Kartuu are a true sefora, meaning they are not a hybrid or a false sefora. They are also incredibly hard to miss thanks to the quadrupedal walking style and feathery crests unique to their species. Kartuu are abundantly significant to Serpentis culture and history.
Distinctive FeaturesUnlike all other Serpentians, kartuu walk on all fours. In addition, this species sports a crest of feathers on its head, between its shoulders, and around its pelvic region. As far as their wings go, kartuu are carries of genes for either feathered and membranous wings. Feathered wings are the most common. Kartuu are the strongest, fastest, and most adaptive species of sefora which has allowed them to thrive on Serpentis, a planet of harsh conditions. Kartuu are also semi-aquatic. Their fingers and toes are partially webbed and they possess a small gland at the base of the tail that excretes a semi waterproof oil with which they coat their feathers. This catlike species is composed of muted tones. Usually earthy or ashy. On either cheek, kartuu have small symmetrical markings that glow softly in darkness. It's believed that they evolved these small markings as an additional method of identifying one another during the dark of winter when their muted colors look nearly identical to the next individual. This is especially useful when hunting in darkness as a way to keep track of where everyone is to better coordinate hunts. No two individuals have the same markings.
All-Terrain SeforaKartuu are a semi-aquatic, fully-flighted, burrowing species that has learned to take advantage of every niche possible in order to survive on their hostile planet. Kartuu possess high muscle density and large chest cavities. These two combined allow this species to exert themselves in ways other species could not. They have great stamina, large lungs, and a large kor. All of these features enable kartuu to run at speeds as high as 70mph, take down prey much larger than themselves, swim longer and deeper, and fly longer and at higher altitudes. With the help from specialized myoglobin, an oxygen-storing protein, kartuu can hold their breath for around thirty minutes while underwater. And their strong limbs assist them in digging quickly through soil to build new burrows, expand existing burrows, and search for subterranean prey. One final feature kartuu possess is an extremely powerful bite coupled with sharp teeth. They have the sharpest teeth and strongest jaw muscles of any Serpentian. This allows them to crack open or crush the shells of crustaceans and mollusks that make up a portion of their diet. Their jaws are capable of producing bone-crushing forces. Kartuu will strip carcasses bare and consume the bones as well, taking advantage of every possible source of nutriment. Certain seed pods and pits with tough shells or husks are no match for kartuu.
HermaphroditismKartuu are hermaphroditic. They have both male and female reproductive organs. All individuals have the potential to sire or give birth to pups. This is also the only species among shyr or sefora that consistently give birth to multiple pups at a time. Their newborns are also much smaller than other species'. And the more the better. A healthy kartuu litter can have as few as 4 pups and as many as 10. Individuals that produce fewer than 4 pups sometimes have a weak kor or low potency. This species is one of the most abundant thanks to hermaphroditism. Kartuu have developed this trait as a survival technique against the numerous dangers presented in being a creature of Serpentis. It is an effect way to increase the likelihood of offspring surviving. It is suggested that, in early times, kartuu were so few and far spread that the hermaphroditic mutation was instantly successful and eliminated the issue of finding the opposite sex. Unfortunately, due to the fragility of the kor as it develops and the number of kors being developed at one time, it's not uncommon for larger litters to contain malformed, stillborn, or partially developed fetuses. As per all sefora or shyr, any pups with kor deformities usually are short lived. All things considered, gender is not a concept among kartuu. That aside, they experience bimodal trait distribution which means individuals have an equal chance of developing more masculine traits or feminine traits, but are largely androgynous. Within Serpentian society at large, gender is a loose concept. But in the grand scheme of things, because society is so inclusive and accepting and reproduction can happen between same-sex partners, gender isn't necessarily important in many aspects of Serpentian culture. And in the case of kartuu, people wouldn't think twice about being intimate with one.
Kor BondingAll other sefora (and shyr), have single-chambered kors which allow them to manipulate or produce a specific energy type. Kartuu, like shyr, have an "open ended kor" which means they have no specific energy subtype. They cannot explicitly produce an energy and instead can absorb and manipulate a single energy at a time, so long as the energy falls within the kor's orientation. Kartuu uniquely possess a dual-chambered kor which no other Serpentian has. This dual chambered kor has the expressed purpose of allowing a kartuu to kor-bond with one other individual. The bond lasts a life time and is very difficult to sever. A kartuu will imprint their partner's energy signature and kor type within the secondary chamber (which remains empty otherwise), allowing the kartuu to manipulate energy of the partner's kor orientation. i.e. A dark kartuu bonds with a light kartuu. Both can manipulate either dark or light energy. A major benefit of the dual-chambered kor is that kartuu can safely mingle different energy types or orientations. This comes in handy with reproduction. Should a pair have opposing kor types, there is a 50% likelihood of their offspring having either a light or dark kor. They are the only Serpentian capable of doing this. The same applies to kartuu who kor-bond to any other sefora or shyr. Although if their partner is the opposing orientation, only the kartuu can carry offspring without detrimental affects to the pup or their partner. On Serpentis, opposing kor types cannot reproduce successfully. But kartuu have found a way to bypass this and increase their chances of having young. It should be noted that only full-blooded kartuu can support a dual-chambered core, so any kartuu hybrids will have the standard single-chamber.
One and OnlyBecause kartuu imprint their partner's energy signature and absorb energy into their secondary chamber, they are capable of releasing and manipulating this energy. But it won't last. To help reaffirm their bond with their partner, they will stay close and occasionally refill this chamber. And so kartuu love to go everywhere with their partner whom is usually their mate. They will affectionately refer to them as livahe. Although sometimes a kor-bonded partner is a platonic relationship. These people do not take well to being separated from their partner. It is often a traumatic experience for them and can result in drastic behavioral changes and mental health degradation. Kartuu will only kor-bond with someone they have known for a very long time. Once bonded, the bond is permanent, nearly unbreakable, and cannot be overwritten. For a kartuu to break a kor-bonding, it would require an enormous effort and could even damage the kor. They can kor-bond with any species that has a core. A common side effect of being bonded with a kartuu is sharing memories. The act of bonding is so intense and emotional -- Serpentian kors are also intimately linked to their nervous systems -- that memories are passed between the two partners. Only past memories are shared. When kartuu reaffirm their bond, new past memories might be shared. If their bond partner were to die, grief will consume them for a very very long time. The blow can be so devastating that they never come back from it or even die themselves. Those that manage to prevail cherish the remaining energy from their partner and keep it forever stored in their secondary chamber. And any memories they received would be frequently reflected on.
Aggression and HuntingDespite their loving and friendly nature, kartuu can be extremely aggressive and are in fact territorial. When they, their loved ones, or their space feels threatened, kartuu will exhibit territorial threat displays which involves puffing up their chest, expanding their wings, raising their crest and body feathers, showing their teeth, and loudly hissing or growling. Kartuu, be it in the city or in kartuu towns, are protective of their space and dislike random strangers. Solicitors often avoid going to kartuu homes. Too many times have they had close calls with a very angry sefora.
CultureKartuu culture is quite different from other Serpentian cultures, with some exceptions. Although those who live in the city adopt certain widely observed culture and social norms of their cousin species. For starters, most live in what are referred to as "kartuu towns."
Kartuu Towns / Family NetworksKartuu towns are fundamentally a cluster of separate or connected burrows -- sometimes a mix of both -- holding multiple families. Because kartuu are not limited to any one habitat, they often coexist with shyr. Kartuu are not found in the Dark Zone or Shes'alla, and few exist in the desert and glacier/tundra rings. Kartuu have a great deal of primal instincts, as per most Serpentians. But it's widely accepted that kartuu whom live beyond the cities in the wilderness live in "kartuu towns." Interestingly, they're not usually referred to as okfehen. Okfehen means "wilderness folk" and is a term given to any individual whom lives in the wilds as part of the wildlife rather than a functioning member of society. These people usually don't use verbal language such Shyrven, and are more primitive and animal-like in their behavior. Okfehen have essentially reverted back to their most basic instincts to eat, survive, and breed. There are some kartuu tribes who exhibit similar behaviors as okfehen. However, most kartuu tribes are capable of communicating in Shyrven. Being able to speak Shyrven is valued among kartuu as it enables them to speak with shyr whom they think highly of. Families are usually made up of grandparents, grandchildren, children, cousins, aunts, uncles, and so forth. The parents of the newest generation are the heads of the family until their children have children. Families typically start as being isolated from other families. A lone wanderer might arrive and become a parent within the family. Commonly, another family might move in nearby or invade. This can cause tension and lead to violence. If the families are able to establish equilibrium, they form a kartuu town. This creates a few advantages: more babysitters, more hunters and therefore a greater range of food opportunities, more protectors, and increased opportunities for genetic diversity. Sometimes families leave and the cycle continues. And sometimes individuals will leave their families, find a partner and start their own family elsewhere.
Grooming and PlayAn important method of bonding between family members and friends is grooming. Kartuu have rough tongues like sandpaper that help scrape at any hitchhikers and debris attached to their thick skin. It also helps scrub feathers and remove itchy casings from new ones. Grooming between kartuu is commonplace and expected. And non-kartuu or other races such as ethieans or asirans are fairly used to the idea. Though anyone who has never met a kartuu might be weirded out or taken aback by the idea. Kartuu take part in play just like any other creature. Their kind of play is generally more rough than some other species care for. Starting from a young age, they chase and tackle one another. But as they get older, tackles become body slams. Since kartuu prefer to hunt in packs and are built for chasing down prey, one of the most important rules on Serpentis is to never run from a kartuu. Lest you be chased and potentially tackled.
Gift GivingIt is easy to tell when kartuu are fond of someone. They will give a gift to whomever they like, regardless of whether this is mutual fondness, a platonic relationship, a new friendship, a romantic relationship, etc. Gifts can be anything tangible: food, a rock, a pile of feathers, a fresh or half dead kill, flowers, plants, a functional item, the list goes on. Refusing a kartuu's gift is extremely poor etiquette and even considered taboo. Politely accepting the gift and putting the item, like a rock or a flower for example, back where it belongs later is generally how non-kartuu individuals handle the situation. Most kartuu are aware this happens, but will continue to give gifts anyway. Gifting to an unfamiliar kartuu is usually viewed as a strange or even unsettling act since they only give gifts to those they know or recently formed a relationship with. Kartuu generally don't like to be handed random things by strangers. They don't much care for strangers at all anyway.
NamingKartuu names usually are made up of two or more words -- usually two -- in Shyrven translating to some noun with a descriptor. For example... Zi'ruuk means "small rock," Saif'vertuur means "soft voice," and Zasa'mir means "cold sea." They typically name their pups well after they are born since their personalities and early achievements play a role in the names their parents give them. On a related note, all other sefora and shyr are used to calling their parents "mother" and "father." Regardless of who had the pups, kartuu parents are both referred to as pepii, a gender nuetral parental title. However, should a kartuu have children with a partner of a different species, it's not uncommon for the kartuu parent to take on the title of "mother" or "father" depending on which partner carried the pups.
HistoryKartuu are believed to be as old a species as shyr and have had a long standing relationship with them. In fact, their relationship is believed to date as far back as the time of Ancients. The Great Serpent, a deity depicted in much of Serpentis' history and shrines throughout the city, has a time or two been depicted as a sort of kartuu whom coexisted with Shyr Sheruui, the primary deity in Serpentian culture. Shyr and kartuu view each other highly. However, none view any shyr as highly as those of the Sheruui family. The Sheruuis are known well for the generally accepted thought stating they are descendants of Shyr Sheruui, the First Ancient. The Koriiattu Festival is a time of remembrance when shyr and sefora came together and erected Thess, the city that celebrates the relations between the two races. In the early times when neither race had yet intermingled like today, there were only faction-less shyr, ny'kor, ly'kor, kartuu, and pateru. Shyr, kartuu, and pateru interacted with each other the most relatively. When they did come together during the time of Thess and before Nagis Keb, there was an explosion of hybrids like never before. Kartuu were once thought to be part of the wildlife or a separate race altogether. But once new technology allowed for genetic research, kartuu were discovered to be related extraordinarily closely to pateru.
Light Supremacist TakeoverDuring the Takeover, kartuu in particular suffered in a unique way in that High Seren treated them as savage animals largely because of their culture. Most kartuu fled city life and returned to rural life in kartuu towns. Those that remained in the cities (if even allowed) -- most cities were controlled by High Seren -- were treated quite literally like animals and pressured them to walk upright like "regular people." Because kartuu are not built to walk upright for extended periods of time, many of those forced to walk upright suffered from complications such as spine, leg, and muscular injuries and trauma to the core from chronic strain on the body. This unfortunately resulted in shortened life expectancy in city dwelling kartuu. Following the end of the Takeover and High Seren reign, kartuu continued to be treated like second class citizens and viewed as animals. Kartuu struggled to return to the city because of the poor treatment they received. The trust between kartuu and seren was especially damaged for eras which meant high tensions within Serpentian communities. Fortunately, since Serpentian leadership erected successful reeducation and recovery programs as well as worker protections and other regulations, Serpentian society has in the last few eras seen an incredibly positive leap in the right direction. There are still remnants of the Light Supremacist influence, such as some toxic stereotypes, prejudice, and a level of caution that kartuu exhibit around seren, that linger in some circles. Overall, most of what had been instilled in society has widely been extinguished. Today, kartuu are once again well respected members of society and more kartuu individuals and families are transitioning back to life within the city. The most popular kartuu-run businesses are daycare centers for pups. Parents can be sure that their pups will be safe with a kartuu sitter.
- Muted skin tones of any color but usually earthy tones.
- Color shift at the ankle. Must be same hue or adjacent hue.
- Cheeks have a symmetrical marking.
none Note: Kartuu kors are dual-chambered Kartuu Hybrids: