Species: Rochoi

Name: rochoi [roh-CHOY] (Note: rochoi is the species name and title. Choi is used to indicate an individual or a group of individuals - a choi, many choi, the rochoi.)

Homeworld: Racamarai

Height/Length/Weight: The rochoi are reasonably sized quadrupeds. They're 3-4' at the shoulder, and 6-8' when rearing up on their haunches. Most choi range from 7-9' long, plus another 10-14' of tail, and weigh between 300-450 lbs.

Physical Description: The rochoi are quadrupedal, marsupial mammals that have a warm, yet alien beauty about them. With an ursine torso, they are capable of standing as bipeds, though they prefer to move about on all fours. Rochoi are sleek-furred in a soft, glossy, fairly dense pelt; an equally soft, shaggy mane envelopes their longish, arched necks and fringes of longer fur run down the backs of each leg from elbow/hock to heel of paw. (A note: fur length and texture varies based on the current temperature and climate where the choi is, as their fur is very quick to adapt.) Their heads are basically leonine with large, almond-shaped eyes; a long, rough tongue; long, vaguely rabbit-like ears, and a three-foot, prehensile tentacle that protrudes from the flat of their muzzle (where whiskers would normally be) on each side - these delicate, sensitive appendages are referred to as feelers and have a suede-like texture. Choian limbs are somewhat feline in shape but rather humanoid in range-of-movement; their hind legs are a bit longer than their fore and a good deal stronger, as choi can and do stand/walk/etc on just their hind legs on occasion (often to get a better view of their surroundings). Their tails are long, powerful, tapering, and also prehensile. The rochoi are hermaphrodites - that is, they possess both male and female reproductive systems, hormones, and mindsets. Choi have internal genitals of both types and the same choi can be both sire and mother (at different times). Though miesins (the only other sentient race on Racamarai) call them all 'it', rochoi aren't genderless but gender-full, so to speak - the proper pronouns are he/she=se, him/her=hirm, and his/hers=hirs. Rochoi have cycles that correspond with their world's moon, Sfacad - when Sfacad (which means Changer in the marain, the common tongue between the two races) is full and new, each choi switches from male to female or female to male mindsets. During the first and last quarters of the moon, each choi is almost entirely one or the other gender-type, but when the moon nears fullness or newness, the line between gender-types blur and choi are both genders at once. Sfacad-induced changes are separated into two blur-edged time periods that would be the equivalents of weeks. When the moon is approaching and past new or full, it's the time of Kud, or 'both' — all healthy choi who aren't nursing or pregnant are in the midst of changing from male to female or female to male in mindset and hormones and, especially around the exact night of the new and full moons, are very much both genders. When the moon is waxing or waning, it's the time of Iryn, or 'one' — all non-nursing, non-pregnant choi have settled into one or the other gender, especially when around the exact nights of the first and last quarters.

Senses/Capabilities: The rochoi have a well-rounded set of senses - they have a keen sense of smell, good hearing, and decent eyesight (in both light and dark) that primarily tracks movement. Choi are fairly enduring beasts; they can go long periods of time at a reasonable pace without rest, as they're nomadic by nature. Their top speed is about 45 miles per hour, and that only for brief spurts; the fastest speed that they can hold for more than five minutes is forty miles per hour. Rochoi are stronger than they look, due to their nomadic lifestyle's often challenging treks.

Coloration/Clothing: The rochoi don't wear clothing. Choi have a wide range of colorations and, due to their nomadic nature, 'camoflauged' colors/patterns for certain climes and terrains can be found anywhere. Possible fur/mane/feeler colors include but are not limited to: browns, greys, silver, gold, yellows, white, black, bronze/copper, tans, green-grey / grey-gold / grey-blue / grey-violet. Possible patterns include but are not limited to: stripes, streaks, spots, flecks, tips, points, shading (undersides are a lighter color), rosettes, bars, patches, mottling, dappling, and any combination thereof. (Solidly-colored choi are rare.) Eyes can be of any of the above colors but also jewel-tones, such as blue, green, purple, and red; claws are almost always black but can be greys or white.

Races/Breeds: There are no distinct ethnicities in the rochoi - they migrate often enough and mingle bloodlines with other prides too much.

Language: The rochoi speak marain, a soft, rumbling, purr-growl language that is difficult to decipher unless one has learned to listen for the differences between words - marain is spoken with no gaps or breaths between words or sentences, only pausing to breathe as is necessary. Marain is a very visceral and imagery-rich language with a relatively simple structure but a wide vocabulary, most of which is devoted to describing what exists in the world.

Technology: The rochoi don't use technology.

Magic: The rochoi don't use magic.

Values: The rochoi primarily value family, cooperation, and social skills, including a willingness to hunt for and defend one's pridemates. Choi are extremely tactile and close-knit within their prides; they care little for privacy, secrecy, or independence.

Social Groups/Society: The rochoi, due to their hermaphroditic nature, have a complex and intimate culture woven around family life and hirs pride. Pride relations are much simpler than that of a family - a pride consists of twenty to fifty choi and trails a migratory herd of prey beasts across the continent. (The number of choi depends on the size of the herd - the ratio of choi to beast is usually anywhere from 1:50 to 1:100.) Prides don't have alphas or any sort of leaders; exceptionally skilled hunters and scouts will direct the pride's hunt or path, but there is no authority. Older choi, however, are respected and valued for their advice. (Older choi, usually called elders though they aren't necessarily that old, are choi whose firstmate has died or who have become infertile.) Pridemates know each other excruciatingly well and are very tactile and intimate within their large group, happily weaving a web of relations that seems incredibly intricate to a non-choi. However, family life is still more complex. Once a few years into adulthood, a choi will begin to search for a suitable partner and will stay with that partner until one or the other dies. This lifelong "spouse" is called a firstmate; much like unigendered animals, two choi will dedicate hirmselves to one another in utmost love and trust. (Usually, but not always, these two firstmates will have opposite cycles - during Iryn, when every choi is mostly of one gender alone, the firstmates will be of opposite genders.) A choi is extremely attached to hirs firstmate and would rather die than see hirm harmed. Also, even though a choi is unshakably dedicated to hirs firstmate, most choi have at least two other choi with whom se breeds on a fairly regular basis - these heartmates are generally the choi's closest friends, not genetically close to hirm, and sexually compatible. A choi might have up to five heartmates, depending on the size of hirs pride and how able to produce cub(s) se and hirs firstmate are. On average, a choi with a firstmate will only conceive/sire cubs every ten years or so, despite hirs best attempts. (Some choi, however, seem to be exceptionally proficient and will raise a litter every few years.) If a choi's litter is sired by a heartmate, the original choi and hirs firstmate will rear the cub(s), but, if the heartmate is the one who carries, then the litter goes to hirm and hirs firstmate. Pregnant and nursing choi are the only choi whose cycles are not ruled by Sfacad, the moon: Pregnant choi stay in female mode until the cub(s) is/are born, when they immediately switch to masculine; nursing choi stay in female mode until the cub(s) is/are weaned. (The choi of the mated pair that does not give birth is the one who nurses, so the bond with the cub(s) is equally strong with each parent.) Rochoi usually give birth to one to three cubs, who are weaned in one year and grown in eight; both parents play equal roles in raising and teaching their offspring. Cubs have no inclination towards either male or female genders and do not start the back-and-forth cycle until their fifth year, which is adolescence.

Habitat/Settlements: The rochoi are a nomadic people, due to their migratory prey beasts that travel in massive herds and only stop in exceptionally fine pastures or when unable to continue due to wintry weather or terrain obstacle. The vast majority of racan grazers are migratory; since they travel in such big herds and eat most of the foliage in an area, they're forced to keep moving in order to let the land recover and to keep themselves from starving. These migrational patterns have little correspondence to weather, only the availability of sufficient foliage; and, like their prey, choi migrate - each pride tends to have one herd that it follows. Choi can survive a large range of climates and can traverse a wide variety of mild to difficult terrain, due to this need to travel in order to eat. Because of their nomadic lives, choian fur can adapt exceedingly quickly to changes in temperature by thickening/shedding and lengthening/shortening.

Religion/Beliefs: All choi respect their prey, as one pride will usually follow only one herd for as long as pride and herd exist; this lifelong companionship generates a sense of gratitude and almost friendliness towards the prey beasts that keep the pride alive. All choi hold life as sacred, especially life of the prey beasts, other choi, and miesins.

Interaction w/ Other Species: Choi are quite placid and friendly towards other creatures that show themselves to be intelligent, whether or not the creature in question is actually sentient. They are extremely tolerant and patient towards miesins and do not directly compete with them for any resources if at all possible; they also greeted the one-time halasshi visitors with gentleness.

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