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An enigmatic human tribe of planewalking barbarians, the Telks pirates are feared and hated throughout the most remote reaches of the multiverse for their savagery and strange technology. Although they know to avoid Felarya, the Telks come and go at will across many physical worlds in their unique ships, brutally raiding isolated civilizations before vanishing in a flash.
Their society is composed of hundreds of clans, each led by a small elite of captains. The captains are set apart by whether they manifest their birthright, the inborn ability to handle Telk artifacts. Small groups of captains recklessly lead their raiding parties, using intimidation and boldness to inspire the other Telks, both with their example and the power they wield through their devices. Telk physiology isn't that different from humans otherwise, but due to their exposure to extra-dimensional energies sometimes they can develop a special organ where their appendix would be, that vibrates when dimensional storms ravage Lydus or when a hidden portal may be nearby.
These artifacts are what sets them apart from most other planewalkers: while the Telks use wooden ships most of the time, they are in possession of a myriad of powerful devices, some of which enable them to use any vehicle to travel across Lydus. Close examination has revealed those artifacts to be both technological and extremely advanced, to the point that no one understands them- least of all the pirates themselves. Telks sorely lack any scientific inclination and have no idea where their equipment came from or how it works, just that it does. Even basic notions of maintenance elude them: their machinery resists, sometimes explosively, any kind of tampering, whether it's for reverse engineering or repairs. Most Telk artifacts are round, blue metal affairs, with numerous glowing lines and irregular geometries. They also appear to be based off some sort of modular nanotechnology, such that they are extremely resistant to damage and capable of some autonomous maintenance.
The most famous ones are the devices the pirates install on their ships to allow them to travel across Lydus, even if the ships themselves are rather rudimentary. Telks themselves have access to, amongst other things, cyberlimbs, autodocs, targeting computers, energy-firing siege engines, and even giant battle robots sometimes. Most normal pirates depend on some level on their captains and their power of birthright, which makes their rule almost impossible to question. While the basic Telk grunt has to use a disparate, slapdash hodgepodge of tools and weapons they've looted while raiding, their elite have incredibly powerful artifacts at their disposal, which function only at their whim. Lacking any hierarchy, the only things telling which of two captains is higher are the loyalty of their crew and the artifacts they hold. In practice, however, the ability to hold on to both is even more important, as Telk captains don’t hesitate to backstab each other. A vanquished captain is rarely killed but will lose most of their crew to the winner, as well as some artifacts. It is said some crews have gone so far as to rotate captains dozens of times in a particularly long day!
Telks are mostly raiders. They raid for food, slaves, supplies and mates, but also to keep their repair stations fed with necessary materials. These demand mainly metals, which requires them to attack or extort other settlements: they have come to believe these devices are vicious and greedy, and due to their connection, that it is a good thing for a Telk to be that way too. Their own camps are hidden in far removed dimensions, relying more on concealment than on proper defense techniques to preserve their safety. They understand lookouts, patrols, defensible positions and even sensor arrays, but their execution tends to be sorely lacking. They keep hoards of loot, both as a reminder of the captain's success and to feed their repair stations.
After Negav placed a sentry in Mebron, and it began successfully repelling the pirates, the latter have sworn a blood-oath against Negav as a whole. This isn't the first time this happens, and in fact, the situation is so common that it's faster for them to count the plane-faring groups they have encountered and not sworn a blood-oath against than the groups they have. Those captured by Telks can safely assume that telling them where they come from will by default lead to them being tortured for "revenge". Pretending to be from a culture that currently hosts them as friends is risky, as they are likely to spot the ruse and take exception: it is best to lie to them just poorly enough that they can tell. Telks often humor amusing deceptions, but they still take offense at people getting the best of them. Those trying to should be warned it takes a lot of intelligence to navigate the Astral Sea and underneath their rough appearances, Telks can be surprisingly cunning and quick-thinking.
As has been said before, Telks pirates try not to kill each other, with one exception: Telks trying to leave. Telks guard their birthright jealously: any pirate's child could in theory turn out to be a captain, so no Telk is allowed to escape their way of life, on pain of death, lest their birthright happen to pass to someone else. For a Telk, delivering that death is seen as one of the greatest honors, and many more Telks than normal are mobilized at even a rumor that one of them is trying to escape.
Superstitious as they are, it is no surprise that Telks turn on their own for other reasons as well. Injuries they do not know how to treat are sometimes left to automatic surgery and healing devices, which can forget what a human body is supposed to look like; a Telk that leaves a cranky autodoc with "only" a third arm is considered to have gotten off easy. Some pirates make do with these incurred mutations, but some others end up with such deformities that their comrades don't hesitate to drop them off in the wild, seeing them as punished by the devices in question. Risks increase when the devices do not have the resources to repair themselves, reinforcing the pirates'view of the artifacts being fickle and vindictive. Interestingly, post-mortem autopsies discovered that all Telk mutants had developed extra-dimensional sensing organs near their appendixes.
Telks live in an extremely rigid and unchanging society, as they are forced to coexist with earlier generations of captains who, through the use of stasis chambers and cloned organs, have managed to last for centuries beyond their time. Interestingly, it has been gleaned that every generation of Telks gets less likely to produce captains the more removed they are from their original forebearers: this grants these much older pirates disproportionate importance. Galfam-Abh, Belerim, and several other planewalking factions all find it an uphill battle to root out these elusive raiders, whose ability to move across the worlds seems to possess no check; it is a small comfort to know that eventually, the Telks should no longer be able to begat any more captains and are condemned to a slow extinction.
Not all is blood and doom and gloom for the Telks, however. While they are forced by necessity to remain on the fringes of the inhabited universe, they have been known to occasionally keep relatively good relationships with the dwellers on the most remote reaches, in exchange for liquor and a place to drink it. Their hosts claim that when they aren't killing, raping, looting and pillaging, they're actually quite gregarious. The pirates themselves keep their minds occupied with the sights of the remote locations, the occasional card game, fencing, drinking games, song and dance, and watching the captains intrigue and plot against each other.
- Credits to Stabs and Jedi-explorer for writing the entry and coming up with ideas to develop the Telks.