Kurta Colonies

Kurta Colonies

Kurta are felinoid mammals. In height, the female averages up to six feet, and the males slightly over five. Their bodies are covered with short fur in one of several uniform colors. There are no splotches of additional color/patterns, as with Terran cats. Their hands have three fingers and an opposed thumb. Fingers, as well as toes, possess retractable claws. The Kurtan tail is slightly prehensile. The face looks pushed-in, as with a pug dog, but still has an obvious muzzle.

The Kurta have an internal bony skeleton. Their teeth reflect their carnivore ancestry, but the dentition is somewhat adapted for chewing as opposed to simple biting and tearing. Being mammalian, they are warm-blooded oxygen breathers who give birth to and nurse their young.

The Kurta are more or less nocturnal in their habits.

Lomagon has two moons, Keda and Pondak, and this fact had a great impact on their development as a species. Primitive Kurta believed that the universe was dominated by two warring sister goddesses, Haeia and Beloria, who lived on the moons. Both goddesses sought to destroy Lomagon because it blocked their view of the stars, but were kept from doing so by their mutual jealousy and enmity. Kurta mythology is filled with tales of mortals who were victimized or assisted in one way or another by the scheming goddesses or their underlings as they strove to gain ascendency over each other. The Kurta regard the enmity of Haeia and Beloria as the source of all earthly misery and woe.

Lomagon is an arid world with no oceans and only a few seas which are a bit bigger than large lakes—scattered here and there across its face. Even so, with two moons, the tides on these bodies of water can be sizeable. Kurta dwelling on their coastlines developed sailing in their prehistory, and soon established trading routes and thriving coastal port cities. Land-based caravans also spread Kurta cultures.

Other cities grew around desert oases. But given an innate distaste for groups and a somewhat paranoid world view, the felinoids rarely congregated in large numbers. This reluctance was also informed by the Kurtas’ rather piratical nature: settlements and caravans were often raided, with wealthy individuals being held for ransom by powerful brigands.

To this day, Lomagon remains rather sparsely populated, though wealthy Kurta have established many large estates around some oases. City-dwellers are looked down upon to some extent as less that self-reliant.

Prehistoric Kurta lived in small packs to facilitate hunting. Over time, these developed into tribes, with complicated inter-tribal relationships. Each tribe was led by an alpha female and her immediate family, always including at least one male shaman. Modern-day Kurta retain the tribal structure, which is overseen in the planetary capital, H’eghdom, where representatives of all Kurtan tribes on Lomagon meet in a parliament to discuss issues and vote on laws.

Endlessly curious about their world, the Kurta discarded their primitive religious beliefs relatively early in their development, while maintaining their temples and a ceremonial priesthood. Males, smaller in stature than the females, are thought to be unsuitable for more feminine pursuits like hunting and government. Great numbers of males are also to be found in the field of education. Kurta have occasionally experimented with patriarchy, but these experiments are always short-lived.

Kurta children, though born live as are most mammals, are placed in creches as soon as they are weaned (about six months after birth) to be raised by neutered males. The bonds formed between the children (especially the males) and their surrogate fathers sometimes last for a lifetime. Female children are turned out of the creches when they attain their third birthday, by which time they are fully capable of fending for themselves. Rather than being taken back in by their families, the children are expected to survive for two years in the wild, after which they are welcomed back into society and may take their proper place as adults. They have attained adult stature by that age and are capable of reproducing. A newly socialized female is responsible for establishing her own home with the help of males stolen from other settlements and put to work as slaves and/or consorts. This is regarded as normal behavior by Kurta at all levels of the culture.

The theft of males often results in a kind of traditional duel between houses, an ancient rite called St’ahanut. These duels, which are to the death, are fought with bladed pole weapons called trielluds, which are like spears. The victor retains ownership of the male (see Naming Conventions below).

Despite their technical prowess, Kurta are naturally very conservative in their thinking and are slow to adopt the fruits of scientific research. Male Kurta have traditionally been less reluctant to embrace change, especially in the social sciences. Often dissatisfied with their lot, males occasionally rise in revolt against their female oppressors and mistresses. These revolts, though sometimes successful, are always brutally put down with all male conspirators sentenced to public execution.

Kurtan scientists delved deeply into astronomy and physics, and developed space travel some five thousand years after their culture founded their first cities. Their earliest space flights were to Keda (inner moon, rocky and airless) and Pondak (further away, but larger—almost a third the size of Lomagon, and possessing an atmosphere and lower forms of animal and plant life).

Three hundred years after becoming a space-faring species, the Kurta experienced First Contact on the planet of a nearby star. This happened to be a colony of the Tyreesians. The meeting between the two alien races was peaceful and resulted in regular communication between their worlds, but meddling in Kurtan politics by the Tyreesians have hurt the relationship.

The Kurtan fighting style remains essentially unchanged from antiquity. Their space fleets are comprised mostly of smaller, more agile ships as opposed to larger battle cruisers like TUS Seeker. These small vessels have the benefit of being easily maneuverable in atmosphere or in space. Kurta fight like lions on the hunt, in packs with quick surprise strikes to the jugular.

Consider the name of the space pirate da-Silantha Marenni Oleirónathiss, for example. The syllable da infers that she is a first-born, with the given name Silantha, belonging to the house of Marenni, of the Oleirónathiss tribe.

Alternately, the name ti-Caren Daghannelin Darienathiss, who could be called Tic or Tica for short, by her family, contains the information that she is Caren, the third-born daughter belonging to the Daghannelin house of the tribe of Darienathiss.

A woman named da-Fortori Beritren Holennadórathiss could be Dafo or Dafor or perhaps Berit for short. Formally, of course, she’d be da-Fortori.

Males are considered to have no tribes, and are essentially owned by their houses, or estates. So a male character name Heerbaga would formally be Heerbaga Marenni; the house name being appended to his given name.