) are one of the major sorafaring species. They resemble large, bipedal cephalopods, with large, bulbous heads and ten arms of various size which make up the bulk of its body. The doflein primarily occupy a region of the Sora
known as the Confederation of Doflein Realms
, a collection of realms
either colonized or conquered by the doflein in the centuries since they first developed soracraft
. The doflein largely worship a god they call the Prime
, which they believe to be the only "true" god in all of creation. To those followers, all who refuse to worship the Prime are heretics and sinners and must be conquered and forcibly converted through generations of slavery. The practice of slavery originated on the doflein homeworld of Ernani
, when the early doflein conquered and enslaved the other species of their world in the name of the Prime.
Shnaext, a dolfein paladin
Doflein strongly resemble cephalopods such as squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish. Their heads are large and bulbous, looking like large squishy sacs on the sides of which rest their large eyes. Many of their organs are actually in their heads, including their large brains. They have ten arms, often incorrectly called tentacles, which make up the bulk of their bodies. They move about on four of the arms, which serve as their legs, while four pair of shorter ones act as their grasping appendages. The final two arms are greatly reduced in size, being only about a foot long each, and sit at the corners of their mouth and serve primarily to grasp food while their strong beak shreds it. Each arm has one or more rows of suckers, which enable them to tightly grasp objects.
On average, doflein are roughly as intelligent as other sentient species across the Sora. They tend to believe their intellects are superior, but there is no real evidence for this. They tend to have exceptional patience and willpower, but relatively poor levels of empathy and kinesthetic sense. In particular, they do not have an actual sense of where their limbs are, requiring them to actually look at them to know. Their limbs possess some degree of autonomy, however, so they rarely need to rely on this sense. Some doflein appear to have an eidetic memory, while others are barely able to remember anything beyond major, important details.
Most doflein stand only about four feet tall at the most and they have a wide, swaying gait when walking. However, when angered, they can straighten their legs out and stand up to six feet tall. They range in color from mottled gray to brightly patterned oranges and blues. They do not have a funnel, as true cephalopods do, nor can they spray ink, contrary to popular belief. Doflein tend to have small eyes with square pupils, ranging in color from dark brown through yellow and to yellow-green. Much of their facial variation comes from the size and shape of their heads, varying from relatively round and bulbous to conical and long. Some doflein have small fins at the rear of their heads, giving them a triangular "crown" of sorts.
Despite having rather thin limbs, doflein are roughly as strong as the average adult human. Their limbs are nearly pure muscle, though they lack bones and thus have less stability than others. They are not especially dexterous due to their lack of kinesthetic sense, though they are able to move rather stealthily due to the way they walk. The doflein generally have fairly poor constitutions, especially in drier climates where they can easily become dehydrated and prone to infection.
Doflein only mate once, toward the end of their lives. A doflein will begin to feel an impending sense of doom a short time before they are going to naturally expire, roughly six months for males and a year for females. This feeling will persist through anything beyond magical intervention, thus the doflein can be sure they are nearing the end of their life. At this point, most doflein will travel to a spawning bed, an area of brackish water on a realm tended to by a priest. There, they will wait until a doflein of the other sex arrives. The two will enter the water and mate. The male then leaves, and will die about a month later, while the female remains behind.
The female stays in the spawning bed for roughly three months, then lays a string of approximately 1000-2000 eggs. She tends to the eggs for another six months, protecting them from predators and keeping them clean. At the end of the six months, the eggs will hatch, the mother will depart, and dies shortly after. Newly hatched doflein are about the size of a human's thumbnail and subsist on plankton and other very small organisms. They are cannibalistic during this period and will voraciously feed on one another, with nearly 99% of all young dying during this time. The young act purely on instinct, growing fairly rapidly over their first year of life. After a year, they will emerge from the water and will not reenter if until they are ready to mate.
At this point, most doflein are capable of talking and walking. The priest who tends to the spawning bed will check the records of the birth and arrange for the children to be transported to the family home of the mother, where the survivors of the mother will care for and raise the children. The children will continue to grow and mature for roughly 10 years, at which point they will become adults. Most doflein live for roughly 60 years, though a few exceptional individuals have lived natural lifespans of more than 100 years,
The majority of the dolfein diet is carnivorous, though they do eat a small amount of plant-based food, typically as spices or garnishes. They eat virtually any type of meat, though prefer red meat above all else. For their size, they tend to eat less than many other species.
Doflein tend to prefer wet, cold realms and locations. They enjoy the rain and often go into even heavy downpours to enjoy it. They almost always avoid extremely dry or hot climates, as this dries out their skin and leave them prone to xeroderma. While this does not cause significant health issues, it does make most doflein incredibly uncomfortable. Additionally, most large doflein settlements tend to be in areas with large bodies of brackish water so that they need not travel as far to mate.
Culture and Society
Doflein society is built on a complex set of social rules, typically involving showing deference and respect to those of a higher social class. The most widespread and obvious display of this is the bow someone from the lower class doflein must those to the higher class whenever they interact. The bigger the difference in ranks, the lower the person must bow, to the point that a slave is expected to lay prone on the ground when speaking to a keeper. Other rules include exchanging offers of gifts when doing business (with those of the lower class expected to refuse the offer), high-class individuals paying the tithes for low-class individuals when at liturgy, and non-nobles inviting nobles to stay in their homes whenever the noble is away from theirs.
According to doflein society, all non-doflein are slaves and of the lowest class, thus if the outside does not hold power over them they will treat them with disrespect. The doflein realize that other species do not hold their same social structure, so rarely expect to actually be treated with deference, but will still act offended if they think they can get away with it.
Doflein have both a family name and a given name. The family name is matrilineal, coming from the mother. This name is recorded by the priest overseeing the breeding pool she lays her eggs in. Their given names are bestowed by their family, who give it upon the young doflein being delivered to their homes.
Arinanius, Arshaghon, Belartok, Belgedar, Hilamisa, Kaykamugha, Khara, Naridman, Qorichar, Raikhri, Sholus, Tibetus
Dabelinus, Degaknam, Epovian, Maxillinus, Natatta, Sahiranus
Gender and Relationships
There is little gender disparity between males and females among the doflein, either physically, mentally, or socially. Gender tends to be merely a tertiary characteristic of a doflein's identity; it is rarely brought up at all. Because family names are traced matrilineally, there is some extra pressure on females to mate, but due to the high number of offspring born (around 10-20 of each clutch survive), it is not expected that anyone be forced to have children.
The doflein do not engage in any form of courtship. Mating is opportunistic, with females or males mating with the first partner they encounter at a spawning bed. In the rare event two partners are available at the same spawning bed, the partner who has been available longer is traditionally selected, as they have less opportunity to wait for another partner.
Spawning beds vary in quality and prestige, with lower quality pools having lower quality water, lower ranked priests, and less protection. However, it does cost less to use, making them often the only choice for those of the lower class. Some individuals will save up for their entire lives to pay for a prestigious spawning bed for their children. However, some pools are restricted to the nobility, with some being even further restricted to those of keeper rank.
Romantic relationships do not exist among the doflein. They do not experience feelings of love for one another in the way most other species experience it, instead feeling only a sort of platonic or familial loyalty. They do form friendships, though it too can best be described as a mutual loyalty and respect, with the acknowledgement that each doflein can be useful and helpful to the other's interests.
Appearance and Dress
For the most part, the doflein do not put much importance on physical appearance within their own species, though they apparently consider most other species ugly. They do have a mild preference for colorful patterns on the skin and seem to favor rounder heads. Clothing is the most important aspect of appearance to the doflein, with well-made and ornate clothes considered very important. The more ornate and impractical the garment is to wear and move around in, the more attractive it is found, as this signifies the wearer has enough slaves to do all important work for them. On the other hand, it is considered a breach of etiquette for anyone of the lower class to wear such an outfit, as it shows someone trying to rise outside of their station.
Relations with Other Species
Conditioned by their upbringings worshiping the Prime, most doflein largely consider other species sinners, destined for an eternity of punishment in purgatory unless they are cleansed of sin by submitting to slavery. This makes most interactions between the doflein and other species tense at best, typically restricted to minor trade deals and the resolution of diplomatic incidents. Doflein slavers often make raids on other species, aiming to press them into slavery, though the dolfein officially proclaim these illegal acts, supposedly punishable by death.
Doflein who have broken free of the conditioning and believe their treatment of other species to be unjust seem to be rare. At the least, they hide their views out of fear of persecution from the Church of the Prime. Small communities of doflein exist outside the Confederation, though they tend to be isolated and insular due to the mistrust others have for them.