Species: Aresa Tahori

Name: aresa tahori

Homeworld: Alasa Ka

Height/Length/Weight: Like all the tahori, aresa have three distinct 'skins' (bodies/forms). In the hamin ('human') skin, aresa stand 4.5-5.5' tall and weigh between 100-150 lbs. In the emigonu ('mix') skin and standing fully erect, they measure 5.5-7' tall and 11-15' long, weighing in at 200-300 lbs with a coil girth of 1-2'. In sanero ('animal') skin, they are 15-20' long and 1.5-3' wide, weighing in at 300-400 lbs.

Physical Description: Aresa are a race of the overarching species of the tahori, and as such, they have three distinct skins, which they can shapeshift between freely. Their smallest skin is the hamin or humanoid skin; they resemble humans in nearly every detail, barring slit-pupiled eyes and a lack of external ears. In the hamin skin, aresa are entirely hairless - no mane, no eyebrows, no nothing - and have skin of a similar pattern and color to their scales in emigonu and sanero skins. They're also extremely athletic in shape and constitution, which is a tendency that extends throughout all their skins. Their middle or 'mixed' skin is the emigonu skin, a blend of their two other skins; they retain a humanoid head, torso, and arms, but they are serpentine from the waist down. The emigonu skin is lightly scaled and immensely strong and swift; the aresa's arms are longer, leaner, more flexible, and its fingers are similarly elongated and tipped in thin claws. The head is still humanoid, though the face is longer and the teeth are all very sharp; the eyes still have lids, but the nose has become mere nostril slits. The emigonu skin's well-defined humanoid chest smooths out towards the waist and melts seamlessly into the body of the snake. The emigonu skin is considered the best skin in which to fight and hunt, being mobile and light like the hamin skin, but still powerful and swift like the sanero skin; it bears no genitalia and so is less vulnerable. Their largest and most bestial skin is the sanero skin; it resembles an oversized snake in nearly every way, with the exception of a firmer, more mobile girth. Aresa, like all the tahori, are perpetually hungry unless their largest skin's belly is full (and then, they can't shift until some of the meal has been digested and eliminated from their systems, lest their stomachs explode upon changing to a smaller skin). Shapeshifting itself is a swift and unmagical transition between skins that heals most wounds (but not poison or illness); an aresa employs their inner qki, physical perceptions are numbed for a moment, and they shift seamlessly from hamin to emigonu to sanero and back - they must go through the emigonu skin if going from hamin to sanero or vice versa. If an aresa's qki is almost dry or almost choked off, shifting does not numb the body and the process, while still short (2-5 seconds), becomes wrenchingly painful. Most aresa can slowly gather extra qki (over a span of 2-5 minutes) if they have massive wounds in need of healing, in which case shifting becomes much slower (10-30 seconds) in order to heal all wounds; the alternative is successive shifting between skins multiple times in order to heal wounds in stages.

Senses/Capabilities: Aresa have the unusual ability to detect the heat of nearby bodies; they both scent it and 'see' it as a more vivid coloration on warm-blooded creatures. Like the izune are extremely sensitive to air current and pressure, the aresa are very attuned to changes in temperature, even though they are warm-blooded themselves. Aresa have fair eyesight, geared more towards detecting color (and therefore heat) and motion, a good sense of smell, and a good sense of hearing. Sensory keenness fluctuates with skins - they have better sight in hamin skin and a better sense of smell in emigonu and sanero skins, with their sense of hearing staying approximately the same through all three. As for capabilities - aresa are extremely agile and swift, able to react and move in a very short span of time. They are easily the quickest in movement (not running) of all the tahori and possess some of the best reflexes. Most aresa are also immensely strong in their sanero skins, especially the valih aresa, and notably powerful in their emigonu skins; however, they are typically lean and light in their hamin skins, relying more on speed and agility than strength. Aresa have average endurance, but take a very long time to recover from full exhaustion. In hamin skin, aresa can run up to 20 mph or slightly above; in emigonu skin, they can slither up to 20 mph, and some aresa can reach up to 35-40 mph in sanero skin for very short bursts. Comparatively, aresa are less enduring than all but izune, as agile as izune and atihresi (topping the rest), weaker than all but izune (overall; in sanero form, they can give all but dosa a run for their money), and slower than all but izune and dosa (whom they usually best by very little).

Coloration/Clothing: Aresa patently refuse to wear clothing. If weather demands some kind of protection, they will cast a cloak or blanket around them, but they wear nothing else. On the exceedingly rare occasion that an aresa leaves Alasa Ka and goes among civilized races, it will usually wrap an opaque robe around its body and go barefoot in the streets. Aresa have mastered the art of sinuous movement, even in their hamin skins, and so there is little to no discomfort while moving around unsupported; they also relish the sensitivity of hamin skin to physical touch and texture. As for coloration, an aresa's particular pattern of colors will persist through all skins, even hamin skin, which bears the same markings but a lighter/desaturated version of the same hues. Aresa can be virtually any color, though most of them are some combination of black, greens, browns, greys, and white; the brighter colors (blues, reds, purples, oranges, yellows) are often small markings or highlights, rather than the base color. However, some aresa have been known to be entirely brightly-colored - many joke that such aresa are part hafyuh izune. Eyes are typically a dull yellow-grey and claws a matte black. Coloration has no bearing on breed.

Races/Breeds: Aresa have three primary races, which can interbreed with the same approximate success/hybridization as atihresi do. (Essentially, most offspring are one breed or another - actual hybrids are rare, often sterile, and considered to be the result of two parents with weak genes.) Kashyme ('hooded') aresa are the least common of the three; they are medium-sized, often quite muscular, and have a remarkable 'hood' that stretches out behind their heads in both emigonu and sanero skins. This hood is merely a thin layer of extendable skin and cartilage, usually very brightly colored, and used to both modify temperature and to intimidate enemies or startle prey. Valih ('constricting') aresa are extremely thick-bodied and strong; they are wide and usually short, and they are constrictors. They tend towards green and brown colors but can be any. Kafuh ('noisy') aresa are tied with valih for population; they are long, lean, and bear a series of keratinous rattles along their tailtip. These rattles are typically used to communicate with others nearby but out of sight, but often are used like the kashyme hood - to intimidate enemies and startle prey. The breeds have no qualms about living together, interbreeding, and generally don't display any major cultural or behavioral differences - the races are primarily distinguished by the kashyme hood, the valih girth, and the kafuh rattle.

Language: Aresa speak resan, a subtle and breathy language that sounds mostly like hissing, sighing, and the occasional murmur or click of jaws. Resan is never taught to a non-aresa, so most aresa who have any dealings with non-aresa also speak Uhjayi. Resan itself is a surprisingly sparse language, often combining words in order to express a complex noun or concept; it has a small vocabulary and a very simple, somewhat disorganized syntax and structure.

Technology: Aresa don't use technology, not even metalworking. They see no use for weaponry of any kind.

Magic: Aresa are very sensitive to the presence of magical energy and the active use of magic or qki, but they don't dabble in magic themselves. However, like all the tahori, aresa are qki-converters; they not only have an internal and self-sustaining source of qki in order to shapeshift, but they can also draw on the raw, unrefined magic of the world and convert it to qki to enhance their physical abilities. All aresa can convert enough qki to increase their speed, reflexes, and strength for short periods of time - they can use enhancement qki best in hamin skin, somewhat in emigonu skin, and practically not at all in sanero skin. Many learn to use external qki (qki blasts or balls, qki auras, qki bursts used to enhance leaps), unlike inlanlu (who are not adept at both enhancement and external qki); however, as good as aresa are (about as good as atihresi), izune still surpass them with superb external qki.

Values: Aresa value the ability to survive and sustain oneself entirely alone and independently, even though many of them are social to an extent. Keen reflexes, a heightened sensitivity to temperature and magic/qki, and sudden swiftness are also prized.

Social Groups/Society: Aresa, like the dosa, tend to be solitary just as often as they band together to form a community. Many aresa are comfortable living entirely alone, mateless and childless for long periods of time or even their entire lives. Just as many aresa seek out the company of others, sometimes in small groups of 2-5 individuals and sometimes in larger communities of 10-20. The larger groups, called swarms, have no set leader but do claim a territory in which to live, breed, and hunt; smaller groups tend to be nomadic and are called tangles - they often have an unofficial leader who pathfinds for the others and directs the hunts. Aresa are not hierarchal in the least and have no system of dominance/submission (like inlanlu); they are more anarchists than aught else.

Habitat/Settlements: Aresa are most assuredly warm-climate people; they avoid even seasonal areas when they can, preferring to live in the warmth year-round or close to it. Though they do well in nearly any terrain, from the very wet to the very rocky to the very dry, they aren't found anywhere snow falls regularly. They make no settlements and build no homes, though many will have a den or nest of some sort that is dark, quiet, and dry.

Religion/Beliefs: Aresa are well-aware of the principles of magic, but they don't worship any particular essence, element, or god. They prefer to be aware of the interaction of energies around them, rather than manipulate what they can sense, but their knowledge of the ley of the land is often relied upon by atihresi and izune for their own goals.

Interaction w/ Other Species: Most consider aresa to be inscrutable, unpredictable, and somewhat alien; aresa don't particularly care. Most aresa treat other races - be they tahori or not - with the same casual nonchalance as they do other aresa with whom they aren't closely associated. Curious aresa are often perceived as threatening, simply because of the intensity of their quizzical nature.

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