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If you want to know who might put up the best fight in Dema, look no further than the Fire-aligned Wakewalkers of Clan Hiremai. While their sea-monster-hunting cousins in Clan Kahr and cannibalistic rivals of Clan Jana’haki are fearsome by any standards, it is the Hiremai who have set records for the largest and most nourished of their species. Dozens of heroes claim Hiremai lineage, and for good reason.
Their vigor and might are due to the great natural resources found on Hiremai Island, where thousands of the clan live in a semi-urban contrast to the rest of the Karchipelago in the Midnight Sea. The common folk are dominated in every aspect of life by a religious caste. The faith they follow does not preach kindness and brotherhood, however. All worship is directed to The Terminarch.
Also known by the title the Outer God, only a handful alive know that the Terminarch is actually the last of a species purged by the Overseers in a previous cycle. The Terminarch dwarfs the height of even Hiremai Wakewalkers, a veritable titan, with four arms and four eyes. He lies dreaming in the forbidden caverns beneath Hiremai Island, in direct communication only with the highest Wakewalker priest known as the Terminarchon.
These communications are not through speech. The Terminarch secretes a fluid called Waparaka that grants visions and altered mental awareness to those strong enough to survive the experience. Though he never reveals the full nature of the world to his Wakewalker worshippers, the Terminarch knows that preparation of Hiremai Island for the coming Redsky apocalypse takes priority over all else.
The priestly caste, guided by their Waparaka consumption, commands all clan members to gather as many pieces of Eldertech as possible for the defense of their homeland. This has encouraged a large, mercantilist trading network that reaches the far corners of Dema.
One of their chief exports are fabulously intricate idols of the Terminarch, which seem to have a strangely compelling aura about them. The artists who spend countless hours on each piece are naturally entranced by the Waparaka as well. Legends are whispered of the might of the Khutara, the seven-foot-tall berserkers with unnatural strength gained by ingesting the highest doses. Only two Hiremai have survived the blood fire of a maximum dose more than twice.
These centuries of preparation ultimately proved to be in vain. In the Exodus Era, titanic Deep Ones migrated out of the Maelstrom and laid waste to Hiremai Island, taking thunderous footsteps on land for the first time in Wakewalker history. Despite last ditch efforts by Clan Kahr to reinforce their allies with their Depth Rigs, the obliteration of the Clan Hiremai settlements was total. Survivors even claimed the Terminarch himself emerged from his slumber to do battle with the Deep Ones in a fatal clash that ultimately sank the whole island beneath the waves. A large refugee diaspora of Clan Hiremai Wakewalkers fled to Mundi. They would go on to play a pivotal role in the defense of Dema from the Overseers.
No matter the Era, there are many choices to be made when creating a Hiremai Wakewalker character. In the early ages, warriors may have been sent out to the mainland by the priests to fulfill a secret mission in the name of the Terminarch. Or perhaps a young Uprising Era Wakewalker left her homeland for good, disgusted with the single-minded devotion and habitual drug use of her clan. By the Redsky Era, there will be thousands of refugees in Mundi seeking to avenge the Outer God. Where does your character's tale begin?
This is the first entry in multiple lore posts covering some of the cultures and locations of Dema. Even more lore on each featured topic will be in the 5E Conversion Book. Read about the human Solar Hegemony here.
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