Hurrocks Fardel: Swan Maidens

*All information is taken, pretty much word for word, from my deviantart page, just edited so it makes more sense.

General Information: Swan Maidens

A swan maiden has the ability to turn into a swan at will as long as she is in possession of her swan skin. If they stray too far from their skin (about half a mile) or it is destroyed, they will become mortals. Because of their mythos, while immortal like other Solifidians, when swan maidens reach their late teens/early twenties, they will stop physically aging almost entirely. A serious wound can be healed by simply changing shapes from swans to human form or vice versa, but that’s about the only magic that the typical people have (annoyingly, hair regrows too). Perhaps to make up for it, they are all notoriously fierce warriors. The mythical beings of swan maidens and valkyries got merged at some point thanks to various stories. A single swan maiden can defeat three men with little concern for her own safety, which is why when a man gets it into his head to steal her swan skin, he has to be sneaky about it and have lots of back-up. Swan maidens are considered prizes by some human men for brides…unfortunately, keeping them tends to be a bit of a hassle. They also always breed true, even with humans, so the kids tend to side with their mother.

Swan maidens breed by conscious choice. Both partners in the union have to want to have a child, and be firm in the decision. It makes marriages run a lot smoother, and lets the unhappy ones fall apart with little fanfare. The exception to this rule is the swan maidens currently blackmailed into being married to a mortal man who has stolen their swan skin. They have to remain near the skin, even if it isn’t in their possession, to retain their immortality, so these women are held at the whims of their husbands if they want to ever return to their normal lives—at least until the men either die or the children from the union lead her to her swan skin. However, because of how they breed, they lose all control in the decision without their skin. Meaning: as long as the bastard who has their swan skin wants a kid and her body can healthily bear a child, she’s going to get pregnant.

The marriage trap that is part of their mythos makes most swan maidens downright resentful of medians, especially after what happened to the dragons. The worst of them hate them and will kill them on sight; the best of them will be tolerant for at least a time. The swan maidens with stolen skins fear them, since they can change the story before they have a chance to be free of their human husbands.

Children (sometimes jokingly called cygnets, like real baby swans) are born in human shapes and numbers (no batches of eggs). They grow up at the same rate as a human would. With the onset of puberty, at a random point in their early teens (usually at 13) they will turn into a swan with the rising of the full moon, and can only return to their human form by swimming on to a lake/pond/sea while the moon is still visible. If they are somehow kept from the water, for whatever reason, they are stuck as a swan until the next full moon. After returning to their human shape for the first time, they will now have the legendary swan skin to keep track of should they wish to remain a member of their race.

A single village is around 200 couples on average, not counting single adults and children. Some families choose to live outside of the villages to have farms, leading them to be considered “country.” Despite the misleading name, there are male versions of this race, they are just rarely seen outside of the villages—most male battle units serve as guard for the various villages scattered across the globe. The females are the ones who explore the most outside of their small settlements. Units are always gender-segregated.  All species of swan exist, though usually a village is home to only one kind. The exception is a village that serves more as a trading hub than anything else, referred to as the Lake. Only swan maidens or other Solifidians are allowed to visit, and it is considered the home of the Lady Champion (since the champion is nearly always female) and her Guard. Its location is top-secret, so only a few Solifidians who aren’t swan maidens even know about its existence. Perhaps because of this, it is one of the safest places for them to live.

The Champion’s Guard are elite fighters, said to be the best of the entire race, who serve alongside the Champion. Currently, there are ten of them, all female, much like your typical female battle unit. Three of them, Gersemi, Iduna, and Tore, all served under Kari, with Tore even being her old second in command, a position the current Lady Champion, Lady Eira, kept her in. Jordis and Rowen came from Eira’s old unit, with Rowen previously serving as Eira’s second and now as her third in command.

Compiled Guard

The swan maidens are valued by the Moon archetype due to their innate connection with the sky due to their ability to fly, while at the same time they are able to freely interact with humans, much like the light of the moon. A swan maiden’s first chance to shed her skin to take a human form can only occur by moonlight, perhaps because of this link. As a result of Her often split mindset, She has long since left the choosing of the Champion to the swan people themselves. Tradition has developed into a challenge of single-combat with the current Champion, with the winner either killing or banishing the loser. Banishment among the swan maidens occurs when their skin is taken away and destroyed, rendering them forever mortal.

The Moon archetype is…complicated. Due to the fact there are usually two types of god(dess)/mythical figures, She has two very conflicting personality types trying to gain control. They usually change with the phases of the moon. When the moon is closer to being full, She takes on the good, if impartial, personality that forms from goddesses such as Artemis/Diana, Selene/Luna, Ataegina, and Elatha. But as it grows closer to new, She begins to take on the more vengeful figures such as Hecate/Trivia, Arianrhod, Mano, and Tsukuyomi. (Please note, despite the more common knowledge of female moon goddesses, there are actually more moon gods. This might explain why She is a warrior.) During the full moon, She is entirely good, and during the new, She is entirely vengeful and dangerous, but in between She is certifiably insane, and can change Her opinion at the flip of a coin. Sometimes She will even have arguments with Herself if the dark side disagrees with the light side.

When She takes a physical form (in front of a median, for example), She is formed out of silver outlining/lettering, and while She has no discernible legs due to Her floor-length “skirt,” She does has a cape-like extension that mimics the shape of Her swan maidens’ swan skins down Her back, Her “hair” shaped in a knot at the base of Her neck. The names making up Her form mimic Her state of mind, making the names of more vengeful appear the closer to the new moon and the more impartial/good closer to the full. As far as Her powers, the moon is associated with healing, curses, and (of course) light. However, Her magic just isn’t seen in Her Champions, unless they petition Her and She decides to grant it, with the added complication of only the light side can heal and only the dark side can curse.

(Image of the Moon Archetype Coming Soon]

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