The Dakriel (Pronounced Dack-re-ell) are a race of bipedal, cat-like beings, widespread throughout the known worlds. Believed to have been created magically, they fought in the Mage Wars and have had a long and storied history since.
Dakriel stand between four and six feet high. They are bipedal with opposable thumbs, and come in a very wide array of colors and paterns. Much like their feline descriptors, they are covered in fur, with different sub-races having different lengths. Most modern Dakriel are short-haired, and some keep their fur trimmed. Roughly fourteen percent of modern Dakriel have tails. The percentage for ancient Dakriel is unknown.
The Dakriel tend to live very simply, often preferring to consume their food raw. They eat a high-protein diet of mostly meats with some vegetables. They often gravitate towards temperate climates.
Dakriel are typically viewed as lazy, since they will not work more than four to six hours in a day if they can avoid it. However, they are highly efficient during the time they do spend, and during the Succession Wars they were known for working around the clock.
Individually, they are agile and capable warriors. Though not known for their strength or stamina, they are fast and very adept with most weapons. During the Mage Wars, they were best known for their style with a sort of short knife, which they wielded reverse-hand.
Archaeological evidence shows they lived on the Agras Plain as far back as the Grey Period of the Age of Darkness. By the start of the Mage Wars they were wide spread across the Greater Continent, with population centers on the Agras Plain. They may have at one point been the dominant power in Weagal, and around 2700 B.G.A. they probably ruled Oncar.
Dakriel tended to be wide-spread, and did not naturally form major population centers. While some aspired to political and social power, as a culture they were comfortable mingling with other races. Most Dakriel did not attempt to hold territory, relocating as needed.
During the Dynastic Period, the Dakriel were the frequent target of ethnic cleansing by the Marcon Alliance (Marconians typically disliked anyone who didn't look like them). This, amongst other poor choices, hurt the Marcons greatly. While not terribly attached to their land, Dakriel were agile and extremely capable warriors. It is estimated that for each Dakriel killed in a major Marconian purge, between 2 and 5 Marconian soldiers died.
By the Second Chaotic Period, Dakriel populations were mostly limited to the Agras Plains and regions along the Sword Coast, with a sizable number living in and around Sun's Beacon. They also had villages and towns in Sindall and some presence in the Lowland Plains. Numbers continued to dwindle, however, as Darkiel frequently intermaried with humans and other races, and by the dawn of the Golden Age, very few full-blooded Darkiel existed.
Their population saw a resurgence, however, as it was soon realized that many off-world populations existed. Sometime during the Dynastic Period, Dakreil had become allied with the Runarins, and from this alliance had gained access to star travel. Most of the remaining population on the greater continent migrated away at this time, and by the mid Golden Age they were gone from the region.
For the next five millennia, Darkiel were thought to be purely nomadic, roaming the verse in generational spacecraft. They harvested resources and traded with many civilizations, though they were not that to have a home of their own.
In the early Sixth Age, with the start of the Kamian Succession Wars, it came to wide knowledge that the Dakriel had a great many colonies throughout the Known Worlds, and in fact had a population several orders of magnitude higher than anyone realized. By treaty with the Gudersnipe Foundation, Darkiel had access to countless protected planets and were often allowed to settle at will. The Dakriel were still largely nomadic, frequently remaining on a settled planet for only a few centuries at a time.
The Dakriel fled the advancing Kamians, and eventually over seven billion of them were re-settled on two planets in the Mabak System. As was their way in times of war, the Dakriel chose sides (against the Kamians), and used the resources of the Mabak system, along with aid from the Foundation and old allies, the Runarins, to begin constructing ships and weapons. The Dakriel first built a powerful defensive network of ships and satellites that would go on to deflect two major Kamian assualts. They next turned their hand to creating a massive offensive fleet.
At sites all around the combat area, Dakriel technicians proved highly adept at repairing damaged ships, upgrading obsolete ones, and even converting civilian vessels. Most of the majors powers employed them and the fielded a sizable(compared to the over-all population) fleet of their own. By midway through the war, Dakriel ships were fighting in every major confrontation. Supreme Command Gailen even referred to them as "the ante on the Don't Pass Line".
Following the end of the Succession Wars, many Dakriel returned to their nomadic lifestyle, though Mabak remained a major population center.
The exact origin of the Dakriel is unknown, though there is a strong indication that they are magical, not natural, in nature. As with all such beings, the obvious answer is that they were created as warriors during the Mage Wars.
However, archaeological evidence shows they lived on the Agras Plain as far back as the Grey Period of the Age of Darkness. No known civilization possessed the ability to create such beings at that time. This has led to much scholarly debate as academics, historians, and mages alike argue their theories.
Three prominent origins have dominated the discussion: temporal displacement, the 'lost era' principle, and early-date hypothesis.
Many traditions hold that Dakriel were created by the Marcon Alliance sometime during the dynastic period. Since many well-dated sites indicate Dakriel presence even before most proposed dates for High Tower, this theory requires that a population of Dakriel must have been sent back in time. This principle holds little traction with most impartial scholars, and his primarily held by academics with little understanding of magic.
Proponents of the Lost Era hold that a large and magically powerful civilization existed sometime between the Fall of Roads and the establishment of High Tower (commonly held as the start of the Mage Wars era). While this proposal is logically sound, the historical record does not account for it. Proponents of the theory hold that the Dakriel were made by this race, or may have been it. Much like the temporal theory, this one has not been widely accepted.
Sound origin theories for the Dakriel were lacking until the late Sixth Age, when Hunter Jusenkyou (an historian and scholar of some note) put forth the Early Date Hypothesis. Jusenkyou's theory, included in a peer-reviewed academic paper, proposed that the Dakriel were actually created by dragons near the end of Classic Antiquity, possibly as little as several decades before the Fall of Roads. Jusenkyou sums up his theory thusly:
"Let's go over what we know: someone made them. There are markers in their DNA and aural makeup. They're not natural, and everyone agrees on that, even the Dakriel. So, the question, then, is who? There aren't many potential answers. It wasn't humans, that's for damn sure, and any of the magically capable races that we today know and love, they just weren't capable. The Iname were long gone by then, and the Strawmen just aren't capable. That just leaves Dragons. Dragons made the Dakriel."
...stuff. Also Viverren.