Ankaykari

The Ankaykari are immortal entities who dwell in Askamar. There are twenty-seven in total, and each governs a region of the magical realm. The Ankaykari claim to have existed since the dawn of time and to be the only true natives of the magical realm, but they find it hard to recall the more distant millennia of their lives. Ankaykari can be wounded, deceived and trapped, but they can never be destroyed.

Although the Ankaykari often appear in human or yuyarni guise, they are shape-shifters who can assume any form they wish. Over the millennia, they have founded great empires in Udaris with the help of their human and yuyarni servants.

Many mortals envy and resent the Ankaykari, but they are frequently able to manipulate them through clever words. Sometimes Ankaykari and mortals fall in love, producing magically powerful, long-lived offspring known as Kaniyari.

Physical Description

Ankaykari are beings of pure magic, and in their true incorporeal form they look like swirling mist. At their centre floats a glowing core known as the Anengharen, which serves as both their heart and mind.

Like mortals, Ankaykari experience sickness and exhaustion, 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.

Society and Culture

Ankaykari society is composed of the nine Esu who rule the 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 in the hierarchy. Most Esu long to unite the realm and be proclaimed as sovereign, but even when they do gain the allegiance of their Esu allies and rivals, their power seldom lasts more than a few centuries.

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.

The Ankaykari often dwell on the conflict between their immortality (which suggests an unchanging nature) and their ability to shape-shift (which suggests that change is natural to them). Despite their love of order, they are quick to lose their tempers, weep, scream and ‘forget themselves’.

Since their societies are constantly crumbling, their sense of identity is constantly shifting and their recollections are constantly fading, Ankaykari are drawn to the idea of fundamental truths. To be called ‘fickle’ or ‘false’ is a great insult among them.

The Ankaykari attempt to create an illusion of stability by building Citadels and keeping records, or by maintaining rituals and establishing hierarchies. Chaos and lawlessness are terrifying to them, which is why they long to bring order to both Askamar and Udaris.

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.)

How much do we change when we discard our old allegiances? Is it our own nature that we have forgotten or the nature imposed on us by others? Water shifts to ice or vapor, then back to water. The snake sheds its skin, but it is still the same.

~ THE SELF AND THE OTHER (anon.)

Ankaykari often form strong bonds of friendship with each other. Sometimes they fall in love, but they never engage in casual dalliances. To the Ankaykari, physical intimacy is always an expression of deep affection, and their courtships can last for centuries. Despite this, they do not consider love eternal and they believe that it is possible to be ‘in love’ with more than one person at a time.

Ankaykari avoid conflicts between their lovers by keeping their romances discreet. To mortals it may seem that they are being decietful, but to them such behaviour is seen as tactful and considerate. If their beloved is also spending time with someone else, they have no wish to know of it.

Ankaykari never marry each other – indeed, any public declaration of love generally makes them cringe. 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.

An epic fantasy saga