Written by Sándor Moldán, Creative Lead
This is our hero promotional image for the Kheïtanni, the fallen kin of the Lánaraï and the opposing playable race that will be available for the launch of Dawn Of The Tyrant.
Art Director: Sándor Moldán
Concept artist: Tugsbayar Jamts
For the Kheïtanni, we wanted to capture both the grim darkness of a race who have built their entire existence around vengeance, and the bitter nobility of a people who have lost everything they ever held dear. These two vastly different aspects of their character conflict in the hearts of every Kheïtanni warrior. They are driven by the burning need to see ultimate justice done, but will go to such lengths to see their will done that they will spare nothing to meet their ends, not even their own souls.
The Kheïtanni do not have the same connection to their Aëdr forebears as the Lánaraï. Despite having suffered such a great loss, there is nothing about them that reminisces or looks back on what they once were. Their eyes are fixed firmly forward, into the future, towards a time when their vengeance is finally sated and not a single Lánaraï remains alive to stain their honour.
The signature element of the Kheïtanni is of course their horrifically burned and broken wings – cruelly ruined in their tragic fall. The tremendous heat of atmospheric re-entry and the crushing forces of their being cast down upon the lifeless world of Vónekh VII left almost nothing intact. Now only blackened bones remain in place of once beautiful, white feathers and arched wings.
What remains of their wings is now used as a grisly trophy rack. The severed heads of their most prized kills are displayed proudly, impaled upon their shattered wing bones. Many Kheïtanni warriors create sinister tribal fetishes made from feathers taken from slain foes, as well as other more gruesome body parts. These are used as symbols to mark the prowess of the warrior, each one indicating the number of hated Lánaraï who have fallen to their blades.
The agony of their fall from the stars brought them to the very threshold of death. In fact, many of the Aëdr who opposed Rhïarrh were killed instantly in the fiery cataclysm that ended the war. This near death experience caused many of them to cross over from the material universe to the shadowy and insubstantial alternative reality of the Void. In the aftermath of this event, as they clawed their way back to life, they found that they had gained a sinister new ability.
The paths between the physical and spirit realm – and between the living and the dead – are no longer closed to them. They can traverse these planes at will, doing things no mortal being can do. They can pass through walls and other solid objects like ghosts, appear from nowhere to surprise their enemies - whose blades miss flesh and slice through trails of black smoke instead. But this ability to shift into Void Form comes at a terrible price. Each time a Kheïtanni takes this dark journey, a portion of their soul and life force is forever lost. Their ability gives them great power, enough to compensate for the fact that they will never fly again. But Void Form is used sparingly, even by the most daring of Kheïtanni warriors, for they know that each time they enter the depths of that strange netherworld it might be their last.
While the Kheïtanni make a point of divesting themselves of the visual hallmarks of their past, they are certainly not blind to the military and tactical value of the ancient technology of the Aëdr – at least what little of it still remains. They are extremely cognisant of the danger inherent in allowing the Lánaraï to regain any degree of their former strength – that which was afforded by the vast knowledge of the Aëdr.
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