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The Unathi (Ew-nath-ee) are a race of tall, reptilian humanoids that possess both crocodile-like and serpent-like features. Their scales are hard and plate-like, save for the softer ones that line the inside of their legs, armpits, and groin. Originating from the planet of Moghes, the Unathi live in a sexist society, with women being considered property.
Moghes was once a massive jungle of a world, with the poles and mountain ranges being the coldest places to find on the strange world. The Precursors were a different people to the Unathi of today and were a far more aggressive species than the Unathi of today, which is surprising with how aggressive the Unathi themselves are. The Precursors had the technological level of mid-21st Century Earth before the near total extinction of life on the planet.
Cities were massive hubs, appearing like the favels of Rio de Janeiro in the 21st century, with the functionality of a city armed to the teeth. Due to the warring of the different states, a nuclear apocalypse was inevitable. Irradiation and evolution over hundreds and hundreds of years lead to the present day Unathi, a traditional, aggressive, reptilian people of a dying world. This crippled their technology and left them with a harsh environment with little population, radiation, and lack of clean water and food. This paved the way for the current Unathi lifestyle.
Unathi are a race of tall, reptilian humanoids that possess both crocodile-like and serpent-like features. Their scales are hard and plate-like, save for the softer ones that line the inside of their legs, armpits, and groin. Males stand 6 to 7 feet tall, while females are about a half of a foot shorter on average. Females also tend to possess rounder snouts than their male counterparts. Both stand on plantigrade legs with clawed feet that make wearing standard shoes painful/ The oldest Unathi live to be in their late 250s, but most don't make it that far, often dropping off into the 100s or far earlier.
As a cold-blooded species, they suffer fatigue and even short comas when exposed to extremely low temperatures. Their hearts have two valves that are spread across their chest, which makes it sound as if they have two heartbeats at once. Unlike humans, their ribs are in armour-like plates that interlock under their chest, protecting their vital organs expertly. They have very long tongues, which may stretch up to a foot and a half long forked just like a serpent's. In much the same manner as snakes, Unathi can sample the air around them using their tongue. Unathi tongues are usually black, extremely long, and very resilient to physical harm.
Since they are carnivorous species, their diet mostly consists of meat, though they do have a tolerance to plants and fruits. They do not get any nutrition from plants, so they are mostly used as garnish or decoration. Because they lack a second palate, Unathi cannot breathe while they are eating.
The reproductive system of a Unathi is very similar to that of Earth reptiles. Females lay eggs, with the average clutch being somewhere between one and three. They have a six month gestation period, after which they are laid in a humid, warm area. After two to three weeks, the fetus is fully developed and hatches from the egg, ready to start the cycle anew.
Irritation or heightened emotion is expressed by thumping the tail against the ground. Verbal exclamations are also common, as are short barks, a rattling of the throat, or 'chuffing' (forceful exhalations of air from low in the throat.) Anxious or worried Unathi might sway (similar to snakes), rattle the heavy scaling on their neck, hiss, or sample air more often than necessary. When cold, a Unathi will usually bristle their scales in a manner analogous to human goosebumps. Overheated Unathi become sluggish and drowsy.
It is a social faux-pas to use a Unathi's first name, to touch their tail, or to touch them at all before introductions are undertaken. When speaking to superiors, it is considered formal and respectful to refer to them by the extended name of their command. A clan leader would be referred to by the name of their clan, a squad leader by the name of their squad.
Intimate gestures between Unathi include twining necks, twining tails, and touching foreheads/muzzles. Hugging is usually considered something done by children, avoided by adults. In moments of privacy, when speaking to a very intimate other, a Unathi might refer to them by their own name.
Baring the throat is the single most meaningful expression of trust in a lover or superior, often used as shows of extreme trust, compassion or admittance of shame, and within honorable contexts, clawing or biting the exposed throat is perfectly allowed.
Female Unathi are treated as valuable property by males.
Unathi society is determined by a rigid caste system, which determines their social standing. Those who serve in the military are generally considered to be above the simple, working class - or peons, as they're called. Council members, like elders and village leaders, have authority over both previous castes, with warlords (the leader of a large settlement) above them and overlords (the leader of a capital) at the very top.
Water is one of the most favoured currencies in Unathi society, as they lack any kind of real paper money or treasury system. Their major way of buying and selling involves bartering, though forms of currency differ regionally.
Relationships for Unathi are not one of equality, but responsibility. Males who request and admit attraction to a female will go to the male who is responsible for their well-being (Father, brother, or the head of their clan) and tell them this. Boasting or offering tributes to the female's caretaker may make this process go more smoothly. To ignore this ritual and directly try to claim said female would greatly upset her caretaker, and not only will their clan look poorly on them for attempting so, but they will likely be challenged to a bane.
Some Unathi, mostly those who live in the Savannahs or Poles, follow a faith dubbed the Hand of the Vine. They are semi-nomadic groups who believe that the event which caused the desertification of Moghes was not a tragedy, but an opportunity to shape the world in their image. They are dedicated to the spreading and breeding of all plant life, be it crops, brush, or flowers. Acolytes carry small bags with thousands of seeds, with the most common being a tough vine called 'Velo' that is well-suited to turning sand to soil. Followers like to refer to themselves as 'her hands', due to the belief nature is passive and feminine. As a result, females are treated with more respect, though are still expected to stay back and tend to existing gardens while men search for new horizons. Upon death, they are cremated and spread amongst plants, fertilizing them with their remains.
Another commonly practiced faith is centralized around the worship of the Precursors and their technology. They feel that these beings are of a higher intelligence, and respect them for all that they have done. It is not a religion in the true sense, as they do not feel the Precursors are gods, but rather they simply wish to preserve all that they have done and make sure that their technology, architecture, and scriptures are not lost to history. They revere the ruins and artifacts left behind by the Precursors, and arguments amongst the members of the faith who are higher caste are not uncommon when discussing how to go about researching or handling ancient artifacts. Often the Salt Swamp clans follow the Precursors.
Yet a third faith, one practiced mostly by Unathi who live in the Deserts or in the Diamond Peaks, is the Grand Strategem. In a region where survival and honor is held in high regard, the Strategem teaches that war shouldn't simply be a tool of destruction, but rather a tutor with many lessons to teach the soldiers that survive. The Grand Strategem speaks through victory and defeat, through tactics both solid and flawed. It is a manifestation of war itself, and its followers believe that every conflict has a lesson to be learned.
A more violent faith still, is Markesheli. Markesheli is based on the idea that Markesh, a Precursor, survived The Fire, as they call it, but was changed into something else> The Fire granted him everlasting life, and a heart of agony, thus Markesh was doomed to walk the endless Dying Sands for all eternity until one day Markesh found a young creature and in a heat of passion brought an egg from it and gave it life and from this egg came the Unathi and thus Markesh was the father of the Unathi but he was a harsh father who did not like to be disobeyed and so once his children split for different lands and different ideas and lost their faith in Markesh, he left them to die. Because he had lost hope in his children. Followers of Markesh believe that if they live a life of agony, torture, and punishment, Markesh will see their suffering and lead them to his Land Once Went, or Paradise. Temples do not exist for Markesheli, nor do great swathes of worshippers come out in support of him as to many Unathi, it is a scorned faith. Diamond Peak Clans would often throw daughters and sons alike into the Pits for worshipping Markesh, and most other clans would have them exiled or executed. A great meeting of Followers would be comparable to mass, ritual suicide.
The last faith practiced on Moghes is called the Fruitful Lights, and focuses more on the creation of products and goods. They believe that the Precursors created them so that they may create more. Most of the followers of this faith are farmers, craftsmen, engineers and the like. There are no temples, only workshops, and the faith of an individual is judged by the product that he creates. A fisherman who hauls in a greater catch would be considered closer to the Precursors. They share a competition with the Hands of the Vine in the farming industry, and it has gotten to a pont where even espionage has been reported between the two. 'Religious' leaders are those who have mastered a craft, and their acolytes are the ones they are teaching it to. Men generally perform the more labor-based works, with females performing the arts and less physical tasks. The Salt-Swamp clans are often the greatest followers of Fruitful Lights
Though they are not as advanced as the other known races, the technology they do have is by no means sub-par. Unathi technicians know how to work with wiring, basic keypad coding, weapon development and maintenance, as well as armor repair, the production of water wells and purifiers, mining equipment and transport. However, artificial intelligence, advanced computers, synthesizers and other very advanced technology is beyond them, since it is entirely unneeded. Most, if not all of their technology comes from things carefully studied and reverse engineered from the many Precursors ruins their dot their homeworld. Disagreements may crop up between high clan leaders who live in the ruins as a privilege, and thus they get to decide who studies it and how they go about it, and the religious sects that worship the Precursors, who care for and cherish the technology.
Oil and diesel fuels are pretty heavy on Moghes, as are vehicles to use them. Hulking beasts of rusted and sharp metal can be seen travelling across the open parts of Moghes for those who don't have ships to use, and many do not. Most of these vehicles would be similar to something you might see in a Mad Max movie.
Unathi space travel is still primitive compared to the other spacegoing species. They lack safe means of having their ships take off, and usually fire them out of extremely large, modified mass drivers to launch them into the atmosphere where their engines kick on and take them into space proper. Landing itself is even more dangerous, as Unathi have not developed a guaranteed way of returning home safely. Most of their space travel is spent drifting, with the precious engine fuel used to steady their course. Upon returning home, their objective is simply to try and land without managing to wreck their ship.
Moghes has almost no universal defense fleet; each capital has their own small force consisting of carrier ships to deal with pirates raiding their supply lines. Due to their concept of honor, ranged space combat is all but impossible for them. Instead, the carrier ships have a specialized bay that carries up to four smaller breacher ships that have the appearance of an oversized torpedo with a sharp, jagged head. These are fired from the bay a safe distance from the aggressor, and are designed to impact the hull and then disperse boarding parties into the enemy ship, taking it from within.
Many Unathi clans take engineering as a family craft, especially those near the poles of the planet, where fleets are launched from. Prior to the standardization of specially-tailored hardsuits, each of these families had their own designs which required Precursor technology. As a result, these suits were very rare. Through either bartering or espionage, NanoTrasen came into possession of several of these unique schematics and joined them together to create a higher-quality suit. Now, they sell them not only to the capitals for their breacher crews, but to exiles and pirates alike.
Archaeology or similar is also a highly sought after career for many Unathi due to the vast Precursor ruins and the lack of understanding of their world. Many go into this field, and often discover new technologies for the world.
Dieselyards are another cornerstone of the more industrious City States. Dieselyards are the great auto-industry of Moghes hotbed, filled with all sorts of wheeled vehicles that Unathi use to cross the harsh terrain. These are rarely used in some areas of Moghes, but many in the Savannahs and Deserts use them.