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Uruu-Hili (/uɽuː/, /çiʟi/, enunciated simultaneously if possible) are the symbiosis of two biologically distinct but interdependent species, the Uruu and the Hili.
The Uruu are a large, feathered, bipedal species. They possess significant physical strength, high endurance and resistance to (especially cold) temperatures thanks to their dense plumage, and good eyesight. The Hili are only capable of limited locomotion by themselves, only possessing two appendages which are typically too weak to lift their own weight. Hili are hairless and nearly blind, but have fairly good hearing. Both the Uruu and the Hili are only of somewhat limited intelligence on their own, but they possess specialized organs (on the upper torso for the Hili and the lower abdomen for the Uruu) that allow them to partially link their neural systems to form a symbiotic pair of one Uruu and one Hili, which is referred to as one Uruu-Hili individual, with the Uruu and the Hili forming the individual being referred to as their "sides". This symbiotic pair is of comparable intelligence to other sapient species, and the two species are interdependent for survival. Since only the nervous sytems are linked, it falls upon the Uruu side of an individual to care for other bodily needs of the Hili side. Space suits and similar systems also require special consideration as the Hili needs to be provided with a separate air supply. The two sides of a bonded individual can separate freely, but this causes severe discomfort to most Uruu-Hili and is therefore only done when absolutely necessary and for short durations.
Ecology and Habitats
The Uruu-Hili homeworld is tidally locked to its parent star and experiences extreme weather of various types. The Uruu's dense plumage allows them to regulate their temperature in a variety of extreme environmental conditions.
Uruu-Hili are bonded shortly (within one local "year") after birth, traditionally to partners chosen by their parents, but in modern times the partner choice is also commonly done by dedicated matching institutions. Over the course of their childhood, the Uruu and Hili somewhat deform to fit into each other better and become one unit. If one side of a bonded individual dies, it is common for the other side to die shortly after due to shock. Re-bonding is extremely rare and considered abnormal by Uruu-Hili society.
Civilization and Culture
Uruu-Hili always carry three names: the name given to the Uruu, the name given to the Hili, and a name chosen by the paired individual upon coming of age. It is tradition for the Uruu side of an individual to name the Hili side's children and vice versa. It is considered rude to refer to an Uruu-Hili by the name of only one of its sides, with the self-chosen name being the preferred method of address in informal settings and the full three names the preferred form in more formal settings. Typical Uruu names include: (note that Uruu names are usually given to Hili and vice versa) Aan, Eraa, Tooku, Ruee, Neen, Kuup Typical Hili names include: Inis, Alin, Esti, Hari, Ihe, Rali
Since any combination of two genders may form a bonded individual, gender expression in Uruu-Hili society is very complex. Traditionally there are at least 8 different genders recognized, with even more complex expressions having become accepted over time. Uruu-Hili often take offense at being referred to as two beings, and therefore the use of "they" as a gender neutral pronoun is discouraged when interacting with them out of caution against mistranslations.
Along with the complexity in gender arising from the symbiotic nature of the Uruu-Hili comes a similar complexity in relationships and family structure. Uruu-Hili usually form relationships of either two or four individuals, in such a way that the relationship group is biologically capable of producing both Uruu and Hili Offspring.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
Though Uruu only have limited capacity for speech when not bonded to a Hili, both Uruu and Hili languages exist. Bonded Uruu-Hili typically use both languages interchangeably depending on convenience, often using whichever has the more expressive term. In formal situations, it is sometimes considered polite to speak both languages simultaneously, especially for specific terms concerning the bonding of Uruu-Hili including the name of the species itself.
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Uruu-Hili society is highly religious, with many aspects of life, in particular relating to the bonding of Uruu and Hili. Uruu-Hili temples and other historical sites are some of the oldest still standing structures in the UDSA, being constructed with very sophisticated construction methods for the age in which they were constructed to withstand the harsh environments of the Uruu-Hili homeworld. Of particular note is the grand temple of Aruunar-Yiksei, containing the Boor-Yit Eeñraat-Skenhy.
Uruu and Hili which are not bonded in adulthood are considered outcasts and interacting them is considered unclean. Even the mention of the concept is considered inappropriate in most circles. Some remote communities accept and take care of unbonded individuals. There are however also groups of Uruu-Hili who view the interdependence as a detriment and try to promote the separation of the two species.
2.0-2.3m (Uruu), 50-65cm (Hili)
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