Khalif, North America
Statistics & Foundation
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While the exact location of the Khalif's home is rather unclear, they are located on and around Cloud Peak, the highest of the Rocky Mountain peaks within Wyoming. They are secretive and mistrustful of outsiders, and have been known to kidnap those who come too close. Within the pack a hierarchy has formed along their caste system, leaving clear divides between the members.
The Khalif are endless diggers and cave dwellers and have exploited old mining tunnels and tools to carve homes into the Mountain. The closer one gets to the top of the Mountain the more elaborate and humanized the place becomes, nearer to the foot dwell the black wolves, who guard the children of Ankh and Rah'khir that live near the peak. The bottom of the mountain is ringed by traps, including staked ditches and hidden pitfalls, rusty metals, and a meandering, poorly built fence. Those living near the Mountain who are not part of the Khalif will warn outsiders to not attempt scaling the Mountain under any circumstances, those that do rarely come down.
The black wolves that live nearest to the border fence are referred to as the 'wretches' by all other members of the Khalif, and regularly practice cannibalism.
Misery D'Angelo was the former leader of the Khalif, having been regarded as a living god due to an unspecified genetic disorder turning her black fur to white over the years. On October 31st, 2015, Misery committed suicide by firebombing the template of Ankh along with a handselected group of her children, destroying a large amount of the white elite of the Mountain.
The leader(s) of the pack are called Elder Priests, and may belong to any of the three priesthoods, though historically it has always been an Ankh Priest. The notable exceptions are Misery, who was a Priestess of Tak, and Benediction D'Angelo, a priest of Tak.
Each faction of Priests is ruled by a pair of High Priest(ess), and all aspire to become the Elder. Traditionally, the High Priests of each faith are a mated pair, and may abandon old mates to become mated to their counterpart.
Beneath the High Priests come the regular Priests, followed by those who are studying, known as Acolytes.
For the first few years after the fall of man, the wolves of Khalif were relatively untouched by the outside world. On the night of a full moon, a black wolf, with red eyes found his way unto the Mountain. For reasons unknown he attacked many of the members of the pack, killing two of the white wolves and leaving many of their black kin injured. He fled after they regrouped and fought him, but the damage had been done.
He had introduced the luperci virus among them.
In time they came to believe that the random wolf who had attacked them was Tak himself. The religion formed from their relative isolation from the rest of the world, and was drastically different in the early days.
Tak was a figure of chaos and freedom, and represented the unknown. He was associated with the night, and served as a guardian against mortal peril. Ankh was a figure of order and peace, and represented family. She was associated with the day, and served as a guardian against spiritual danger. Rah'khir was the mother figure, and represented hunting and the wild world. She was the most important deity and seen as the mother of Tak and Ankh, who were originally seen as siblings.
The original faith was not as prominent in the faith is now, and the pack existed as most did, with Alphas and Beta's and the like.
This changed with the birth of two seemingly unimportant young wolves, Echo Brandt and Savage D'Angelo.
In their youth, Echo and Savage were friends despite the tension between the families. Both children were highly invested in the faith, and seemed to exemplify the deities they were born under. Echo was a kindly, order minded woman who become mated early and started producing children almost immediately. Savage was a fierce warrior, and a highly chaotic man prone to weeping and raging within moments with little provocation. Savage disappeared for a few months after the birth of Echo's first litter, only to return on the night of a full, particularly orange moon. He murdered her husband, and kidnapped Echo into the caves of the Mountain and disappeared once more. Weeks later, a ragged and bloody Echo reappeared carrying Savage's heart in her hands. In time, she birthed a litter of entirely black puppies that she abandoned to Savage's kin and began preaching of the new faith that took over the Mountain, where Tak was a demon, Rah'khir was a huntress and Ankh's sister, and Ankh the embodiment of all good. For ten long years Echo lived and preached, and led the pack for five. This event became the Khalif fable, 'the rape of Ankh' though the tale changed much in the telling, but it led to the strict and volatile divide among the families.
- Brandt — The Brandt are among the oldest families, tracing their lineage back to Ankh herself. It is unlikely anyone would see a black wolf from this family, as children born with that coat color are often killed at birth. Inbreeding is common, as it is with all families, as they seek perfection. Because they believe themselves the superior family, the Brandt will rarely interact with D'Angelo members unless necessary--or unless they are white-coated.
- Archer — The Archer family exist between two worlds, and as such are granted many freedoms. They can interact with all of the members of the Khalif, and will often use this to their advantage when it comes to seeking companionship and romance. Because they belong to the Silver Lady, they serve as the hunters of the Khalif as well as border patrol.
- D'Angelo — While equally as old as the Brandt, the D'Angelo are often looked down on because so many of their kin have black fur. However, many white-furred members of this family (as well as those in-between) have made themselves powerful within the Khalif. A D'Angelo currently leads the pack as well.
- Ankh — Ankh is the Lady of Light. The day is her domain, from sun up until sundown she reigns. Wolves of white belong to her - the family of Brandt are said to be her special servants. To belong to Ankh is a most blessed thing, most often it is children of Ankh that lead the pack. Ankh is said to have immense healing abilities - she can banish madness and raise the dead. The birth of a white child - especially to a line of black furred wolves - can be considered a 'redemption' for the family. Ankh is a Lady of Peace - yet she battles against Tak for the souls of her beloved wolves. Ankh fights against the dark devil with her silver sister, and the pair always manage to chase him away - but not for long. There are myths and legends that long ago, the Lady of Light and Dark One once gave into a most terrible temptation, and that their blood, wicked and terrible, is mixed within one special family of the Khalif's. Tak and Ankh stand as eternal foes, the hatred between them is undeniable - and it passes down to the wolves that worship them.
- Rah'khir — Rah'khir is the most mysterious of the Khalif gods. The Silver Lady walks only during dusk and dawn - but battles bravely against Tak with her beloved sister, Ankh. Rah'khir reigns over the brown, the red, all of the wolves that cannot fall beneath the white rule of Ankh, or the black rule of Tak. Rah'khir is most revered for her hunting prowess - she represents the Khalif's union with human things. She is an archer of unparalleled skill, it is said she never misses her mark. All craftsmanship belongs to her - from the tattooing to the metalworking, woodcraft to care of horses - they are all done in honor of Rah'Khir. There are few stories made about Rah'khir, she is the eternal hunter, the guardian of the in between. Those that belong to her often have the most freedom among the Khalif - they are not burdened by evil, or bound by goodness.
- Tak — Tak rules the night. From the moment the moon touches high in the sky until it is chased away by the sun, he is the only God for the Khalif's. Tak is said to be able to see all that is, his eyes are the stars and the moon. Tak has dominion over the lesser beasts as well in night - he is particularly fond of using serpents and scorpions. Tak is a cruel and unforgiving beast, he walks in darkness because he holds no favor for the things of light. Sin and debauchery are his playground, and wolves with black fur are his. Called the Cannibal, the demon, he is the reason for all sin and those born to him are damned.
The most basic ritual performed by the Khalif is that of sacrificial offerings.The three Gods all demand sacrifice, but the offerings that the God's expect are different. An offering is presented, and simple words spoken - praise to the God and then whatever blessing or gift the wolf wishes to receive asked. The offerings are then burned so they can reach the Gods on the other side, and be purified through flame.
- Ankh takes the simplest offering - dead animals, such as rabbits, or deer, anything of that sort. The bigger the animal, the better the sacrifice and the chance of reward.
- Rah'khir prefers crafted offerings. Bone knives, bows, arrows, or fine furs and antlers, hunting trophies. Of particular interest to the silver God are offerings from predators - cougar claws and teeth, bear fur, anything that shows off the hunting prowess of her followers.
- Tak demands living sacrifices. From rabbits to deer, and everything in between - his offerings must always be alive or his wrath is risked. Tak's favorite sacrifice is that of wolves - and the Khalif often kidnap outsiders or burn the black wolves among them for his favor. Every month one wolf is sacrificed to protect the pack from Tak devouring them in the night.
When a couple seeks to bear children, it is advised that they perform a sacrificial ritual and adhere to strict rules regarding their copulation. Depending on the coloring of the wolves, one would make sacrifices to the God/dess of their birth. A living sacrifice must be offered to Tak, as he has the ability to kill children before their birth. If neither parent belongs to Rah'khir, she does not require a sacrifice--the parents can make offers to Ankh instead, hoping she will give them her mercy. The holy signs of the Khalif are drawn on the pair in gold ink, and a chant is spoken as the sacrifices are put into a fire. The couple then copulates, and does so for the next two days but only during the day.
The spoken chant is as such: "Ankh, gib daß mein Körper kann denken und gebären ein schönes, gesundes Kind in Ihr heiliges Bild."
Many signs, sigils, and objects have power.
- The White Sun -- Ankh's symbol
- The Silver Arrow -- Rah'khir's symbol
- The Black Moon and The Red Eye -- Tak's symbol
- "Can Tah" or "Little Gods" are crude but powerful stone animals carved in the shapes of those beasts that Tak rules. They are most commonly made of snakes, scorpions, spiders, or eagles. Only those who have proven worthy of power will gain them, as they are said to speak the voice of Tak.
- The D'Angelo family originated here.