Species: Aluben(s)

Original writeup.

Pronunciation~ AH-loo-behn

Plural and Adjective~ Alubens — alubi [pronounced ah-LOO-bee]

Home World~ Thaizi

Height at Shoulder~ 5 to 6 ft.

Weight~ 1500 to 2200 lbs.

Length Without Main-Tail~ 12 to 16 ft.

Length With Main-Tail~ 28 to 42 ft.

Coloration~ Alubens have gender-specific colorations for the most part; however, both can have various earth-toned or metallic markings, usually in the form of flecking or shading. Males can be browns, black, reddish, or greys; females can be gold, copper/bronze, silver, cream, white, or golden-red. Eyes are usually green or blue, but can sometimes be browns or gold. Claws and other keratinous body parts are dull metallic shades, black and white included.

Temperment~ Alubens have warrior-like mentalities: not only do they love a good sparring match or physical challenge, they're very noble, honorable, and chivalrous to boot. Like most warriors, they value kindness, compassion, and skill, but outright pride (aka arrogance) is something not very popular among them. They love to play-fight (spar) and test their abilities against friend and family; a group of Alubens will often know their friends' and their own skills so well that the bunch will work together without hitch. These groups are known as hunting groups, or Huntings, as most Alubens don't keep permanent packs or territories and prefer to wander, exploring. However, some Alubens have established (rather loosely-structured) 'packs' near large Welphie clans or cities. Alubens, being social creatures, are quite friendly and outgoing in general, more garrulous than they like to admit and far from wary towards Welphies; however, Kiforn hold their highest respect (as Alubens consider them also warriors and fearsome predators as well) and thus earn a bit of caution and tact. Despite this, Alubens as a race thoroughly like the other two species, especially Welphies. Alubens individually tend to sway towards (but not into) one extreme or the other — some are more hunt-loving and wild-mannered, jovial and 'uncouth', while others are more suave and sophisticated, cunning and sly. (The former tend to like Welphies, and the latter prefer Kiforn.) Alubens, like Welphies, have a great regard for the sacredness of life and, even when fighting a serious battle, will try to avoid killing their opponent, as they consider it a greater challenge to defeat them without the need to kill. They're generally peaceful, if roughhouse-ish, beasts who know their own physical prowess and rarely use it.

Physical Description~ Furred Alubens are toned, long-legged quadrupeds with five tails. That established, let's go into detail.

Alubi heads are raptor-like, long-muzzled and powerful, with long saberfangs and a set of vicious teeth that looks like it came from a lion/shark hybrid; they have long, expressive, almost lapine ears and almond-shaped, round-pupiled eyes. Over their eyes hang two short, downwards-pointing horns of a few inches length. Translucent and hollow, these horns obscure their vision - or so you would think. In fact, by subconsciously altering the chemicals flowing through the horns, they can change their range of vision from infrared, to 'normal' spectrum, up to ultraviolet light at will. Alubens have long, powerful necks, which they carry in a graceful curve. Their torsos are vaguely canine, with deep chest, lithe waist, and rib slats (widened ribs); their spines are surprisingly flexible and they have a cat-like range of mobility.

Their long forelegs are slimmer and more toned than their muscular hind legs; also, their forelegs are far more flexible, ending in four long toes, the innermost of which acts as a thumb when needed. Toes are tipped in almost-straight, dagger-like claws, four inches long when extended and, even when retracted, the tip of the claw protrudes. Their hind legs are very muscular and heavy-duty, and those paws are broader with shorter toes, which end in two/three inches, curved claws.

The alubi (main-)tail is thick at the base, tapering out to a muscular yet slender end, which is tipped by a 'club' of bone. This club is only five or six inches across, but is textured with small barbs of less than an inch. Their tail, up to twice their length, can be swung with such force as to crack a boulder in half. Now, I previously mentioned that Alubens have five tails: from their elbows and hocks extend four tails — one tail per leg. The foretails are about four or five feet long, wiry and slender, with a deft but harmless tailtip; they're very precise and, of course, prehensile, able to perform delicate movements and manipulate even Welphie technology (for example only; Alubens don't often mess with the stuff). The hindtails are thicker and heavier, up to eight feet long but usually six or so; this pair of tails is far more powerful, less agile and precise in their movements, and end in curving blades six to eight inches long. These smaller four legtails can be regenerated, with a bit of pain, within minutes of being severed (taking slightly longer for the hindtails).

Their fur is smooth and glossy, and can be short or fairly long, depending on the climate where they were born. The skin underneath it is the real interest, though. It has miniscule scales, each about a millimeter across and shaped like hectagons, which are nearly as hard as diamonds. It doesn't protect their muscles from bruising or their bones from breaking, but it's very difficult to draw blood from an Aluben.

Alubens are exceedingly powerful beasts with shocking strength in their toned frames — they're much stronger than welphs and can easily compare to even large Kiforn. They're the fastest of Thaizi's Children in a run -going up to 80 mph for short amounts of time- but have low running endurance, able to hold a speed under 45 mph for about two hours before tiring; running, for them, requires holding their legtails at certain positions, and that takes quite a bit of effort to maintain. Despite being classed a superpredator by Welphie biologists, Alubens rarely flaunt this physical superiority and are quite casual about their power. They'll only ever use their full strength against their fellow Alubens in a sparring match (excepting a life-or-death struggle with a non-Aluben, of course; they're "gentle giants" but not fools).

Family Life~ Alubens are social beasts and, while loosely-structured, they do value their families. They mate for life for the vast majority of the time, though brief couplings that result in cubs aren't unheard-of and are usually raised by the mother and her family. Grown in five years, Alubens rarely choose mates before they pass the age of fifteen. They have fairly long lifespans, often living a good seventy years, but they're active for the vast majority of this time, only beginning to feel the effects of old age during the last five to ten years.

Aluben mates are notoriously loose-seeming; it takes scent or verbal confirmation to really identify a mated pair, as they act towards each other just as they do around everyone else (at least in 'public'). The bond between them is carefree but shockingly deep (as Welphie ambassadors have learned), as each mate will gladly die for the other and demonstrate this selfless love at every turn. Aluben courtship takes years upon years of not only knowing the mate-to-be but also knowing well oneself; Aluben mates, unlike the 'sometimes' of Kiforn and Welphies, never break a mateship with anything but death.

While Alubens rarely form actual packs with defined territories, many Alubens will gather around a new family and 'hang out' as added protection and companionship to the cubs and parents. After a gestation period of five months, the mother will give birth to a litter of one to five cubs, all of which are clawless, bladeless, and toothless. (Aww. ^_^) Cubs grow up in the strange but effective mix of company (all the gathered Alubens) and freedom (the lack of one solid home and the ability to move as the prey does); this gives them a wanderlust that's rarely ever slaked and the much-vaunted quality of being able to stand firm in any place, on any ground (both metaphorically and physically). Aluben cubs don't travel nearly as much as the adults do, but it's rare for a litter to spend their cubhoods all in one den, for example. The cubs become adults with a wide range of tactile experiences and large amounts of mental stimulation, thus being able to handle a vast number of possible events easily. Both mother and father share in the task of raising and teaching cubs, and the gathered Alubens will often provide food for the parents while the cubs are very young.

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