Species: Juhta

Name: juhta [JUH-tah]

Homeworld: Senhyv [Dri]

Height/Length/Weight: Juhta drones are similar in size to the soldiers, but juhta queens are in a league all their own. In emigonu (mix/hybrid) skin, drones and soldiers range from 6-8' tall and 4-6' long, weighing 450-550 lbs. In sanero (animal) skin, drones and warriors range from 4-5' tall and twice that in diameter (body plus the first (usually close to horizontal) segment of leg), weighing 500-600 lbs. Queens are always found in sanero form, typically 15-20' high, three times that in diameter, and weighing in at half a dozen tons (rough estimate). [Note: 'Emigonu' and 'sanero' are inlanlu tahori words, not juhta ones. Consistency blah blah simplification blah blah I don't know how juhta refer to themselves anyways blah blah.]

Physical Description: Juhta are shapeshifting arachnids. Akin to the tahori, juhta have two different skins, between which they can shapeshift between seamlessly and quickly. The sanero (animal) skin is the skin in which juhta spend most of their time; drones rarely ever shapeshift and queens never do. In the sanero skin, juhta resemble a very large spider - soldiers are much like this (with keratinous serrations along their legs and no hair), while queens and drones are shaped more like this. In emigonu skin, which only soldiers regularly use, the juhta moves about on its back four legs, its front four legs transforming into a cross between humanoid-jointed arms and its original legs. Its four arms do have hands, though its fingers are not jointed like human fingers and more resemble pincers, able to cut as well as grasp. Other than the change in stance and the addition of pincer-fingers, there is very little alteration between emigonu and sanero forms, making juhta the most primitive known shapeshifters. Shapeshifting itself is a quick and unmagical transition between emigonu and sanero skins; on Poc'n, this shift takes around ten minutes to complete, but juhta hives on more magic-dense worlds prove that soldiers can shapeshift just as quickly and fluidly as true tahori can. Any juhta requires qki in order to shift.

Senses/Capabilities: Juhta have fairly well-rounded senses. They have decent sight (motion-based, colorblind) in light and darkness, decent hearing (especially when underground; they track the vibrations through the earth), a fair sense of smell (particularly keen on fear, blood, and rotting meat), and a close-range heat-sense. Drones and soldiers can manage a decent run of up to 25 mph in emigonu skin and up to 40 mph in sanero skin. (Queens have never been seen running, so they remain unclocked.) Juhta seem to have a fair amount of strength, speed, and agility, plus keen reflexes and impressive endurance.

Coloration/Clothing: Juhta don't wear clothing. Drones are a drab tawny-beige color with no markings or variations; soldiers are matte black with red highlights; queens are dark ruby-red with no markings.

Races/Breeds: Juhta don't have races or breeds, but they do have castes. Drones are the smallest (by only a little), largely defenseless, and exist in the role of workers and builders; soldiers are slightly larger than drones with longer legs, more claws, larger mandibles, and exist to protect and feed the hive. There is one queen per hive; she is huge, but similar in build to a drone, lacking the soldier's serrations and claws.

Language: Juhta don't … speak. They have a hive mind and don't need to communicate in order to express themselves or even convey orders. They do make a lot of noise to intimidate intruders or alert nearby drones/soldiers that they've found something (or someone), but it's not language. The current theory is that they're telepathic to some degree, but non-juhta telepaths haven't been able to establish communications with them, either.

Technology: Juhta don't use technology.

Magic: Juhta don't use magic. Like tahori and k'anta, juhta are qki-converters; they take the magical energy of the world around them and process it into usable qki, thus enabling them to shapeshift. They have yet to show any sign of using qki for physical enhancement (increasing speed, strength, etc).

Values: Fairly non-existent. Protect the queen; protect the hive; provide for the hive; expand the hive; kill intruders. That about sums up their driving motivations.

Social Groups/Society: Juhta live in hives, controlled by a single queen. She doesn't produce a daughter until she is aging badly; the daughter is cast away from the hive, grows to adulthood, and comes back to kill her mother and take control of the hive. Sometimes, the daughter can take the hive and get the soldiers to kill the old queen, instead of doing it herself and risking injury. There is a hive mind, controlled by the queen - drones and soldiers are considered nonsentient by most non-juhta, but since the queen cannot be communicated with, all juhta are regarded as straddling the fine line between sentience and animal intelligence. (The fact that soldiers have been known to skillfully wield weapons - usually taken from k'anta wreckages or corpses - is one of the few things keeping juhta from being considered cunning beasts instead of primitive people.)

Habitat/Settlements: Juhta live in underground warrens in hot, dry areas (almost always deserts, but occasionally scrubland or savannahs). The queen stays in a huge nesting cavern, and the drones build a complex network of tunnels and smaller caves (usually for storage of food or collected treasures or salvaged weaponry) around the main nest. Drones also build hunting pits - they carve out a deep cavern and leave a very thin, often pitted ceiling of fragile earth above it, so that anything with bulk walking over it breaks the surface and falls. Soldiers man the bottom of the pit and kill whatever they find.

Religion/Beliefs: Juhta don't seem to be evolved enough to consider abstract thought like religion and philosophical beliefs.

Interaction w/ Other Species: Juhta are nearly universally hostile to other species. They are capable of living near k'anta, so long as territories do not overlap, but juhta typically expand their territories regularly, so conflict with neighbors is usually inevitable. Busy juhta will often ignore an individual or small group that passes nearby a territory, so long as the juhta aren't hungry and the passersby don't present a threat to the hive. Formal attempts to interact with a juhta hive as a diplomatic relation between species have never gone well.

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