RACE: LIIR

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Erinys
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RACE: LIIR

Post by Erinys » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:58 pm

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The Liir are an air-breathing aquatic species, and bear a strong resemblance to the extinct cetaceans of Old Earth. They are the result of a long-term process of environmental change: an ice age lasting millions of years initially allowed for the development of mammalian species on the isolated tropical islands and huge ice shields of their home world, but eventually an extended warming period resulted in a planet with less than 10% of its surface above water. The vast majority of land-dwelling species returned to the sea—including the early ancestors of the Liir.

The Liir are an unusual species in more ways than one. Their bodies are sleek and dynamic, allowing for fast movement in water. Although they appear completely smooth, their skins are in fact coated with a layer of dense, fine fur, patterns and colors of which will vary with the individual. They bear live young, and all members of the species are hermaphroditic, possessing both male and female sex organs. The majority of Liir are capable of both fertilizing as a male or bearing young as a female, but only the very oldest Liir can do both at once—it is normally impossible for a Liir to impregnate as a male while carrying an offspring itself.

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A newborn Liir is very small, less than half a meter in length and weighing only 8-10 kilograms. By the time they reach the age of majority, after a period of roughly fifty years, a standard Liir will be around 3 meters long and weigh approximate 120 kilograms. There seems to be no natural end to the potential life span of any given Liir, and throughout their lives the Liir never stop growing. Elder Liir still living on a planet can be over 60 meters long, massing many tons.

The most unusual feature of the Liirian race is not the shape of their bodies, however, but the power of their minds. Liir do not have opposable digits, tentacles, or any other physical means of manipulating objects; they employ a limited form of telekinesis instead. A deft Liir can use several tools at once, and can often operate many simple machines simultaneously. With some concentration, they can also hurl objects with astonishing force, and the spear was a traditional hunting weapon among the Liir for many centuries.

Although they have large, light-sensitive eyes, the frequency range of Liirian vision is limited. They have a very refined sense of taste and a sophisticated array of sound-producing and sound-receiving equipment, however, which more than compensate for the lack of sight. Liirian echo-location is good enough to allow Liir to draw very sophisticated schematics of any machine or device simply by “singing” to it and reading the sound waves that bounce back.

The Liir communicate largely by telepathic means, although they also have a spoken language.
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OLD AGE AMONG THE LIIR

Post by Erinys » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:09 am

Liir achieve “Elder” status after having lived for more than three hundred years. At this point, they are over 5 meters in length and usually weigh well over 200 kilograms. Liir who have reached this venerable age generally retire from any profession which might put them personally at risk, and adopt a monastic lifestyle. In general, their days are spent contemplating the mysteries of the universe, composing songs and poems, maintaining the oral tradition of the species, and instructing the young in matters of ethics, morality and proper conduct as a sentient being. No Liirian philosopher is taken seriously before the age of 400.

Any given Elder will usually be surrounded by a cloud of younger Liir, who listen to the songs, ask questions, and telepathically explore the complexities and subtleties of the Elder’s mind. This period of “swimming alongside” is considered a vitally necessary part of any young person’s education. The aged are highly revered in all Liirian subcultures, and younger Liir will gladly sacrifice their own lives or embrace great personal risk to protect an Elder from any possible harm. Their ancestors are living treasures in their eyes. A sizable number of Liir spacers regard their service as a duty to the species, and volunteer to “scout the empty sea” in order to protect the Elders who must remain behind on Muur, and who volunteer to found colonies on other Liirian worlds.
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SONGS OF THE LIIR

Post by Erinys » Fri Jun 24, 2011 1:13 am

In the past 200 years, a revolution of thought and communication has occurred among the Liir. Up until very recently, the Liir relied more on telepathic communication than on spoken language. For eons, vocalizations were used mainly to enhance conversation between Liir within relatively close proximity of one another. A traditional Liirian “song” is an artform which has the character of both music and painting. The “words” or “lyrics” of the ancient songs are received telepathically by the audience.

The challenge of commanding and controlling a fleet of starships, however, forced the Liir to develop new modes of communication. A new class of Liirian “singers” emerged, and now all Liir youngsters are trained to sing an entirely new type of song. These Liir now shape sequences of gross physical sounds with great skill. These sounds are meant to be broadcast by mechanical means, and can be heard at far greater distances than even the strongest telepathic shout can travel.

Once they had developed the concept of “fleet song”, and created a more comprehensive code of physical sounds which were analogous to concepts and strings of ideas which would normally be spoken telepathically, the Liir were able to grasp the spoken languages of non-telepathic species very easily. Since most of the species they come in contact with do not possess even the most rudimentary telepathy, they assembled a cadre of specialists who would dedicate their lives to learning the “fleetsongs” of other species. These specially-trained linguists communicate verbally with other species, and develop software to translate any spoken language into Liirian fleetsong.

There was no traditional word for such a profession among the Liir, but they have invented a new title for the job. Members of the diplomatic corps are now called “Singers to the Deaf”.
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Erinys
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PREHISTORY OF THE LIIR

Post by Erinys » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:05 am

Unlike the Tarka and Hivers, the Liirian sense of time is formulated more on oral history than on paleontology or archaeology. From the Muurian perspective, there is no need to scientifically investigate the past; if you want to know something, you have only to go to the oldest Liir you can find and ask. If a thing is worth knowing, someone will remember it--although they may force you to "throw" for the information.

This being said, the Liirian sense of their racial history does appear to have some interesting gaps. If one was to ask a Liir on Muur what the past of their people was, they would speak very much in terms of the present: they believe that their ancestors were very similar to themselves, but had less knowledge. From their perspective, modern Liir have arisen from egalitarian social groups of swimming hunters and foragers, who subsisted by eating fish, swimming/amphibious mammals, and sea bed resources like kelp and clams.

These "cave-Liir" eventually learned to intensify their production of food resources by manipulating their environment in various ways. They selectively altered ocean depth, salinity and alluvial flows to create farming grounds for their preferred agricultural products. They channeled the energy available at volcanic vents for their own uses and began to domesticate other forms of both land and terrestrial life to serve them and provide for their nutritional requirements. Pastoral Liir are still often accompanied by packs of seal-like hunting pets, who protect their stocks of fatfish and other preferred food animals from other predators.

Oceanic pastoralism and agriculture is somewhat different from the terrestrial varieties, needless to say, and the mindset of urban development is also somewhat different. The Liir, for example, have no word or concept in their language that corresponds to the words "garbage dump".

From an outsider's perspective, there is a good deal of missing information in the modern Liirian worldview, not least being a full recounting of the Industrial Revolution on Muur. The nature and origin of the Suul'ka as a species, and any real account of their technology and culture, is impossible to learn from talking to a civilian Liir: they either do not know or, in the case of those who experienced it first-hand, they aggressively do not wish to discuss it.

Similarly, the subject is ka'shul ("verboten", "hidden-thought", "secret") among Black Swimmers. "Suul'ka" is an epithet among them, but the ancient enemy never seems to be a subject of calm and reasoned discussion.
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Erinys
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Paleoclimate Studies on Muur

Post by Erinys » Thu Aug 11, 2011 1:51 am

A multi-racial, multi-disciplinary team of scientists was permitted in 2483 to visit Muur, the ancient Liirian homeworld, to take a series of core samples from the extremely thick glacial ice caps at either pole. The ostensible purpose of these experiments was to study the planet's geologic record and understand the global climate changes, volcanic eruptions, meteoric bombardments, and variation in sea levels which might have affected the course of Liirian evolution.

After two years as welcome guests, the scientific enclave returned to their respective homes and began long term study of the core samples they had taken. The data they had collected proved difficult to reconcile with the version of Liirian history which had been transmitted by Liirian informants.

The evidence of the recent Industrial Revolution and its atmospheric pollutants, including radioactive isotopes, was clearly legible in the ice cores dating back some 300 years BP. This was expected. Analysts were far more surprised to find a second band of unmistakably industrial pollutants at a deeper level of the ice, dating to 10,000 years BP. A third layer appeared at 28,000 years BP, and a fourth at 49,000 BP.

In the end, they were able to detect more than 20 isolated layers of contaminants and radioactive isotopes, the earliest dating to nearly 320,000 years BP. Many theories were put forward to explain this evidence. At the moment, the most commonly accepted theory is that these layers represent a series of volcanic eruptions which engulfed the planet in clouds of ash which mimic the signature of industrial activity, incorporating substantial quantities of cadmium, thallium and lead, as well as sulfates, nitrates, carbon dioxide and methane. These volcanic events would have been sustained over significant periods of time, and may have subjected the planet to long-lasting Ice Ages brought on by volcanic winter.

Not all scientists are convinced, however, that the levels of carbon dioxide detected in these cores can possibly be explained by volcanic activity, nor that the geologic evidence supports the existence of multiple active super-volcanoes on Muur. This said, the premise that the Liir underwent not one or two but twenty separate Industrial Revolutions is considered even less probable by the majority of scientists, who argue that there is no archaeological evidence to suggest that the Liir had achieved a Space Age of their own prior to 300 years ago.
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