Xillidi is a general term for a combined race of many different insectoids. They are renowned world-wide for being ferocious fighters yet determined traders. They occupy/dominate most of the Northern quadrant of the Old World, having splintered rule over vast deserts and barrens. Their cities, though few in number, are usually compact and bustling with activity. While their architecture is rustic, it is still well accepted in current times.
They date back to the early 1800s, in terms of their first encounter with any other race (at the time, Ivelleans). Their culture indicates they have thrived much longer. It is likely that they were a subterranean race before appearing to the world.
It was in 1818, when the Xillidi Empress decided to try and communicate with Ivellea at the time. However, their ancient dialect was not understood and they did not get any proper response, which prompted the Empire to develop into being able to communicate with other nations. Despite these intentions, their desire to expand their territory ultimately led them to fighting all-out war with Ivellea a mere 30 years later.
Starting in 1849, the war between the Xillidi and Ivellea came to be known as the 20 Year Impasse. Possibly one of the longest wars in Old World history, most of the conflict was wrought upon the borders of Ivellean and Xillidi territories, with several contested regions being left undecided for the majority of the war. The reason it became a stalemate was because neither side would back down nor tire. The Xillidi's strange, outlandish tactics constantly harassed the Ivellean forces, but they managed to keep up defenses anyway. After 20 years of fighting with little progression except in casualty count, the war was called off and a truce was made between the nations, along with mutual respect for each others combat abilities. This being one of the only wars Xillidi have fought, it spread out their image as a ferocious fight force. When the Empire goes to war, all its denizens will contribute to the war effort, regardless of internal conflict they may have had before. Because of this, they become an unshakable war machine that is terrifying to face in battle.
Like mentioned before, Xillidi fight in a unified way. They use tactics that employ their great numbers to overwhelm enemies, as well as certain other tactics for any specialist forces they have (and Xillidi have plenty of specialists available). In terms of conventional warfare, they lack the usual military disciplines common in other races and a fighting front can often become single-minded, leaving them prone to being flanked. They make up for this by having extremely rigid fighting forces that almost never back down, so demoralizing tactics and propaganda rarely work against them.
In terms of individuals, Xillidi will usually fight with their all- that is, if they see the fight worth fighting. They will generally avoid fights or not take them seriously if they do not see legitimate worth in the challenge. Because of this, a lot of races tend to see the Xillidi as arrogant and patronizing. However, when it comes to a true fight, a Xillidi will put everything on the line regardless of what species they are. This is because of their beliefs, in themselves and the Empire. See the Sub-Species and Religion sections for more details.
In terms of combat styles, Xillidi are almost always reliant on weaponry; they rarely use magic in any form outside of healing and welfare. Some of the more combat oriented sub-species have no reliance on armor either, due to naturally high dexterity or armament. Because of this being a common case among soldiers, a lot of resources can be put towards solely weaponry.
Magic use does exist in the Xillidi Empire, but it is usually reserved for specialist castes. While anyone may be capable of using magic, it doesn't mean they know how to. And generally, they are not taught how to. It is mostly like this so that an easier grip of control can be placed on the populace, as well as giving everyone a more unified feeling since none of them can be magically superior to another unless they are in an entirely different caste.
The magics that are used are usually healing and banishment magic, employed by the religious castes of the Empire. It is rare to see magic outside of the higher castes in the Empire, and being able to use magic is akin to having the status of a noble. Generally, the higher up in society you look, the more magic users you will find. Despite this, the populous lower castes do not hold any grudges against those who use magic, and generally accept this system as it is. This applies to foreigners as well, although magic users of the Xillidi tend to see themselves as higher than most other mages from foreign regions.
There are several castes in the Xillidi Empire, each one dealing with a certain type of population rather than levels of society. Regardless, some castes are regarded higher than others naturally. The following list goes from lowest caste to the highest:
- Dsnia (si-nee-ah) - This caste is the lowest, composing of the vast majority of Xillidi citizens. It includes mostly Formidians, Coleons and Culicids. Most average to low-end merchants can be found here, amongst other workers. This is also the caste that has most members venturing outside of Xillidi territory, either to explore the world or to expand their trade.
- Respcis (resp-sis) - These can be considered the "middle-class". Slightly more xenophobic than Dsnia, but not entirely so. It's not rare to find a Respcis citizen outside Xillidi territory. However, they tend to occupy some of the more organized and well-paid careers present in the Empire, as well as some administritive ones. They are the business caste, mostly composed of Formidians and Lepidians.
- Iru'Kinin (eye-ru kin-in) - An oddity among Xillidi castes, this special caste is comprised of all the liberated human slaves that used to be under Xillidi control. Despite being freed, a large portion of slaves decided to remain part of the Empire, and now these humans are regarded as much as a Xillidi as any of their insectoid brethren. They are usually distinguished from other humans by having darker skin colors, citrus colored eyes and natural tattoo-like markings on their bodies. They are odd because despite being their own caste, they tend to merge with all the other castes (excluding the religious, royalty and military castes).
- Thesha (thee-shah) - Can be confused for being related to Dsnia, this is the Merchant caste. Not to be confused with independent merchants of Dsnia, this caste specializes in managing the overall trade and economy of the Empire. Their power is great because of the way they control trade routes and exchange rates, and they tend to be haughty because of this. They are higher than middle-class, but not exactly "noble". Mostly comprised of Culicids and Dermasians.
- Krztello (kirst-el-oh) - The military caste, comprised of primarily Formidians, Vespans, Mantians and Coleons. The military are highly regarded in the Empire and being part of it generally demands you great respect and authority over lower castes. On the same level as nobles, military personnel function as the law enforcement and judiciary systems in the Empire as well. They can be very xenophobic, especially ones who are stationed mostly within their own territory. However, guards found on borders may be generally more inviting towards foreigners, especially those who like a good duel.
- Roda'Craan (road-ah cr-aah-n) - The religious caste of the Empire, comprised of spider-type Aranichians, Apoideans, Lepidians and Mantians. Not much is known about them in lower castes, other than they are the most devoted followers of the Xillidi religion and are one of the only castes permitted to be able to use magic. Roda'Craan members are generally respected as highly as nobles, but some commandeer even higher prestige (especially head priests and such). They remain distinctly obscured from the rest of the castes, even the military and royalty castes. The only other caste that "probably" understands them fully is the mysterious Zephss caste.
- Cryxilla (crix-ill-ah) - The royalty caste, which includes the direct descendants of the Empress amongst all the other noble families. Races found in this caste include the leaders of all Xillidi sub-races. They are at the pinnacle of the publicly known society, and thus garner the utmost respect and authority over the other castes. Nobles tend to be extremely xenophobic (in some cases, even of some of the lower caste members) and highly full of themselves. They rarely leave the Xillidi capital. Despite their attitudes, most nobles do their part for the Empire either by performing administrative duties or catering to the interests of lower castes to keep social stability. Those are are members of bloodlines directly descended from the Empress are excused from all duties and get to live their lives in pure luxury; despite this, many of these members tend to become more adventurous than their noble comrades and often become the only Cryxilla folk to dare venture out the capital.
- Zephss (Zeh-fiss) - A caste not well-known to even some of the castes in the Empire itself, and wholly regarded as an entertaining rumor. The Zephss caste are a group of ascetics, including the Empress herself. They are only found in the deepest and most secluded chambers within the Xillidi capital, and never ever venture out of them. What they do is a completely mystery, except to those highest in Roda'Craan. Races that are known to be part of Zephss are Anisoians and scorpion-type Aranichians, which comprise the entire caste. It is therefore believed the Empress herself is either one of these races, but some say she is something else entirely....Regardless, they remain a mystery.
The aforementioned race names are the names of sub-races that compose the majority of Xillidi populace. There are other kinds, though they are either unknown to the Empire, or so meager in number that they are not deserved of their own sub-race definition. The list of known Xillidi sub-species is as follows:
Formidians - Ant-like Xillidi, the most common of all. Race traits include long antennae, sharp mandibles and six limbs (two legs, four arms, or vice versa). Found absolutely everywhere, even the furthest most wintery Southern reaches of the Old World.
Coleons - Beetle-type Xillidi. Race traits include bulky shells and physiques, as well as horns/antlers on males in some cases. Usually have four limbs (two legs, two arms), but some have six (four arms, two legs. Vice versa is rarest kind). Appearances differ greatly depending on the place they inhabit.
Culicids - A large sub-race consisting of scrawny, fly-like humanoids (resembling things like mosquitoes). Some are vampiric and have needle-like probosci. Most have long, thin wings that can beat at insane speeds. Found mostly in humid and temperate areas; cannot survive in cold weather. They are lively at all times.
Vespans - Wasp-like Xillidi. Race traits include enlarged abdomens with stingers, insectoid wings and sharp mandibles. All Vespans have four limbs (two arms, two legs). Those with two sets of arms are regarded as mutants. Found only in places near the Whispered Plains, though nomadic tribes can be found as far as Adrila. Short-tempered and always hold grudges.
Aranichians - Eight-limbed Xillidi fall under this sub-race (except Scorpion-type). Usually found as two arms/six legs or two legs/six arms. They can be found in all castes. In the Zephss Caste, only Scorpion-type Xillidi are part of it, and can only be found in this caste. Most common are Spider-types, usually identified by enlarged abdomens and up to six eyes (some cases have normal sized abdomens). Scorpion-types are generally the same, except instead of the abdomen, they have a stinger tail that can measure anything from 1.5m to 6m (longest recorded). Scorpion-types also tend to have pincers instead of hands, or a combination of the two. All Aranichi are found in Northern areas of the Old World around the Whispered Plains. Scorpion-types are only found in the elusive Zephss caste.
Mantians - Humanoid mantids. Racial traits include thin shells with wings within them, slightly enlarged abdomens, and scythe-like limbs. Some only have the scythe-like limbs as their arms, while others have them attached to the shoulders instead in addition to normal arms. They are usually four limbed (six if they have shoulder limbs). Found generally everywhere.
Dermasians - Earwig Xillidi. Though they may look similar other sub-races, they are their own sub-race. Characterized by large pincers on the rear of abdomen and thin hard shell plates. Often found in desert and temperate areas. They are a very non-hostile sub-race and are usually found in economical positions.
Apoideans - Bee-type Xillidi. Usually with six limbs, stingers, insectoid wings and lots of fur on their bodies. They tend to be related to Vespans, but in contrast they never can be found in military positions. They tend to be laidback and are only found in the Xillidi church and nobility.
Lepidians - An unusual sub-race that consists of caterpillar and butterfly-like humanoids. Young are often hidden away because of their ugly appearances, though upon maturing, they are released to the world. Have shorter lifespans than other Xillidi and thrive in sunlit areas. Moth-types are also rarely spawned from younglings. Moth-types are generally regarded as "destined for greatness" since in the past, Moth-types contributed to the population of the Zephss caste.
Anisoians - A mysterious and ancient sub-race that composes a majority of the Zephss Caste, and cannot be seen in any other. Dragonfly-like traits, with lanky forms and horizontal wings. They also have a more scaly appearance compared to other Xillidi. Regarded as deities.
Uncategorized - There are various small groups of Xillidi that are unclassified in the sub-races of the Empire, simply because they are too much of a minority to be granted such status. These include a tribe of stealth-adepts that resemble silverfish and a cult of vampiric tick-like Xillidi that are outcasts of the Empire.