Matlal steadied himself in his perch among the branches, slowed his breathing, and listened. It was as if he could hear the thrumming of the hearts of his people, scattered among the treetops, preparing themselves. It was a persistent beat to a war dance they all knew and all felt, pulsing through their veins. “We are the masters of both the trees and the forest floor, children of the Sun, none shall ever be greater.” A smile spread across his feline features as he felt the thrumming rise to a humming crescendo – Now! His heart leapt in his chest and he fell with fluid grace onto the back of a Great Salatsu, his brothers and sisters swiftly following suit, and together they brought the monstrous thing to its knees. His claws sank deeply into the thing’s flesh, and the warm, iron scent of blood filled his nostrils. Internally he rejoiced, “None shall ever be greater than we, the Xsawah.”
Called the Bloodletters by outsiders because of the tales of their savage nature and mysterious ritual sacrifices, these catlike people refer to themselves as the Xsawah (pronounced “Eks-ah-wah”), a word which means “The Children Between.” While the Xsawah prefer the proper name for their people, most have come to accept the new moniker. Hailing from deep within a dense and untamed jungle, the Xsawah are an old and proud race, valuing battle prowess and strength of mind and body, the elements necessary to survive the daily trials of life in their home. The Xsawah’s interaction with the rest of the world has been limited to occasional trade, and war with those that have pushed too far into their beloved jungle, most notably the Saurians. Since the return of the sun, more Xsawah have ventured into the world at large, sometimes as lone adventurers, or more commonly in small hunting packs.
Xsawah have a coat of short, fine fur covering the entire body, and their markings resemble those of ocelots, having a base tan color with black and white markings. They have long wicked claws that they use for hunting and fighting, and a spirit to match.