Rikeet are a race of sentient humanoid raccoon/cat-like creatures which are overshadowed by the dominance of humanity in Elemontia. Native primarily to the Wisen and Shellind areas, there are Rikeet settlements throughout Elemontia.
Rikeet live primarily in forested or wooded territories. They prefer lowlands and swampish areas, though many live in lower foothills of some of the larger mountain ranges. Many rikeet range in areas near human territories as they enjoy the company of other species.
There are two distinct races of rikeet in Elemontia: the Northern Rikeet and the Southern Rikeet. There are no discernable cultural divisions among the rikeet populations, though the Northern Rikeet and the Southern Rikeet tend to hold each other as “low” or “common.”
Rikeet are a diminutive species, compared to humanity, with the average rikeet standing somewhere between 4’ and 5’ tall. There is little variation in rikeet height – adult males are usually between 3’6” to 5’2” tall, with the average being about 4’10”, while females are almost a full foot shorter, from about 2’11” to 4’3”, with an average of about 3’6”. They reach this full height somewhere between the ages of 7 and 12. They tend to be stocky, though deceptively nimble and fast. The average male rikeet weighs somewhere around 120 lbs., while the average female generally weighs in at 105.
Like raccoons, rikeet have pointed snouts ending in small, black noses with cat-like whiskers. The Northern Rikeet tend to have wide faces and large black rings around their eyes and favor more feline features, while the Southern Rikeet have narrow, almost rat-like faces and smaller rings. The ring patterns around the eyes, like those of the tail, follow genetic patterns and are used as signs of pedigree and status in rikeet society.
All rikeet have a thick layer of fur which obscures all the skin on their bodies except their hands, feet, and noses, all of which are black.
Rikeet have thick layers of fur all over their bodies, which is especially thick near their waists and genitalia, the tops of their heads, and around their muzzles. The Northern Rikeet tend to have darker fur, while the Southern Rikeet tend to have reddish fur. Occasioanally a rikeet will be born with albino features of light brown, almost white or grey fur and light tan rings. These rikeet are usually especially revered in the North and reviled in the South. Northern Rikeet fur tends to be very soft, thick and fine, while the Southern Rikeet have coarse, light fur.
All have long tails, averaging two to two and a half feet. Rikeet tails are a source of status and distinction within a forene, and distinct patterns that show through genetic bloodlines are sources of great prestige.
Rikeet eye colors range pretty much among the same range as many humans in Elemontia, and browns and black are most common. Greens and blues are uncommon but possible colors. A slate-grey or purple eye color are extremely rare, and indicate a rikeet with the ability to manipulate esotice.
Rikeet are especially hardy people, being very adaptable to extreme weather conditions within their range of territory. The Northern Rikeet develop a thick layer of fat during the autumnal months to help survive the winter months, and rikeets encountered from the middle weeks of Moontide and the early weeks of Sunfest will appear as though they’ve gained around twenty or more pounds, which they probably have. Rikeet are susceptible to many of the same diseases that humans are, and during the years of the Great Plague the rikeet suffered considerably.
The average lifespan of a rikeet is 30-50 years, reaching adulthood at 13 to 15 years of age, at which time, after the appropriate rite of passage, the rikeet becomes an active part of the forene. There are slightly fewer male rikeet born than female, and their society tends to give equal importance to the gender roles within a forene.
Rikeet are incredibly curious and gregarious. They are acquisitive by nature, fiercely loyal to family and forene, and fiercely intelligent. They are very social people, enjoying contact with other sentients greatly, and if they are welcomed into an area, a rikeet forene can stay near a human settlement for as long as twenty or thirty years.
All rikeet have the ability to perceive and communicate with any prominent oesene in their proximity. This is easier than it is for the females than it is for males. Similar to one of the basic spells taught to many human mage classifications, a rikeet may simply focus his or her attention into the flows of esotice throughout an area and contact any oesene he or she may discover. This contact and communication does not indicate that the oesene will willingly perform any service for the rikeet, but the rikeet can often learn things that may not ordinarily be apparent. In effect, this means that a rikeet can often seem distracted by things that aren’t there, much like a cat often seems to be.
Though rikeet live primarily in small forenes (family-community units) that wander throughout Elemontia, they are most comfortable in wooded lowland areas containing bodies of water, such as lakes, swamps, rivers, streams, etc., much like their distant raccoon cousins. However, rikeet forenes have been known to spend time in the highest regions of the Panten and Tergasta Hills, as far north as Filern and Talern and as far south as the sub-tropical jungled regions south of Enalost. The restlessness of the rikeet spirit means that they generally do not spend a great deal of time in one area, with forenes rarely stopping in any one spot for more than ten to fifteen years. Extremely environmentally conscious, the rikeet belief is that Komoth built the world for all to share, and they will not be the ones to spoil it for others; consequently, when a rikeet forene leaves an area, unless they have been there a long time – more than five years or so – there is little evidence that any rikeet had been there.
As a result of this nomadic lifestyle, rikeet do not tend to build large permanent settlements; a rikeet city will occasionally spring up when many forenes converge in a particular area, but these never last more than five or six generations - no longer than 200 years. Rikeet architecture is always of a transient nature – using natural materials to provide shelter without unbalancing and generally enhancing the environment around them. Being maladroit at climbing, the rikeet stay on the ground, often fencing their areas with high thorn walls for protection.
The circle motif is very prominent in all rikeet art and symbology, and most rikeet art consists of varying depictions of circles, rings, arcs and curves. Additionally, all the symbology associated with Komoth is quite prominent. Rikeet artist work primarily in cloths and jewelry, although occasionally a rikeet artist will take up painting; rikeet paintings are generally abstract pieces reflecting spiritual or religious beliefs or emotions.
Song and music is extremely important to the rikeet, being integral to their form of communication with the world around them, and rikeet often break into song when speaking, and if a rikeet is diligently working at something, that rikeet is singing or humming. Rikeet instruments are exceptionally devised, with stringed and woodwind instruments dominating.
Rikeet love bright colors, and all of their art and fashion features vibrant, almost garish color combinations. Though some humans have speculated that this is due to their inability to see in color, the rikeet fiercely deny this.
Especially fond of weaving and jewelry, rikeet jewelers are highly skilled and their wares have always been prized throughout Elemontia. They also have an amazing mechanical aptitude, and it was through rikeet recommendations that the first movable type printing machine was constructed.
The most important aspect of the rikeet's life is his family, his clan, his business partners—the forene. At the center of a forene is the forenuk, the most revered rikeet within the group. Often the eldest, the forenuk can be a rikeet who has distinguished himself or herself in some significant way to the forene.
For the rikeet, the spiritual is all around them; though it is rare for a single rikeet to develop the talents of manipulating esotice, all rikeet have an affinity for communicating with oesene, and this has greatly affected their spiritual outlook on the physical world. For a rikeet to manifest the ability to weild esotice is of great portent for a forene, and those rikeet generally become the leading figure of a forene. This ability primarily manifests in the males, though the females are more adept at communing with and manipulating oesene.
Rikeet are Palkaranists devoted primarily to Komoth, Returoth and Vantha, although they pay homage to Neiloth, and they have a healthy fear/hate for both Deotha and Netroth. Rikeet “devotionals” – areas their spiritual leaders have consecrated in the name of one of the Alkar – e common, blending into an environment so naturally that only another rikeet will recognize it as such.
All rikeet speak a single tongue, Rikeeth, which has its roots in the proto-language of Ghedhrien.
There are four distinct regional dialects of Rikeeth, which are affected by the neighboring human and thialtae populations: Shellind, Wisen, Kern and Baeleron.
Very adept at languages and dialects, nearly any rikeet can speak a number of languages, from the regional tongues of the local human nations to the language of the thialtae and hrothar.