The Huddled Folk
The Huddled Folk (thought to be a confusion of the Norse name ‘Hüldrefolke’, meaning ‘hidden people’) are humanoid in appearance. Their most notable feature is a white mask, made of bone, which they wear constantly. The mask has come to be known as a symbol of personal identity (hence the variations that appear) and a signifier of the moon, their primary deity. They live in the wilderness of Norway, miles west of the city of Hamar. Despite the frigidity of their native habitat, and their obvious ability to craft, they remain entirely naked at all times of year. Nearly all of them keep their hair cut very short, which is also attributed to their reverence of the moon.
For centuries, there was debate over the humanity of the Huddled Folk. Though they appear very like naked men and women, there is usually a single flaw in their physiology that attests to their true species. It can be something as small as a feather growing among the hair or porcupine quills sprouting from the back, or it can be the mutation of entire limbs or torso. Some extreme cases have found Huddled People with additional eyes or mouths, or even absent shadows. Each Huddled Person has a uniquely mutated trait, which might be looked for beneath the mask if it is not immediately obvious upon the body.
It was finally decided, in the religious turmoil of the 1400s, that they were in fact inhuman and lacked souls. This belief was held up until 1917, when the horrific experimentations of Amadeus Barnabus Yorke upon the Huddled People forever informed the world otherwise. Since then, it has been an extremely delicate situation to attempt any sort of study of them, and the Institute, while held in high esteem, is still awaiting approval for an official expedition.