Mala Ruz

Geography

Mala Ruz is an archipelago off the southwestern coast of Elysia Island. Most of Mala Ruz's hundreds of small islands are actually great volcanic rocks protruding up out of the blue sea. Many are large, and contain enough soil to support a verdant jungle ecosystem, and resilient flora and fauna capable of withstanding the many tropical storms.

European Colonists came to Mala Ruz shortly after the colonization of Elysia in order to study the remnants of the Ancients' civilization. While they discovered ruins of archaeological interest that were similar to those on Elysia Island proper, they ultimately abandoned their research following the Colonization of Elysia.

Bats!

Mala Ruz is populated by the Malars, an insular society composed entirely of bat species who dwell in wooden cities elevated above the jungle canopy, and in the islands' many natural caves. Malar society still possesses many of the trappings of their primitive ancestors - they retain their pre-Old Temple spirituality, largely avoid modern technology and social values, and wear traditional clothing.

Masters of the Air

Despite their bucolic jungle lifestyle and primitive leanings, Malars are famous for their mastery of technology used in the creation of distinctive small, fast airships. This command of advanced technology is thought to be part of an oral tradition, passed down from generations of Malars that better understood the ancient archaeology of Mala Ruz's ruined temples. Malars themselves directly credit their ancestors for this technology, however.

A small detachment of Malar airships were influential in securing Elysian air power during the Insurgency in Elysian City. The keen nighttime hearing of the nocturnal crew proved a fine match for the Arrym flying galleons and gave the Resistance a considerable advantage.

Culture

Malars are a very spiritual people who worship their ancestors, who they believe dwell beneath the sea. They bury their dead at sea, it is thought in thankfulness for the bountiful fishing that nourishes them.

They speak Malar, a strange language partially composed of regular speech, but also of high frequency noises.

Despite being a very insular and "primitive" society, Malars cannot be considered disagreeable or severe in their demeanor. Malars tend to live together in large groups inside their caves, and as a result are a very social people. A great deal of importance is placed on discussion, family cohesion, and a unique sense of humor that is used to settle disputes. Malar conflicts rarely come to violence, so over the centuries no great need for martial power, or warriors, has been needed.

Outside of Mala Ruz, the batfolk have a reputation as jovial and carefree, but somewhat naive toward the dangers of developed societies. They tend to look at modern ways with consternation, but many young Malars are extremely curious and tend to travel around the mainland of Elysia whenever they can manage. The majority of Malars live and die without ever leaving Mala Ruz.

While their natural abilities for flight and echo-location are enough in their dark caves and jungle homes, Malar eyesight is too poor for non-bat society, and they tend to wear specialty goggles normally used by airship pilots. As a result, it is rare to see a Malar (apart from in Mala Ruz) barefaced when in developed societies like Elysia.

Malar hearing, however, is so well attuned that their choral singing is of very great interest to non-Malars, and renowned for its strange beauty.

Relations between Elysians and Malars is generally good, although there is no formal alliance and the Malar generally express no need for modern trade goods from their neighbor to the north.

Since the end of the war, however, no new Malar ships have arrived. There is speculation over the Malar war contribution has ended. Even now, the Malar crew are becoming homesick.

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