Two creatures, forever cycling between the phases of the 5 elements, unable to rejoin.
The unnatural offspring of a zombie father and a human mother.
The excited, almost frantic sound of a mallet instrument erupts from the forest to your left. Within minutes, your party is confronted by a host of short, sprite-like gnomes clad in vivid greens and earthy browns. Attempts to communicate fall flat. The gnomes seem to ignore your words entirely, and you cannot understand the humming/whistling/snapping that apparently makes up their language. Luckily for you and your fellows, however, they don't seem hostile . . .
Surnames: The Chinese were among the very first cultures to adopt the use of hereditary surnames (around 2800 BC). But the custom didn't quite catch on in Europe - at least not until the Venetian aristocracy made it popular sometime between the 10th and 11th centuries AD. What culture made it popular in your setting and why?