Species: K'anta

Name: k'anta [kk-ANN-tah]

Homeworld: Poc'n

Breed: shaelo [SHAY-low] (utahraptor)

Height/Length/Weight: Shaelo are the smallest of the k'anta, but not small by human standards. In emigonu (mix/hybrid) skin, they stand 6-7' tall and weigh 180-250 lbs. In sanero (animal) skin, they stand 5-6' at the shoulder and 7-9' long (plus another 8-10' of tail), weighing around half a ton. [Note: K'anta don't call their emigonu and sanero skins by those names - they call the sanero skin their 'raw form' and view the emigonu skin as their natural state. I'm using the term 'emigonu' and 'sanero' because the k'anta, like the tache and the juhta, are 'two-thirds Shifters' and I'm trying to streamline my terminology by cutting out multiple terms for the same thing. However, 'emigonu' and 'sanero' are inlanlu words, not k'antan words.]

Physical Description: [Note: See 'Shapeshifting' below the breed descriptions for more information on, well, shapeshifting and thus the glue that holds k'anta together.] Shaelo are shapeshifting, warm-blooded, furred-and-feathered dromaeosaurids. They have thick, leathery, rather reptilian hides, thinly covered in coarse hairs (like guard hairs on a dog's pelt) and feathered along the skull and neck. Shaelo have long, toothy snouts, large eyes, internal ears, nostril slits, and long necks. Their bodies are lean, sinuous, and streamlined; their legs are long, muscular, and capable of amazing jumps and kicks. Their taloned feet have three long toes, the innermost of which is kinked to hold a sizeable longclaw aloft. In sanero skin, shaelo k'anta stand with their spines horizontal; they have long, lithe tails for balance. They have leanly muscled forearms that hold three clawed fingers close to their chests. In emigonu skin, shaelo stand with their spines mostly vertical and have broader shoulders and humanoid-in-build arms; their hands have three clawed fingers and a thumb tipped in a longclaw, and their tails are much shorter (barely reaching the ground when extended) but still just as flexible.

Senses/Capabilities: Shaelo k'anta are sight-based, with long-range, full-color vision that deals well with movement as well as static detail. They have a fairly poor sense of smell (better than humans, but still not great) and a good sense of hearing. Shaelo are extremely quick, agile creatures and rely on their speed and precision in combat and in the hunt, rather than endurance or strength. (Not to say they're weak, but anything compared to an arrek … just comes up short.) They have fairly poor endurance (much like atihresi tahori) but recover quickly from exhaustion. In emigonu skin, they can run up to 30 mph and up to 45 mph in sanero skin.

Coloration/Clothing: Shaelo are easily the most colorful k'anta, with a variety of possible markings (spots, mottling/dappling, rosettes, stripes, shading, and often a combination) and colors (blues, greens, reds, yellows, purples, browns, greys, black). Unicolored shaelo are extremely rare; most have at least two colors (base color, marking color) and often have three, four, or more. Shaelo occasionally wear clothing, usually a cloth trousers+tunic outfit, but never shoes.

Breed: arrek(s) [AH-rehk(s)] (allosaurus)

Height/Length/Weight: Arreks are the largest of the k'anta by far, and females are considerably larger than males. In emigonu (mix/hybrid) skin, they stand 9-10' tall and weigh 400-500 lbs. In sanero (animal) skin, they stand 13-16' high at the withers and 20-25' long (plus another body-length of tail), weighing 6.5-7.5 tons.

Physical Description: Arreks are warm-blooded, shapeshifting, furred tyrannosaurids. Like shaelo k'anta, arreks have thick, leathery, reptilian hides covered in long, coarse hairs; these hairs thicken to form a creditable mane along the backs of both head and neck, with a line of thicker hair running all the way down their spine. They have long, wide, blocky muzzles, rows of shark-like teeth, smallish eyes, internal ears, and nostril slits; their necks are shortish and muscular, and their bodies are compact, thick, and powerful. They have long, thickly-muscled legs that end in three-toed, clawed talons. In sanero skin, arrek k'anta stand with their spines horizontal, using their long, heavy tails for balance. They have unusually small, thin forearms with three clawed digits on each 'hand', which are only of use in holding things to their chests, given the limited range of movement and reach. In emigonu skin, arreks stand with their spines vertical; they have wide shoulders, immensely thick and long arms (more proportionate to their long legs) with three clawed fingers and a similarly clawed thumb. Their tails are much shorter (barely reaching the ground), but not thick or clumsy; also, in emigonu skin, they only have hairs along the backs of their heads and necks, instead of over nearly all of their bodies.

Senses/Capabilities: Arrek k'anta have a solid balance between the three primary senses; their senses of smell are good, their hearing is very good, and their sight is good for catching motion. (However, if something is absolutely still, they probably won't pick up on it; they also have very poor color recognition, relying on scent/voice to distinguish individuals more than colors/markings.) Arreks are immensely, ridiculously strong, and they have considerably good endurance, as well - as expected, though, they are not very fast (unless using qki), nor are they agile. In emigonu skin, they can run up to 25 mph and up to 40 mph in sanero skin.

Coloration/Clothing: Arreks have medium-light colorations with frequent striping, dappling, or rosetted patches, as well as a typically intricate pattern of light-dark on their faces. Potential colors include light swamp green, darker/duller forest green, flat grey-blue, varying shades of brown and/or grey, and occasionally yellowed green or yellowed brown. Markings are often darker and include greens, browns, greys, and occasionally black. Eyes are uniformly yellow-gold and claws are black. Arreks usually wear trousers but rarely tunics and never shoes.

Breed: baeri [BAY-ree] (baryonyx)

Height/Length/Weight: Baeri are the second-largest of the k'anta. In emigonu (mix/hybrid) skin, they stand 8-9' tall and weigh 350-450 lbs. In sanero (animal) skin, they stand 10-12' high at the withers and 15-18' long (plus another 10-15' of tail), weighing 1.5-2.5 tons.

Physical Description: Baeri are warm-blooded, shapeshifting, long-bodied spinosaurids (resembling Baryonyx walkeri, rather than Spinosaurus). Unlike shaelo and arreks, baeri are hairless; they have a thick, leathery, but fairly smooth hide. They have long, almost crocodilian snouts with streamlined heads, small eyes, nostril slits, internal ears, and a small ridge running up the bridge of their muzzles; their teeth are numerous, small, and sharp, ideal for catching and holding small animals and especially fish. They have long, unarched necks and low, streamlined bodies with powerful legs (proportionally shorter than arrek or shaelo legs) and three-toed clawed feet. In sanero skin, baeri are low-slung and long, standing with their spines horizontal and long, thick tails stretched out behind them. Their forearms are lean but powerful with three digits, all tipped in remarkably huge claws (largest on the inside, smallest on the outside of the 'hand'). In emigonu skin, baeri stand with their spines mostly vertical, their shoulders somewhat broader and chests somewhat flatter (but still retaining a somewhat barrelled build). Their arms are humanoid in build and retain the remarkably large claws on their fingers, though they have a thumb as well. Their tails are much shorter, barely reaching the ground, but not squat or inflexible.

Senses/Capabilities: Baeri, like shaelo, are sight-based and have similarly excellent vision. Their hearing is also extremely good, but their senses of smell are very, very poor - about as good as a human's. They are powerful, swift creatures, but they lack great endurance and flexibility; however, many non-k'anta consider them to be a deadly middle ground between a shaelo's speed and agility and an arrek's strength and endurance. In emigonu skin, they can run up to 25 mph and up to 35 mph in sanero skin.

Coloration/Clothing: Baeri have dark, vivid colorations with no markings (other than a tendency to be lighter and/or slightly mottled on the undersides). They tend to be rich, dark purple, very dark blue, deep forest green, blue-tinted shadow-grey, or coal-black. Their eyes are often a vivid, medium hue of their hide color, and their claws are black. Many baeri wear clothing - usually only leggings, occasionally vests or tunics, and never shoes.

Breed: stryda(e) [STRY-dah / STRY-day] (styracoguanadon)

Height/Length/Weight: Strydae are 'average' in size for k'anta. In emigonu (mix/hybrid) skin, they stand 7-8' tall and weigh 250-325 lbs. In sanero (animal) skin, they stand 6-7' high at the withers and 10-13' long (plus another body-length of tail), weighing 1200-1600 lbs.

Physical Description: Strydae are warm-blooded, shapeshifting, lightly-furred hadrosaurs. They have long, coarse hairs thinly coating their upper bodies (ie, everywhere but throat, chest, belly, groin, and inner limbs) and an impressive array of long, keratinous spikes that form a half-crescent crest around the backs of their heads, almost like rays from a sun. They have medium-length muzzles tipped in solid, short beaks, large eyes, internal ears, nostril slits, and an omnivorous set of teeth. They have fairly lean, long-limbed bodies with compact torsos and shortish necks. In sanero skin, strydae vary between bipedal and quadrupedal movement, their forelimbs nearly as long as their hind legs, and so their spines stay somewhere close to horizontal; they have feet like this. Their tails are medium-length and fairly heavy, considering their build, and are used for combat (unique among k'anta). In emigonu skin, strydae stand with their spines mostly vertical and have long, lean, humanoid-in-build arms with four thick fingers and one short thumb, each of which is tipped in a hoof-like nub. Their tails are longer than other k'anta tails in this skin, usually around five feet long, and muscular without being squat - still able to be used in defense.

Senses/Capabilities: Strydae are the only k'anta whose best sense is hearing, rather than sight. Their vision is good, low-color and keen with detail (rather than motion-based), but it's their hearing that is truly spectacular. They have very poor senses of smell. Strydae are fast and agile, as well as surprisingly enduring, though their strength is lacking. They (and dastheeli) have little focus on combat, not being predators like shaelo, arreks, and baeri. In emigonu skin, they can run up to 30 mph and up to 40 mph in sanero skin.

Coloration/Clothing: Strydae have particularly dull, dark colorations: medium-to-dark browns, greys, greens, and mottled combinations of any two or all three. Their crests, however, are usually very vivid colors - bright red being most common, but violet, blue, green, and yellow-orange also being seen. Their eyes are usually the same color as their hides, and claws are usually matte black. They regularly wear clothing - simple woven cloth leggings and tunics, in general - no shoes.

Breed: dastheel(i) [das-THEEL(-ee)] (pterodactyl)

Height/Length/Weight: Dastheeli are the lightweights of the k'anta. In emigonu (mix/hybrid) skin, they stand 5.5-6.5' tall with a wingspan of ~11', weighing 100-150 lbs. In sanero (animal) skin, they stand 4-5' high at the shoulder (on all fours) and are 7-9' long (plus a body-length of tail) with a wingspan of ~25', weighing 120-175 lbs.

Physical Description: Dastheeli are warm-blooded, shapeshifting, hairless pterosaurs. They have thin, stretchable hides and a hollow crest stretching backwards from their small, streamlined skulls; the crest is half the length of their long, thin, toothed beaks. They are built to fly, extremely light (hollow bones) and lean in shape, with lean torsos and long, thin, flexible tails. They have large eyes, nostril slits, internal ears, and fairly long necks. In sanero skin, dastheeli have short but powerful legs, three-toed talons with an opposable digit (all clawed), and massive membranous wings that stretch out along a lengthened fourth finger; their wing membrane is attached to their flanks all the way down to their hips. The backs of their legs also have a membranous webbing that connects to their long tail, forming a highly effective rudder. In emigonu skin, dastheeli have longer (but still proportionally short) legs and stand with their spines mostly vertical, able to walk without the aid of their wings, which are dramatically smaller but more powerful, enabling them to use their winghands as actual hands. They also have much shorter tails in emigonu skin (~2' long) and lack the leg-tail webbing.

Senses/Capabilities: Dastheeli have the best eyesight of all k'anta, but their hearing is poor and their sense of smell practically nonexistent. They are physically weak, but they have decent endurance (in flight) and are quite quick and agile in the air, though slow and awkward on the ground. They cannot run faster than 10-15 mph, but they can fly up to 30 mph in emigonu skin and up to 60 mph in sanero skin.

Coloration/Clothing: Dastheeli don't wear clothing - it hampers them too much. They tend to be light, desaturated colors - beige, ivory, light grey, dull pale green, dull pale blue. Eyes are typically dark (blue or brown, usually appear to be black) and claws generally grey, beige, or black. They don't have any marking patterns, but they may be different shades of the same color - lighter wing membranes, for example, or a darker crest.

Shapeshifting: K'anta are kin to the tahori, an overarching species of shapeshifters; similar to true tahori, k'anta have two (instead of three) distinct skins, between which they can shapeshift freely. Their coloration and markings do not change between emigonu (upright) and sanero (animal) skins. (They lack the humanoid hamin skins that true tahori also have.) K'anta, like the tahori, are perpetually hungry unless their larger 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); a k'anta employs their inner qki, physical perceptions are numbed for a moment, and they shift seamlessly from emigonu to sanero and back. If a k'anta'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. Shaelo k'anta 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. Important note: this is how shapeshifting is on a magic-average world. Poc'n, the k'anta homeworld, is very magic-dry. Shapeshifting for experienced k'anta (usually shaelo and some baeri) takes between 10-15 minutes on a good day, with others who do not shift often taking up to 30 minutes to complete the change. K'anta born, raised, and trained on Poc'n will take a very long time to shift even on a magic-rich world, since their bodies can only take in a very small amount of qki at a time; however, k'anta born on or trained on a magic-average world will be able to shift much more quickly, with those who live their entire lives outside of Poc'n being able to shift as quickly and fluidly as the tahori themselves.

Language: K'anta speak kannish, a language shared between all the k'anta races. Kannish has an uncountable number of dialects, accents, and regional sets of slang, making it an extremely flexible but often confusing language. It is somewhat guttural in sound with plenty of growls, snaps/clicks, hisses, and shrieking or hooting - despite its sound, it can be spoken very quietly, though those new to the language will have a very hard time understanding its transmuted intricacies. Kannish has an extensive vocabulary and a rather complex structure, making it a challenge for non-k'anta to learn; k'anta don't teach their language to outsiders, either, and nearly all of them know vocan or another widespread intersun tongue.

Technology: K'anta, shaelo and baeri especially, are quite advanced in technology, primarily concentrating on weaponry, though they have built and still maintain several intersun docks for trading purposes. K'anta are one of the few species to design and craft firearms that are not arcane in nature; grenades and mines are also k'antan favorites. One invention that is never exported and never shared with non-k'anta are called portal bombs - if programmed correctly, four of them placed in a square around a living creature or person will explode simultaneously, creating a split-second rift and transporting whatever was in that square to another world. K'anta are especially quick to use these devices to get rid of particularly dangerous enemies, sending them off to a world that does not see trading ships and, effectively, exiling them for life - or even sending them to an exceptionally dangerous world to ensure a swift death. Their other trademarked and never-shared invention is a woven metal cord, which effectively chokes off any chance of wielding qki - a silvery version prevents qki use outside the body, and a golden version prevents any qki use at all, including internal healing or shapeshifting. These cords (usually referred to as collars) can be shot from something similar to a grenade launcher from a considerable distance with fair accuracy and are typically used against warriors or tahori. Shaelo and baeri k'anta deal frequently in technology and often carry firearms or other mechanical weaponry, whereas arreks and strydae typically stick to basic weaponry (swords, etc) and dastheeli tend to avoid heavy tools altogether, working with wood or woven fabric.

Magic: The only k'anta to show even a passing interest in magic are dastheeli, and some have left Poc'n in order to study magism on a world that actually has useable innate magic. Dastheeli are typically mages (pure, black, or elemental) and ignore warlockery, druidry, and the Light as pure forms of magic. However, like the tahori, k'anta 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. Some k'anta (all shaelo, occasionally individuals of other races) can convert enough qki to increase their speed, reflexes, and strength for short periods of time - k'anta can use enhancement qki best in emigonu skin and practically not at all in sanero skin. Many shaelo k'anta also learn to use external qki (qki blasts or balls, qki auras, qki bursts used to enhance leaps), unlike the other races (who are not adept at both enhancement and external qki). Because Poc'n is such a low-magic world, k'anta of all kinds find it draining and time-consuming to change skins; however, those k'anta born and/or trained on a more magic-dense world have immense natural talent with it. (Mostly shaelo, but some baeri and arreks have shown promise with internal and/or external qki, as well - just like dastheeli make great off-world mages. Strydae seem to have little interest in qki or magic.)

Values: K'anta have a variety of values, based both on their race and the region in which they were born. To generalize, they hold loyalty to one's kin (those of the same race, but also all k'anta) very highly, and any traitor is dealt with as harshly as their most hated enemies. Shaelo k'anta pride themselves on physical prowess and skill with weaponry (both mechanical and old-styled), as well as quickness of wit and reflex. Arrek k'anta pride themselves on their strength, endurance, and high pain tolerance - they are the shock troops in any battle and are proud of it. Baeri, despite their physical size, place a strong focus on their minds - intelligence, cunning, and predicting a situation are highly respected among them. Strydae are a more peaceful people, valuing social cooperation and the ability to provide for one's family without endangering them. Dastheeli value knowledge and longevity, which is why many leave Poc'n and seek magical training; others occasionally become scientists and engineers.

Social Groups/Society: K'anta live in multiracial communities - cities, towns, outposts, and everything in between. They form social circles based on friendships, professions, hobbies, neighborhoods within larger communities, and age. (In other words, much like humans.) They have no definitive hierarchy in casual social groups, though their military training (which all shaelo and arreks go through; most baeri also complete it, and strydae and dastheeli usually avoid it) has a loosely-structured ranking system, based both on individual capability and the ability to lead others in battle.

Habitat/Settlements: K'anta live in fairly civilized settlements; buildings house professionals and craftsmen, and larger buildings house individual k'anta (one room per individual). Families have their own small buildings, as do some unrelated k'anta who decided they were tired of communal living in the large houses. Most towns/cities have barracks, weapon holds, and plenty of smithies. As for habitats, most k'anta are content to live where it doesn't get terribly cold - a mild seasonal winter is about the extent of their tolerance. Extreme dryness or heat doesn't usually bother them nearly as much as the cold.

Religion/Beliefs: K'anta hold no religion, and few even acknowledge any spirits living in non-sentient life-forms (animals, plants, etc), though some dastheeli mages constitute an exception to that generalization. Little thought is given to an afterlife, gods, spirits, or anything without a physical form and/or a proven ability to harm them.

Interaction w/ Other Species: K'anta are a prideful, aggressive people, but they are not hostile to anyone on first meeting, except for tahori. Nearly all k'anta will attack tahori on sight, unless the odds are very solidly against them, and most of the battles k'anta regularly engage in are against tahori when encountered outside of Poc'n and Alasa Ka. K'anta are condescending towards humans, considering them physically inferior and far too widespread for any one race, and have no qualms about taking human lands/possessions/lives at will. However, k'anta do give respect and a wide berth to any species that has proven its ability to hold its ground against them. Unknowns will get k'anta either curious or wary, depending on the unknown's physical appearance (and therefore apparent prowess).

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