Shards of the Past
Spontaneous sentience slowly came upon the psicrystals that are now the kulvix. Within a nearly controlled environment, they safely became a people. Deception necessitated a migration to the underdark at large. They have only recently discovered the surface world.
The kulvix do not remember where they came from. They only have myth and legend – and they believe the first three kulvix found their way to the surface in a true desert, devoid of life, looked around…and went back underground. They are often called Zun (Courage), Vot (Mindfulness), and Arob (Hard Work). Closer to the truth – the kulvix evolved from psionically receptive crystal that first grew deep under Theia, enlivened by the heat of the planet’s core.
Their actual written history starts with the Kulvix – the Great Awakening from which they took their name. It speaks of twelve beings – that were likely survivors of a disaster that claimed an older race. They learned to “reproduce” by psychically awakening other crystals – and grew in numbers. They lived underground, safe and at peace.
Of course, it did not last, but again, what actually happened is of some contention. Some say an earthquake destroyed their refuge. Others say that they awakened Kul’Vokar (whom some kulvix see as a god), or that they warred amongst themselves. Likely the truth is some combination of the three, but the refuge was destroyed and the kulvix, carrying with them raw crystals, fled closer to the surface.
There, they slowly built a civilization. About two hundred years ago, they learned how to turn other substances into the crystal from which they were made, allowing their numbers to grow beyond what they were able to retrieve from the depths, allowing them to create new technology. In order to avoid the conflict of the past, they built a tribal structure designed to flex with personality differences rather than break against them. This is also when the twelve (now thirteen) veins (or castes) began to develop.
A small number of Tan’Kitariv began to explore the surface. They found dry canyons and constructed new dwellings in there, connected to their underground home. They also found other races – and although the kulvix did not trust them, some contact was inevitable – and that contact grew into trade. Trade also led to them picking up ideas from outside – and while they are still isolationist, their minds are beginning to expand and grow. With generally peaceful intent, they send slow feelers out into the real world, always careful to avoid conflict with others.
After all, they have had enough conflict in their past.
The kulvix range in height between four and eight feet in height, generally slender in build – but not always – as kulvix can adjust their physical form slowly over time to suit their needs and purposes. Thus, kulvix who are involved in highly physical professions may be tall and heavy built, others may prefer to be small and lithe. The same kulvix may even look different in different meetings. What they do have in common is their crystalline form, dull grey on the outside but with a shimmering inner layer that varies in color depending on their vein (which is psychologically based). Although they can change shape, they cannot add or subtract mass – rather they expand or contract, changing density.
Kulvix do not have faces unless they choose to form them to deal with outsiders. More likely, the kulvix “head” looks like a helmet. They keep their brains, sensibly, in the center of their chest. Their senses, too, differ somewhat from other races. Their outer, rocky skin is not sensitive to touch, so they substitute psionic sensitivity. The same is true of smell, though taste is unknown. Their bodies contain six to ten “eyes” – sensory cores which sense movement, light, and vibration, combining sight and hearing into a single sense, although they can still only focus their attention in one direction at a time.
Kulvix do not eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. Their energy appears to come from the psionic nature of the crystal – and is sufficient, although they tend to be slower in motion and response than other races. They also do not age and die the same as other races. Their memories fade over time, but very slowly – however, this fading happens faster to kulvix who leave their homeland and thus proximity to other crystals – and can eventually lead to senescence and the “death” of the mind, leaving a core which can then be reawakened into a new kulvix.
The Atta’Vix ritual is the creation of a new kulvix. A suitably sensitive raw crystal is taken and three carefully chosen individuals are sequestered with it in a sacred chamber – for anything from ten to seventy-five years. At the end of the process, the crystal awakens and becomes a brand new kulvix. Sometimes existing kulvix will undergo the Atta’Vix ritual either voluntarily or as punishment for a crime so that they become a new person, although always of the same vein. Kulvix, thus, have no family in the traditional sense — some kulvix do develop emotional bonds with their awakeners, but they spend little time with them, generally being taken straight to aptitude testing and then training for a profession. They also have no gender, although kulvix who work a lot with outsiders may take on some gendered features for the comfort of those around them and accept the related pronouns.
Each kulvix is a member of a vein (or caste), which is visible in their inner color layer. The veins, however, have no impact on physiology, only on psychology and sometimes professional aptitude. The vein is determined by the dominant psychology of the individuals who awaken the new kulvix.