Species: Canis

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Physical Description

Head: The Canis head is built similar to a wolf's, but with a few key differences. It has a stockier build than a wolf's, with a slightly stronger bite as maintained through the shorter, more muscular jaws. The Canis nose is canine in shape, and is capable of tracing, storing, and differentiating scents that are approximately as old as ten years. This olfactory function is assisted by six thick whiskers, three on each side of the nose, that are larger in diameter, but ragged in composition as compared to the other fur-types on the Canis body. These serrated whiskers capture the scent molecules that might have otherwise been missed by the nostrils, acting in a similar fashion to the many wrinkles on earthen scent hounds, such as the Bloodhound.

Canis eyes are larger than the average wolf’s, and are capable of humanistic vision, in distance, range and colour vision. However, when hunting, Canis vision shifts back into a blurrier blue, yellow, black and white, a genetic trait reminiscent of their wolven heritage. This loss of the visual sense allows the Canis to truly hone in upon its olfactory and auditory senses, providing a more accurate base to track and kill their prey. As to the Canis' hearing, their ears are wolven in size and triangular shape but somewhat rounded at the tip, like that of a feline. However, the Canis ears are far more advanced then a wolf's internally, with eardrums that have controllable muscles on either side, and can be stretched or loosened at will, allowing the Canis to hear sounds as slight as dust landing on a soft surface. This does, unfortunately, make the Canis prone to easy ear-damage if they hone in on something, and are interrupted by noise of a high decibel level.

Neck, Shoulders, and Wings: The Canis neck is thickly muscled, and about 1.5 times the length of the neck of the average wolf. This extra bit of length provides for easy bird-like rotation of the head approximately 200 degrees. The neck is covered with a very rough protective fur, and layered underneath with both the normal fur of the Canis, and then a soft downy layer, the only pup fur that will remain with a growing Canis into adulthood.

Canis shoulders are very well built, courtesy of the wings that sprout from just behind each of the scapulas. Each wing is proportionate to the length of the Canis itself, from nose to tail tip. These wings can come in one of three possible variations, each with its own pros and cons, as well as the species given name for its classification. The first, and most common type of wing is the Feaa wing. Literally meaning "feathers", these wings are the broadest type of wing a Canis can have, and are comprised of thick plumage usually matching the main body color. These wings are very good for endurance, as their broad area provides for most easily catching air currents and thermals.

The second most common wing type is the Skreaa, or the "hide" wing. These wings are similar to that of a bat, comprised of leathery flesh, and the bones within the wing visible beneath the stretched wing-skin. These wings are very thin in comparison to the feathered variety, and thus provide for great dexterity in the air, tricks such as back-winging and barrel rolls becoming fairly easy. Endurance is lowered here however, as the breadth of each wing is small, thus taking a Canis with the Skreaa wing variety approximately four pumps of the wing to move the same volume of air as a Canis with the Feaa wing would in one pump.

The rarest of the wing types is called the Frjeaa wing or "fur" wing. This name is misleading however, because the Frjeaa wing has no fur on it. These wings are actually a hybrid between the feathered and draconic wings, consisting of a medium breadth wing covered in short downy feathers. These wings can often cause difficulty for the young Canis when they first start to learn to fly, because of the downy feathers that serve for little purpose other then creating drag, but once mastery is gained, these wings are perhaps the best of the three. Frjeaa wings are fairly good for endurance and are not nearly as delicate as the leathery Skreaa, but are not as bulky as the heavily feathered Feaa and can still perform many of the Skreaa's air maneuvers.

Main Body: The main body of a Canis is fairly simplistic. It is overall that of a basic lupine/canine form, with build varying upon wing type. Canis with feathered wings are generally the stockiest, with an overall build similar to that of a malamute. Canis with the "furred" wings are medium built, comparable to that of an Arctic or Gray wolf. Finally, Canis with the hide wings hold the same size standards of the other wing-types, but are more similar to a Red wolf in build.

Internally, the main body of a Canis differs greatly from that of the wolf. It contains the same vital organs, but the heart is twice as large, with two extra cavities for blood cleansing (alongside the usual removal of carbon dioxide and addition of oxygen into the blood) and moves the blood through the system at a far greater rate. Both the heart and the lungs are held within a continuous rib-wall, with various ovaline gaps in it in order to maintain the sturdy structure, but decrease the overall mass. The spine is also far more flexible then a wolf, with great twisting flexibility, and the arching capabilities of most sight hounds.

Legs and Paws: The legs of a Canis are 1.25 times longer then that of the average wolf, but similar in structure. They have three main joints for flexibility, and despite added length, are still fairly sturdy. The paws of the Canis differ from that of the wolf only in size. Having no need for the larger paws of a snowbound wolf, these paws are smaller, better for attaining speed for take-off and not causing drag within the air.

On each paw there are five toes, four on the main portion of the paw itself, and one dew-claw. The dew-claw is the longest of the claws, and cannot move itself, but certainly can cause a great deal of damage if the whole paw is raked across another beast's flank. As for the normal toes, each of them have semi-retractable claws. These claws normally take on the appearance of a normal wolf's; sharp, but generally not used as weaponry. However, when extended, these claws become feline in length and power, and can do serious damage in battle.

Tail: The tail of a Canis has three variations, and while these three variations are not always associated with a particular wing type, each wing type does have a tendency for a particular type of tail. The tail type does describe to what life-path the Canis belongs (this will be discussed later). The first type of tail is of lupine length, and very fluffy, and holds no type of weaponry. It is often found on those Canis with Feaa wings. The second type of tail is twice as long as the normal lupine tail, and has much thinner fur. This tail wields a "blade", or a sharp piece of bone with no sensory nerves that juts through the flesh at an approximate 75 degree angle from the tail tip. This type of tail is usually associated with Skreaa wings. The final tail type is usually considered unfortunate to have, as it is a hybrid of the other two. The tail itself is fairly furry, sometimes to the point of obscuring the bone-mass that juts from the skin near the end of the tail. This mass can sometimes be sharp, or other times can be more of a club shape, as this entire design is considered an anomaly, and those who have it often have a great difficulty trying to choose the appropriate way to defend themselves. This tail type is often found on those with Frjeaa wings, but only occurs in maybe one of every 5000 pups, many of which do not survive to adulthood because of other genetic malfunctions; therefore it is generally not seen at all by most Canis.

Coloration: Canis are incredibly diverse creatures when it comes to color. Their fur is most often a bright shade, males in any variation of one of the "warm" tones of red, orange, or yellow, and females in any variation of one of the "cool" tones of blue, green, or violet. Grayscale or earth tones are far rarer then the brighter colors, but can be found in either gender. Metallic shades do not exist.

For the layout of their coloration, the majority of Canis are of a single color listed above, though this shade may fade and/or darken on the underbelly, muzzle, ear tips, tail tip, wings, wingtips, a striped, patched, or spotted pattern, and/or paws. Dual-colored Canis are not uncommon, but usually this irregularity only occurs in small markings such as "points" or paws. It is rare, but possible, for the wings to be a different hue then the body, and it is rarer yet, but still possible, for the Canis to have patches, stripes, or spots of a different hue then their base tone. Tri-color Canis are rarer still, but there has been one notable tri-color in Canis history, and a few of his lineage have become fathers of tri-color pups. (Tri-coloring is considered to be a recessive gene on the father's X chromosome, so generally only males can be tri-colored with the VERY rale female.) Eye color can be any of the colors mentioned above except white, black, or metallic. Claw color is generally grayscale, earth-toned, or metallic.

Height and Weight: Generally, male Canis are larger than female Canis, weighing anywhere from 150 to 300 pounds, and standing from 4 to 5.5 feet at the shoulder. Female Canis can weigh anywhere from 100 to 250 pounds, and stand anywhere from 3.5 to 5 feet at the shoulder. (Note: Weight includes wings.) These are of course, only standards, and there have been Canis of sizes outside of these boundaries. The largest recorded Canis was Siak of Ruusa by Talor; he stood at 7'2'' and weighed 735 pounds. The smallest recorded Canis was Ulani of Korah by Ekassin; she stood at 2'1'' and weighed 65 pounds.

Aging: The average Canis is weaned from his mother at about 10 weeks of age, begins to speak comprehensible words in the second or third month of life, and can make complete sentences by the end of their sixth month. Canis are physically full grown and can reproduce after a year and six months, but generally take a mate in their tenth year because of emotional maturation. (This is not true when a Canis pack has a need to grow. For instance, if in hostile terrain and a larger pack is needed for protection purposes, the litters tend to be larger and births occur more often to young members.)

Canis remain in the prime of life for about sixty years, and begin a sort of menopause around eighty. This state of older age generally only causes graying fur and the loss of reproduction abilities however, and most Canis can function as they have for the majority of their life without inhibition until their hundreds. The average lifespan of a Canis is 120 years.

Extra Capabilities: Beyond their physical prowess, Canis have learned new methods of psychokinetic talent from their stay on Crrh (See History). Vekindar Masters became teachers of the ways of controlling the energy of nature: fire, water, earth, and air, as well as the inner energy of healing, and the outer energy of time manipulation. After many years of willing young Canis devoting their time to these arts, it became clear that not all Canis were capable of manipulating the natural forces of the world, though all females seemed to grasp the healing arts, and all males, with effort, could form portals in the space-time continuum. Of the Canis who could work with natural force, they simply had an innate talent with one singular element, while the others remained beyond their grasp. It was decided that Canis-Magi simply were not built to handle all the energies of the world, but rather to specialize in one. The Canis have since named these energies after the six main colors of normal Canis pelts:

Red Rojar Energy - Fire
Yellow Illon Energy - Wind
Green Verdani Energy - Earth
Blue Azel Energy - Water
Purple Letah Energy - Healing (female only)
Orange Jado Energy - Time-Manipulation (male only)

Canis also found teachers in the Khauvin, who taught them not the energies of power, but the energies of communication. After many long hours of training, Khauvin scholars taught the Canis to use their minds to push electrical impulses beyond their own body and into another's, effectively becoming telepathic.

History

The Canis species were brought into existence in the year 2047 in a bio-engineering lab located five miles outside of the District of Columbia. Dr. Falera Ritsume was the head of a research team dedicated to the preservation of wild raptors throughout the United States, but required some way of capturing the limited number of avian hunters that remained in order to begin new breeding programs in safely controlled arboreal bio-spheres.

Original attempts via use of machinery to capture the birds was unsuccessful. No robot could be programmed to fly with the dexterity of a raptor, while maintaining the gentleness required in order to capture it. Therefore, the team decided to try the newly created technology of species creation to achieve their goal. The use of blood samples from evolved creatures to design a new programmed species was not unheard of at the time, though unfortunately, not often used by research scientists, but geneticists hired by furriers who wished to create new fashions.

Fortunately, not all scientists were so easily corrupted, and Ritsume found a geneticist willing to aid their cause for limited payment. Robert Kasson chose blood samples from five species to complete his task: the wolf, for his pack ability and intelligence; the cougar, for his brawn and instinctual understanding of the mountains where many of the raptors lived; the parrot, for his trainability and bright identifying plumage; the eagle, for strong wings and a relationship to the birds that would be saved; and finally the human, for sentient thought and the ability to communicate via speech.

Twelve embryos were implanted into a female Malamute named Sheba, who gave birth after a prolonged gestation of 7 months. Ten of the pups survived, and remained with the mother for 9 weeks before they were weaned. After a month of living at the lab, one pup was sent to each of the top ten dog trainers in the world, financed by the U.S. government, then under the guidance of a Democratic president.

The training was a disaster. The Canis' intelligence proved far higher then what the geneticist had aimed for, and all but one of the pups absolutely refused the training, startling the trainers with resounding verbal outbursts of unhappiness appropriate for a human child of approximately four years. All ten were returned to the laboratory after about two months, as the trainers simply didn't see how they could do anything. Stated one of the trainers, Lisa McNair, "These tiny creatures need a mother with open arms, not an instructor with treats and a clicker."

The scientists began planning out the future of the new species, and searched for a home for the youths. They eventually found a planet believed to be hospitable but uninhabited, and made arrangements to send the creatures to what the humans called Planet E.N.O.C, or Earthlike Non-inhabited Oceans and Continents. The Canis were taken to Enoc after their 7th birthday in the laboratory, having spent those seven years being lovingly raised by all members of the growing laboratory staff, but having been trained how to hunt and live in a socialized manner as closely adapted to that of earthen wolves as the staff could manage to teach, with a few democratic changes to suit the human minds.

The Canis arrival on Enoc was uneventful, and for approximately two weeks the Canis explored the area around their drop off point, and established their boundaries. They learned to hunt the native prey-beasts, and practiced the displays of dominance and submission they had been taught to follow.

They were discovered by that which was undiscovered, the young ruler of one of the two native species of the planet, the Khauvin king Tehask. After a wary greeting, members of both species accepted the other, and the Khauvin's alliance with the other natives, the Vekindars, prevented any discord. Therefore, under Tehask's reign the ten Canis were able to grow older, pair off as mates, and start packs of their own. They established a language combining the Earthen romance-language structure and Crrhian (Crrh being the native name for the human-dubbed Enoc.) They also created new names for themselves from this language. The first pairs, listed male then female along with their fur colors, have been recorded as: orange Rahabim and blue Sordan, red Treival and black Yeska, grey Zeuthos and violet Thayn, white Vesoruk and green Ezashi, yellow Kessir and brown Aelou.

The Canis species grew on Crrh for four generations, until the period known as The Darkness began, when King Tehask was great in years. A black Vekindar femme murdered both the King, his Queen and his loyal Canis advisor. The daughter of the advisor attacked the intruder and was the only one who managed to do any damage, ripping the hamstring of the Vekindar's left hind foot, and leaving her with a limp that would remain one of her defining characteristics for years to come. Unfortunately, the young adult Canis was banished from Crrh, and her kindred cast into slavery. The Khauvins were driven off into the wilds and laws were created preventing them from entering any city. The Vekindars were then put under the power of a communist style government, the black female serving as their dictator.

The female ruled until her death, when her son, even more cruel then she, took over her position. Protected by an elite force of Canis who had been bullied into the position by his mother, the male pronounced himself King and created an army that attacked other nearby planets, killing government leaders and civilians alike. War broke out amongst most planets in the sector, and hundreds of thousands of creatures were killed; the Canis race almost wiped out entirely. However, twenty years into this planetary war, Tehask's advisor's daughter returned. The violet furred femme named Seleth had brought with her creatures designed by Dr. Falera Ritsume's great granddaughter Liasha. This species was called Korisva, and due to its purely war-like design in the manner of tremendous size, strength, and personal healing ability, the war was finally ended, and the King was killed at the hands of the Canis who had fought for him only to protect their own race.

Crrh was in ruins, and was barely capable of sustaining life. Therefore, Seleth lead all of the remaining Canis, Khauvins, and Vekindars under oath of allegiance to their cause, through a great space-portal created by the masterful Korisvas. They landed on a planet called Sevala, where they were discovered by a wandering herd of Morollas. After a year or so of meetings and diplomatic discussion, all of the Crrhians were given a specific island on Sevala to call their own. The Khauvins and Vekindars remained there, but the Canis branched out to dwell on all of Sevala, as well as Keshal and Etreus, two of the three other planets in Sevala's solar system.

Today, Canis can be found on many other planets, and are constantly exploring new places. Their race is a curious and determined one.

Canis Culture

Pack Structure: The Pack Structure established in the current Canis society is a combination of the Earthen wolf pack, and modified human democracy. Each Canis pack has two main alpha-style leaders, a mated male and female pair, called the Wyvan (wih-VAHN). Each of the Wyvan choose a Canis of a gender opposite their own, not necessarily mated with the other, to serve as the second-in-command beta Canis, or the Vari (VAH-ri). After these decisions have been made, the Wyvan and Vari call the entire pack together and hold a verbal vote for four other Canis of any gender to serve as a council slightly comparative to human Congress. These four Canis are called the Canivoshe (cahn-ee-VOH-shay), literally translating to 'voice of the people', and their purpose is to make sure that the busy Wyvan and Vari hear the concerns of the rest of the pack. (This is especially important of the largest Canis Packs with 100 or more members.) The rest of the pack is referred to as the Cani, or the people.

Wyvan will change positions upon their death, chosen resignation, or a unanimous vote to force their departure between the Vari and the Canivoshe. The lattermost is extremely rare, and is generally only caused by reasoning as dire as the murder of a pack member. (Generally the Wyvan will take the more honorable route of resignation if pack protesting becomes too great over more minor things, thus preventing their vote of dismissal and possible exile.) After Wyvan step down or pass on, their Vari hold temporary command until the Cani decide upon a new Wyvan from the Vari, or the Canivoshe. Whomever is chosen will then serve with their mate, or must choose a mate within the next month. The process then begins again with the choice of new Vari and Canivoshe.

Family Values: Canis are incredibly family based in their culture, a fact reinforced by the necessity of the Wyvan to be a mated pair. To the Canis, family signifies the honored characteristics of strength and empathy in the truest form, and even though pups are generally encouraged to take their life in whatever direction they wish, it is strongly suggested that they either take a mate with them, or eventually return from their travels to find a pack or start one.

Courtship between Canis is highly based upon their situation. If in hostile terrain and a larger pack is needed for protection purposes, courtship is shorter, sometimes non-existent, and mates are not socially required or even expected to remain together after the pups have been weaned and fostered at about ten weeks, or have reached physical adulthood (about a year and sixth months). If a Canis is in a safer situation however, courtship length is based upon the feelings of both members involved. Once they have decided to mate, these Canis may choose to take a the Vow of Aelou, a promise to permanently remain mates. This Vow is taken with the utmost of seriousness, and it is not unheard of for the courting before hand to extend over ten years. Though this is rare, same-gendered Canis do take the Vow of Aelou. No prejudice is held against them, as it is generally expected that they will foster weaned pups from a mother who needs the aid.

After a pair mates, the mother carries the pups for about 3 months. Litter size varies upon the age, first-time mothers almost always giving birth to two or three, while the more experienced mothers give birth to up to twelve puppies. The newborns must stay with their birth-mother for ten weeks, and then the mother may choose whether to raise them herself or to foster them. Generally if her pups number less than four, or she has taken the Vow of Aelou, the mother will choose to raise them herself. However, a non-Aeloumate or a mother with a huge litter will often foster some or all of her pups. The mother and her mate choose the foster parents themselves, and if times allow it, a celebration will be held in honor of their choice. Fostering is simply accepted as a part of life for Canis, as the entire pack unit is thought to be a family, and many adventurous Canis simply cannot provide the lifestyle that a growing pup needs.

Life Paths: The life-path of a Canis refers to their decision to choose the path of the Teyru, translating to Warrior, or the path of the Mavra, or the Magi. Canis make this decision upon their 10th birthday, their official day of adulthood. Generally Teyru is chosen if the Canis is blessed with supreme physical abilities, such as strength, speed, and a larger tail blade and claws. Mavra is chosen if the Canis has found themselves capable of using earth-energies or is a female particularly skilled in healing or a male very talented with time manipulation. Admittedly, Teyru is the more common choice because of the higher percentage of Canis with little to no energy-skills, but many Teyru can still accomplish minor feats with their gender-based energy: females healing small wounds, and males creating portals for two to three creatures to travel through.

Attitude towards "Alien" Races: Canis are incredibly accepting of all other races: never truly having a planet of their own, they have never had a reason to show intolerance to so-called "intruders". Likewise their painful history serves as a reminder of what terrors racial hate can bring upon an entire solar system. Therefore, Canis promote peace and diplomatic action to resolve any conflict between themselves and other races. Then, once peace has been established, Canis have been known to invite members of the other species to join their packs if they choose, and even serve in ranking positions (not including Wyvan).

One should note that this does not mean that Canis will not fight; they simply refuse to be the aggressor. In fact, Canis have been involved in many wars, often out of loyalty to their allies of another species. However, in reference to the technology of other species, Canis simply have no purpose for any sort of machinery in their own culture, and therefore it is the very rare Canis who would choose to learn about it or even use it.

Song and Dance: Second only to family, the use of song and dance is an incredibly important part of Canis culture. Admittedly, Canis are notorious for finding any reason to celebrate and sing songs of little purpose beyond entertainment; the gathering of the pack for the reason of recreation allows for group-bonding and the establishment of friendships. More importantly though, are the songs and dances used to teach and to recognize Canis holidays. Teaching songs are generally sung by a single Canis or a small group, and are often based on historical events, recorded only through the minds and voices of each pack. These songs can also deal with courtship, the choice of a life-path, and survival methods. Holiday songs are the most impressive of all, involving the entire pack or even a combination of multiple packs in the region. These gatherings occur five times a year, once on each change of season, and once to celebrate the New Year. These dances involve a mass dance around great fire-circles all over the planet, and often involve great responsive chants between the Wyvan and the Cani, as well as any other creature that should wish to join in. After the incredible dance that can often last an entire day with Canis shifting in and out of the celebration to catch a few hours of sleep, there is a special event for all to participate in. After the New Year celebration, The Great Hunt occurs, a mass run through the woods where all Canis seek to symbolically hunt for the sun, in order call it to the sky and begin the new year. When dawn arrives, every Canis has accomplished their goal, and the celebration ends with the final Summons of First Dawn. Then the entire pack collapses into sleep.

Religion: The extent to which each Canis compares their faith to their reality is considered a personal decision, and no Canis is criticized for their choice in the matter. However, the majority of Canis at least consider the basic ideals of their species' religion good ones, and simply celebrate the holidays as symbolic changes of the natural world around them rather than physical changes controlled by a higher power.

For those Canis who do choose to place their faith in deities, their religion is based on the changes in the natural world around them, and the male and female energies of the world. The male energies are based on the Canis male's ability of time manipulation, and the two gender-equal natural abilities reflected in the coats of the average male Canis: fire and air. These three characteristics embody the Canis god Nakaros, a quick-tempered Teyru male of speed and strength. The Mavra female god Sheshvi is an intelligent mother of peace, embodying the female energy of healing, and the two gender-equal natural abilities reflected in the coats of the average female Canis: water and earth.

The physical appearances of these two gods changes over the year to reflect the times of their influence over the world, Nakaros' gold hue becoming black as winter approaches, then rising into a brilliant gold at the height of summer. In contrast Sheshvi's silver fades to black as summer draws near, then grows in sheen until the peak of winter where she glows to the point of appearing white. Canis holidays are based upon the changing of power or the times when both are equal. They are listed below with their simplistic translations:

Sheshdalen (Shehsh-DAH-lehn): Day of Sheshvi (First day of Winter)
Karoshvi (Kahr-OH-shvee): Nakaros Meets Sheshvi (First day of Spring)
Nakadalen (Nah-kah-DAH-lehn): Day of Nakaros (First day of Summer)
Sheshnakar (Shehsh-nah-KAR): Sheshvi Meets Nakaros (First day of Fall)
(Note: Nev Ayna, the New Year, takes place midway between Sheshdalen and Karoshvi.)

A Few Phrases To Know: The Canis language is not a difficult one, highly based on the Earthen romance languages, with many vowels and a very basic system of conjugating verbs, with the influence of the Crrhian, which tends to place consonants together in a manner rarely seen on Earth. The author will eventually create a dictionary and grammar guide, but for now will provide just a few basic phrases that would be helpful for those new to the tongue.

Olara ya Pashi. - Hello and Peace.
Olara! - Hello!
Vuaros! - Goodbye!
Ehnyul! - Help!
Dahnyas. - Thank you.
Sror gala… - Oh well…
Rrukas! - Exasperated expletive roughly translating to 'waste'
da Deilos Cani! - by the People's gods! (oath used like "Good God!")
Mavra - Magi
Teyru – Warrior
Eru – Story
Louri/Louror – Mate f/m
Nashi/Nashor – Teller f/m
min (mihn) - my
shuni/shuno (shoon) – her/his
shun - theirs
Kwari/Kwaros - Mother/Father
Zhori/Zhoros - Sister/Brother
Esvi/Esvos – Daughter/Son
Alukwari/Alukwaros - Grandmother/Grandfather
Sunori /Sunoros – female/male cousin
Zhokwari/Zhokwaros - Aunt/Uncle
Erri/Erros – female/male friend
Shali/Shalos – Lady/Lord, but without the sense of royalty. Simply a title of respect.

Mithra, Erunashi (storyteller) of the Hesrok pack, on the terms Shali/Shalos:

"It would translate… to something similar to Lord or Lady in your language, but without any royal or political connotations. It's ascribed to those of the utmost respect among the Cani, in most cases bestowed upon the ceremony of their death. The few who receive the honor generally are those rare few known to the entire species… it's not a title that any single pack can bestow. A vocal petition is formed by hundreds of Wyvan and their packs, a sort of… group howl in greater numbers than can be imagined. It works in this fashion. Upon the death of any member of the Cani within a pack, the remaining members of the pack sings in mourning, usually for the entirety of a day. As the sun rises to form a new day, symbolically the one has passed over into new life. It is at this time that the pack sings their name to herald them to Sheshvi's wings. Now… there are enough Canis on Sevala that when one pack sings, surrounding packs are close enough to hear it. If the surrounding packs sing back their mutual grief… it is taken as polite condolences, the pack must stop singing, and the ceremony ends. If the packs know and respect the lost one… then they often join in the Singing of the name. Other packs hear and it continues… so that for the few Shali, the entire planet rings with their name for hours. This is not an exact science of course. But it's generally accepted that if the singing of the name continues until the next dawn as no pack has chosen to end it… they are Shali. Upon the death of Shali Seleth… Sevala cried her loss to the skies for over seven days."

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