The delven are a race of dark skinned, small people. Their black skin looks like unrefined oil, glistening under any light. When exposed to the sun and not given enough water, their skin painfully cracks, revealing a second skin underneath. For the first few days, this skin is raw and sensitiveness. After a week, the pain numbs. Once cracked, full submersion is required to heal. Despite this pain, they spend a great deal of time traveling through the desert, skin cracked for possibly months on end. Merchants use what water they can in order to wash their face, closing up those cracks.
The iris and pupil are black while sometimes the entire eye is black. Such a sign is considered a blessing, showing the purity of one’s faith.
The scalp is generally bald, though at times there will be a tuft of hair. A few very rare females have complete heads of hair. This never happens for a man. There is no stigma tied to hair, though the exotic sight of long hair often makes such females desired by both delven and man. The rest of their body is always hairless.
Delven ears are longer than human ears, pointed at the top and going towards the back of their head. The small race rarely exceeds five foot, almost always being at least six inches shorter than a human. Women barely reach four and a half. Some women have stopped growing at three and a half feet, while men are usually no shorter than four feet. Because of the small underground dwellings of the people, this is not viewed negatively. It’s only in the world of man that such height becomes frustrating. In very few cases, delven have reached six feet. These are almost always people of great faith, either anointed by a prophet, destined to become a dervish, or given some other great feat to accomplish. Some say it’s the height that gives them the advantage, not the other way around. Either way, tall delven do great works.
Due to religious beliefs, the delven capacity to survive in the desert, and the money brought in through commercial pursuits, the delven were viewed by the Purifying Flame as an abomination and slavery was forced upon the race. Many fought for freedom, and those who were able to get away from their overseers made out into the desert. Many died. Many others found oases to become a part of, their blood lines surviving around those small bodies of water for dozens of generations.
Due to a very successful slave rebellion, the Pure would claim genocide was required if there was to be a righteous world. For centuries the delven were not seen around Lake G’desh. However, in the desert they were free, and whenever the short people gather together for worship, before singing the Hymn of Company, they sing the Hymn of Freedom.
The desert cracks our skin.
The sun takes our water.
But we are free.
The oasis isolates us.
Creatures of sand consume.
But we are free.
The Divine watches.
The Divines gives to us.
And we are free.
The artist’s site can be found at the Kraken’s Wake.