Species: Sirian

Name: sirian(s) [SEER-ee-uhn(z)]

Homeworld: Ere

Height/Length/Weight: Sirians are a fairly tall people; they range from 6-8' for females and 7-9' for males. Females usually weigh 150-200 lbs, while males weigh 200-250 lbs.

Physical Description: Sirians are gaunt, four-armed, wingless, bipedal avians. They have long, almost-bonily thin, tall, light frames; their faces are markedly avian and almost resemble halasshi but for a faint covering of down that obscures the natural wrinkles around the small, bright eyes. They have short, curving beaks and a small tuft of feathers around the opening of each ear, giving the illusion of having external ears. Sirians have narrow shoulders and flat, almost concave chests; they have two pairs of arms, one situated lower and more forward than the other. Their upper arms are leanly muscled, long (their fingertips are level with their knees), and built much like human arms, though sirians usually hold them somewhat bent; their hands are long-fingered and clawed with three fingers and one long thumb. (Their index finger is an inch or two longer than the other fingers and the thumb.) Their lower arms are considerably shorter, somewhat thinner and weaker, and held like folded bird wings, close to the chest and stomach; these hands are built much the same as their others, but they're smaller, thinner, and more delicate with much sharper claws. Sirians have long, fairly muscular legs that end in three-toed, clawed talons; they walk digitigrade and have great power in their leaps and kicks. They have no tails; males have a visible penile sheath but internal testes, while female genitalia is entirely internal. The skin on their hands, feet, ankles, wrists, shins, and forearms is very tough and almost scaly; it softens towards the elbows and knees, and they're covered in short, soft, downy feathers everywhere else. The feathers are longest (3") on the torso, shorter on the limbs (1-2"), and extremely short over the groin and face (.5-1"); the feathers stay pressed to the skin and do not ruffle or fluff easily.

Senses/Capabilities: Sirians have excellent senses of sight and hearing, but nearly no sense at all of taste or smell. Their eyes have a long range, a full spectrum of color, and attention to both motion and static detail; they do not see well in true darkness, but they do fairly well in dim light and very well in daylight. They also have finely-tuned senses of touch, especially when using their lower hands. Sirians are incredibly fast, both in running and in motion, easily able to reach 40 mph for a few seconds at a time; they are exceptionally accurate and precise in moving and striking, as well. Due to their build, they are not strong people, though they aren't exactly fragile, either; due to their bursts of speed, they have low endurance, able to keep up a 30 mph run for a half hour at most before wearing down. Most sirians are also very flexible and agile, though actual grace seems to be hit-and-miss with individual sirians.

Coloration/Clothing: Sirians as a species have a wide range of possible colorations, but their particular clan/ethnicity normally only has two or three predominant colorations. Sirians typically are not bright colors, tending towards medium-to-dark hues and often greyed or desaturated versions of those colors, but they can be greens, blues, reds, purples, browns (including golden), and greys (including black) - or any in-between shade of those. Browns (often tinged with golden or red) and grey (occasionally tinged with blue or purple) are the most common by far. Most sirians are only one color, though the skin is usually a lighter and often duller shade of the feather-color, but many sirians are shaded or mottled, and some sirians are two colors (usually in back/front style, without any distinct markings). Sirians have bright, pale eyes of nearly any color, and their claws are typically translucent or matte black (depending on how light or dark their skin/feather color is). As for clothing, sirians are typically heavily and concealingly clothed; they have very fast and hot metabolisms, so they get cold easily and quickly. Most sirians wear a thick, soft tunic-type garment and pants of the same material that reach midway down their calves, both cinched with a wide cloth belt. In cold seasons, wraps around the arms and legs and necks are common. Sirians who are around non-sirians are almost always found in large, heavy, hooded cloaks with two sleeves for their upper arms; their lower arms remain inside the cloak, held close to the body and effectively invisible to outsiders. These sirian cloaks conceal all but their feet and fingertips and typically leave non-sirians wondering exactly what the species even looks like. (The cloaks also double as bedding and as bags, since they are thick enough to act as blankets and also lined with inner pockets.)

Races/Breeds: Sirians are loosely divided into huge ethnic clans, almost the equivalent of small human nations. There are a few dozen clans on Ere, a couple of which have established small outposts on other worlds - too small to be considered colonies but with large enough populations to begin splitting from the original gene pool. Most sirian clans are distinguished by dialect, cultural nuances, and preferred terrain/climate, but each clan also has certain colors of feathers and skin that are predominant in the population. Clan names are often translated, resulting in ethnicities like Blackwater and Razorpeak (instead of keeping them in the original language and being Fressir and Ssharsia, respectively). Ethnicity is not used as a way of identifying an individual's worth (as in people of one clan being inferior to people of another clan), but it is extremely important in interracial interactions as a way to communicate effectively and avoid mistakes and misunderstandings. Stereotypes thrive in most atmospheres, but they aren't entirely inaccurate, despite usually over-generalizing the various clans.

Language: Sirians speak seerish, a surprisingly mellifluous and soft language with a notably musical quality to it. Though sirians are capable of making harsh, shrill, or squawking sounds, their language is completely devoid of such noises; seerish sounds more like humming and murmuring than whistling and shrieking. Seerish is one of the languages that is not taught to non-sirians, and to outsiders, it's nearly impossible to pick up any words or phrases, since most can't tell where one syllable or word ends and the next begins. Seerish is a complex language with a dozen or more dialects but no truly different off-shoots or parallel languages; vocabulary, accents, and even syntax can vary between clans and regions.

Technology: Sirians do not have a particularly high level of technology, but they are very good at what they do know. They are excellent metallurgists, though they use metals primarily for weaponry, with some architectural support on the side; they are fantastic tailors, able to make a wide variety of different types of cloth and weave it into just as many creations of clothing, blankets, etc. Sirians are also skilled woodworkers and potters; they're also quite good with stonework, including carving/sculpting and brick-making. They have little inclination towards machinery, vehicles, or any kind of advanced firearms or robotics; rather than focusing on advancing, they tend to focus on improving their current materials and what they can do with them.

Magic: Sirians do not have a natural gift with magic, but they can still learn to understand and control it. Magic-users are neither common nor rare, staying in a solid and respected minority, and they tend to be very practical with their skills, primarily interested in healing, nourishing, protecting, and facilitating day-to-day tasks and agriculture. Technically speaking, sirians can learn to work with any kind of magic, even dark magic, but most tend towards a nature-based type of magic. However, there are still some sirians in every magical caste possible.

Values: Sirian values differ with each clan and its culture; only a few transcend ethnicity. Most sirians value comfort, a calm composure, and mastery of skills; a typical sirian would rather work on mastering a small handful of skills instead of dabbling in a dozen different areas and attaining only mediocrity. A rational mind is also very valued; while sirians are not emotionless people, they prefer to keep their cool and use logic, rather than succumb to rash impulses and desires. Precision and accuracy in everything, including but not limited to physical movement, is also prized. A sirian's attitude towards society and individuality varies too greatly per clan to be mentioned here; suffice it to say that it ranges the gamut across different clans.

Social Groups/Society: As previously mentioned, sirians are loosely grouped into huge ethnic clans, almost like human nations. Each clan has a symbolic government that maintains the standards of the clan, but individual towns and cities are reasonably autonomous, so long as they stay within the general guidelines of the clan. Sirians are relatively social people, but they don't do well in groups or crowds; the biggest unit they have is the family unit, and it's very loose-knit and flexible, even when the children are young. Sirians tend to form one-on-one bonds with people and dislike a group dynamic that splits their personal attention between friends. (Group situations for the purpose of work, in the name of progress and safety and such, are different. That's less personal and more tolerable.) Most sirians will have a handful of close friends and a network of amiable acquaintances. Family set-ups vary per clan, but most sirians will take a low number of long-term but not lifelong mates over the course of their lives, raising children with a couple if such is agreed upon, and parting ways (either peaceably or not) once the relationship declines into incompatability. (On the fairly rare occasions that the relationship stays strong, healthy, and happy, the couple will willingly stay together for the rest of their lives. However, such commitment is not forced.) Not all sirians express an interest in having a mate, but the majority do, and the majority of those raise a family at least once in their lives.

Reproduction/Aging: Sirians, having a fast metabolism, are not very long-lived unless use of magic has a life-lengthening effect, as is often the case with healers. Most sirians are considered old by age 45 and elders by 50; few reach 60 years old. Sirians whose longevity is supplemented with magic can occasionally last until 70. Accordingly, sirians mature quickly; gestation is a mere two months, at which point a tiny clutch of one to three eggs is laid and left to harden and develop for another three months. Sirian hatchlings are considered infants for the first four months of their lives and young children (ie toddlers) for the next eight. They hit adolescence when they're about three and a half, and they're considered physical adults at four, legal/full adults at five. Most sirians won't look to reproduce until they're nearly ten, and the average individual will have one to three clutches in its life, almost always with different mates. Children are raised almost exclusively by the parents until adolescence, when they're enrolled in a wider educational program.

Habitat/Settlements: Sirians are fairly hardy people and can survive in a wide variety of habitats, but they prefer climates that are neither too cold nor too hot. They adapt to any terrain, even the most forbidding, and can carve a spot for a town nearly anywhere. Most sirian settlements are small enough to be considered towns; their buildings are seemingly haphazard and visually asymmetrical, but structurally sound and balanced. Most of the structures found in sirian towns are externally climbable, while the insides are as open and cozy as possible, given the contents and purpose of the room. Every sirian out of infancy has its own room in its family's house, and adult-but-unmated sirians often group together to live in a building with several bedrooms, much like a small apartment building. The personal room is extremely important to sirians; even mated sirians don't share rooms, though they will certainly live in the same buildings, often with their rooms next to each other. Sirians sleep alone, but share bathroom and kitchen facilities.

Religion/Beliefs: Religion and belief systems vary by clan. Some clans are predominantly animistic; others shamanic, monotheistic, pantheistic, polytheistic, or completely atheist. Religion is not strictly governed by the clans - individuals can choose their beliefs - but there is a strong social pressure to believe something that at least parallels or meshes with the predominant belief of the clan. (Example: shamanic and animistic beliefs jive well, as do animistic and atheist beliefs, but atheist and polytheistic beliefs don't.) Despite the social pressure, there is very little dogma presented as part of most religions, and individuals are encouraged to experience it for themselves in order to believe.

Interaction w/ Other Species: Most sirians stay on Ere and don't interact with non-sirians. Those that do encounter outsiders are typically polite, reserved, and largely inscrutable. The few sirians that immerse themselves in outside cultures and populations - mostly, the traders - are still very courteous and self-contained, but they're also somewhat less standoffish and unreadable (likely by conscious choice). So far, no other races have had any major clash with sirians and most seem to lack a strong opinion of any kind about them.

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