|Appearance||Various mantid anthro. Thickly carapaced. 6 limbs. Large abdomens. Invertebrates.|
|Lifespan||50 Earth years|
|Facial Appearance||Buglike, carapaced but smooth. Mouth is a set of horizontal mandibles.|
|Fur/Skin Colour||Various coloration.|
|Bipedal/Feral Looks||Insectoid feet.|
|Place of Origin||Tet'Hon|
|Behaviour||Militaristic, potentially aggressive, very structured, matriarchal.|
(By Shep and DevilishlyHandsome)
Pronounced "Kran-eye", with the R being rolled a little.
All Krani are six limbed and bipedal, with a thick exoskeleton. As with others of their family on Earth, they are invertebrates. Their innards have a generally green color. Two lower limbs connect at their small of back and jut outward, and are mostly used for keeping grip, while two more arms meet at their shoulders. The lower arms are used mainly for stability and balance, themselves not having enough muscle mass for anything in combat. That said, they are not just targets, the Krani have full control over them and always find creative ways to utilize the extra set. The forearms of this upper set are covered in a thin hair, around the gaps in the carapace, and their hands consist of four fingers and a large claw-like finger jutting from the top of their hands. Their ankles, calves, lower necks, crotches, inner thighs, and back of their heads have similar fur. The fur on their head resembles a thin gray or black cresting mane that continues to grow around their collar and shoulders. Krani do not molt.
Antenna exist on their heads as well, however their sensory functions have been diluted with evolution, as has their muscle control over them. The antenna themselves can be barely moved in a front and back angle, and will slowly grow back after a while. But the lack of antenna sensing has led to them developing far stronger eyesight. The Krani have also evolved the ability to "silence" their optic nerves, in a sort of controlled blindness that allows them to sleep better. This method leads to them often being mistaken as "sleeping with their eyes open", as there are no eyelids to hide them as they rest. Their eyes are also thick and solid, with small dot-like pupils and a huge range of motion. The pupils diameter can enlarge or shrink for incoming light, however the Krani cannot shed tears. You could caress, rub, lick or anything short of puncture without them feeling pain. Krani heads have a very close appearance to their feral counterparts, including mandibles, although the eyes are smaller relative to the head and their features are a little more rounded. Their necks have a large range of angular turning, nearly 150°. This continues to show their impressive spinal flexibility. Their facial structures give them a very peculiar accent, (Like a cross between Romani and Israeli), as well their language utilizes odd clicking sounds as a sort of punctuation or accent in addition to their normal articulate speech. The waists are small, hips a bit curvy but overall the Krani are quite thin. The Female Krani is by far the physically superior of the race, being both larger and overall faster with enhanced abdomen size.
Regardless, both species sport large tan-white wings with carapace coverings, which in previous stages of their evolution could have been used for flight, but now only serve for quick bursts of speed and extra back protection. Additionally, as the Krani cannot sweat, the wings are often raised and expanded as a way to expel excess body heat. The Krani are not mamallian, so the presence of mammaries is nil, though female sport a slightly bulged part in their chest carapace. Sexual structures are located between the thighs of both genders, though the female's ovaries and ovipositor are located in their large abdomen, which stems off like a tail, and the male's genitals are stored in a cloaca like slit when not in use.
The Krani's carapace possesses many possible patterns and coloration, such as green, brown, white, and gray for the base colors and white, black, pink, brown, yellow, and orange for accents, (Examples pictured right)
The Krani are omnivores, commonly eating both livestock and farmed local produce. Their strong mandibles can easily process even the toughest and thickest fruit rinds.
Long before the time of Tet'Hon, the Krani were a major bully in the region, especially against the Endranite settlements near their borders, demanding tribute and often enslaving locals. Much of this stems back to thousands of years, to one of their oldest enemies, the Khalaii. They're were, and still are, a nation of Hatran with a similar knack and pride in their military. The Deti at the time, Deti Lera, wanted a chance to destroy a potential competitor in the region, so they marched through Endran with the hope of, in a quick strike, crippling the Khalau military. However, their scouts saw the attack coming, and met the Krani in central Endran. The battle was a stalemate for a period of nearly 10 years, and isolated skirmishes persisted for nearly triple that time period. During this time, Endran was ruled by a kingdom of Rourd'ken, and the fighting caused much collateral damage. This made central Endran nearly uninhabitable for the period of the war, leading to a furthered split between the Rourd'ken kingdom that eventually led to their split into the Ruadh'Losh and Kalss of Nakti today.
The war was a losing action for the Deti, and her forces were forbidden from retreating. The supply lines started to dwindle, and eventually nearly the entire Krani force was either killed in battle, captured, or escaped into the Rourd lands. Public dissent rose, and Deti Lera was violently assassinated after the distraught widows and orphans stormed the palace in Zahkrim. This event eventually led to the creation of the Deti Zidan, who were initially tasked with protecting the Deti and riot control.
The effects of the war did not end there. The Deti's daughter ascended to the throne almost immediately and offically called the Krani surrender from the lands. The Rourd'ken demanded reparations for their people's suffering and for sheltering soldiers, terms of which the new Deti was forced to accept. The Krani people suffered under the poverty line for hundreds of years for their government to fully pay off the debt, which drew the attention of the Lamura to a new business prospect. The Lamura were friendly to the former aggressors, baiting them with gifts of beautiful crafts and coinage. A few centuries later, this relationship had blossomed into a full on partnership, and the eventual drafting of the Tet'Hon Doctrine.
Military Power and Tactics
Military service is mandatory for a period of 8 years following a female reaching breeding age if she has not already mother'd children, and 5 years for all males regardless. After their term has been served, they can have the choice to further their military career or proceed on to other things. However, the first choice is often considered the honorable and encouraged one. This system verifies there will always be a large standing army.
In battle, Krani are known and feared for their quick, jumpy movements, and will often utilize a "mandible" formation to compliment this. (The concept was inspired by the Krani anatomy itself, specifically how they eat). Battle Sisters will advance in four main groups, the body which is the bulk of the advancement, a backup force following behind them, and two mobile forces known as the pincers. The main body of the attack moves slower, while the pincers form a fast moving curve to close the distance. These pincers serve to hit the flanks and contain the enemy force, forcing them directly into the clutches of the main advancement. Following behind the main skirmish are auxiliary soldiers ready to take the place of their sisters if they are to fall. (Visualization of this tactic here). Their speed makes them incredibly difficult targets, despite their size, and enemy combatants are easy to find yourself suddenly swamped with Krani warriors and quickly dispatched. They utilize weapons both specifically built around their natural features, such as the serrated hand blades trademark to their species being fitted with strong metal blade coverings to better adapt them to the changing way of combat, as well as more traditionally held weapons like spears and shields. Ranged units utilize crossbows of simple, effective design. Specialized units include the:
Deti Zidan. Meaning "Queen's Rangers". They also are the Royal Guards of the palace in Zahkim. Additionally, they're often considered the "Special Forces" of the Krani military, serving as field commanders and the organizers of emergency rescue operations. High ranking, veteran, or trusted Zidan are also honored by wearing the Deti's own emblem on their wings.
Krani warriors are known for giving their generally neutrally colored wings brilliant decorations, for tactical marking (unit insignia), religious significance, and creative output (the practice is outside of the military aswell, though not as commonplace). The Krani also commonly chant and preform battle cries before combat, a popular one being "Deti! Deti! Deti!".
In combat, the Krani do not rely on their carapaces alone for protection. Light leather bands and shirts are adorned with heavier metal plates in an almost snake-belly configuration are worn by most of their soldiers, to protect their thoraxand thick guards on the underside of their abdomens to protect the weak point from slashing blows, (forward shot pictured right). Similar, but smaller in scope, plated leather bands are worn on the arms and legs of the Krani fighters. Some other warriors are outfitted in bulkier uniforms, such as spearmen, lighter more flexible armors for archers, and others like the Deti Zidan wear long flowing robes over their carapace-tight armor, (pictured top right), however these robes are very rarely actually worn in combat due to the risk of the ribbons being used as handles that would lead to a quick death for the sister against any competent foe.
The Krani religion focuses on a structure of battlefield honor and self-sacrifice. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. They are monotheistic, following the teachings of Kran, the warrior Goddess of which their people are named. Kran and her ascended warriors watch over the battles of the mortals, but will not interfere. They rely on the Krani to channel their force into every strike, every march. If a battle sister dies a glorious battlefield death, or a peaceful one following a long military career, Kran's ascended will come to guide her to their great plane. Male warriors are rarely permitted access, however those who are are clearly in Kran's favor, and will be accepted among the sisters. Kran's plane houses a great palace, where one can meet with all her fallen sisters and celebrate their victory, and train for future ones.
Worship is preformed in personal or family rituals, as well as channeled through glorious pre-battle chants and dances, but never on the battlefield itself. They do them as they march, or before they begin. This display is also designed specifically to demoralize the enemy, and is quite a terrifying view to an outsider. Hundreds of sisters chanting in unison, stamping and rumored to cause the ground to quake before them as they march. That said, the sisters will not sacrifice their element of surprise for a ritual, and can internalize their faith by muttering prayers. This is the most common method a warrior attempts to ask for Kran's favor.
Non-combatants and most male warriors, however, are not permitted entry into Kran's plane. They live on in a lesser plane, quite similar to their old world as a matter of a fact. The ascended protect them from the darkness, and the denizens of the lesser plane live in service of those Kran has chosen.
However, those who were cowards, capital sinners, or otherwise wicked souls, are banished to a dark plane of torture and suffering. Such sins worthy of this punishment would be child molestation, insubordination, or murder of a higher officer, for example. These souls, however, are given one last chance at redemption. They can be reborn into the world, in the weakened body or mind of a defective child. The Krani treat all defects as such, whether they be in newborn children or someone during their life; They believe their body has been possessed and twisted by wicked souls, escaped from their plane of torture. Ailments such as cancer that cause horrible effects on the bodies of of the effected are believed to be Krani possessed by the parasitic soul of an evil one. They will train them harder, under special methods, to make them prove they can overcome their wicked possession and free themselves from their evil spirit. The training is hard, and the weakened bodies often do not survive the trials, but if they do they are accepted among the sisters. However, possessions of the soul itself can be categorized more modernly as mental illness like schizophrenia, and cannot be treated by this method. They are considered lost, and due to the lack of knowledge on the conditions ailing them, more often then not, their suffering is silenced by means of private execution or lifetime imprisonment.
The Krani are a matriarchal society, dominated by females in the places of management and rulership. They serve their Deti (Queen), and she has always been female. However, males do have a place among the military but never in commanding roles.
In military families, the mother shoulders the burden of raising the children. She is often the strict, first Commander of the children. Fathers commonly do not have a place in the life of their children, with the exception of apprenticing them in their occupation or trade. If a child is orphaned, they are placed in governmental care homes. These homes are places designed to mold future warriors, giving them all a specialization from age 12 in which they will moonlight military units to hone their combat skills. This is a practice often considered controversial to outsiders, but the children never see real combat despite such claims.
The Krani dress commonly in simple sashes and skirts, often only covering the lower half as there is no mammaries be hiding above. It is common to see warriors sporting much paint on their wings and bodies. For more formal occasion, long draping embroidered ribbons are donned over carapaces and more luxurious robes often of silk are worn about their bodies, which for obvious reasons, (wings and abdomen) leave nearly the entire back side open. Jewelry of rare metals and gems are also common, especially pendants, necklaces, and rings. Piercings are rare, due to the soft bodies of the creatures being at a real risk of damage to their soft innards when the carapace is punctured.
Mating and Sexuality
Krani women will undergo estrus cycles on a yearly basis, at different times between individuals. Krani reproduce through sexual intercourse, and after impregnation occurs it will take around a month or so for the female to start to show. During mating, a female is said to attempt mate with at least 4 other males of her choosing in order to secure the strongest offspring she wishes. Mating can also take place more privately, but most females are taught and believe that sex and love are not congruent actions, therefore harems of males like this are a common practice.The Krani, however, do not practice cannibalism of their mates as Earth Mantis do. As the eggs gestate her abdomen begins to swell, and on occasion need to be carefully handled. It expands to nearly double size at the peak of the gestation, and from there the female will lay an egg pouch about the size of a basketball from her ovipositor. The egg itself sports a milky white, flexible shell at first to ease in oviposition but gradually hardens as it is further aged. About 6 months after oviposition the egg will begin to hatch, generally containing 3-6 baby Krani that survived gestation.
Despite the importance of breeding, it is perfectly common place for homosexual relationships between battle sisters, and as well communities of male Krani as well. It is a way to bond, and relieve stress to better focus on the tasks and mission at hand. For males, it is simply a way to have a sexual release as more of then not, their enjoyment is very rarely a factor in traditional mating.