From overseas, the neogi came with their whips and chains and hearts of pitch. Their numbers were low but their desire was great, and through determination and cunning they have made a foothold in the mortal plane. Whilst their control of land is minimal, their influence on other cultures is great, and they are well known as ruthless slavers.
Neogi are octopodal creatures, divided into a stalk and an abdomen. The stalk composes of a long, muscular neck, ending in a fanged maw and small eyes. At the connection between the stalk and abdomen are the eight pairs of jointed limbs, with the frontmost pair ending in small hands. The abdomen is covered in a coat of dark hairs. In males, hair is also found on the lower jaw and stalk, appearing akin to horse manes and human beards. Natural coloration is limited, ranging from brown to cream.
As their sharp teeth suggest, neogi are primarily carnivorous, with a preference for fish meat. Historically, it is likely that their long necks were used to either lie in wait in the water disguised as logs or used to harpoon unsuspecting prey like a heron. Nowadays fish is consumed alongside other meats, which is deboned and skinned beforehand. Neogi cuisine consists of raw fish meals, which are prepared with extreme care and precision.
Neogi have a long history of slave culture, which has continued to the modern age. Their ancestors travelled form beyond the seas, their boats powered by the labor of foreign slaves. Along the way, they learned many ways to subdue and control others, as well as brood on their self-perceived superiority They have developed a variety of tools and methods of maintaining dominance over other creatures, ranging from a mild psychic ability to weaken the will of others to enchanted slave collars that cause pain when a master is disobeyed. This practice has led to a belief system that the neogi are allowed to take what they want, use what they want, and tell others to do what they want. Slavery is an inherent part of their lifestyles and culture, and they view this as neither a ethically good nor a bad thing. Even their equivalents of gods are more like genies or slaves, which the neogi make demands of in return for the occasional sign of respect or worship. The idea of actively worshiping a god is seen as the ultimate symbol that other races (or at least ones with religion) were born to serve.
Slaves come from all races and creeds, chosen for their physical capabilities more often than their intellectual ones. Slaves are expected to be healthy when acquired, with diseased slaves being sent back to their settlements or culled. Slaves for short term projects are marked with dyes, whilst long-term slaves have tattoos clearly put on their bodies. Symbols are based on their profession, with no identification of name, sex, or age included. Slaves are referred to by their profession instead of name: Neogi language consists of hissing and sharp sounds, and as such they often don’t bother trying to pronounce the names of other races. If a slave escapes or attacks their master, they are given a punishment in the form of lashings or burning marks on their faces. Death penalties are uncommon, as a living working slave is better than a dead body.
Slaves are divided into two groups, known to the slavers as ‘tools’ and ‘objects’. Tools are the slaves that do manual work, and are treated with the same respect one my treat a hammer or rope. The objects are slaves that are treated more like designer pets, lathered in splendor and used to carry the personal possessions of their masters, translate languages, or simply as a sign of how powerful the neogi is. These are the few slaves taken for their intellectual capabilities, and in some cases neogi may try to have these slaves descended from one another, much like having a favored livestock breed or family line. Rebellion is quelled with the use of obedience collars, torture, and cultivation of a Stockholm syndrome mentality when possible.
Neogi shelters come in the form of elaborate tents, which are set up at the outskirts of cities. Slaves put up the tents, which the neogi then spend most of their free time in. Neogi are far from sociable creatures, as they are frequently far too distrusting of each other to spend more time with them than necessary. Within these tents, neogi will have all of their personal items, tools of the trade, and potentially sleeping quarters for their object slaves.
Mating with the Neogi is more akin to bartering, or the presentation of objects in some birds. Neogi have a higher male to female ratio, meaning that females can afford to be picky. The neogi male adorns their tent with various jewels, slaves, and items of interest, inviting females to inspect their tents and their items. If a female likes what she sees, she pairs with the male. In return, the female expects to be adorned with similar levels of riches, or she may then in her husband and kill him in his sleep. This leads to the neogi stereotypes that males are indulgent and flaunt their valuables without consequence, and the females are vain, parasitic, and devious. Positive relationships are extant in neogi society; in these cases, the loving couple may view the world as theirs to conquer, subtly changing the usual ‘I am the master’ to ‘we are the masters’.
Young are laid in eggs, which feed on dead or elderly neogi- when an individual is too old to crack the whip or fall under the whip themselves, they are paralyzed and served as the next generation’s first meal. Young are taught about their society by both of their parents. Adulthood is not defined as a specific age, but instead as when the neogi obtains its first slave. In their homeland, this was defined as stealing their first slave from a settlement, but now it can also include buying their first slave. The neogi are then allowed to live amongst other neogi, taking what they please and being considered part of the superior race. In their old age, the constant threat of being the next generation’s dinner often leads them to living quiet lives with their slaves to tend to their every whim. This has at times led to their own demise, as it is the perfect environment for a slave uprising.
It would be easy to assume that the slaving of the neogi makes them disliked, which would be reasonable if not for the simple fact that slavery is a widespread practice of many races, both in the past and present. Neogi do at times trade with fellow slavers, offering their slaves in return for resources, or buying slaves in return for gold. What’s more, slaves are fed and wounds are tended to, and if it one is found to be ill or disabled they may be returned to their home settlements, meaning that some races see them as somewhat fair in their slavery. Instead, the neogi are disliked because of how their slaves act when they are freed. Most slaves of aggressive masters may leave shaken, traumatized, or paranoid. Slaves of the neogi are freed and then beg to be returned. They put themselves and others at risk in order to return to being captives. Few individuals besides the neogi themselves are comfortable with viewing this in person.
This does not mean that all neogi are inherently bad or cruel. Some can be amiable and pleasant, if they have enough time to interact with other races and are able to experience differing world views. However, the general exclusion from society, and rigorous teaching they go through as young mean that most neogi maintain their belief that they are the masters and other races are slave material.
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