The Qalinoris are an ancient, very long-lived humanoid species. They are among the oldest surviving races (only the conway and claximander predate them), and their extremely long lives have allowed them to make extraordinary advances in science and magic.
An average Qalinori (often anglicized as “Thalinor”, though the Q more properly represents a voiceless retroflex stop) stands around 6ft tall and, without clothes, appears to be a human with no gender-specific features. (Qalinori don’t grow facial hair.) They do have genders, but the distinctions between the genders are far more subtle than in humans. Females typically have an overall narrower face, with a pointed chin and a slightly smaller nose than males, who have a wider face, slightly square chin, and slightly larger nose. They tend to wear loose robes that cover most of their body.
Although they look human, their physiology is completely different. Their biology uses silicon quite extensively, though they aren’t entirely silicon-based; carbon still plays a significant role in their makeup.
Qalinoris bear one or two children at a time. Pregnancy lasts for about 500 days, after which the newborn feeds on their mother’s milk for five times that period, by which time they have teeth. Then they are introduced to normal food, usually quite abruptly.
Childhood lasts a long time for a Qalinori; they are considered children until they reach the age of 10 millennia. This time is typically spent in a leisurely combination of play and schooling, though plenty of Qalinoris break that pattern.
Adolescence begins after around 10 millennia, and usually lasts about 8 millennia in total. There is no outward physical change during this period, though there are internal changes that differentiate the genders for reproduction, making them fertile. Attraction to the opposite gender usually appears late in adolescence, around the age of 17 millennia. It’s pretty much unheard of for a qalinori to be attracted to the same gender; something about their biology just doesn’t create the possibility.
A Qalinori is in their prime between 18 and 50 millennia of age. During this time they usually settle down into a stable family group, though some remain single. Monogamy is particularly prevalent, but other arrangements are common enough to be widely acknowledged.
Qalinoris do not show their age much, but it is commonly agreed that one who has reached the age of 100 millennia is elderly. At this point, their internal systems begin to fail (starting with the reproductive systems). It is rare for a Qalinori to live much longer than 150 millennia, unless of course they eat from the wūlī tree or drink the Elixir of Life.
A Qalinori typically dies quite suddenly, usually of organ failure. (Disease does exist, but is rare; qalinoris have a very robust immune system.) The dead are usually either recycled for materials or simply left out for the snakes to pick at.
Qalinoris are 100% vegetarian. They eat a wide variety of plant life which they usually grow in gardens. The wūlī fruit is not a common part of their diet. They also drink the milk of certain animals.
Qalinoris have the gift of electrokinesis; that is, they can control electricity with a mere thought. This has a significant impact on their society; most of their electrical appliances expect the Qalinori to act as the power source.
They also have the unique ability of spirit-bonding. This allows them to intimately link with another living being, at the cost of losing their physical form. This supposedly confers an advantage to both creatures, though for some reason no-one is known to have investigated what the advantages actually are. (Note: this does not require the assent of the other being; once linked, the two are for most intents and purposes a single entity.) Spirit-bonding is usually done at birth (the other being’s birth, that is).
Once the bond is formed, the qalinori’s past memories are locked away, inaccessible until the bond dissolves, though occasionally a bonded qalinori has managed to pierce this lock and recall memories of “past lives”.
Society and Culture
The Qalinoris are overall a very liberal society. Although each of the five cities has a king, he is mostly a figurehead; the citizens rule themselves for the most part. Life is quite leisurely in these cities, because there is plenty of time to do nearly anything anyone might ever want to do.
A Qalinori typically enters some kind of apprenticeship in late adolescence or early adulthood, and become masters of one art or trade. Once they have learned all they can from their teacher (in some cases culminating in a written exam), they enter an intermediate stage during which many Qalinoris choose to wander the city or even between the cities. This stage ends when they present a masterpiece to their teacher.
Since they are so long-lived, it’s not uncommon for them to pick up one or two other trades later in life, as hobbies. Some may become as proficient in their hobbies as they are in their main trade.
The set of trades available varies a little depending on the city; for example, priesthood is available only in Gladwn, while seaweed farming is only available in Strwndan. The other Qalinori cities are Clampárǿ and Anáglǿsiẃ, plus Hevan which was founded much later. (These city names can be anglicized as Gladon, Strondan, Clamparo, Anaglosia, and Hevan/Heaven, respectively.)
Especially in Hevan, many qalinoris spend a huge chunk of their life projecting themselves as spirits for other sentient beings. Such a bond lasts for the duration of the other being’s life, a mere drop in the enormity that is the qalinori’s lifespan, though occasionally the bond goes wrong and traps them after the other being dies. Most take on multiple hosts and grow as a result, absorbing personality fragments and memories from each new host.
Some qalinoris have gone a step further and bonded with a body of their own fabrication, allowing them to retain access to all of their memories. On Earth, such qalinoris have usually been called angels or gods. The Greek pantheon, the Norse pantheon, and the Jewish angels are some of the more high-profile cases of this, though there are probably others.
The Qalinoris were prodded into existence by the greatest of the six Powers (a being known on Earth as Chronos), as an offshoot of a far more ancient species which went on to wipe themselves out. In the Age of the Plummeting Sun, they helped in the construction of the Golden Tower, a massive structure in the centre of the world designed to capture and constrain the sun into a stable orbit above the world. They thrived in the subsequent Golden Age, building the Four Cities on the intersections of the major leylines. This was a time of peace and plenty, where most Qalinoris didn’t even know the words for “disease” or “war”.
During the Golden age, Chronos resided in the Golden Tower, watching over its creation, but eventually the Power deemed it time to depart for other things. Golden Age turned to Fading Age, and the priest-city of Gladon was slowly abandoned, except for a few faithful who remained behind to keep the priesthood alive. Contact between the other three cities also became less and less frequent, and by the time this age drew to an end, each of the cities was practically an isolated nation.
Eventually, the Ekíqáŕoσ, a race composed of evil incarnate, decided to destroy all living things in the universe. Obviously they failed, but their attempt (in fact, their initial assault) decimated not only the qalinori population but that of all other living things as well, sentient and non-sentient, even the plant life. Fortunately, they just barely managed to defeat the Ekíqáŕoσ and rebuild. Hevan was founded as a sort of “city in exile” during this war, a comparatively safe base of operations tucked into a pocket space large enough to qualify as a whole world of its own.
After the war, the survivors settled in Hevan and Gladon, leaving the other three cities abandoned for many millennia, though by the present day the population has returned to the point where all three are once more inhabited.