Species: Daereon

Name: daereon(s) [DAYR-ee-uhn(z)]

Homeworld: Siirwik

Height/Length/Weight: Being legless, daereons don't have a set height, especially since they keep their heads low to the ground no matter their length. In length, it's a questionable range - they continue growing as long as they live. Newly-adult daereons usually measure 24-30" long, about 1" thick, and weigh around 4-5 lbs; very old daereons can reach eight feet in length, about 4" thick, and weigh 50-60 lbs.

Physical Description: Daereons are small, legless, scale-skinned serpents. They have slender, tapering faces, lidless slit-pupiled eyes, slitted nostrils, internal ears, a thin forked tongue, two retractable fangs (hollow and venomous), and a few serrated tooth-like ridges along the sides of their jaws; their bodies are slender, streamlined, and smooth, tapering to a slim tailtip. Essentially, they look like absolutely normal snakes that one might find on dozens of different worlds; they have one gender, for all intents and purposes, and entirely internal genitalia.

Senses/Capabilities: Daereons have very good senses. Their eyesight is motion-based and largely colorless, poor at very close and very far distances. They have an excellent sense of smell, aided by their tongue, and are especially sensitive to temperature (of both the air and of nearby bodies). Their hearing is decent, though they also track vibrations that travel into their bodies from whatever surface they're currently on, and so finer or higher-pitched noises can be drowned out by the more bass rumbling of movement. Most notably, however, their magic-sense is incredibly keen, able to detect and identify magic at a considerable range and with excellent distinction. Their capabilities are limited by their physical form - they are slow in a slither, rarely surpassing 10 mph, though some can reach 15 mph for a few moments in a 'sprint'. Since their bodies are not entirely prehensile, they aren't the best at climbing trees or rock faces, but they can swim extremely well. They are not constrictive, so they lack physical strength in that regard, but their speed and precision in striking is amazing. Being serpents, they are also extremely flexible and agile - and sensitive to temperature, since they're cold-blooded.

Coloration/Clothing: Daereons have no limitation in color or pattern, though they don't tend to be particularly neon or fluorescent shades. Their eyes are typically a shade of yellow, but more jewel-like tones (blues, greens, reds, purples) are not completely rare. The insides of their mouths are a very pale white-pink, often startling against some daereons' darker colorations. All daereons are quite glossy and shiny (when healthy).

Races/Breeds: Daereons do not have any particular ethnicities, though some seem to be developing from fairly static populations on various different worlds.

Language: Daereons speak siih, a hissing and sibilant language that most non-daereons can't understand, even with effort and practice. The nuances in the limited range of sound that daereons can make are so fine that non-daereons have a lot of trouble distinguishing concepts and words from each other. Because of their primitive vocal chords, inflexible snouts, and thin tongues, daereons cannot speak most other races' languages, with very few exceptions. (However, daereons can learn listening comprehension of other languages quite quickly and easily, due to their ingrained habit of listening very intently to distinguish words and meanings in spoken word.) Their inability to speak vocan, halasshian, buthan, and other well-known languages has led to the widespread assumption that they are not sentient creatures, enabling their transportation as animals instead of people. Because of this, many daereons have begun developing unrefined telepathic abilities in an attempt to communicate, and some skilled daereons are refining those abilities and exploring further possibilities.

Technology: Daereons lack technology. They also lack the body-parts needed to use most pre-existing technology.

Magic: Daereons are one of the most magically-skilled and -inclined races of the universe, despite being relatively undiscovered as an actual sentient race. When the creatures on their homeworld developed a resistance to the daereons' venom, instead of evolving a more potent poison, daereons began experimenting with magic. They quickly developed a diverse and potent range of magical skills to help them survive, hunt, heal, and live longer. When human cultists discovered their planet and their burgeoning skills, they colonized the world and enslaved the daereons - who were thought to be mere animals by everyone else - to train to be dark magic-users. In the years since, daereons have begun developing telepathic (and possibly even telekinetic) abilities and are fighting to be recognized as people, not animals. (The language barrier makes this more difficult than it sounds.) Some daereons - a minority, but more than just a handful - have broken free of cultist control and have learned other magic systems as well, living as discreetly as possible on a number of different worlds while Siirwik remains under human control.

Values: Above all else, daereons prize their own magical prowess and knowledge. Many are content to live out their lives as animal-citizens and black magic-workers, but many value their independence and freedom more than simple power and security. Physical agility and speed are also important to daereons - until they age and become too large to be truly lightning-fast.

Social Groups/Society: Daereons currently live in large groups, controlled by humans. The few daereons who escaped from slavery to live out their own lives freely are usually solitary, occasionally crossing paths with a friendly creature but rarely living with that person. Some daereons prefer company to solitude and will seek it out, but due to the language barrier that so frequently exists between them and any other species, it's rare to find kinship with anyone who isn't a daereon as well. There is no actual daereon society; they're too scattered to form their own, and the only sizeable populations are still enslaved.

Reproduction/Aging: Daereons reproduce asexually/parthenogenically, 2-6 eggs developing and becoming fertilized inside the individual's body and being laid after 4-6 weeks. The eggs hatch a few months afterwards; daereon young are physically mature at two years and will start reproducing at 4-5 years, usually a clutch every 12-18 months. (Daereons who are exposed to very potent magic at a young age are often rendered infertile, so their magical training normally isn't started until they're two years old. Until then, they're left to their own devices amongst other daereons.) Daereons continue growing until they die, and many daereons can pass 100 years of age without showing any signs of physical failure, though most stop reproducing when they pass a century. Daereons who use any form of healing magic can often extend their own lifespans upwards of 150 years, with some exceptional individuals nearing 200 years of age.

Habitat/Settlements: Being cold-blooded, daereons prefer warm environments, though they can usually survive in seasonal climates. They prefer terrain with plenty of places to hide, be it densely-forested or riddled with tunnels, rock formations, or low-lying plant growth. They are not arboreal or underground denizens, but they've been known to spend as much time in water as on land, being excellent swimmers. Daereons do not have actual settlements; they don't build things, nor do they put much effort into making a den or a nest.

Religion/Beliefs: Daereons view souls, spirits, and magic as unformed serpents - not as entities, per se, but as serpentine flows of energy and life. What lives is what flows, like serpents, like water, like breath. They have little care for an afterlife or for any particular gods, but they are somewhat animistic in their view of the universe, basing it on snakes, water, and air. Things that are stiff, stagnant, unchanging, or immobile are considered extremely unhealthy and unnatural.

Interaction w/ Other Species: Daereons were enslaved by humans many, many generations ago, but not all daereons dislike or resent humans for this transgression. Many get along well with their human companions, especially if they're in a cultist group. Some daereons do feel bitterness and rebellion towards humans, and often other species as well, for treating them as animals and/or property. Individuals may befriend other individuals of certain species, but unless the language barrier can be breached, true friendship is nearly impossible. Free daereons often avoid other people entirely, preferring a life of seclusion and solitude; they can react with wariness, occasionally hostility or suspicion, to other creatures.

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