The Kandolari are aliens - no sense in disguising it in flowery word play or politically correct nomenclature. They crash landed on New Terra during the Imperial Age - just before the mighty crash into the Age of Plague. This, they had little acquaintence with humanity before the collapse of civilization. Their area of influence was, and continues to be small, as they live in the plains several hundred miles north-east of the Imperial Capital, in a region known as Juongji niHutso, or Land of the Outsiders. Though these aliens do, for the most part, keep to themselves, and do little to interfere with reHuman affairs, they have attracted all manners of bigotry and prejudice, some ,perhaps, fittingly. Still, the Kandolari remain an enigma to most humans; in Greatland to the far west, they remain the creatures of fairy tale. In Alutremur, they are rarely seen - sometimes called Hal-Sin, or the moon people. In Orientalis though, where they have been forced to make their home, there are numerous and varying opinions of the Kandolari. Those who are fearful of them, the vast majority, call them the Kuisuijin, the Cursed Ones or Heikuskiji the "Witch People". Others call them Yorodashiji, the Star People. Few still call them Posokui or Prophets, beleiving that the Kandolari bear messages from the heavens. Whatever the common name, the Kandolari are only committed to one thing; getting themselves off this backwater planet.
The Kandolari Male and Female look nearly the same. Both possess an inhuman grace and beauty - which most humans find themselves inexplicably drawn to. This is particularly strange because both sexes have a high degree of sexual androgeny. It is very hard for most humans to tell the difference between male and female Kandolari. Which seems to be acceptable because Kandolari regularly pair in both heterosexual, and homosexual couplings. Both male and female stand somewhere in the neighborhood of five and a half feet, weighing no more than a hundred and twenty pounds. Females are usually flat chested, differing little from males save for their reproductive organs; female and male sets appear to be fairly similar in construction to that of reHuman genitalia.
Kandolari are hard to describe physically because, simply put, their genome is highly unstable due to centuries of genetic tampering and failed manipulations. This being the case, there are a few constants for the Kandolari who are considered within the normal range of genetic variation. They are, as stated before, lithe and agile - with a very fair skin. So fair in fact that one can clearly see the webs of veins that pulse beneath their skin when they meditate. They have slim, slender hands with three fingers and a thumb, and their digits are multi-jointed, having several more points of articulation than a human hand has, attributing to almost tentacle-like freedom of movement. Their feet are small also, with only two toes and a third "stabilizer digit" on their heel. This digit not only helps them balance on normal terrain, but gives them cat-like agility across rough or uneven areas.
They tend to wear their hair long, usually in a single braid down their back, but there are a number of different hair styles. The fibers of their hair feels as smooth as silk, and indeed it's just as durable. Long flowing, beautiful hair is both the mark of a handsome male and a pulchritudinous female. Thanks to their rather instable genes, their hair can be all manners of colors, usually gravitating towards the more pastel spectrum, though some Kandolari sport highly saturated, vibrant, nearly neon colored hair. The only hair on their body, is in fact the hair on the head. This is a fascinating aspect, as the Kandolari have no follicles from which hair can emerge on their body. Not a single Kandolari, not even of the most mutant caste, has ever had any hair, anywhere else, other than atop their head. The reason for this is entirely unknown.
Their hair, like their eyes, can be nearly any color, though they tend to be rich, dark hues. It is not uncommon to see an individual with either eyes of two different colors, or eyes with two or three colors mixed together. Their eyes have one strange and discomforting feature; a catlike "Slit" iris, which in total darkness, widens to cover almost the entire eye to absorb more light. They seem to have some manner of voluntary control over this ability, often times dialating or constricting their iris in conversation to show some degree of understanding. Their eyelids also close from the side, rather than from top to bottom, which is perhaps another startling attribute of Kandolari optics.
The Kandolari have a mouth that very much resembles ours, with one notable exception - the cleft tongue. This is not to be mistaken with a serpentine forked tongue, rather looks in all manners like a human tongue twain in two. Painful to look at for most humans, the tongue is actually what makes Kandolari speech possible, producing phonemes that human mouths simply cannot. Similarly, the Kandolari have four vocal cords, as opposed to two, and can vibrate them all independently of one another, which gives them access to a wide variety of sounds that human beings cannot physically replicate. This often leads to problems in communication - Kandolari may speak human languages, while humans may not truly speak Kandolari. It has, however, given rise to several bastardized attempts by humans to replicate the language; though much to the disdain of the Kandolari who would rather stoop to speaking human language than watch their precious native tongue be butchered by primitive "primates." Their nose, and olfactory organs, as far as one can tell operate much as humans do, with the exception of being very small and indistinct, almost to the point of being a simple bump in the center of their face, with two slit-like nostrils at each side.
Then there is, of course, the troublesome matter of mutation within every Kandolari. One in every four Kandolari children is genetically varied enough to be considered a mutant. Mutants can be categorized by being one of a number of stable mutations; that is to say there are a dozen or so mutations that are "Regular" occuring in Kandolari society. While these mutants are stable and considered somewhat commonplace, make no mistake, they are still highly ostracized. An example of such a mutation are the Kemiquos, which have a lower body of a hairless horse, with pale Kandolari skin, a muscular upper body with four arms, and a hairless Kandolari head. Another such mutant is the Diads, a female only caste of irresistably beautiful specimens, with a skin tone of earthy green or brown, or aquatic seafoam. They are said to have seductive powers, and a hungering for male flesh. A mouth full of dagger-like teeth doesn't do anything to dismiss the myth. Some Kandolari will admit to the existence of mutants within their race to outsiders, but will quickly add that things aren't "as bad as they were." Most Kandolari will stray far away from the topic, avoiding or openly ignoring any questions about such matters.
The Kandolari, before there crash landing on New Terra, were a space-faring race of corporate merchants, tycoons and monopolies. These corporations travelled from world to world, set up shop, kicked their foot through the door of economically exploitable worlds, established commercial domination and bled the world dry through the use of expensive tools, professional militias and sly diplomatic manuevering. If there was a competant race of denizens who could compete with the Kandolari, they would very pragmatically align with them, until they could obtain the upper hand and wrench them into subservience, either by military might or economic conquest. Needless to say, this was a society that was highly mobilized by capitalistic ambition, and it worked for them. They travelled in giant colony ships, usually owned by a Consortium of merchant companies who wished to expand business to another part of the solar system, sector, or galaxy. The ships were loaded with expensive technology, countless Kandolari dependants and personell, scientists, doctors, soldiers and engineers. The particular ship that crashed is remembered as the Karashin though the particular corporate owners have been long forgotten.
Now the Kandolari live in a series of constructed cities built from the remnants of their ship. They do not thrive, per se, but they survive. Many of the leaders, who were housed at the apex of the ship, were killed in the initial crash as the massive ship made contact with New Terra. The rear cargo bay, a section as massive as the Imperial City of Jara, fell into the ocean and created a great tidal wave, taking uncounted thousands of Kandolari devices with it. For a time, the Kandolari remained on their wreckage, firing on any humans that drew near, hoping to see another great Kandolari ship in the sky, or recieve some sort of message to hint that there was a rescue on the way. Unfortunately, due to the competitive nature of Kandolari society, an entire ship gone missing meant little to those back on the homeworlds; usually it meant that there was one less competitor in the sector. Those survivors, led by the remaining leaders and brave pioneers surmised after a time that there would be rescue, and a permanent establishment needed to be erected, both for the safety of their people, and in order to establish an economic foothold on the planet.
This would be no easy feat. Without the armies of machines, legions of computing devices, and ranks of robotic servitors, the Kandolari found that they had to start doing things the hard way. Granted, they still had some luxuries at their beck and call, but these things were rare. A minor boon for them, the engineers hadn't all been lost; much of their technological schematics remained known, if not in tact. It would seem that the planet had taken a great deal away from them, as it does to every denizen of New Terra. A fresh beginning would be hard - but they at least had knowledge and know-how.
Society now, is needless to say, very different than how it was before. The corporate atmosphere has faded into the background as survival is key. There are seven "Prefectures" which are large production centers, each responsible for the manufacture of some key components. Ishraal, for example is a robotics center, while Sendrak is a giant agricultural production plant. Materials flow freely between the cities, at a price of course. Feuds exist between the Corporate leaders who are responsible for overseeing trade, and conflict erupts every so often, but for the most part the Kandolari take careful measure to not spread meaningless violence to thin their already dwindling populace. They keep a professional militia standing at all times, which every adult Citizen, male or female, must join from the age of 45 to 85 (midlife in Kandolari years) and may be called back into compulsory service should the need arise.
As one might suspect, there is a high degree of male and female equality in Kandolari culture. If there is one boon to a purely capitalist society, such as the Kandolari were born and bred to be, it's that everyone is paid, raised and praised by their merits and merits alone; good work ethic equals profit, and a good profit margin means that everything is operating well. This is helped by the fact that it's so hard to distinguish between male and female, and indeed, the only formal title in the language is the gender neutral '-suun' suffix. The working individual of any household is expected to work, while the other one is expected to tend to household matters; both are respected as master's of their own sphere. That is to say that the house-tender is expected to cook, tend to offspring and clean and do all that is expected of him/her within the house; but within the house his/her word is law. How the house is managed, entertaining guests and expenses for the house, asthetics and budget all fall upon his/her shoulders. A house tender might even forbid one from arguing with him/her inside his/her house. The life of such an individual is difficult, because the working individual has the right to expect food on the table, a clean home and an organized budget from his partner, though much respect and honor comes with the position. But, the working individual is allowed certain rights outside the house. He/she is allowed to join what can only described as a "Business Club" where there are regular conventions, involving coupling, parties and all other manners of entertainment paid for by a tax pool taken from the House-Tenders.
While society has gotten back to mechanized status (that is to say most of the labor is actually done by robots, and overseen by employees) it is nowhere near where a modern Kandolari society should be, globally or locally. Past Kandolari settlements have roughly 100 robotic servitors to every 1 Kandolari laborer. On New Terra however, it's almost a reverse proportion. Only the most talented engineers are allowed to supervise robots. These robots are still more efficient than manual laborers, and they require no pay and only a small amount of oversight and maintenance. They are, in essence, more valuable than an individual by almost a hundredfold. They are jealously guarded by corporate managers and Executives, and it is not unheard of to read about one Executive planning a raid on another to acquire a dozen or two new robots for his facility.
An onlooker, such as a human, might call this atmosphere which the Kandolari live in cut-throate, cloak-and-dagger, or even just plain dirty. A Kandolari would say it's simply the nature of the beast. They, in fact, look to humanity and see no chance for upward mobility, the strict institutionalization of silly superstition, and an unhealthy dependence on foreign and alien technology that is not well understood by it's users. They see humans as a ticking timebomb, just waiting to explode. They commonly refer to reHumans as tosodor, which is apparently a furry primate from their home world. More colorful insults include hygodar or "ugly furball" and takhyju or "long ugly nose."
The Prefectures are nothing less than beautiful. They are a very asthetic race of people, and the cleanliness and presentation of their desmnes means a great deal. The Kandolari prefer not to build upwards, so one will find no massive towers, and really no buildings any taller than two stories. They do have sprawling Executive palaces, monolithic civic buildings, forums open to the city streets where Ordinators and Administrators make presentations via hologram. Their roads are smooth to the touch of the bare foot, which is how most Kandolari prefer to walk about, and immaculately maintained and cleaned. City centers tend to be in open clearings but residential "Districts" tend to be placced near wooded areas, or at least near a natural formation. They don't build in it, so much as they build around it and with it. They have a very low encironmental impact; they don't reroute streams or natural rivers, crevices, large trees or rock caverns, instead bypassing, building homes often times over, around or within these features, lowering environmental damage to nearly nothing. While Kandolari are highly irreligious (they view worship of a God utterly ridiculous and diametrically opposed to scientific progress) they do feel most comfortable around nature, and they feel fully "at one" with it. While science is a helpful pursuit, they also recognize that too much of a good thing can be dangerous, as it is what ultimately lead to their deformation. This is the reason they have such "reverance" if it can be called that, for keeping nature untainted and unmarred. If they could describe a "God" that would be most believable to them, one would suppose it would look alot like a wide open field, spotted with trees and a babbling brook under a beautiful sunset. They do several hours of necessary meditation per day, to purge their blood of toxins and to keep their natural chemicals in check. This daily activity (somewhat like sleeping to us) is usually done at twilight, and can be physically and mentally draining to do. They often times like to do this in the comfort of their homes, and a natural surrounding helps them feel at ease.
reHumans and the Kandolari
Humans and Kandolari have a tenuous relationship at the best of times, outright hostile at the worst of times. The Kandolari Prefectures are all found on Orientalis, and it's highly unusual to hear of a Kandolari any further than the east coast Sahar. Thus, most of the interaction that the Kandolari have is with the humans of the Orient Empire. They tend to agree on one thing; Magick is dangerous, and it needs to be highly monitored, if not eradicated (the Oreintaliis have a slightly more liberal view, but they can come to an agreement.) The Kandolari are incapable of any Arcane activities, for much the same reason as the Humans of Old Terra were; they concentrated on refuting it so much, that they simply became mentally unable to perform it, even if they wanted to. Perhaps out of jealousy of the races that could tap into Ether, or perhaps out of stoic disbelief, they still to this day scorn humans calling them "Savages" and "Monkeys" and their sorcerers and wizards "Shamans" and "Witchdocters" out of superstituous mockery.
There is no doubt that humans and kandolari share some sort of mutual egocentricity. Each one sees the other as alien, inferior and strange. Each has plenty of horror stories about the atrocities the other supposedly committed or commits on a regular basis (for example Kandolari men seduce human children to their bedsides, when in reality Kandolari don't own beds, and they find human children too "fuzzy" as they say) or how humans are cannibals (and everyone knows humans havent been cannibals since days predating the Archaic Age.) They don't particularly like sharing the same planet, let alone the same continent, but there comes a time every so often when cooperation is mutually beneficial. The Emperor will, on occasion request (and by request I mean hire) the help of the Kandolari militias to quell noble uprisings, especially when there are few allies to look to. For any enterprising Executive, it's hardly profitable to let racial bias stop good business, and more often than not there is more than one Executive of any given Prefecture that is willing to lend a helping hand. On the flip side, the Kandolari need humans, like viruses need a host. They can only survive by feeding off the humans - they feed off their wars, their disease, their disunity. They will often instigate petty conflicts when it seems that the Empire is turning their head towards their lands. They know a unified human kingdom in the east poses a threat to their safety, and with enough strength the humans could, despite their primitive technology and outright barbarian culture, dissolve the Kandolari lands and take them for themselves. Consequently, many of the wars that the Kandolari fight and die in onthe sides of humans as mercenaries, are waged at the secret whim of the Executives.
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? Responses (10)-10
A note - simple math states that Kandolari populations will dwindle - a female needs to have more than two viable offspring that reach maturity to maintain a population. If infant mortality, war and disease play a large role, this number rises steeply.
This is quite excellent for a first submission. Besides Echo's remark on what should be a rapidly declining population (maybe change it to 4 offspring, 2 of which might be "norma"). Besides that, this needs little changing, methinks. Well done, and welcome to the Citadel!
Yeah, looking back I think three children might be far too little. I might up it to five throughout their life.
Browsing once more: hair grows out of follicles, not pores.
Also, I would not have mutant 'castes' - mutation through its very nature is random. So, the same mutants are unlikely, unless the variant is caused by dormant genes that are easily activated; or unless the mutant breeds true, giving rise to a branching-off sub-species.
With their elfin appearance and colorful hair, they also confer an anime feel - I don't know if that's intended.
fixed the pores thing - it was late, probably had my words all mixed.
it seems that 'Caste' is, as you say, a wrong word. I want to confer a feeling of isolation of a subset of individuals from the species. How would you make that idea come to life?
And as for an anime feel, it wasn't what I was going for, but far be it from me to tell you how to visualize my words =]
Changed the "Castes" thing to a series of stable, and somewhat predictable mutations.
An interesting and well thought out sub, with some useful concepts. One can easily drop this into a fantasy campaign with a little effort, or use the race in something more futuristic. Well done!
This is excellent! So many good details.
Oh, and a new word for me - pulchritudinous
Probably will never use it, but hey :)