“I’ve gone up against eloko knights riding two-ton jakjadu chargers, blood-mad vykvirii gore-poets swinging cleavers longer then my tail, and an eight-foot-tall shiftspore freak with the muscles of a gorilla, the claws of a tiger and the teeth of a shark. They all had two things in common: they expected me to be afraid because of my size, and they had no idea how to adapt when I wasn’t.”
– Martik “Hangmouse” Sevmorteg
Centuries ago, makniki (mah-NEE-key) tribes inhabited the southern coast of the Greenmantle Gulf, their spearfishers skimming across the waves in swiftskiffs in search of game. These fishermice were the first to come into contact with the original Haciki settlers, and indeed helped the hapless humans survive their first few seasons in the unforgiving Moduin wilderness. However, the initial goodwill proved fleeting, as the Haciki multiplied and spread and disputes over territory and the richest fishing grounds eventually led to outright conflict. Several makniki tribes banded together to fight in what came to be known dismissively as the Whisker War, but were soundly defeated and driven away from their ancestral home.
The makniki spread far and wide across the continent in the ensuing diaspora, adapting to every imaginable environment and culture. Today makniki can be found wearing the garb of the khartophanoi of Lodos, leaping through the canopy of Modui’s Heart, or sinking harpoons into shipkiller whales on the icy waves of the Ironshroud. Their small size, quick paws and nimble minds make them ideal scribes, merchants, scholars, couriers, spies and even assassins.
There are still large makniki populations in Hacik, and while most of these mouseborn consider themselves loyal subjects of the empire (some even holding political office or joining the venerable Haciki knighthood), there are whispers of underground revolutionary groups that still remember the humiliation of the Whisker War and plot the empire’s overthrow from within.