Species: Tuah

Name: tuah(a) [too-AH(-ah)] (Runners)

Homeworld: Vyza

Height/Length/Weight: Tuaha are sizeable quadrupeds, standing tall at 4-6' at the shoulder and long at 8-12' from nose to rump, plus another ~10' of tail. They weigh between 250-400 lbs.

Physical Description: Tuaha are mammalian, quadrupedal, furred quasi-theropsids. They have long jaws and heavy skulls atop long, arching necks; their eyes are cat-like, nostrils somewhat ursine, and they have sabrefangs that reach nearly to the bottoms of their chins. Their ears are large and triangular, upright and quite mobile. In build, they are long-legged and muscular, but not brawny; their muscles are corded and lean, rather than bulky. Tuaha have deep chests and slender waists, powerful shoulders and haunches, and a strong, flexible tail longer than their own bodies. Their paws have longish toes (somewhere between feline and simian) tipped in sharp, curving claws; their forepaws have three toes and their (heavier, broader) hindpaws have four. Each paw also has a dewclaw with a long (3") claw hidden in a long tuft of fur. Their tails are tipped in a series of up to five scythe-shaped bone 'blades', three along the dorsal and two underneath; a tuah can have anywhere from no blades to all five, and may have them in any arrangement. (For example, if a tuah only has three blades, she might have all three along the top of the tailtip, two on top and one on bottom, or one on top and two on bottom.) Tuaha have exceptionally deft control over their tailtips (along which are arranged the blades), so they're capable of considerably fine use of these blades in tight quarters. Tuaha males have internal testes and a furred penile sheath; females have no visible genitalia, other than teats when nursing.

Senses/Capabilities: Tuaha are sight-based animals, having extremely keen, full-color, long-range vision that tracks detail and motion equally well; their sight is better in good light, poor in dim light (dawn and dusk), and decent in full darkness. Their hearing is decent and their senses of smell are keen enough to help track prey and to help identify individuals, but it's nowhere near the impressive range of the aduina. As for capabilities… tuaha are called runners for good reason. They can reach up to 50 mph in a sprint and hold a lope of 40-45 mph for a considerable time; many tuaha can run for hours before having to slow, and nearly all can maintain an easy pace (~30 mph) for an entire day or more. Strength and agility largely depends on the individual tuah's build, though tuaha don't approach the sheer strength of the aduina. Tuaha, being rather toned creatures, are very flexible and are well capable of climbing trees and rocks.

Coloration/Clothing: Tuaha don't wear clothing. Their coloration generally depends on their habitat, but there's enough travel and bloodline-mixing that there is considerable diversity even in a stationary clan. Tuaha who live in the plains tend to be a light green or silver color, with few markings (typically stripes); in the forests, they're generally darker blues and purples, with various markings of lighter or darker colors (often rosettes). In the mountains, they're brown, dark red, or black with few markings (generally patches or points). The rare ones that live in very cold arctic climes are usually pale yellow, silver, or white, with darker markings (spots or stripes). And the few that live in desert-like places tend to be orangish, red, or white with few markings (typically spots or mottling). All tuaha have yellow-gold eyes and black claws; tailblades tend to be silver, but can occasionally be black or golden.

Races/Breeds: Tuaha don't have distinct ethnicities; the only regional difference is their coloration, and that's more due to habitat than bloodlines.

Language: Tuaha speak hani, their native tongue, as well as vyzan, the common tongue of Vyza. Vyzan is a rough language, filled with guttural noises and jaw-snaps, able to be spoken only by those with long muzzles and many teeth. It has a basic vocabulary and simple structure, making it easy and quick to learn alongside any Vyzan's native tongue. Hani is a more crooning language, using howling or murring or even hooting sounds; in regular conversation, it is a fascinating mix of short syllables and smooth noises, but its true beauty comes out when songs are sung. Tuahan song-singers are the singularly most valuable individuals in any clan and are widely regarded as vocal musicians; they make a unique language beautiful.

Technology: Tuaha don't use technology.

Magic: Tuaha are prone to using elemental/druidic magic in very small, often trivial ways. As many tuaha as not have a connection to a singular element, often the basis for their name (Earth Shaper, Rain Singer, etc), and can sense that element's physical manifestation when it's nearby. Some tuaha are so closely bonded to their elements that they can manipulate them to some degree - speed a plant's growth, strengthen the rain, etc. Tuaha do not use magic offensively, barring some very rare exceptions, and would be incredibly surprised to learn that most non-Vyzan magic-workers do.

Values: Tuaha primarily value balance. They are social creatures and value the ability to cooperate for the health of the clan (not necessarily forsaking individual needs, but finding a balance between social interaction and personal interests). They have a minimal impact on their environment, having a very primitive society, and they value leaving behind no trace of their existence other than the bones of their dead. They also value music and singing to such a degree that song-singers are often more venerated than clan leaders.

Social Groups/Society: As already mentioned a few times, tuaha live together in clans. Most clans are somewhere between ten and fifty individuals, with an average being 20-30. Clans are loosely communal; mates still form their own tighter family units within it and raise their own children. A clan leader (either gender) is generally the best hunter in the group with some excellent social skills, able to direct hunts and be both respected and genuinely liked by the rest of the clan. (Clan leaders can be displaced by majority opinion, at which point they often leave the clan, or by singular challenger, which is often to the death. A lone challenger will often be unseated by majority opinion if s/he wins, so this form of succession is rare.) Each clan has a song-singer, a tuaha who is trained from a very young age to tap into the natural bardic magic of Vyza and use it to remember history and teach the young; song-singers are immensely valued and widely loved as holders of the tuaha's oral traditions. Even though nearly all tuaha sing, and often in chorus, the song-singer is the only one who actively channels bardic magic; they are chosen and trained by an aging song-singer in a selective process that the rest of the clan has absolutely no influence over. Song-singers are the keepers of the clan's culture and heart, whereas the clan leaders are the keepers of the clan's health and safety.

Habitat/Settlements: Tuaha have no actual settlements, though clans tend to be stationary. Tuaha can live in a wide variety of habitats and climates, including the tundra, deserts, plainslands, forests, mountains, and jungles. They don't swim very well, so they typically avoid shorelines, deltas, and marshlands. Most tuaha prefer a seasonal climate with some trees, and they'll avoid areas with high concentrations of famora or aduina.

Religion/Beliefs: Tuaha have a somewhat shamanistic belief system, regarding the natural world as a cooperative system of living entities and greatly respecting other players in the dance of life. They don't consider themselves any more or less important than other creatures, be they sentient or not, and tend to be quite humble about their right to kill to live. (Being omnivores with a wide range of potential edibles, tuaha make a relatively small impact on their local environment, since they eat such a variety of things and therefore don't exhaust any one food supply.) Tuaha generally see nature as benevolent, allowing them to live as part of the world in peace (but not without challenges).

Interaction w/ Other Species: Tuaha get along quite well with their fellow Vyzans, despite the occasionally vast differences between them. They make every effort not to come into direct competition (for food, territory, or other resources) with either the famora or aduina, which probably contributes quite a lot to their peaceable coexistence. Tuaha can get somewhat competitive with aduina, but it's usually good-natured rather than aggressive, and though they don't truly understand the famora, they are capable of interacting courteously with them and generally not sparking any misunderstandings. The tuaha's humble, respectful nature goes a long ways in maintaining this ability to coexist, and if they met humans or any non-Vyzan, they would likely approach them with the same attitude.

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