lundi 23 avril 2007


Ruthless conquerors, enlightened nomads, space pirates, "man's best friends"... the Nyills are many things to many people. They are in fact complex beings, always caught between honoring the past, living the present and preparing the future. In many ways they resemble humans, sharing their sense of destiny, posterity and adventure; this connection was recognized as early as the first meeting between them, on Tau Ceti. The Nyills are carbon-based, oxygen-breathing humanoids, often described -- by humans -- as a cross between a man and a dog or jackal, akin to the ancient god Anubis. Nyills are sexuate, being divided into two sexes, and viviparous. Omnivorous, they usually follow high-protein diets, rich in red meat and meat substitutes. Nyills average 2.2 meters and 120 kg, with little differences between male and female. Most Nyills are covered with a short gray to reddish-brown fur. Their senses are acute, especially their vision and smell; their particularly delicate nostrils are protected with one or two skin flaps. Their four-fingered hands, capable of complex movement, have non-retractable claw-like nails protruding from the first knuckle. Average life expectancy for male and female Nyills is 125 and 112, respectively. Nyills communicate in a manner similar to humans, by exhaling air through vocal chords situated at the base of their throats. The original Nyill home world, Hyen, is a rather desolate place by human standards, dominated by vast, dry steppes and severe seasonal change. Temperatures can rise as high as 40°C in the summer, and as low as -50°C during the dark winter. Originally descended from pack hunters/chasers, the Nyills have almost invariably kept a thoroughly nomadic lifestyle. They have continued living as nomads on the planets they colonized, first with STL generation ships, then through FTL technology stolen from Vulcrons. The notion of clan is central to Nyill society; it is the most important unit in Nyill society, perhaps more so than an individual's immediate family. Numbering in the hundred of millions -- sometimes billions -- they often span lots planetary systems and offer a multitude of opportunities for the adventuresome young Nyills, who are expected to go learn about the universe as soon as they're finished formal education. The 35 traditional clans were already clearly defined at the beginning of the Nyill-Hemenor wars, which started around 2,000 years before year zero of the Bash Nyill's calendar (roughly -44,000 BC. ). The legendary wars are said to have lasted more than 1,500 years, as Nyill might and cunning clashed with the technology and careful strategies of their diminutive genetic cousins. The wars ended in a near-apocalyptic ecological catastrophe, as new weapons of mass destruction threatened the already-delicate balance of the planet. In order to survive, the two related races had to learn how to appreciate each other's strengths and abilities. The emergence of the mysterious religious figure known as the Hyeannaeh is often associated with this coming together of the two species. Now the great majority of Nyill planetary societies are based on peaceful cohabitation with Hemenor (and sometimes human) sedentary populations, who handle most administrative matters. Clans keep on continually struggling from prominence, fighting traditional enemies with the help of traditional allies.

Source: Earhbound (Ghislain Barbe & Elie Charest)

Illustration: Ghislain Barbe

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