by David M. Kilpatrick
Art by Phillip Reed
Erahu (Homo Eridanius)
The Eridani, or Erahu as they call themselves, are a race of being that inhabit the twilight world of Nehoa'Eh circling the star 40 Eridani. Once a fierce warrior race, after the War of Madness they became a race of stoic idealists dedicated to protecting the younger races from the atrocities that had occurred when those other races learned too much too quickly.
The Erahu closely resemble humanity in build, possessing frames of comparable size and shape. They are standard humanoid stock in that they have 2 arms, 2 legs and 5 digits on each foot and hand. Physically Erahu approach the human norm of size and shape differing from the standard genetic human stock only in skin, hair, and eye color. The typical male stands between 5 1/2 feet to 6 1/2 feet tall and weighs in around 200 pounds while the female stands around 5 to 6 feet in the height and weighs about 150 pounds. Erahu skin tones generally range from a very light sandy gray to a dark charcoal gray with shades in between being the most common. Erahu eye color is universally a deep semi-luminescent red. Erahu hair grows into a natural widow's peak in front and is typically worn in a long braid down their back; the color of the hair ranges from steely gray to jet-black with rare cases of white. Male and female share genitalia similar to their human counterparts and have complex mating rituals, often considered highly erotic by other races. Erahu posses 5 digits on each limb ending in a nail similar to a human's.
The garb of choice among most of the Erahu population is functional trousers and vest for males and halter-top and short knee length trousers for females. Both sexes wear knee high soft leather boots and tie their hair back with ribbons.
They are native to a temperate 1.1-G world, with an average temperature of 80 degrees and a somewhat low-oxygen atmosphere at .80 pressure.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Erahu have DX +1 (10 points), HT +1 (10 points), and IQ +2 (20 points). Their genetically altered physiology gives them 12 levels of Fearlessness (24 points), 3 levels of Hard to Kill (15 points), and Disease-Resistance (5 points). Naturally occurring they have slow regeneration (10 points), Infravision (15 points), Light Sleeper (-5 points), Cyber Rejection (-10 points), Color Blindness (-10 points), Vampiric Dependency (-50 points), Social Stigma (Race of 'vampires' -5 points), and Extended Life Span (5 points).
It costs 34 points to be an Erahu.
Erahu use a simple naming convention consisting of a personal name and the word do (translates to, of, or from) appended to the place of the individual's birth or the season of birth. Among nobles however this is slightly altered. Among nobles the place or time of birth is replaced with the name of the birth mother. Most Erahu names follow the normal pattern of the Erahu language, favoring the vowel sounds ah and u with hard n consonants. Some examples are; Nehala do'Nahale or the noble Erahn do'Ehnana.
The Erahu could be best described as a race of warrior poets, an entire race dedicated to helping the younger races of the galaxy bypass the atrocities and mistakes of their galactic progenitors. Calm, collected, and given to be impulsiveness the Erahu people can make fast friends or a vicious enemy depending on how you strike them.
Erahu history from before the Time of Madness is sketchy at best. Many records were lost during the wars and times of upheaval. What is known, however, is that modern society today is much more peaceful than the previous society. The few records other races have of this time period mark the Erahu as fierce warriors that would fight to a bloody end no matter the cost to themselves; indeed this tendency seems to have almost brought an end to their race.
Now, though, the Erahu tend to act with kindness and fairness in their dealing with others, accepting another person's faults and failings as part of what makes them a unique individual. But this had to come at a high price.
Thousands of years ago when their world was still green and the new race of Erahu had not yet arisen, Erahu boasted a patriarchal warrior society. Men fought the wars, women cared for the babies and thought up new ways for men to fight wars. Now millennia later a gender reversal has come about. Women now act as their male counterparts did centuries earlier; one of the only true matriarchal societies has now arisen. The male population is rather stoic and chooses to follow orders rather than give, but some males are born with enough of the original Erahu lineage in their blood to be leaders. This tendency in males is rare, however, and now almost universally the women lead.
The Erahu were originally descended from jungle canopy-dwelling primates that subsisted off of blood and small amounts of flesh rather than vegetation. Approximately 10,000 years ago the original Erahu society appeared with a TL of about 6. Records of an earlier society can not be found nor can any fossil evidence be found of an ancestor between the original primate and the pre-Madness Erahu.
Nehoa'Eh was once a lush world covered totally by rain forests; now it only has one small band of forest stretching the length of the planet around the equatorial region. The rest of the plant was scorched and burned by the invading fleets during the Time of Madness, approximately 7,000 years ago. This fortunately has changed and once where there was lush jungle (and then blasted earth) is now lush grass and prairie land. The environmental engineering done after that devastating war is today considered one of the greatest feats of terraforming ever.
The Erahu dietary requirements are very similar to that of the vampire legends of Earth, so much in fact that many humans will refuse to eat or socialize with Erahu. They require about 4 pints of blood a week and about 6 ounces of flesh, preferably raw. Most of this requirement is met by the consumption of a small animal called a meklik which is raised domestically for food.
Erahu are a long-lived race, usually living for about 160 standard years. Erahu young reach majority at the age of 25 and begin aging around 100.
One of the biggest distinguishing factors of Erahu culture over the rest of the known races is that the Erahu have a totally matriarchal culture. Women take on the traditional male roles of society, being the warriors, builders, and thinkers. Males tend to take a more effeminate role in caring for the young, being teachers, keeping the home and generally taking care of domestic needs and services.
This is by no means a cultural prejudice; in fact, males are encouraged to take part in other aspects of society. Rather, the majority of the male population still has some amount of the biologically manufactured subservience to authority that was engineered into the genetic super warriors of the Time of Madness. This causes the males to be somewhat submissive to the demands of those who assert themselves and it is a well-known fact that an Erahu female can be very assertive.
The Erahu are a culture steeped in ritual and tradition. One or both parents teach the young at home all skills necessary to make it in the world as unskilled labor. On reaching the age of majority, young Erahu have several choices of a future path. They may enter into military service, which will provide for them for life and teach hem to be the best soldiers possible. Alternatively, a young Erhau may choose further schooling. Higher learning has no cost other than keeping one's grades up. Failure to comply will result in expulsion from school and a life among the masses of unskilled laborers.
The Erahu choose to take an advisory position in galactic politics. Never actively pushing in any one direction, merely offering advice. Advice the younger races tend to wisely heed.
Little is known of Erahu internal politics other than a semi-feudal system is a work with nobles answering to an Empress-like figure known only as the Dark Lady. Apparently ageless, she guided the council of elder that governs the Erahu for apparently 5000 years at least. She is, in actuality, the scientist that created the super solider alteration program that changed Erahu males into super soldiers and came up with the forced vat grown process of growing new ones. In despair over the losses her people incurred and caused she became the only female to use the process. It transformed her into an ageless being.
The Guardians of Yesterday: Mysterious warriors of the Erahu that guard the ancient city of Ne Nagada. The 'Silicon Valley' of the Erahu. They appear as females encased in a skintight shimmering veil of gray energy. They are silent and show no hint of fear. They carry no weapons other than shimmering swords and shields made of pure energy. They show no mercy towards intruders...Save one, the Dark Lady herself. What secrets of this race's dark past lie buried here, or perhaps are best left buried?
The Dark Fleet: Reports have filtered in of ships of Erahu design raiding convoys on the frontier. Survivors report boarding parties of entirely male composition that fight with inhuman strength and savagery. Who are these mysterious pirates? Are they privateers? Or are they relics of the past?
The Methuselah Factor: If the Dark Lady was made ageless by the genetic alteration process that created the super soldiers. What happened to this technology? Did other females ever use it? Was she a fluke or accident?
Article publication date: June 16, 2000
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