Skeva, or rat-people, are the product of alchemical engineering and the magic of a witch named Ulusaba, who long ago transmutated ordinary rats into man-like creatures. Whether early skeva rebelled against their mistress or simply escaped from her is not known, but the rat-people found niches throughout the civilized lands in which to hide and proliferate until almost every major city co-exists (knowingly or not) with their subterranean presence. Skeva as a rule do not attempt to draw attention to themselves. While this policy has allowed them to thrive and grow strong, it does not entirely prevent the occasional surface dweller from being snatched for food or entertainment.
There is no central government or skeva nation. Rather each locale, whether in caves in the wilderness or the sewers of a city, has its own clan. These clans are led either by the strongest warrior or the wisest shaman.
Skeva stand from five to seven feet in height. Their fur is black, brown, or white with eyes that are black, red, or, in some cases, pink. Their eyesight is generally poor. To compensate for this they weave their heads from side-to-side in order to gain perspective on objects in front of them. They are color-blind. Their tails are thick and hairless and provide them with greater balance.
The best of skeva warriors belong to an elite caste known as rinja warriors, or simply rinja. Rinja are stealthy assassins and ferocious fighters. Their prowess matches that of the krill sinji.
Perhaps because of their origins, magic is strong in the skeva people. Those who have taken on the role of shaman or witch possess great attunement to the world around them.
Note from the Author: Ratmen were one of those races which always seemed to find someway to pop-up in my gaming campaigns back when I played. Whether it be a dungeon or a city sewer, they were always there, harrying our heroes. Never very powerful, they mostly attacked from the shadows and ran away if pressed. In too many ways those ratmen were more animal than man. The necessities of incorporating them into a book dictated that they either remain nothing more than monsters or I needed to have them become a true people, with history, politics, friendships and loyalties, and grudges and conflicts. I chose the latter, and thus the skeva people were born. While they've not made an appearance in any of my novels up until now, they will get their debut in the upcoming one, The Nullification Engine. The chapters with them thus far have been a lot of fun to write. At least one or two of them already has a storyline that extends into the third book in The Alchemancer series. The interaction of witchcraft and skeva is a strong one as befits their origins. Don't be surprised if a certain witch from The Five Elements finds herself in their midst.
View my skeva gallery on Pinterest.
Read more about the people and places of Uhl at the World of Uhl.