by Max Barry

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5

Species of Ignis [WIP, almost done]

Ignasae

Ignasae (Latin: Vulpes Sapiens or Wise Fox), Ignisian singular, are the dominant sapient species in their native Epsilon Eridani system. They are believed to have evolved from a far older, canine-esque species whose origins are as of now unknown. The first recorded fossils of a modern Ignisian have been dated to 200,000 years ago. No related species have been shown to exist in the modern day, not even from the same family.

Ignasae are mammals, meaning they give birth to live offspring, produce milk for their young, and are warm blooded. They live exclusively on land, a factor that made exploring the oceans fully take millennia. Their circulatory system is closed, consisting of one heart with a large network of blood vessels. Their blood is a scarlet color due to the massive amounts of oxygen absorbed into their hemoglobin. They have two lungs, which are used to breath a nitrogen-oxygen based atmosphere (though the percentages of both are practically equal). Both sexes are capable of growing hair on their heads. Their eyes have pupils that dilate and contract in response to light, allowing them to maximize light intake and minimize potential retinal damage to suit whatever needs they have. Their eyes can detect both near-UV and visible light. Their ears can detect a variety of sounds with far more range and precision than a human. Their sense of smell is thousands of times more acute than a human being as well.

Ignasae are omnivores, capable of eating both meat and vegetation. Historically, long-lived Ignisian societies have adapted diets ranged from purely carnivorous to a mix of marine animals and plants. On average, Ignasae can survive for one to six weeks without food, depending on metabolism and body fat. Without water, most Ignasae perish after five days.

Despite their many strengths, Ignasae are not used to temperature variations, largely adapted to boreal and temperate environments.
Most Ignasae prefer to live in boreal forests or cold deserts, preferring the shelter and plentiful food of the former, the open space of the latter, and the frigid temperatures of both.

The ideal living temperatures for Ignasae range between 6 degrees Celsius and 21 degrees Celsius. Ignasae develop severe discomfort above this, but don’t experience acute health problems until they reach 40 degrees or above.

The average is between 5 ft 7 in and 6 feet 5 in. Fur color for Ignasae ranges from black and dark grey to a bright, silvery white, though abnormal colorations of blue and green have been noted to exist. Eye color is practically infinitely varied, but on average, most Ignasae have green, brown, gold, red, and purple eyes. Exceptions due to genetic or magical reasons are aplenty, however.
Ignasae have forward positioned eyes with slit-like pupils, large irises, and horizontal eyelids.


Pictured is an average Ignisian male in human clothing.

As Ignasae are mammalian, the species is diploid and eukaryotic. Each somatic cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes; Gametes, on the other hand, only have one set of chromosomes, which are a mixture of the two parents’. There are 22 pairs of autosomes and 1 pair of sex chromosomes. Similar to every other mammal, female sex is determined by XX while male is determined by XY.

Unique among Ignasae is their ability to use what is popularly described as magic, an ability no other species in the Milky Way share, save for humans.
This is due to a cluster of specially generated cells that can be found in the back of their necks and brain stem, known as thaumogens. These ‘thaumogens’ determine an Ignisian’s magical power. Few thaumogens suggest magical impotence, while a high concentration suggests extreme power. This is determined through genetic means, parents with higher concentrations of thaumogens passing them down to their offspring.

These thaumogens can regenerate if damaged, though Ignasae very rarely live after acute heavy damage. If struck on the back of the neck or head, an Ignisian will experience immense pain followed by uncontrolled bursts of wild magic. This often ends up fatal or crippling to the Ignisian or those around them.
Thaumogens allow for the instincts and brain functions needed for tapping into the concepts of reality and granting them form and energy, what is commonly called ‘Magic’. The cells are located in small quantities at birth, but only fully begin to develop and grow starting at around 6 years old.

Homeworld
The homeworld of the Ignasae is a planet by the name of Spaedrif (English: Our Home, Epsilon Eridani IV officially), the fourth planet from the star of Epsilon Eridani, the largest terrestrial planet in the system. The planet’s utterly gorgeous teal gigaflora, the metallic (often gold or silver) deserts, and blood red oceans earn it the nickname of “Hell’s Eden.”

Days on Spaedrif last for approximately 35 hours, as opposed to Earth’s 24 hours. Spaedrif years are 517 days as opposed to the 365 days of a Terran year.

Spaedrif is smaller than Earth, around 10,650km as opposed to the latter’s 12,756km. However, its mass is about 10% greater on account of heavier concentration of heavy metals and a higher percentage of land (for comparison’s sake, the oceans make up about 60% of the planet’s surface compared to Earth’s 73%.). The centers of both continents, Eidyn and Aelsum, are massive desert basins a mile below sea level at their deepest. The sands and rocks are almost entirely composed of heavy metals like gold, platinum, iridium, osmium, and others. This, along with the massive amounts of iron in the oceans that turn it an opaque blood red, are believed to have been caused by a meteor barrage 220,000 years ago, which significantly lowered the planet’s temperature.

Spaedrif has a single natural satellite in the form of a planet named Jankallain. Despite its smaller size of 9,800 km, the planet has been demonstrated to hold forms of complex life. In ancient times, it was even worshipped as a deity.

Spaedrif’s climate is similar to Northern Europe and Siberia, having very little precipitation and temperatures around the 10 C mark. In the center of the continents are cold, barren deserts that can reach -5 C on average. The uniform nature of the planet’s climate essentially means that changes in seasons don’t exist.

The oxygen content of Spaedrif is enormous, at 45% compared to Earth’s 27%.

This allows for massive arthropodal megafauna as well as plant life that can only be properly described as megaflora; Forests stretching for hundreds of miles with trees that, at the very least, are dozens of times larger than Californian redwoods, to the point where entire villages have been made from them.

The eusocial insectoid life ranges from wasps the size of conventional automobiles to ant-like creatures with similar sizes to dogs (even domesticated several thousand years ago). Historically, their abandoned nests have been used as fortifications or palaces by either the ambitious or truly insane.

This high oxygen content also turns the sky a deep navy blue, making the sun’s light appear a deep orange. The distance from its relatively weak star causes Spaedrif to essentially be in permanent twilight, the brightest noons seeming like an evening on Earth.

Tzakyuza
Tzakyuza (Latin: Diaboli Canibus, or Devil’s Hounds), Tzakyuzan singular, are the dominant species of the Milky Way’s Sagittarius Arm. They’re believed to have evolved from an as-of-yet unknown ancestor 250,000 years ago, but no fossils older than this date have been located. Bizarrely enough, both a genetic and phenotypical link has been discovered between the Tzakyuza, the Motvesi, and the Ignasae. The reasoning behind this is as-of-yet unknown. No related species have been recorded on their home planet.

Tzakyuza are mammals, giving birth to life offspring, producing milk for their youth, and possessing warm blood. They exclusively live on land, their home planet never possessing a sizable ocean. Their circulatory system is closed, but the number of hearts varies. For the lower castes, one heart is the norm. For the yellow and solbloods, two or even three hearts have been observed.

Blood color for the Tzakyuza is a topic all on its own, but to discuss it here is important to understanding the entire species. Blood color is not only widely varied with various effects on the body, but it’s responsible for both the species hierarchy and power dynamics.
This is all due to the way their thaumogens work. Tzakyuzan thaumogens are located in their bloodstream, produced by their blood marrow alongside normal blood cells and platelets. The concentration of these cells determines blood color and magical potency both.
With little or no thaumogens, blood color is a pale, icy blue. With the maximum possible concentration of thaumogens, blood color changes to a bright white gold. The fluid brightly glows as a result of the magical charge, further proving its place at the top of the blood spectrum.

Those with a blood color “warmer”, or closer to the bright solar color at the top, rank higher than the “cold” colors with lower thaumogen counts.
The spectrum as we know it contains the following: Pale blue, navy blue, indigo, royal purple, midnight purple, fuchsia, crimson, pink, light red, orange, yellow, and at the top, Sol.

These are simply the main classifications. Rare mutations such as green (ranging all the way from teal to emerald) and brown have been noted to exist, though the latter is largely included as a subcategory of crimson by the Grand Solblood.
Not only this, but entire spectrums of color between blood types can and have existed. Turquoise is a good example of this. These are so numerous to quantify, however, that it would take up too much time to fully describe them. Just know that colors between castes exist.

These blood colors grant varying social statuses, different magical/psychic powers, and phenotypical variations. All Tzakyuza are born with standard white sclera, black pupils, and irises colored like their blood, but over time, their eyes eventually fill in with their blood’s pigment, changing to the same color.
As they age, Tzakyuzan fur gradually darkens to a pitch black, only leaving the blood colored stripes.

At the bottom rung, all three categories of blue blood are canine in appearance, fur colors naturally ranging through various shades of grey and white with the occasional stripes of color. Said stripes (and, somewhat commonly, hair) have a tendency to match their blood color, though not always.
Pictured on the right is a Tzakyuzan female with the lowest class of blood color, icy blue. One eye is colored differently due to being artificial.

The strange anatomical quirks begin with crimsonbloods, who possess small blades of bone on their forearms that can be retracted at will. The rosebloods up the ante with larger blades, pockets on the sides of their body with entrance holes for storing oxygen in the event of deprivation, and body parts such as hands and paws covered in glossy chitin.

The orangebloods possess insectoid wings made of pitch black chitin, their bodies growing more and more covered by the material in lieu of fur.

Pictured on the left is an example of an orangeblood/flameblood, though her chitinous features aren’t on display.

The yellowbloods, despite being mammalian, almost resemble insects, their bodies chitinous and winged. The only furred parts of their bodies are their ears and tails, the lone semblances of normalcy in a magic warped form.
Last but not least, the Solblood possesses a mixture of phenotypes from all corners of the blood spectrum. Her body possesses fur on all regions except for the forearms, lower legs, and wings, which are coated in chitin. She also possesses 4 batlike wings made of flexible chitin, though she usually chooses to fold them on her back.
All Solbloods possess glowing eyes and veins, the sheer magical power of their blood causing emission of light.

All Tzakyuza (even the yellowbloods) are capable of growing hair on their heads. All members of the species have eyes with pupils that dilate and contract in varying light levels, allowing for efficient vision without the risk of permanent retinal damage. While rosebloods and below can only see UV and visible light, the solblood and yellowbloods are capable of seeing all across the spectrum with the exception of gamma rays.
Their sense of smell and hearing is similarly acute, the yellowbloods and Solblood surpassing Ignasae by a magnitude of hundreds in both.

Tzakyuza, though omnivores, are carnivores in practice, exclusively eating meat in all situations except for the absolutely desperate.
The optimal environment for a Tzakyuzan is either a desert or volcanic ashland, healthy temperatures for them hovering roughly around the 39 degree C mark. At temperatures of 25 degrees C, discomfort and health problems begin. At around 70 degrees C, heatstroke becomes a legitimate concern. The yellowbloods, however, have been noted to remain comfortable at up to 90 degrees.
A Tzakyuzan will typically survive from three to six weeks without food, though this depends on blood type and body type. Some higher up on the echelons of the blood spectrum have been reported to last months.
Without a week of water, most will perish. Once again, the higher blood types can rarely subvert this.

As stated before, fur/chitin color is almost always a bright grey with the occasional darker stripes or stripes matching their blood color. As a Tzakyuzan grows older, their fur or chitin gradually darkens until it becomes pitch black, save for the blood colored stripes.

Their eyes always match the color of their blood, eventually filling in with the solid color. Many younger Tzakyuza, however, opt to dye their sclera white.
Tzakyuza have forward positioned eyes with slit-like pupils, large irises, and horizontal eyelids.
Height amongst the species largely varies from color caste to color caste, the blue, purple, and fuchsia bloods largely hovering around the 5’4 to 5’10 mark. The height gradually increases as one climbs up the color spectrum, reaching a peak with the Solblood’s 10 feet of height.

Tzakyuza are both eukaryotic and diploid, each somatic cell having 23 pairs of chromosomes. Gametes, however, have a single set, a mixture of the two parents’. There are 22 autosomal pairs and 1 pair of sex chromosomes.
Like all other mammals, males have XY chromosomes while females have XX.
The thaumogens grant magical abilities that one would usually think of: Standard elemental manipulation, summoning, that sort of thing. For Tzakyuza, however, their brand of magic is focused more on traditional “psychic” powers: Blasts of mental energy, telekinesis, mind control, and telepathy. The traditional form of magic needs to be artificially taught, since only the Solblood is naturally born with it.
Unlike with the Ignasae, where thaumogens proved to be explosively reactive if struck, the liquid medium through which they flow combined with the relatively low concentration (with the reception of the Solblood and yellowbloods) prevents any sort of detonation mishaps in case of trauma.

The green blood colors are persecuted viciously, considered lower than even the color of frost, for the unique abilities granted by their colors: One born with teal has the ability to regenerate wounds and lost appendages like ears, fingers, and toes, being able to do the same for others. One born with olive blood can do this with even larger limbs, even capable of reviving corpses that haven't decayed.
And finally, bright green blood, also known as jade blood, grants a Tzakyuza ability to not only regenerate from what would normally be instantly fatal, but to resurrect corpses after taking all the thaumogens from their blood to gain their power. This power has the potential to give an individual the ability to overthrow the rule of the higher blood tiers. This potential is not allowed to prosper, all jadebloods sentenced to death the moment they're found and identified.

Homeworld
The homeworld of the Tzakyuza is a planet named Caliora, the second from its star. Between the barren volcanic wastelands of grey and white ashy sand, the basalt plains of the north and west, and the indigo sky have granted this planet the nickname of “The Black Eye of Sagittarius”.

Days on Caliora last 50 hours, but each year only lasts 174 days.

Caliora is smaller than Earth, only around 9,450km as opposed to the latter’s 12,756km. Due to the heavy core of iron, nickel, and lead, and the dense basalt, its gravity is 5% higher than Earth’s. The almost complete lack of oceans (only a few small bodies of water exist on the surface) further increases the planet’s mass.

Near the center of the South Pole is a 500 mile lake, which serves as the only source of water aboveground. A network of underground rivers, however, serves as a source of water for any organisms who can hope to find it.

Caliora has no natural satellites, its sky being almost pitch black during the night.
The climate of Caliora is...needless to say, extremely volatile and almost inhospitable. The north and western hemispheres are dominated with hellscapes of basalt and lava plains, while the rest is composed of ashy desert. The climate of the aboveground ranges from 40 degrees Celsius to 140 degrees near the center of the volcanic plains. Plant life is practically nonexistent, only present in the underground.
Oxygen content is alarmingly high as well, at 55%.
The underground is populated with both gargantuan reptilian beasts and eusocial insects, though their spread is limited by the burning heat. Plants, colored an angry black and red, share a similar increase in size compared to those on Earth.

The high oxygen content combined with the bright sun turns the sky almost eerie. A coloration of almost purple indigo stands in stark contrast to the large, shining white sun. Evenings and afternoons are as bright as noons on Earth, the sun becoming dangerously blinding at the height of the day.

Motvesi
Motvesi (Latin: Felis Sapiens, or Wise Cat), Motvesan singular, are the second sapient species in their native Epsilon Eridani system. Oddly enough, they share genetic similarities to no other species except for the Ignasae and Tzakyuza. They also share no common ancestors with other species on their home planet, simply appearing in the fossil records 200,000 years ago.
Some have proposed a link between the three species, though this is highly unlikely and only supported through a vague legend.

Motvesi are mammals, giving birth to live young, producing milk for them, and possessing warm blood. They live exclusively on land, not possessing a method of breathing in the expansive oceans and lakes of their homeworld. Their circulatory system is closed, consisting of one heart with a large network of blood vessels. This blood is a mix between yellow and green, often reported as “lime”. When deoxygenated, this blood is an emerald color.
They possess two lungs, which breath an argon-oxygen based atmosphere. Both sexes are capable of growing hair on their heads. Their eyes have pupils that dilate and contract depending on the light level, allowing for simultaneous efficiency and avoidance of retinal damage. These eyes can see both visible and infrared light with equal clarity.
Their ears are dozens of times more sensitive than even the Tzakyuza, allowing them to pick up on sounds like leaves falling to the ground with perfect precision.

Their sense of smell, though, is about half the strength of Ignasae.
The Motvesi are exclusively carnivores, their teeth sharp and fit for cutting into raw and cooked meat alike. Depending on body fat and metabolism, a Motvesan can survive from nine days to seven weeks without food. Without water, they perish after three days.

Despite their relative versatility, Motvesi aren’t adapted to warm or even temperate environments, used to the subarctic and Siberian climates of their home planet.
The ideal environment for a Motvesan is a boreal forest akin to most of Siberia or its icy coasts, which allow for reliable shelter and reliable access to marine prey respectively.
The ideal temperatures for Motvesi range from -10 degrees Celsius to 10 degrees Celsius. Health problems begin to develop as temperatures get to 30 degrees and above.

Height is uniform between males and females, the average ranging from 5 ft 3 in to 5 ft 10 in. Fur color is uniform as well, ranging from shades of grey with the occasional stripes to beige and white, with exceedingly rare examples of pitch black or pure white fur recorded.

Pictured below is an average Motvesi male.

Eye color, like Ignasae, is infinitely varied, though the most common colors are (in order of probability) green, red, brown, purple, and blue. Mutations and magic induced changes in color do exist, but are extremely rare.

Motvesi are mammals, diploid and eukaryotic. Each somatic cell has 23 pairs of chromosomes, the gametes only having one set. Said set is a mixture of the two parents’. There are 22 pairs of autosomes and 1 pair of sex chromosomes.
Like every other mammal, chromosomes determine gender, with XY being male and XX being female.

Unlike the Ignasae, Motvesi have no natural thaumogen production and are therefore unable to use magic naturally. Production can be induced, however, through training, genetic modification, and study due to their natural talent. The hypothetical link to Ignasae has been discussed as a reason, but this hasn’t gained much traction in academia.

The only Motvesi capable of using magic naturally are the Diarchs, the seemingly immortal spiritual (and at one point, political) leaders of the species. They have appeared in every single record of Motvesan history since the very beginning of written records, but they have refused all interviews or inquiries into their origins or past. Some have theorized they created the entire species, but this is up to debate.

Homeworld
The Motvesi homeworld, Jankallain, is technically the fifth planet in the Epsilon Eridani system, though it's hard to classify considering that it orbits another planet, Spaedrif.
Out of the three habitable (as in, not requiring terraforming prior to colonization) planets orbiting Epsilon Eridani, Jankallain is the smallest of them, measuring at around 10,045 kilometers. Its mass is approximately 9% higher than Earth's thanks to the heavy metals composing the mantle, core, and asthenosphere, the lighter elements such as carbon, silicon, and oxygen alongside others making up the crust and lithosphere. The planet's surface is a patchwork of islands, small continents, and oceans, saltwater making up around 67% of the surface.
The climates of Jankallain's many bodies of land can best be summarized as taigas near the northern and southern poles, freezing grasslands near the equator. At the planet's warmest, the temperature is roughly 17 degrees Celsius. At its absolute coldest in the north and south poles, the temperature can reach a bone chilling -110 degrees Celsius. For average temperatures around the planet, however, the temperature ranges from -25 C to 5 C depending on which of the two seasons is occurring: Spring and Winter.

The atmosphere of Jankallain is composed of 65% argon and 35% oxygen, closer to Earth's atmosphere than Spaedrif's. The sky is colored a periwinkle color due to this unique combination, the grass and local mammalian wildlife far bigger than those on other planets because of the increased oxygen content. The planet is bathed in constant twilight for one half of its 43 hour day. For the other half, its days are around the brightness of an early spring morning on Earth.

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