Homeworld Name: Animaria
Religions: Folk religion
Main Cities: None
Dominant Species: Animarians ("Trees" is up to debate)
Animarians are at the core a purely avian race. They are not designed for long term foot travel or ground-bound activity. They are a form of repto-mamm-avian not found on Earth. That is to say, they nurse their young and have warm blood, but do not give birth to live young and have no body 'hair.'
Mating is not all that different from sex in mammals, beginning with the male mounting the female. It should be noted that Animarian males are significantly smaller than females and so this is not often the easiest task to accomplish. The species lacks true external sexual organs, however. The male 'ejaculates' through a hole in his lower region, a waxy substance which will drip towards the equivolent hole on the female's lower region. Animarians in the mating process will flatten out their wings and clutch at the surface they are on- this is because mating is primarily achived while hanging to the bark of a tall tree.
The female will then have a 3 month wait before she lays her egg. A single egg is always laid and is aproximately the size of a bowling ball (if not a little bigger). Before this time, the Animarian community she is living with will prepare a section of the communal loft for her egg. She will shed her feathers and birth the egg, which takes an additional 10 months to hatch. The hatchling emerges with a thick coating of downy feathers which make it resemble a puff ball with limbs and eyes. It is not until much later that the chick's sex can be determined. Chicks milk from their mothers until their feathers come in full and they can hunt for themselves. In this time, the chick is cared for by the community rather than the individual parents. Parantage is very important, though. Animarian chicks are taught from a very early age their full family history- back as far as the oral tradition stretches. They memorize these stories, as they dictate the chick's life. The average life expectancy of an Animarian on Animaria is 45 (earth) years. In space, the few out there have yet to reach their 40s and so it is unknown.
As mentioned, Animarians are avids. Their bodies are without any true 'hair', despite the seeming mammal crop at the top of their heads. Their skin is smooth and grey- Animarians never come in any colour skin beyond grey, save for the rare albino. Their 'hair' is actually a large mane of dark feathers- each with very long, thin strands. It has a consistancy similar to down and moves with very little air. Females have larger head-feathers than males for the sake of lining their nests. On Animarian stomachs, a large tuft of white feathers can be found. There are often two smaller tufts above the breastbone as well, as seen in the figure at left. These feathers are used as 'catch' areas for pheramones let off from the Animarian body to indicate to others if they are elgiable for breeding, in danger, or other valuable information. The feathers molt off if an Animarian has mated, thus further softening the nest. A 'modern' Animarian will wear a shirt over these feathers, and so they are not seen on clothed Animarians.
The large feathered wings of an Animarian are their most distinctive feature. These are usually white in colour, although in some rare instances may be a darker tan or grey. These white wings extend from a 'secondary' shoulder socket in the place where a shoulder blade would be found on a human. Wings may become dislocated if the Animarian is flying in high wind or is injured in another way. When not in the air, the wings are kept folded down at the back. Animarians are not prone or fond of 'flaring' their wings because of their vulnerability.
The easiest way to sex a young Animarian is to examine their horns as they develop. A male Animarian will typically have one large set of horns and several smaller ones. Females will have only two pairs, one only slightly larger than the other. In olden times, males would 'butt heads' in arial battles over territory, females, etc. As they develop later in life, females have a slightly different shape to their stomach feathers. They also develop two mammary glands to feed offspring.
An odd tidbit about Animarians- they do not become space-blind. That is to say, those very few who have taken to space travel do not appear to have been affected by it. Their eyes remain as ever accute, no matter how long they seem to spend in the unfiltered starlight. Animarian eyes themselves can be many colours- the one real physical difference Animarians can be born with.
While Animarian snouts are sensitive to pheramones, their sense of smell is not particularly acute. The large, flat muzzle of Animarians is more due to the fact that their race was originally carnivores. Animarian teeth are short and very sharp- good for tearing, not chewing. Another indication of this carnivorous heritage are the eyes. Herbivores develop eyes on the sides of their heads, meat eaters to the front.
Flight is possiable and very often the prefered method of transportation for Animarians. Their bones are hollow like an Avian and therefore they do not like to engage in direct combat. The span of the wings can be seen in the diagram. While gliding most of the time, Animarian wings are strong enough to fight their way through flight. The clawed Animarian feet and hindclaw are a development of these Avian tendencies- when landing, the feet will close around something. Later, if needed, the articulate simian hands will help gain balance. The feet are scaled and pale yellow in colour, didactyle save for the hindclaw.
The hindclaw of an Animarian's foot is actually quite important to their identity. On Animaria there are two groups- the Warriors and the Priests. These are not actually very different from one another in ideaology, it is simply that they are two groups contesting for one living area. Various bands of "Priest" and "Warrior" live througout Animaria's dense jungles. If one is born into the Priest caste, the hindclaw is inlaid with intricate gold curves and designs. The Warrior caste have such done with silver.
Despite their competition for space, it is not all that uncommon for Warrior and Priest castes to interbreed. The offspring of such unions are often regarded as 'special,' having some sort of instinctive drive for understanding both walks of life. Such a child is often thrust into a leader position they did not especially ask for and must take on the responsability of becoming a 'problem solver' between the two groups. Not all groups have such a leader at any given time, but if a large problem arises communities will make pilgrimages to seek advice from such leaders in other parts of Animaria. It is such a leader who was asked what to do about Aliens landing 50 years ago.
The landing of Aliens posed a major disturbance to the Animarian way of life as they considered the skies to be sacred. As high as they could fly, they believed they could never reach the end of the sky. It was considered blasphemous to think one could be so spectacular as to come close. With the arrival of space-faring planes, the Animarians were understandably startled. They were also understandably startled by the reaction of those visiting- the Animarians themselves were asked many times if they were messangers from God. As each Animarian believes that they are close to the spirit of their planet, they would routinely reply with a 'yes.' Because of this topsy-turvy mutual reverance , Animarians got along fairly well with Alien visitors.
Animarians did not decide to develop technology, even with the visits from Aliens. These visits were infrequent enough, as the planet is heavily wooded and there are very few places to land. Except for some trade in the way of small trinkets such as jewlery or firearms, Animarians remained as they always had- small warring nomadic clans living in the treetops.
The religious principles governing Animarians are very simple- one could call them a 'folk religion' as they vary from region to region. They believe that each and every living thing posesses a soul, although those closer to the sky are more 'powerful.' Therefore, walking on the ground is considered to be cutting ones' self off from the source of all power. Animarians do not consider themselves to be the 'only sentient species' on their planet- they heavily contest that their trees are capable of speech and thought. However, there is no way to confirm this as they also claim that we can not understand their language.
Animarian philosphy is much more honor-driven, as one could expect from their oral history and focus on past exploits. One must never back down from battle, one must never speak poorly of another behind their back. They believe in being very straightforward and always working to the highest capability. There is no such thing in Animarian society as 'he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.' He who runs away is usually killed or kill himself out of shame. With this fierce devotion to the truth and motivation comes a very dry sense of humor. Fortuantely for most Animarians, daily life does not include the airborne battles to the death and therefore there is little more to be shameful over than not bringing home the evening's kill.
The traditional weapon of an Animarian is the wrist-bracer. It resembles a standard metal bracer as can be found in history museums. The main weapon is a large, sharp spike or blade attached to the top. These are worn around the wrists and are used for arial combat. They are difficult to make, as it involves both smithing and a static area. Usually when a clan has settled down for a good period of time, the smith will make a trip to the forest floor where he will gather metal-rich rocks and return to the treetop camp with them. Because of his frequent trips to the earth, the smith is often treated as a bit of a 'ghost.' While he preforms a much needed and essential function in Animarian society, he is feared and considered to have turned his back on the sky. One could liken him to a wizard. Animarians will engage in horrendously bloody airborn battles using the bracers, trying to cut one another badly enough to kill or badly enough to keep a wing from functioning. No holds are barred in an Animarian airborn fight. Landing claws are used to kick and claw, hindclaws to gash, thumbs to gouge, teeth to bite. Such fights are often large scale, taking place between more than one Animarian. Clans will fight eachother in this manner. A 'white sunset' is one in which a great battle has taken place- because the treetops below are scattered with bloody white feathers.
As mentioned earlier, lineage is very important to the Animarian society. This is actually what decides who rules clans. An oral history passed down through the clan will ultimately relate back to one or two legendary Animarians. Usually these Animarians won great battles, spoke with the forest or saved their people from some great disaster. Their decendents interbreeding eventually resulted in a large group who are qualified for guiding clans. These clan heads can be either male or female- Animarians place no particular import on one or the other sex.
The home world of the Animarians was essentially untouched by Rulerists, as Animarians never left their home world and had no resources the military wanted. Even though they believed in a different God, they were left alone as they weren't causing any problems. When word of the war reached one of the 'problem solvers', however, it was decided a small group would be taken into space as a delegation to help fight for equality. Because this was all on the choice of one Animarian, one must realize that they could have just as easily chosen to fight for Rulerists as against them. Solla Flint was the 'problem solver' who made this particular choice.
If they choose to be educated in the ways of the outside worlds, Animarians will usually import books and learn for themselves. It is fairly common nowadays for them to desire to learn Uni, although other languages are not usual at all. Due to the peculiarities of the Animarian language, the species does not use contractions when speaking in Uni. It is a cultural issue as well- if you can't be bothered to take the time to say your words in full, Animarians feel you must not be placing much weight on what you say. Modern Animarian technology (or lack thereof) is usually limited to a natural home-remedy method of healing and an instinctive knowledge for battle tactics. They are poor fighters compared to other races, however, due to their hollow skeletons and light builds.
As was suggested above, Animaria is almost entirely forested. Its climate varies, but for the most part could be considered tropical. Near the equaitor it is far too hot and humid for an average Human to survive without quickly overheating and dying of dehydration. The poles are more temperate, but there is no snowfall. Because of the thick trees and the nomadic tendencies of the race, Animarians do not build cities.