Species: Atihresi Tahori

Name: atihresi tahori

Homeworld: Alasa Ka

Height/Length/Weight: Like all the tahori, atihresi have three distinct 'skins' (bodies/forms). In the hamin ('human') skin, they stand 4.5-7.5' tall (typically 5.5-6.5') and weigh between 100-300 lbs (typically 125-225 lbs). In the emigonu ('mix') skin, they stand 5.5-8' tall (typically around 7') and weigh between 175-350 lbs (typically around 275-300 lbs). In the sanero ('animal') skin, they stand 4.5-8' high at the withers (typically 6-6.5') and 6.5-11' long (plus another 3-5' of tail), weighing in at 500-1000 lbs (typically 700-800 lbs).

Physical Description: Atihresi 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 pointed and sharpened fingernails (not quite claws), typically gold eyes, large-ish and pointed ears, and a cattish tail that matches their breed. In the hamin skin, atihresi are hairless but for their manes (the length of which is a symbol of prowess in the hunt/battlefield) and furred tails, both of which are the same color as their fur in their other skins - and retain any pattern (spots/rosettes/stripes) that their pelts have. They're also extremely athletic in shape and constitution, which is a tendency that extends through all their skins. Their middle or 'mixed' skin is their emigonu skin, a blend of their other two skins; they stand bipedally but digitigrade. They have fully feline faces, a smooth glossy pelt, massive paw-like hands with pawpads and sharp, hooking claws; their stances are hunched, spines curved - neither horizontal nor vertical. The emigonu skin is considered to be the best skin in which to fight and hunt, being agile and deft like the hamin skin, but still fierce and powerful like the sanero skin; it bears no genitalia and so is less vulnerable to dirty fighting. Their largest and most bestial skin is the sanero skin; it resembles an oversized feline in virtually every way. Atihresi, 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 atihresi 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 atihresi'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. Atihresi 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: Atihresi have notoriously keen vision, far surpassing that of any other tahori in equivalent skins, other than the izune. Their sense of smell is fairly poor, but still superior to human senses; their hearing is on par with inlanlu hearing, being very keen. Sensory keenness also fluctuates with skins - atihresi have better eyesight in hamin skin, but better scent and hearing in sanero and emigonu skins. As for capabilities - atihresi are renowned for their agility and speedy reflexes. While atihresi are not enduring in the least, they also recover much more quickly than inlanlu when pushed to exhaustion. Most atihresi are quite strong in their sanero skins, fairly so in their emigonu skins; their strength in hamin skin depends on their breed. As for speed, most atihresi can reach a running speed between 20 and 25 mph in hamin skin, 35 to 40 mph in emigonu skin, and 40-70 mph in sanero skin; exceptional atihresi (such as mereri) can hit a top speed of 85 mph in sanero skin. Comparatively, atihresi are as agile as izune and aresa (moreso than inlanlu, dosa, and ehsora), stronger than izune, ehsora, and aresa (but less so than dosa - individual atihresi breed determines whether or not they're stronger than inlanlu), less enduring than inlanlu, dosa, and ehsora (but moreso than izune and aresa), and faster than all but izune (slower atihresi breeds may be tied with ehsora and inlanlu).

Coloration/Clothing: Atihresi only wear clothing in their hamin skins; both genders wear a fitted wrap around their hips to support their genitals and buttocks (typically a foot-wide strip of softened hide around their hips with a slimmer piece going between their legs, slightly modified for males for comfort) and females wear a nearly-identical wrap around their chests. Beyond that, clothing is practical and non-showy: leggings (some knee-length, others ankle-length), vests, tunics (that can be belted), and shirts (sleeved or sleeveless), as well as clothing more suitable for cold weather, such as ankle-length and wrist-length underclothing and warm fur-lined cloaks - sometimes hooded. All clothing is made of hides and furs or leathers. They do have a special kind of clothing for holidays, celebrations, or other such times when there will be no threat of danger or attack: they are loose, flowing garments that resemble ponchos and kilts, worn over the typical underclothing. Atihresi do not wear shoes; some racers and hunters will wrap strips of soft leather around their feet while in hamin skin. As for coloration… hamin skin ranges the gamut from pale peach-color to a darker tawny to bronzed to deep brown, and includes various shades of grey-brown, coppery-yellow, and even a dull silvery-white. Skin color is a desaturated, lighter version of fur color, and it will retain any patterns of the atihresi's actual fur, including spots, stripes, rosettes, and other markings. Likewise, hair color is the same shade and pattern as the base fur color. Fur color and pattern are consistent between emigonu and sanero skins, as is eye color and claw color. Eyes are often yellow/gold, but green, blue, and brown are also quite common. Claws are usually a medium-to-dark shade of grey, pale yellowed-ivory, or, most commonly, matte black. Fur color can be virtually any color but is dependent on breed (see below for specifics): silvery-white, all shades of brown, all shades of grey, red-brown, coppery-yellow, and coal-black.

Races/Breeds: Atihresi have several distinct breeds that border on subspecies; breeds can interbreed, but well over half the resulting cubs are strictly of one breed or the other, often following gender (daughters are their mother's kind, sons are their father's kind). Having a litter composed primarily of blended cubs is considered a result of both parents having extremely weak or diluted genes, and often will ensure that the parents do not breed again. Most blended cubs are sterile, but any who breed with a non-blended mate will produce cubs of the mate's breed. That said, the breeds are the following: kasayi atihresi ('snow cat'), mereri atihresi ('race cat'), kakygu atihresi ('big cat'), nakamiri atihresi ('hidden cat'), kadhu atihresi ('black cat'), gekayo atihresi ('rock cat'), and akini atihresi ('wolfish cat'). The kasayi are very large, muscular felines with long legs and big paws and wide ruffs; they have shaggy, thick, layered, silvery-white fur and black or dark grey stripes. The kasayi are happiest in cold weather and are the most enduring of the atihresi, generally level-headed and strong. The mereri are tall, lean, leggy cats with streamlined bodies and small muzzles; they have thin, sleek, pale yellow pelts with dark brown elongated patches. The mereri are the fastest atihresi and the least enduring, generally high-energy, competitive, and jovial. The kakygu are huge, muscular, heavy cats with long bodies and thick limbs and long muzzles; they have dense, glossy pelts with medium-to-dark brown fur and black markings on their faces and paws (males have thick, coarse manes, but females only have a ruff along the backs of their necks). The kakygu are mountain-bred cats, the largest atihresi and the strongest, generally assertive and fearless. The nakamiri are medium-sized felines with a sleek, 'average' build; they have smooth coppery fur with black speckles, spots, and rosettes. The nakamiri are stalker-cats, graceful and silent killers, adept on the ground, in the trees, and in the water. The kadhu are medium-large felines with muscular bodies and strong, blunt jaws; they have sleek, coal-black pelts with no markings. The kadhu are nocturnal sisters to the nakamiri, similar ambushers and hunters, though more ground-based; it is commonly thought that the kadhu are somewhat larger, stronger, melanistic versions of the nakamiri. The gekayo are long-bodied, leaping cats with rough paws and lengthy, heavy tails; they have thick, ruffed pelts with medium-to-light grey-brown fur, paler undersides, and darker 'masks' on their faces. The gekayo are mountain- and rock-climbers, incredibly acrobatic and graceful, blunt and laid-back in character. The akini are thick-bodied, heavy-pawed felines with wide faces and proportionately square bodies; they have shaggy, brown-and-grey fur in a wolfish shading pattern. The akini are rugged and enduring cats, quite strong but less agile and swift than their kin, and tend to be frank and no-nonsense cats with an affinity for the inlanlu.

Language: Atihresi speak Fulhu, a rumbling and expressive language with a structure quite similar to Uhjayi, the inlanlu tongue. Fulhu has a different vocabulary, but the same basic set of meanings; where Uhjayi often sounds smooth and liquid when spoken in hamin skin, Fulhu sounds thicker and serrated, like a low growl or rough purr. Fulhu is the second most widespread language on Alasa Ka - many non-atihresi learn to speak it, often as a way to communicate across races beyond the understanding of the inlanlu. (Inlanlu who are atihresi allies usually know Fulhu, however.)

Technology: Atihresi don't really use technology; in particular, they abhor k'antan-type ranged weapons and explosives. Atihresi do have forges and smithies, but their metalworking is used solely for weaponry; their homes are wood, hide, and stone.

Magic: Atihresi do not use any 'traditional' kind of magic, not even the shamanic magic that some few inlanlu practice. However, like all the tahori, atihresi 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 atihresi can convert enough qki to increase their speed, reflexes, and strength for short periods of time - atihresi can use enhancement qki best in hamin skin, somewhat in emigonu skin, and practically not at all in sanero skin. Many atihresi 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 atihresi are, izune still surpass them with superb external qki.

Values: Atihresi value one's self-reliance - both in terms of self-confidence and surety, as well as in terms of one's ability to physically provide for and defend oneself. In atihresi opinion, if a cat can take care of itself without a problem, banding together with other similarly competent cats will form a strong and formidable pride - thus providing a safe place to produce and raise cubs. Atihresi are protective over the young felines, and, to an extent, protective over all young - but not nearly as much so as inlanlu. A sense of communal loyalty is important - atihresi are loyal to their pridemates and other cats. Beyond self-sufficiency and pride-loyalty, atihresi value a keen wit and quick reflexes.

Social Groups/Society: Atihresi live in loosely-structured prides, comparable but not similar to inlanlu packs. Each pride has a leader or a leading mated pair, called the sydunen, who controls the group, establishes relationships with bordering packs, and tends to any major intrapride issues. The sydunen is/are typically the strongest warrior(s) in the pride, holding their rank by both physical ability and pride opinion of them. A sydunen who is unjust and nearly tyrannical can only be replaced by direct, one-on-one challenge - and the challenged atihresi chooses the terms of the challenge. A pride is more a collection of cooperative individuals than a solid unit, like inlanlu packs - most atihresi do as they please, so long as it doesn't endanger the pride/territory and so long as they are present to defend their pride/territory when necessary. Many atihresi actually travel, called back only when battles for land are impending. Sydunen, like the inlanlu kydunen, do not take part in pack/pride battles, but they do direct them strategically. Sydunen choose whether or not they want to reproduce; a lone sydunen can take a mate without elevating him/her to sydunen rank. Many prides will name individuals as kokhisakhi, elite warriors; the kokhisakhi have no gender distinction, no number limit, and no particularly loyalty to the current sydunen - they are simply the best warriors in the pride (not counting the sydunen) and bound to fight for and defend the pride, their pridemates, and their territory. Kokhisakhi are the atihresi equivalent of inlanlu sakhinen.

Habitat/Settlements: Atihresi can thrive in many terrains, typically determined by breed - kasayi live in the coldest tundra, mereri settle in the deserts and plains, nakamiri and kadhu in the forests and jungles, kakygu and gekayo in the mountains, akini nearly anywhere that is not excessively hot. Prides mark out a large area of land, which does not include the majority of their hunting grounds (which are shared between neighboring packs), and build their homes in the center of the territory. Buildings are small, one-room, and often round - they are primarily wooden, with woven-stick walls, logs as wall supports, a thatched conical roof, and a stone base. Each mated pair, family with children, and group of grown but unmated littermates has their own building, usually building it on themselves. There is a larger communal building for storage; if the pride has a forge/smithy, there is another (mostly stone) building to house it.

Religion/Beliefs: Atihresi don't have a set religion, nor any beliefs in deities. Some of them acknowledge the existence of nature spirits - the spirits within all living things, sentient or not. Most atihresi, however, hold a belief of an underlying cohesive spirit or life-force that animates living things, including themselves; they also consider only sentient/intelligent people to have 'souls' (which, to them, is simply a word for a non-physical consciousness).

Interaction w/ Other Species: They are mortal enemies of the k'anta (and usually of the juhta); they are intense rivals and often enemies of the inlanlu and izune. Atihresi are very wary of and skittish around dosa, and quite mistrustful of aresa - they tend to get along with ehsora fairly well, if only because the two tahori are so different. Atihresi are usually friendly towards humans, if slightly arrogant around them. Most atihresi are secure in their own prowess and survivability, and so usually greet other races with a mixture of good nature and self-confidence.

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