Appearance: A small semi-arboreal species of ancient human that evolved with a higher brain function capacity, allowing them to sense and control the energies of the earth. Due to this mental ability, a large, strong body was not needed in their evolution. The presence of this higher sixth sense also meant that their average five senses, such as sight, and hearing were not as sharp as their Cro Magnon counterparts. The Achalaja build was slight but boasted broad shoulders and longer arms in relation to the rest of their body. The facial features were sharp and bird-like with subtly pointed ears and large eyes.
The Achalaja were built to climb trees and be comfortable at a height. Skin tone was a pale red-gold, matching the colour of their beloved trees. Hair colour varied only between black and a shade of silvery white, though the former was more common. Eye colour appeared in varying shades of purple but no other colour. There may have been other colours at one time, but as the gene pool for this species narrowed dangerously, all other shades of hair or eye colour were lost or bred out. Achalaja were most commonly left handed.
Average height: The average Achalaja stood anywhere from 4′ to 4’7” in height. This was true of both males and females.
Habitat: Extinct sub-tropical forests that were found only in the regions of what is now modern-day India. Fossils of this amazing species and their unique habitat do not exist anywhere in the fossil record or the history books as bones do not fossilise in such climates.
Strengths: Compassion for the balance of life around them and the ability to connect with and manipulate their surroundings. Ability to control their body functions and heal with the power of the mind.
Weaknesses: Inability to adapt to the changes in the world. The Achalaja relied heavily on their forests and their unique connection to it. As the glacial period threatened their home, this weakness was to be their undoing. They also had a xenophobic hatred of other species.
Beliefs: The Achalaja believed they were created by a Sky Goddess named Achala, who was the wisest and most powerful of all the other Sky Gods. Legend told that Achala created the first of the Achalaja with the red-gold bark of the trees from the forest where she took up residence. Achala is believed to have been a great lover of beauty and imbued the Achalaja soul with the power of the Earth, the Great Spirit, allowing them to hear its song and understand the balance of the earth and all its creatures. This skill became known as Achala’s Gift. Achala bid them to take care of and enhance the balance and beauty of their surroundings.
The Achalaja considered themselves superior to the other peoples, including the Neanderthals who do not possess the ability to connect with the Great Spirit, naming them Blind.
It is believed that Achala taught the forefathers of the Achalaja to increase the power of their connection to the Great Spirit by mating only the strongest together to produce offspring with an ever higher sensitivity to the energies around them, thus fulfilling the plan that Achala set out for them and the hope that one day they would become the greatest of the peoples and gain the wisdom to follow her into the heavens. This belief unfortunately lead to an increasingly high level of inbreeding, exacerbated when the species grew more scarce and tribes rarely crossed paths with one another.
In Achalaja belief, Achala had a dark brother, Grindah, who grew jealous of his sister’s creation and made it his vendetta to wipe out the Achalaja, creating demon beings to hunt them. Achala fought Grindah and dragged him back into the heavens to keep him prisoner. The souls of Achala and Grindah are represented by the sun and the moon. Grindah is said to control the winter, and Achala holds him back by bringing the summer. The Achalaja prophesised that if Grindah gained power over his sister, then winter would forever hold sway and bring an end to their race. With the increasing cold brought on by the glacial period and the rapid decline of their race through attacks from the Woves and birth deformities, it seemed to the Achalaja that the prophesy of the End of Days was upon them.
The Elders continued with the belief that only by mating the strongest of tribe members, no matter how closely related, would beat the curse placed upon them by Grindah’s Woves and bring back the days of their glory. The Elders did not see that the inbreeding was sealing their own demise.
Culture: Achalaja tribes were lead by a group of Elders, and these could be either male or female. These leaders were not chosen for physical prowess but rather based upon their collective wisdom and strength of faith in Achala’s teachings. The Elders did not have all the power, however, for within an Achalaja tribe there was always a Kamaali spirit guide, a female individual blessed with a connection to the Great Spirit greater than that of the average tribe member. The birth of a Kamaali was always marked by the falling of a bolivar tree acorn, which was then placed around her neck where it would remain throughout her entire life, absorbing her energy until the Kamaali passed, upon which day, the acorn would be planted and guided to maturity by the old Kamaali’s successor.
The bolivar trees were central to the Achalaja lifestyle, giant trees which no longer exist today, large enough for the Achalaja to live within high above ground level.
The Achalaja did not hunt or eat meat. In their view, animals were the Children of the Great Spirit and were therefore vital to maintaining the balance of the world they live in. They ate plant matter only.
The ancestors of the Achalaja learned the symbiotic relationship between plants and insects, where a plant will adapt itself cleverly to attract the creatures that it needs to survive and reproduce. The Achalaja forefathers used this knowledge and their connection to the Great Spirit to influence the plant life around them to grow in forms and perform functions that would attract them; homes, food, medicine, clothing etc. The fruit, fungi, nuts and roots grown from the Achalaja forests were larger and more sustaining than any found anywhere else in the world.
The animals also readily did their bidding and lived in harmony with the Achalaja, even fearsome predators like the gigantic forest wolves who shared the territory with them.
Achalaja were a monogamous species and individuals were bonded through a soul link forged by the Kamaali guide.
Legacy: The bloodline of the few Achalaja willing to commit the Forbidden may not have had a great impact on our genetic make-up today but their influence may occasionally surface in individuals who have unique or even seemingly supernatural abilities. It may be that their legacy is so subtle as to surface only in those intuitive people who have an uncanny ability to read the feelings of the people and the animals around them and see what most of us do not.
Though their influence on our genome is small, the Achalaja may have left behind a much greater impact on our ancient psyche. Could this extinct race be the real life, yet forgotten influence which gave birth to our folklores of mythical beings such as Elves, Sprites and Dryads?