Charonites are an ancient race native to the planet Charon. They are a race of peaceful carnivores that are now nearly extinct.
Their race once controlled a mighty space faring empire dedicated to terraforming planets and populating them with artificially engineered organisms, as well as studying life as a whole; today there are little more than 12,000 left, scattered into several tribes. Their empire began to decline when The Merge occured; their sun began dying at a highly accelerated rate, and would eventually turn into a black hole. Before this could happen, they built six massive towers in the shape of a double-helix.
These towers still exist today and are actually massive, self-aware computers packed with incredibly advanced technology. This technology (including self-aware nanobots) is able to maintain stable orbit around the black hole, as well as the atmosphere and other life-sustaining aspects of the planet. Today Charonites survive in small tribes spread around Charon.
In ancient times, the Veiled Ones collaborated with the Charonites in the fields of genetic engineering, and even helped each other seed worlds with life. Both races learned much, and greatly respected eachother. During the Julth War, however, the Charonites remained neutral in an attempt to respect the biodiversity of life. As the War progressed, the Charonites ceased all contact with the Veiled Ones after witnessing the atrocities they were capable of. The Veiled Ones may have even appropriated Charonite technology and combined it with their own when they became the Daemons.
PhysiologyEditCharonites are silicon-based bipeds with reptilian characteristics, although they are completely unrelated to reptiles. They are a predatory species with senses that are much sharper than that of a human. Their eyes are able to see well into the infrared spectrum, allowing them to detect the body heat of other lifeforms, and their six forward-facing nostrils are extremely sensitive. They can also see in the common visual spectrum and a bit into the ultraviolet spectrum. Two clusters of electrosensitive tendrils hang from either side of the face, allowing them to detect the electromagnetic signature of other living creatures.
The flexible skeleton of Charonites allow them to move just as easily on four legs as on two. Six hollow spines along the back are filled with small holes that allow for the passage of air into four lungs, and a stinger tipped tail allows them to quickly kill their prey with a deadly neurotoxin. Like most creatures native to Charon, they display bioluminescent patterns.
Males are typically smaller than females, but have larger spines and stingers.
Society and cultureEdit
In ancient times, Charonite society was organized into small, technologically advanced settlements of about 10,000 individuals. These settlements were populated largely with biological researchers, engineers, artisans, merchants, and shamans. Charonite offspring would be raised by the community, their biological parents having little to due with them after laying the eggs. When biologically mature, Charonites would move into separate housing with others of similar temperament and interests; housemates would typically form close, family-like bonds with one another. Although the present population is much smaller and less technologically advanced, little has changed in terms of their culture and society.
Virtually all aspects of their technology and architecture were biomehanical in nature. Charonites would genetically engineer organisms for a variety of purposes, including plant-like lifeforms for housing, and whale and squid like creatures that served as starships. Those that lived off-world would do so on massive turtle-like spacestations that contained their own unique ecologies made up of species from other planets. Although peaceful, they developed many advanced weapons in the name of self-defense.
Farassa -- The Farassa tribe dwells within Charon's central plains. They are spread out among small settlements across the plains. Most are hunters, but other members act as couriers or guides for other tribes. They use mounts called unarra for travel.
Nekorro -- The Nekorro tribe dwells in Xerra, the largest ruin on the planet. What was once a thriving city in ancient times is now a desolate graveyard. Most Charonites in this tribe are shamans, technology specialists, or scavengers.
Tsalli -- The Tsalli tribe dwells in the caves of Charon's northern mountain ranges. They are expert survivalists and navigators. They specialize in the training of umbral thesserexes, and typically act as couriers and guides for other tribes.
Vazolla -- The Vazolla tribe dwells in scattered arboreal settlements across Charon's eastern forests. They are usually hunters, artisans, or traders. The hunters of this tribe specialize in the breeding of xyzaak, both for trade and to help them while hunting.
Hajjari -- The Hajjari tribe roams the deserts and wastelands of Charon. They are entirely nomadic, and use domesticated tzykka for travel. They are mostly traders, guides, and couriers. It is said they have mapped the entire planet.
Korri -- The Korri tribe dwell along the edges of Charon's lakes, interconnecting rivers, and within the planets' wetlands. They are experts at making and sailing boats. They often act as couriers, guides, traders, and shamans.
Morrota -- The Morrota tribe dwells along Charon's southern mountain ranges. They are skilled miners and craftsmen. They usually act as shamans, tech specialists, and scavengers.
Unlike their ancient ancestors, modern Charonites follow a flexible caste system. When they reach maturity, Charonites must choose a caste, so that they may better serve their tribe. If they decide, for whatever reasons, to change their cast, they must consult their tribal chief first. It is considered gravely offensive to not choose a caste, therefore refusing to aid one's tribe. Those that do so are exiled.
Artisan -- Artisans are responsible for creating tools, pottery, fabrics, and other goods that can later be traded or used. They may also be skilled poets, artists, or musicians.
Chief -- Chiefs are the elected leaders of their tribes; every Charonite of age can vote. They are responsible for managing, protecting, and guiding their respective tribe. Chiefs can be elected from any caste except raiders, and are usually served by a council of elders.
Courier -- Couriers are responsible for conveying information and packages from tribe to tribe. They often travel with guides or hunters for protection and company.
Elder -- Elders are the oldest and wisest the tribe has to offer. They can come from any caste (besides raiders), and often act as arbiters in judicial disputes, or as ambassadors to other tribes.
Guide -- Guides are something akin to rangers, and are responsible for exploring the planet and mapping potential resources and travel routes. They also escort traders, couriers, and other travelers across Charon's surface. They are typically skilled in combat, in order to better defend themselves and their charges from the planets' predators.
Hunter -- Hunters are responsible for gathering meat for the tribe. They hunt with a combination of primitive melee weapons and advanced fire arms procured in trade. In a crisis, they can also be used as warriors.
Raider -- Raiders are not truly a part of the caste system, but when Charonites choose to leave or are exiled from their tribe, they form bands of roving thieves and murderers. They do nothing but cause trouble wherever they go. They always travel in groups for survival.
Scavenger -- Scavengers are adventurers that usually travel alone or in small groups. It is their duty to raid ancient Charonite ruins for technology, hopefully functional or not badly damaged. They are almost always equipped with advanced firearms, melee weapons, and equipment, such as the nanoblade or nanoarmor.
Skyrider -- Skyriders are combat messengers and warriors that are bonded for life with an umbral thesserex. They are highly revered in Charonite culture; only the chief and elders are respected more. They often serve as generals or elite warriors in large-scale conflicts.
Shaman -- Shamans are those Charonites that are skilled in the ability to manipulate xi. Among other uses, they use xi for giving form to, and communicating with, their ancestor spirits; for creating and controlling aether; for control of plants and animals; for healing the wounds of the body and mind; and for walking into the dreams of others. They are skilled in martial arts and melee weapons as well.
Tech Specialist -- Tech specialists are those skilled in the repair, and occasionally replication, of ancient Charonite technology. They rarely wield it, instead preferring to trade it with others. Many tech specialists in a settlement is a mark of prosperity in Charonite society.
Trader -- Traders are responsible for buying and selling goods among the tribes. Instead of using currency, merchants rely on the barter system. They are often nomadic, usually travelling with guides and couriers.
Warrior -- Warriors are responsible for protecting their tribe from within and without. They act as both the police force and militia for their tribe. When not patrolling settlements, they are usually out fighting raiders or dangerous animals. They are skilled in virtually all forms of weaponry, and use unarra as mounts.
Spiritually, little has changed for the Charonites since ancient times. Their religion is highly shamanistic, involving the use of psychedelics in order to communicate with spirits. To the Charonites, spirits are the conscious incarnations of the dead, the natural world, and of ideas themselves. They believe the universe exists in seven dimensions at once; three of space and three of thoughts, seperated by one dimension of time. Thus, it was time that divided the physical world from the dream-like, immaterial aspects of the universe. Certain psychedelic substances are viewed as "keys" to this realm, which shamans ingest in order to separate themselves from time, which allows them to visit the other dimensions of reality and bring back healing and guidance for their fellows.
Aside from the shamanistic aspects of their religion, their philosophy could be compared to certain schools of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. There is minimal dogma, the main rule being to respect, protect, and propogate all life (their only exceptions being self-defense and the need to eat). To the Charonites, all time is now, the past and future present in every moment.
Hunting is used as a form of meditation and spiritual exercise. Hunters will gather in groups of 3-5 and go on week, sometimes month-long, expeditions in search of food and any useable technology left behind by their ancestors.
It is fairly common for xi-wielding Charonites to be born; approximately half of their population is able to do so. Most Charonites are adept at Geoss (almost always metal, stone, or sand), Theos (specifically aether), Nekro, Natra, and Menta magick. They use as it as much for combat as for healing, and all children with the ability are trained by the local tribe shamans.