The Ankaykari are immortal entities who dwell in Askamar. They are immensely powerful, and they claim to be wiser than mortal-kind, but to mortals they often appear emotional, irrational and surprisingly impatient. While they have existed since the dawn of time, they find it hard to recall the more distant millennia of their lives.
For the last two thousand years the Ankaykari have been inspired by the idea of bringing ‘harmony’ to Udaris (something they are seldom able to achieve in their own society). With the help of their mortal followers, some have founded mighty empires. Others have simply chosen to assist mortal rulers whom they admire, providing advice, magical artefacts and dragon armies.
Many mortals envy the Ankaykari, but they are frequently able to manipulate them through clever words. Ankaykari follow their hearts, and they are said to lavish wondrous gifts upon the people they like. Sometimes Ankaykari and mortals even fall in love, producing magically powerful, long-lived offspring known as Kaniyari.
Although Ankaykari often appear in human or dragon guise, they are shape-shifters who can assume any form they wish. They are beings of pure magic, and in their true incorporeal form they look like swirling mist. They move through air and water with equal ease. At their centre floats a core called an Anengharen, which serves as their heart and mind.
Ankaykari never know what it is like to feel cold or hungry. Like mortals, they can experience sickness and fatigue, but only magic can seriously harm them. They breathe magic like mortals breathe air, and risk suffocation if they spend too long in the mundane world. Even this does not kill them, however. It seems that nothing can truly destroy them.
Ankaykari society is composed of the nine Esu who rule the magical realm of Askamar and the eighteen Nayusuru who serve them. Both Esu and the Nayusuru dwell alone in magnificent Citadels and regard the surrounding land as their personal territory.
Each Esu presides over a ‘court’ consisting of themselves and their Nayusuru servants. The more Ankaykari followers they command, the higher their status. Most Esu long to unite the realm and be proclaimed Sovereign, but even when they do gain the allegiance of their Esu allies and rivals, their power seldom lasts long. They see the world as an ever-changing place upon which they strive to impose order.
The Ankaykari are deeply concerned with the concept of self-identity, which they express in their architecture, writings and art. To them, every word and gesture is an expression of the self, which is why they hate lying. To be called ‘false’ is a great insult among them.
Ankaykari often form strong friendships with each other. Sometimes they fall in love, but they never engage in casual dalliances. To the Ankaykari, physical intimacy is an expression of deep affection, and their courtships sometimes last for centuries.
Ankaykari never marry each other, for they claim that nothing is eternal – not even love. However, they understand that marriage is important in mortal cultures, and so mortals can usually persuade their Ankaykari lovers to wed them. When Ankaykari do marry, they remain utterly faithful to any promises they have made.
It is an irony that we endure forever yet we feel so fragile. Perhaps we have witnessed too much disintegration. We are immortal but our selves are not – and who are we if we are not ourselves? Who can stare into the abyss of time without flinching? Time will swallow all that we are, yet we continue into the unknown.
~ ISLANDS IN THE RIVER OF TIME (ANON.)