Hailing from Ithar, the fourth planet in their solar system, the Itharii were only beginning their faster-than-light exploration and colonization when the Hierarchy fell upon them, attacking their colonies. Alerted by other amicable alien races the many governments prepared for the invasion; some by lighting up the engine of war, others by preparing for exodus.
Of the nations who created exodus ship, Western Ibaria, reached earth in 2002, fatigued, demoralized and out of resources. After extensive diplomatic relationships, Itharii were allowed to settle in controlled sectors of earth including Brazil, the United States, Canada, South Africa and Switzerland.
Despite conspiracy theories about Itharii having come for humanity for nebulous goals, Itharii were unaware that humanity existed as their knowledge of the solar system came from centuries old information provided from telescopes. Although initially not wishing to intrude, desperation forced them to settle or earth to avoid the need to purge most of their surviving population to reach the nearest possible colonizable planet.
Itharii hail from a planet with earth-like conditions; a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, large salted seas, tolerable sunlight and an axial tilt giving Ithar very mild seasonal difference. However Ithar was not as hospitable as earth in some ways; lower atmospheric oxygen content, the presence of toxic compounds in the air, higher gravity.
Like Humans, Itharii are carbon based and their DNA is composed of the same amino acids, Nucleic acids and other elements that form the base of terrestrial life. This allows Itharii to digest earth-native flora and fauna (The reverse is also true to humans)
Itharri are short statured bipedal amphibians. Males average at five feet while females are around four feet and eight inches.
Itharii skin is rubbery and comes in four color variations; Yellow, Light Orange, Brown and Tan, depending on ethnic background. (Tan being when yellow and brown Itharii mate. Orange is a recessive trait and is typically overpowered by Brown and Yellow color outside of its native ethnic group.) Itharii have darker spots through their bodies and some of them have a white, gray or black underbelly.
Itharii facial structure is fairly round, with wide, flat cartilaginous noses and large eyes with are protected by a nictating membrane. Itharii eyes open vertically with the nictating membrane closing horizontally at the bottom of the eye. Unlike humans, Itharii do not have ears, instead simply having openings on both sides of the head. Itharii have four limbs; two legs and two arms which ends in webbed four-digit hands or feet with long fingers or toes.
Itharii have poor sense of smell, but excellent color vision which goes into the ultraviolet spectrum in addition to human visual range. Their sight is adapted to underwater conditions and allows them to see the polarization of light. Itharii have a very sensitive sense of touch in their hands. Although amphibious, Itharii favors humid environments, their skin is vulnerable to heavy sunlight and dry conditions.
Itharii internal organs are very different from humans, featuring two hearts (a primary which mostly pumps blood, and a smaller one which is paired with a filter organ), their respiratory system has evolved to filter out dangerous gasses which were common in Ithar’s atmosphere and to be able to store oxygen for diving.
Itharii are capable of a large range of vocalization and can speak English fairly well, although some tend to have a slightly noticeable lisp.
As a defense mechanism, Itharii have the ability to spray a toxin out of glands located at the entrance of the mouth. (See Sidebar: Itharii Dust for Details)
|One of Earth’s new drug, colloquially known as Dust is created from Itharii spraying. The liquid is typically dried and then cut with an inactive agent such as lactose powder to be tolerable to humans. A single Itharii adult’s spray can make up to twenty doses of ‘dust’.
In human-consumption dose Dust tends to produce mild lethargy and euphoria. But when taken too strongly (or exposed to a spraying Itharii) it causes crippling anxiety, paranoia and paralysis.
As humans aren’t adapted to counteracting the effect of itharii dust, its effects linger for a long time; several hours for an appropriate dose to several days for an overdose. Although dust is not dangerous in of itself, some users have died of dehydration or stress related complication to existing conditions.
Unlike Humans, Itharii are born as sequential hermaphrodites which can alter their sex and thus chose which gender they desire to be beginning at adolescence.
Even after sexual maturity Itharii have minimal sexual dimorphism; Males are typically slightly stockier then females and their bodies rectangular shaped, they also grow a bony crest on their forehead. Females are typically slimmer in the upper torso but their abdomen and hips are wider. Although shorter than males their weight tend to be very similar.
Both male and females lack external sexual organs, only possessing an opening slit at the crotch level which leads to their internal reproductive organs. Unlike humans Itharii do not use their genitals to excrete bodily waste and they are not particularly sensitive to stimuli.
Itharii Life Cycle & Reproduction
First stage of the Itharii life cycle is that of the egg. A mature female will spawn between three to eight eggs (average being five) in water, which are then fertilized ovuliparously by the male, who release his gametes into the same water. Once fertilized, the egg will hatch after roughly three weeks of gestation. Itharii eggs do not have a hard shell, instead being jelly-like. Itharii eggs are yellow with an orange yolk.
Itharii are first born as larva similar to many of earth insects’ youth. They begin life at roughly three inches. Itharii larva are exclusively aquatic, breathing water through an external gill sack and swimming with proto limbs.
Itharii larva are not intelligent, only possessing limited ganglia. They spent all of their time resting or eating large amounts of algae.If approached by non-Itharii, Larva will attempt to flee or bite the intruder. The larva goes through eleven instar where it will moult out of its old carapace to allow it to grow.
After eleven instars, the larva will burrow somewhere safe and begin metamorphosis. During this stage, the youth is immobile and defenseless for the duration of the metamorphosis. The child’s internals rearrange to create an infant recognizable as an Itharii; Limbs will grow, the head becomes distinct and organs such as the brain and lungs form from the proto-organs found within the larva.
The Baby emerge from the pupal stage after four weeks of metamorphosis. The carapace is discarded and the infant is taken out of the water by its parents. After a few hours, the Gill-sack will dry up and detach, making the child unable to breathe water. A newly metamorphose Itharii weights an average of one kilogram.
Infants will spent several months sleeping most of their time, waking only to feed by sucking on the skin of their parents for the nutrient rich mucus it produce. This period marks rapid brain development in the child and injuries will typically lead to severe impairment later in life.
About four months after coming out of pupal stage, Itharii children begin being more active. During this period they bond with others, learn important skills such as locomotion and communication. In the first few months of this stage, Itharii will communicate emotions with whines and whistles. Then begin babbling to imitate their parents.
One of the first movement Itharii will do is clinging to their parents’ necks with their limbs when feeling anxious. Itharii children are fairly shy explorer compared to human children and take a fairly long time to begin taking interest in the world around them. Around eight month after coming out of pupal stage, they will begin crawling and slowly walking with help.
If threatened Itharii children are capable of spraying and will typically hiss at perceived threats. However their reservoir are slim and they are rarely capable of more than one spray and so will only spray when danger remain after being threatened.
Around thirteen to fourteen years old, the child is ready to begin adolescence. At this time the Itharii will select their sex and over the next few years will develop that way. Sex selection is typically done medically in modern times, but traditionalists often rely on the old way; the ingestion of appropriate raw gonads from Ithar native aquatic animals to absorb necessary hormones. The longer an Itharii delay their choice, the more sensitive they become to environmental hormones (from food or other sources) and may involuntary change if they wait too long.
After an average of two weeks, the process has begun and the adolescent no longer requires hormonal help. The process can be stopped and reversed by the intake of opposite hormones. Itharii are capable of changing back and forth between sex even after reaching maturity, the process takes about five months of earth time.
Female: Carapace begins to grow, abdomen will gain a few inches of width along with the thighs to accommodate future egg sack.
Male: Carapace begins to grow, first sign of the crest appears on the forehead.
At nineteen the Itharii is now an adult and will stop growing.
Female: Carapace is fully formed, mature abdominal width is reached.
Male: Carapace begins to grow, crest is fully developed and has typically been molded and groomed during its growth as to be aesthetically pleasing. .
Itharii are well known for their docile temperaments, their shy yet excitable nature and their tendencies for heightened anxiety due to their origin as a prey species. Itharii are not violent by nature and typically avoid conflict. When threatened they instinctively prefer to escape the situation.
Due to their mode of sexual reproduction, Itharii do not use sex as a way of deriving pleasure, still they have complex mating habits. Itharii typically form mated pairs for life once they decide to reproduce, although experimenting romantically with different partners is common before settling down.
Due to their ability to switch sex at will and their formative years as sex-less youths, the majority of Itharii do not exhibit a gender preference when selecting romantic partners and same sex couples are extremely common.
Thanks to their very sensitive sense of touch, Itharii typically show intimacy rubbing together erogenous zones such as the nose, hands, feet but especially the very sensitive neck or belly which can trigger an orgasm-like reaction.
Although Itharii cultures were many and varied on their home world, the population living on earth is fairly homogenous as their ship hailed from a single nation state known as Western Ibaria.
Ibarian dwellings are typically composed of one large common room and alcoves curtained off serving as private rooms for sleeping or worshiping. Furniture tend to be sparse and low profile, with inhabitants sitting on the ground, mats or cushion rather than on chairs or couches.
Private rooms are invariably small, only containing a bed and storage for its inhabitant’s personal effects as Itharii are expected to spend their time in communal areas with their loved ones. Itharii typically sleep in groups with mates or clutchmates sharing the same bed.
Most houses are dominated by a large bath taking the center of the common room that is kept at lukewarm temperature. This bath serves as both a social area and for Itharii reproduction.
Itharii households are typically headed by a mated pair of adults living with their children. Children are typically expected to live with their parents until they have found a mate and wish to have their own young.
Itharii have no taboo about same-gender couples which are openly welcomed. Due to the large size of Itharii clutches, a remnant of the time when larval mortality was high, it is extremely common for mated pairs to give some of their eggs to other pairs, a practice known as Katzu, with adoptee called katzun and parents katzun. Typically eggs are divided into groups of two or three so that all youth will grow with at least one of their clutchmates.
It is common for Itharii pairs to have several generations of children in their life time, typically reproducing or adopting when their current young are approaching or have entered adolescence. It was typical for Ithar born Itharii to have a dozen siblings raised by the same parents. Itharii keep extensive breeding archives which are publicly accessible to track genetic lineage.
Itharii love food. Eating was a central part of most Itharii cultures on Ithar, an Itharii saying profess that all things important in life are done with food. Rather than strong hearty meals, Itharii tend to have one large communal meal every day at mid day and many more smaller meals through which are used as occasions to socialize or make professional arrangement.
Itharii exclusively relied on seafood for edible animal products with land animals often being considered taboo. Although the same taboo does not apply to earth animals, Itharii struggle with digesting red meat.
Due to their weak sense of taste and smell compared to humans, Itharii meals tend to be unbearably seasoned for human taste, something taken into account in human cathering business such as the Itharii market.
Being sensitive to heavy sunlight, Itharii tend to wear lots of clothes as to avoid having their skin becoming dried and cracking. Due to the presence of carapaces in adults Itharii clothes are almost always open at the front which close with zips, buttons or hooks, and sleeveless to facilitate being put on. Typical Itharii attire include a sleeveless jacket which may or may not have a hood, long loose pants and long gloves or arm warmers reaching their upper arms. Itharii do not typically wear underwear. If lacking a hood Itharii will typically protect themselves from the sun by wrapping scarves around their neck and head. Itharii always swim naked and are unphased by nudity.
Most Itharii on earth, estimated at seventy percent, are religious. Several religions exist although the faith of the First Born is the dominant religion with ninety percent of religious Itharii adhering to it.
Faith of the First Born
Native to Ibaria, the faith of the first born is a duotheist religion worshiping the original beings; eggmates Eaht and Uat who according to their creation myth hatched together from a cosmic egg into the void, the pair then metamorphosing into the land and sea of Ithar.
The Faith is strongly orthopraxic, believing that acting righteously is more important than belief. A core tenet of the faith is to harm none without reason, which extends to all living being; only allowing killing in self defense, to protect one’s livelihood or for consumption. The faith also does not believe in divine atonement, with all wrongs needing to be addressed in this life by apologizing, making reparations and becoming better in the wake of one’s mistakes.
Religious festivities are held on seasonal basis, with individual communities split between using Ithar’s calendar or Earth’s. All steps of the Itharii lifecycle are important celebrations; Itharii are baptized on the third night after coming out of their pupal stage and the choosing of one’s sex is a crucial rite of passage.
One of the most important element of the Faith is the reverence of Eggmates; the result of a single embryo splitting and creating two twins within a single egg, such children are typically taken in to the church and raised as priests from birth as the chosen of the firstborns.
The faith believes in reincarnation with the souls of the deceased going through a second life on the ‘far shores’ where they are cleansed of their trauma and unresolved problems until they are ready to be born again. It is believed that if two Itharii go through the trials together, they will be reborn and be together in the next life; which gave the rise to the declaration that a dying Itharii will wait for their mate on the far shores.
The Faith of the First born has so far rejected any attempt from humans at converting, believing that their religion is simply not appropriate for humans and their radically different life cycle.
A small religion within Ibaria, the sorrows as they are called are deists who believe that the world was left flawed due to the creator’s disappointment toward the flawed nature of the Itharii.
Sorrows typically eschew physical pleasures in favor of asceticism, meditation, prayer and self control. They believe that only by being pure of heart and soul can they please the creator into saving their souls.
The Sorrows see the destruction of Ithar at the hand of the Hierarchy as divine judgement destroying sinners unworthy of redemption.
Ibaria, the most spoken language among earth itharii has become a fairly common sight around the world with many schools teaching in and in the wake of Itharii cultural craze in some cities it’s common for many people to know a few words or idiom.
Even when speaking other languages, Itharii tend to favor their own terms translated into whatever language they are speaking rather than more usual words. As such Itharii invariably refer to their romantic partners as mates, children as little ones and siblings as clutchmates or broodmates.
Ibarian names follow a specific format of [Given name] [Brood Name] [Birth Brood]. Every children is born with one brood name (The one of the couple who raised them, regardless of who their biological parents would be.)
Once mated, adult Itharii change their brood name which will apply to their new family unit. It is traditional to pick brood name representing a trait or set of traits they wish their children to posses. Which can be a virtue, a idea or an animal which has the trait they seek.
The relationship between humans and Itharii have been rather smooth on the macroscopic scale with Itharii being given reservations across the world to create their own cities under their laws but many have also been granted citizenship of their adoptive countries.
The arrival of Itharii lead to a boom in technological sectors especially in computing, aero-space, environmental sciences, manufacturing and physics. Due to their advanced technology and Legion support, making sure they aren’t exploited, Itharii have prospered on earth in the past fourteen years.
However not everything is well. The discovery of Itharii’s praying psychoactive qualities has lead to exploitation, Itharii trafficking and discrimination from law enforcement in countries with strong anti-drug ideology who perceive Itharii as drug dealers. Xenophobes have also joined in on Itharii hatred with many perceiving them as invaders taking resources and lands that does not belong to them. With some even ascribing nefarious intention to their presence.
Hate crimes and discrimination has lead to many nations to pass anti-discrimination ordnance and the united nations have declared that all sapient species are entitled to the same basic rights and liberties as humans.
In the past few years, the word Newt has taken a new meaning as a slur thrown at Itharii due to their resemblance to earth salamanders. Another demeaning term often thrown at Itharii, especially by conspiracy theorist claiming that Itharii will take over, is ‘breeder’ due to their high reproductive rate.
|Itharii Red Fever|
|Currently the only disease to have crossed the species barrier, Red Fever is mostly harmless to Itharii; resulting in itchy rashes, elevated temperature and fatigue. However the disease is potentially lethal to humans.
Red Fever is however not airborne and is transmitted by touch or by infected water. Vaccination has been available for humans for the last six years and has become part of the standard schedule but is however not 100% effective.