Endless Blue – Week 69 – Vitruvian Yaun-Teel   4 comments

Biology

Vitruvian Yaun-Teel

In the cold, northern reaches of the Known World are a series of bights where the Yaun-Teel call home.  These shallow bays are the central hub for the vast mercantile organization that powers the Yaun-Teel government.  With little natural resources of their own the Yaun-Teel have set themselves up as masters of trade, and positioned themselves as one of the most economically rich of the Fluid Nations.  As such, they are afforded much more leniency when interacting with the other Piscean races, and their practice of slavery is many times endured in order to maintain favor.  The influence of the Yaun-Teel mercantile caste is far-reaching and deep.  Perhaps only the Locanth are beyond the financial manipulations of the Merchants of the Grand Bazaar.

Though cast as one of the Primitive races, the Yaun-Teel more closely resemble the Mer, from which the concept of the Piscean Form was detailed.  The physiology of this slaver race seems to indicate some connection to anguilliformes — your typical eel.  Distinctive features of the Yaun-Teel are the elongated neck, the frilled fins of the dorsal, pelvis, and tail, and overall leaner features of the torso and limbs. Despite what one would expect, the extended neck of the Yaun-Teel possesses the same number of vertebrae as any Mer, but each segment is stretched out to three time the length.  Also like the Mer, the Yuan-Teel are the only other species of Elqua capable of a full head of hair.  Other minor traits that signify Yaun-Til descent are slanted, seed shaped eyes, their muted, greyish coloration, and on average are generally head and shoulders longer than the Merfolk.  The overall effect gives the Yaun-Teel an appearance of grace and poise.  Even their language, with its dulcet, lilting tones, reinforces the image of the gentle caregiver. This perceived image is quickly shredded when the true cruelty of the species is unleashed.

Vitruvian Yuan-Teel

Supposed excerpt from the banned Vitruvian Codex concerning the Yuan-Teel

The secret of Yaun-Teel procreation is a chilling one, and brings great shame to the species.  The fact is the Yaun-Teel are not completely a separate race from the Merfolk.  A full-blooded Yaun-Teel is incapable of producing offspring with other of its own kind.  Having children can only be accomplished by individuals with a significant amount of Mer heredity in their gene pool.  Part of the reason for the Yaun-Til practice of slavery is the procurement of viable breeding stock.  This, coupled with a cultural predilection for multiple spouses and a social expectation for ostentatious display makes the truth of Yaun-Teel reproduction an obfuscated secret.   Despite the bright variation of coloration the Mer possess, Yaun-Teel hybrids never show anything other than the muted greys associated with their species.

Yaun-Teel marriages are a complex web of relations.  Each individual can have three spouses, with each one of those spouses allowed another two.  Charting this out, the minimum of six individuals forms a sort of helical arrangement, but instances so simple are also incredibly rare.  More common is a long chain of relations across a whole community, resulting one way or another with being able to trace a familial tie between any two individuals.  This leads to myriad combinations of cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews twice, thrice, or even further removed becoming their own elder or younger relative.

The social structure of Yaun-Til settlements revolves around the core tenants called “The Principles of Service“.  Boiled down to it’s most simple, these prinicples state:

1. Like it or not, everyone serves someone else.

A child must serve the dictates of its parents.  The parents must serve the expectations of the leader of is settlement.  The settlement must serve the laws made by the nations’ ruler.  And in turn, the ruler must obey the will of the people.  No matter how powerful or socially reclusive, your existence serves the cause of someone else.

2. Your servitude is a gift, and should be treated as such.

It is only through serving that you have the ability to survive.  A child’s existence is a gift from its parents.  The parents livelyhood is a gift from the settlement.  The settlement’s protection is a gift from the nation.  The nation’s prosperity is a gift from its people.  Without the chance to serve, you would not benefit.  This is a debt you are expect to repay through service.

3. The refusal to serve is the surrender of will.

A child is punished when it does not obey its parents.  The parents are gaoled when they abridge settlement’s goals.  The settlement is excommunicated when it abridges the nation’s laws.  The nation crumbles when it abandons its people.  By not serving, you jeopardize the well being of others around you.  In doing so, you create a debt to them that you must serve to pay back.

And yet, despite this rigid codex in expected behavior, the societal norm for each Yaun-Teel is to circumnavigate the rules to their own best interest.  Deceit and trickery are common tools to entrap the unwary into the service of the Yaun-Teel.  Not only do they routinely add stock to their slave pens through raids and force, but they gain an extra level of notoriety when the same acquisition is made with guile and finesse.  Even their own kind are not immune to becoming shackled.  Yaun-Teel slaves exist, but are more likely to be of the indentured than captured variety.

Make no mistake about it — the use of “service” is a hollow euphemism.  Debt is repaid through slavery, and cruel treatment is but a sweet dessert to the cruel masters.  Their packbreeders are renown for the employment of negative reinforcement in the training of their beast of battle.  They seem to relish inflicting pain upon the animal until it shows the preferred behavior — usually the reinforcement of violent tendencies.  It is hard to argue the efficacy of their method.  It is a well documented fact that Yaun-Teel trained warbeasts are among the most vicious and relentless killers.  But they also have the reputation of turning on their buyers at the slightest lapse in domination.

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