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Theorian
[[Image:{{{race_image}}}|125px|Image of a Theorian]]
Scientific Name Panthera sapiens theorian
Classification Sentient Quadruped Felinoid
Average Height 10" / 300cm
Average Weight 400lbs / 180kg
Average Lifespan 50 Years
Native Language None/Telepathic
Homeworld Demaria


Introduction Edit

Theorians are as unique amidst the sentients of the Orion Arm as the Centauri and G'ahnli, if not moreso. The only known sentient species not to have developed a tool culture, or indeed to have harnessed fire, they remain as natural -- some detractors say feral -- as the day they developed sentience.

Scientific opinion diverges on whether Theorians were the first or second species to develop sentience on Demaria. Mainstream Demarian academia, very few individuals nonewithstanding (Bentear Wisdomseeker being the most prominent), largely is of the opinion that the Theorians only grew intelligent after the Demarians, in response to the latters' rising efficiency in hunting for largely the same nutrient sources. Others propose that, though cause and effect remain the same, this development happened the opposite way, with Demarians struggling to keep up with their quadruped 'cousins'. Though the debate is often a heated one -- accusations of cultural bias being often thrown to and fro -- it is very evenly split; and besides this source of arguments, scientists are largely agreed concerning the rest of our knowledge of the Theorian race.

Appearance Edit

Nothing conveys the strangeness of the Theorian race as well as first-hand accounts. For that purpose, we quote a passage from the work of Bentear Wisdomseeker, former researcher and for a time professor for xenozoology at the Grand University of Alhira. He was, after the return of Sanctuary (now Concordance Station) to normal spacetime, the first who took a scientific interest in Theorians, who had until then been confined to urban legends, rumors and fairy tales, much like the Yeti on Earth, or the Othos of Sivad. We took the liberty to abridge his autobiographically tinted work, concentrating on the section which deals with the professor's contacts with the Theorians in the region of the Stubtooth mountains.

"[...] The sight of a Theorian Pack is as majestic as it is intimidating. Here I stood, the Demarian, member of a race that, like most sentients have in their history, has thought of itself as the rulers, the only rulers, of their planet; and there stood, in eerie silence, five felines of the race that, unbeknownst to us, has been dwelling in the jungles and mountain ranges beside us, eluding us for centuries, if not millenia, all sightings considered hoaxes, mere fairy tales. My breath faltered in the face of ten wary eyes scrutinizing me, predatory instincts and the light of sentience mingling in their gaze."
"[...] Before I proceed in my story and report, I should take the chance to give you, the reader, an idea of what these creatures are like in their appearance. Seeing as our homeplanet is scarce in comparable mammals of feline nature, I have to fall back on species originating in other ecosystems, foremost the (now of course devastated, but still very well documented) Terran. Data on the species cited in the following text will surely be easily obtainable at your nearest library or via search at the next public spacenet terminal. But I digress."
"The sizes I have seen in the course of my studies range from roughly six Terran Feet (1.80 Terran Meters or two and a half Imperial Ruun, for those still familiar with the measuring system of old) to ten Terran Feet (three Terran Meters/four Ruun three Mrri) -- the latter a truly remarkable specimen, one of the pack I first made contact with, and to date the largest of his kind I have seen. I make use of his physiology, mainly, as it is his data that is the most present in my mind, after a lot of my notes were lost; but more on that later on."
"Of the ten feet this specimen measures in size, almost half is contributed by head, neck and tail. The neck is unique among felinoids in that it is, in fact, extendable, which enables them to 'crane their heads' so as to gain a better view at something that has piqued their interest. The body is comparable in build to the Terran Jaguar (Panthera onca), though a little less stocky and with visibly longer legs; none of the specimen I had the honor of meeting displayed the "highleggedness" of the Terran Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), however. The common Terran Leopard (Panthera pardus) is perhaps the species with the most resemblance to Theorians in general build, though bone structure and similar details of course differ. It is this resemblance that, in spite of obvious differences, has led me to propose the following scientific name for this species: Panthera sapiens theorian. [...]"
"Fur color and quality appears to be as widely varying as ours; females as well as young males display a mane that covers the neck and throat fully in the form of a 'ruff' of slightly longer fur. Opulently long-haired manes as found in the Terran Lion (Panthera leo) appear limited in their splendor to adult males; in some cases the mane extends from the skalp of the individual to as far back as the abdomen, forming a crest of hair along the spine. [...] It should be noted that, for a race of obvious predatory nature (although their diet is in fact that of an omnivore as I found out later on), there is a remarkable lack of mimicry and camouflage; I have seen several specimen with splendidly white fur, as well as dark-furred ones that exhibited silvery manes; in general, however, it seem to be shades of brown that are the most common."
"[...] The tail length is in most cases a quarter of the total body length; two and half Terran Feet in the specimen I am referring to. It is equipped with more and stronger muscles than ours commonly are, and is fully prehensile in nature. The actual extent of force Theorians are able to exert is unknown to me, although I experienced firsthand that their grip can indeed be painfully tight."

History Edit

Prehistoric Times Edit

The origin of where the Theorians evolved and what course their evolution took are shrouded in mystery -- as should be expected of a race that has no means of recording history other than tales and myths passed down from generation to generation.

There are numerous prehistoric paintings and sculptures found in the Stubtooth region that portray creatures similar in shape to the Theorians of today. That suggests that at that point Theorians had already evolved into the quadrupeds we know today. However, these illustrations rarely show more than one of the felines, which in turn suggests that the early Theorians were in fact lone hunters, much like the big cats of Earth. At this early stage of their social evolution, Theorians used their psionics as little more than tools for hunting and warding off enemies and rivals. The exact course of the social-evolutionary changes the Theorians underwent in the process of gaining sentience remains unknown; little did the Demarians ever research in this field even before the Kretonians came. For the largest part, Theorians were considered a myth, much like dragons in human culture. The Theorians themselves were never numerous to begin with, and prefered the safety and reclusiveness of the Stubtooth Mountains and the near jungle, their natural habitat for several millenia.

Kretonian Age Edit

The occupation of known space under the rule of the Kretonians was a dark age so universal that it didn't spare the Theorians either; unlike the Mystics, however, who were so brutally hunted down by the Kretonians in their fear and hatred towards all beings that were psionically gifted, the Theorians were quick, and moreover successful in veiling their abilities. The oppressors, not suspecting the quadrupeds to be sentient much less psionic, simply caught them to use them as draft animals in the mines they drove into the mountain ranges.

Despite their enslavement, they remained peaceful; to some extend, it was this time of hardship that bonded the packs even closer to each other -- some scientists even suspect that the change from mating pack to social only took place under the rule of the Kretonians, when the need for comfort and reassurance was so strong that it forged several mating packs together.

When the Kretonians were fought back by the Nall in 2806, Demaria was already devoid of the once so great civilization of the Demarians. The Empire was no more, its cities lay in ruin, and only a few of those used as slaves in the mines had survived; those scattered souls were not only Demarians, but also a few Humans and Odarites that had been shipped here to work. They were lost, though, weak and largely unable to fend for themselves; the Theorians however had their own wounds to lick, and vanished tracelessly from the scene. They did keep an eye on the twowalkers though, who still knew nothing about the true nature of the packs; the Theorians had kept it secret not only from their oppressors but from their fellow slaves as well.

It wasn't until a few decades later, in 2850, that Theorians would literally step out of the shadows. A few packs, primarily those that had been watching over the twowalkers and their progress, gathered and joined the fledgling communities of New Pansheera and Altheor's Hope. This caused a slight "split" of Theorian society, as there now were these "village packs" and the ones still thriving in the jungles and mountain ranges. This shouldn't be misunderstood as a schism though, as it wasn't; some packs merely chose a different lifestyle. Both village and jungle packs attend the annual meeting, and fresh packs forming from young "villagers" and jungle dwellers are common, as is mating between each groups.

The packs living in these mixed communities (which the colonies refer to as "mountain tribes"; the tribes in the Sandmother Desert are also descendants of the mine slaves, and a few Theorians also live with those) came to accept and partially understand the "loneliness" of their non-Theorian comrades; when packs are seen near one of the two colonies, it will most likely be groups hailing from these communities.

Societal Structure Edit

The most important unit in Theorian society is, first and foremost, the pack. After that, there's a large gap, and then comes the community that gathers annually in the Meeting Grounds hidden in an undiscovered valley of the Stubtooth Mountains.

Palaeontologic findings indicate that it wasn't until ten to fifteen millenia ago that the until then solitary Theorians began to form packs; at first these were male-female pairings, implying that Theorians had developed enough to choose to mate for life -- or not to. Over the course of centuries, family packs established: a female and her mate, and their offspring. These kits, usually four, rarely more, would stay with their parents until maturity, at the age of five. Then they would leave, forming a temporary "litter pack" for the journey to the Meeting Grounds, where the young ones gather each year to form their own packs.

This practice has essentially stayed the same until now; the only difference is that eventually, packs wouldn't form between a male and a female alone any longer, but more than those two; packs evolved from a purely pragmatic level (with the goal of ensuring the survival of the mate and offspring) to a social one. Today, mixed packs are still most common, but all-male and all-female are not unheard of. This has also had an impact on the litter packs: these form directly after birth now, or possibly even before already (as with so much about this race, scientists are unclear what is the case); thus after the female(s) of a pack has/have thrown, we have in fact several packs rather than one: the original adult one, and one or more litter packs composed of siblings that will stay together for the next five years at least. Although seperate packs, the mental link between the litter and their parental pack is as strong as among the adult pack itself for obvious reasons.

The annual Gathering in the Meeting Grounds plays an important role in every Theorian's life, not only for the litter packs heading there. The Gathering has more reasons than bonding, and mating (which is another reason packs head there); it's the event where knowledge is shared between packs, and where tales and myths are told again in order not to be forgotten. While for obvious reasons no written records exist and can exist, the tales passed down at this occasion draw a remarkably exact picture of early Theorian history. This is due to a very fascinating aspect of the Theorians' psionic abilities: they apparently die only physically. A "ghost" of their personality remains with their pack for all time, bestowing upon the members its wisdom and insight. These "ghosts" are not controlling entities, however; their personality fades with time and disuse. They are simply acessible stores of wisdom and advice, faint but always present in the fine white noise of the contact between minds.

It is important at this point to distinguish between a pack and its members. A pack's physical age may fluctuate as its members die and the young replace the old; it's mental age however, the amount of personalities and experiences stored in the intricate telepathic web, will only grow. These spiritual companions are not passed down to a single member of the pack, but rather to the "mental web" as a whole, so that everyone in the pack carries a trace of the dead one's memories. Imagine if you will five people, each with a faint, translucent copy of a picture: only when all five are together the picture will be clear and colorful; but even when one goes away (in the Theorians' case to join another pack or form a new one), he or she always keeps this faint carbon.

It is thus that, while no general history in the sense of records exists, Theorians have a very clear "memory" of their past as a race. This memory may differ in detail from pack to pack, but the overall outlines are the same. Of course, there are packs and individuals that hold the images of those that have passed away in high regard while others don't; but the disposition is the same for all.

As a sentient race, Theorians also developed a certain system of beliefs; to call these a religion would be one step too far, however: it is rather a way to conceptualize the many "laws" of nature. The "Circle" or "Cycle" is the way all living things go: from birth to maturity, from maturity to death. The Theorians refer to this cycle as "Nurti", formed by the mother-concept Nur and the father-concept Ti. These two concepts, often 'Theoriamorphised' into a female and male Theorian, could be called the "divine pack", and stand for complementary, and sometimes conflicting concepts.

Nur stands for patience, endurance, depth of thoughts, silence, the soil and the water, flora, home, rest and sleep, and ultimately death; she gathers the energy of those that have died, using it to weave new lives.

Ti means action, strength, quickness of the mind, alertness, wind and sand, fauna, the hunt, and life. He brings all that lives into this world, and eventually guides it back to the Mother.

Communication Edit

Theorian packs, not unlike the Centauri, use a mixture of telepathy and body language to converse among each other; other races are all addressed via telepathy. Theorian anatomy doesn't lend itself to formulating any of the languages spoken by the humanoid races, but their passive understanding of Demarese and Flick, which they have been exposed to ever since the days of the Kretonian occupation of Demaria, should not be underestimated.

As felines, Theorians have the same range for expressions that Demarians have; the snout, whiskers, ears, tail, paws, and so on. However, due to the thorough difference in cultural background and anatomy, Theorians do not know how to interpret, for example, a frown. This makes communication with "twowalkers", as they call the various humanoids, a bit of an adventure for both sides, although the telepathic gift of empathy -- widely spread among Theorians -- helps to balance things out to a certain degree.

There are a few peculiarities to Theorian "speech", ie, the patterns the telepathic communications is translated by the "listener". Theorians simply think in concepts much different from those of other races; compared to them, a Centauran and a Zangali don't think too differently from each other at all. For example, although single pack members can and will engage in individual conversation with other beings, they will use the personal pronouns "I" and "we" interchangeably in reference to the pack and themselves as isolated instances thereof. (In fact it is a weird mixture of both which non-Theorian minds simply translate into the personal pronoun for first person plural.)

Communicating with a psionic is much easier for both parties, although mental contact with a Theorian pack may be something thoroughly new and overwhelming even to experienced telepaths, simply due to the very nature of Theorian minds: a pack, that is to say, all three to six members forming this entity, shares thoughts and feelings over a constant telepathic 'bond' that needs no form of conscious maintenance or upkeep. It is not something learned and establish over the course of years, either - it is an innate ability. It has been compared to the ability of infants to recognize and reciprocate a smile from the very first moments.

As for non-telepathic communication between Theorians: here we find an amazing range of exclamatory sounds, ranging from the familiar feline purring, mewling and hissing to more specific sounds such as clucking to show amusement or approval, the rapid clicking of the tongue against the pallate to signal astonishment and wonder, and various more. A short and incomplete list of sounds Theorians are able to produce would read: yelp, yap, growl, yarr, yawl, snarl, grunt, gruntle, snort, mewl, purr, coo, caw, cackle, cluck, clack, chuck, chuckle, hiss.

Naming Conventions Edit

Theorian names follow reasonably simple rules: the pack name is always composed of the individual pack members' names. Akalpatra, for example, is a pack consisting of Ak, Al, Pa, and Tra; the members of pack Kenaruahlel are thus Ke, Na, Ru, Ah, and Lel.

As you will have noticed, individual pack members always have names that are monosyllabic; most of the time, they will be very short and made up of a single consonant and an accompanying vowel. CV, VC, CVC, CCV, are the possible combinations in descending likelihood. There is no distinction between male names and female. This seems to limit the number of names available; however, this is a fallacy as the individual names are simply the elements of a pack's compound name, and not used to refer to the individual.

Instead, members of a pack address each other by a unique trait or feature, which they paraphrase in a way that makes the name similar to a Qua's or Demarian's; this isn't necessarly limited to just one "nickname", however, so a black Theorian with a silver mane might be called "Nightwanderer" by some packmates this minute and "Silvercrown" by others the next. This is due to the fact that telepathy is deeply interwoven with their way of communication: it is more the image or memory of a trait that is used to single out and address a particular packmember than a single "name" or vocalization. The same holds true for Theorians communicating with other races: the concept of a name isn't exactly alien to them (and they will often switch to using a singular name upon noticing that the two-walkers have a hard time keeping up), but their way of addressing someone is something very fundamental; thus, Theorians will refer to Demarians, Humans, etc, by a trait and/or feature that may change even within a single sentence. Even when talking to/about a group of people, they will try to refer to them this way, using a trait common to all.) Interestingly, they refer to other packs by the respective pack's compound name.

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