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Akram al-Kazi, a bare Arres aurian.

Aurians, named after the Balistrian goddess, Aura, are a diverse race of reptilian humanoids who inhabit the continent of Arcturia, most notably in the kingdom of Balistria. While stronger and faster than their less evolved brethren, aurians do share several traits with snakes such as having a flexible jaw, using serpent locomotion movement, and having fangs that injected venom. In contrast to snakes, aurians possessed superior eyesight, smell, and a brain capable of accurate execution for their agile bodies equipped with claws.

Since they’re cold-blooded, aurians are unable to survive in cold climates as they depend on environmental heat to survive. Aurians are vulnerable to different ethnic venoms with most antivenom being fatal. In comparison to other species, aurians suffer from weaker hearing, are more susceptible to diseases from non-human species, and develop faster mental decline and illnesses. Aurians are aggressive in nature and tend to ‘follow their hearts over their minds’, this being attributed to their enhanced emotions.

Aurian ethnic groups exist in the form of races with only six being documented: Arres, Chasm, Ros, Qraz, Stehal, and Zuls aurians. While each race possesses unique characteristics, they can breed with each other to create biracial aurians, who inherit defenses to both of their parents racial venom. However, these aurians are shunned in society due to radical differences in their appearance and are seen as tainting the purity of racial blood.

The Aurian Anatomy

Stelahl aurian Basheer al-Greiss, a world champion in wrestling.

Aurians are snake humanoids made to thrive in their tropical environment. The average male stands from 5'4" to 7'6", weigh between 135-235 lbs, and appear bulky in stature to signify strength. The females are just smaller, standing between 5'1" to 7'2", weighing between 113-200 lbs, and occupy an lean stature to emphasized speed. Overall, an aurians body is long and slender as their body acts like a viper; striking faster than their foes reaction time with murderous intentions.

An aurian’s brain functions with the same competence as a humans, but diverge as the aurians brain contain stronger emotional responses. This mainly serves to increase intimacy in relationships, encouraging more and more altruistic behaviors for mutual survival, but the increased responses will cause aurians to loss self-control as they are mentally overloaded. Aurians have developed stronger eyesight and smell to better identify each other as well as find suitable mates. While aurians do have functioning ears, they’re smaller than other species and are hidden amongst thin scales for protection. Their skull contains a flexible lower jaw able to swallow food as big as an human, but despite this, aurians have 30 teeth (mostly molars) dedicated to chewing on other food such as their toxic fruit or animals too big to swallow whole. Aurians have a pair of hollow fangs that can inject three types of venom according to ethnicity. The fangs themselves are not retractable as they’re permanently fixed outside of the mouth.

Aurians are entirely covered with bright scales of various shapes and sizes. They act as strong armor, aid in movement, and trap moisture within the skin to make shedding easier. Aurians only shed their skin once a year when their vision worsens and body colors become dimmer, thus allowing natural growth for the aurians. Body markings are unique for each individual, but the main skin colors, such as the blue Chasm or red Ros skin colors, rarely change except in cases involving biracial aurians. Their colors range from simply a lighter-than-normal shade to an entirely different color.

Aurians are usually pentadactyl with two hands of four fingers and one thumb, yet a sizable portion of aurians are tetradactyl, or having three fingers and one thumb. The fingers are similar in appearance to humans, only more scaly and smooth, and are dexterous enough to complete complex motions such as climbing trees, lunging a spear, or firing off a handgun. Most aurians have clawed hands and feet meant to scale or hang onto trees.

There are physically two types of aurians: limbed aurians (aurians that have legs) and bare aurians (aurians that lack legs and instead have their lower half of the body a snake-esque tail). While both are energy efficient and can survive long periods of time without eating due to their cold-blooded nature, they are significantly different from each other. Limbed aurians have long legs that functions just like other bipedal species, but are digitigrade with their toes consisting of curved claws. Essentially, limbed aurians are allowed more agility and longer jumps throughout their jungle environments, and as their body demands less nutrients, commonly digest toxic plants as part of their diets, granting them stronger venom.

Unlike a limbed aurian, bare aurians take a longer time to learn how to walk, or slither, as they use different modes of locomotion according to their diverse environments. As such, they’re usually taught arboreal (trees), concertina (tunnels), slide pushing (flat grounds), sidewinding (desert), lateral undulation (other environments), and rectilinear movements, the last movement being optional as it’s used to stealthily move. Bare aurians hold some advantages over limbed aurians as, besides their association with royalty and nobility, they’re stronger, faster, and harder to take down due to their body structure. However, bare aurians use more energy in performing tasks, requiring frequent and longer breaks to recover their energy. This is not mentioning their difficulty adapting to modern life such as driving a car or avoiding crowds of people from stepping on their tails. Bare aurians require more meat than plants due to their bodies greater demand of energy, thus sacrificing venom potency to supply their physical strength.

The tails of limbed aurians are generally anywhere between 4 to 8 feet long while bare aurian tails are up to 10 to 15 feet long. These tails are primarily used for balance, gripping, and, in rare instances, swimming. These tails have been documented to whip or restrain an opponent in combat, and can be attached with smaller weapons at a tails end. Aurian tails can betray their user's emotions such as slamming itself to the ground to express anger or making small, circular curls to signify happiness.

Aurian Races

Purple - Arres, Blue - Chasm, Yellow - Qraz, Green - Zuls, Orange - Stelahl, Red - Ros, Map of the Aurian Homeland Islands.

Generally, the aurian races have divided themselves according to a ‘natural’ hierarchy, were certain races are simply better than others due to vital roles they can naturally fulfill. This sprang up from the idea that individuals were born into a certain race according to their personality and overall skills that the race collectively share, so from this idea, ethnic groups ordered themselves accordingly. Those on the top are often in charge of immense power and wealth with the descending races having just enough authority to command those beneath them. While, say, an Zuls aurian can advance up to be the social equivalent of a Stelahl aurian, this would require ridiculously hard tests of ‘worthiness’ that are simply not worth the time or effort.

Arres Aurians

The Arres race are the leaders of the aurians. Purple-skinned with yellow-black markings, having pink eyes, and with small portions of their body being black, the Arres are known for their sheer fanaticism in religious orders and absolute devotion in leadership roles. Belonging to a dual-dominant racial system with the Chasm, the Arres race typically function as political and military heads characterized with a ruthless mindset and a sense of collective responsibility. As Arres aurians prized personal strength for generations, a majority of their race are bare aurians that utilizes weak cytotoxic venom.

Chasm Aurians

The Chasm race serve as the brains of the aurians. Their physical features consist of blue skin with yellow and grey markings, having cobra-like heads, and scarlet eyes with lighter concentric circle patterns resembling a large spiral. The Chasm race are known as aristocratic foxes rumored to ‘hypnotize’ people simply due to their strong persuasive abilities. They mainly occupy religious and political positions, preferring the role as an intelligent yet all-powerful high class only equal to the Arres race. The Chasm promoted the supremacy of bare aurians generationally for status, thus making the Chasm’s neurotoxic venom as weak as the Arres.

Ros Aurians

The Ros race fulfill a mixture of scientist and explorer roles. Known for their piercing red skin and creamy white markings, the Ros aurians are popularized by their thin, long fangs and the rare developmental abnormality to have two independent yet functioning heads. Acting as servants to the high classes, they’re responsible for scientific advancements in their society as well as introducing exotic items such as plants and animals to their community. However, the Ros aurians are avoidant or submissive in behavior, preferring their overseas travels and research expeditions rather than deal with domestic issues at home. The Ros race mainly use moderate proteolytic venom.

Qraz Aurians

The Qraz race serve as the artists and craftsmen of the aurians. Often colored black skin with yellow, red, and white banding markings, and ranging from orange to red eyes, the Qraz race are known for their sheer creativity in regards to problems and their idealistic, if not too optimistic, outlook on life. They serve their society through promotion of the arts (especially in architecture) as well as organizing cultural festivals. The Qraz hemotoxic venom are the most lethal venom out of all the aurians due to being forced to consume nothing but toxic plants on their tiny islands for most of their existence.

Stelahl Aurians

The Stelahl race are the aurians stereotyped brutes, dwarves, and napoleon complexes all rolled into one. Black skinned with orange and grey markings, yellow eyes, and having spikes on their heads and backs, the Stelahl race are the shortest of all aurians, with the tallest male being 4’6”. While they serve as the labor force of aurian society, the Stelahl take great pride in being hard workers only challenged by the Arres in terms of determination. The Stelahl are famed for their efficient work in construction and mining operations as well as their complex underground networks of tunnels. Unlike other races, the Stelahl, while preferring bare aurians for their natural strength, insist on balancing bare and limbed Stelahl aurians. They utilize cytotoxic venom.

Zuls Aurians

The Zuls race are the black sheep of the aurians. Their unique yet ugly green colors, four yellow eyes (the larger set dedicated to long range with the smaller set to short), a Chasm-like hood, and coming from an acidic environment have led to xenophobic attitudes towards them. Mainly by the Chasm race’s doing, the Zuls make up the low class and are cursed with either a life of crime or as poor farmers, only finding shelter in their homeland rich with plants of many traits. Since they've adapted to a deadly environment, they developed stronger defenses to acid and other racial venom with their own neurotoxic venom containing a high amount of hallucinogenic agents. In a mostly collective defiance to the Chasms favor with bare aurians, the Zuls are almost exclusively made up of limbed aurians.

Biracial Aurians

Biracial aurians have existed as a minority among the aurians. Socially, biracial aurians are lesser than the Zuls race due to being deemed physically unrecognizable by both of their ethnicities with their mere existence recognized as a natural threat to the aurian hierarchy, but instead of being simply killed, they’re banished to a foreign nation overseas. Their physical traits are determined by the mother while the father influences the skin color, eye color, and body markings of the child. Their venom are usually a balanced mixture between their parents racial venom, which they gain natural defenses against.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Aurian Anatomy

Saif and Turki el-Aboud, a double-headed Ros aurian.

An aurians body is built for a perfect balance between strength and speed, and coupled with their thick scales, have greater stamina, endurance, and durability than other species. Their cold-blooded nature allows aurians to be more physically competent, and thanks to their serpentine attributes, they can use venom and their stronger sense of smell to hunt animals. Aurians are well-adapted to forests, jungles, caves, and swamps, even able to live on toxic plants commonly found in the wild. As they lived alongside humanity, aurians have developed resistance to human-based diseases.

As a consequence of being cold-blooded, aurians have a weaker immune system and are left in danger to non-human diseases due to a lack of contact. In addition, aurians depend on natural or artificial environments to warm themselves as their body is unable to do so. The bright colors of aurian scales do not serve as camouflage, thus making them easy to spot. An aurians hearing is weaker than other species due to smaller, covered external ears. Most antivenom are fatal to aurians due to allergic mammal ingredients present. Aurians quickly develop mental illnesses and erosion once they pass a certain age due to unbalanced brain chemicals. As aurians are emotional creatures, they can be overwhelmed with a particular emotion and act irrationally for a period of time.

While aurians are a target to all mental diseases, the most common are often mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Development of these disorders usually increase in age and are inherited from as far as great grandparents, who's offspring act as silent carriers for the disorders. While modern medicine and intense treatments have been enacted to treat the affected, mental disorders have continue to affect all levels of society and proved to be a costly problem in nations holding aurians.

The common life expectancy for aurian males is 95-115 and females 100-135.

Aurian Body and Culture

Qraz aurian Aseela al-Faris and Zuls aurian Ismad al-Bangura painting together.

Aurians wear little to no clothing for several reasons. This was since clothing was seen as a mask to cover up one's physical identity, their bodies, an individual's pride and shame. As such, only the Zuls aurians would wear clothes to hide themselves, further harming clothing with negative association. The only exceptions to this rule would be duty-bound individuals such as priests, soldiers, or even some of the high classes hosting social events. Due to aurians biological and cultural reasoning, they see little use in clothing as they can warm themselves in designated areas or huddle in groups as seen by homeless aurians, their scales provide an comfortable protection against their environment and and can hide their sexual parts to avoid indecent exposure. However, some of the younger generations have began to wear clothes, but this is mostly for aurians born outside of Balistria or needing additional warmth in colder areas.

As aurians reject clothing, they found other ways to express themselves. One such example is squeezing paint out of native flowers to paint their bodies or dye their fangs in exotic colors. Tattoos are highly valued for religious purposes as those of religious faith cover their bodies entirely in tattoos representing different symbols. Unique to Arres aurians are permanently adorning colored gem plates onto their foreheads and chests, a sign of an highly accomplished individual able to take on such a painful practice that burns their body for hours at a time.

While tails are commonly decorated, bare aurian tails are generally left alone as they’re strongly held up as high status in aurian society. However, for limbed aurians, they decorate their tails with long, complex tattoos that signify certain aspects of their personality. Another practice involved military veterans who attach a customized blade to the end of their tails as a show of pride, but this was mostly restricted to veterans who had lost a portion of their tails in combat.

Aurian Definition of Beauty and Courtship

Karen Fanford, a biracial aurian currently living in Aurora..

As with most species, common traits of beauty were passed down to aurians from humanity: symmetry, hygiene, youthful appearances, and bodies capable of reproduction were examples of such traits. Nevertheless, the aurians added in their tastes with the most desirable trait being scarlet eyes, revered to be the same eyes as the Balistrian goddess, Aura. A popular belief was how the longer one's fangs were, the more dominating and worthy the person was. Petite aurians were especially seen to be more attractive due to the aurians strong desires to protect those deemed weaker than them.

Courtship among aurians usually starts and ends in springtime, where the females paint their bodies in contrasting colors to their skin and the males adorns a painted household (family) symbol on their chest, both signifying availability. If a match is found, they claim each other with the male painting his symbol on her forehead. When two or more males fight over a female, they perform a ‘ritualistic dance’ called Ancestral Starlight, which is basically gracefully wrestling weaker males to the ground until one is left standing for the enjoyment of the female. Even then, the winner could be denied by the female or be accepted alongside the losers as potential mates.

Aurians have openly practiced polygamy with the most common form being polygyny, although polyandry occasionally occurs. Originating from fierce competition for suitable mates then evolving for political purposes, polygamy became a social norm for aurians. Polygamy relations often operated for emotional and work benefits, especially in the political setting were the husband and their wives, along with trusted friends and family, acting as a singular political unit among national politics.

Homosexual relationships is outlawed among the populace as offspring are not produced, and interspecies relations are additionally illegal unless the aurian male already claimed one aurian female.

Reproduction and Growth

Ismad holding a Zuls hatchling.

Aurians become sexually mature at the age of 13. They are oviparous, meaning that when females become pregnant, they will wait around four months before they lay their eggs. While waiting for the eggs to hatch, mothering aurians become aggressively protective of their offspring and have been known to wait months without eating or drinking, this behavior caused by emotions and instincts being heightened. After five more months, the baby, or commonly known as a hatchling, will break out of their shells and be officially born. At least 5 hatchlings are born out of this process, although the sizes of aurian mothers can determine how much offspring they can produce. When born, the hatchling, having more development than other species infants, will immediately begin to walk or slither around, be able to partially see, and have a small chance to start speaking, but it would take several more years before hatchlings become fully developed. Their first and only set of teeth have already grown in to break out of their leather shells.

An aurians body never stops growing and only begins to show signs of deterioration once they passed 90, but the mind starts to decay on a faster scale after 70. The physical effects of old age is delayed due to the aurians annually molting, but eventually, aurians become more and more sluggish, even struggling to stand up straight as their brain’s motor cortex is the first to decay. Near the end of their lifespan, aurians become permanently paralyzed, then their minds slowly become senile for a year until becoming brain dead as all bodily functions ceases soon after.

Aurians and Other Species

Aurians consider most species to be inferior to them in every regard and have been known to be extremely violent against such 'weak animals’. While there is a lack of social equality among the races, most aurians consider themselves offsprings to Aura herself, and, therefore, are more privileged in the world than other species. Since aurians hold themselves in such high respect, they demand the same respect and obedience from other non-aurians, and failure to submit to their will have lead to dark outcomes.

The only expectation for this aggressive outlook would be humanity. As humans and aurians sprang up on the same continent, the naturally violent species sought out the extermination of the other until both sides began fighting amongst themselves for power, thus calling for an unprecedented yet uneasy truce with each other. Relations only warmed up in the 1300’s when interspecies relations finally began to improve due to increased trade, military cooperation, and human slaves being imported into aurian principalities and kingdoms, the latter proving to have a larger role as the slaves became popular amongst nobles and commoners alike.

Evolutionary Theories

Due to government and religious interference, most of the aurians evolutionary history has been lost to time as vital pieces of evidence were destroyed. Despite this disappointing outcome, what little survived has been used to support an evolution theory developed by a small, atheist Ros community called the ‘Freethinkers League’, who are in exiled. Although the theory of all species being experimented on by aliens and artificially developing sentience has become more acceptable among the international community, the league continues to support the idea of separate yet simultaneous evolution for all species.

The league’s theory states that millions of years ago, the aurians descended from a common ancestor somewhere in the western areas of Arcturia, but due to sudden and dramatic changes, an increase in the Urths sea levels flooded the low-lying areas around the ancestors. Separated into seven islands and six groups, the aurian ancestors, isolated by fierce competition for food and mates as well as mountains, began to slowly evolve into their modern day races. Over time, the increasing decline of food and overpopulation of the islands forced the aurians to adapt to their islands, increasing their intelligence enough to create early civilizations.