Race Name: Morback, Morbacks
Homeworld Name: Sanrash
Main Cities: Sanai, Santor, Sankash, Santork
Biology & Diet
Morbacks are bipedal carnivorous mammals with fur-covered bodies, stunted muzzles and large, tall ears. They have no tails. Their feet have five toes with small, stunted claws and their hands are tridactyl ending in long talons.
Two fangs protrude out of the mouth, but vary in length between individuals. Mouths are full of sharp tearing and cutting teeth - no grinders. A Morback skull has a very wide mouth with a lower jaw set back from the canines to allow for better a better killing bite. As one might expect, they are obligate carnivores. They require enormous amounts of protein, iron and other nutrients primarily found in raw meat.
The eyes of Morbacks appear to be all iris, but in fact it is only that the sclera and pupil share the same colouration as the iris itself. Morback eyes are typically one of five colours: Green, blue, red, yellow or black.
The long claws of the Morbacks as well as their fangs enable them to make quick eviscerating kills on their hunts. The fangs assist in piercing the jugular vein of prey while the claws serve to disembowel. Their long ears and keen eyes make them extremely skilled night-time hunters.
The hide of a Morback is quite thick, able to resist most cuts or pierces. When injured, the Morback body will slow blood flow around the wounded area until a period of rest - this helps prevent further injury via blood loss.
Sexual Dimorphism & Reproduction
There is little to distinguish Morbacks in terms of conventional gender. They are of generally equal size and strength, with similarly shaped hips. Although external genetalia are present in some of the Morback population, their size and configuration is subtle enough that only personal inspection would yield any clue.
All this said, when a parent has recently birthed a newborn Morback, if they are equipped with functioning mammary ducts, will experience sizeable swelling which eases in nursing. Once the infant is weaned these breasts may shrink down again in size, though the more children the more unlikely this becomes.
Morback courtship has been referred to as a "blood sport" among xenobiologists. After an extensive period of fierce fighting ending in a particularly brutal bite to the neck, the Morback couple will seem to freeze in place. This, among other things, has lead to their reputation as "vampires" although no blood is intentionally consumed for the purpose of sustinance. The couple then moves on to grooming one another's wounds before the actual act of copulation. The actual act of copulation is very similar to that of a human, though periodic fits of vicious clawing and biting are more than enough to dissuade most other hominids from seeking Morback partners. To the Morbacks, however, this bloody mauling is a natural testament to your respect of your partner's power.
A pregnant Morback carries the young for aproximately 8.5 months (Earth time) before giving birth to most often a single kit. The kit's fur colour is typically that of the parent who birthed them, though other recessive genetic strains of fur colouration and marking can occur.
Kits are cared for by their parents for approximately a year before they begin to accompany them on hunts. It is not uncommon for parents to carry their kits during a hunt before the kit can walk. Kits begin to hunt unaided by adults at about seven Earth years of age and hunt in solitude by their teens.
Language & Culture
The Morbackian language is a series of low breathy syllables that are either growled or purred. When written, the letters primarily consist of groups of three lines - symbolizing the three claws of a Morback striking a surface to leave a message. It is not difficult to learn to speak Morbackian, though Morbacks find most aliens attempting to do so sound like they are "shouting" words. It should be noticed that the prefix "San" has the association of a bountiful or blessed hunt.
Hunting and the need to hunt are deeply significant to Morback culture. Hunting is most often done alone, groups forming only to hunt down larger prey or teach family members how to hunt for themselves. Kits often form bands of four or more to practice hunting, but gradually grow out of this co-dependance.
Morback art and music primarily appear to exist in order to commemorate hunting. Ballads and poetry often tell of great hunts past, or great hunts to come. Paintings and art tend to be abstract by most other species' understanding, but seek to capture the feeling of both the predator and prey. Most artwork is produced on tapestry or toughened reed paper in order to survive transportation by the pack, but are never the less highly valued and frequently traded for when packs meet.
Morback society is both highly communal and highly nomadic. Packs travel a general path throughout the planetary year from summer hunting grounds to wintering grounds, setting up a new camp approximately once per season. Because the packs follow the same path each year, their seasonal resting places have gradually grown into cities which spend large portions of time as ghost towns only to be cleaned and dwelt in for a few months at a time. The pack must go where their food supply goes, and hunting is far more important than the simple act of eating. Ergo a single year-round city seems unnatural to them.
During one point in the year, all packs converge on the city of Santork. This pack meet-up can sometimes be quite tense, but generally works out well for all packs as the kits who must change the pack they live with can move from group to group and trading can occur. Also during this time, it is common for families to work on arranged partnerships for their offspring with other packs for upcoming years.
A Morback's family and pack identity are designated by their fur markings. Those without markings do occur, although usually the markings grow in with age. In the event of a truly unmarked Morback, the individual will stay with one of their parents' pack for life. They are generally passed over for mating, and trend towards a higher rate of depression.
Religion & Rulerism
Morbacks frequently find themselves the subject of attempts by Rulerist groups to induct them into the church. While so far these attempts have all been peaceful, it is ironicly the case that were there more bloodshed involved the Morbacks might be more inclined to take Rulerists seriously.
To Morbacks, Rulerism is seen as no great threat because whoever these beings are and whoever the Ruler is, they clearly do not understand the need to hunt. The need to follow a herd with your pack, and to perfect your ability as a hunter are so core to the identity of a Morback that this in and of itself verges on a religious experience. Rulerist missionaries, politely chasing after packs and nagging them about alien ideas, are little more than deluded amused strangers.
However, several Morbacks have been convinced to join Rulerist "peacekeeping squadrons" with the promise that it would be a cheap way to enable them to hunt a greater variety of things.
Technology & Alien Cultures
Morbacks saw space as the next best place to hunt, and developed their technology accordingly. This originally caused strife for them as a species (and further contributed to their reputation as a dangerous people) but they soon learned to discern between that which you can and can not aggres towards. Naturally, many Morbacks became bounty hunters. Many also became scientists and medical technicians, their instinct to track driving them to never give up on a particular goal until they had seen it through to the end.
Today, Morbacks are generally regarded as a good species to be friends with - and a very bad species to be enemies of. Cross-breeding with Morbacks is extremely rare due to their violent courtship rituals...but it does occasionally happen. If Morbacks settle on a planet away from Sanrash, they must have an outlet for their strong hunting instinct or they will eventually break down and begin to hunt within their society - a very large problem on planets populated by prey species (like Contura). Awareness of this has lead many planets to opening game parks specifically for carnivores like Morbacks. Another species (Rakwulvs) have similar hunt-related media arts, and the Morbacks have been very keen to befriend the Rakwulvs and adapt the works into their own language.
Morbacks dislike clothing and find it restrictive. Some on Sanresh may occasionally wear a loincloth, but it is rare. Off Sanresh clothing is usually only worn at the request of others or to avoid standing out in a crowd. Pants are the most common form of clothing adopted if it cannot be avoided.