Gone Astray
Gip fhy
keko brey

This comic and its creator do not necessarily support ads or images shown on the above banners

'Race' - subclass - whether Monotrema, Marsupia or Placen, though Placens are split again according to size.
'Hall' - taxonomically would be Family
'Houses' - genological term for what a taxonomist might call a species
'Aspect' - whether a species is primarily nocturnal or diurnal, usually only relates to Marsupia

The continent of Torren is primarily peopled by Placens (which include humans), Avians (the bird races) and Repilians. Marsupia and Monotremia are rare and often unrecognised when they do travel outside their own tight communities due to the wide variety of species.

A fading race Marsupia and their distant relations (though this is disputed) the Monotrema, also know as 'Elves' and ''Dwarves' by the unlearned, are the remaining people of a far older time. Their numbers few, Marsupia are rarely seen in the 'civilised' society of Placens, prefering the company and language of their own kind.
It is true that both Marsupia and Monotrema have a longer life span than placents, monotrema to several hundred years while Marsupia are often described as immortal in that they do not appear to age after reaching maturity. The greatest age of a known individual elf exceeded five hundred years. 'they do not fade, they do not die, they simply go away' as worded in one ancient placen ballad about the race.

Given the variety of different houses within the Placen race and the rarity of elves travelling beyond their own territories it is not surprising that those few Marsupia who do travel outside their home lands are rarely recognised as such. Those who have met and spoken at length to Marsupia tend to be able to recognise them - Several Elves have been described as having an "old sort of feel to them, like they are just watching and waiting for the end", the scent of Eucalyptus often clings to their fur and their speech tends to be melodiously and oddly accented when they speak common tongues.

Dwarven kind, on the other hand, are far more recognisable, especially the Ornithorana, with their ungainly appearances and so tend to be more cautious when travelling. Monotrema languages, the two that remain, have been described as both gruff grating and liquid babbling.

Though often lighter built and more delicate in appearance than most of the common races of the lands, Marsupia are rarely the gauze garbed, fairy tale beings depicted in childrens stories. Many of the Nocturns do enjoy wearing bright colours and ornate designed fabrics but rarely do so when travelling.
While it is uncommon to see a Marsupia fight, they tend to avoid situations that require violence unless necessary, they have a strength and degree of ferocity that is belied by their slight frames, generally excel in their weapon of choice. This is often attributed to having spent many decades practicing and the refined skill in weaponry and the Marsupia belief that every action can be an artform.
Because Elven fems give birth to underdeveloped offspring and raise them in their pouch they tend to be flat chested, often confusing other races who are not aware of the physical differences between males and fems.
To ask to inspect a marsupia's pouch is an offence that is likely to be rewarded with at least one blade through the body.
There are several different sub races of 'elves' these are divided into two aspects: diurns and nocturns. As the name suggests, some tend to be night active while others prefer daylight .

'Arborial nocturns' are usually possum-like and tend to be extravagently sociable for marsupia, they are possibly the most interactive with other races, especially Mouselings and other trading species. Their society is, as the subrace name suggests, largely off the ground. Arborials are known for their fantastic cities suspended above the ground in some of the deeper forests and their ability with druidic magics that involve plants.
Arboreal nocturns, with the exception of the larger houses of the subrace (including the Phascocin, Pseudochir and Phalangera) tend to be mouseling size in stature and prefer to remain aloft, rarely leaving their own forest bound society to interact with other races - though travelling merchants are generally welcomed.

Proving that there is always an exception to the rule, there is a branch of the Arborial Nocturns, the Phascocin, that are reputed for their short tempers and xenophobia. The Phascocin are reputed to exceptional carvers and mages with what has been reported as the most exquisite tree villages, however their dislike of company, recluse ways and apparent paranoia mean that it is very rare that any of their settlements are found and even rarer that non-invited visitors return intact.
It is a common, though unlikely, belief that it is the Phascocin's lack of a tail is the reason for their vile temper. Any reference to their lack of such limb has been reported to, on several occassions in history, to cause them to fly into a violent rage.

Dasiu nocturns tend to be smaller than most other Marsupia, but they make up for this with ferocity. The border patrols that guard the edge lands of the Marsupia's domains tend to be Dasiu. These marsupia are generally rangers or blade dancers, Calinestri and Shirkio are deities commonly worshipped and Dasiu weaponry is highly sought by traders for it's superb make.

Diurns: There are few halls of Diurns and many walk the twighlight road, not truely in the sunlight. The tribe of Myrmecobia, one of the nobler houses of the marsu are true sun-walkers. Their lands tend to be open forest with their dwellings built either in trees or in the giant termite mounds that they have cultivated. (Gip is of this House)

Despite many tales and ill-researched histories stating otherwise the Dwarven race is older than the Marsupia by far, the number of houses has been reduced by time to no more than two - the earth delving Tachyacul and the water loving Ornithorana. Most of the Monotrema are shy of society, prefering to keep their own company or living in small family groups.
The centre of many myths and infamy Monotrema have often been persecuited by would be treasure hunters seeking their fortunes. While it is true that many Monotrema, especially those of the House Tachyacul are exceptional artisans when it comes to working metal and precious stone, the folklore that they can sing precious metals and gems from the earth is unlikely to be true, as is the vaulted treasure halls that are described in legend.
Having stated this it must also be said that few the great dwarven halls that have been found, generally in natural caverns beneath the earth, show that in the distant past the houses of Monotrema had a great wealth, not only of material goods but also of knowledge. The knowledge of quality of stone turning and architecture visible in these rare places has been lost in the march of time and the dwindling of the race.

Gone Astray is hosted on Comic Genesis,
a free webhosting and site automation service for webcomics.