Species: Aralahar

Name: aralahar(i) [a-RAH-la-HAR(-ee)]

Homeworld: Har'ni

Height/Length/Weight: Aralahari are quite small, ranging 1.5-2' high at the shoulder and 3-4' long, plus another ~6' of tail. They weigh approximately 30-40 lbs and have a wingspan of 15-20' with pinions fully extended, tip to tip.

Physical Description: The aralahar are lean, quadrupedal, winged canines. They are covered in what seems to be a hybrid between fur and downy feathers - long, soft hairs with a short flat fringe of feather vane. This plumage is longest along the chest and stomach, making a ruff, and sleekest around the face and neck; it's also quite long along the tail and spreads out to form something of a flat fan at the tip, helping with navigation while in flight. Aralahari have extremely lean, almost gaunt builds reminiscent of sighthounds with a deep chest sweeping upwards to a narrow waist and long, skinny limbs; their faces are very narrow and streamlined with large eyes and nostril slits. Their teeth are small but very sharp, excellent for snatching small animals out of the air, trees, or water while flying past; their ears are internal with the ability to be squinched shut in the same way that their nostrils are. They have long, graceful necks and flexible legs; their tails are nearly twice their body length and are thin and almost whip-like, deft but not quite prehensile. Aralahan paws are almost rodent-like - four clawed, elongated toes perfect for gripping rock surfaces or tree branches. Their wings are covered in a very fine, thin, sleek layer of plumage, giving them a translucent-in-the-sun iridescence; they are draconic in shape with three clawed wing-fingers at the wing-hand. Aralahari have canine genitalia (internal testes).

Senses/Capabilities: Aralahari have an impressive array of senses. Though their sight is long-range and very keen by daylight, it's their hearing that they rely on - extremely distinguishing and sensitive, they can hear a heartbeat ten meters away and a rodent underground fifty meters off. (This explains their strange ears; hearing this keen can be easily damaged by loud noises, so a way to 'shut it off' evolved. When their ears are closed, their hearing is about as good as a human's, though muffled and less distinct.) They have a fairly good sense of smell that enables them to track other aralahari through the air currents, if the scent is fresh. As for capabilities, the aralahar are extremely agile and swift in the air, able to perform stunning feats of aerobatics. While not strong, many aralahari are quite enduring in flight, and the tenacity of their grasp is not to be underestimated because of their frail build.

Coloration/Clothing: Aralahari don't wear clothing. As for coloration, their plumage tends to be dark colors, often iridescent: blues, purples, greens, browns, black. Some few aralahari have dark red or burnished gold/bronze in limited amounts in their coloration. Most aralahari are simply mottled without distinct markings, but some have barring along their undersides, which are often lighter. Aralahari have jewel-toned eyes and black claws. Their skin is a pale, fleshy pink.

Races/Breeds: Aralahari don't have distinct ethnicities.

Language: Though most aralahari can also speak rinua, the harinni tongue, they are raised speaking arassan, their own native language. Arassan is a sharp, concise language filled with yips, barks, chirps, and long whines (or high-pitched howls). It is not a subtle or expansive language, filled with only necessary words and having the barest of linguistic structures; aralahari communicate as much by tone and body language as they do with the limited words of arassan. Many harinni are taught arassan, but the har ka have a lot of trouble managing it, though some at least go for listening comprehension.

Technology: Aralahari don't use technology.

Magic: Most aralahari have no interest in magic. However, there is a minority of druidic clergy - usually bards, by the human system - who guide others in living harmoniously with the world around them and who teach the young. Some aralahari would be considered pure druids. Having a gift with magic (primarily noticed by being sensitive to communication with other life-forms and spirits) is prized but not forced; the path of the bard is a challenging but rewarding one that few choose without having an innate knack for it. Bards have a heavy responsibility in wisely guiding and teaching others, while still being practically useful to their clans.

Values: Aralahari value pride and individuality, as well as the ability to cooperate and peacefully coexist with others, especially the land/spirits. They grouped together out of necessity, but still encourage everyone to remain unique and true to themselves, without becoming incompatible with the majority of the clan.

Social Groups/Society: Aralahari live in cooperative clans with no set social structure. They are family-centric, with many smaller families (mates+current children) working with other families to form the clans. While no clan has a true hierarchal leader, they are guided by any and all bards present. If bards dissent, it must be worked out with the other bards before a solution is presented to the clan. Clans are loose and most families have different clans as the years progress, moving to different areas as they please.

Reproduction/Aging: After a gestation of four months, aralahan young are born live and in litters of three to six, very small and physically undeveloped. They stay in the nest for three months while their bodies finish developing, are weaned at six months, and learn to fly shortly thereafter. Pups hit adolescence at three years and adulthood at four, often going out to find a mate as soon as they're allowed (which could be as early as three). Aralahari can mate for life but many change mates once or twice throughout their adult lives (more often if they find a mate very young) as they change and grow as people. Mates are chosen for physical attraction as well as personal compatability; aralahari have cycles of heat, between which they are infertile, and pairs often mate for pleasure during those times. (Aralahari are… quite lusty, actually.) Most aralahari are infertile by forty years and considered elders by the time they hit fifty; they rarely live past sixty.

Habitat/Settlements: While aralahari can handle seasonal cold/winters, as well as seasonal wet/dry/really hot periods, they tend to prefer a fairly balanced or temperate climate. In such pleasant climes, aralahari generally tend to live in trees or in the pocked sides of cliffs; in harsher climes, many will seek out caves or dig dens beneath root systems or rocky overhangs. They don't build settlements, though some families who are very close to harinni will live in harin-made structures.

Religion/Beliefs: Aralahari are shamanically animistic (animistically shamanic?) and view everything as both interconnected and unique/individual. They communicate with the spirits of the land, plants, animals, and other sentients with a respect and compassion that is carefully cultivated in the young. They also acknowledge the harinni gods as real and some few bards also work to stay in harmony with the local deities. (This is a somewhat rare thing - most species don't acknowledge, let along interact with, another species' gods.)

Interaction w/ Other Species: Aralahari get along very well with harinni (largely because the harinni are both respectful of and gentle with them) and also get on well with the har ka, though they never come within touching (or biting) range. They are familiar with Lo'hês, humans, halasshi, and other major visitors to Har'ni and tend to be wary (staying out of range of physical contact) but friendly and often helpful. Unknown species are usually avoided unless/until another aralahar or a harin vouches for them.

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