Seyshallian Nation

Seyshallian Nation

Seyshall closely circles a non-variable red dwarf star, and has a year that measures less than a tenth of Earth’s. There are seven other planets in the Seyshallian system, none of which are capable of supporting life.

The Seyshallians are descended from cephalopod-like creatures. They resemble four-foot-tall lizards with four tentacle-like upper limbs. In form, they are similar to the Drupadi, though smaller. Some scientists speculate that the two races spring from a common ancestor, perhaps brought to both worlds as pets by the semi-mythical Precursors in ages past. Due to the low ambient light, their huge, tarsier-like eyes are particularly sensitive. On worlds with larger suns, they must wear protective lenses.

The Sayshallians are cold-blooded egg-layers. The females are physically indistinguishable from males, save for the females’ ability to change their appearance through the use of specialized cells. Females have retained their ancestors’ ability to adjust the color, opacity, or reflectivity of their skin. They are prized as spies and scouts in battle.

The Seyshallians’ ancestors were forced onto land when the oceans on their native world shrank drastically in the wake of a stellar cataclysm. The pressure to survive also kicked their intellectual development into high gear, intelligence being the key to their survival. Over a period of several thousand years the Seyshallians went from seaside-dwelling primitives, reliant on the ocean for their food, to sophisticated builders of monuments and tillers of the soil.

Their primary form of government is feudalism. Each nation or state is ruled by a single powerful lord or king to whom lesser nobles swear fealty. These royal families are dynastic and can last for many centuries unless overcome from without or overcome from within. Many kingdoms are stable, while others are constantly under threat because of changing accords, often as a result of kinship or marriage. The line of descent is through the female.

Seyshallians are naturally aggressive. After several disastrous early attempts to come together in large cities as their population expanded, their settlements never grew any larger than two or three hundred individuals. They have remained this size throughout their history. Consequently, their planet is dotted with many small villages and towns, in regions analogous to duchies. These duchies or principalities are overseen by rulers (see above) who scheme and strive and engage with each other in ever-shifting pragmatic alliances. Great lovers of ceremony, Seyshallians put on many festivals and have numerous holidays.

Having evolved into their current amphibious form, the Seyshallians live a partially land-based existence, with considerable time spent underwater. On land, they engage in mercantile and scientific pursuits, whereas beneath the oceans they hunt and grow their crops.

A Seyshallian rite of passage entails a young male venturing into the deeper oceanic rifts in search of a ferocious, sightless predator that lurks there. Many of these eager hunters never return. Those who do are rewarded with the girl of their choice from their native village. The females have nothing to say about this, and some are not happy to be thus chosen by the triumphant youth, who often comes back maimed from his trial and may need to be cared for. As a result, spousal homicide is not unknown, and the wild lands outside of some settlements have become a haven for females fleeing vengeful families. Determined males (or their families) will sometimes pursue the females even there.

They are also fanatical traders, and a Seyshallian is never happier than when he thinks he has wrangled a deal for himself.

Masters of the biological sciences, Seyshallian sometimes attack enemy territory by means of engineered sea life, including flying jellyfish and specially grown carnivorous algae.

The Seyshallians, from the early days of their civilization, were fascinated by the possibilities of powered flight. Seyshallian scientists, through the pressures of war, developed powered rockets relatively early, when their overall culture was about on the same level as Earth’s in the Middle Ages. Though they never discovered the transistor, the Seyshallian nevertheless managed to claw their way into space using the computational power of a vacuum-tube-based technology.

A favorite saying among Seyshallian scientists is that their first great leap was on to dry land, and their second was into space. They discovered other star-faring species almost at once, through contact with the Children of Zorm and, through them, the Reznak Empire. Warned by the Children of possible negative effects on their psyche by Reznakian telepathy, the Seyshallians were prepared for withdrawal from contact but the oppressive mental emanations of the Reznakians had no effect whatsoever on the Seyshallians’ minds. Intrigued by the problem, the Seyshallians are conducting research into the effect.

Seyshallian are known to be skilled physicians and many find employment in the life and medical sciences. Some exiled females (see above) have even managed to win berths on starships, often at great peril to themselves, because it is not unknown for vengeful male relatives to follow them and even infiltrate a starship’s crew in order to kill the wayward female. These killings are regarded by the Seyshallians as purely family affairs.