Species: Alibban

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Physical Description — Alibbans are generally about six
feet in height (eighteen hands), have five limbs (three arms and
two legs), and lack tails. Their bones are strong and full of
marrow.

An alibban is designed around his or her spine. The alibban's
spine goes down the center of his or her body, with the three
arms set as the points of an equilateral triangle around it. An
alibban has three "ribcages"—one set with twelve wide bones
paired on either side of a sternum (six to a side) between the
frontmost arms, two sets with thinner bones (only five of which
connect to the sternums on either side) between each frontmost
arm and the back arm. The neck is very flexible; an alibban
can turn his or her head 270 degrees around.

The spine goes into the very center of the hip apparatus in
a ball-and-socket-ish joint which allows the alibban to turn his
or her body almost backwards from the way that the feet point.
Despite their three arms, alibbans only have two legs. These legs
bow out from the hips and are jointed as are most Earth animals';
they have rather short thighs, long shin-bones, and elongated
bones below that which allow them to walk on their toes. An
alibban has immensely good balance, which mostly comes from
the need to regulate one's weight in the treacherous ground of
Dujumi-liy's swamps. However, they are not comfortable on hard
surfaces, and most wear heavily-padded shoes while mingling
with other races.

Alibbans have six fingers on each hand (eighteen total). These
fingers are almost all very long and also very dexterous; the
thumbs are the sole exception in that they are only about half
the length of the other fingers. The toes, which by rights should
mirror the fingers, do not—there are only three per foot (not
counting a sort of spur at the back of the foot which might once
have been a dewclaw-ish thing), and they are rather broad and
short. There is vestigial webbing between these toes. Alibbans
have no tails whatsoever, not even a vestigial tailbone.

Alibban heads are perhaps their most interesting parts. They are
basically shaped like footballs (as we Earth-folk would say) and
are set with very round, black eyes just a touch above center.
The eyesockets are fairly shallow, but the skin is very tough
around the eyes; the eyes, shaped rather like chestnuts, are in no
danger of "falling out." The alibban nose takes the form of three
breathing-slits; the mouth is lipless and very small. There is quite
a lot of pointed chin beneath it. The alibban forehead is generally
subtly but definitely wrinkled. Alibbans have internal ears …
but their most important sensory organs are arguably the three
yumi that extend about three hands up from their heads.
Yumi are external organs which appear as tentacles, thicker
at the top than the middle, and they serve to gauge another entity's
aura—their thoughts and feelings and level of magic. With their
yumi, alibbans are very hard to surprise and also have a
deep-seated dislike of being offensive.

Alibban skin is thin, tight to the body (except around the neck
and the joints), and rather greyish-peach in hue. It is generally
slightly slick to the touch.

There are no noticeable differences between males and females
at a casual glance.

Alibbans can move very quickly if the need arises, but the need
seldom arises and so many have not developed their muscles
properly. They are generally very careful, sedate walkers, and
like to hold on to things when they walk. They are fairly decent
swimmers, working their mutiple arms to best advantage and
able to hold their breaths for a goodly period of time. An
alibban tends more toward graceful and dexterous than
powerful and swift.

Temperament — Alibbans as a species tend to care
most about not causing offense. When others are offended, it
comes through in their auras, which alibbans can sense, and an
offended aura puts them a bit on edge. Thus, much of their societal
customs are based around politeness. They are inclined to be slow
to speak and slower to act, which should not be mistaken for
stupidity—alibbans are very intelligent.

The newer generation of alibbans is not only intelligent but practical,
however; although they realize that being impolite or offensive may
hurt them, some are willing to risk that for personal gain.
Unlike Nefithians, this desire personal gain tends to be less
acquisitiveness and more a desire for respect and status.

Alibbans try not to fight with one another. They tend to avoid
prolonged contact with their own race, as an alibban fight (though
rare indeed) can quickly escalate as each participant gets more and
more offended. They seldom kill one another, but an angered alibban
will not hesitate to attack the weak and vulnerable bits of another's
anatomy. This is yet more incentive not to fight.

Alibbans have no desire to lie or cheat; most wouldn't dream of
being anything but honest, as they can detect dishonesty immediately.
There is no surer way to offend an alibban than to lie to him.

Alibbans are not a proud race. They are dignified and honest and
graceful (as a species; individuals tend to be less so), but not proud.

Internal Culture — Alibbans do not live in towns, unlike many
other species. Parents will raise and educate their children until these
children are about thirteen years of age, after which the young ones
generally wander Dujumi-liy and acquaint themselves perfunctorily
with other alibbans. Occasionally, an alibban youth will find a skilled
teacher or a close friend or (much less frequently) a love, and the youth
will either stay for an extended time with this person or begin traveling
as a unit. When alibbans who care about one another have a falling-out,
they will generally just leave in secret so as not to feel the other person's
indignation. However, after a young alibban feels that he or she has
seen enough of the world, he or she will generally return to the place
of greatest comfort and begin constructing a shelter there (alibbans have
no concept of property ownership, and so may live wherever they choose).
Even after settling down, alibbans commonly wander up to three miles at
a stretch to visit acquaintances or trade. There is no set alibban
government, although there are several alibbans who live in the vicinity
of the shore who make sure that trade is well-regulated and head off any
diplomatic delegations.

Alibban religion is very holistic. Alibbans view just about everything
that lives as sacred and so try to treat the entire world with respect.
They are inclined more to simply enjoy the experience of existence
through sedate walks and contemplation of the world than through
prayer; they don't believe in deities so much as in sacredness. They
also believe in magic, but no alibban would be willing to use magic—
it's simply too sacred to touch.

Farming and simple crafts comprise most of the alibban economy;
generally, these are intended as survival measures, but alibbans are
fast catching on to the notion of "exports" and are beginning to trade
with Omyri proper. The preferred method of trade is barter, and an
alibban generally seeks to make an exactly equal trade so as to gain
what is wanted without shortchanging another; although "exports"
are quickly becoming a way of life, "capitalism" has yet to come
into fashion.

Alibbans tend toward functional, beautiful crafts. They like to
weave and to make pottery; they paint, but generally the paintings
are not of any particular subject. They are, rather, organic designs
rather like arabesques or Celtic knots; occasionally, these designs
will have some meaning in the pictogram-heavy alibban written
language. They have all kinds of little woven charms which they
hang from their ceilings to attract goodwill and positive energies, as
well as little tubes like internal gutters which are meant to take
negative energies and ill will outside. Seldom is any object made
which is not functional in some way.

Alibban clothing is generally tight-fitting and brightly colored so
as to be visible in heavy fog; on Dujumi-liy, alibbans will go
barefoot, but in cities, where the roads are harder, they much prefer
heavily padded shoes.

Alibbans do not play many games, and none of them are games of
competition; competition fosters ill will. Their games are generally
meant to improve the balance, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination
of all participants, including simple games of catch or hand-clasping
games.

Acquisition is not a major objective with alibbans. They tend toward
wanting peace, comfort, contentment, and the basic needs of survival;
they most enjoy contemplation. Away from Dujumi-liy, alibbans
attempt to acquire houses as large as they can manage so as to have
more unoccupied space. They like the sight of a horizon and they like
the feel of cool, moist air; consequently, alibbans tend to gravitate
toward the edges of cities rather than the middles and even live in
the country when they can.

Alibbans tend to live for fifty or sixty years, although they have
been known to live to be eighty or more. Youths are carefully tended,
protected, and educated by their parents, and visiting alibbans are
expected to cosset young ones and, if they know that they are visiting
a family with children, bring functional gifts. Orphans are rare, but
they are generally taken in as quickly as they are discovered and
treated as blood-children. An alibban is considered mature at
approximately the age of thirteen, when the yumi become
fully extended and their powers of perception dramatically sharpen.
By this time, the bones have become strong and the loose skin of youth
has tightened around better-developed muscles. A youth is generally
about five feet (fifteen hands) in height and will grow another three
hands over the next seven or eight years. After an alibban has passed
about age forty, his or her skin begins to grow more transparent and to
sag, and wrinkles develop all over the body; those strong bones grow
very brittle. Most alibbans eventually die of the equivalent of
osteoporosis. "Peak" age for alibbans is around twenty-two.

The alibban language is very carefully phrased so as to be as general
as possible. They have no curse words and very neutral adjectives.
Naturally, this makes interactions with other cultures very difficult,
so the alibban language (particularly among those alibbans who live
close to the shore) has integrated a wealth of Omyri and Nefithian
words. Alibbans can make any sound that a human can and also have
some rather interesting hooting vowels which are generally replaced
with o's or u's when humans attempt to speak the language. Alibbans
will refer to everyone in third person in their language, and often this
carries over when they speak in the general Omyri language.

Alibbans are named by their parents; they are generally given the name
of a close teacher or a parent of one of their parents, and the family
name (chosen by the mother and father when they choose to become
a family) is attached with a hyphen at the end. Clooga-ift, for example,
is Clooga of the ift family. However, an alibban would never dream
of shortening his or her name in any way, including eliminating the
family name. It is considered very offensive.

Habitat — Dujumi-liy is almost entirely swamps; near the
northern coast, there are some relatively dry foothills, but the place is
really a marshland for all intents and purposes. Alibbans like to be
near water, even if it's just a river, and they hate walking on hard ground,
but they are not too dissatisfied to be away from the swamps. On
Dujumi-liy they weave shelters of the ubiquitous reeds on stone
foundations, but on the mainland they live in very normal (albeit
spacious) houses when they can manage it.

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