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Physical Description
A lithe, nimble race of warm blooded reptiles. Walk on two legs, with their bodies slightly cab-forward and balanced by their whippish tails, like a dinosaur. They have long, slender arms that each have 3 long fingers and a long opposable thumb and pinky. They are covered by small, delicate scales and a fine tracery of markings evolved to give them a natural camouflage in their native environment. The Kayya evolved a number of different "breeds" based on the environment in which they lived, heavily influencing the colour and marking of their scales. In the infancy of the race, the colour of their markings would caste them into a certain Parish based on their pantheon of gods, determining their role in society. As the Kayya grew into a modern star-travelling empire, the use of the Parish system has died off, though there is still a certain amount of subconscious prejudice associated with it.

The Kayya have a prominent head crest that they call a Posisi. It is a tubular, bony crest that curves back and slightly behind their head. The Posisi serves a number of functions for the Kayya. Larger crests on males are traditionally a sign of a more virile mate and more longer, thinner crests make females more desirable. The Posisi plays a major role in the Kayya's well developed senses of smell and hearing, as well as their natural echo-location ability.

The Kayya have an extremely high metabolism. On the plus side, they are always energetic and require relatively little sleep. On the negative side, they require very high energy food, traditionally in the form of meat and high sugar fruits. Their teeth, which regrow if lost, are divided between sharp canines in the front three quarters of their mouth and a double row of molars in the rear. The down side of their high metabolism is a relatively short lifespan of about 60 years.

The Kayya have only average eyesight, which functions best in the dusk and satisfactorily in mild lighting. Kayyans find bright light uncomfortable. They see predominantly colour, less sharp detail.

Kayyans have an exceptional sense of smell. They have a long, forked tongue which is an exceptional chemical receptor, particularly tuned to detecting dangerous decay or poisons in a potential food source without actually touching it. They have wide, flat nostrils with a large, complex set of nasal cavities that run up into a forward, central lobe in their Posisi, head crest. Their sensitive olfactory membrane coupled with a large dedicated "smell" portion of their brain give them exceptionally sensitive "layered" smell; they don't smell "stew", they smell meat plus gravy plus individual vegetables plus salt plus pepper. They can detect and identify smell particles on the order of parts per million in the air.

The Kayya also have exceptional hearing. Their Posisi is their primary hearing organ, being essentially a bony tube whose surface is dotted with small tympanic membrane. Sound is transmitted into the Posisi where a complex cochlear membrane allows the Kayyans to hear a huge range of sounds, form extremely low to extremely high frequency. They also have and exceptional ability to locate the direction and distance of a noise in three dimensions. They have a set of muscles around their nostrils that allow them to be flexed and shaped, and part of their regular breathing pattern emits a high pitched whine that works with their Posisi to provide them with a passive echo location ability.

Their complex brains are exceptionally three-dimensional and do an immense amount of processing to bring together all the sensory stimulus they take in. They combine the colour information provided by their eyes; shape, detail and positional information from sound; and chemical smell information from their noses to provide a detailed and complete picture of the world around the Kayya, enabling them to be the exceptional hunter scavengers they evolved from.

Kayyans tend to be resourceful and quick witted, sure-footed, and inclined to tasks involving manual dexterity. They tend to be good builders, producing quality work in both architecture and technology. They are generally quiet and independent. The Kayyan Empire uses the Core Commonwealth primarily as a trade partner. On the whole, the Kayyans are generally friendly and welcoming to immigration, emigration, exploration, and learning about new cultures.

Primitive Kayyans evolved first in the hot, equatorial jungles of their world Izwan. Somewhere in the middle of the food chain, early Kayya were both predator and prey. The most dangerous time, when the largest and most ferocious predators were around, was high noon: the Kayya would sleep in tree nests for a few hours through the morning and early afternoon. They would spend the mid-afternoon until the middle of the night hunting, the hunting packs returning with what the catch of the day. Tribes would gather and spend quiet time together, eating and socializing until first light when they would scavenge as a group until the mid-day predators began to emerge and they were forced back to their nests. Early Kayyans, with their high metabolism, spent more time awake than asleep and lived primarily on a constant diet of prey supplemented with high-energy nuts and high-sugar fruits. The Kayyans metabolism peaks at dusk when they have traditionally used their echo location and exceptional hearing and smell more than their sight to find and bring down prey.

Fast, ingeneous, effective scavengers and hunters, they quickly adapted to the myriad of geographies their planet offered. As the Kayyans spread to different locales, their naturally short lifespans and relatively large number of young allowed them to adapt quickly and specifically to each environment they encountered. They quickly evolved a number of "breeds" particular to their geographic location.

Suka The original Kayyan "breed" that evolved in the equatorial forests of Izwan. Standing 4 - 5' tall, they were generally a tan-yellow to deep green colour with either black, yellow, beige, or dark brown markings. Suka worked in pacts to swarm their prey and avoid their predators. Nimble, dextrous, and intelligent, early Kayyans were able to negotiate around and up and down the native trees better than most other species, actually using the layout of the terrain to their advantage. If threatened by predators, they were able nimbly climb trees where they would use primitive rock and stick tools to defend themselves ferociously.
Nutsuchis Spreading from the thick of the jungle to the wider stanced trees near the northern rocky plains, the Nutsuchis were very similar to the Suka but larger. They stand 5 - 5'6 tall and tend to be thickly muscled, particularly through the chest and legs. Their Posisi head crests tend to be slightly wider and flatter than those of the Suka. They tended to stand their ground more against predators rather than trying to climb away from them and tended to use more tools while hunting, scavenging, and defending themselves.
Mako The Mako breed would spread to the northern rocky plains of Izwan. Their scales would adopt the colours of their surroundings: brown to rust with black, beige, yellow, white, and dark brown markings. They would grow the largest of any Kayyan breed, standing 5 - 6' tall with thick muscles built for bursts of speed and combat with the tough prey of the north. Their Posisi were short, wide, and thick, evolving bony lumps called tubecles. The Mako would not shy away from predators, using their Posisi as a shield and ram when threatened. As a result, the Mako have less sensitive hearing and smell than other breeds but have developed more keen eyesight for spotting the movement of prey in a variety of lighting conditions.
Trivochepka The Trivochepka breed of the Kayya were a result of a migration away from the Suka tribe to the wet mesas south of the jungles. The Trivochepka remained small, similar to the Suka, becoming even more lithe and swift, tirelessly chasing down prey in packs. Their scales became beige to dark brown and their markings were black, yellow, beige, or dark brown.
Lisutis The Lisutis breed gradually made its way to the farthest extremes of northern Izwan, where snow covers the land over half the year and it's always cold. Only about 20% of the year consists of a dry "summer" with temperatures tolerable by the average non-Lisutis Kayya. The Lisutis are the smallest of the Kayya, standing around 4' tall but are probably the most stoic and determined breed. Their scales adapted to a white or pale yellow colour, with markings that were black, beige, yellow, or white. The Lisutis were nomadic, wandering to whatever locations could support them. They were particularly adept at scavenging food when prey was not available, giving them a certain reputation of being willing to do disreputable deeds to survive. They were the first Kayya to really develop protective clothing, layering the fur of the few mammals they had to prey on between sheets of reptile skins. The Lisutis were the first Kayya to give up traditional nests, instead wandering half the year and building snow burrows during the snowy half of the year. They would continue the burrows into the ground, living off whatever roots, insects, and burrowing life they could find to suppliment a cache of winter food supplies. The Lisutis became a proud warrior culture, living a harsh, simple existence. Even as civilization developed across Izwan, building materials in the far north would remain rare and expensive contributing to their Spartan lifestyle. The Lisutis have always been the least numerous, most isolated Kayyan breed and the least politically powerful.
Algomena The Algomena are an artificial, nomadic tribe of Kayyans. Any Kayyan born with a solid black colouring is outcast from their tribe. This is not a tradition, not a punishment. The black Kayyans were traditionally seen as appointed wise ones by the god Tisheeto. Destined for great thought and journey, the Algomena are eternal questers, finders of the new, spreaders of knowledge, and message bringers between the other breeds. The Algomeena would sometimes wander alone and sometimes band together. They were allowed to live among other breeds for a time but never to stay permanently. Traditionally, only Algomeena had the wisdom and separation to become Emperor of Izwan. In modern society, the practice of outcasting pure black Kayyans has stopped, though some choose to voluntarily follow the wandering tradition. Pure black Kayyans are still psychologically seen as somewhat separate and superior to the average Kayyan and the Emperor of the Kayyan Empire is still always Algomeena.
In modern society, the breeds are no longer strictly limited to their original habitats. They mingle freely and genetics have thinned the original purity of each breed. Certain geographic locations may still have a disproportionate number of Kayya with certain breed characteristics but they are no longer an evolutionary neccessity for the species. The breed names are still used to denote the geographic provinces of Izwan and the capital city of each province is that of the breed that evolved there.

Ingenuity and adaptability in hunting and survival techniques have always driven the race. Tool use gave them a clear edge over any species trying to eat or avoid them and gradually lead them to replace their tree-nests with permanent shelters and eventually farms and modern cities.

Founding of the Kayyan Empire
In the distant past of the Kayyan race, the breeds evolved in their separate locations. As cities and farms grew, they would eliminate the geographic boundaries imposed by their evolution and the breeds would multiply and spread. This lead to war among the breeds and later, as the breeds diversified across Izwan, to squabbles and war between countires and states.

It was the Algomena Yuzusi the Uniter who would unite the Kayyan peoples under the banner of the Kayyan Empire and allow them the unity that would eventually drive them to the stars. Yuzusi was the first to change the perception of the Algomena from wise-man to potential Emperor, establishing the idea that only the Algomena had the independence of vision and life experince to lead the Kayya successfully. His sociological ideas brought many converts to his side, as the idea of peace and stability was very desirable to many. He gathered an alliance around him that expanded rapidly through politics, war, and rhetoric. It was also Yuzusi who conceived of the Emperor being replaced by another Algomena in a stand-off in the Temple of Kee. He himself participated in several stand-offs in the temple. They invariably resulted in him outwitting his opponent and ripping them shreds. The stand-off that finally supplanted him as Emperor resulted in him voluntarily succeeding his rule to the young, moderate Emperor duArdaker. They had spent three days in the Temple just talking and Yuzusi had seen the wisdom in this new young leader.

Star-faring Years
Izwan lies in the Twilight sector, between the Vrudok and the rest of the civilized galaxy. Almost as soon as the Kayyans ventured off their planet into the stars, they encountered the Vrudok and went to war. The wars with the Vrudokin Klekkins would continue sporadically from early Archaic to Modern times, the Kayyans being a major force in keeping the Vrudok isolated from the rest of the galaxy.

When the Kayyans first crawled off the face of their planet in the mid-ancient era, they would first discover and found a colony on the planet Toqkwen. Because early starflight was slow and dangerous, the colony established its independence early, struggling to survive with little help or direction from the Empire on Izwan. As technology improved and space flight became easier, the Kayyans founded colonies on the planets of Thisheeto, in the late ancient period, and Chaansa, in the early archaic period. It would not be long before war broke out with the Vrudok, focusing the resources and attention of the Kayyan Empire on that front. Toqkwen, while supporting the Empire with trade and troops, would quietly assure its long-term independence by building its own Temple, the Temple of Toqkwen, and raising up its own Emperor in the early Archaic period.

The Kayyan Empire would go to war with two separate Vrudok Klekken, one soon after the after. When the dust had settled in late Antiquity, the Kayyan Empire would send forces to try to depose the Toqkwen Emperor and re-establish its rule over the colony. The War of Succession would go on for several years before the exhausted forces from Izwan would finally declare that Toqkwen was free to run its own affairs. Trade and military agreements would be founded and honoured, establishing a close and lasting relationship.

Modern Relationships
Exploratory ships from the Kayyan Empire encountered scouts from the Core Commonwealth in mid-Antiquity. Given that the Kayyans sole experience with other races was the Vrudok, they were initially extremely wary. Talks and trade would soon begin between the galactic superpower and the little lizard empire. A tentative friendship would begin and trade and military agreements would be forged. Toqkwen would remain cynical of the ability of the Kayyans to influence an organization as large as the Core Commonwealth. They would quickly discover the Stroud Alliance and begin quietly making friends.

Parish/PatronMarking ColourRepresentations
ThisheetoBlackNight-father, life, family, hunting, providing. Chief of pantheon.
NekksiYellowSun, sky, heat, danger from predators, victimization. Guards, day watch.
WokoDark BrownEarth-sister. Rains, mud, mudslides, things that give and take away, farming and farmers.
IzwanBeigeForest-mother. Scavenging, bounty from the planet. Collectors and farmers.
ChitsuWhiteSnow, cold, death, thievery. Buriers and mourners.
KeeRedEarth-son. War, lava, action, fire, leaving home. Warriors and miners.
The Kayyans developed a caste system based on the colour of an individual's markings, the lines and shades that traced over their predominant scale colour. Traditonally, the predominant colour of one's markings indicated the Kayyan god under whose auspices the individual was born and fit them into a Parish that was indicated their proclivities in life and role within societal life. While the Parish one belonged to was never strictly binding in terms of one's role in the clan, it was always at least influential. For the most part, the binding nature of the Parish system has faded, though the terminology and subconscious prejudices associated with it are still common. The Parish name is still used in the traditional Kayyan naming protocol of Used name - family name - Parish name. The Parish is the group of individuals, the Patron is the personification of the concept engendered by the Parish.

The Kayyans are egg-layers. They breed often, have a short gestation period, and birth clutches of 6 - 10 eggs at a time. The actual courtship of the male and female is prolonged over several weeks, flamboyant, and socially celebrated. The act of breeding itself is quick and impersonal. The egg-laying is a quiet, personal time of introspection and togetherness, with the peer-groups of both parents gathering together in one of the hatcheries located in each Kayyan province. When the eggs are layed, both parents go their own way leaving the clutch in the hatchery with local midwives who are traditionally of the Izwan Parish. There is no lasting bond between the happy couple or their children. Families form artifically as young Kayyans emerge from the hatcheries in their adolescene free to bond to whatever group of Kayyans are most appropriate.

Kayyan dialects include traditional linguistic throat and mouth sounds over a wide frequency range, with nasal whines injected. Their nouns are actually a reproduction of what their echo-location would seem like for a particular object... their nose would reproduce the echo of, say, a person or building and can perfectly convey things like its orientation or highlight specific details through exaggeration.

The Kayyan naming convention names an individual by their individual name - family name - Parish name.