Three began and three shall end
but dozens shall find here their friends
Fels are cats, of all shapes and race
every creature of perfect grace
Wolves named lupes, arms broad and teeth white
fur and fangs gleaming in the moonlight
Bears are known as ursas, the heart strong
thick hides and thick claws, fighting long
Three began and three shall end
but dozens found here their friends
– Three Cultures, a Thousand Warlords
With the dozens of kemo subcultures and microcultures filling modern Domina City, it is easy to forget that they started with no more than three warlords: The White Cat, Hachiko, and Saikyō. The first Animal Kings of the fels, the lupes, and the ursas respectively.
In the early days, of course, there were no anthros. The toy maker could barely produce fangs and light fur, let alone the full body transformations they wanted. So, they took a few minor aspects of their chosen animals, such as whiskers or ears. The process was simple and easy, and created no sense of camaraderie. It was a fashion choice, little more.
The three founders had no desire to become leaders or warlords in the beginning. They just thought of themselves as friends with a common interest. They referred to themselves as kemonomimi, a Japanese word meaning “animal ears,” typically used to refer to fictional characters with minor animal parts. As others joined them, wishing to make use of their expertise with the toy maker, this name was eventually shortened to kemos.
While the kemos never had to deal with the racism of the vampires, the rampant militarization of the angels, or even the politics of the demons, they did have one major challenge facing them in the early days: Chaos.
For a time, it seemed like everyone wanted to be a kemo, and it didn’t take long for people to realize that they didn’t need to limit themselves to the Big Three. The canes came next, but the laces and taurs were quick to follow. Then the arachs and the pisces, the murids and the aves. More and more cultures sprouted like weeds, and there was no one making any attempt to control them.
It was only when a large number of fels and canes were killed in a “cats versus dogs” joke that spiraled out of control that everyone agreed that something needed to be done. Hachiko was the first to take control, quickly organizing his closest friends and allies into a leadership for the culture. He divided his men into five auspices, based on their skills and talents, and founded the Moonhomes to provide somewhere to keep them safe.
Saikyō and her ursas were next. She also reorganized her culture along skill lines, but in her case she used species as well. She didn’t have a pack like Hachiko did, so she was forced to keep control of her culture by herself, with little more than her own pure strength. Advisers and Alphas rose up to aid her, but not in the numbers that the lupes received.
The White Cat, as likely expected, lazed about for far longer than was safe. He waited until the absolute last minute to take official control of the fels, and even then made little attempt to organize. He declared himself the supreme leader of the culture, but set few laws and gave fewer orders. However, he still served as a rallying point, and the fels were able to organize themselves without too much difficulty.
Civil war still broke out, but it was quickly squashed. Even when microcultures like the cherves or the daes were wiped out, the nature of the kemos meant that they could just rise again under a new warlord, or no warlord at all. For a time, chaos reigned, but it was a predictable and unworried chaos, like the waves of the ocean.
Eight years after the creation of the toy maker, the Beast attacked the ursas.
The demon warlord of the Satanists demanded justice for an attack on the Ninth Gate, claiming that the ursas who had killed many of his men were working for Saikyō. Saikyō denied this, and the Beast settled in for a siege.
Hachiko, ever the loyal friend, rose quickly to aid the Animal King of the ursas, personally leading a charge of Rahu wolves against the Beast himself in an attempt to break the culture and the siege.
The Beast killed Hachiko in personal combat, and the lupes were broken long enough for him to burst into Saikyō’s domain and kill the Animal King. Two of the Big Three were dead in a single day, and the kemos were back to chaos.
The White Cat tried to organize, but there was little to be done. He knew he was too weak to fight the Beast, either politically or personally, so instead did everything he could to protect the cultures his friends had left behind. He had little success, but he was able to keep them from imploding long enough for other Alphas to rise to prominence and lead. The lupes gained the Grand Wolf and Lady Lycan, while the ursas gained Senator McDowell.
The kemos—especially the ursas—never truly recovered from those attacks, but they survived. This is the primary advantage of their chaotic organization: Even if every single kemo is killed, the cultures can still be revived.
Kemo honored are called hunters, while their deviants are known as terrors. Their warlords are called Alphas, with the leaders of entire cultures being the Animal Kings. Their novices are called pups. Due to the size of the culture, the kemos as a whole are sometimes referred to as a “superculture,” with the fels, lupes, ursas, and other major groups referred to as cultures, each having their own subculture and clans underneath them.
Kemos with frog or toad features, such as sticky fingers, large eyes, and long tongues. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with spider features. Usually limited to subtle buffs, such as sticky fingers, but they are attempting to make more obvious ones such as extra arms.
A deceptive subculture, also known as the black widows. They are misandrist, and consist mostly of women. They were founded by Lolth, but she was killed during the Scouring of the Demonweb Pits. Her culture still lives in the Pits, rebuilt with retribution money leveraged from the Canians.
A much kinder and more open subculture, created in direct opposition to the Lolths. Basically, all arachs are one or the other. Minerva herself still leads, and has survived multiple assassins sent by the Lolths. She makes her headquarters in a nameless skyscraper in East Middle, where the culture produces silk and clothing to be sold to the rest of the city.
Kemos with bird features. Rare for a number of reasons, not limited to the fact that the more interesting bird traits (wings) are still outside the scope of the toy maker. Due to their rarity, their subcultures do not even have nicknames yet; they are simply eagles or crows or so on. Their leader is Soaring Eagle, and their base is G’Hanir, the Mother Tree, one of the tallest skyscrapers in the city, though they are primarily nomadic.
Kemos with crab features. A very new subculture, they are rare but gaining popularity. Technically they are called “cancers,” but that name is rare for a number of reasons. Their Alpha is Jasmine Hannesdottir.
Kemos with dog features. Despite being one of the first new cultures to spin off the Big Three, they remain politically unimportant, with no official Animal King. They are quite numerous, however, and have a number of important packs and Alphas scattered around the city.
Kemos with hyena features, such as spotted fur, fangs, and the cannibalism buff. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with fox features, such as red fur and tails. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with turtle features, such as shells and strong, snapping jaws. Very new and rare. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with deer features, such as horns. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with bat features, such as echolocation and general enhanced hearing. A minor microculture with no warlord, they have some relations with the aves in an attempt to get wings, but nothing organized.
Kemos with squirrel features, such as bushy tails. A minor microculture with no warlord. They have been wiped out several times, but always return in some form or another.
Kemos with cat features. Along with the lupes and the ursas, they were one of the Big Three founding kemo cultures. The White Cat still leads the culture, for a certain definition of the word, and things have slowly been becoming more organized.
Kemos with tiger features. Known for being more well-rounded than the other fel subcultures, they are often used as general elite units.
Kemos with lion features. Known for power, typically used as defenders and front-line assaults.
Kemos with panther features. Known for stealth, they are the spies and assassins of the fels.
Kemos with wolverine features, such as claws. Largely folded into the lupes after the death of Logan.
Kemos with porcupine features, such as the famous spines. Much more commonly known as ‘pines.’ A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with reptile features, such as scales and a forked tongue. Their Animal King is Io, the Concordant Dragon, who uses his ten children as general-purpose warlords of the entire culture.
Kemos with crocodile features, such as thick scales and teeth. Functionally identical to the gators, until the Gatorcroc conquered both subcultures, they were in a constant state of war. They follow Io closely, but their ultimate loyalty remains with the Gatorcroc.
Kemos with alligator features, such as thick scales and teeth. Functionally identical to the crocs, until the Gatorcroc conquered both subcultures, they were in a constant state of war. They follow Io closely, but their ultimate loyalty remains with the Gatorcroc.
Kemos with snake features, such as poison fangs and a tail—sometimes replacing their legs, sometimes not. A minor microculture with no warlord. They have little interaction with the rest of the laces, and are largely left to their own devices.
Kemos with rabbit features, such as long ears and enhanced leg muscles. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with wolf features, such as fur, fangs, and claws. Along with the fels and the ursas, they were one of the Big Three founding kemo cultures. When Hachiko was killed by the Beast, the culture nearly fell apart, but his friends stepped up to take control. Today, while there is no lupe Animal King, the Council of the Moon serves that purpose well.
The Warrior Auspice, centered in the Full Moonhome. The Rahu are the guardians, soldiers, and warriors of the lupes, following such Alphas as Altaicus and Argunensis. The Rahu have historically been the most public Auspice, though the Council is trying to change that due to a number of violent incidents.
The Visionary Auspice, centered in the Gibbous Moonhome. Bards, seers, and storytellers all name themselves Cahalith, and they follow men and women such as Dybowskii and Kamtschaticus. The Cahalith mostly remain in the Moonhomes, moving between them to teach all lupes—especially children—the nature of the culture.
The Walker Between Auspice, centered in the Half Moonhome. This is the Auspice of the diplomats, the ones who smooth over the problems caused by the other Auspices, especially the Rahu and the Irraka. They have their work cut out for them, even with leaders like Dorogostaiskii and Ekloni among them.
The Spirit Master Auspice, centered in the Crescent Moonhome. Many people are surprised to find that the lupes have scientists, but the Ithaeur prove that they have a place everywhere. Novaehollandiae was the one who created the package for the first lupe anthros, and Tenggerana invented a powerful healing balm called silverlight. They are another Auspice that prefers to remain in the Moonhomes as much as possible; they rarely even leave Crescent.
The Stalker Auspice, centered in the New Moonhome. Every culture needs its spies and assassins, and the lupes are no exception. The Irraka are especially proficient hunters, using superhuman senses of smell to track targets through the darkest and dirtiest parts of the city with ease. They are led by people like Rex and Hodopylax, names even other cultures fear. Unlike the other Auspices, they rarely spend any time in the Moonhomes, preferring to stalk the streets instead.
Kemos with mouse and rat features, such as tails and fur, as well as rodent control pheromones. Despite the small size of the culture, their Animal King, the Lady of the Plague, is swift and merciless in her pursuit of power and influence, making them far more dangerous than one would expect. She is rumored to have deals with the fey, but this is unsubstantiated, and likely based on nothing more than a number of impressive toys the murids have produced.
Kemos with fish and other aquatic animal features, such as gills. Rare on land. Their official Animal King is Johnathan Tar, the Whale-Lord, but the culture is spread widely enough that he makes little attempts to control them.
Kemos with eel features, such as needle-like teeth and (rarely) tails. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with whale features, such as thick blubber, enhanced lungs, and vocal cords. Despite the fact that the Whale-Lord is technically a member of this culture, they remain a minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with manta ray features, such as large flipper wings and gills. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Kemos with shark features, such as fangs, sandpaper skin, and gills. Their warlord is Alexander the Great White.
Kemos with bovine features. They are best known for the Baphomites, despite the fact that they make up a tiny fraction of the taur whole. Their Animal King is the Auroch.
Extremely violent. Founded by Baphomet, but he was killed in the fight with Malcanthet. Despite the efforts of their Alpha Cairne, they are assumed by many to be a fading culture that will never rise again.
Also known as Shubgottians, after their home of Shubgottia, the Endless Maze. They like to trap people in their maze, but they are mostly harmless; they are a small subculture, formed from people who enjoy puzzles.
Kemos with bear features, such as enhanced size and fur. Along with the fels and the lupes, they were one of the Big Three that founded the kemo culture. After the death of Saikyō, the culture fell to ruin. Many warlords rose, but could never truly lay claim to the entire culture. Currently the closest the culture has to an Animal King is Senator Evangel McDowell, and he is more accurately described as an ambassador—albeit an ambassador with no warlord above him.
The warrior caste, modeled after brown bears, were created by Saikyō to protect the culture. After his death, there was no one to keep them in line, and they fell to infighting and raiding. Several strong Alphas still hold them to their original creed, but too often seeing an arcto ursa means seeing a bandit.
The scientist caste, modeled after sun bears. While the malays kept true to their purpose following the death of the Animal King, their recruitment dwindled to almost nothing. Today, despite the best efforts of McDowell and people like him, the malays remain the smallest ursa subculture.
The pandas, the diplomats, survived the loss of their warlord with far more success than the other ursa subcultures. They still have their squabbles and the occasional civil war, but under McDowell’s guidance, they are able to focus most of their attention on keeping the other subcultures alive and working together.
The hunters. Modeling themselves after Asian black bears, the thibs are the trackers and spies of the ursas. Their numbers dwindled as well following the death of Saikyō, but the survivors found themselves without orders or instructions. Rogue thib warlords have caused serious trouble for the rest of the culture, but some of them have also proven to be Senator McDowell’s staunchest supporters.
Kemos with mink features, such as smooth fur and flexible skeletons. A minor microculture with no warlord.
Notable Kemo Alphas
Ambassador of the Lolths. She was a close follower of Lolth, and still blames the Canians for her death and the Scouring. Rumors claim she secretly kills Canians in her free time, but if so, Mephistopheles and his men have never raised an inquest against her.
Ambassador of the Minervas. She is the public face of her subculture, as Minerva herself tries to avoid leaving her domain for fear of assassins. Halisstra herself is polite and diplomatic, always mindful of the negative reputation the Lolths give all arachs. She can be quite harsh with the Lolth, especially Greyanna.
The founder of the Lolth subculture, the Alpha was a heavily misandrist woman known for a deep and abiding hatred of anything and everything male. She largely saw all women, especially Minerva and her group, as little better than traitors. She was killed when she pushed too hard against the Canians. Mephistopheles burned the trio of skyscrapers known as the Demonweb Pits to the ground, taking out over half the culture. The Canians were forced to pay retribution costs, but Lolth was still lost.
Alpha of the Minervas. She is an old, matronly woman, rumored to be directly related to Lolth. Regardless of the truth of that statement, it is a well-known fact that she created her culture in direct opposition to the Lolths. She largely refuses to leave her nameless domain for fear of assassins, but is still known for keeping a close watch on her culture with her many cameras.
Current Alpha of the Lolths, she rose to prominence after the death of the founder. While she is every bit of a misandrist as Lolth and the rest of the culture, she is significantly better at suppressing it, at least long enough to make trade deals with males. While nothing has ever been proven, it is widely accepted that any man she sleeps with isn’t going to survive the night.
An Armenian Lolth Hunter. She is one of the higher-ranking Hunters in the culture, with her own web of spies, informants, and assassins. She is known for being professional to the point of coldness. Rumors persist that she is working closely with Soaring Eagle on the stolen toy box.
Animal King of the aves, “Sele” (short for Selenium, from SE) is the founder and leader of the ave culture. She is strong and driven, and her past remains a mystery. While this is not uncommon for warlords, Soaring Eagle has attracted attention by reacting violently whenever someone queries her about her past. Most recently, she and her higher-level warhawks have become fugitives due to stealing one of the original toy boxes in an attempt to finally create wings.
Alpha of the warhawks, the war arm of the aves. Little is known about the woman herself, as she has always been in the shadow of Soaring Eagle. After Sele’s flight, Delia has become the highest ranking ave left in G’Hanir, and many eyes have turned to her to see what she does next.
The Alpha and de-facto Animal King of the cans, and the only crab anthro in the city. She is the daughter of a powerful Aesir Titan, and is known for a large amount of disdain towards her fellow warlords. While her culture is still so tiny as to be barely worth mentioning, her drive has ensured that they have a place at many important discussions.
A minor warlord known primarily for fighting Lord Arisen, a fel Alpha. Still, his pack does good work, keeping local businesses secured and solvent.
A minor warlord known primarily for fighting Dane, a cane Alpha. Still, his pride does good work, providing mercenaries to other warlords.
Alpha of the leos. He is often seen as the direct subordinate to the White Cat, and is often asked for help when the other subcultures require aid. He is cunning, in his own way, but most analysts agree that he was promoted too quickly.
The White Cat
The first warlord of the fels, and one of the three founders of the kemo culture. He is known for being lazy and unorganized, but frighteningly intelligent when roused. He takes the form of a Persian White breed, hence his name.
Animal King of the crocs and gators. A massive anthro best described as a mountain of muscle and armor plating, the Gatorcroc forced the warring microcultures to work together, creating a real and powerful culture. Some argue that he is merely an Alpha rather than a true Animal King, but Io is insistent on calling him King.
Animal King of the laces, also known as the Concordant Dragon. Io’s love of dragons is well-documented, and it is clear that he became a lace simply because becoming a dragon wasn’t an option. The man himself is widely regarded as the greatest surviving kemo Animal King, having personally organized the laces from a collection of squabbling kids into a force to be reckoned with. The only thing Io cares about more than his culture are his ten children, who are all warlords in their own right.
Ambassador of the laces. He is a senator, following McDowell’s example, and was catapulted to success practically against his will due to his success in negotiating a cease-fire during a civil war that was rolling over his district. Politically, Nagi is a member of the Grand Banyan party, which should surprise no one.
The Great Wolf
Leader of the Council of the Moon, and unofficial Animal King of the lupes. There have been repeated worries that he might be making a more direct power play, but most analysts agree that since he is largely in charge anyway, he won’t make things difficult unnecessarily. The Wolf himself is violent and driven, as is to be expected from the Alpha of the Rahu.
High-level Alpha with his own warpack, and a loyal follower of the Great Wolf. Native American, and one of the first to become a lupe. He is old, angry, and confused by the screamers and their powers.
Ambassador of the taurs, and Alpha of the Baphomites. He is aggressive and self-centered, having earned both his positions with little more than raw might. He has close relations with a number of demons, specifically the Acheroni, due to his domain’s close proximity.
A powerful ursa and Senator of South Central. He is a careful and precise member of the Iluvatar party, who ended up effectively in charge of the ursa culture simply because there was no one else. Officially, he is merely an ambassador, and that is the only position he desires. Unofficially, whenever anyone wants something from the ursas, he is the one to speak to. He also owns the McDowell Guns company, inherited from his brother.