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Fiah are a central alien race in the main story-line of **The End**. This portion of the wiki will cover their appearance, beliefs, culture and History (which will be added at a later date). I will also be including some diagrams to go along with each part as soon as I can find the time to sit down and draw them. When I was designing the Fiah, the vague idea I had was to design a massive creature that was a mix between a bird and a dog. In earlier designs they looked more hairy than feathery, and in earlier pages, had no variety between them in regards to plumage. It became apparent very early on that this was going to make it impossible to tell everyone who appeared in the comic apart. * If you are looking for information on their home planet, its flora and fauna, laws and infrastructure, please visit the section on [[Haalha]]. * If you would like to read about specific major Fiah characters who appear in the story, they currently include [[Ethma]], [[Endi]], [[Olma]], and [[Axca]]. ---- ===== Physiology ===== ---- <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== General Appearance ==== Fiah are bipedal, omnivorous, flightless avians. Their bodies are arranged similarly to those of Humans: a head containing a brain, two arms and two legs, and a central torso housing the majority of vital organs. Their respiratory and circulatory systems are comparable to those found in the Human body. The two lungs, located just behind the ribcage, are rugged and efficient. The heart is large, robust, and situated in the centre of the torso. The Fiah heart operates in a smoothly rhythmic fashion made possible by its three-chambered shape; the pulse is rapid and steady, made up of equally-timed beats (in contrast to the ‘beat-beat-pause’ rhythm of the Human heartbeat). The average Fiah height is just over two metres, or around seven feet. Height commonly varies to as low as 1.75 metres or as high as 3. Statistical outliers are around 1.5m and 3.5m. Torso breadth, limbspan, and overall bulk are usually proportional to height; tall Fiah tend to be broad and imposing, while short Fiah are usually lithe and lean. Fiah display a bias toward upper-body strength, possessing very dense muscle mass in their arms, necks, and abdomens; by Human standards, their arms may sometimes appear incongruously long and broad for their torsos. * Big arms, very dense chest/shoulder/neck/arm muscles, big hands... getting smacked by a Fiah would hurt like a bitch! Fiah prefer not to punch - the shock to the knuckles is not something their body evolved to handle, and is remarkably painful - but their unarmed fighting styles typically incorporate strong chops, open-hand strikes, arm sweeps meant to disorient and imbalance, and grapples (getting bear-hugged by a Fiah is like getting caught in a vise, and it exposes your face to peck attacks). In hand-to-hand combat, most Fiah try to use their superior reach to engage opponents on their own terms. * [[Haalha]] has developed a few specialized unarmed disciplines for its military and paramilitary personnel. * As combat soldiers, Guardians employ a rapid, precise, brutally efficient fighting style. They are trained to disarm and disorient opponents, then end the battle as quickly and ruthlessly as possible. A Guardian attempts to deliver maximum force with maximum precision; the majority of his attacks are meant to render his opponent vulnerable, so that he can seize victory with a single, crushing blow. * As keepers of the peace, Protectors are expected to utilize reasonable force; they usually rely on a variety of non-lethal weaponry, but they must be prepared for the possibility of close combat. Like the Guardians, they are adept at disarming opponents and knocking them off-centre. However, the Protectors try to refrain from the use of hard strikes; instead, they are highly proficient grapplers, trained to place a suspect in an inescapable lock or pin until backup arrives. </WRAP> <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== Beak ==== The lower portion of a Fiah’s face is occupied by a protruding, tapered beak. Fiah beaks are very dense and extremely strong, with slight serrations along the inner ridges to aid in masticating food. The Fiah tongue is larger, but slightly less agile, than the Human equivalent. Fiah can peck with their beaks, and are quite willing to if forced into a fight (no 'biting taboo' in their society). Aided by the Fiah’s strongly-muscled necks, pecks tend to be forceful and direct, intended to bruise and/or puncture, rather than tear and worry (this is more characteristic of hooked or curved beaks, which the Fiah lack). The presence of a beak and a less-flexible tongue prevents enunciation from being a major factor in Fiah speech; this is why their spoken languages are primarily tonal. </WRAP> <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== Eyes ==== On the front of the Fiah skull is located six eyes, arranged into three pairs. Each eye is symmetrical with the other in its pair, but not with the eyes in the other two pairs. To Humans, Fiah eyes appear faintly luminescent; this is caused by two factors - a reflective effect similar to that seen in the eyes of cats, and, under certain circumstances, a faint bioluminescence produced by photoreactive cells in the Fiah bloodstream. The **central eyes** are capable of perceiving the greatest degree of detail, and are the most important. These eyes provide the bulk of visual data to the brain, and are capable of moving and focusing as human eyes do. Fiah central eyes lack pupils; instead, the eyes’ outer membranes react to ambient light conditions by chemically increasing or decreasing their opacity, taking in enough light to see without risking damage to the eyeball’s sensitive inner surface. The **upper eyes** are static, do not move or focus, and are poor at perceiving fine detail, but possess decent clarity over a broad field of view. They are keenly sensitive to an extremely wide range within the spectrum of light - extending well into the ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths - and exceedingly adept at picking out even the subtlest colour differences. The data they send to the brain is collated with that from the central eyes, providing a more vivid and informative sensory impression. * Early, flight-capable Fiah used their upper eyes to watch the skies of [[Haalha]], observe the amount and appearance of sunlight filtering through the storm clouds, and instinctively determine the likelihood and possible intensity of an impending storm in a given area. They would also have been able to look to the horizon and gauge the general light level to determine which direction held the least stormy skies, allowing them to follow calmer weatherfronts. The upper eyes were also useful for noticing flockmates, predators, or other creatures in the skies above. The **lower eyes**, much like the upper eyes, are static and cannot focus, but can consistently track a wide area. In contrast with the other two pairs of eyes, the lower eyes are very poor at picking out detailed impressions, but they are phenomenally sensitive to differential movement. This makes the Fiah quite good at quickly spotting sudden, subtle, and/or unexpected movements, even in potentially confusing situations like aerial flyovers; however, they still need to focus their central eyes on the source of the movement in order to take a good look at it. * Early Fiah used their lower eyes to scan below them as they flew, watching for potential prey on the ground (or predators taking wing). * When a Fiah wants to examine something closely, he will tilt his head forward a bit to give his top two pairs of eyes a clearer field of view. When a Fiah feels physically threatened or is in a fight, he will instinctively hunch his head between his shoulders and tilt his face upward slightly; this posture protects his central and upper eyes, angles his beak to peck at any opponents, and uses his lower eyes to watch for the slightest twitch of aggression. </WRAP> <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== Limbs ==== Fiah hands are large and possess five long, dexterous digits each: four fingers and an opposable thumb. The plumage on their hands is extremely fine and soft, and does not hinder their manual dexterity. Their feet possess four broad digits, three in front and one behind; these are not nimble enough to handle objects, but can make a rough grasping motion. Each digit is tipped with a short, hard talon. These talons must be trimmed regularly; if allowed to grow out, they take on a curved shape which makes walking awkward and uncomfortable. * Talons evolved for snatching small pray or raking at predators. * Not terribly useful in combat due to the Fiah’s bias toward upper-body strength. </WRAP> <WRAP center round box 90%> === Plumage === Fiah bodies, excepting their beaks, are covered with feathers. The extremities - lower legs, hands, face - are only covered by very fine, soft feathers. The top and back of the arms and the back of the torso tend to boast longer feathers which lie snugly parallel to the body, while the top of the head, front of the throat, and chest area usually possess the densest and bushiest plumage. To humans, Fiah plumage appears to be black, dark grey, or very dark brown in colour, with a glossy, subtly iridescent sheen. In truth, it can exhibit an extreme variety of distinctive colours and patterns, but these are only clearly visible in a portion of the light spectrum which the human eye cannot naturally perceive. An individual Fiah’s patterning and colouration are typically very similar to his parent’s, but elements of his plumage’s colouration will gradually change depending on his age. Fiah (and other species sensitive to a broader spectrum of light than humans) can easily recognize and pick out family resemblances based on plumage. A given family group will usually have extremely similar plumage patterns, and an individual’s colouration is likely to be similar to relatives in the same age group. </WRAP> <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== Reproduction ==== Fiah are monogendered and reproduce asexually. They only reproduce singly, though a single parent may raise multiple chicks one after another. The Fiah bloodstream contains photoreactive cells which, when flowing under the skin, chemically react to particular wavelengths and intensities of light. If the detected light meets a number of criteria, the veins in the face and eyes greatly dilate; this brings the photoreactive cells closer to the skin and enables them to absorb much more light. The cells then undergo a unique, photosynthesis-like reaction which allows the body to produce several of the substances needed to form an egg. This reaction can occur any number of times before reproduction takes place; the body will not attempt to begin reproducing until it has accumulated all of the components needed to produce a viable, healthy egg. One of the byproducts of the photosynthetic process is a faint bioluminescence in the photoreactive cells. This is usually hard to detect, but can sometimes be observed in the veins of the face; the eyes may also be seen to glow slightly. Adult Fiah constantly shed small numbers of microscopic cells into the air. These cells contain fragments of the producer’s genetic material, but are otherwise inert; they cannot grow or divide. They are inhaled by other Fiah, whose bodies temporarily retain them in preparation for parenthood. When a viable egg forms, the parent’s body draws genetic material from any healthy cells still retained, diversifying the offspring’s genes using samples from multiple different contributors; the process by which this takes place is so complex that even Fiah reproductive scientists still do not understand it fully. The offspring will therefore draw the majority of its genes from its birth parent, but will possess small snippets of genetic code from numerous other, lesser, “parents.” The process of forming and fertilizing an egg is remarkably short, given the egg’s size and complexity. Because of its rapidity, this is extremely draining for the parent, who must obtain significantly more food, drink, and rest than normal. During this time, nesting instincts drive the parent to seek out and/or prepare a safe, enclosed, comfortable place to lay the egg. Once a satisfactory location is found and the egg is laid, the parent remains there for a little while to rest and brood (warm the egg using body heat). The instinct to remain in the nest is very strong, such that leaving (even while carrying the egg!) usually produces severe anxiety, so most Fiah parents-to-be remain in their nests to brood until their chicks hatch. Fiah chicks gestate amazingly quickly, usually taking between fifteen and thirty Earth days before they hatch; this remarkable rapidity is made possible by the lengthy and intense preparation undertaken by the parent’s body. Fiah scientists have theorized that the species’ rapid birth process first came about in their earliest days. They believe it was an evolutionary adaptation to [[Haalha]]’s chaotic weather - those Fiah with longer nesting periods couldn’t stay ahead of the worst storm fronts, so they gradually dwindled in number while the more robust, nomadic, rapidly-hatching Fiah flourished. </WRAP> ===== Psychology and Culture ===== ---- <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== General ==== Fiah are gregarious omnivores. They possess very strong familial and flock instincts; loyalty and interdependence are prized qualities in most Fiah-predominant cultures, and such civilizations naturally tend to value the well-being of the community over the well-being of individual people or groups. Informed by their flock instincts, Fiah-controlled governments are usually democratic; in organizations built around singular leadership (such as a military unit or a ship’s command structure), the predominant philosophy tends to be that one should lead by example, and that loyalty can only flourish in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Infrared/ultraviolet light sensitivity is likely to influence art, jewelry, etc. Jewelry might be plastic/ceramic/vegetable/metal accessories, infused/painted/lacquered with various pigments not fully significant to the human eye. </WRAP> ===== Religion ===== ---- <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== General ==== A variety of religious and philosophical beliefs can be found upon [[Haalha]]. Given the global cultural bent towards gregarious interdependence combined with the individual pursuit of personal betterment, it is relatively common for a citizen to study many different belief systems, perhaps even adopting one developed by another culture or species. The planetary government does its best to encourage this trend, on the grounds that greater diversity enriches Haalha’s culture; at the same time, some pragmatic commentators insist (or complain) that the government is also hoping to prevent the formation of powerful, religiously-motivated voting blocs capable of altering the status quo and exerting strong influence on the democratic process. Statistically speaking, the three most dominant religions in Haalhan society are - named in their languages of origin (with rough translations) - Aea Hyoa (“All-Hymn”), Srrukvar (“Understanding Of Srruk”), and Grabaku Mulk (“Impossible Duty”). </WRAP> <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== Aea Hyoa ==== Aea Hyoa is a loosely pantheistic faith native to Haalha; it formed in ancient times as the nomadic Fiah tribes traded, allied, and slowly merged together, gradually interweaving their oral histories and mythologies to form a single religion incorporating elements from each. It takes the form of a collection of chanted or sung parables called Hyoa, mostly revolving around Clever Old Yan (creator of Aea, all that exists) and his well-intentioned but careless children, Yee and Ahyaal. Each Hyoa is meant to impart wisdom to the listener; some contain straightforward life lessons, while others are intentionally subtle so as to encourage peaceful contemplation. Aea Hyoa is quite common amongst Fiah citizens, and nearly as popular amongst [[Vaa Srruk]]. </WRAP> <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== Srrukvar ==== Srrukvar is just one of many faiths brought to Haalha by the Vaa Srruk during the First Exodus, but it is easily the most widespread. It is characterized by a blend of cosmic mysticism, ancestor worship, and powerful family loyalty - where “family” is interpreted to include adopted family members such as friends and fellow citizens, and “ancestor” can refer to one’s cultural forebears as well as one’s genetic ancestors. At the centre of it all lies Srruk: the concept that all beings, as interconnected parts of a single vast, living, breathing universe, are fundamentally the same. Srrukvar is most common amongst Vaa Srruk, but its philosophy of total inclusiveness and collective self-empowerment has won over many adherents from other species as well. </WRAP> <WRAP center round box 90%> ==== Grabaku Mulk ==== Grabaku Mulk is a philosophical school of thought originating on Lruchhuch, the Hlurcht homeworld. It teaches its students to define themselves through struggle, while simultaneously recognizing that many challenges are simply impossible to overcome - and that those are the most important challenges to face. Followers of Grabaku Mulk do their best to abandon self-deception and view existence with frank humility; indeed, they argue that life itself is an impossible struggle, for no one can defeat his own mortality. By accepting defeat as a normal part of existence, they cease to fear it, and are able to strive for greatness unhindered by weakness or doubt. Though Grabaku Mulk originated with the Hlurcht, it is slowly becoming more and more commonplace throughout the galactic community. </WRAP>

fiah.txt · Last modified: 2013/04/12 01:48 by ran