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The Ano-Chee
harkovast at 1:46PM, March 27, 2010
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The Ano-Chee

The Ano-Chee physically resemble foxes and have a culture similar to that of pre-colonial native American tribes. Their magical elements are Life and Nature.

To most people in Vellastrom, the Ano-Chee are shrouded in mystery. Legends tell of ferocious barbarians hiding in the woods and on the open plains on the eastern coast.
Tales tell of dark rituals, ritualised cannibalism and hateful, savage warriors.
This image of fierce savages is ironic as the Ano-Chee generally view most outsiders as being brutish, savage, filthy and ignorant.
The Ano-Chee society is made up of numerous tribes that form a confederacy of largely independent nations, each ruled by hereditary chiefs.
In addition to these secular leaders, the Ano-Chee have a powerful religious caste known as Shamans. The Shamans commune with the ancestors of the Ano-Chee, whom the Ano-Chee worship as gods. Like most religious leaders in Harkovast, the Shamans wield powerful magic, in their case focused largely on healing, control over plants and animals and spells and rituals to enhance the powers of the Ano-Chee’s warriors. They serve as priests, advisors, midwives and doctors.
The Shamans most remarkable power is the ability to raise the dead, a power unique in all of Harkovast, unknown even to the Wizards of Eldex.
Powerful Shaman’s commune with the ancestor spirits, learning to understand the ebbs and flows of the spirit world as it touches on Harkovast. When the time is right, it may become possible to resurrect certain individuals. The Shaman’s do not control this interaction with the spirit realm, they simply interpret it. They cannot decide or influence which people may or may not be resurrected, they can simply search and sudden for opportunities that arise. A more skilled Shaman may be more effective at identifying souls that can be returned, but if a soul cannot be brought back, then it simply cannot. The Shaman cannot change this anymore then he can stop the sun from rising in the morning. When an individual is identified who can be brought back to life, complex rituals are performed that eventually return the individual to life. In some cases, when the person is recently dead, they may be returned in their original body, though in other examples more difficult rituals may be needed that create and entire new body for the person. Individuals return complete and unharmed, remembering their death but with no memory of what, if anything, they may have experienced beyond death. They may also reappear physically younger or older then they were at the time of death.
Opportunities to raise people are relatively rare, with only about a dozen a year being returned amongst all the Ano-Chee.

Ano-Chee have a strong understanding of the natural world, allowing them to handle animals very effectively as well as survive in the wilds with relative ease.
Ano-Chee can quickly recognise every edible plant or beast around them, which leads many people to the misconception that Ano-Chee just carelessly eat anything and everything. In fact the Ano-Chee, while highly omnivorous, are very careful about what they eat, they simply have the ability to identify food from amongst wild plants and animals. It is quite normal for an Ano-Chee to just pluck up plants and mushrooms and start eating as they walk. Ano-Chee like their food plain and simple; elaborate spices and rich sauces are disgusting to their pallets. A raw vegetable would be far more appealing!

The Ano-Chee are meticulously clean, washing themselves frequently. They consider the cities of other races to be filthy, squalid places, over run with disease and struggle to understand why anyone would want to live like that. To the Ano-Chee, surviving in the forests or on the plains comes so naturally that it is difficult for them to comprehend someone not being able to do this.
It should be noted that the Ano-Chee do NOT engage in cannibalism in any form.

One of the most important aspects of Ano-Chee society is the concept of marriage. Ano-Chee form powerful life bonds with a single partner during their lives. This will be the person they marry and the only person to whom they will be sexually attracted to. To the Ano-Chee, the idea of sex with someone you are not ‘life bonded’ to is a disgusting sexual perversion (on par with beastiality or some other unacceptable deviancy.)
These life bondings are considered to be one of the greatest gifts the ancestors bestow on them, allowing them to experience a love and devotion that makes the fickle romances of other cultures seem shallow and vulgar.
Ano-Chee weddings are huge occasions of celebration, where whole tribes will turn out to cheer for such a joyous event.
Ano-Chee are incredibly devoted to their spouses, with their happiness deeply tied to the happiness of the one they love.
The down side to this is that should the spouse die, the surviving partner will be truly devastated. Suicide amongst surviving spouses is not uncommon, and at the very least the one who survives will never entirely be the person they were before, eternally pining for their lost love.
If the Shaman’s are able to raise someone’s spouse, this is considered a truly great blessing, and a sign of the ancestors continued love for the Ano-Chee race that they along have this hope of a second chance.

Because they are so capable of surviving in the wild, Ano-Chee have never had a great need to advance technologically, so their society is relatively backward in this regard.
They make use of some metal tools, but often use wood, bone or flint as cheaper alternatives.
Some tribes live in permanent wooden or occasionally stone structures known as Wigwams, while other more nomadic tribes (typically those living on the plains rather then in the forests) make use of easily dismantled animal skin tents known as Teepees (those the settled tribes also make use of these for their armies or when they need to travel.)
Ano-Chee are casual about nudity and when the weather is hot, wearing just trunks or a loin cloth (with a bra top for women) is considered perfectly acceptable.
One of the main social activities amongst the Ano-Chee is story telling, usually performed by the Shamans and generally telling elaborate love stories (sometimes joyful, sometimes tragic).
Hunting is also very important, with skills at shooting animals or catching fish being highly prized and admired. Ano-Chee shamans are capable of using their magic to lure animals to be killed easily but this is considered a rather crass thing to do and would only be used in times of desperation. Hunting also provides a great opportunity to hone skills that are essential in times of war.

Ano-Chee armies are made up of lightly equipped and mobile warriors known as braves. These fighters generally make us of only light armour made of bone or wood, or in most cases no armour at all. Their primary weapons are short bows. These have relatively limited range but are ideal for close range ambushes where skilled Ano-Chee can pick out weak points in enemy armour with precise shots or fire rapid volleys on more lightly armoured enemies.
In close combat make use of iron axes, spears and long knives.
Ano-Chee warriors often undertake magical rituals before battle to enhance their speed, strength and prowess, in some cases granting them remarkable physical abilities.
Their most fearsome magical skill is the ability to camouflage themselves amongst the wilds, changing the colour of their fur to blend in perfectly with their surroundings.
Enemies of the Ano-Chee that enter their territory are liable to come under sudden attack from all sides by hundreds of unseen warriors who seem to appear from no where and disappear just as quickly.
Ano-Chee also make use of cavalry riding Suss birds. They generally perform as mobile missile troops, firing their bows from Suss back, though they also have long spears to use in hand to hand. These light cavalry are no match for a heavy Darsai knight or Tsung-Dao Samurai in hand to hand combat, but are fast and agile, striking and then fleeing. They are ideal for harassing enemies or running down archers or fleeing enemies.
Ano-Chee warriors are brave and skilled, but they lack the regimental organisation or heavy armour and equipment needed for open conflict. In a pitched battle they would not be a match for more modern armies like the Darsai or Ivos, so generally concern themselves with defending their own territory rather then taking war to anywhere else.
The Ano-Chee are not actively hostile to foreigners, but treat them with a certain suspicion. They commonly refer to other races as “Ghost Hands” since Ano-Chee have black fur on their hands and the great majority of foreigners do not.
The Ano-Chee, more so then perhaps any other race, are close allies of Eldex, assisting the wizards when ever possible, recognising that they hold the key to defeating the forces of the West. The Ano-Chee, unlike many races, are all too aware of the danger the West poses. Unfortunately, lacking an army that project power abroad, their ability to hold back the forces of the Enemy alone is very limited.


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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 5:33AM, March 28, 2010
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A couple of points I forgot to mention-
In Ano-Chee society the genders are very equal, with all jobs open to both sexes, including braves, chiefs and shamans.

Ano-Chee are entirely comfortable with homosexuality, as long as you only engage in it with someone you are life bonded too!


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Tempest Fennac at 11:23AM, April 1, 2010
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How do Ano-Chees typically view not wearing any clothing at all? (I'm curious because of the fact that you said they are casual about nudity before mentioning that they typically wear some clothing if it's hot.)
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harkovast at 12:29PM, April 1, 2010
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Total nudity would be considered inappropriate in a situation with mix genders, but amongst just your own gender they wouldn't think much of it. Like a lot of native cultures on earth, the Ano-Chee are not very titilated by nudity because they don't where all that much most of the time.
I think the clothes they do wear would be more for comfort and hygiene rather then to cover nudity.

Honestly, I would have have the Ano-Chee perform some rituals naked (such as sitting in the sweat lodge) but the readership would struggle to take this seriously and the comic would end up seeming like fan service or furry porn rather then a serious story.
So the Ano-Chee keep some clothes on!

Lets face it, this is the internet, if you want naked fox people you don't have to search very hard, so you don't need my help!

There are a few things in Harkovast I would include but cant because I think the audience would misinterpret them. For example, ideally I would have Darsai men hold hands. Hetrosexual men in many earth cultures do this, and the Darsai are very tactile. In England men holding hands was considered perfectly okay until the Oscar Wilde trial made everyone more concerned about appearing gay. Sadly if the Darsai did this I would be constantly having to explain that it does not mean they are all gay, and its not worth the bother.

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Tempest Fennac at 10:53PM, April 1, 2010
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Thanks for explaining (I know what you mean about how it would be cause some potential problems if they were naked, and I don't like porn anyway).
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harkovast at 6:26AM, April 2, 2010
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No problem, I am always happy to field questions on Harkovast.

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harkovast at 4:56PM, April 2, 2010
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The most important celebration in the Ano-Chee calender is Cheyoma, a day when it is said the ancestors draw closest to the mortal world.
The celebrations of Cheyoma are both very seriously and religious, but also wild and filled with a partying atmosphere.
The revellers take various psychoactive substances that the shamans create from plant and animal extracts.
The intoxicated Ano-Chee dance wildly all night, often collapsing from exhaustion and having to be carried home!
Ano-Chee parties are pretty intimidating to outsiders, but for the Ano-Chee it is a celebration of life, energy and the blessings the ancestors have granted them.

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harkovast at 4:05AM, April 20, 2010
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A few people (including my daughter) have raised the point that Canines don't sweat, so how can the Ano-Chee have a sweat lodge? Shouldn't they have a “pant lodge”?

Ano-Chee do in fact sweat.

My wife explained rather well why this is-

“If something looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, its a duck.
Scatterpod looks like a fox, but she doesn't talk or walk like a fox, so she isn't a fox.”

Ano-Chee resemble foxes, but are not Foxes, so can sweat.

I just didn't think panting to cool down would be very dignified for the calm and wise Ano-Chee.

Junlocks on the other hand…they will pant like crazy when hot.

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Renard at 11:35AM, April 21, 2010
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So, what do they do about people who do things that are considered unacceptable by society (e.g. murder)? From the looks of it they wouldn't really have a problem with people acting out against society or others, but it's bound to happen anywhere, so what do they do in that situation?
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 12:29PM, April 21, 2010
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Someone would be brought before the chiefs of the tribe to face judgement if they committed a crime.

The Ano-Chee laws are more of loose guideline then a rigid set of instructions, leaving a lot of room for interpretation and opinion from those involved.

Punishments for low level crimes would include giving goods to the wronged party to make amends or working for the wronged party to pay off the debt. For more serious crimes the punishment might include some sort of physical beating, banishment from the tribe and its lands or (in the worst cases) a death sentence. Sexual misconduct ( having sex with someone you are not life bonded to, which is considered on par with rape, adultery and sexual deviancy all rolled into one for the Ano-Chee) would often receive banishment but death is not uncommon in these cases. Due to the informal nature of their justice system, the victim or the victims family may be given a say in what punishment a guilty person might receive.


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Tempest Fennac at 11:38PM, May 25, 2010
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What would have happened to Brightleaf if she wasn't killed by Eldex? I'm curious because she would have probably been executed (or possibly exiled) looking at what you already mentioned about the Ano-Chee legal system, but Scatterpod's reaction to Eldex's actions suggest that Brightleaf wouldn't have been executed dispite being a danger to the tribe due to her apparent allegence to the enemy.
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harkovast at 12:17AM, May 26, 2010
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Brightleaf was Scatterpod's friend, so she didn't want to see her dead.
Scatterpod would probably have been a lot more angry at Brightleaf if she had still alive! Also, Scatterpod recognises that Brightleaf was being manipulated by the bad guys, so reaches the conclusion she was misguided and gullible rather then actually evil. It wasn't like Brightleaf supported The West in general, she just wanted her husband back.
Scatterpod is a bit over whelmed with emotion at everything that just happened, so isn't really stepping back and considering how she would have responded if Brightleaf had just been disarmed.


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Renard at 4:33PM, July 1, 2010
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Thundercloud seems pretty gung-ho for splitting heads with that hatchet of his, and he seems pretty proud of killing the enemies of his people too. What's the Ano-Chee take on warfare, how do they feel about it? Do their warriors look forward to a good fight, or do they see combat as an unpleasant reality?
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
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harkovast at 5:14AM, July 2, 2010
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Ano-Chee society is pretty self sefficient, due to their natural ability to survive and find food, though they dont need much from other cultures and they dont have much that other cultures would want.
Their warriors are brave and skilled but are more suited to ambushing and using familar terrain to their advantage rather then open warfare.
These factors combine to mean that Ano-Chee armies generally stay in their own territory and fight mostly defensive wars.
The Ano-Chee dont glorify warfare in the way the Darsai or Ivos do, but their braves are still admired for their courage and ability.
The braves desire battle in the way that all warriors do (they train for it all the time, they naturally want to make use of their skills) but as a race they would much prefer to live in peace.
Thundercloud is particularly head strong, and while he doesn't going looking for trouble, when he finds trouble he tends to want to deal with it using an axe!
He is, however, extremely brave and very good at what he does, as well as being well versed in Ano-Chee tactics. Despite Black River's put downs, Thundercloud isn't dumb at all, but he does deal with probably in a very straight forward, confrontational way. It is fair to say there is probably no battle he would back down from…except with his mother, obviously!

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Renard at 1:39PM, July 2, 2010
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So if they just want to hold what they have and they don't have anything that anybody else could want, what reasons would their neighbors have for attacking them? I can see the Ivos (being modeled on Rome) doing so for simply for territorial expansion and the Darsai doing the same. Fighting with the Onrapa is mentioned, but do they ever have problems with the Nymus?

That being said, you say that they aren't openly hostile towards foreigners, but they don't trust them farther then they can throw them. How would a foreigner expect to be received if he showed up on their land (either passing through or to settle)?

Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
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harkovast at 7:10PM, July 2, 2010
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While they dont have anything anyone else would actively want, land and captives are always worth while objectives. Also misguided attempts by foreigners to get the secrets of restoring the dead have taken place from time to time.
Also, just disagreements and misunderstandings can lead to war, such as the Onrapa or Ano-Chee wanting to settle it, or hunt in, an area the other claims to own.

Ano-Chee allow foreigners to travel in their lands, but for the most part there isn't much reason to go there, as they don't have a great deal to trade or desire to buy anything. Though some individuals have made a profit trading tools to them for animal skins, or interesting crafted items.
The Ano-Chee are happy to maintain good relations with outsiders, they just dont have a great need for much interaction beyond pleasantries.

The Ano-Chee tend to keep their ability to raise the dead secret from outsiders, as foreigners cant seem to understand that its not something they can just do at will and tend to become war like in their desire to get such an ability.
Fortunately, most outsiders tend to assume its just a rumour, since the idea that a primitive, backward race like the Ano-Chee could have something so powerful seems absurd.

It should be noted, that interaction can go the other way with Ano-Chee going out into the world to seek their fortunes. The world is a big and exciting place and some Ano-Chee are keen to go and learn more of it.
Also scouts are often sent out to learn about what is going on in other nations and to gather news of the West's advances. The Ano-Chee are not ignorant of the way in which events abroad may come to affect them so make a deliberate effort to keep their leaders informed of important events in the outside world.

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Renard at 8:22PM, July 2, 2010
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I never really imagined any of them going abroad imagine what other people would think if they came across an Ano-Chee traveler passing through their nation (considering their dress and some of the strange and unpleasant rumors you mentioned earlier).

This just occurred to me; they probably don't have a written language, but is it unusual for some individuals to learn to read and write (such as shamans or chiefs, in case they need to deal with foreigners)?
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
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harkovast at 6:04AM, July 3, 2010
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Yeah, only the shamans and chiefs would really have need to learn reading.
Thundercloud, as the son of Shaman, would know how to read, since Scatterpod will have taught him (even though I cant imagine he will ever put those skills to much use!)

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Tempest Fennac at 1:40AM, July 12, 2010
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Do Ano-Chees age physically at all once they ecome adults? I was just thinking about that comment about how they are often much older then they look (I forgot to ask about it when that comic was first released).
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harkovast at 10:23AM, July 12, 2010
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Ano-Chee age normally, however they have the ability to bring the dead back to life, and can return to life physically older or younger then they were when alive.
You can probably put together from that that Scatterpod has previously perished and been returned to life at least once.

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Renard at 1:31PM, July 12, 2010
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So Scatterpod could conceivably be the same age (or even younger) than her own son?! Obviously that little magic trick of theirs serves the ulterior purpose of screwing with unfamiliar foreigners!
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
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harkovast at 7:52PM, July 12, 2010
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Yes, one could appear physically younger then their own children.

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Tempest Fennac at 11:16PM, July 12, 2010
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Thanks for the explanation (I hadn't considered that due to how rare people being brought back from the dead seems to be, and I was wondering if the fact that Ano-Chees have access to Life magic would help them to avoid physical aging).
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harkovast at 6:46AM, July 13, 2010
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Well they do lead a very healthy outdoor life style and have good hygiene, they probably do look pretty well most of the time.

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Vendetto at 3:10PM, July 22, 2010
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Oke doke, now here is a question; how would the Ano-Chee respond to anything around the lines of “The Walking Dead”? Yannow, undead stuff. Not sure if anything like that exists on Harkovast anywhere, but I'm just sort of curious as to how they'd respond to something that is basically an animate, sentient corpose.

Though while we're on the subject, are there any nations that would think the Ano-Chee's ability to ressurect people unnatural or dangerous, enough to come into conflict over it?
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harkovast at 4:14AM, July 24, 2010
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Well if you look at Blackriver's face and then consider the reaction he gets, that sort of answers the living dead question! Most people in Harkovast don't know about such things, but to a Shaman like Scatterpod, the idea is very offensive.

Other races reactions tend to be to disbelief that the Ano-Chee possess such magic.
I don't think there are any races off the top of my head that would be offended by the concept. Though if tensions rose with another race, the Ano-Chee's magic could be described as “unnatural” and “against the will of the gods” for propaganda purposes.

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Renard at 3:43PM, May 31, 2011
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Alright, so… I've been meaning to ask several questions since Black River killed that mercenary.

I'm assuming he tried to bring someone back from the dead (albeit forcing the issue), and for his troubles he's cursed to be forgotten, and seems to kill anything he touches. Does he have any control over his death power, or has he just learned to use it to his advantage when necessary (like killing the mercenary)?

So that got me thinking, when someone brings a soul back from the dead without getting the go ahead from the spirit world, what sort of danger is there?

Would the shaman be the only one at risk of harm, or would those around them (their family, the family of the soul they tried the bring back, their whole village) also pay some sort of price? Would the resurrected person also be cursed somehow? Is there the possibility that they may draw something dangerous from the spirit world instead (I realize that's pretty much the gist of Pet Cemetery).




Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
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harkovast at 12:22AM, June 1, 2011
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Black River cannot turn off his death touch.
Everything he touches dies, including plants.
Having said that, someone could potentially be touched briefly and just be left badly injured by the magic, but the key point is that this will always happen when he touches things.
Black River is just careful not to touch people and tends to avoid being around other people except when he needs to be.

Full points to Renard for logical deduction. I will reward your sluething!
Black River is cursed because of a failed attempt to ressurect someone at the wrong time.

For the most part, attempting something like this would just have no effect adn the ritual would fail without harmful side effects (though other Ano-Chee would still be deeply enraged if they found out about it.)
Black River was a shaman of great power so basically tried to force the ritual to work through his own strength of will.
He is pretty much a unique case, though theoreticlaly someone else could do something similar in the future.

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM

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