Thri'zel (Threye-zel)

Children of Sloth

The Thri’zel are one of two sapient species that inhabit the world of Kazik’tar. A young people, if not the youngest in all the Voidrealms, they are not Avatars. Instead, their long association with the actual Avatars, the Alonix, has granted the insectoid Thri’zel certain gifts of their own. They have become the ‘children’ of the Avatar. The Empyreans call them the Children of Sloth.
 
To an outsider, Thri’zelian cultures seem apathetic. They give the appearance of having little emotion, or motivation, found in other people across the Voidrealms. But, in reality, Thri’zelians are careful planners and deep thinkers. Their cultures often produce skilled researchers, scholars, and even strategists with a deep respect for order.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Thri’zel, sometimes called ‘beetles’, are the only known insect humanoid species in the known Voidrealms. Squat and bipedal, this species resembles scarab beetles found on Earth. Unlike scarab beetles or other insects, Thri’zelians have a leather-like carapace. This layered leather shell is jointed at elbows, knees, hips and other common joints for a humanoid creature.
 
That carapace is durable, protecting a Thri’zel from the usual cuts, scrapes, and minor injuries that plague other species. They come in a wide range of colors with a metallic sheen from bronze, green, orange, to amber and even gold.
 
Unlike actual insects, Thri’zelians are not a true ‘insect’. Thri’zelians have an internal skeleton to support their body. This isn’t bone like other species, but a tough, fibrous material similar to cartilage. It’s a flexible material that grants the Thri’zel an ability to better withstand falls and impacts. This helps them in case of a rough landing when they glide.
 
Medium height when compared to Terrans, Thri’zelians stand 5’ 1" to 5’ 5" feet tall or 1.55 to 1.65 m tall. Their bodies have a rough block shape that gives the impression that the Thri’zel are a heavy people. That is not the case, as they are lighter than they appear. The average weight of a Thri’zel is from 100 to 150 pounds or 45.35 to 68.03 kg.
 

Beyond the Shell

 
Other than their physical shape, Thri’zelians possess other remarkable features that set them apart. First would be their eyes. Instead of multi-faceted eyes, Thri’zel have four. Two in the front, and two on either side of their head. The latter two sit a little higher than the main two. Together, they give the species an unparalleled ability to view their surroundings for predators.
 
This unusual arrangement is a trait from their distant past. The myths around why vary between Thri’zel cultures, but they agree on a common theme. Thousands of generations ago, the dark Empyrean, Charve, known as the ‘Dragon of Discord’, attempted to upset the natural order of Kazik’tar. The reason for Charve’s plan has been lost to history, but it was a disaster of such a scale that the slow moving Alonix had no choice but to act.
 
Using energy stored over a thousand generations of meditation, the Alonix moved with lightning speed. Disaster was averted, but the world was transformed. Continents had sunk, climate changed, and animals were mutated in a single generation. Part of that change was to the Thri’zel. Those ancient predators gained their second set of eyes and a sudden insight that changed them forever. The Thri’zel call this event, the Great Upheaval.
 
The Thri’zel, like any insectoid species, has six limbs; four arms and two legs that end in three-fingered clawed hands. Their arms are of different lengths, with the upper being shorter than the lower arms. This came from specialization with the upper arms used for fine manipulation, and the lower for raw strength. Both their arms and knees have small 2 inch spikes (5.08 cm) on them that grow up to 5 inches (12.7 cm) as they age.
 

Gift of Glow and Music

 
Of all their physical attributes, it’s their glow and means of speaking that set them apart the most from other species. They are unique traits that developed from their life-changing encounter with the Alonix conflict with Charve.
 
The Thri’zel are a thoughtful, slow-moving people. Many would consider this lazy, or just an aspect of being the Children of Sloth. But the truth is far more complicated. Thri’zelians are, in truth, a deeply emotional people. If left unchecked, each emotional reaction for them is as strong as a hurricane and twice as destructive to a Thri’zelian’s mind; but they use this to their advantage.
 
This species collects and stores energy much like the Alonix. It isn’t done passively as with the Alonix, but requires daily meditation along with slow, graceful dance-like motions. This meditation allows the Thri’zel to ‘tune’ themselves to the surrounding environment. To feel the ambient energy flowing around them. This calms the storm of emotions in their mind, allowing them to store that as raw energy in special glands that run along the underside of their wings. As they store more energy, those glands will produce a soft, yellow-white glow like the star of their homeworld.
 
That reservoir of energy is a storehouse of raw power. In emergencies, the logical Thri’zel can tap into it. That grants them incredible speed, strength, or endurance, depending on their need at the moment. Some stories insist that some skilled Thri’zelians can even use their store of energy to energize their mind, granting them a limited ability to see a few seconds to a minute ahead in the future.
 
An average Thri’zel doesn’t tap into that reserve lightly. Doing so tires them, and recharging that energy takes several hours of silent meditation.
 
No description of the Thri’zel would be complete without a mention of their voice and how they speak. They do breathe and have a mouth with a pair of sand-brown mandibles on either side. But they are the only species in the Voidrealms that lack vocal chords. Still, they’re able to speak to each other, and many Thri’zel are fluent in other languages.
 
Instead of vocal chords, Thri’zelians rub their mandibles together to produce notes or mimic sounds. Their mandibles are strong but hollow, which amplifies notes created by friction. In this way, the Thri’zel literally ‘sing’ to speak with their mandibles.

Biological Traits

A Thri’zel’s biological aspects, such as gender, is a complicated process. Most Thri’zel look the same to an outsider, unless that person knows what to look for. This species does have male and female genders, but they can only be determined by wing and shell coloration.
 
Male Thri’zel have bright, colorful patterns that dominate their wings and shells. These patterns are large, interlocking geometric shapes cover most of the outside and inside of their wings. Color for the patterns is a bright, complimentary color to the base color across the rest of their wings and shells.
 
These patterns call back to the ancient Thri’zel past when they were hunters. At that time, those patterns were natural camoflauge that helped them as predators. Now, while it can still be effective camoflauge, the Thri’zel use those patterns are part of courtship displays when attempting to get the attention of someone they are interested in.
 
Other than the large, interlocking patterns on their wings, all Thri’zel have small, dark-colored rosette patterns on them. These rosettes run along their neck, sides, and back. Often a dark brown, brass, or gold, the number and style of these spots show hive-family lineages.
 
These colorations, from shell to patterns, change as the Thri’zel ages. They are often a green blue as hatchlings, then become vibrant as adults. As a Thri’zel reaches an advanced age of 30 or even the ripe old age of 40, the colors take on a dull green shade with yellow at the joints.

Ecology and Habitats

Thri’zelians are a hardy species, able to handle as wide a temperature tolerance as Terrans or other Voidrealm species. But, the primary inhabitable land on their homeworld of Kazik’tar lies along the equator. This has given the Thri’zel a natural affinity for warmer, sunny climates where they’re the most comfortable.
 
Not that Thri’zelians couldn’t survive in colder climates. Thri’zelians make their homes atop the gargantuan Alonix who wander valley to mountaintop on Kazik’tar. At the highest peaks, it isn’t uncommon for it to snow almost all year long. In those cases, the Thri’zel dress in wrapped layers. This, combined with their natural slow motions and internal energy glands, helps them stave off the icy chill.

Dietary Needs and Habits

While Thri’zelians can store the excess mental emotions as energy, this isn’t their actual diet. The Thri’zel do need to eat actual food.
 
Thri’zelians are an “opportunistic eater”. They have a strong preference for fruits, nuts, and vegetables but can, and will, eat meat when necessary. Jubin pinkberry pie, Shuyun bean soup, and Sova leaf wraps are some of the common choices on Thri’zel. They are prepared all year long in most settlements.
 
In winter, if crops are scarce, Thri’zelians resort to Red-spike rockfish or Leopard Mice to round out their dietary needs. But after such a meal, the average Thri’zel will mediate to clean their mind as they still find their need to eat meat distasteful.

Civilization and Culture

Major Language Groups and Dialects

As with any of the Voidrealm worlds, there are several Thri’zelian cultures on Kazik’tar. Each have their own musical ‘tone’, or dialect, of the Thri’zel language of Thriazee. All of them are musical, and sound to the untrained ear like a soft, slow song. In a group of Thri’zelians, their conversations can be compared to an orchestra warming up their instruments, or even a collection of wind chimes.
 
The ‘tone’ for each culture differs in the same way music does. A Thriazee ‘tone’ for one culture may be ‘spoken’, or sang, with a minor key. Elsewhere, the same words would be sung in a major key. But both would be able to understand the other despite the obvious accents. To date, there is a dialect for each culture living atop the Alonix that wanders Kazik’tar. So far, that is at least a dozen different dialects for those hive-nests.

Common Etiquette Rules

Rules of behavior sets most cultures apart. Thri’zelian cultures are no different. These are social cues that govern behaviors from how to greet another person to the proper song for meditation after the evening meal. Even among the dozens of Thri’zelian cultures, there is common etiquette they all can agree on.
 
First, would be a simple greeting. For Thri’zelians, that would be to sing Hü Iqee, or “kind thoughts”. The other person is expected to sing Ger Zhueî̜ Ma, or “for the art” and attempt to harmonize with the first person. Neither Thri’zelian will clasp hands until they both harmonize their greetings. Otherwise, it’s considered rude to be in such a hurry.
 

Moving Meditation

 
Another common piece of etiquette across Thri’zelian cultures is the morning and evening meditations. This is an ancient practice associated with their ability to calm the constant storm of emotions in their mind as energy. But meditation for Thri’zelians isn’t a stationary process.
 
As part of their meditations, Thri’zelians practice choreographed martial arts movements known as the “Mazhair Ja”. This roughly translates to mean “Art of the Peaceful Mind”. The style of Mazhair Ja is an ancient set of martial forms passed down through the generations.
 
Thousands of generations before, the Thri’zel used this style in close quarter combat on hunts. Now, the slow, precise motions allow the Thri’zelians to perform a ‘walking meditation’. This allows them to slow their mind and calm their intense emotions. As they progress slowly through the motions, they collect the suppressed intense emotions and store them as energy.
 
But while the collective style is called Mazhair Ja, it is actually a collective term. Each culture maintains their own unique traditions, with slight variations on the movements. All of these variations could be used by a Thri’zel to defend themselves with destructive accuracy. But the primary purpose, at least for the Thri’zel, is to help them meditate to store their excess emotional mental energy.

Colorful Courtship

 
One of, if not the, most emotional display from the calm Thri’zelian people happens during courtship and dating. This also gives outsiders a window into how deep Thri’zel emotions run.
 
The details will vary between cultures, but overall courtship involves a ‘courtship dance’. Terrans, Feloxi, or others might these choreographed motions as dances. For Thri’zelians, it is a slow, graceful performance of Mazhair Ja while dressed in vibrant, flowing clothing of bright colors.
 
These performances reflect the deepest emotions of a Thri’zelian. The person doing the courting displays their wings during Mazhair Ja, using their stored energy to highlight their shell patterns. A performance of Mazhair Ja shows their skill in meditation, slow grace, and accuracy. These are all considered favorable traits in a Thri’zelian.
 
While the martial art form is demonstrated, the performer recites a musical litany to describe the depth of their feelings. The songs take at least a year to craft and have been known to move non-Thri’zelians to tears when heard.
 
Once the form is complete, and the person being courted accepts the offer, the Mazhair Ja form is performed again. This time both would perform it, the person doing the courting and the person being courted, as a duet.
 
If the person courted rejects the offer, then the person who completed the performance will thank the person for taking the time to study their display. After that, they will depart to meditate so they can remove any hurt emotions.

Common Dress Code

There isn’t a strict, common dress code for Thri’zelians. Instead, clothing choice is a matter of efficiency. Clothing and clothing style are expected to accommodate both the Thri’zelian physiology and reflect their path in life.
 
In general, Thri’zelian clothing is layered, with those living at the higher altitudes wearing more layers than normal. Tunics, shirts, and clothing for the upper body are waist-length robes with sleeves, or armholes, for all four arms. Gaps run along the back to accommodate wings. These robe-tunics wrap around the torso and tie at the waist.
 
Trousers are similar, in that they wrap around at the waist and also are tied. Cloth wraps secure the pant’s legs at the wearer’s calves and ankles. Footwear is slipper-like shoes or ankle-high boots with toes.

Common Taboos

Most taboos are specific to a Thri’zelian culture, but there are two that are universal. Both involve emotion and the use of their personal stored energy.
 
Thri’zelians are a reserved, slow, graceful people. They put forethought into each motion, allowing them to conserve their mental energies as much as possible. But, outside of specific festivals or courtship, it’s considered rude for a Thri’zelian to have a public display of extreme emotion. It implies a lack of control, or forethought. At worst, that Thri’zelian could be a danger to the community.
 
Along with a show of emotion, a public display of personal energy to ‘show off’ is also considered taboo. This stored mental energy is sacred to the Thri’zel. It isn’t a toy and not to be taken lightly. Thri’zelians are taught never to use this energy outside of an emergency or highly specific situation. Any Thri’zelian who wastes their stored energy, especially publically, is often considered troubled. If they waste their energy often enough, that Thri’zelian will be exiled from their community.
Thri'zel by CB Ash using MidJourney, Krita, a LOT of patience, and my graphic design skills
Lifespan
45 years by Earth reckoning
Average Height
5' 1" to 5' 5" feet (1.55 to 1.65 m)
Average Weight
100 to 150 lbs (45.35 to 68.03 kg)
Geographic Distribution
Related Ethnicities

Naming Traditions

 
Thri’zelian names are, unlike many places in the Voidrealms, simple and non-binary. They have concepts of ‘male’, ‘female’ and so on, but they see no point in dividing names in that way. To the Thri’zelian people, a name is unique to a person. It represents the individual out of the whole in the great fabric of nature. Binding that name to gender? For a Thri’zel, that’s considered unnecessary.
 
Each culture has slightly different takes on names, but overall Thri’zel names often have a ‘z’ sound to them or a hard ‘t’. The parents select these names and ask to have them approved, or changed, by the local master of Ror-Wanau-Ja for the settlement. Some example names are:
 
  • Schizcil
  • Schot
  • C’toncaro
  • Schilshin
  • Volz
  • K’zilshice
  • Vilizot
  • Hezakt
  • Xalkekt
  • K’saskeg
  • Sheiz
  • Family or ‘surnames’ for a Thri’zel represents their ‘hive-family’, or the hive that raised them. This is a combination of the settlement along with their parents’ names is how they’re formed. A hyphen divides from the settlement their parents’ combined names. Some examples are:
     
  • Mela-zir
  • Han’ik-zora
  • Tlin’fa-rozza
  • Kilzy-zaraun
  • The Great Philosophy

     
    The Great Upheaval is known for more than just a struggle between the Alonix and the Empyrean Charve, or how the Thri’zel gained their second eyes. It’s also where the Thri’zel gained insight into the greater Voidrealms. A deep sense of nature and their surroundings that formed what they now call “The Way of Slow Mindfulness” or “Ror-Wanau-Ja”.
     
    In Ror-Wanau-Ja, a practitioner is taught to be fully aware of their own body and surroundings. Through that insight, they learn to master their emotions and eventually harness them.
     
    Outsiders mistake this as a way to suppress or remove emotions. But nothing could be farther from the truth. This mindfulness allows the Thri’zel to stabilize their deep emotions, feeling each one in moderate amounts. But, as always, slowly and none to excess. They store any extreme feelings as energy, through practice in Mazhair Ja, while silently contemplating these principles.
     
    But this philosophy hasn’t been without its own turbulence. Thri’zelian cultures often disagree on the true nature of Ror-Wanau-Ja. Schisms are common, which result in one group of Thri’zelians to leave a settlement and form a new one with its own beliefs. A few times in history, ancient Thri’zel fought destructive wars over those very disagreements.


    Cover image: Thri'zel on Kazik'tar by CB Ash using MidJourney, Krita, Huion tablet

    Comments

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    14 Jan, 2023 02:37

    What a lovely description. The meditation movements remind me of Tai Chi, while the courtship dance reminds me of birds of paradise. The response to a rejection is rather Vulcan.

    14 Jan, 2023 04:35

    Thank you! And yes. I really did enjoy how the Tai Chi walking meditation helped shape so much of their culture, such as the courtship dance that does lean into the birds of paradise. :D

    19 Jan, 2023 23:59

    Bro -- this is epic. Thri'zel remind me (or rather get me to think of) Samurai bugs. Crazy? I love, "In Ror-Wanau-Ja, a practitioner is taught to be fully aware of their own body and surroundings. Through that insight, they learn to master their emotions and eventually harness them. " This made me think immediately of 'wizards site' from the Harry Dresden books. I know, I know, there are so many martial arts hints here, and I love that -- but your descriptions are making my brain pop in so many ways.   The feel and formatting of the page is eloquent, Kummer. LOVE the artwork.....

    JAIME BUCKLEY
    Your New Author Friend =)
    Come see Wanted:Hero
    20 Jan, 2023 00:24

    Thanks! I really got into their overall culture. So deadly, slow, graceful, with a hint of depth. I plan on coming back in and adding some ethnicities in here. Individual Thri'zel cultures I hinted at above.

    26 Jan, 2023 13:03

    Congrats for this work!   A species of calm, reserved and meditative beetles who are deeply emotionnal beneath their shell, glow and sing to one another. That's a fantastic and beautiful piece.   I really liked your visuals, the cover image and portraits of the species really do it for me. Should you want to improve the visual of this in the future, I'd suggest moving some of the lower documents in the full-width footer to avoid loosing the space of the sidebar. I'd also suggest one or two additionnal visuals, perhaps about the clothing, culture or habitats of the Thri'zel? It was not necessary to keep me invested in your article, though.

    With love,   Pouaseuille.
    26 Jan, 2023 20:14

    Thank you! When I come back to this, I'll take another look at the layout. Probably add more. Perhaps a light mention of their unique ethnicities. :D