Average Lifespan: ¾ of a Tam'nýer—a''n Year / 27 Earth Years
Age of Maturity: 2 Tam'nýer—a''n Weeks / 6 Earth Months
By the age of maturity a Sk'älik should be physically and socially capable of handling themselves and already have their hands in their families business or jobs. It would be absolutely unacceptable for a mature Sk'älik to be incapable of any skills or refusing to assist with their family and their community.
Aging Process: Sk'älik age of maturity comes extremely fast, the closest in toe being the Ãoni. This rapid aging process is followed by an extremely short adulthood as well. Regardless of litter size a newborn Sk'älik is capable of swimming and breathing normally through their gills as soon as they are born. At 3 Tam'nýer—a''n days(1 earth month) a Sk'älik should be at a quarter of their overall adult length. Once they have hit this physical milestone their bodies growth plateaus for approximately 3 more Tam'nýer—a''n days. During these 3 days they will become exceptionally ravenous and this is due to their bodies preparing to go through an extreme growth spurt. By the end of the first week they will have gained approximately 40 lbs by eating alone, looking somewhat bloated.
A growth spurt will begin at this time and it is notoriously painful. However, the more active a Sk'älik is the less painful this process will be. Flowing with the currents and in deep ocean the better off a child will be. Sk'älik get a Þ'l during this time for this exact reason, because if they are in too much pain to swim on their own the Þ'l will do the work for them and let the currents do its work. If a Sk'älik remains still or does not have access to a Þ'l its muscles can become atrophied or severely underdeveloped making adulthood that much more difficult.
Sk'älik carry one name, and one name only. There is no familial name carried on, they simply have one given name. With time, and accomplishments, or a personality trait recognized in time, Sk'älik individuals will be blessed with a title attached to their name.
For example, a Sk'älik at birth may be named something like ဝခဉ (Wakhaña). Over time, as more of their personality develops, they may be blessed with a title. This title will come to an elder over seeing a sacrificial ritual performed by ဝခဉ (Wakhaña). At the end, ဝခဉ (Wakhaña) may be come to be known as something like ဝခဉ (Wakhaña) the Generous.
*When making a name, please know that the Sk'älik language, when written looks like Burmese but does not have to use solely they consonants or vowels of said language. If it can appear 100% in Burmese characters using the keyboard link below and isn't something like 'onion' you should be good to go.
Sk'älik are considered hunchbacks, for the most part, with long faces almost seamlessly transitioning to neck. As hunchbacks, they might now be as tall, or rather long as you might think. The Sk'älik tend to be anywhere from 6 to 7 feet on average. Despite this though they have a long neck and along the long elongated neck that sticks out are 5-6 sets of gills. 6 gills is a normal mutation that can happen but is rare among the species. With milky white translucent eyes, worn down gums, and needle-like teeth hiding in their mouth, the Sk'älik people can terrifying upon first meeting one.
Their arms are, for the most part, like ours. But their 'hands' are scraggly, thick 'sausages' of muscle and cartilage. It is a biological advantage if one were to ever get into a fight with a Sk'älik and not know this of their anatomy, as they can bend metals without the use of tools, making an arm wrestle a walk through the park for them. Also, touching a Sk'älik may not be your cup of tea, their skin, (or scales rather), do have a thin mucus-layer permitting them to not dry up on land as quickly as their rivals, the Giyu.
Sk'älik are actually quite of 'bathing in the sun' on the beaches, if they so choose. Bathing in the sun like this changes the pigmentation of their scales to a more brown tone. Essentially, if a Sk'älik feels like getting a tan, they have the ability to do so. But this brings us to their physique. The Sk'älik people have varying types of bodies. In newer mutations of their genetics, be it evolution or what have you, they are becoming bipedal-possible. Marked with definitions of legs, if they do happen to be born with these, they mimic their hands; nothing but muscle, bone and cartilage.
The main form of a Sk'älik is that they have tails for their bottom half, but as there is a mix in the genes that is developing, those born with a long slender tail, makes them more maneuverable in the oceans. This means that they are prized among their people as defenders and gatherers, as they carry an agility and dexterity these new counterparts of their species do not have. It should be stated that the Sk'älik without the new deformation, or mutation of legs as it were, and are all tail for life in the water can sun bathe, but they
cannot travel on land for long distances. They cannot 'stand up' as a Naga would. Their organs are not designed to take that weight or pressured from being upright without the buoyancy of water.
This necessity of build becomes more apparent when you take their 'lands' into consideration. Sk'älik are not simply one country made of its peoples but have various towns referred to as Insulars within the depths of the ocean. Their main homeland Sk'ïenaik lies on the bottom of the main ocean of Tam'nýer—a' at an estimated depth of 2,146 fathoms (12,876 ft).
Breathing Fresh & Salt Water:
Sk'älik can totally go from salt water to fresh water. There is a teensy bit of salt water in the fresh water due to tides changing, but on the whole they are kept pretty separate.
While they can breathe both, there is some getting used to it. Going from fresh to salt would burn for a little bit as the body adjusts, but would eventually pass. The other way, from salt to fresh water, one might experience a chilling effect, similar to chugging ice water on a hot day. Again, the body can acclimatize to it.
EYE & SCALE COLOURS
The traditional Sk'älik language, နဩဗ (Naoba), is primarily spoken in Sk'ïenaik, and rarely spoken at the various insulars, due to the amount of foreigners. When non-Sk'älik are around, C'eröd becomes the primary language and နဩဗ is a thing of the past, as if it does not exist at all, despite it being on signs.
The Sk'älik peoples will explain it away as being polite, and not wanting to be rude, speaking a foreign language in front of people that do not understand. However, in reality, it is not spoken with foreigners around so that they cannot gain knowledge of နဩဗ so that if the Sk'älik do get 'caught' speaking it, no one can understand them. They prefer to keep things private. It also gives them the freedom to complain about customers without others catching on, or getting a chance to decipher what certain words mean over time.
The Sk'älik mindset, culturally, is heavily still heavily wrapped up in the results of Sẙg—stà', their war with the Giyu. This is can be seen in how active the Sk'älik have become in wheeling and dealing, and their voraciousness in producing products that the land-dwelling desire or need. It has created a hoarding mindset, and only solidified their belief that sacrificing will ultimately bring about their desired result.
With this in mind, one could surmise pretty accurately that the Sk'älik peoples are not attached to their belongings but rather to their survival and the safety of their loved ones. In exchange for a 'divine guarantee' of this, they tend to have a strong work ethic, and devotion to the Gods, but most importantly, the Goddess who is their home: Q'Tam'šmă. They even go so far as to believe that they are her children, since they have such an abundance beneath the surface of the waves. She has never not provided for them, and the only reason why they ran out of food during the war with the Giyu was all due to their own negligence. Over time, this has only increased their ritualistic sacrifices for their greater good.
Sacrificial magic is considered a type of Blood magic and is the main magic of the Sk'älik peoples. Giving up things in exchange for power or an effect. This most often comes in the form of the most precious resource the Sk'älik have: food. For whatever reason, most Tam'nýer—a''ns find sacrificial magic difficult to comprehend, because at times it may seem as though the sacrifice is not worth the effect. And unlike blood magic, it cannot last past the caster's lifetime, and dies with the caster.
Sacrificial magic requires a deep belief, a stomach for the act, and a mind capable of withstanding emotional pain. In order to perform a proper sacrifice for the benefit of magic blessing or enhancement of sorts, you must offer up something that is of great personal value, e.g., food, as mentioned above, or an ability you possess. Perhaps a skill you learned during your lifetime is worth forgetting forever for the gained benefit of financial freedom? But do you have the belief and devotion to your God great enough to truly mean it? If deemed false, it will not happen, and you could suffer injury.
In any case, the Sk'älik believe and practice this magic, and shockingly enough, some even sacrifice things for the greater good, not simply for personal gain. They may be a gruff species, but they do have heart.
The Sk'älik population throughout its towns and nation is approx. 502,000. While this may not seem very prosperous it can be attributed to the major fact of the war with Giyu for oceanic dominance.
As far as mating goes though, the Sk'älik can choose to stay with their partner or not. There is no stigma if a man takes off after the deed is done. What's more fascinating is the fact that they mate whilst 'dancing'; swimming in the depths of the ocean, as it is assumed that the deeper you mate, the higher the chance of pregnancy.
This dance though, can at times seem violent as their physiology permits them to entangle in multiple ways. Sometimes a pair will look elegant, flowing tightly together in fluid unison through the ocean and then suddenly wrap tightly together, cinching and almost wrestling as they ride the deep ocean currents.
The term of pregnancy for the Sk'älik is roughly 1 Tam'nýer—a''n month. However, it should be mentioned that the litters are 2-15 per pregnancy.
Reproduction: Sk'älik can only crossbreed with Humans.
*Please note that if you do wish to write a crossbred character that in Tam'nýer—a' the child will always take after the mother more
As one would assume, Sk'älik diets are primarily what the ocean has to offer, with staples being Faeries of the Sea, B'ashl, even passed on beloved pets of Þ'l. Though Þ'l are also offered up as an offering to Q'Tam'šmă. A delicacy to the Sk'älik, which is most certainly worth mentioning, is candied Gyfw-t. This is the best of the best to them, and can definitely be used as a good bargaining chip when closing deals.
The Insulars of the Sk'älik seem like an illusion in the distance when traveling underwater. Usually carved out of the dried husk of an ancient creature resembling that of a fried egg jellyfish spanning hundreds of meters wide, or platforms akin to bleached coral reefs are these miniature ports of civilization. At a higher elevation than their homeland, much like the main Insular, these places offer the Sk'älik a way to interact and trade with the other races and are the marketplaces of sea-dwelling and land-dwelling creatures alike. All insulars other than the main one attached to Sk'ïenaik are only a couple hundred feet under the surface of the ocean as a means to be more accessible to the other species'.
The Sk'älik, being a people of the sea, do not participate in the wearing of garments, as it hinders their ability to swim. However, they may be inclined to wear jewelry. Their jewelry is exquisite, and unattainable, unless a Sk'älik claims you to be family, as it is disgraceful to sell their 'jewels'. But in an odd twist of reality, the Sk'älik primarily wear jewelry only on special occasions or on the Insulars where they know they will run into members of other races. It is considered a way to beautify themselves, but also to fit in and have a relatable connection to the land dwellers.
Sk'älik jewellery reflects heavily of the richness of their home: the ocean. Relying on animal sinew for cord, the corals the Sk'älik care for and protect so diligently and naturally forming rocks and minerals, Sk'älik jewelry is nothing short of beautiful. Some pieces require no sinew from the dead creatures below the surface, and are solid stone, usually bearing some carving.
However, it should be noted that Sk'älik, despite having a means of trade and commerce by selling it, they refuse. Giving away or selling jewellery from their home to a foreigner is viewed as disrespectful, and taking their natural resources for
granted. Odd though that this seems to be a hypocritical belief, as the Sk'älik have no problems harvesting corals and selling them, albeit they do price gouge because they are the only species that has the ability of doing so.
For the love rituals of the deep, like most things, the Sk'älik generally don't like to share their culture. But, for the sake of understanding, here it is; Sk'älik are forceful. Like the currents they swim with and against, when it comes to romance they are just as relentless. They make themselves and their feelings known, wasting no time proving their feelings are true.
In fact, if you aren't a Sk'älik and find yourself admired by one— buckle up! The attention and offerings might make you feel drowned. Whatever gifts you do get given though tend to be useful, as well as practical, rather than a mere trinket.
The ritual of marriage for the Sk'älik people is a continuation of the sacrifice element of their culture. In a sort of daring action, the couple find a cave were their ceremony will happen. The overseer of the marriage, usually an individual who has been a teacher or is highly respected by both partners, will build a fire when the cave empties of the ocean with the tides.
Once the fire is strong, the two individuals then cut each other. The cutting, and bleeding into the fire, symbolizes their trust of their lives within each other, and their willingness to sacrifice for each other as well, which in turn is an admittance of devotion. As a means to show to the rest of the world that a Sk'älik is taken, there is an exchange of either bracelets, or more traditionally, a piercing of one of their fins.
As they are ocean dwelling it comes as no surprise that they are disposed of in the sea. However, there Sk'älik actually tie down their dead in order to feed their precious corals and ensure that their home always has the nutrients it requires. The highest honour is to help preserve for the future.
The main instrument of Sk'ïenaik is the Hydraulophone.
One would think that while sound travels well across water, it wouldn't really work under the surface. However, the Sk'älik are fans of music, just like anyone else, except that they are more fond of higher pitched tones because it can be heard above the usual sounds in the ocean; fish swimming about, and weeds caught in the currents. The instrument they are quite particular on requires water pressurized at different levels of pressurization, this creates the different tones, or notes.
For the Sk'älik, their dances are somewhat similar to the Giyu. However, a major difference is that dancing is usually only for the males of the species, and that the dances are noted by pauses in the dances, letting the underwater current rotate their bodies intermittently. The Giyu, in contradiction, are basically always in motion when dancing under the surface of the water, and with all limbs. The Sk'älik take these iconic pauses as a symbol of being moved by their mother: Q'Tam'šmă.
Right now Sk'älik culture is in a flux when it comes to romantic/sexual partners. This stems back to Sẙg—stà', the Sk'älik/Giyu war. Their species took a massive beating population wise and unfortunately their reproductive rate is slow. Whilst homosexual couples used to be seen as 'stronger willed' due to clearly not having children in mind, they were understood to be more ambitious, or higher-reaching, ergo 'strong willed'.
New homosexual couples are looked down upon in cruel contrast because they are not actively helping their species or the rebuilding of their homeland, Sk'ïenaik, by not aiding to renew the dwindling population. However, this discrimination can be mitigated if the same-sex couple are active in other ways, such as being food gatherers for the ill and the dying, or by adopting as a means to pay their 'debt' to society.
Older homosexual couples, those formed during Sẙg—stà', are in turn free from this societal prejudice in its entirety, although, most of them have by now since died.