Homeworld of the bipedal felinoid aliens known as Demarians.
Home to over fifteen million Demarians, the sprawling desert capital of Alhira is the main occupied city on the planet. It is situated among the Brakithira Hot Springs, in the shadow of the Stubtooth Mountains. As the heart of modern Demarian society, it boasts the world’s largest spaceport, along with the Great Houses, the Temple, and Consortium embassies.
The name given to the massive desert which spans much of the main continent. While dotted with small settlements and oases, it is mostly a barren wasteland of beasts and raiders.
The mountain range south of Alhira. Snow exists on the northernmost peaks, while volcanic activity has been recorded in the south. It is home to a number of small mining communities.
Much of Demaria is a harsh hot desert with little rainfall and scorching summertime temperatures, though more temperate regions and rainforests exist south of the Stubtooth.
Only the gentlest may handle the Bihar flower of Demaria, for it bruises easily. It makes a lovely sight when floated gently on a setting of water, but getting it inside is tricky. One hand must cradle it gently, not bruising it itself while the other must shield it from outside damages. Red is the more normal color, but on rare occasions, the plant will produce a blossom of almost the color of gold. No one knows why. The golden blossoms bruise more easily than even the red.
A flowering plant that is the source of a deadly poison called mykiritox. The scent of the blooms themselves are thought to have a strong aphrodisiac effect on Demarians, however.
A large, meaty bird that is native to Demaria’s coastal regions. Resembling a Terran ostrich, this long-necked feathered beast that can reach up to eight feet tall has short, stubby wings that render it incapable of flight. Not to be thought of as slow, however, as it has been known to achieve running speeds upwards of fifty kilometers per hour. Dribgib is frequently sold at local Demarian restaurants and food stands, most often fried.
On average, the chameleon-like grithu lizard of Demaria runs about eight inches in length. It is prized for its tusks, which are used in Demarian costume jewelry.
A small desert rodent found throughout the world.
Padraki desert bumblers
Shaggy brown-furred bovine creature of Demaria with six legs and a whip-like tail, standing about six feet tall and four feet wide. Females are fairly docile until their offspring are threatened, then they turn themselves into furry battering rams. Males are typically mean-tempered anyway, and will find any excuse to try to trample a Demarian bumblekeep. Bumblers are a common source of meat for Demarians.
About six inches long, this sandy brown desert menace of Demaria has eight legs, four frontal claws, a tough exoskeleton and a twin-barbed tail tipped with poison.
Found in pits throughout the Sand Mother, these deadly creatures are worm-like animals who trap their prey – be it sentient or otherwise – in the pit by puffing up sand until the victim is within gnashing distance. Then, the eel uses its poisoned barbs to subdue and, ultimately, kill the quarry. Demarian nobles often make the capture of a sand eel for their own home (considered a sign of good luck) a trial for their family. They then use the eels for entertainment, sending underclassers into the pits to try to steal the barbs.
A proud, noble felinoid race with a penchant for comfort, extravagant clothes and pampering. They are tall and agile, with enhanced aural and olfactory abilities, as well as possessing night vision. The harsh desert world of Demaria is their home, which they share with the psionic, pack-oriented Theorians.
Demarians are big, tough bipedal cats – apex predators on a world dominated by the inhospitable dunes of the Sand Mother. They can crest seven and a half feet (228 cm) at their tallest, with males generally being larger than females. They bear all the feline features one would expect, from fur to whiskers to tails, and can resemble anything from the most common of housecats to the most fearsome jungle beasts. All varieties stand digitigrade and have retractable claws on all four paws. Kits are not born in large litters but rather two or three at a time, and while mothers provide milk for their young, females do not have noticeable breasts.
Demarian society is class-oriented, with a line drawn down the middle between noblemen of the Great Houses and the underclassers who serve them. The people themselves, regardless of social standing, define honor, bravery, and loyalty as the most important of virtues, and those Demarians who have lived their lives boldly and with great integrity are held in the highest regard.
Among the most important figures among the Demarian people are their warriors and storytellers – echoes of a history rich in tribal warfare and oral tradition. As they have established themselves within the larger interstellar community, their tendency toward infighting has substantially diminished, though the Great Houses are not above engaging in political intrigue to improve their own wealth or power.
The Great Houses
Hundreds of minor houses dot the Demarian landscape, but the planet’s ruling body – the Senate – is comprised of representatives from Great Houses Sandwalker, Darksinger, Pathfinder, and Skyglider. House Sandwalker is generally considered the greatest among equals, owing to its legacy as the House of Altheor, but the Senate can appoint any eligible member from the four Great Houses to the seat of Demarian Imperator.
On Demaria, nobles do as they will, living in wealth and luxury and suffering little in the way of consequence should they kick dirt in the teeth of the lesser class. Children are expected to put their House first, be able warriors and hunters, and strive to embody the highest ideals of their culture. Males are traditionally viewed as strong and virile, females as literate and queenly; however, gender roles are not hard and fast, so long as the child brings glory to his or her family.
Underclassers are everyone in Demarian society who is not a priestess or a nobleman. Many serve one of the greater or lesser Houses in some capacity, whether by being born into servitude or by simply enlisting with the family of their choosing, but the vast majority are simply everyday people with everyday jobs and lives. The average Demarian underclasser is free to go about his business so much as he obeys the laws and pays his betters the proper respect – with the understanding that should a Great House demand something of him, he is compelled to duty or death.
Education and careers
Noble Demarians receive dedicated education in the arts, literature, history, literature, and combat, with schooling broken up by leisurely activities appropriate to their station. Their final transition into adulthood is marked by the Rite of Maturity, whereupon they venture into the Sand Mother alone for the first time to prove their mettle. Should they survive, they are recognized as full adults, and are considered adequately prepared for a leadership role in society.
Public education is also available to underclassers, though it is far inferior to what children of higher birth receive and is not mandatory. Like nobles, members of the underclass study for several years until reaching maturity.
Tertiary education as many other Consortium worlds understand it does not exist on Demaria: there is no University of Alhira, or anything comparable. A young adult of underclasser birth has the option of joining a tradesman’s guild if he can afford it, otherwise his only other option is entering the military or the service of a noble House. Those who forgo these options have a long, hard road ahead of them, and little chance of success.
Demaria is not a heavily industrialized world and much of its manufactured items are imported, meaning most locally-produced goods are handmade artisan crafts. Alhiran cuisine is among the most popular in the galaxy, and skilled chefs fetch a hefty paycheck at resorts and big-ticket events on almost every major world. Those who choose to pursue the warrior tradition, or have no choice but to, can find comfortable niches as hunters, scouts, and soldiers. Academic pursuits are largely left to the priestesses, and careers in the sciences often fall by the wayside, as Demarians prefer their own legends and myths to an outsider’s way of perceiving the universe.
The Demarian Militia
Demaria maintains a standing fleet and ground forces for planetary defense, and as a member of the Consortium, flies the flag of the Vanguard. The highest echelons of command are populated almost entirely by nobles, though exceptions have been made in the rare circumstance of outstanding heroism on the part of an underclasser.
As the role of the Militia on the galactic stage is governed by the Citadel, it is not unheard of for other races to serve aboard Demarian warships – though it can and often is an awkward adjustment for all involved. These officers theoretically liaise on scientific matters, but in practice can serve almost any role.
The supreme commander of the Demarian Militia is known as the Battleclaw. Aboard starships, the rank system is as follows:
- First Fang (Captain)
- Second Fang (Commander)
- Long Claw (Lt.Cmdr)
- Short Claw (Lt.)
- Long Tooth (LtJG)
- Short Tooth (Ensign)
Brakir is the divine patriarch of the Demarian people: a massive sabre-toothed beast with tiger stripes and long razor-sharp claws. He is credited with crafting the world from sand and stone and speaking the suns to life with his voice. He forever prowls the night sky, hunting demons with the starry souls of the Demarian dead.
With the exception of certain ceremonial rites, Demarians do not gather and worship in organized services, believing that spirituality is a personal thing and that introspection is more useful than outward expression. Stories of Brakir and the first Demarian he acknowledged, the enigmatic First Walker, are branded into seven leather tomes called dziruun, or Seven Fires, and enumerate the philosophies of war and honor that he demands of his people. No Demarian may speak or write the direct word of Brakir, only paraphrase, save for priestesses trained to channel the holy fire with their voice in the divine art of dziri.
While not truly a deity, the Sand Mother itself is held sacred by Demarians, as it is the place from which all Demarians come and to which they all return. Its hellish sandstorms, unrelenting heat, and fearsome beasts serve as tests to prove that individuals are formidable and deserving of glory.
Faithwalkers are the only officially recognized religious order, comprised of priestesses trained from an early age to interpret the sacred texts and preside over important rites. Headquartered in the Alhiran Temple, they travel across the Sand Mother to aid distant settlements.
All Demarian nobles undergo certain rites which mark certain milestones in their lives and declare them worthy in Brakir’s eyes. They are:
- Rite of Birth: Performed three days after a kit is born. A simple rite which consists of the priestess pressing a warm (not hot) chunk of coal into the newborn’s palm until the claws flex, blessing the natural weapons Brakir has given him.
- Rite of Maturity: The most famous of the rites and perhaps the most significant. Transition into adulthood is marked in the adolescent’s thirteenth year, when he makes a solo sojourn into the Sand Mother to prove his worth. Should he succeed, he earns his Rite Name, a surname of his choosing. This name is formally awarded to him on his Naming Day. Underclassers also have a Naming Day, but with much less fanfare – a kit’s thirteenth year is marked with a hunt and a special party, after which he is allowed to choose his Rite Name.
- Rite of Bonding: The traditional Demarian wedding ceremony, and the only one of the rites which the participants (that is, the two to be wed) have complete control over. While a Sand Sister must recognize the marriage in the eyes of the Great Father, this need not be done publicly, as the details of this very special day are left in the hands of the happy couple.
Underclassers may of course get married as well, though they may do so without the inclusion of a priestess.
- Rite of Passing: A funeral service oriented around the cremation of the recently departed, wherein memories are shared by friends and family and the soul is formally commended to the star-plain to hunt with Brakir. Demarians who do not receive a proper cremation are said to wander the Valley of Shades for all eternity. This is the only rite which is identical for both noble and underclasser.
Demarese is a language made up of growls and purrs and hisses, relying heavily on intonation and length to convey meaning.
Flick Sign Language
Flick is exactly what it sounds like – a system of nonverbal cues conveyed by the subtle and deliberate movement of one’s eyes, ears, whiskers, tails, claws, and fur. It predates Demarese for thousands of years and is the only language shared with the Theorian race, though some language drift has occurred.
Important note about understanding Flick
It is extremely difficult for non-Demarians to master a comprehension of Flick. Only the greatest of linguists have managed to do so, and those that do generally devote many years to the effort. Casually “picking up” the language beyond recognition of the simplest and most common expressions is generally frowned upon by Demarian players.
- Altheor’s teeth: the most famous and widely-used of Demarian expletives, used to express anything from joy to frustration to disbelief
- The People: Demarians
- Show your teeth: referencing one of the most recognizable Flick expressions, telling someone to show their teeth is suggesting that they act courageously
- Shade and water: traditionally used to greet a priestess; can also be used to wish someone well
- Star-plain: space and/or the night sky; somewhat archaic
- Summers: years.
Altheor’s great sacrifice during the War of Opposing Suns changed the Demarian mindset so radically that from that point on, all Demarians were named for their most striking physical characteristics. Examples:
Upon reaching maturity, Demarians from all walks of life may choose a Rite Name, or a surname which reflects those skills or qualities they believe they possess. Examples:
Noble Demarians also have the option of adopting their family name, and most do, thereby declaring that they intend to uphold the highest of virtues of their House.
The trademark of Alhiran architecture is simple domed buildings artfully embellished with elaborate decoration. Stone is most often used, given the rarity of lumber, ranging from marble to sandstone to clay depending on one’s wealth.
The Great Houses are veritable palaces on considerable acreage, while the average underclasser freedman will typically occupy a small multi-family dwelling – often a three-flat, rarely more than four. When one takes into account the narrowness of the city streets and the overall cramped conditions there, underclassers are quite literally on top of one another.
Other Demarian settlements outside of the capital tend to follow similar rules, though the poorest of the desert villages have been known to settle in mud huts or hide tents.
Clothing is not necessary for Demarians, though given their materialistic nature and the civilized nature of galactic society, it has become normal and even expected to wear it. Traditionally, they prefer light, airy fabrics and garments for casual wear, with silks and linens being a favorite; desert excursions often include animal hides, scarves, and ponchos with deep hoods. Jewels and precious metals of all kinds are treasured and flaunted.
Pants remain an item of contention and did not exist in Demarian society until after First Contact. Many males prefer kilts and loincloths, while women often favor dresses and sarongs – though some have learned to tolerate and even enjoy this strange outsider creation, particularly in the military where such dress is mandatory.
Alhira is not known for being a major scientific and technological hub. Their advances are largely oriented around irrigation, architecture, and agriculture, with Demarians being valued within the scientific community for their creativity in these fields.
Demarians have been slow to adopt high technology and those who lack ties to the Militia tend to prefer the “old way” of doing things – the Vanguard is the channel through which most advanced technology is acquired and much of it stays in their hands. Most consumer electronics are easily obtainable and see regular use.
Relative newcomers to the Stellar Consortium, the Demarians are only recently beginning to shift from their insular tendencies and view themselves as a component of a larger interstellar community – and some more slowly than others. Proud to a fault, they are often reluctant to share what they view as “Demarian problems” with outsiders, though they leap at the chance to prove their heroism and prowess on the galactic stage.
Sivadians and Qua are perhaps their closest friends on the Council, and are held in high esteem for their sense of honor. A strong mutual respect likewise exists between the Nall and the Demarian people, dating back to the Battle of Opposing Suns.
While not enemies per se, Mystics and Phyrrians are often distrusted, the former because of their strange and inscrutable nature, and the latter because they lack a soul.