Societarians

The landscape of the islands of the Haan Archipelago is vastly and notably transformed by one of its two dominant creatures: The societarians have erected massive buildings, built roads, moved rivers, chiselled cliffs and joined areas with bridges.   They are big bipedal pactual creatures with skilful hands, but besides their general proportions, that's where the physical similarities stop among them:
Each societarian individual may look distinctly different from each other including their family members. Though their phenotypes clump together in more or less established groups and children are born in general in the same ones as their parents, a single town of societarians may have radically different individuals with all sorts of physical traits to them.   Societarians are listed under five subspecies: Featheries, furries, scalies, waterland silkies and segmented, with some people recognising silkies as a sixth one.
Florian Ley notext small.jpg
Florian Ley by Naelin
 

General Biology

Societarians are pactual creatures that live around 80 to 90 years. They are terrestrial, omnivorous and warm-blooded.   The subspecies of societarian can be described based on what covers their skin:  
  • Featheries are covered in plumage, and resemble beaked birds.
  • Furries are covered in hair, and are mammals.
  • Scalies are either covered in scales, or have rugged, hairless skin.
  • Waterland Silkies have smooth, nude skin, and are adapted to life in water.
  • Segmented have chitinous coverings on their bodies, or soft skin covered in thin fluff.

Phenotypes

The diverse shapes societarians are born with, known as their "phenotype", tend to follow patterns and repeat through the generations.
The repeating patterns and groups are named and classified, forming an intricate tree of thousands of names for known shapes, going from general terminology such as "canid" to specifics such as "bush dog".   Sometimes a societarian may be born with a phenotype never seen before, many times exhibiting characteristics that do not correspond to their subspecies. This phenomenon is known as an exotic phenotype. It seems to happen at random and to be purely aesthetic, not being known to cause any health issues or to have any particular cause.
 

But How?

Opinions on how can societarians be so different to each other and between subspecies vary wildly.   The "splitting" theory suggests that societarians naturally drift so much from their parents that, through the generations, they acquired the characteristics of different groups of beasts and stopped being able to reproduce with each other, becoming different species with a common ancestor.
The opposite "converging" theory suggests that the "subspecies" are completely unrelated to each other, coming from five different ancestors that evolved into creatures with similar shapes, behaviours and abilities.   Both theories are contested not only by the merits of each other but also because both leave more questions unanswered than those that they manage to resolve.
Classification
Pactual
Lifespan
80~90 years
Average Height
1.60~1.80m
Geographic Distribution
Historical timeline
History of the Societarians in the Archipelago

Silkies

Silkies are an unofficial division of societarians in the popular lexicon. They are characterized by bald, smooth, soft skin, and are usually furries. This division has no scientific grounds, and is merely cultural.

Reproduction

Societarian reproduction is both marked and delimited by the phenotype variation between individuals.
Though individuals do not need to look the same to reproduce, couples from extremely "unrelated" groups (Such as a "heron" and a "falcon" feathery) will be unable to produce offspring even under the same subspecies.   As this may make forming a family tricky in big, "too diverse" cities, their societal rules usually work around this by having a strong adoption culture, restricting marriages to compatible couples, or using "donors" to allow incompatible couples to have children.   Societarian subspecies also vary in the way they reproduce. All of them conceive by internal fertilization and raise their children into adulthood, but other characteristics have exceptions:  
  • All subspecies give birth to live young (usually one per pregnancy) after 8 to 10 months except for the segmented which lay between two and five eggs, although usually not all of them hatch.
  • Furry females nurse their children with milk they produce in their breasts.
  • Behaviour

    Vryko by Naelin
    As implied by their name, societarians are social creatures, living in large groups going from a couple of families to massive cities with hundreds of thousands of individuals.
    They form strong bonds of friendship, love and cooperation with each other, and generally settle with one or more partners at some point in their life to form their own family.   Societarians develop culture and technology, with which they went from hunter-gatherers to farmers and herders, though hunting, usually aided by lyraiks an alzufhars, is still and important source of food in many cities.
     

    Society & Culture

    Symbols of Power politic map
    Territories claimed by each country
    Many cultures and nations were shaped into life by the peoples of the archipelago, their diversity helped both by their isolation on their respective islands and the morphological differences of the people in each area.   Despite these country-by-country differences, a lot of cultural traits and technological advancements are shared between communities, and cultural exchange is alive and thriving.   Views on gender, relationships, pacts, and subspecies are some of the hot topics where small differences impact the life of individuals' whole lives.   However, probably the most impactful cultural perception on recent years was the widespread views on high dwellings (Such as towers, hills and even mountainsides) as status symbols.
    Though seemingly inconsequential, this played a big role during the High Rust, a cataclysm that destroyed the lives of whoever spent too much time too far above the ground. Due to this cultural perception, the High Rust disproportionally affected rich and powerful people, destabilizing the governments and economies of the archipelago, and reshaping the political landscape.  

    Some societarian country flags

    Karte Flag
    Flag of Karte by Naelin
    Flag of Stunveldt
    Flag of Merthiorn by Naelin
    Flag of Red Crest
    Flag of Bregos
    Flag of Bregos by Naelin
    Flag of Thaur
    Flag of Thaur by Naelin
     
     

    Interspecies relationships

    Tetsus

    Tetsus, the brutal inhabitants of the mountains, are generally regarded as the societarians' natural enemies. They seem to have a natural hatred for societarians, and will attempt to kill them at the slightest provocation.
    In general, a sort of balance is kept by societarians avoiding the mountainous areas, though exceptions such as Bregos and Blest exist, though other attempts at settling near mountain ranges ended in violent retaliation.   Tetsus and societarians are regarded as the two dominant species of the archipelago, both running a diplomatic arms race where they try to get as many other species as they can on their side by the formation of pacts.

    Pacts

    Societarians are pactual creatures that tend to form highly specialized interspecies diplomatic relations compared to others.   Most notorious is their three-thousand-year-old tight alliance with the alzufhar, whom they use as mount and labour force, having contributed to the range expansion and quality of life of both species tremendously and to societarians' technological and military advancements.   Some people use bicarnivalers as an alternative to alzufhar, particularly for military purposes, though these are not nearly as docile, and the arrangement is relatively new.

    Domestic Creatures

    Idradelta by Naelin
    Many simple species have been domesticated by the societarians, taming and modifying their characteristics for the benefit of their owners.
    Trelis, licerns and idradeltas are a few of the creatures kept by societarians as sources of meat, milk and wool.  
    Lyraks by Naelin
    The oldest of domestic creatures is probably the lyraik, a creature kept as a pet in the homes around the entire archipelago, and used as hunter aids, assistants for impaired people, herders, guards and, of course, companions.

    Articles under Societarians



    Cover image: by Naelin

    Comments

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    5 Jun, 2022 15:11

    Ah, all my questions finally answered! (don't worry, I will make up more)

    5 Jun, 2022 19:33

    Time to raise new questions then!

    9 Jun, 2022 15:30

    Great organization, artwork, distribution maps. I really like the evolution theories and how you've left the "how" of the existence of the various societarians open

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