Aphelion Lore: The Ein and their Einlings

Today, I would like to bring you some Aphelion creature lore! In particular, I’d like to introduce the Ein and their Einlings, a Reaper sub-species that inhabits Aphelion’s verse.

Check them out here or have a look over on Campfire Explore.

Art by the always amazing and gifted @nikoschrissis.

Ein are creatures the size of a donkey.

They are slow and sluggish and will mind their own business as they wander, almost as if the world around them isn’t of any consequence, to the point where there’s a good chance you’ll see one walking into a wall – only to do it again, hoping the wall had moved.

And that is how they spend their lives. Passive. Quiet. Noses to the ground, grazing.

And a back full of Einlings.

They host up to twenty of those small, exceptionally active and playful creatures and carry them to wherever they need to be. Which, usually, means buildings. The small Einlings fit perfectly into the inner workings of structures both old and new alike, where they repair anything from wiring to more complex machinery. To achieve that task they often hoard wire and scrap to bring back to their Ein for keeping and to reuse later. Which often ends with their Ein covered in wires and electric scrap braided into its fur like makeshift armour.

Incidentally, Einlings are also known as mischievous thieves, picking up anything small that isn’t nailed down and even remotely useful (or just shiny enough).

Einlings do not fare well without their Ein and their flock. While it is possible to keep them separate, an Einling without its group is always at risk of falling into inertia.

Ein and Einglings are relatively common in the settled systems, even beyond Trero’s reach. A hatchery exists somewhere within reach and dragons will deliver new flocks on occasion.

Art by the always amazing and gifted @nikoschrissis.

Appearance

Ein look like a wide-backed cross between a donkey and a sheep. They have floppy ears, stubby tails, and cloven hooves. A coat of long, curled wool covers them from head to hoof and a layer of feathers spreads across their back.

Unfortunately, the wool can grow so unruly it often covers their eyes. Fortunately, they have their Einlings to pull the wool back or trim it.

Einlings, on the other hand, come in all manners of variations, though here’s what they all have in common: They’re small. Lithe. Have bodies that resemble squirrels or ferrets, and nimble, three-fingered hands with opposable thumbs. Some have wings allowing them short flight and others strong tails that grow out a meter long (which is a few times the actual Einling’s size). And then there are those that have very large, wide ears and those that have antlers – and some that have all of the above combined.

Their bodies are covered in short, soft fur coming in browns and blacks and whites and some have feathers. But not all.

Einlings also have a peculiar set of teeth: Half their mouth is equipped with small, sharp teeth and the back where there might be molars are instead flat, sharp cutters they use to cut through wires.

Art by the always amazing and gifted @nikoschrissis.

Symbolism

Einlings represent childish joy. Their likeness is often turned into good luck charms and frequently adorn children’s bedrooms.

In turn, Ein are often associated with parenting and providing. Orphanages tend to feature them in one way or the other.

Art by the always amazing and gifted @nikoschrissis.
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APHELION: CHAPTER 7 (2)

Of panic attacks and sorely needed naps, part 2.

Varrett woke to a tap of pressure against his stomach. Or, rather, a series of them. He nudged the headband up onto his forehead, cracked his eyes open, and watched Collin lob another balled up piece of paper across the room. It landed on Varrett’s midsection, bounced, and rolled to the floor. A pile of about a dozen more were scattered on the carpet.

“You were out,” Collin said as he scooted from one end of the room to the other, propelling himself forward with one foot while kneeling on his rolling chair. He upended a tray of surgical tools into a bucket, spun around, and kept scooting.

“Yep. I had a day, okay? This man earned a nap.”

“Hey, I don’t mind you chilling on my couch, but I got this feeling that’s not why you’re here? And you know I get a lot of feelings, so what can Col do for you?”

“I need de-dusting,” Varrett said, bribing his ass vertical (You’ll get a proper bed in your new future, promise).

“Hooo—” Collin spun his chair one more time before finally holding still and fixing Varrett with a genuinely curious look. The way he leaned on the chair with one knee and bent slightly sideways made him look even wirier than he actually was. “You got Pixie Dust up your ware? How? Watchu do?”

“Ehh, long story. Something-something don’t jack into a NetCaster.”

Collin cleared his throat. “That’s a very dumb thing to do. But, whatever. Come. Sit.”

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Thank you for reading. You still rock :3

APHELION: CHAPTER 7 (1)

We return for Episode 2: Welcome to Horizon’s Crown, in which we find out just what Sophya has gotten herself into and what has gotten into Varrett. Or at least we get an idea.

Once reasonably dressed and armed with a snack, Varrett left Mom with the Caster and went to get his ware un-dusted. The snack? A protein bar out of a box he’d looted an entire week ago, which supposedly came in all sorts of punchy flavours. Chocolate. Nuts. Assorted fruit and berries. Broken hopes and crushed dreams, etc. This one had come in a blue wrap with blue bubbles printed on and so he’d wagered blueberry (or one of the countless intergalactic variations of it anyway). But what he’d ended up with after scarfing down half had been 99% cardboard and 1% idea of blue, if blue had indeed been assigned a flavour.

Bleh.

He choked down another bite. His stomach roiled. Some of that was hunger and lingering exhaustion. The rest was a queasy unease over how the daemon was getting its grubby code all over his ware. But he’d cope. He had it figured out. Really. Collin would fix the daemon and then— right after getting scrubbed —he’d get a proper meal and crawl into bed. Or crawl into bed with a proper meal. Either way, he couldn’t fucking wait.

Walking a bit faster, Varrett circled halfway around Sixty before turning sharply into a wide stairwell.

・・・ “Elaya’s delicate little toes be blessed, that’s pretty,” the daemon exclaimed, right as Varrett got swallowed up by the stairwell’s colourful decoration.

He grunted, his eyes flicking left and right.

Children’s drawings crowded the stairwell’s base. There were dogs. Cats. Einlings. Dragons. Stick-figure people and stick-figure robots, and all the other what-have-yous that occupied a child’s imagination, all applied using lots of crayons or sloppy furniture paint with a too wide brush. Bleeding from the children’s art, like an innocent dream swelling into a neon haze steeped in pent up emotion, was a wealth of psychedelic graffiti. More of the same swept down the steps.

Surprising no one, the Distribution assigned janitors had once been at war with this particular stairwell. But its artists had been relentless and the art had kept coming back. By now, the spectacle followed Varrett all the way down to the next floor, exploding outwards to contrast the otherwise fifty-nine shades of professional desperation.

It was neat, alright? Which made the daemon’s comment more unsettling.

Why bother giving the thing taste?

He left the colours (and musings about code with artistic preferences) behind and followed the hall wrapping around the central courtyard into a crowded Fifty-Nine. Down here, restaurants, overpriced shops, and tacky bars had been gutted to make room for everything one might need if one was trapped on three floors of shared misery. But that didn’t make it a bad walk, all things considered.

Even with the daemon falling in step with him, its naked feet padding over the dirty floor.

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Thank you for reading, you rock.