“One of the worst results of once being a slave is that when there is no one around with a whip, you find you have almost lost the power to act without it. We were not just born into this. We were made for it, not born to this world grasping for meaning but with meaning branded upon us. And in this truth, we find purpose, and despair.”
-from Alto, a freed slave of Vesterine, in a letter to his former owner
The Tyrmen are a product of magical transmutation, humans whose souls were twisted up with those of animals to make them a race of slaves that were easy to control and tireless. The Tyrmen were created by the Dwimmerlings to eliminate the need for human slaves. Most still live as chattel to the Dwimmerlings of the Autumn Court, but the Tyrmen of Ackenzal, led by the political faction called the Ferals, recently gained their freedom in Ackenzal. Escaped descendants of the earliest experiments, the Fyane, live in the Spellsung Woods where they take any opportunity to strike out against their former owners.
Most Tyrmen are of breeds specialized for a given task. In Ackenzal, many Tyrmen are descended from those sold to as soldiers. These people were mingled with the souls of dogs to craft obedient and effective soldiers to quash rebellions and expand the empire. Most Tyrmen in the Dwimmerling courts are mingled with kine and other beasts of burden, making them docile and tenacious workers, if a little dull.
The Fyane were an early attempt to make a slave army, and were crossed with the great cats of Spellsung woods and other apex predators. They are wild, almost sociopathic, and barbaric. There are also those Tyrmen who were affected by the Fellwright of The Second Starfall, the effects of which seemed to exaggerate their animal heritage. They, like those touched by the fellwright of solely human ancestry, are afflicted with birth defects and the health problems associated with giganticism.
Most Tyrmen, besides the Fyane, have an instinct to obey orders, a quality that even the freed rebels of Ackenzal have a hard time shaking. A human simply telling a Tyrmen to perform a task may set them out to perform it compulsively.
A Tyrman’s appearance is determined by the animal nature instilled in them. In Ackenzal and Zapandi, the former slaves have pointed teeth, amber eyes that shine in the dark, brown skin and black claws that. They thick body hair, with some having brindle or spotted patterns. The wild Fyane of the Spellsung Woods have tails, and much longer claws and fangs, while the chattel slaves of the Dwimmerling courts have hands with only two fingers and toes with thick, almost hoof-like nails. They have incredibly broad shoulders, and vestigial horns. Most Tyrmen are shorter lived, being lucky to reach the age of sixty, but also mature much faster than humans; most are fully grown after only twelve years. Still, many breeds are resistant or even immune to some common human diseases.