires one to probe very deep into the individuals mind; far deeper than a regular mental examination. This is due to the fact that the Alarians go through great lengths to keep their True forms, and thus, their true identities a secret. Since this examination goes deep into the inner reaches of the mind, using such a technique can be dangerous to both the probee and the prober, and, in the most extreme cases, have been known to cause death in both. However, if done correctly, the Alarian's identity can be distinguished by the many barriers of mental protection, as well as an alien presence which would not normally be in a normal person. This presence is different from that of a possessed individual in that th! is presence gives forth a sense of perpetuity, while a possession victim has a sense of invasion and belligerence. This is not so for an Alarian. For an Alarian, the temporary Shift consciousness is in complete compatibility with that of the True consciousness.
The last, and most proficient method of Alarian detection, is that of magickal detection. As such, it is the hardest technique to learn. This is not only because of the power needed to invoke the involved runes, but also because the weave to such a spell is a guarded secret among only the most powerful of Mages. It is even rumored that even they do not know of the weave, because it was actually lost ages ago. Which is true, it is uncertain. However, documented accounts that there are of the method describes the effect of the spell to cause the Alarian's Shifted form to fluctuate, like a ripple in water. If applied long enough, it is said that the Shifted form would eventually dematerialize, revealing the True form of an Alarian. (Note: Since documents have recorded the effects of this spell, one could assume that there have been, indeed, individuals who have witnessed the True form of an Alarian. However, I have found! no documentation, or even any piece of lore, to prove this, and as such, I present this as another side thought.)
~~~As a general rule, some races would be more skilled at one type of Revealing over another. A Monitanian, for example, might be more proficient at the Olfaction method, while a Leuian might be more efficient at the Auditory method. Even so, for such races, training would still need to be undergone to separate the essential from the nonessential, however, these races would likely have a much easier time doing so.~~~
Personal Experiences with Alarians
Stepping aside from the scholarly aspect of Alarians, I will now document my experiences with the Alarian race. My first encounter with Alarians began shortly after my hometown was destroyed. Throughout my return journey to Spur, I had felt as if I was being watched, though every time I looked, I could find no one or nothing that could cause me such a feeling. When I returned to Spur, this feeling lessened, as I rationalized that, when in Spur, someone is always watching someone else. So, I ignored it. However, every night, as I was deep in study at the Sage's Guild, this feeling would intensify, so much in fact, that I become quite anxious. Once, in the middle of the night, I awoke with a start. I looked around, and noticed a dark shadow standing before me. I hurriedly rushed for a light, but, by the time I got one and illuminated the room, it was gone.
I was plagued by this shadow for several days afterwards. I soon grew tired of fearing whatever lurked in the shadows, and one night, followed the shadow after it's nightly visits to my room. I'm no thief, and the shadow quickly knew that I was pursuing it. It turned to face me and said, and I quote: "Foolish one. You have only quickened your demise, for now, I am forced to consume you."*** It lunged at me, throwing me to the ground. I kicked and screamed, but to no avail. It was much too strong. I struggled to reach a nearby rock, even as I felt the creature bite into my arm. I cried out in pain, but as I did, by the grace of SA Himself, I finally managed to grasp the rock. I slammed it into the head of my attacker. My empathic backlash flared up through my body as my attack connected, though I could tell that the attack caused little damage to it. But, it was enough to stun the creature long enough for m! e to wrestle free. I heard a distant voice, and I cried out, reaching for my torch as I did so. I quickly light my torch, and now stood before an illuminated Hithual, his eyes red with insanity and rage. At first, I thought he was just a drunken bum, but as I stared at him, his body begin to contort. His legs grew thinner, and scaly, while his hands curved upward at an unnatural angle. His face elongated and his hair grew longer. Within moments, he had changed into a raven, and took flight, disappearing into the night sky. I never saw him again.
Since then, I have studied Alarians in-depth, and have even learned the Olfaction method of detection. I have spent many hours in Spur's own Town Square Center, warning citizens of these Alarians, in hopes that they would not encounter such an experience. Alas, since Alarians are very elusive, and very rare in and around Spur, my warnings have merely been dismissed as the ramblings of an old senile man. However, throughout the last several years, I have encountered, at least, three Alarians. One is a member of my kyn, and admittedly, my friend. Her father was an Alarian who Shifted into the form of a Secian to be with her mother. Thus, she is only half-Alarian. Another encounter happened while I was touring the Spurian Othello Museum. I was in the Saian room, in the Hall of the Gods corridor, when I caught an Alarian trying to steal some of the exhibits there. Luckily, I was able to get museum staff to retrieve the ex! hibits, however, the Alarian was never caught. My last known encounter happened last Rinannimas. An Alarian attacked me in Town Square, biting both my wings and arm. Despite my shrieks and flailing, none of the crowd attempted to help me, as they could nae see it, nor any evidence of me being harmed. However, I felt the pain of the attack, and saw the damage it did to me. It's my belief that the Alarian used magick to conceal itself and it's attacks. Luckily, it was a younger Alarian, and I was able to break free before it did too much damage. Fortunately, it decided against attacking again, and it vanished. Since that time, I've yet to encounter another Alarian. But, my encounters have been enough to confirm their existence to my mind.
In closing, I will emphasize that all the above information is strictly fact, coming from sources that I have come across, unless otherwise noted. This study, however, is hardly complete. Alarians are a mysterious and elusive race, and as such, they make a very difficult specimen to study. As time goes one, there will undoubtedly be more information to be added. If I come across any such new information, I will try my best to update this Study.
* In the case of a Secian and/or a Dragon, it is unknown as to whether or not an Alarian in a Shifted form of either race would be capable of creating a Bond with it's Chosen. Assuming the Alarian takes on ALL aspects of it's Shift, then, theoretically, an Alarian could indeed Bond with it's Chosen. This would coincide with the Alarians innate nature to hide it's True form, as a Secian or Dragon who could not Bond would prove to be rather suspicious. It is also unknown if, once Bonded, the Secian/Dragon would be able to sense the Alarian it was Bonded to. One would assume, however, that the answer would be no.
**It is not known in the Alarian's True form suffers from diseases or poisons. Logic, however, would suggest that, even despite a Shift, an Alarian does have vulnerabilities to disease and poison, however, it is unclear as to which diseases or poisons would be effective.
***This makes me wonder if different Alarians have different methods of Shifting. The Alarian in my encounter seemed to Shift into a raven at will, and yet, it desired to consume me. Could it be that certain Alarians can Shift only in certain ways? Or, could it be that the method of Shifting is determined by the age of the Alarian. Younger ones having to consume it's desire Shift, while adult Alarians capable of Shifting by will. Or, could it be just the opposite? Yet more questions to ponder, and more topics to study.