Shower Thoughts: It is interesting that while I was writing the Umvee, I had them scripted and 100% done. Then one morning while in the shower, they spoke to me. The Umvee were mostly rewritten and then revised as presented below. Instead of being just wild and feral lost kin to kemonomimi, they became something else: Children of the Moon. So with this in tow, inspiration was taken from the Chinese Goddess Chang’e and Changxi. While some scholars debate that they are one in the same.
I have altered the name a little to fit my campaign setting, paying homage from the sources, yet diverting it for religious respect (it might get changed back to one of them; some might view the change is disrespectful to the source material).
Children of Shanghe, Umvee
Those of the Kitsune Clan claim the lineage as the children of Daji. She was the Kitusne Goddess who walked among men and gave birth to the descendants of the Oda family blessing of divine bloodline to rule by. Kemonomimi are our cousins birthed by the celestial emotions of the Kami to keep our brethren, humankind from being alone in the world. Our heritage bares an older and deeper ancestry, beginning as witnesses to an age prior to a Kami crossing over to walk alongside us. We are as old as the orb in the night sky that shines above us. Shanghe, our Pale Mother bore us from her blue rays of light that shine upon the surface of our world. Porcelain skin blankets us as a reminder unchanged, symbolizing our place as the template for those that followed in our footsteps. As the roots of trees in the Wylds, our traditions grow as deep and it is here where our people made their home. We clung to these ancient ways, shepherding the souls of angry Kami, keeping balance of the the natural world as humans feel to the influence of others. We are the Alphas progeny of creation. We are the Umvee.
~Umeki, shaman of the Sunless Clan
With an oral history of their own, the Umvee tell of their existence as the true protectors of the natural world. They were birthed by the light of the moon to balance against human expansion and destruction of the Wylds, while the kemonomimi were born to be the servitors of human culture. This led to a division with their cousins who shunned tribal culture. The Umvee chose to steep themselves in wilderness folklore and primal tradition.
While their method may be crude, savage and seen as uncivilized, Umvee are well-structured societies with rich warrior ecologies, not unlike the three Clans. In the beginning, many chose to live by hunting, herding, and harvesting only the necessities. Refusing modern conveniences, they were seen as the ghost of the Wylds for centuries.
Humans stayed away from the western wylds and the Umvee only involved themselves with the rare interactions with kemonomimi who lived on the edge of the Hanxia Plains. West of the wylds the Umvee flourished with monoliths, simple cities, and grand temples unseen by human and kemonomimi eyes. Rolling hills and open fields allowed the moon children to prosper, negotiating trade relations with the Naga Nation, and establishing contact with the feral berzerker clans to the west. This would change near the end of the last Dynasty.
While the humans waged war against each other, the Umvee fought against the tide of devastation that began from the feral lands. As giants of fire and lightning descended upon the sacred lands, the moon children stood against dire wolves and fur covered rabid men. Standing as the only wall of defense between the hordes and the San Empire, over a third of Umvee culture would disappear from the pages of history. With great losses, only the direct intervention of a war manifestation of Shanghe was able to push the adversaries into retreating from which they came.
Then the Oni came. With half of the Umvee blinded from animalistic rage from invoking of beasital spirits against the berzerker wave were they able to survive. Once more the tribes of the moon children prevailed, but with the cost of losing Lunar, the war avatar of Shanghe.
Umvee families pulled away from ancestral lands traveling through the wilderness, only to arrive upon the doorstep of the Hanxia Plains. The Umvee immigration was welcomed by bordering kemonomimi villages. But tensions were weary at first, both sides hesitant with distrust until an official Imperial envoy arrived.
After initial trials and tribulations, agreements between the falling nation and budding Empire settled on the Silver Accord, giving rise to rapid growth and exchange of culture of disenfranchised cousins.
Some detest the Accords, hunting deep in the Wylds trying to reestablish homelands, while younger and curious generations have taken strongly to the new ideas. The youth wander towards major cities, acting as scouts, wilderness survivalist or guards to merchant caravans.
Umvee appear do not differ from humans of the Empire in terms of sizes and shapes, however they are a pale skinned hairless individuals, with a slight tapering at the top of the ear. Warriors and shamans of the Umvee (or the younger generation) support thick and elaborate tribal tattoos highlighting shades of black, purple, red, or blue. Adorning one’s body with piercings, tattoos, and to a lesser extent scarification, are ritual practice for Umvee. With every new major life event, it is common for one to don another accoutrements to their body. It is just as common for an Umvee to ignore this tradition and maintaining the pure blank canvas of skin.