Mystriders

si. Rider
Mystriders are gregarious humans adapted to life on dragonback in the misty jungles of Chinyelu?. They wear colourful uniforms and masks to look more intimidating in the air, with subtle differences to distinguish between the different clans and their ranks.

Mystriders have domesticated myst dragons and spend most of their lives on the wing as Acantha's scouts. They live in small villages called brumes that are built in the canopy of Chinyelu's enormous trees. Life is fast-paced but short, and almost everything is done on dragonback.

Appearance Culture Proficiencies
Lifespan: 36 years
Height: 4'8"`-5'5"
Build: Small; strong upper body
Colouring: Fair
Skin: Fair to medium
Government: Clan; Sky Lord
Population: ~4,987

Language: Chinyela
Currency: Bartering
Calendar: None

Myst Bond?
Lightning?
Mirage?
Shroud Manipulation?
Summon Myst?

Physical Characteristics

Mystriders are a sub-species of human who have evolved to minimise the weight their myst dragons must carry. They are slight and hollow-boned, standing just 4'6" to 5'2" in height. Spending the majority of their lives on dragonback, they have developed weak legs but the upper body strength needed to load and fire their crossbows.

Mystriders rely on quick reflexes and their small stature to fly their dragons. Larger Riders are grounded and given other chores rather than risk damaging their myst in flight.

Riders are generally fair though they live in a hot and humid environment where fabrics must be lightweight and minimal. Villagers wear vibrant uniforms with subtle differences to set veterans, cadets and riders apart from one another and from those of other clans.

Any jewellery and accessories must be functional, yet they wear colourful masks that are elaborately decorated to make the Rider look more intimidating. Most dip to a point over the nose to look like a bird's beak or a dragon's snout, and they cover three quarters of the face. They serve to shield the wearer from the wind and any bugs in the air, but are lifted to sit on top of the head while speaking to those on the ground as it is considered very rude for a Rider to leave their mask down during conversation.


Life Cycle & Reproduction

Band Age
Gestation 31 weeks
Infant 0 `- 2
Child 3 `- 10
Hatchling1 11 `- 15
Cadet2 16 `- 19
Rider 20 - 35
Dead by 36

Mystriders live a much shorter life than they would otherwise be capable thanks to their fast-paced and dangerous lifestyle. They do not often survive past their physical peak so their actual lifespan is unknown. It is not uncommon for them to meet terrible accidents while in flight training before they have even left their teens.

Because death is such a constant presence in a Rider's life, they rarely settle into a monogamous relationship and spend most of their adult lives almost racing to birth the next generation. As a result, there is no official ceremony to bind a couple together so they can separate whenever they choose, and homosexuality is discouraged.

The gestational period for Mystriders is relatively short at just 31 weeks, but they are not built for birth or to tolerate pain, so new mothers can be laid up for weeks before they are fully recovered.


Politics

Mystriders live in tree-top communities governed by a Sky Lord who acts as the chieftain of their brume. Active Riders are divided into small units called Wings and Flights, which are led by Wing Masters and Sky Captains respectively. Each unit is then assigned a sector of Acantha for scouting and patrolling. Riders then operate either in pairs or independently within that sector.

Despite the military-style stratification and the necessary discipline ingrained in each Rider, villagers share a relatively easy-going lifestyle. Every voice is heard and respected, but decisions are made by the Sky Lord for the good of the entire community of Riders and their dragons.

Brumes are most commonly made up of a single clan led by the Sky Lord. However, larger communities may have up to three clans with their own leader, called a Clan Master, who will vie for the position of Sky Lord as overall governor of the village. Competition between individuals for certain ranks is also quite common.

Allies & Enemies

Mystriders are allies with most Acanthans. As scouts, they are an essential weapon against Malaki raiders and various other threats, so other citizens generally like to keep them happy. Their curiosity and general openness makes it quite easy to befriend them, though they are still quite protective of their young.

You can create? new organisations with the [[!Mystriders]] tag, or join existing ones and take up any role within them.

Predators & Prey

Myst dragons are not the largest or toughest fliers in Acantha's skies, so they and their Riders are prey to many avians. There are also plenty of predators on the ground and in the tree-tops throughout Chinyelu, though their biggest threat has historically been the Malaki. The Riders themselves are omnivorous but lean towards vegetarianism.

Habitat

Mystriders live in the misty jungle mountains of Chinyelu?. They build their villages in the thick canopy of enormous trees where they are shielded from most predators, with wooden bridges and struts to connect outlying structures with the central hub.

The tree canopy is also where the majority of the fruit and water-collecting flowers of Chinyelu grow, so a Rider need never touch the ground with their own feet.

You can create? new communes with the [[!Mystrider Brumes]] tag, or join existing ones and take up any role within them.

Population

Riders are rare, with a population of roughly 4,987 living in brumes some 250`-800 strong. They build close to myst breeding grounds so they can be sure to bond with the best of the new hatches, and they count their dragons as part of their number (so they would actually claim their population is over 9,000).

Culture

An affable people by nature, Mystriders share a tight-knit kinship with the other Riders in their village and strive for mutually beneficial relationships with other clans. They must have utter trust in each other and their dragons in order to be able to fly in formation through complicated aerial manoeuvres, and many of their daily routines, even when on the ground, reinforce this trust.

The Myst Bond

The bond between a dragon and their rider is crucial to the Myst way of life. As children, Riders are given their very own hatchling to raise, and in doing so forge an empathic bond? that will last a lifetime. From then on, the pair grow up almost like siblings: the Rider takes the role of the leader and makes the decisions, while the simpler-minded dragon becomes the brawn and the Rider's vehicle3.

Language & Names

Mystriders speak Chinyela, a dialect of Acanthan originally derived from a simplified version of the language used by Danae?4. It is made up of a mixture of Acanthan words along with whistles and clicks meant to imitate the verbal signals between myst dragons. Though thick with the jungle accent, Chinyela is not terribly different from other Acanthan dialects when only the words are used, so Mystriders are able to communicate relatively easy with other Acanthans.

Names

There are three parts to a Mystrider's name: Their rank, their clan name, and then a second name which is unique to them. The clan name (which is the same name as that of their village if no more than one clan lives there) is normally used only when interacting with outsiders, while the rank name is used only on formal occasions, in combat, or when addressing a superior officer.

Religion & Philosophy

For the most part, Mystriders are very open-minded. They like to discuss various philosophies and cultural choices with other races, and they make no judgement on how others choose to live. That tolerance does not necessarily extend to their own species, however, as they can be almost dogmatic in their drive to reproduce.

Mystriders call Danae "the Sovereign" and treat him more like a king or emperor than an actual god. They do not actively worship him and are largely exempt from the offerings demanded from other Acanthans by his harpies as they provide in service what they cannot in wealth. However, they very much believe him to be their creator and, when in his presence or merely discussing him, offer him the respect of a man far above their station.

Education

Mystrider education focuses on surviving in the jungle and on making the best of their bond. Though certainly curious, Riders spend so much of their time patrolling that little is left for "unnecessary" study.

From an early age, Mystriders are divided into small units and will go through much of their youth together. This includes initial bond familiarisation and flight? training, and for small communities might even extend through Cadetship into their first squadron assignment. This helps young Riders to form a lasting bond of trust with others in their clan, both on and off the ground.

Relationships & Family

Mystriders share an openness and kinship that puts less emphasis on the nuclear family and relies heavily on the trust between members of the clan. Tension between Riders must be dealt with swiftly, so it is part of the Wing Master's duty to ensure that her team are on good terms with one another. Healthy rivalry between siblings and units is encouraged, but only when it will not jeopardise the safety of the brume or its residents.

A Note on Half-Breeds

Mystriders are sometimes seen as promiscuous, and it is not unheard of for them to share relations with outsiders while visiting outlying villages for news and trade. However, these visits are infrequent and the Mystrider numbers so low that they have around the same rate of inter-breeding as most of the Elysian? races.

History

Mystriders originally hailed from Earth? but were left behind when Xanth closed the portal to Acantha. Unlike other humans, they were not fodder for Danae's experiments but rather came to their understanding with the myst dragons naturally over time.

Riders do not have much use for the written word so most of their history has been lost. They tell their most treasured myths as bedtime stories, but these have long since been warped by internal and external influences. One such influence was Danae himself, who gleefully took the credit for the creation of both Mystriders and their dragons.


Skills & Weaknesses

Mystrider skills are primarily related to controlling and riding their dragons. They can also learn to manipulate the myst's shroud? to their advantage.

Skills:
Likely Jobs
Scout
Weaver
Bard
Cartographer
Seamstress
Tanner
Spy
Wildcrafter
Unlikely Jobs
Farmer
Locksmith
Mason
Plumber
Miner
Paper Maker
Quarrier
Illuminator


Related Pages

  • Acantha - (Newly discovered realm of the god Danae.)
  • Chinyelu Mountains - (The misty jungle mountains in Acantha.)
  • Vynett - (A Mystrider village in Chinyelu, close to the Badland border.)

Footnotes

  1. A Hatchling is either a myst dragon not yet capable of carrying a Rider, or a newly bonded pair who are still learning to fly. They will only become Cadets when they are ready to learn combat manoeuvres.
  2. Cadets are young Riders who have learned basic flight, but who are still in training. They are members of a special Cadet Wing within their community so they can become accustomed to the command structure and practise necessary skills and discipline.
  3. The myst bond is much simpler than that of a Dracovarian and their dragon?. The relationship between myst and Rider is more like that of a horse and its master, though the dragons are sentient enough to have their say.
  4. Danae's native language is Tanakheimein. This was adopted (and bastardised for mortals to comprehend) the humans in his care and evolved over time into the different dialects that make up the Acanthan languages.

Races Acanthans Acantha Mystriders Chinyelu