The apoc are a curious people, widely regarded as the best hunters and trackers in the Vale but also completely dependent on the other creatures therein for their young. Like their close cousins the symph, the apoc are capable of flight and have a lingering empathic connection to one another–not enough for any but the most skilled to communicate wordlessly, but enough to sense feelings and to guide behavior. They have always been solitary, though, unlike the social symph, and their numbers include many males in contrast to the Sisterhood.

However, unlike the symph Sisters, whose young grow safely within the confines of their great hives, apoc young must gestate within a living host, and they are inevitably fatal upon their emergence.

In ages past, the apoc traded their skills as hunters, gatherers, trackers, and woodsmen for hosts. It was seen as a great honor for the older denizens of the wood to birth an apoc child, for the natural secretions of the egg and larva deadened the senses over time and led to a death that was painless and gave rise to new life. It was often common for young apoc to be named for their hosts, and to regard and be regarded by the decedent’s family as their own. The natural empathy that apoc had seemed to impart to their young certain characteristics of the individuals in which they grew, and the more gifted apoc sometimes could claim memories from their “flesh-mother” or “flesh-father.”

While poorer apoc could and did raise young in unintelligent creatures like wild onis, it was regarded as a black mark and those children were generally disdained. Some apoc did trade in unwilling flesh-parents, but those cases were regarded with horror and any practitioners regarded as enemies of the apoc people and stamped out.

That is, until the appearance of Prince Iainen.

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