The nunnehi (nun-NĀ-hē) are a subterranean guardian-spirit people who live in the southern Appalachian mountains located in Solaris Province. They build large villages within the mountains themselves, especially preferring higher peaks.
Nunnehi have formed their own communities within the earth and have been trading with humans for centuries. They especially favor people of Cherokee descent, but will deal with anyone who treats them honorably. They have a particular distrust of pale-skinned people, stemming from the mistreatment of the Cherokee by white colonists.
The nunnehi were trading partners, allies, and spiritual guardians of the Cherokee people who lived near the Appalachian mountains until 1838. For nearly 30 years after the forced relocation of the Cherokee in 1838, the nunnehi retreated into their underground settlements, and refused any contact with the outside world. The only exceptions in this rule was their decision to aid in the fight against the Akeldama revenant attack in 1864.
Nunnehi have some natural shape-shifting and phasic abilities. They can appear indistinguishable from human beings, or they can appear as tiny humans ranging from 12 to 60 inches tall. They can also evade detection, both magical and mundane. It is suspected that they may take other forms, and that the shape of humanity is not their true form, but no other form has ever been seen or recorded.
Visitors to their underground villages report that they seem to live in a manner similar to humans. They even seem to have a system of internal government, laws, and communications between villages.
Nunnehi will occasionally allow humans to come live with them. The nunnehi grow their own food in their underground villages, and it seems to prevent both aging and disease. Humans can eat nunnehi food as well, and enjoy the benefits of it, but at the cost of never being able to consume a normal human diet again as their bodies will simply reject it. Nunnehi are as varied as humans are. They tend to appear in traditional Cherokee clothing, but they can appear in more modern day mundane or wizardly clothing if they so wish. They are very intelligent, and sharp traders. Their fighters are excellent and will always defeat a human fighter in one-on-one combat; however, they can be overwhelmed by groups of human fighters. The nunnehi can fight while invisible, and make formidable enemies when angered.
Nunnehi value honesty and compassion above all. They are known for taking in lost and sick humans, allowing them to live in their underground villages, and to return home to visit when they wish. Nunnehi have no desire to join the above-ground world and live among the Magimundi as some vampires do, but they are willing to deal with those who treat others fairly.
A juvenile nunnehi is called a child. The collective nouns that are used for humans are also used for nunnehi.
Nunnehi live in underground villages in the southern Appalachian mountains, which are part of Solaris Province. They also can live in single-family underground dwellings called townhomes.
Internally, nunnehi have the same structure as humans. They do need to breathe and eat, although they can only digest their own food.
Nunnehi eat a special food of their own design, most likely a magical kind of fungus, that they can shape and season to resemble any human food they wish (cakes are often reported).
Nunnehi body parts or blood can be used in any spell or potion that would require the same parts from a human. In that case, the duration of the spell is increased fivefold.
Nunnehi are willing to trade with humans. They have many interesting magical components and plants that are not available elsewhere. They are not interested in money, but are interested in raw materials, luxury goods, and especially the fine arts, as they do not have any artists of their own.
Nunnehi respond like to like. If you treat them- and others- with compassion and respect, they will treat you the same way. If you are callous or rough, they will not trade with you at all. If you are greedy, they will trade with you, but they always seem to get the better deal. And if you are violent, well, they are better fighters than humans, and they can fight while invisible. They never attack without provocation, and only fight in defense of themselves or close allies.
Nunnehi can make themselves entirely undetectable to human perception, magical or otherwise. This would make them excellent spies, if they did not find the concept dishonorable.