Descended from humans trapped on the Shadow Plane, fetchlings are creatures of darkness and light intertwined. Generations of contact with that strange plane and its denizens have made fetchlings a race apart from humanity. While fetchlings acknowledge their origins, they exhibit little physical or cultural resemblance to their ancestors on the Material Plane, and are often insulted when compared to humans. Some members of the race also take offense at the name fetchling, as it was given to them by humans who saw them as little more than fetchers of rare materials from the Shadow Plane. Most fetchlings instead prefer to be called kayal, a word borrowed from Aklo that roughly translates to “shadow people” or “dusk dwellers.” Infused with the essence of the Shadow Plane and possessing human blood commingled with that of the Shadow Plane’s natives, fetchlings have developed traits and abilities that complement their native plane’s bleak and colorless terrain. Though most fetchlings treat the Shadow Plane as home, they often trade and deal with creatures of the Material Plane. Some fetchlings go so far as to create enclaves on the Material Plane in order to establish alliances and trade routes in areas where the boundary between the two planes is less distinct. These fetchlings often serve as merchants, middlemen, and guides for races on both sides of the planar boundary.
Superficially, fetchlings resemble unnaturally lithe—bordering on fragile—humans. Their adopted home has drained their skin and hair of bright colors. Their complexion ranges from stark white to deep black, and includes all the various shades of gray between those two extremes. Their eyes are pupilless and pronounced, and they typically glow a luminescent shade of yellow or greenish yellow, though rare individuals possess blue-green eyes. While their hair tends to be stark white or pale gray, many fetchlings dye their hair black. Some members of higher station or those who dwell on the Material Plane dye their hair with more striking colors, often favoring deep shades of violet, blue, and crimson.
Fetchling are adaptable creatures, and as such display no singular preference for moral philosophy or the rule of law. Most mimic the cultural norms and governmental structures of those they live near or the creatures they serve. While fetchlings are arguably the most populous race on the Shadow Plane, they rarely rule over their own kind; most serve as vassals or subjects to the great umbral dragons of their homeland, or the bizarre nihiloi who dwell in the deeper darkness. Above all, fetchlings are survivors. Their tenacity, versatility, and devious pragmatism have helped them survive the harsh environs of the Shadow Plane and plots of the powerful creatures dwelling within it. On the Material Plane, especially if unable to return to their home plane at will, fetchlings tend to cluster in small, insular communities of their own kind, mimicking the cultural norms and political structures of those they trade with.