Dragonmen shall join the fight. Descended from ankylodons transported to Planet Thunthen from prehistoric Earth, the DaggerClaw have proven to be a well balanced force utilizing both technology and physical conditioning to overwhelm opponents in battle. Hailing from a rocky, almost barren world wracked with volcanic activity, the Thunthen yearn to find a new, unspoiled world to call their own, reminiscent of the prehistoric realm their ancestors came from. Stricken by infighting and dissent, the Thunthen seek to claw out a better future from the stars. They have historically butted heads with their humanoid neighbors, the Thangiens, but prophecy dictates they may need to join forces in the near future to stand a chance against a far more terrible foe.
Thunthen stand upright and walk plantigrade, using their tails for combat rather than balance. The distinctive blocky muzzles of the Nobeyls is actually made of fatty tissue and clusters of sensory organs around the nostrils and roof of the mouth. The skull itself is rounded like an alligator. The shells of the Nobeyl and Khamen races are not fused to the torso but rather connected through the thoracic vertebrae. Bone protrudes through the skin then umbrellas out forming a secondary set of ribs that form the foundation of the spiked shell. Only the shell ribs and rim are made of bone with keratin composing the spikes and enamel forming the shell surface. Claws are made of keratin instead of bone. The chest cavity is barrel-shaped with flattened ribs providing more protection to the organs. Sires tend to be bulky with the exception of certain Rares and dames are much smaller and lean. There is a gap between the shell rim and waist that allows Thunthen to stash items under their shells. Nobeyl sires have two rows of interlocking teeth while Nobeyl dames and Khamen sires have a set of fangs at the front of their mouth and two rows of tiny sharp serrated teeth.
There are actually three races of Thunthen, with the Nobeyl being the most prominent and populous. They are often referred to as "space dragons", "alien dragons", "alien dinosaurs", "dragonmen" and "dragons". They have been described as appearing like a cross between Santa Claus and King Koopa. They have opposable thumbs with four fingers instead of five.
Nobeyls(Nobles) are the most recognizeable of the species with their strength and stature and their distinctive spiked shells and tail clubs. Their claws reach up to six inches in length. Nobeyl sires are distinguished by their beards that run from the corner of the jaw beneath the ear to the front of the chin, ending in a point. Nobeyl dames are much shorter and slimmer, closer to human proportions with small claws. They have no spikes on their shells or tails but a harder enamel composes their smooth shells.
Khamens(Commons) are often mistaken for an adolescent stage of a Nobeyl and Nobeyl dames erroneously thought to be the female counterpart of the race due to their similar height and weight. Sires do not have spikes and have no tail club whatsoever. Khamens are often the easiest to fraternize with humans because of their mild nature and sense of humor. They have small claws much like Nobeyl dames and are able to handle more complex technical work such as programming and mechanics.
Pesaks(Peasants) are viewed as the simplest of the races, looking virtually nothing like Nobeyls or Khamens. They retain the thick scutes of their ancestors and have broad scales. They stand hunched forward and have no shells or tail clubs but rely on scale armor on the top of the head and down the back. Their intellect is vastly inferior to the other two races but are able to be appointed simple tasks and complete them in a timely manner. They rarely speak but understand orders from supervisors.
RaresNobeyls possessing traits and abilities not found in others. They can be very tall or very short, very bulky or very small. Some can snort chemicals through their nostrils and others can camoflague themselves against a surface. Some have bony sockets that enable them to detach their shells or claws and use them as projectiles. Some have light bones or shorter muzzles. Some can sense heat in pitch dark and others can even breathe fire like classical dragons. Rares are restricted to sires of the race and Rares possessing multiple special traits, such as Sur and Mal Daggur, are considered reincarnations of Rax Dragoul. Rather than being shunned, Rares are prized for their versatility and in recent years attempts have been made to increase their birth rate. They are not sterile and are able to mate freely.
Genetics and Reproduction
Long thought of as reptiles, Thunthen are suspected to have evolved into more of a monotreme hybrid. They are warm-blooded and able to lay eggs. Eggs are laid in clutches of 10-12 with a average 80% hatching rate and a 1% base chance to yield a Rare. They take roughly three months Earth-time to harden then another three before fully hatching. Dames can lay clutches almost back to back. There is no interbreeding between the three races due to their physiological differences. Because of the need to constantly replenish the population, sires do not go into rut aggression and dames do not reject mates. The race is always in need of more scientists and warriors.
Growth Rate & Stages
Hatchlings spend the first few days taking refuge inside a dame's shell or riding about between the shoulder and upper shell rim before going through a substantial growth spurt. Dames do not lactate so hatchlings rely on insect protein for nourishment until their teeth are sufficiently strong enough for root vegetables and meat protein. Recently fish has been used as a substitute, being easier to masticate. Thunthen of all races achieve adulthood at two planetary cycles, or roughly six Earth-years.
Ecology and Habitats
Thunthen have adapted to live in harsh environments and can tolerate high temperatures but cannot withstand extremes of either hot or cold without special equipment. They prefer dwellings of stone, either subterranean caverns or structures of hewn blocks. Their mucous membranes enable them to tolerate the sulfurous fumes of the planet surface by filtering out contaminants and storing them in special chambers inside the nasal cavity, but they are required to violently sneeze out these "snot plugs" periodically, much like a marine iguana sneezing salt buildup. This becomes unnecessary on a temperate world, which they'd prefer.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Thunthen are omnivorous much like the Thangiens but they prefer a higher ratio of meat almost 3:1. They are fond of complex recipes, viewing the preparation of food as a indicator of a race's advancement. The more tastes, textures, and smells the better. They are capable of eating root tubers and fruits but cannot break down grains, instead passing them through the dietary tract. Bread is considered tasty and appetizing but provides little nutrient content for their bodies. While whole grains such as wheat, rye, and barley cannot be metabolized, rice can, and thus they have become fond of sushi rolls. They can consume dairy products such as cream, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt, but have a low tolerance to sugars with strong sweets inducing lethargy. They enjoy a beverage of spiced fermented blood and protein. They can eat raw meat as well as cooked and can hunt in a pinch.
Due to their signature shells, Thunthen sleep face down either in burrows clawed into soil or in special cushioned cavities built into the floor, keeping their arms, legs, and head tucked under their shells. They do not moult and instead individual scales that become cracked or abraded are ejected from the skin and a new one grown in its place. Nobeyl teeth cannot regrow if broken or surgically removed while Khamen can grow replacements. Unlike lizards, flesh will not regenerate without medical treatment. While they are able to reproduce quickly and frequently, very few Thunthen reach a ripe old age with most perishing from any number hazards be it work, combat, or sickness. Of note, Tar Uhnin is roughly 100 years of age while Plaedarr Bloodhun numbers almost 120.
Nobeyls(Nobles) make up the ruling caste, overseeing military action and local governance.
Khamens(Commons) occupy the happy middle being weaker but more technically adept. They are often the butt of jokes or insults.
Pesaks(Peasants) are responsible for manual labor and resource harvesting. They occupy no positions of leadership.
RaresNobeyl sires with special abilities used for anything from infiltration to combat support.
Nobeylshave hook-shaped horns at the back of their heads and a cluster of scaly crests between them. A row of crests runs from the back of the head down the base of the neck. There is a small scaly ridge running from the corner of the eye to the base of the nose. Their beards start at the upper corner of the jaw then run along the lower jaw to the chin. Fibers are actually elongated scales similar to the crests of an iguana or bearded dragon.
Dameshave a pair of very long whiskers close to their nostrils. Sire eyebrows are thick and bushy while dame eyebrows are very long and thin. Dames have long thin horns on the backs of their heads and narrow wedge-shaped muzzles.
Khamensires have much smaller horns on their heads and goatees instead of thick beards. Their muzzles are smaller and rounder than a Nobeyl. They tend to become more rugged as they age with a middle-aged Khamen being mistaken for a young Nobeyl.
Pesakhave small wedge-shaped heads with thick scales running along the tops of their heads and short blunt horns. They have no beards or crests aside from scutes.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Thunthen typically reside anywhere stable rock can be found. They do not name cities or outposts and converge on construction or research sites. Location names are reserved for ships of their fleets. There is an unnamed academy of sorts. There are no landmarks such as rivers or large mountain ranges to form settlements.
Nobeyls and Khamens possess equal or slightly superior intellect to humans and Thangiens with the Nobeyl being more oriented towards battle and the Khamen more inclined towards analysis. Nobeyls are adept at close-range combat but have poor aim while Khamens are crack shots. Pesak have no ambitions and are very simple, caring only that they work and are fed, although it is a frequent joke that the Pesak are actually very smart and enjoy the Nobeyls doting on them and stroking their egos.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
The eyes are positioned at a slant on the sides of their head close to the top of the skull. They have fair frontal vision but poor rear periphery. They lack earlobes and rely on a tympanic membrane similar to a lizard just beneath the base of the horns. They have a wide range of hearing, able to pick up even a whisper out of earshot or a comment under breath, but cannot pick up sounds at a long distance. Their sense of smell is quite acute, able to distinguish smells like grease, metal, and blood. They do not rely on a Jacobson's organ, instead capturing particulates in receptors lining their nasal cavity.
Civilization and Culture
Thunthen names always consist of a three-character name followed by the clan name. One exception involves an archaic tradition by which the eldest of a clan clutch adopts the names of both mother and father i.e. Ram-Maz/Rammaz Plaedarr. Thunthen usually prefer the use of their full name and dislike the use of nicknames, but allow for the use of their first name by close friends and allies. Since lineage is traced through the father, clans can grow to be quite extensive, but often fracture into smaller sub-clans. For all of his power, Das Anazhar's heirs did not remain confined to a single dynasty. The use of Z and U is very rare in Thangien language but very common in the Thunthen language. Sometimes characters in the first name are pronounced silent, or completely differently from their spelling. In the case of Rgn Chorrez, the "G" is silent, and his name is pronounced "Rin". In the case of Dhr Aurir, the "H" is silent and his name sounds like "Deer". Thunthen do not use any hyphens or apostrophes in their names.
The Daggur ClanCurrently the ruling Supreme High Overlord clan with Mal Daggur having succeeded his father, Sur Daggur in the position.
The Sons-In-ExileDirect descendants of Das Anazhar that fled to the Redali system. Led currently by the Highlord.
The MatronsPowerful dames possessed of incredible endurance and intellect that offer their services in laying eggs and rearing hatchlings.
The Stone-shapersNobles adept at sculpting and construction. Led by noone in particular.
Metal-workersSomewhat of a lost faction, they formerly worked the foundries but were absorbed into shipbuilding and engineering.
DissidentsLed by Bak Thraplek. Comprised of an extensive network of informants and artisans focused on liberation.
Thunthen scales are actually quite delicate, and while their skin underneath is resilient, scales are vulnerable to cuts and abrasions, resulting in the use of padded armor. At some point during their evolution they lost the scutes once carried by their ancestors. Their scales are small and smooth, like that of an iguana, and with the exception of some Rares and Pesaks, the scales carry a yellow-orange coloration. They are quite prudish, viewing nudity as uncivilized. They view adornment as unnecessary with the exception of armor, though are not above using eyepatches or mechanical prostheses in event of a lost eye or limb. They are very particular of their tails and shells but bear scars with pride.
As opposed to the mostly matriarchal Thangiens, Thunthen are primarily patriarchal with males-or sires as they call themselves- governing most aspects of life such as construction, research, and warfare. Females-or dames- are kept from the front lines and often relegated to the care of hatchlings or other critical work such as navigation, engineering, or programming. Neither sex views each other as inferior, having learned the lesson of Rax Dragoul and his plan to render dames meek and submissive. Sires are impulsive and brutish while dames exercise restraint and tactical analysis. Sires will duel for supremacy for a title or position, but will not duel to secure a mate. While spilling blood is not necessarily taboo, Thunthen prefer to prioritize reproduction and do not display rut aggression, venting their energy into battle.
Thunthen do not marry, the concept being foreign to them. A sire seeking to bolster his clan will request the services of a matron to produce a clutch of eggs. Matrons are exceptionally long-lived and intelligent dames who devote most of their time to reproduction and care of clutches. Mal Daggur, foreseeing a prolonged campaign against Planet Thanged, repurposed his personal flagship the Nsenagvvik-"His Father's Fist"-into a mobile creche with a small staff of matrons. The concept of love is fairly new to Thunthen due to their exposure to Thangiens and Humans. Thunthen prize not only intelligence but fortitude when reproducing.
Thunthen are actually quiet amiable, mostly attributed to their lack of a singular culture. They do not adhere as rigidly to tradition as a Thangien and are quick to adopt mannerisms found in other races such as Humans. They devoted so much time to simple survival in their infancy, ideas such as friendship and humor simply fell by the wayside. In recent years since furthering their sphere of understanding in space, they've become more open-minded and can crack a joke as easily as fly a ship. They enjoy conversation and good food, and even the lowly Commons can become quite the chatterbox with enough encouragement. Thunthen simply do not believe in magic. Even when faced with incontrovertible truth, Thunthen will twist themselves into a pretzel to devise a scientific explanation. They generalize most "mystics"-be it druids, shamans, or monks- as "psychokinetics" with extraordinarily powerful psychokinetics viewed as gods.
Average Technological Level
The Thunthen wield a considerably broader understanding of technology than the Thangiens. The abundance of phergon on the homeworld as well as deposits being discovered on the smoldering Planet Khilio allow them to power their extensive arsenal and their great fleet. Thangiens learned about the existence of phergon, but prefer to use it to fuel their forges. Thunthen use sophisticated computer systems for navigation and research and commonly use thin screen pads. Even though they vastly surpass the Thangiens in military armament, their medical expertise has suffered as a result. Richtho bushes will not grow on Planet Thunthen. This is called Ritho's Edict; they are forbidden from using the gifts bestowed the Thangiens for themselves. Instead of relying on plant-based curatives, the Thunthen developed chemical-based treatments such as scar salve and molecular enamel paste for repairing shell and spike damage. In the event of serious wounds such as loss of muscle tissue or broken bone, they either cover the wound with metal plates or use surgical implants to compensate.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
The Thunthen language is quite coarse and guttural as opposed to the more elegant-sounding Thangien tongue. Because they lacked a progenitor language such as Latin or Old English, most of their language is derived from grunts and snarls used by their ancestors. They developed a crude form of handwriting by making scratches on flat pieces of stone with their claws. This later became Highscript and is still broadly used. As their technology developed, they began picking up signals from afar and eventually gained understanding of Oldworlder dialects such as English. They invented the translator buds that can quickly analyze and distill languages into a universal format. The Thangiens managed to recover some of these buds from the failed Siege of Bainshaebo and reverse engineered it for themselves. Occasionally the two races exchange word usage. The word "fenda" came to mean cat when referring to the Fendahu of Fienlor. "Bhazzak" is considered an all-purpose expletive but also viewed as a sort of underworld for cowardly souls. "Nehaghc" often denotes stupidity or incompetence. "Ootonim" expresses allegiance. "Rdgu" denotes a strong alloy or metal.
Common Etiquette Rules
Thunthen will splay their claws around their throats when pledging allegiance. A shell bow involves turning their bodies to the side to display their shells as a form of respect. Elders are often venerated for their experience as very seldomly does a Thunthen reach the upper end of their lifespan. For whatever reason after their introduction to humans, humans seem to have an irresistible urge to stroke their scaly beards.
Common Dress Code
Much like the Thangiens, Thunthen wear colorful body armor primarily to protect their chests, forearms, and shins. This armor is made of plastic-like material refined from a blend of fibrous algae and other chemicals. Very little plant-life grows on the homeworld, even underground, thus they have no access to plant-based fabrics such as linen or cotton. Occasionally they will incorporate leather into their outfits derived from lesser beasts. Generally the more ornate the armor, the more prestigious the wearer.
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Thunthen place more of an emphasis on military discipline than even the Thangiens. Aside from the palaces built by Das Anazhar, they live in mostly plain abodes hewn from solid stone with very little decoration. They prefer substance over style and practicality to pageantry. Stone-shapers have labored in recent years to revive the more intricate techniques once practiced during more peaceful times. Because they inherited little from their primordial ancestors aside from their size and natural weaponry, they devoted most of their energy to survival. However exposure to other races has resulted in them adopting customs and behaviors not practiced before. Meeting with Deres encouraged them to blunt some of their harsher impulses and make more of a shift towards artisanry and programming. Curiously enough, they revere the Four Queens almost as much as the Thangiens with Eyurodin and Ritho in particular held in high regard for their spheres of innovation and compassion.
EmdourachilUnlike the Thangiens, the Thunthen lack an organized religion. They believe in a realm named Bhazzak, a sort of hell for those slain in battle who have been damned by their actions, be it cowardice or dishonor. The Thunthen do not believe in souls, per se, but rather in a principle known as Emdourachil, "The Inner Self". They believe in all life forms there is a separate life form, a being, or essence, which drives a person to a certain goal. It is the force that makes a charismatic leader ambitious, or a conqueror less content with his current domains. It makes a rebel fighter more vigilant, or gives a warrior greater prowess in combat. Emdourachil is not necessarily held to be good or evil, but rather a force that, if removed from a being, would result in their very demise. One cannot exist without the other, and it is held that in some rare cases, the Emdourachil manifests by means of a physical transformation, the emergence of the Avatar, a reflection of the person’s own innermost desires and subconscious thoughts.
Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals
- Thunthen do not celebrate specific holidays with the exception of the Blood Dawn, which they view as a blessing of war.
- A leader such as a Supreme High Overlord will drink the blood of a fallen foe as a symbol of dominance.
- Thunthen are conscious of their appearance when addressing elders and will comb their beards and head crests.
- Thunthen have a soft spot for dairy products such as milk and ice cream, viewing it as a guilty pleasure.
- Thunthen developed an array of corny jokes in recent decades.
- Nobeyls will duel to the death when competing for a leadership role, or a challenge to personal honor.
- Touching a Nobeyl's tail with ones hands is considered a grave offense, often unforgivable.
- Damaging a Nobeyl's shell or spikes is viewed as a desecration.
- Thunthen do not like being seen naked and will coil their tails around their waists.
- It is common to reprimand insubordination with a quick tap of the tail club.
- Shelling is often used as an extreme form of discipline and always fatal due to extreme damage inflicted on the spinal column.
Before Time BeganPrecious little exists of Thunthen history beyond their forays into space and encounters with Thanged. Largely attributed to their dependence on oral record and the general instability of the planet itself, they know only that they dwelled in the system far longer than Thangiens. Scholars theorize they arrived via rifts much the same as aboriginal humans and over tens of millions of years managed to evolve and adapt to the inhospitable landscape. Initially herbivorous, they gradually began integrating more protein into their diet starting with cave-dwelling insects and grubs before graduating to lesser reptiles and small mammals. They are suspected to have started walking upright nearly a million years ago. As their strength and intelligence grew, they established permanent dwellings in what solid rock they could find. Relying upon subterranean flora and fauna, they eked out an existence on the brutal planet.
Meeting the QueensA thousand years before Wrawthe encountered the Freelanders, the Four Queens explored other worlds in the system and made contact with the intelligent dinosaur-like Thunthen. Seeing potential they attempted to tutor the Thunthen and nurture their burgeoning culture. Oorotin imparted knowledge of shaping metal, how to identify and smelt ores and create tools. Rhiyo urged them to care for their young, ensuring that more of them survived to become warriors and artisans. Wuerhen encouraged them to make use of their natural weaponry. Wrawthe imparted the philosophies of "fuhrhiadore" and "enturate": "Fight with full fury" and "Not in Tolerance". After many centuries, Wrawthe grew concerned that the Thunthen would misuse the knowledge they'd been gifted. While possessed of great cunning and ambition, Thunthen displayed an unnerving level of savagery. Of the three races of the species: Nobeyl, Khamen, and Pesak, the mighty Nobeyls declared themselves superior to all others. Alarmed, Wrawthe and the other Queens quietly withdrew in disappointment. Rhiyo spoke to them before departing, cautioning them against giving into bloodlust and warning them to learn the value of compassion lest they tear each other apart. Despite being forsaken by the Queens, stone-shapers and metal-workers often prayed to Oorotin and matrons invoked the name of Rhiyo when laying clutches. Unlike the Thangiens who roamed the plains constantly and looked only to the horizon, Thunthen gazed upon the stars and hungered to learn more.
"We mapped the stars while the Thangiens huddled around their campfires singing songs of their ancestors."- Naz Dassyr
Rax Dragoul the DamnedThis tale is considered apocryphal and largely suppressed in recent records. Legend speaks of a mighty Nobeyl unlike any other, possessed of great strength and skill, able to breathe fire and fly using wings that extended from beneath his shell, he towered above all other Nobeyls. Believed to be the first of the Rares-Nobeyls bestowed with special abilities-, Rax Dragoul considered himself destined to rule by divine might and attempted to consolidate power over the three races. Instead of joining him, however, the other races shunned him and rejected his rule. Determined to dominate the world, Rax Dragoul kidnapped several matrons and forcefully impregnated them, vowing if the other races would not serve, he would create his own subjects. Rax Dragoul underestimated the intelligence of dames, however. Believing the matrons to be wholly subservient, they conspired to bind him fast and hurl him into the deepest pit they could find. They sealed the pit with a stone slab, entombing the Damned King forever. The seeds he'd sown, however, remained, as from then on future clutches occasionally yielded what came to be known as "Rares". Stories are told to unruly hatchlings that the Damned King lives in the center of the world, plotting his return one day.
Dragons Seek TreasureThe next five-thousand years would see an explosion in innovation and development as the Thunthen refined their technology and architecture, discovering vast deposits of ore and precious minerals. Making great strides, the three races united over time with the shared vision of forging a better world. Despite their relatively short stay, the lessons imparted by the Four Queens allowed Thunthen to progress in leaps and bounds. Unable to sustain large crops in the toxic soil, the Thunthen eventually developed textiles made from flexible materials refined from deposits of black liquid and inedible but fibrous algae found only in caves. They crafted padded armor to provide additional protection as well as contribute to their imposing stature. They later discovered this same fibrous algae had the additional benefit of feeding upon sulfur and other contaminants in the toxic rain that frequented the planet. Within hours a pool of water housed within a pit lined by this algae would be rendered pure and safe to drink. This allowed the Thunthen to expand their food production greatly. While the planet itself had no arable land whatsoever, the cunning Thunthen managed to grow edible roots and tubers using an early form of hydroponics. After much trial and error and centuries of effort, they first fashioned jet-propelled sleds to navigate the land, then finally the first hodgepodge space-worthy shuttle. Ecstatic at the prospect of exploring new worlds and possibilities, the Nobeyls set their eye on the rest of the solar system. They had seen eight other planets in the binary star system and decided to first explore their closest neighbor, a verdant world of rolling plains, dense jungles, and vast wetlands.
"Well, when your entire race is cunning and innovative, it’s difficult to stand out…but there is one person who would fit that description: Rdguagdaraaz, or as he is better known by his proper Thangien name; Deres, the Father of Metal,"- Bau Daophyn to Edward Connolly.
First Contact and Deres' InsightThe Nobeyl scouting party made their way into the dense atmosphere of the beautiful green planet and were surprised to see a colossal walled city in the middle of the vast grassy plain. Unbeknownst to them, fierce fighting went on below as they circled around before landing on the plain just outside the wall. They emerged from the shuttle and approached the main gate of the city. Five thousand years Earth-time had passed in the interim since the Queens visited Planet Thunthen, and thus the Nobeyls simply did not recognize Roth as she approached and inquired of their errand. To them, she appeared as any human aside from her height and eyes with black irises and steel-gray pupils. The Nobeyls introduced themselves as simple explorers and wished to know more about these strange beings inhabiting the city. Giddy about meeting a spacefaring race, an individual calling himself Deres stepped forward and extended a hearty welcome to the Thunthen scouts. During their stay, the Nobeyls learned more about these Thangiens and the extent of their knowledge. While Roth observed with a wary eye, Deres picked their brains about their level of technology and the ship they used. To the Thunthen, Thangiens seemed to possess a relatively complex agrarian society. Deres, however, proved far more insightful than his eccentric personality belied. Deres insisted on examining their craft. Initially impressed by the propulsion and navigation, he grew dismayed upon seeing the condition of the hull. Noticing the burns and pockmarks left from atmospheric entry, he clucked and chided and told the appalled Nobeyls they had much to learn about shaping metal. The Thunthen felt embarrassed. Here they stood, mighty dragons towering above these pink-skins, and this reedy-looking Thangien had the audacity to criticize their greatest achievement thus far. Deres provided them samples of dererium tools and even presented the party leader with a sword fashioned from the fantastic metal. The leader awkwardly accepted the strange gift: Thunthen had never used crafted weapons before, in the past relying on their long claws and spiked tail clubs. Deres encouraged them to find a balance between lightness and durability and bid the "Nobles" farewell. The party leader corrected him, saying they were Nobeyls. Deres insisted on calling them "Nobles" because of their "regal appearance". He offered his greetings to the "Commons" (Khamen) and "Peasants" (Pesak) as well. Puzzled, the scouting party returned to their shuttle. They talked amongst themselves that the planet would serve their needs admirably, since the Thangiens only occupied a small portion of the land and for whatever reason seemed adverse to fully exploiting such rich natural resources. As they looked back towards the city gate, they spied Roth fixing them with a warning glare. An unease settled upon the group and they wondered if the old stories of Wrawthe and the Four Queens from eons past held a grain of truth.
Black Glass and Green FlameThe Thunthen scouting party safely returned after their journey humbled by what Deres had said. Before they could set their eyes on other worlds, they first needed to fully master their own. Try as they might, they ultimately could not synthesize or replicate dererium. While they could easily send shuttles and harvest it from Planet Thanged, they worried such provocation would result in grievous conflict. Deep crust mining became increasingly hazardous to the larger Nobeyls. Their bulk made it difficult to evacuate quickly if a mining site grew unstable. The Nobeyls weighed their options: while they could outright subjugate the smaller Pesak, the least of the Thunthen race still possessed enough intelligence to rebel against abuse and were certainly small enough to sneak into their creches and smash their eggs, or even murder the Nobeyls in their sleep. After much deliberation, the Nobeyls decided on a different approach and appealed to the Pesaks' sense of pride and affinity for manual labor. As long as they more or less pampered the Pesak, keeping them fed and treating them well, the Pesak could easily navigate tight passages and move quickly enough to survive surprise hazards. Instead of merely being a cog in the Thunthen industrial machine, they were the reason it ran. Being stuck in the middle, the more dexterous Khamen were tasked with maintaining equipment and the development of delicate mechanical and programming systems. In this way the three races finally found a way of peaceful coexistence. One day a Pesak mining team came across a vein of shining black material dotted with glowing greenish stone. Alerting their Nobeyls supervisors, they examined samples of the material that had the appearance of glass but the properties of stone. They discovered it had an extreme heat tolerance and while it could not be smelted or forged, could be cut and polished. They believed they had found the solution to the heat problem concerning their prototype hulls. Fragments of the black glass could be further pulverized and mixed with oil and resin to create a heat-resistant glaze to apply to the greater surface area of a craft. The greenish rock, however, proved far more difficult to handle. When exposed to surface air or oxygen, it began reacting violently and produced intense flame with an indefinite duration. It had to be transported in airtight containers and only smothering with high pressure could temporarily quench it. It burned hotter than conventional fire, even hotter than magma. A tiny chunk the size of a pebble could produce a much hotter and longer flame than standard fuel. When paired with heat-retardant gemstones to contain and evenly distribute flame, the substance could last years before losing viability. Combining black glass and green flame allowed the Thunthen to create powerful foundries with which to further refine their alloys. Try as they might, the secret of dererium eluded them, and they had to settle for thick hulls with straight edges.
"Phergon, in its raw form, can burn as hot as the flames of a titanodracoasaur; even hotter than the flames of Rhakka."-Australapaela
Rdguagdaraaz and the Secret of SpectraUsing their improved sky-sleds and skybikes, the Thunthen set to mapping and surveying the rest of the planet. They surmised if seismic activity at Planet Thanged's north pole yielded dererium, surely a similar secret resided at Planet Thunthen's polar caps. Sure enough they came upon molten springs exposed to the solar winds of the Twin Suns. Eager to plumb this discovery, the Thunthen attempted to gather samples of this liquid only to find it could not be handled by conventional means. Any metal, alloy or otherwise, dipped into the pools melted in a matter of moments and even implements designed specifically to handle molten metal suffered a similar fate. After some effort they managed to scoop out small amounts using ceramic ladles and crucibles of black glass. The metal remained in a molten state even when removed from the pools and did not seem to cool no matter how much time passed. The Thunthen knew the metal possessed potential just waiting to be unlocked but lacked the expertise. They knew of only one individual with such expertise, but so much time had passed they wondered if he even still lived. Boarding a shuttle, an expeditionary team set out with the intent of finding Deres, or as they had taken to calling him: "Rdguagdaraaz". After traversing the gap between worlds, the team landed outside of Bainshaebo and asked for the Father of Metal. Finding an elderly bedridden Deres, the Thunthen implored him for aid and described the puzzle they faced and the characteristics of the metal they dubbed spectra due to its bizarre properties. The Father of Metal's eyes lit up at the prospect of traveling to the Thunthen homeworld for one last jaunt and without any hesitation agreed to accompany them. After Eyurodin reluctantly gave permission for the trip, Deres hobbled aboard the shuttle and took his seat next to a window with all the glee and wonder of a child. The Thunthen gave assurances to return Rdguagdaraaz safely before embarking on the return trip. Due to the toxic fumes found wafting over the ground close to the northern pole, Deres required breathing equipment upon exiting the shuttle after landing. The escort described their difficulty attempting to smelt the metal: it could not be refined, nor cooled, nor tempered. They attempted to alloy it with other metals only to find even their strongest alloy to date, the metal used in their ship hulls, could not withstand exposure for long. Deres theorized spectra plundered the matter of other metals in a never-ending quest to stabilize itself, but metal alone would not suffice. Only metal possessing an equal or superior energy attunement could withstand the ordeal and successfully bond. Not even dererium, his magnum opus, could suffice. Deres regretted being unable to be of further assistance but insisted on getting a closer look at the Spectra Pits. The Thunthen watched aghast as Deres toppled right in-not deliberately or by accident-but he simply stopped moving and tipped forward. They suspected he'd simply died then and there after a life long-lived and full of achievement and discovery. The Thangiens never would let the Thunthen live down this blunder. Even though the Thunthen did not practice religion or believe in a soul for that matter, they erected shrines near the Spectra Pits paying homage to Rdguagdaraaz, "a Thangien imbued with the soul of a Thunthen."
Phergon and Spectra: Unlocking the StarsThe Thunthen would spend the next several years after the passing of Rdguagdaraaz-venerated as a patron saint of crafters by both Thangien and Thunthen- attempting to unlock the secret of spectra. He stated spectra required an energy infusion rivaling or surpassing its own, and one aspiring Nobeyl scientist thought perhaps the volatile substance they'd dubbed phergon could prove the key. In an isolated foundry he attempted to combine a single drop of spectra and a single fragment of phergon. The resulting explosion sent the foundry clear across the planet and the remains of the Nobeyl raining from the sky. Alarmed by the chaos, other Thunthen investigated the site and pored over the Nobeyl's notes. While the attempt to finally tame spectra proved a failure, the release of energy itself showed potential. The Thunthen created a special airtight containment unit with compartments meant to kept spectra and phergon separate until ready to introduce to one another. They introduced a third substance, a blend of other metals and compounds, to provide 'food' for the spectra sample. Keeping a safe distance, the Thunthen remotely allowed the three substances to mix within the containment chamber. Spectra began consuming nearby metals as expected in addition to being saturated with energy produced by phergon. The containment unit held, but multiple times the Thunthen observed a curious phenomena: each time the spectra sample seemed on the verge of stabilizing and solidifying, it would disgorge all the matter it had devoured only to repeat the cycle once more, each phase of consumption and evacuation releasing tremendous amounts of energy that surpassed even the instruments designed to measure the output. Resigned to the possibility of never being able to tame spectra, the Thunthen instead turned to harnessing this phenomenon for a means of propulsion.
"We have not seen them for many ages. I think it saddened them; when we made war upon Thanged, and we’ll not see them again until we’ve made peace." Tar Uhnin to Ren Skyrider
Rise of Das Anazhar, First Supreme High OverlordThe next two thousand years would pass with relative quiet with Thangiens keeping to Bainshaebo and Thunthen perfecting their crafts. Occasionally Thunthen scouting parties would set down far beyond Bainshaebo and observe the day to day activities of the citizens. They witnessed the ascension of a new leadership in the form of Queen Danaetanera III and years later the raising of the citadel-chapel Thananagreia by the goddess Roth. Shocked by this feat, the Thunthen realized Roth and Wrawthe of the old stories were indeed one and the same, and as long as Bainshaebo enjoyed the favor of the Four Queens, the Thunthen could not possibly hope to stage a campaign of conquest. They realized that for all their overwhelming power, the Queens often declined to directly intervene in grandiose displays of power befitting of classical archetypal gods. Roth and the other Queens practiced restraint in all but the most dire situations. The Thunthen came to the conclusion that if they presented an overwhelming enough force, the Thangiens would have no choice but to surrender, and being unwilling to defend themselves, would lose the favor of the Queens. For this plan to work, the Thunthen would need a powerful leader of their own. The Pesak had no interest in voicing input, busying themselves with their labor. The meek Khamens simply shrugged and agreed to go along with whatever the Nobeyls decided. Never before had the Thunthen felt the need to rely on a monarch of any sort. They simply decided as they believed in strength, then only the absolute strongest deserved to rule. Unlike Rax Dragoul of legend, this time they would decide upon a leader by merit. Several contenders stepped forward, among them a proud young Nobeyl named Das Anazhar. Unlike most Thunthen who preferred stoneshaping, metalsmithing, or engineering, Das Anazhar came across as something of a bookworm, spending most of his time studying ancient tablets covered with records written in Highscript: the form of claw-scratch writing used for millennia. Often joining scouting parties to Thanged, he took note of the "Art of the Sword" Rait'chian practiced by the Thangiens and in secret developed an art of his own. Instead of clawing and swinging with abandon, he blended complex martial arts with the natural weaponry of a Nobeyl and coined "Dau’che’taun", or Noble Claw Fighting. Claws could parry fatal blows aimed at the chest or throat and tail clubs used to throw opponents off balance. Confident in his technique, Das Anazhar joined the contenders in a bloody battle royale that would make Danaetanera III's trial look like a tea party. Das Anazhar emerged victorious, besting his clumsy brutish opponents by dazzling them with his fighting form. While some Nobeyls thought he'd shown weakness by adopting Thangien fighting styles, others argued that he had harnessed the weapons of their soon-to-be enemies and made them his own. Regardless of what naysayers thought, Das Anazhar had won the day and shown his mettle. They acknowledged his victory and named him "raax", or leader. Das Anazhar took the title Supreme High Overlord to show he had absolute command over military offensives for the purpose of offense, defense, and expansion. He created the posts of High Overlord to command smaller battlegroups and designated Overlords as regional governors for the purpose of community administration. Some grumbling persisted that this method of organization would only result in Thunthen becoming soft and "more human". They insisted they had endured for millions of years on sheer brute strength before. Das Anazhar argued, however, that if they were to survive for millions more, they needed to adapt before setting out upon the stars. Fully prepared, he set his eye on Bainshaebo.
The Dragon King and the QueenThe Thunthen spent the next cycle constructing the boxy-looking troopships and converting their early shuttles to assault sleds. Das Anazhar hoped this show of force would cow the Thangiens pride and result in absolute victory without need for a prolonged campaign. Deeming their first fleet ready, they set off towards Planet Thanged and landed on the Kundainian Plains within full sight of the city. Full of confidence, Das Anazhar announced himself as Supreme High Overlord and issued his demands: The Thangiens surrender unconditionally and submit to the authority of the Thunthen. They would cede all claim to the planet's resources and remain confined to Bainshaebo itself and the immediate farmlands outside the walls and vow never to venture across the planet again. Peirolyth and the Archives of Raaezen would be turned over to the custody of the Thunthen so Thangiens could not forge arms in rebellion or harbor secrets from their captors. These were his terms, and they were not negotiable. Roth observed from the balconies of Thananagreia. Danaetanera III stepped out to personally confront him, carrying only a small dagger. He wondered what she had planned as she raised the dagger infront of her face. He arched an eyebrow in surprise when she raised her arm and slit her wrists. Bleeding, she set off walking outside the wall, shedding a single drop of blood with each footstep. Perplexed, Das Anazhar followed at her side observing as she did not tire despite the sheer size of the city wall and the amount of blood she shed. When she had completed the circuit, she turned to Das Anazhar and said: "By my blood, have I secured the lives of my people". She closed her eyes and collapsed, dead. Without thinking, Das Anazhar lunged forward and caught her before she hit the ground and gathered her lifeless body in his arms. All of his pride had long since evaporated and he looked up at the faces of onlooking Thangiens. Their eyes seemed full of grief, but beneath the surface simmered intense rage: their Queen had sacrificed themselves not only for their safety, but because of these alien invaders. Galvanized by her sacrifice, the Thangiens would commit themselves fully to resisting conquest, and even though the Thunthen had the advantage in numbers and physical strength, for every one Thangien they would slay, a dozen Nobeyls would die. Numb with shock, Das Anazhar singled out a young maid, the princess Alahaedra, and relinquished care of Danaetanera's body to her. He performed a shell bow-a rare gesture of respect, unheard of to anyone but a Thunthen- and took his leave, ordering his forces to withdraw. High Overlords initially voiced their objections but bit their tongues when they saw the haunted expression on Das Anazhar's face. Das Anazhar would spend the rest of his life pondering whether Danaetanera had executed her stunt for dramatic flair or had taken a calculated risk in stirring the exact reaction she anticipated in her people. Many an ambitious High Overlord challenged him to a duel only to meet their end: Das Anazhar remained far from weak. He decreed that the Thunthen would shift their focus from immediate conquest to exploration and colonization of other star systems. He set his stone-shapers to creating vast elaborate palaces underground for he and his heirs to occupy. The newly-developed closed fusion drives would allow for traversing the Vault of Stars. For the next three thousand years, they would leave Planet Thanged in peace. The Anazhar clan and all other related clans would reign supreme through this time.
"He is the only Thunthen whose likeness is preserved with honor and the only Noble who could truly be called such…" Australapaela
Dragons Take Flight: The Redali SystemAfter years of tweaking the new closed fusion drives and shifting fleet production from troopships and sleds to larger cruisers and dreadnoughts, the Thunthen set off to take on the universe at large, dispatching multiple expeditionary fleets. One such fleet came across a single-star system with many planets but only three of which contained sentient life. Keeping their distance, they found the same species on each planet, though they seemed to have diverged drastically in their development. The first inhabited world displayed an industrial-oriented civilization similar to their own pre-starfaring phase. The residents of the second inhabited world seemed inclined neither towards industry nor agriculture. The third, despite the expeditionary fleet's efforts to remain discreet, possessed a technical level similar to their own and extended an invitation to parley. Calling themselves Redals, the beings explained they remained aloof from their neighbors out of respect. Organic-energy beings capable of breaking themselves down into ionic surges and reconstituting at will, the Redals peppered the Thunthen with questions. If they planned to invade, they would no doubt encounter staunch resistance. The High Overlord of the fleet, a great-grandson of Das Anazhar, insisted they had no such plans and extolled the virtues of his Noble ancestor. The Redals offered an empty but viable world as a potential colony site and the system's asteroid belt proved rich in critical ores. Intrigued by the offer, the High Overlord declined for the time being. The Redals shared a portion of data with them to create what they dubbed "burst drives" to allow for faster travel across long distances. The rest of the puzzle the Thunthen would need to solve on their own. Some scientists among the expeditionary fleet took note of the erratic fluctuations being produced of the system's star. It appeared much younger than either Thuruk 1 or 2. The Redals shared these concerns and worried that at some point the star would begin expanding and consume the innermost worlds, including the third, industrialized planet.
The Traghdoashin System and Nexxus' FollyA thousand Earth-years ago, a bright flash of light from a nearby star system caught the attention of Thunthen scientists and Thangien stargazers. The Thangiens came to the conclusion that the star had gone supernova, but only the Thunthen had the means to investigate. A scouting fleet set out but had to maintain distance upon nearing the system as their instruments detected the presence of a nascent black hole. The event horizon had already begun pulling in the shattered remains of nearby planets. After surveying other planets outside the event horizon, the scouts managed to retrieve caches of records and data tomes from the ruins of what could only have been a vastly superior race. The scouts spent additional time picking over the carcass of the ruins but found no intact technologies they could use, even for reverse engineering. Forced to settle with records alone, the fleet withdrew and returned to Planet Thunthen to sift through the data. For all the might of the Nobeyls, only the Khamens had the patience and cunning to decipher the data tomes. After some effort getting programming languages to cooperate, the data tomes revealed that the system once hosted an advanced race called the Traghdoash. For all their superiority, the Thunthen had simply never known they existed because the Traghdoash viewed their neighbors with disdain and avoided them at all turns. The Traghdoash turned their noses up at the Thunthen and their clumsy first steps across the stars and thought them barbaric and reckless. Their chief scientist, Nexxus, bent all his effort into creating a superstructure encompassing the system's star and using it to hoard all nearby ambient energy and keep it out of reach of "lesser races". While stable at first, the project broke down and a chain reaction resulted in the superstructure failing and consuming the star itself. To a man, the entire Tragdoashin race had perished. Some portions of data proved too damaged to decipher, but the Khamens managed to glean a few cryptic words: "Metra", "Hau-iyo", "Maidra", "Armors". The Thunthen took this as a lesson against pushing too hard too fast and placed the system under interdict, dubbing the site the Tragdoashin Nexxus Hole. While the data bestowed by the Redals showed promise, the Thunthen decided against rushing development, lest they draw attention from unfriendly eyes.
The Transgalactic Gate: The Queens Brought LowFor the next six hundred years Earth-time, the blood pact made between Das Anazhar and Danaetanera III held strong as the Thunthen avoided any altercation with Thangiens. The first seeds of dissent began sprouting as prominent Nobeyls spoke out against this forced pacifism, but Das Anazhar's descendants were not to be trifled with and the ruling Supreme High Overlord quashed any challengers. At this time, the Thunthen took note of an incredible project unfolding within Thanged's lower orbit: a feat of engineering that resembled a gigantic ring of dererium with four large spires along the outer edge and a swirling vortex of energy at the center. It almost looked like a gate. They observed at a distance how pegacorn riders entered the gate then returned just as quickly. After their return, thousands of Ranks mustered and re-entered the gate. The Thunthen realized the Thangiens-whether by their own innovation or through intervention from the Four Queens-had developed a method of travel without requiring engines or a ship for that matter. Many of the dissenting Nobeyls argued without so many warriors this presented a ripe opportunity to attack, but the heirs of Das Anazhar held true to their oath and abstained. They argued the presence of the Four Queens would hamper any attempted invasion. The dissenters grumbled and continued to bide their time. Scouts reported that the Thangien ranks had returned, suffering many casualties and losing nearly half their number. The great gate went dark and would remain inactive for many centuries, leaving the Thunthen to wonder what the Thangiens had encountered to leave them so humbled. Roth herself came to visit the Supreme High Overlord, describing in chilling detail the dread Enemy the Thangiens had encountered when they attempted to make contact with their ancestral world. She feared this Enemy would eventually turn its attention to the Thurukian System and petitioned Das Anazhar's kin to join forces with Thanged in mutual defense. While sympathetic to her concern, the Supreme High Overlord confessed he feared infighting and rebellion would hamper any efforts for an alliance. While strong, the Anazhar clan had steadily lost favor throughout the centuries. He warned the Queen of Triumph to prepare the Thangiens to fight Thunthen before they would face this great Enemy.
"Many species forget that once you reach the top, where else is there to go but down? Life is a journey, and much like food, Is meant to be savored. How can you be expected to hold onto all that ‘vast knowledge’ if you forget simple pleasures such as this?”-Bak Thraplek to Raeo Flamerider
The Rise of Sur Daggur and the Dasphat RevolutionFor all the achievements and relative prosperity gained during the long eon of peace, many High Overlords still harbored resentment for Das Anazhar and his "teachings": Why expend so much effort seeking worlds abroad to colonize when they had potential worlds just next door? Aside from Planet Thanged, the Thunthen had observed the existence of Planets Banguk and Fienlor, similar temperate worlds. Planet Aguar, a mostly waterlogged world, seemed unsuitable to support an industrious species such as the Thunthen. The innermost worlds of the system, Fugan, Frono, Khilio, and Caltin likewise proved hazardous with surface conditions far more extreme than even Planet Thunthen. One High Overlord-a Rare and said by some to be the second coming of Rax Dragoul- Sur Daggur, worked in secret to consolidate power and support from other disaffected High Over lords and Overlords. Backed by Ramazz Plaedarr, a prominent Bloodhun and longtime friend of his, Sur Daggur cast aside his facade of a good loyal High Overlord and challenged the current Supreme High Overlord. Easily defeating him in a one-sided duel, Sur Daggur was not satisfied with simple victory. He wanted to scour the very name of Das Anazhar from the Thunthen consciousness. He ordered the capture and execution of any clan associated in the slightest bit with Das Anazhar. Several clans managed to evacuate, seeking refuge in the Redali System. Others went underground, shedding their heritage and hiding their true nature. Sur Daggur decided if he could not kill each and every descendant, he would force those he captured to die in his name and called any Noble descended from Das Anazhar "Dasphat": "to spite Das Anazhar". Spending the next solar cycles solidifying his position, Sur Daggur ordered the expansion of colossal space docks in low orbit and set the Thunthen to work on immense twin supercarriers that would form the core of his personal fleet. Instead of using phergon to light foundries and fuel drilling lasers, he ordered the development of rifles and pistols suitable to hold in Thunthen claws and great mighty cannons to mount on cruisers, dreadnoughts, and the half-built supercarriers. He declared instead of shunning or suppressing their brutish instincts, they would embrace them. They would take as they please and strike fear into the hearts of their enemies. Much the way Thunthen had resented Das Anazhar in the past, adherents of his philosophy grumbled in secret against Sur Daggur's warmongering.
Signal From AfarRoughly sixty years ago Earth-time, Thunthen technicians began detecting a strange stream of data coming from the Vault of Stars. It spoke in the pitch of a Thangien, but the language sounded vastly different from anything they'd ever heard before. They later uncovered a video signal embedded in the data and played it for an intrigued Sur Daggur. He saw a humanoid with slick black hair and a tiny mustache who looked like a Thangien but lacked their stature. The video lacked color but pageantry and emblems surrounded the man of a white circle in a darker field with a symbol like four scythes arranged together in a cross at the center. Without another sample to cross-reference, the Thunthen could not translate the man's speech, but Sur Daggur could sense the meaning behind his words: the man spoke of blood and battle, conquest and calamity. Sur Daggur felt a curious kinship with this strange humanoid. Throngs of other humanoids cheered in accord with the man and raised their arms in salute. Sur Daggur wished him good fortune. The thought occurred to him: these were NOT Thangiens...that indicated the existence of another world with a similar climate, but a much-less technologically advanced race. If they could find the location of this world, perhaps they could find a much softer target to attack.
The Phantom of the Outer RimSur Daggur ordered engineers to revive the burst drive project and begin producing viable ships. However each time they sent out a prototype ship, it would simply vanish without any contact. Puzzled, the Thunthen sent up a heavy escort and observed every second of activity from the prototype. Without warning, a swarm of smaller ships appeared out of seemingly nowhere and absconded with the prototype before the fleet could react. The next successive attempts to use additional prototypes as bait for this adversary met with the same result: the honeycomb-looking drones would whisk away the prototype before it could either fire up the burst drive or the fleet could retaliate. The Thunthen came to the conclusion that some unknown enemy seemed adamant on curbing their technological development. Even though the burst drive data had been bestowed as a gift in ages past, because it was not developed by them entirely, this enemy believed they were not ready for such advanced technology. Sur Daggur fumed with resentment and the burst drive project was put on hold once more.
"He seeks out innovation among the younger races, and like an overbearing parent, steals away the fruits of their imagination! It is because of him that Mal Daggur still uses the same fleet as his father."-Ker Barzduk
Runjen: The Dead WorldAfter centuries of analyzing seismic activity on the planet, the Thunthen learned of the existence of a dark exoplanet with an erratic orbit, held in a tenuous grasp by the Twin Suns. They theorized this planet had actually come from afar and only relatively recently arrived. Ecstatic at the possibility of a new resource to exploit, Sur Daggur dispatched scouts to survey this planet. The surface appeared rocky and lifeless, and the scouting party required breathing equipment due to the lack of air. They made the shocking discovery of a race of beings living in the shadows, an impossible feat given the complete lack of atmosphere. The creatures had a saurian appearance much like their ancestors, but their bodies seemed riddled with metallic implants of some unknown make. They seemed to have been touched by a strange hand in ages past. The scouting party had originally planned a simple survey and departure, but the leader insisted on capturing one of the creatures for study. This proved a mistake as the mere thought of subjugation threw the creatures into a frenzy and hundreds of thousands of them sallied forth against the scouting party. The scouts made a hasty retreat and lifted off, leaving the creatures on their dead world. The creatures presented a puzzle that beckoned further study, but would have to wait for many years to come. The Thunthen named these creatures "Reptilloids" and dubbed the planet "Runjen", the Dead World.
Siege of Bainshaebo: Ander EmergesWith the grand fleet he envisioned far from completion, Sur Daggur dispatched his personal armored guard along with the Dasphat he'd rounded up to send a warning shot to Planet Thanged. His personal bodyguards-armed head-to-toe with alloyed armor covered in black glass- would supervise the Dasphat hostages and force them to stage a siege on the main gate of Bainshaebo. As the troopships landed, the guards spotted hundreds of pegacorn riders fleeing over the wall and dismissed them as cowards evacuating the city. The blockade formed around the city walls, cutting off access to the farmlands of Kundain. Confident in their position, the guards issued demands for absolute, unconditional surrender. They looked to the side of the gate, puzzled as they heard the thunder of many hoofbeats in the distance and saw the pegacorn riders from earlier charging at them head on. Scoffing at this archaic tactic, the guard ordered their Dasphat hostages to take aim and fire their phergon weaponry as soon as the riders got close enough. The riders showed no sign of stopping and the guard gave the order to fire. Suddenly, the rider at the head of the charge dismounted his steed from behind and landed on the ground at the same time his steed took flight. The other riders followed his action and the Thunthen were startled at seeing the pegacorn take wing and fly overhead while the riders remained on the ground. Unable to settle on a single target direction, the Thunthen wasted precious seconds switching aim from the pegacorn to the Thangiens. The Thangiens capitalized on this confusion and broadsided the siege line, ducking under the claws and phergon fire of the Nobles and cutting them to ribbons and even deflecting or reflecting phergon shots with their blades. While mostly Dasphat perished that day, Sur Daggur had lost a great deal of his prize private guard force. As he lay dying, one of the Dasphat took note of a man surveying the carnage. Unlike the Thangiens, who exalted in their victory, this man seemed remorseful. The Dasphat called out to him, identifying him as not a Thangien, but a human Oldworlder. He beckoned him over and the man knelt before him, surprised he could understand him. They exchanged words and the dying Noble explained the situation on the homeworld, warning the man about Sur Daggur's dangerous ambition. Unknown to the human, the Noble had left his comm line open, hoping his son back on the homeworld listened in on the conversation. In his dying breath he expressed hope the man would get along quite well with his son before a hot-blooded Thangien interrupted the conversation and stabbed him in the chest, ending his life then and there. The death of the Dasphat prisoners did not bother Sur Daggur so much as the loss of his bodyguard and the emergence of this Oldworlder whom the Thangiens looked to for leadership. He attempted to send envoys in secret to whisper in the ear of the Watch-Rider and urge him to surrender, and while the Watch-Rider seemed open at first, the Oldworlder known as Ander Vai Stel Vethu spoke against appeasement, and usurped the Watch-Rider with aid from his allies. A new Watch-Rider, Torkenantakin, took the throne and denounced any form of appeasement. Vexed by this development, Sur Daggur postponed any future assault plans in favor of completing his fleet.
Birth of Evil: The Maw of FlameWhile supervising the engineers at work on the burgeoning fleet, Sur Daggur came across half-finished plans for a mighty vessel that would dwarf even the supercarriers. The lead engineer insisted it was not a weapon, but a terraformer, a ship intended to fire probes carrying nutrients and microbes needed to propagate life. Instead of expending so much resources on conquest, the engineer reasoned why not simply convert a barren world to a viable one. Sur Daggur reasoned that the probes could also carry contagions, or a chemical payload. Wresting the project from the engineers, he ordered construction of a third space dock bigger than any before built and diverted construction teams to erecting this grand ship, what would become his magnum opus and a weapon that would strike fear into the hearts of entire civilizations. The lead engineer, a young Noble by the name of Naz Dassyr, lamented this bastardization and quit the team, retreating into solitude. Another Noble approached him sometime later, not for retaliation, but with a proposition: to join his motley group of dissenters. The Noble, calling himself Bak Thraplek, admitted to being the son of a Dasphat prisoner and appealed to Naz Dassyr's work ethic. Without hesitation, Naz Dassyr agreed and lent his engineering expertise to this secretive group. While they had no hope of rebelling against Sur Daggur and his ilk, they could seek help from abroad. Bak Thraplek had just the individual in mind.
The Sons-In-Exile: Bak Thraplek's MissionThe vast bulk of the Dasphat evacuees established a permanent colony in the Redali system, renaming themselves the Sons-in-Exile. Led by the mighty Highlord, instead of entertaining thoughts of rebellion or reclamation, they focused on prosperity and development, preferring to leave Sur Daggur and his followers to their own devices and the path of ruin they insisted on pursuing. Bak Thraplek, a great grand-nephew of the Highlord, declined to join his brethren, insisting he could rescue the homeworld. He knew no amount of plotting and subterfuge could create enough of a critical mass to overthrow Sur Daggur. Only a terrific setback would encourage the greater populace to abandon their delusions of conquest. While his confidants numbered a bare half-dozen, Bak Thraplek tasked them with recruiting other kindred spirits while he set off to Planet Thanged. Biding his time for an ample opportunity, Bak Thraplek managed to track down Ander Vai Stel Vethu and approached the man who had slain his father. Ander expressed genuine remorse, but Bak Thraplek insisted his father's life was forfeit regardless of any action from Ander. Ander-who insisted on referring to him by his first name, Bak-agreed with his sentiments and offered to accompany Bak on a diplomatic endeavor. They journeyed to the neighboring planets of Aguar and Fienlor in an attempt to secure aid from the Kikua and Fendahu, and while both races seemed willing to take Sur Daggur down a peg, they lacked the ability to provide any military aid. Ander suggested they solicit aid from the Reptilloids of Planet Runjen. While Bak strongly objected, describing the failed attempted first contact years prior, Ander insisted and led a reluctant Bak to the Dead World. Bak watched nervously at a distance as Ander attempted to reason with the Reptilloids. For all his amiability, the Reptilloids remained cold and refused intervention, stating that the Thangiens and Thunthen would need to exhaust their enmity in blood before joining forces to face a greater threat. Puzzled as to the nature of this 'greater threat', the two envoys took their leave, disappointed. Bak introduced Ander to his most senior confidants; Naz Dassyr, Tar Uhnin, and Bau Daophyn. Ander stated that if they could not find aid in the Thurukian System, then perhaps they could secure allies on his home planet of Earth in the Sol System. Sharing with them the prophecy of doom Roth had personally given him, Ander wished Bak and his friends well and took his leave to prepare the Thangiens for the coming conflict.
"He screamed for each and every soul, voicing a cry unlike any had heard before or since. Since that fateful day…we Thangiens have tried to recreate that cry of anguish,"-Azurotago
Masterstroke of Malice: The Burning of BangukAfter many cycles of effort, Sur Daggur's fleet stood poised to prowl forth and claim the stars. With the newly christened Vyerrdeklagn-Maw of Flame, Ramahatesguad-Hammer of the Stars, and Huzonthunorthplier-The Grinding Teeth forming the core of his armada, Sur Daggur boarded his personal flagship, The Roaring Mountain, and ordered the fleet to depart. He first planned to circumvent Thanged and target the other nearby planets of Banguk and Fienlor in a show of force. Dispatching his replenished and newly-dubbed "Obsidian Guard" to the surface, he felt confident the mere sight of the armored elite shock troops would cow the cat-lords of Fienlor into submission. The Fendahu returned to the landing site, depositing the blood-spattered armor and empty shells of the Obsidian Guard. Enraged by their impertinence, Sur Daggur ordered his son Mal Daggur to take the helm of the Vyerrdeklagn and begin firing preparations. At that point, thousands of Ranks of pegacorn riders sallied out from Planet Thanged aiming to thwart Sur Daggur. With the Vyerrdeklagn unable to turn towards Thanged due to its position, the fleet veered away, coming within sight of Planet Banguk. The pegacorn riders, led by Ander Vai Stel Vethu, harried the fleet, pegacorns able to outmaneuver and bring their riders within striking distance of D-Class Fighters. Facing a potential rout before they could retreat to the homeworld, Sur Daggur decided if he could not have his prize, he would strike such a blow that would be remembered forever and strike fear into the hearts of future generations to come. He issued the command to Mal Daggur to fire the Vyerrdeklagn upon Planet Banguk, an order Mal Daggur gleefully executed. All combatants observed with horror as the incendiary probes entered the atmosphere and swarmed over the planet, first dispensing their payload of flammable chemicals, then igniting and dragging fire across the hapless planet. The Bangukians, distant relations of Thangiens and a mostly agrarian and scholarly civilization, had no means of defense or escape, and nearly its entire population of sixteen million perished in a matter of minutes. Delighted in the Maw of Flame's test firing, Sur Daggur gloated from his seat on the Roaring Mountain and declared all who opposed him would suffer the same fate. A cry like no other tore loose over the comms and seemed to echo through space itself. Beside himself with rage, Ander made a beeline for the Maw of Flame and summoned forth a spectacular wave of energy from his sword. Having never seen a Metra Wave before, the fleet didn't know how to react. Unwilling to sacrifice his magnum opus, Sur Daggur ordered the Roaring Mountain on an intercept course and took the brunt of the attack. The wave tore the Roaring Mountain apart and Sur Daggur met his end that day. Mal Daggur did not have time to grieve the loss of his mighty father as Ander stormed aboard the Vyerrdeklagn with the intention of assassinating him. He realized Ander had expended a great deal of energy with the first Metra Wave and could not easily summon another. While he lacked the stature of his father, Mal Daggur, a Rare in his own right and imposing all his own, challenged the human to a duel. Mal Daggur easily gained the upper hand and slew Ander, exacting vengeance for his father and landing a grievous blow against the morale of the Thangien riders. He threw the bloodied sword Ander had carried aside instead of claiming it as a trophy and set to devouring the human's body with gluttonous glee. Unbeknownst to him, a young Noble discreetly retrieved the sword and absconded with it. The Vyerrdeklagn could not fire again without replenishing its probes, and the supercarriers had lost a great deal of fighters. Both Thangien and Thunthen forces withdrew to their respective homeworlds to lick their wounds and grieve their losses.
A Pact in FleshBak, having retrieved Ander's signature sword Gold Wing, flew to Bainshaebo to personally deliver the terrible news to Ander's widow Yainae. Pregnant with Ander's final child, Yainae wanted nothing to do with the sword. Bak decided to hold onto it for safekeeping. Spying shy eyes observing him from behind Yainae, he knelt down and beckoned to the little girl. Ander's second daughter, Danae, tottered forth and clumsily caressed his beard and face. Sensing an opportunity, Bak carefully traced the emblem of the House of St'lur in the flesh of the backs of their hands and sealed the wounds with scar salve. He whispered encouragement to the little girl, promising to return when she came of age. He rose and took his leave of Yainae, returning to the homeworld to plan for the future.
"Remember the stories of your father: how he rode the stars and broke the mountain, and know that I will return one day to help you finish what he started.”- Bak Thraplek to Danaetanera.
Conquest Denied: Vengeance of BangukAfter waiting fifteen years to let vegetation regrow on Planet Banguk, Mal Daggur dispatched scouts to survey the planet surface and establish outposts. After losing contact, he sent additional scouting parties equipped to handle hazardous environments. The scouts soon discovered the presence of pollen-producing plants that proved fatal to Thunthen. Instead of perishing in the initial firing of the Maw of Flame, the once obscure plant instead proliferated across the surface. He contemplated firing the Vyerrdeklagn again or using herbicides, but the plant proved quite resilient to flame and chemicals. Incensed by this development, Mal Daggur was forced to abandon any plans of seizing the world and colonizing it. Thangiens considered this a final retribution from the slain Bangukians and named the planet The Ghost World.
Fall of the Pegacorn and Birth of the PegasiBak would spend the next fifteen years assembling supplies, establishing informants in the fleet, and gathering allies. His team of companions had grown to include Nobeyl Rares, a dame and a former matron, and even a little Khamen. He watched in disgust as Mal Daggur launched a despicable biological attack against Thanged, using a plague to cripple the pegacorn herds the Thangiens had relied on for so long. He wondered how could the Four Queens let such suffering unfold without intervening. As if admonishing his lack of faith, Eyurodin bestowed the Thangiens with the miraculous Pegasi, saving the species from the brink of extinction. Ever the blasphemer, Mal Daggur launched a second plot and- using the chemical formula originally intended for ore extraction- contaminated the patient zero Pegasus and turned him into a crazed giant. While Roth could seal Pegasus in a crystalline tomb, even she could not restore Pegasus. She planned to exile him into space, and much to Bak's dismay, Danae-now a grown woman-agreed to accompany Pegasus as a warning and a companion. Bak watched as Roth catapulted the two through the Transgalactic Gate to an unknown destination. He wondered if he would ever be able to keep his promise and prayed to Roth for a sign, but no such sign came.
Danae's Return and News of the OldworldA full cycle later, Bak's informants relayed news of Danae's sudden return, not only safe and sound, but with a fully restored Pegasus in tow. She regaled the Thangiens with stories of the fantastic warriors she had befriended. Bak took this as his sign and began his final preparations, but before he could set off on his mission, he first needed to gauge the character of these "warriors". In the coming months he observed in secret the arrival of the warriors Thangiens called Morind de Witheren, "Knights of the Maiden of Blood" and that they indeed hailed from Earth, the homeworld of which Ander spoke of so long ago. Bak observed with joy as Ander's daughter took one such warrior as a mate, and watched in disappointment as Mal Daggur executed yet biological attack targeting the Thangien population. The intervention of the Morindae staved off catastrophe, and Bak determined to travel to the Oldworld and introduce himself to these warriors. Boarding an antiquated cruiser with his group of compatriots, he approached the Transgalactic Gate, whispering a prayer to Roth for safe passage before plunging through towards an unknown destination. Unbeknownst to him, Mal Daggur had already taken his personal fleet in search of the Oldworld.
"I am Bak Thraplek, and I say this to you: Untun untom aturasak Raax. It means, ‘I take thee as my leader’," Bak Thraplek to Raeo Flamerider.
Das AnazharAn ambitious but cunning Nobeyl who attempted conquest of Bainshaebo three thousand years ago. He purportedly told Princess Alahaedra: "This is not what I wanted" when turning over Danaetanera III's body. He and his descendants led the Thunthen into an era of exploration and innovation and enjoyed relative peace and prosperity until the rise of the Daggur Clan.
Sur DaggurUsurper and savage, chief warlord responsible for the Dasphat Revolution that toppled Das Anazhar's heirs. He forcefully steered the Thunthen people into a campaign of military conquest and tempted them with promises of blood and riches. Slain during the Battle of Banguk by Ander Vai Stel Vethu.
The HighlordCurrent patriarch of the main Anazhar clan. Leader of the Sons-in-Exile based in Redali System.
Rammaz Plaedarr/Plaedarr BloodhunClose friend of Sur Daggur and a bloodhun (mercenary/assassin). While he steadfastly supported Sur Daggur in his campaign, after his death in the Battle of Banguk he felt Mal Daggur risked squandering all of his father's achievements and retired from active military participation. Said to currently be the oldest Nobeyl alive at 120 years old Earth-time.
Mal DaggurThe Butcher of Banguk. Son of Sur Daggur responsible for firing the Vyerrdeklagn on defenseless Planet Banguk. Slew Ander in one-on-one combat and devoured his body. Succeeded his father as Supreme High Overlord. After Danae and Pegasus' return, he decided to take his personal fleet in search of the Oldworld and complete his dream of securing a new world.
Bak ThraplekDirect descendant of Das Anazhar and great-grand nephew of the Highlord. Close friend to Ander and leader of the dissident movement on the homeworld. Risks a trip to the Oldworld to secure allegiance with the Morind de Witheren.
Common Myths and Legends
Rax DragoulA controversial figure said to be the progenitor of all Rares. Modern Thunthen believe he lives at the center of the planet in his cursed domain, waiting to emerge and conquer the surface.
BhazzakIn addition to being used as a general curse word, Bhazzak is viewed as a sort of hell for dishonored dead and cowardly souls.
The Warlord and his Sweet ToothAt an unknown time, an unnamed Nobeyl attempted to attack Bainshaebo only to be placated with offerings of milk and cream.
Nexxus' FollyRetelling of the discovery of the ruined Traghdoashin System and the black hole found there.
RdguagdaraazDeres, the Father of Metal. Venerated by crafters as a patron saint of innovation. Some Thunthen secretly carry a small shrine.
The Four QueensThanged's chief goddesses said to have tutored the primitive Thunthen in eons past.
Wrath of a MotherRetelling of Ritho's admonishment of the wicked Natives in retaliation for the murder of engineers on Thanged.
Ride the MountainFable predating the Battle of Banguk where a pegacorn rider challenges a Nobeyl to a duel of skill and wits.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
Thangien- Adversarial. While initially cordial, the Thunthen viewed these humanoids as inferior and plotted to usurp the planet. It would take many years and much effort for relations for return to any semblance of peace.
Bangukian-Extinct. Viewed as primitive and expendable. Mal Daggur exterminated nearly 99.9% of the populace with the test firing of the Vyerrdeklagn.
Fendahu/Fienloran-Tenuous trade. After the humiliation of the Obsidian Guard, Thunthen reluctantly established more diplomatic ties and offered tools and ores in exchange for additional sources of meat protein.
Kikua/Aguarian-Tenuous trade. Having developed a taste for fish, the Thunthen offered to exchange fabric made from fibrous algae for use as water filters and clothing in exchange for vast quantities of sea life.
Reptilloid-Hostile. After discovering the shadowy exoplanet of Runjen, the prideful Nobeyls thought they could subjugate the primitive-seeming Reptilloids. They would live to regret that mistake and ever after would the denizens harbor resentment.
Human-Mixed. Only recently discovering their existence through intercepted radio transmissions and Ander's arrival, Mal Daggur views them as a weak race to conquer while Bak Thraplek views them as the key to salvation.
"There are actually three races of our kind. In our language, the word ‘thunthen’ means ‘dagger-claw’, so when people think of Thunthen, they think of us Nobeyls, or Nobles as the Thangiens took to calling us."- Naz Dassyr to Sean Waverider.
"Thangiens are quick to dub us ‘uncultured barbarians’, but stone, stone speaks to us! It sings! This is our art! This is our poetry!"-Bau Daophyn to Ren Skyrider.
7-8 ft for Nobeyls, 5-6 ft for Khamens, 3-4 ft. for Pesaks
400+lbs for Nobeyls, 200+lbs for Khamens, -100lbs for Pesaks
Nobeyls possess the highest density of muscle tissue of the three races. Sires tend to be very broad in the chest and shoulder, likely to support the weight of their shells. Dames are lean but still look imposing to a human female. The smallest Khamen will look similar to a human athlete, but they are not suited for melee combat and have moderate upper body strength. They compensate for lack of muscle with their denser bones and shells. Pesak are the smallest of the three but very stocky and agile.
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Nobeyls and Khamens have small yellow-orange scales while Pesaks have broad dark green scales. Pesaks resemble their ancestors the closest with scutes along their neck, jaws and back. Nobeyls have a set of purplish stripes on the back of their neck. Beards can come in a variety of colors not tied to any particular status. Orange, red, and blue are the most common. Other colors include green, yellow, gray, and dark blue. Fibers turn white at advanced age.
“Too often in our travels have we come across the remnants of great, ancient civilizations that had pushed themselves to the peak of advancement only to fall into obscurity, or worse.”- Bak Thraplek to Raeo Flamerider.
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