Species: Erdora Qkaulom

Name: Erdora qkaulom [air-DOR-ah kaw-lome]

Homeworld: Erdor

Height/Length/Weight: The qkaulom are a sizeable race, with the males being considerably larger than the females. Males are 7-8' tall; females are 6-7' tall. Males weigh from 550-700 lbs; females weigh from 400-500 lbs. Qkaulom are as long (from nose to haunches) as they are tall, with an extra 5-8' of tail.

Physical Description: The qkaulom are warm-blooded, reptilian tauroids. Males tend to be brawny, bulky, and overally thickly muscular, whereas females are lean, compact, and more streamlined. Their faces have short, lizard-like muzzles concealing rows of sharp, triangular teeth; they have large, dark eyes with scarlet rings around the eyelids. They have no hair, fur, or feathers; their hide is thick, leathery, and becomes toughened into a scale-like pattern over their back and all along their lower body, but for their lower stomach. Erdora qkaulom have forked tongues, flared nostrils, and mere slits for ears. On males, a small ridge of spike-like protrusions that runs from their muzzle, over their head, and along their spine to the tips of their tails; from upper shoulders to lower haunches, the protrusions can be up to two and three inches long. Qkaulom have humanoid arms with strong, clawed hands; their upper torsos are also extremely male-type humanoid, and females do not possess mammary glands. Male qkaulom, upon coming of age, amputate their right arms and replace it with a mechanical one, made of a lustrous black metal only found on Erdor and Cgorev. This robotic arm is typically coupled with a small gun, as well as three blade-like claws on its hand in lieu of fingers, and is powered by enchanted crystals, which lighten the arm (to the weight of a normal arm), create a magic dampening field, and also cast an aura of intimidation. Erdora qkaulom have powerful lower bodies with deep chests, flexible waists, and muscular limbs that, unlike Cgorevinian qkaulom, protrude outwards from their bodies (crocodilian, rather than saurian). They have a long tail; males' are capped in a mace-like ball of chitinous spikes, while females' tails are softer, blunt-tipped, and flexible.

Senses/Capabilities: Erdora qkaulom are nocturnal; they have fantastic night vision with an impressive range, although they can't see in color. Areas bright enough to cause physical pain can be viewed in infrared, which can be accomplished by closing an inner translucent eyelid that adjusts the frequencies of light that can get to the retina. Erdora qkaulom have very poor senses of smell and hearing, due to millennia of living in noisy, smoke-filled caverns around the reek of sulfur and molten ore. Their physical capabilities are specifically adapted to living underground; they are extremely strong, but they are not quick nor enduring runners. Qkaulom tend to move slowly (unless in combat), conserving energy and strength - using this method, they rarely tire and are perpetually prepared for hostile environments or rivals. Females are weak, but quite flexible; neither gender is particularly agile or quick in reflex.

Coloration/Clothing: Erdora qkaulom are extremely pale, for the most part; their upper torso, along with their underbelly and chest, is extremely pale - mottled ivory-white and fleshy peach. Their lower bodies are also mottled - any combination of pale olive-green, light dust brown, silvery grey, or a drab grey-green-brown hue. Some females can be black with a silvery upper body, and others will have hints of vivid gold in their coloration - these are often considered to be 'purer' in blood and highly desirable mates. (Qkaulom see in greyscale, but the greyscale version of gold is notably different than the typical coloration; the occasional dark female is also strikingly different than the norm.) Qkaulom do not wear clothing nor armor, but females wear a heavy metal collar with the insignia of their father (if they are still unmated) or their mate/owner.

Races/Breeds: Once, Erdora qkaulom and Cgorevinian qkaulom were one and the same people. When the qkaulom discovered how to travel between the two planets orbiting their sun, they took fleets of people to Cgorev, conquered the cgorevini natives, and settled there. Over time, there has been such strict bloodline-management that the settlers on Cgorev became an entirely different race, one adapted to living in a well-lit world above the ground, while the Erdora qkaulom became ever further evolved to thrive in their massive underground cities. However, the two sister-races remain tightly allied, and the Cgorevinian qkaulom are the shock troops of any and all qkaulom activity outside their own sun system; they were the ones who hunted the tache back to their homeworld and slaughtered them all.

Language: All of them know Qkaulish (called Old Qkaulish by Cgorevinians), and many of the males have learned other languages in order to read specific blueprints and to communicate with visiting traders. Qkaulish itself is a guttural, snarling language, difficult for many races to manage with more delicate vocal chords. Its vocabulary tends to be centered around nouns, technological terminology, and terms of combat/war. Most terms used towards females and/or other races are very derogatory, whereas the language females use towards males is very respectful and flattering.

Technology: Erdora qkaulom are a very technologically advanced people, surpassing most other races in existence. Not only did they construct the Harbingers, one of only three mechanical life-forms in the entire universe, the males also supplement their bodies with a sophisticated mechanical arm that acts as a melee weapon, a power source, an aid in tunneling, and a symbol of status. All Erdora technology is powered by crystals that have been specially shaped and infused with a specific type of magical energy; often-times, these enchanted gems are the only lightsources in an area, giving off a very weak glow. Qkaulom specialize in destructive machines and weaponry, including many that they use to expand the network of tunnels beneath the surface of Erdor. They also make some of the most advanced and quickest intersun ships in the universe; they keep the very best for themselves and barter or sell the rest to black magic cults and pirates for hefty sums.

Magic: Erdora qkaulom do not have an innate talent with magic, so magic use is relegated to the females. They struggle to learn to manipulate the natural energy of their world - it's a tedious and long-term education that only serves as evidence of their inferiority to males, who believe they could learn such magic in a matter of days if they so chose. Though the women train the next generations of magic users, all activity and schooling is closely overseen by males, ensuring a lack of privacy and secrecy. The only three classes that qkaulom can seem to learn are warlockery, necromancy, and black magic, in order of least common to most. The women are also responsible for shaping and enchanting the crystals that power all qkaulom technology.

Values: Qkaulom value strength, technical skill, determination, and aggression. The strongest male with a large group of desirable women, a vast amount of technical knowledge, and a keenly aggressive ambition is generally regarded as ideal, and all strive to best him by excelling past him - or killing him. Indifference and crude gruffness towards women is often taken as a sign of a strong, secure male - one who panders to females is scorned as weak and often attacked.

Social Groups/Society: The smallest social groups are houses, which consist of a prime male, his mates, and their offspring, as well as any servants/slaves/craftsmen who have sworn allegiance to the house; each house has its own building(s) and its own particular skills, often determined by which craftsmen/technicians have been taken into the house. (Craftsmen, technicians, etc are all males who are not strong enough to create and hold their own houses, yet still have valuable skills to offer their communities - which, in turns, means they are not killed for being worthless.) The prime males of the strongest houses in the city form a committee of rulers that unites all the cities - they are the Builders. They make the laws, decide what the city needs, and decide if any one house has overstepped its boundaries and needs to be dismantled. The houses are constantly striving to best one another in either combat, or technical achievement. There is often open war between two houses, one seeking women and technology against the defending house. This is supervised, often even encouraged, by the Builders. However, if the violence spills into the streets, the Harbingers are called in to ensure that nothing like that happens again between the two houses. Even though aggression is valued and seen on the streets very often, secrecy is also valued. It is not an odd occurrence to see a house suddenly collapse from the inside after it has been secretly taken over, looted, and then destroyed by another house. Men own everything in the cities and have all the political power; women are seen as little better than slaves, barely being worthy of mating with the men, and usually only used to spread the prime male's bloodline. The females have no say in who they mate with, when or where it happens, and often are pushed to the ground and mounted right in the streets; fathers will sell or trade their adolescent daughters to houses with which they want to ally or pacify. Females who do not get paired off are exiled from their house of birth at adulthood and can be claimed by the first male that wants them. This inequality is accepted as fact by both genders; there are no uprisings, and rarely any attempts at resistence by the women.

Harbingers: The Harbingers are the secret police of the Builders. These are not qkaulom, but large, bipedal, creature-like machines made of crystal and the same lustrous black metal that is used for the qkaulom mechanical arms. They are living machines, mostly-sentient beings created by the Builders in ages long past as a way to preserve the superiority of the Builder caste. They are twelve feet tall monstrosities, completely immune to dark magic and, for the most part, impervious to weapons. The chests of these golems are usually made of large red crystals that enable the monsters to change their pace from a slow, lumbering walk to swift running and put their strength to use with finesse that would give the most hardened warriors pause. They have no hands - they bear a long, swordlike hand on the left arm, and an energy cannon on the right.

Habitat/Settlements: The entire Erdora qkaulom species lives beneath the surface of their world, past the top-most layer of catacombs and caverns (which is filled with vicious predators that give even qkaulom warriors pause), in the deep of the planet's flesh. An extensive network of caves, tunnels, and empty pits runs through the entire planet's body, and qkaulom cities are built in the biggest spaces. Buildings are carved out of stalagmites and stalactites; huge rock formations are chipped and shaped into usable structures with the skill of the Builders. No buildings need to be constructed from scratch, nor do roads need to be built, though some bridges have been constructed between stalactites hanging from cavern domes. Each qkaulom house has its own building to house its members, and often other smaller buildings in which to work and craft.

Religion/Beliefs: Qkaulom have no time or care for religion. They have no particular beliefs about deities, spirits, ancestors, or an afterlife. Arcane magic is a normal, measurable thing and to be used as one pleases, not worshipped.

Interaction w/ Other Species: Erdora qkaulom have a particularly aggressive, almost savage attitude towards outside races: they are to be used, or to be killed. While Cgorevinian qkaulom can find some tiny measure of respect for certain traders or warriors who are not qkaulom, Erdora qkaulom have absolutely no regard for them. Erdora qkaulom kill the worthless, enslave the useful but weak, and trade with those who are worth more while free to sail between suns. They also develop a fierce hatred for any creatures that dare stand up to them in battle; it was they who demanded that their Cgorevinian brothers go slaughter the tache on the taches' homeworld. If they were not so crippled by bright light, they would undoubtably have started a war with the nearest worlds for their lands and resources; however, since they cannot stand the sunlight of most planets, they stay within Erdor's bowels. Despite all this, there are still a great many black market traders and black magic cults who scramble to trade with the qkaulom, taking the risks (and the losses) in order to acquire such technological marvels and incredibly fast intersun ships.

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