The Kauld are a reptilian species native to the planet Capek.
The Kauld are humanoid reptilians in appearance with a distinctive ridged brow and ridged scales down the back of the head. Some Kauld also feature small spikes on their cheeks, which they consider to be a mark of age. Kauld blood is milky-white in color. Like humans, Kauld are four limbed bipeds and have five digits on both their hands and feet. Their hairless scales are thick, hard, can withstand temperatures in excess of 49 degrees celsius and are divided in four basic ethnic groups; coloured either purple, green, brown or black. The Kauld have a very acute sense of smell and can track a scent up to 50 metres away.
Kauld reproduce like many other species through sexual coupling of males and females. Since both male and female Kauld reproductive organs are internalised in the abdomen, fertilisation of a female Kauld is achieved through vigorous rubbing which transfers the male seed to female egg sacs through the skin. The organs themselves are almost identical in both male and female, with the distinction being the female's egg sacs and in the males, a small pouch under the left arm, covered by a skin flap.
Once fertilised, the female's eggs will grow inside her for 4 to 6 months until they are naturally expelled and will hatch almost instantly. The average female will lay a clutch of anything from one to three eggs per hatching and will not be fertile again for at least another three years. Kauld young are surprisingly tough and can usually walk within three months and once fully matured can reach an average height of 150 to 200 cm and an average weight of 58 to 103 kg.
Kauld society is male oriented, though there are no obstacles to female Kauld seeking power, culturally the females tend to prefer family duties above any such ambitions. The majority of Kauld belong to a large "middle class" with a smaller proportion belonging to the lower and upper classes.
The structure of the society itself is group oriented with a great deal of rivalry amongst its many groups. These range from family ties to business associations, religious groups, academic societies and military bands. For an individual Kauld, their status in society rests on how well he or she serves their particular group.
Kauld were originally an outdoor species, going indoors only when necessary which is still reflected in their architecture which favors large balconies and only small rooms. Over time, like many other species they began living indoors, though the old styles and traditions remained. Kauld architecture also reflects the culture's long history of internal conflict with cities built with streets so narrow that even pedestrians can just barely get by. This was originally to protect against invaders from entering their cities with war machines and forcing any ground troops to go two or three at a time, leaving them vulnerable to the defenders. Again, like with their balconies Kauld culture and technology have rendered such features redundant, though tradition persists in perpetuating the old styles. Despite all that however, Kauld are still very big on nature and like to be outdoors as much as possible.
A passionate people, the Kauld have a well deserved reputation for aggression and belligerence, especially if they feel they are being cheated or insulted. They also possess a keen sense of freedom and do not take well to being told what to do or constrained by anyone outside of their own authorities, as such they tend to prefer the company of their own kind. With very few exceptions, Kauld marriages are long-standing and both male and female Kauld are very loyal to their respective mates with infidelity being punishable by death. In the Kauld language, there is no equivalent word for "discretion".
When it comes to recreation Kauld mostly favor contact sports, such as Kratah; a team sport that can be described as a mixture of Earth hockey and lacrosse and can get especially vicious. The Kauld are also very fond of the Mutai, a single combat blood sport originally invented by the Hassk but has since become cherished by many worlds. Another favored form of sport is in non-lethal weaponry competitions, such as archery, spear and knife throwing as well as graal tossing. They also have equivalents of swimming, skiing, Rokan riding, skating, wrestling, Okat (which is somewhat comparable to Earth polo) and of course most Kauld are avid game hunters.
For more general recreation the Kauld enjoy group singing, folkdancing, poem-plays and storytelling. The Kauld are very big on nature and like to be outdoors as much as possible. Kauld art forms range from Poem-Plays to storytelling, crystal and stone sculpture, the serpent dance (a very stylized dance using live snakes), music with drums & flutes. The Kauld do not paint or draw and have no media-based art forms like Vids as they prefer live performance.
Kauld culture consists of three primary religions: -
- Thrazda, the Way of the Fighter, is the dominant belief. It consists of a warrior code that includes worship of the sun and stars.
- Kri Maru, the Sun Child, is a more gentle religion than Thrazda and is growing in popularity. It emphasizes peaceful cooperation between all sentient beings, with the prime deity being Droshalla, a being whose light fills the world and lights the way. The Kri Maru traditionally perform a ritual called the Transcendence of Dro'shalla. It involves small children swatting a Kauld adult playing the role of Dro'shalla across the behind with sticks wrapped in green and purple ribbons. For every swat, "Dro'shalla" must give the child a piece of Y'Tzeem. Kri Maru followers believe that a blessing can be transferred from someone who was near Droshalla during a visitation. Such a blessing is transferred by touching a person or object who was in close proximity to a holy event or visitation.
- Chayar, the Desert Path, is an ancient religion which centers around Capeks Desert Lords.
There are also a few minor religious cults on Cyrus III and in keeping with the argumentative nature of Kauld, there is often rivalry between the adherents of all of the different faiths. Kauld theology also includes patron saints and deities of different occupations, for example: Shokalla, the patron of pilots, whose image is often made in the form of hollow statues. Though held as sacred by Kauld, idols of Shokalla, like all Kauld statues have no intrinsic value. Some Kauld also observe the Sacred Day of Chu'dag, a ceremony centered around Chu'dag, patron of soldiers.