Erin Hoffman (zhai) wrote in dqj,
Erin Hoffman

[Species Profile] The Telecreatures

Oi. So I was going to profile both Guardian City and the Guardians tonight... I even had some things I wanted to get down for humans... but it's 2am, this next bit is almost three thousand words long, and I'm bloody tired. So here you go. ;)

The Telecreatures

The telecreatures, unified under one title due to their ancient shared homeland, came to the Gryphonic Plane shortly before what is referred to as the Second Age by Di'Quinasevite historians. Humans formed the bulk of the first migration, some three hundred years before the telecreature migration; the addition of the quadripedal, telepathic creatures from the second migration prompted intervention by the gods of the plane, and the telecreature migration was the last such major plane crossing into Gryphonic. The goddesses closed all major planar access points, leaving instead only the potential for gryphon mages to re-open said points, or portals, at specific locations across the planet; this the gryphons did not do for thousands of years after the telecreature migration.

Telecreatures come in three variants: the tall, hooved and horned herbivores called the Burkai, who inhabited the great forests far west of the gryphon homeland; the sleek, leonine Yaseri, who prowled the central plains; and the pack-minded, lupine Chzarseri, who ranged in the southwestern mountains. All possess at least rudimentary telepathy from birth, giving the three species their collective name, and all share the thin, translucent filament antennae, projecting from a point on the skull between the eyes, that are the physical origin points of this ability. The antennae are almost completely clear, but possess a pale bluish tinge that proves faintly phosforescent while the creature in question is awake. Being not from this plane (though no telecreature would be openly aware of this fact; they have been on the plane so long that they consider themselves natives and only the most didactic scholar attempts to dispute this mindset), they do not have the ability to directly interact with the elemental magics; rather, they have the ability to harness energy from the world around them, or from their own bodies, and use their telepathy as a vector to deliver that energy to an individual with whom they possess a significant telepathic bond. These bonds take years to cultivate, and for reasons of magic-using generally occur across species, most often between telecreatures and humans.

All telecreatures fall under the purview of the Earth goddess, Tal'anakae, who is notorious among the goddesses for her reclusive and modest (for a goddess) nature. For this reason, and perhaps also due to their out-plane origins, the telecreatures rarely concern themselves with religion in anything other than the most private sense. Most are aware of their connection to the Earth goddess, but only as a matter of common sense -- being all terrestrial creatures in a world predominated by avians, they naturally gravitate toward the most 'grounded' goddess. Few realize or possess the race memory to recall that, shortly after the second migration, Tal'anakae took them under her purview and granted them the domains that they still inhabit today. At the time this was considered simply prudent, as almost all of them were carnivores, like the gryphons, but after the Great Migration of the gryphons, many centuries later, the species all comingled and generated the racial dynamic currently in place in modern Di'Quinasev.

The Burkai
Tall, slender antelope with an array of five horns, burkai inhabit what is now known as Midland Forest, living alone or in pairs evenly distributed throughout the Forest and gathering in groups only with specific impetus -- ie, a Guardian Trial, a Circle gathering, etc. The average burkai is roughly one and a half meters at the shoulder, with a long, very slender neck, long and narrow face, and two and a half pairs of horns. The first pair of horns is ridged and lyre-shaped, projecting from the back of the skull between the burkai's large, teardrop-shaped ears. The second pair of horns is straight or very slightly convex curved, projecting from the brow ridge above the inside corner of each eye. This middle set exists specifically to protect the burkai's delicate, mobile antennae; the antennae, when not moving in the course of conversation or expression, often wrap themselves around or behind these horns in an instinctive self-protecting gesture. As with all telecreatures, a burkai's antennae filaments are highly expressive, similar to the ears in expression capability. The last horn on a burkai projects from a point roughly halfway down the face, and is angled back in the direction of the eyes. This horn varies from burkai to burkai, some being slender and others quite large and thick, some being ridged and others possessed of a delicate twist up the straight length of the horn. While there is some variation in the degree of curvature to this horn, for the most part the horn lies flat against the face and curves upward at the tip. Burkai have broad and soft cloven hooves, well suited to navigating the forest loam; it is possible for a burkai to become accustomed to walking on packed earth or cobblestones, but some conditioning is required, and the burkai will generally go through a period of soreness before developing the necessary rigidity of hoof and callus.

Burkai are born in a variety of colors, from nearly completely black to speckled grey to chocolate with narrow stripes of tan. A burkai covered with medium-sized, pale spots is said to have a propensity for greater telepathic abilities, but this is unsubstantiated and mostly cultural myth; still, such young are looked upon with favor by their families, and the pattern itself is considered beautiful.

While it is possible for a burkai to vocalize, such things would be very rare -- even when in pain, a burkai's instincts tend toward silence, up until the point of a grievous or mortal wounding. Burkai fawns are born with a close telepathic bond to both of their parents (who co-raise the fawn), a bond that fades as the burkai approaches physical maturity at around three years old. While it is possible for two burkai to form a lifetime pairing, such incidents are unusual, and burkai generally do not mate for life, being instead loosely social creatures that interact romantically primarily on whim and convenience, although their minds are extremely sophisticated and they often form lifetime friendships and associations for discussion; some burkai will form a strong telepathic bond that would be immediately indicative of romantic attachment in any other species, but in burkai may only indicate that the pair is of great intellectual compatibility and simply enjoys speaking together regularly over long distances.

Generally a very peaceful species, burkai do not usually participate in military endeavors or physical combat, though there are occasional throwbacks. While males will sometimes take it upon themselves to act in guardianship of Midland Forest, it is in fact the females who tend to be more aggressive and combative in the species. Of the rare burkai that sometimes participate in Guardian Trials, almost all are female. The female of the species is not physically larger, and indeed the genders can be very difficult to tell apart to the untrained eye, but females do have a more pronounced lower horn and more rigid lyre horns, with deeper ridges; a male's lyre horns will sometimes appear to be almost completely smooth, occasionally even slick to the touch.

In culture the burkai are strictly democratic. While they may hold elders of their race in higher esteem than those of a younger generation, if a burkai group must make a joint decision (and these occasions are fairly rare), they do 'vote' in a sharing of the minds, a rather unique event to observe. All of the burkai participating in the mindsharing will form a great circle with heads lowered, and one antennae each to the left and to the right, brushing those of the burkai next to it. Before the antennae touch, the burkai will have made its decision on the matter at hand, and this decision will be instantly transmitted to the others of the group as soon as the antennae all make simultaneous contact, at which point the entire group knows which decision is in the majority and will therefore be implemented.

Of the three telecreature species, the Burkai are most likely to utilize their elemental energy harnessing abilities, but in fact least likely to bond with a human. For reasons unknown, individual burkai often elect to bond with gryphons, but more commonly, a burkai with exceptional harnessing abilities will join what is known as a Circle. In a Circle each burkai will bond to two others, one mentor and one apprentice; this forms a chain of mentor-apprentice relationships. Once the chain is of sufficient size to satisfy the Circle (this size varies, but is generally between eight and fifteen individuals), the group will seek a Vessel and a Wielder. The Vessel may be a burkai; the Wielder may not. Vessel and Wielder connect to respective 'ends' of the burkai chain, and bring it together to form a circle. As the name suggests, the Vessel pools the entire collective energy harnessed by the Circle and feeds it to the Wielder (on average about half of the Wielders are burkai, and half are of other species); the Vessel must be adept-class in magical ability for each of the elements that the Circle harnesses in order to be effective. Due to this, it is not uncommon to find Circles that center around only one or two elements; rarely do circles branch out to include three or four, and a large four-element Circle would be an historical phenomenon noticed across all of Di'Quinasev. Similarly, the Wielder must also possess adept-class magic in all elements used by the Circle, and further must possess a close telepathic bond with the Vessel. The Vessel and Wielder are the keystones of the entire Circle, and when two individuals form a Vessel-Wielder bond, it usually lasts for life, though a Circle association may not. A Wielder is most often a gryphon, though there have been a few isolated human Wielders of note in the course of history; specifically, the Wielder is most often a Gry'owl. Circles typically use their abilities to shepherd the forest, clearing diseases and controlling populations, though they are not averse to lending their abilities to a military cause in times of war.

The Yaseri
Called the 'cat people' or 'yaseri' by migrating gryphons who came to Di'Quinasev, the yaseri, who, like the Seridensana, had previously simply referred to themselves as "the people," having not interacted with any other sentients during their history on the plane, inhabit the great plains of central Di'Quinasev, hunting in the tall grasses and hibernating during the violent monsoon season.

Physically, the average yaseri stands roughly one meter at the shoulder and three meters from nose to tailtip, the tail itself being quite long and thick, sometimes capped with a tuft of dark fur. Their large, pointed ears are almost always tufted, and their eyes are also large and generally green or gold, though some variants do occur. The yaseri's fur is very thick and soft, and comes in a range of colors, from charcoal grey with black rosettes, to gold with umber plains-striping, to silvery-grey, to brindled brown, gold, and black. Their paws are very large, with intimidating retractable black claws, to match the similarly intimidating canine teeth that extend roughly two inches past the other teeth, being just barely covered by the bottom of the lip when the yaseri's mouth is closed. The yaseri's antennae filaments project from tiny vents to either side of the yaseri's large, flat nose, generally between three and five inches above the nostrils on the face.

As a race the yaseri are loners, though they mesh well socially with the Gry'eagle gryphons of the Goldwing region and combine with Goldwing gryphons to form a council of elders that meets three times a year -- at the Fivemoon, at the beginning of the monsoon, and at the end of it, after the yaseri have emerged from their hibernation dens. These dens are frequently dug into the sides of small hills on high ground away from the constantly falling water, although, very rarely, a yaseri may choose to make its hibernation den high in the boughs of a tree, if one can be found. Trees are not common on the planes, but yaseri are nevertheless adept climbers.

Often travelling in pairs, yaseri mate for life, choosing a partner at a relatively young age and running together for many years before settling in a given location to raise cubs. Mated pairs with cubs will often congregate for months at a time with other parent pairs for purposes of education and hunting training. Cubs are born blind, with eyes opening at about two weeks, and they reach full mobility at five weeks of age; a typical litter has between three and six cubs. Like the burkai, they share a telepathic bond with their parents that fades at the onset of adolescence, which they reach at five years of age; a yaseri is fully mature at age eight, and enjoys a lifespan of fifty to sixty fivemoons.

For the most part, yaseri disdain magic, although they make an exception to this prejudice in the case of healing. It is not uncommon for a yaseri to form a telepathic bond with a human for the purpose of providing energy for healing magic; the rare yaseri that form bonds for the practicing of elemental magic tend to favor sun and earth magics. Healing pairs are highly regarded among the yaseri, and travelling as the companion of a healer is the single most common path that takes a yaseri away from the Plains if they are ever fated to leave their home; the second most common is competition in the Guardian Trials. Yaseri are very proud of their physical prowess, and almost all are adept fighters and hunters.

The Chzarseri
Reclusive and rare to the vast majority of Di'Quinasev society, Chzarseri have taken on a reputation of near mythical proportions for their attitudes and culture. Creatures of the high altitudes and rugged mountains, they possess thick fur and an affinity for heights and snow.

Physically, an average chzarseri stands three quarters of a meter at the sholder, and is built like a very heavily boned wolf with a large, long head; their tails are long and bushy, with even longer wiry fur toward the tip. Fur coloration ranges from grey to chocolate to pale lavender-blue to near blue-black, though almost all chzarseri have white fur on their bellies, throats, and paws. Their eyes are almost always a shade of burnished gold, and the eyes of a chzarseri appear most often in any legends that mention the species, for to look into a chzarseri's eyes is to know not only that individual's mind, but the mind of his or her entire pack. A non-chzarseri feels the rush of so many awarenesses assault their mind when they look into this wolf-kin's eyes, and it is not an experience that is easily forgotten.

A chzarseri pack possesses collective intelligence. Membership in a pack is not simply a social affiliation, but a mental bond that will, in most cases, last throughout a chzarseri's lifetime. The larger the pack, the higher its intelligence and canniness; smaller packs dwindle to almost debilitating lack of intelligence. Nevertheless, even small packs (three to ten individuals) possess rigid hierarchies, from the alpha to beta to omega and so on members of the pack. Packs are matriarchal; although there is almost always a mate to the alpha female, it is the female who makes pack decisions and, in a large sense, controls the collective mind of the pack. Pack structures are quite stable and often pass from one generation of the same family to another, but challenges can occur; if an individual wishes to challenge the alpha female, she must seize, convince, or coerce the minds of the other members of the pack away from the alpha female, and prove that she can harness their collected intelligence and use it to overthrow the current pack leader.

The exception of this mindsharing is the phenomenon of the lone chzarseri. Given the intensity of the collective mind of the chzarseri pack, it is natural that occasionally a chzarseri is born who cannot properly mesh with the pack. Such individuals leave the pack to roam on their own -- incidents of this are actually fairly common, and departure from the pack once an individual is fully mature is not uncommon. Most frequently the pack member will depart to find another pack before they have fully committed their mind to the pack of their birth, an undertaking that occurs when the chzarseri comes of age at approximately five fivemoons. These wandering individuals travel alone through the mountains, and 90% of the time they will find a pack that better suits their personality; this interchange between the packs is welcome and encouraged to freshen bloodlines.

About 10% of those that leave their packs do not return to any pack. This is an extremely low number of individuals, and most of them cannot survive on their own. Only very rarely will a chzarseri strike out on its own and survive the split from pack and home -- particularly if the chzarseri is older than early maturity and has already bonded with a pack. The pack-bond fades with distance and time, naturally, but older chzarseri often find that they are not equipped to re-learn the simplest of tasks -- hunting, navigating, seeking or creating shelter -- without the mental support of the pack around them. Chzarseri are born to swim in a sea of awareness, and absent this, they often do not fare well psychologically. Chzarseri that do make it on their own tend to travel deep into the mountains and live alone as recluses; however, particularly among the young, some will venture out into the open world of Di'Quinasev to seek their fortunes.
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