Category: Dwar Published Date Written by W. Robinson Mason III
A proud and determined tree-dwelling folk, the Dwar have been pushed to the brink of extinction, yet still survive.
The Dwar are among the most bestial in appearance of the Hominids. Rather than looking like altered humans as the rest of the Hominids do, they resemble distant ancestors of humans, such as homo erectus or homo habilis, but with broader faces and dark red to orange fur covering most of their bodies. This is because, simply put, the Dwar are not human at all. Unlike the other hominids engineered for life on Hadanum, the Dwar are based on non-human DNA. The crippled dropship that carried the Dwar den-noh crashed, destroying all usable human DNA samples. Since a primary mission of the den-noh was to make vessels capable of accepting mind transfers of long dead humans, the den-noh made use of the closest DNA available, that of orangutans. It artificially introduced human traits and adaptations for life on Hadanum with the aim that one day the Dwar could be perfected through genetic engineering to accept mind transfers. Over the years, due to unexpected environmental and biological contaminants on Hadanum, the Den-Noh lost its ability to continue to work on successive generations of Dwar. As a result even the current generation of Dwar have maintained most of their orangutan features.
They are Renowned for their agility. A Dwar is capable of running at extremely high speeds for short distance, though they may drop to all fours temporarily to gain speed. Their muscular structure is designed to afford the most power with the least bulk. Both their long-fingered clawed hands and feet are capable of digging in and grasping tightly to the thick, spongy bark of the gwor trees as they leap between branches. As a result, the Dwar are excellent leapers, climbers and hunters in their arboreal environment.
Bred for life in a lush forest setting, the Dwar are at home in the forest of Dwar-Cha, their chosen home. Their bodies are covered with thick soft, tufts of "fur" that ranges in color from dark red to reddish-orange, camouflaging them well amongst the crimson leaves of the forest canopy. Their teeth are blunt except for their wicked canines, which they employ with no reservations in close-quarter combat, along with their long, hard nails. Their arms are longer than those of a normal human, and their legs are noticeably shorter.
They are adept at using boleadoras (3-weighted bolas) to hunt yuld and use versions with heavier stones to aim the weapons for the heads of Urdreh and Kasgen invaders.
Males bear more prominent, extended tufts of hair from each of their shoulders, and their faces are closely rimmed with short hair. Females tend to have less hair around the face and neck, and their breasts and faces are usually bare. Females are significantly smaller and less muscular than males, and as a result are more agile, capable of leaping between tree branches with surprising ease. With their numbers constantly threatened by invaders to Dwar-Cha the Dwar value their offspring highly. For this reason, females rarely leave the safety of the treetops.
The Dwar have become dependent on the "sap"of gwor trees for their survival and well-being. Unless they drink a small cupful of the stimulant each day they will suffer from withdrawal symptoms. The first day they go without the sap they suffer from mild headaches. On the second and third days, madness and sometimes even suicidal behavior will follow. Gwor "sap" contains a powerful stimulant and the Dwar use large doses of the gwor sap to temporarily enhance their energy levels. There is a limit to how much sap can be taken before overdosing. When under the influence of additional sap, a Dwar's body is quick to release adrenalin. While helpful during a short skirmish, this will leave the Dwar shaking and exhausted in a matter of minutes. Most Dwar know their limits and the frequency with which they can imbibe the sap per day without ill effect and do not exceed it.
The Dwar refer to themselves simply as "Dwar", which means "people". Kasgen and the other races of Hadanum who have had contact with them refer to them as Dwar-a-nir, which literally means "of the people". As a race they consist of scattered, named subgroups of hunter/gatherer tribes. Just as Dwar-Cha means "people-home", the tribes of Dwar live in permanent villages named after the tribe, such as Holu-Cha for the Holu tribe.
The Dwar are very territorial but only claim land in a small radius away from their tribal villages, leaving most of Dwar-Cha unclaimed. Unless at war with one another (which is a rare event and never long-lasting) groups of hunters and gatherers routinely run into groups from other tribes while freely roaming most of Dwar-Cha.
The Dwar thrive on tradition. They are quick to create and maintain ceremony for all occasions. Usually their ceremonies consist of simple hand gestures or muttered incantations based on superstition. Few Dwar will begin to eat, sleep, or perform other ritual daily tasks without such hand gestures or chants.
"Tree-singing" is a popular pastime and a sort of game between Dwar. The Dwar language is melodic with a nasal twang, and the game plays on this. Words are sung in increasingly extended, slurred shouts across Dwar-Cha and listeners, often from other tribes, have to guess the meaning of the words and respond correctly. In times of invasion and war with other races, the Dwar use this system of calls, making the words nearly indecipherable even to the Kasgen who have extensively studied the language of captured Dwar.
The Dwar mate for life, and although females may take another mate if their male has died, males are restricted to one female for life. The Dwar see each of the gigantic gwor (tall, broad crimson-leafed trees) as their protectors and providers. They make their homes in the hollow spaces where branches sprout from gwor trunks and often have hunting caches on the ground in the spaces where the gwor roots arch and create larger sheltered hollows. The largest of the gwor are capable of supporting Dwar families on their broad boughs. Many gwor have dead spots along their "bark" that the Dwar cut away to reveal hollow hiding spaces. Some of the trunks have space enough for divisions, or "rooms." When a family or individual of a tribe chooses a new gwor to live in, the Dwar mark the occasion as something special with a ceremony. The ceremony consists of dancing, calling, and repeated prostration before the trees. Vague references to leaving Dead Earth and making a new home are made during the ceremony. The gwor is named during this ceremony, and the Dwar of the tribe use these tree names to indicate certain locations in and around their villages.
The gwor are host to a webwork of thick, crimson-colored vines which grow only in the mottled shade provided by a gwor's leaf canopy. These vines produce an almost limitless supply of small purple fruits the Dwar call "olum". These olum fruits are either eaten whole, mashed into a pulp for drinks and as a paste, or fermented as a sort of wine with gwor sap. Unlike the other races of Hadanum that employ agricultural techniques to reap what they need from the land, the Dwar staple is this wild fruit, which needs no tending. To supplement their diet with protien they hunt yuld (small, short-haired boars which also make their homes under the gwor), and forage for grubs. Occasionally the Dwar have been known to leave Dwar Cha for the open plains in search of larger prey, but this has become rare since the Kasgen onslaught upon Dwar-Cha.
The Dwar and Kasgen were among the first hominids to make contact with one another. Initial relations were peaceful, but quickly turned violent when the territorial nature of the Dwar clashed with the Kasgen's sense of superiority. The Dwar were nearly wiped from the face of Hadanum by the invasion of the Kasgen into their homeland for reasons that are still not clear to the Dwar. Using tricks, superior weaponry, and to lure and capture them, the Kasgen eliminated the Dwar tribes in the north and northeast regions of Dwar-Cha and took the survivors as slaves.
With the arrival of the Urdreh to the north, the Kasgen turned away from using the Dwar as slaves.
Now the Dwar wait. They hide in the shadowy treetops of Dwar Cha, defending themselves when hunted, and protecting what secrets and dignity they have left.
- W. Robinson Mason III
Last Updated on Sunday, 11 March 2012 22:25