The Iallik are a bombastic, nomadic race, famed for their colorful caravans and loyal service as mercenaries and guards.
Iallik are generally large, muscled humanoids with the heads of sharks. They are almost completely nomadic, although there are a few static communities on the western islands. They travel on land with gaudily painted caravans covered in silken banners that act as tapestries describing the prowess and victories of the caravan’s occupants. The Iallik are not troubled by living on land, although few venture anywhere near a desert, drying out entirely being very uncomfortable for them, and a land-bound Iallik’s greatest luxury is a salt-water bath.
Trading with the Iallik is done as with any other merchant or mercenary, but all payments are held by the leader of the caravan, and disbursed as he or she sees fit. When trading with each other, Iallik use their teeth and teeth collected from their enemies and creatures hunted. The larger and more impressive the tooth, the greater its value. Iallik lose teeth regularly, often several teeth a week, as more are constantly growing in underneath. This has led to an internal economy mostly based on reputation, as the teeth of a renowned warrior or hero are worth far more than the teeth of a more obscure tradesman or other person.
Iallik caravans hire themselves out as mercenaries primarily, as they make fierce warriors. All the caravans follow a fairly strict code of behavior, especially in that an Iallik can be trusted above all else not to take a contract against you as their next job. Most Iallik companies also require payment up front, with only the most desperate or impoverished breaking this rule.
The Iallik have had mixed experiences with the Aleran Empire, while they are sometimes hired as Auxiliaries for the Imperial Legions, the Empire is also happy to take them as slaves, as they make fierce gladiators or body men. This means that Iallik caravans tend to roam the outskirts of the empire, rarely travelling near Tar Valon or Cairhien. Thus even the common people are familiar with Iallik as free men near the border of the Blight, on the western or southern coastal regions, and as slaves in Tar Valon and Cairhien, but they are a curiosity of great wonder in the central regions or near the Aiel Wastes.
Iallik Furycrafting tends to reflect their culture, Iallik furies almost exclusively take the names and forms of aquatic predators. Iallik furycrafters treat their furies as close companions, and defend them appropriately. Watercrafters are the most common among the Iallik, but they number some Aircrafters as well. There are few Firecrafters among the Iallik, and they are viewed with some suspicion. Earthcrafters are similarly rare, but they are treasured as their ability to rapidly generate fortifications is excellent for travelling caravans.
Iallik religion is unusual in that all of the Iallik gods will happily receive and speak with any Iallik (and, in very rare situations, non-Iallik) who reach them. This is countered by the fact that the Iallik gods live in the deepest parts of the ocean, far too deep for any but the strongest swimmers of the Iallik to reach. Iallik priests tend to be massive even by the standards of their kin, and often retire once they can no longer make the Deep Dive to reach the gods. Iallik lay persons usually venerate all the gods, making sacrifices commensurate with their wealth whenever they are able, but it is not unusual for an Iallik to declare that they are “claimed” by one of the gods, tattooing their symbol on their face and worshiping them above all others. This is most common if the Iallik has reached one of the gods and received their blessing.
The Iallik pantheon is simple, with each of the deities claiming a primary function in Iallik life. All of the Iallik gods are colossal versions of ocean life.
Isharah, the Octopus is the goddess of family and community life, and is the most shallow swimming of the gods. Her priests most often teach that it is important to build bonds of friendship and family whenever and wherever possible, and that sacrificing yourself for someone you are bonded to is the highest of all possible goods. Her symbol is a curved, eight-pointed star.
Ostarah, the Barracuda is the god of war and contracts. Every time an Iallik caravan accepts a job as mercenaries an offering to Ostarah is made. He is the second-shallowest of the gods, and often imparts wisdom that leads to the recipient founding a combat school. His priests teach that hesitation is weakness, and a swift decisive blow is more effective than a hundred from an undecided man. They further teach that breaking a contract is a mortal sin, and that Ostarah devours the souls of those who break contracts before they can reach Am-Shadarah. His symbol is a blade wrapped in chains.
Yassarah, the Sperm Whale is the goddess of hunters and justice. She is, along with Takkak, the second deepest swimming god of the Iallik. Her messages are conservationist in bent, often, warning against overuse of the bounty of the seas, and her priests are often ascetic, forgoing food or luxuries for as long as they are able. She also teaches that punishing the guilty is a holy thing, and Iallik claimed by Yassarah are often responsible for maintaining order in their caravans. Caravans with many claimed by Yassarah sometimes remain in service with one city or town for months or years, acting as the city watch. Yassarah is in constant battle with Takkak, fighting to prevent him from ensnaring the souls of dead Iallik on the way to Am-Shadarah. Yassarah’s symbol is a tooth made half of enamel and half of blood.
Takkak, the Squid is the god of sorcery and redemption. He is, along with Yassarah, the second deepest swimming god of the Iallik. All forgiveness flows from Takkak, as part of his purpose is to determine whether a soul is pure enough for Am-Shadarah. His messages tend to be cryptic at best, and to say that something has “as many meanings as Takkak’s tentacles” is to say that it has so many meanings as to be unknowable. His duty and the almost alien messages that his priests deliver means that many of the Iallik’s stories cast him as a malevolent force. This is not strictly accurate, but it does not appear to bother Takkak, who has said “Every story requires a villain” when asked whether such a description is sacrilegious. Takkak’s symbol is a stone ring.
Am-Shadarah, the Great White Shark is the First of gods, the god of death and the father of all Iallik. He fathered the Iallik with Lissarah, who birthed the race and then was eaten by Am-Shadarah, who cleaned her body until only bones remained and threw her into the sky, where she shines brightly during the day when Am-Shadarah sleeps, and more dimly at night, when he swims the depths. Am-Shadarah alone of the gods demands a sacrifice when a petitioner comes with a question. Whenever a Dive to Am-Shadarah’s depths is undertaken, two must go. One to ask the question and be devoured, one to return to the surface with the answer. Am-Shadarah teaches the importance of motion, of refusing to become stagnant, giving the Iallik the basis of their nomadic culture. He further teaches all will die and that accepting this is critical to passing by Takkak to reach him. When a soul reaches Am-Shadarah he consumes it, and by doing so makes it holy and able to reach living Iallik again as a Tarraq, a fish similar to a remora that attaches to a descendant and can grant the descendant advice and knowledge.
Iallik Characters are blessed by the Western Star Keleel, receiving a +1 to either of the Western Star attributes. Iallik PCs are further blessed by one of the gods, receiving a +1 in a non-Western Star attribute of their choice. This may or may not represent a successful Deep Dive in their past. When an Iallik Communes, they speak silently with the Tarraq they have attached to them and receive counsel. Instead of an Ancestor Room ceremony, the Iallik can perform a ritual bathing ceremony that blesses and anoints the participants with salt water.