Sunday, August 20, 2017

City of Curses: The Iktomoyate, or the Spiderkin

It stood about a head taller than a man.  Eight, black eyes focused on the thread, not me.  It's purple carapace seemed to do well in the dark here.  Long, thin limbs flew across threads with skill.  Green energy seemed to glow from the thread as they moved.  The spell light illuminated the spidery being's dark robes, finely woven with minute details and thousands of glittering beads.

Mandibles twitched as it continued its work.  They didn't seem to notice me, if at all.  It wove and wove.  Each thread glimmering in the dark.

Iktomoyate once dwelled on Kestan Hill.  A quiet, long-lived people, they never grew to large numbers.  Although sometimes referred to as shapeshifters, Iktomoyate themselves only refer to three different shapes they can shift their bodies into, from a human-sized spider to a form that looks almost human.


Today, they dwell underneath Kestan Hill in their own quiet, insular community.  Almost all Iktomoyate are excellent weavers, able to craft almost anything from the thread as well as tell any sort of story once they know enough details.  Almost all Iktomoyate possess spinnerets and can spin their own silk.  A rare few are born without this capability, known as the Spinless amongst their own kind.

The Tomasi Empire learned Psychomancy from the Iktomoyate, treating them as fellow citizens.  Unlike the Ursyklon, which the Tomasi long distrusted for ruling over them centuries before, the Spiderkin were seen as fellow seekers of arcane and other knowledge.  Spiderkin all are innate Psychomancers, able to thread mental magicks into their own webbing.

When Othebea came to dominate Ith, they came into conflict with the Iktomoyate.  Largely this was due to cultural misunderstandings between their peoples.  At its height, the two peoples crafted magical weapons they employed against one another.  Othebeans found the Spiderkin to be cold and cruel, seeing their hatching rituals as cannibalistic.  The Iktomoyate hatch from thousands of eggs, but their young, known as Spiderlings, are regarded as vermin.

Spiderlings remain small and seemingly without intelligent thought until they mature at roughly a century of age.  They vary from the size of a human hand to ponies.  Iktomoyate don't regard them as children.  They will even kill Spiderlings if they find them in the way.  Only when a Spiderling shows some use of Psychomancy will other Spiderkin adopt them into their society.

This attitude leads Spiderkin to sometimes clash with others.  In the case of the Rosac Humans, this led to a conflict.  The accidental death of human children and spiderlings spiraled out of control.  Othebean monster hunters assumed the worse.  Iktomoyate psychics tried to use psychomancy to show memories of what truly happened, but their spellcasting was seen as an attack.  A lie crafted to draw them into the web.

The Spiderkin remember it as a tapestry.  Once they lived in thick web mazes a top Kestan Hill.  Then humans in shining armor, fire and black robes drove them away.  Punished for trying to tell their side of the story.  Even then, they admit to some fault.  The tale still hasn't ended.  The Spiderkin keep their wrath restrained, only maintaining their ancient weapon against the Othebean invaders, an amnesiac fog.