This strange race of living stone was discovered in regions deeper than even the qlunar cared to settle their subterranean civilization. For thousands of years, the hylo exclusively dwelt beneath the surface-world until fate unfortunately revealed them to the qlanar. In seeing the hylo's usually passive temperament and naive nature, the qlunar forced the hylo into the bonds of servitude.
For nearly three centuries, the hylo remained slaves bound to their qlunar masters. When a violent civil war among the qlunar freed them from their long history of slavery, the hylo were determined to decide their own fate. Many of the hylo returned to the Dark Reaches and the roving camps their people once called home. Others remained to explore the surface-world, a realm they were once ignorant of before their enslavement.
Lifespan: Over 100 years
Common conception holds that all hylo are men, but in fact, their anatomy suggests that they are a genderless race of rock. Each stands at about the height of a human male or taller. Their frames are not those of bulky brutes, but equivalent to those belonging to the average human. Although hylo are somewhat clumsy due to their heavy limbs, they are more agile than most would imagine despite their stone composition.
Each individual hylo is discernible from others of its race not by genetic traits, but by the carvings adorning its body. Because hylo cannot reproduce as the other races do, adult hylo adopt newborns who are brought to life fully grown. The newborn are animated in the presence of the "Mother Stone,” a large crystal which the hylo swear to be their god. Young "slabs," despite their fully grown appearance, are not mentally mature.
Adopted slabs are carved and chiseled overtime in such a way that they resemble their adopted parent’s “father-line.” The process of chiseling a hylo to fit the aesthetic code belonging to one of the ten father-lines takes years to complete. Some father-traits are simple to inscribe while others take time to earn through rites of passage which require young hylo to accomplish some sort symbolically significant task.
One can always determine a hylo’s relative age by the brightness emitted from their eyes and mouth cavities . The more faint the glow, the greater the age of the hylo. When born this glow is as bright as a brilliant torch, but quickly fades as one increases in years. When a hylo approaches the end of its life, their light fades to such a degree that it is completely extinguished. When this transpires, the elderly hylo is struck blind and is culturally bound to return to the Mother-Stone's presence where it will rejoin the earth.
The hylo refer to their home as the “Dark Reaches.” This region of inescapable darkness is where the nomadic hylo wander the cavernous depths whenever threatening dangers become too great in any one area.
Their society tends to maintain small egalitarian camps of sixty members who make camp beneath giant florescent fungi which illuminate the surrounding area. These temporary camps rotate their position around the Mother-Stone, so that the "blinded" can return to her presence or those ready to become parents may adopt newborn slabs during each spawning season.
For those hylo that live among the other races, they sometimes adopt names such as "Stone," "Boulder," "Mountain," "Pebble," and "Gravel." In other less accepting areas of civilization, such as the city-state of Arkomat, the term "Crag" or "Mound" is used as a derogatory term when negatively referring to a hylo.
Others, such as those from the Dark Reaches, bear more traditional names preceded by their monosyllabic “Father-Name.” This semi-surname traces a hylo’s lineage to the first ten original sons of the Mother-Stone.
Om, Ka, Sav, Ord, Tul, Virt, Ruk, Uld, Nul, Mul
Common Name Prefixes:
Ri-, On-, Te-, Vro-
Common Name Suffixes:
-arro, -rok, -ard, -orn, -ak
MUSIC: HYLO THEME
Reliable, Cooperative, Capable, Meticulous, Cold, Adventurous, Imaginative, Peaceful, Naive
Far beneath the towering temples of the Jeweled North which revere the Angelic Host, the hylo worship an object known as the Mother-Stone. According to their belief, it is the Mother-Stone which gives both life and sentience to the hylo. Being such, hylo travel great leagues to visit the Mother-Stone when they seek an orphan slab to raise or when it is time for them to die.
Those hylo that still serve as slaves in Arkomat, know no other life than the ways of the surface-worlders. For this reason, these enslaved hylo associate themselves with the Church of the Angelic Host. Other surface dwelling hylo adopt the Angelic Host not because it is the faith of thier masters, but because of the radiant light the Archangels personify when all the Hylo had ever known was the black depths of the Dark Reaches.
Diversity fascinates hylo society. Due to their inexperience on the surface-world, the naive hylo tend to take up company with members of all races. The only exception to the rule are their hateful feelings toward the qlunar. Due to their period of enslavement, most hylo do not generally suffer qlunar in their midst, especially in Arkomat where slavery is still stubbornly practiced. When the hylo are not exploring the surface-world or are dwelling within their camps, they are known to act as guides, leading travelers who seeks to enter the Dark Reaches.
Before their introduction to qlunar culture, the hylo had never developed any form of spoken language. Instead, they expressed simple statements through internal vibrations detectable only by another hylo's seismic senses. For more complicated statements, such as those of remorse and regret, the hylo are known to sing melodic lamentations of sadness.
After their liberation from the yoke of their qlunar overlords, many hylo returned to the Dark Reaches to instruct others on those things they learned while in bondage. Among these lessons, the freed hylo taught others of their race to speak and understand the Deep Speech spoken by the qlunar.