Zorren are the native species of Virgo Prime and were the undisputed hegemons of the Virgo-Erigone System… Thousands of years ago. A cataclysm has happened in the distant past and destroyed their interstellar empire and hurled their homeworld into a catastrophic climate crisis.
Zorren today are the remnant of the survivors of this catastrophe and have generally regressed into a more primitive society, even though they remain interstellar. Nonetheless, they are acutely aware of what they were once and try to achieve their former glory, by rediscovering their own, lost knowledge.
- Zorren have their own language, Terminus, which you can speak by typing #4
- Zorren can wear most clothing, but they prefer light, layered clothes in bright colours, due to their usual living standards.
- Zorren have no species wide restriction on diet, whereas other species might.
- Zorren have dark blue blood!
Zorren bear a striking resemblance to the standard sapient found in the galaxy and share similarities with the Skrell, Unathi and Humans. Commonly defined body systems are the nervous, the cardiovascular, the circulatory, the digestive, the endocrine, the immune, the integumentary, the lymphatic, the musculoskeletal, the reproductive, the respiratory, and the urinary system. These are very similar to the common skrell or even human, with only some difference.
They are closely related to the Vulpkanin, even achieving cross-fertility with them with only minor edits to the genome necessary. Offspring between Zorren or Vulpkanin often express genetic traits of the latter, although often smaller in overall height and with larger ears.
Most notably, their blood has no red blood cells - Instead their gas transport within their body is carried by free floating proteins called Hemocyanin. These use copper instead of iron atoms to bind gasses. The result is a light, transparent blood colour which becomes deep blue when exposed to oxygen, whether due to respiration or due to blood loss.
Zorren reach an average height of 132 cm (4 feet and 4 inches) for both male or female, although this might be caused by the general lack of proteins and calories in their diet. The highest recorded Zorren has reached heights of 168 cm (5 feet and 6 inches), leading to the conclusion that the real average height of a Zorren is around 145 cm (4 feet and 9 inches) when properly fed.
Zorren’s sexual dimorphism is not readily apparent as mammary glands are relatively small and sometimes covered by their fine, voluminous fur, though females have generally wider hips and smaller shoulders. Smaller Zorren sometimes lack these, however.
A Zorren’s ears can range from upright and medium-large to slightly splayed and very large. This is largely dependent on ethnicity and is not ascribed to a particular sub species as Zorren are too genetically similar to each other for this - It is a simple expression of particular phenotypes.
Zorren reproduce sexually per internal fertilization with a gestation period of 32 to 34 weeks, usually in litter sizes of one or two. Birth is generally an arduous endeavor with an increased risk of the mother Zorren to die during childbirth without proper and adequate medical attention.
Children are generally born blind and helpless and remain non independent for a long time. Zorren reach sexual maturity at 14, however they keep on growing and maturing until the age of 20. Culturally, 20 years is considered the start of actual adulthood.
The lifespan of the average Zorren is 60 years. However, this number is estimated by the current medical standards on Virgo Prime. Genetic profiling and living examples show that Zorren could in theory live much longer, up to 120 years with proper medical care.
Culture and Religion
There can be only a guess how many separate and diverged cultures of Zorren exist on Virgo Four, for now, as exploration, sociological studies and extensive 3D mapping of the planetary surface are considered a tertiary priority to NT, rather focused on settling the negotiated habitable land and exploiting the system for its Phoron. However, due to continued dealings, two distinct Zorren groups are known and stand in relative regular contact with outsiders.
First and foremost are the Royal Zorren. Highland Zorren do prefer more fertile and temperate grounds for their agriculture, but live pretty much anywhere a sedentary lifestyle is viable.
Royal Zorren are highly stratified and live in castes with little upwards mobility, being either born “Bound to Land”, “Bound to Arms” or “Bound to Blood”. These castes are strictly hereditary.
“Bound to Land”
Zorren are the archetypical serf. They have little rights and are not allowed to move away from their birthplace without the allowance of their lord. Thus, many Landbounders live their entire life living in the same place, toiling and working for a noble and getting their hard earned wealth extracted.
This, however, has a reason. Agriculture is very hard and arduous on Virgo Prime and soil cultivation takes entire generations to actually create fertile, rich grounds from the frontier and wasteland Virgo 4 has become. It also involves a lot of manual labour and not everyone is willing to endure such. Thus, to both work for a better future and to ensure that enough food for everyone is cultivated, the serfs have to stay - So, at least, the reasoning of the Boundblooders.
Serfs have to pay high taxes to their lord, need to get his permission to move residence, to marry or to take up another trade than farming. Latest rarely happens. They are also required to spend at least 20 days a year on the fields of the feudal lord or perform other manual labour for him.
Landbounders usually do not take up arms - in fact they are forbidden to do so - but in wartime they may be called to a levy of their feudal lord. This is one of the rare opportunities for a Landbounder to become free. If he shows bravery and mettle in battle, he becomes an Armsbounder. Another possibility is to buy himself and all his future offspring free. This rarely happens and usually marks that the cultivated land has been rendered fully restored and fertile again, a joyous occasion which usually leads to the customary gift of said land to the new, free family.
73% of all Highland Zorren are born bound to land.
“Bound to Arms”
refers to the primary obligation of the following Zorren Caste, the military service. However, in exchange, a Armsbounder is born a free person and are not required to stay in one place and are free to wander or take up any trade they wish to have. Many take up an art or work owned land as Free Farmers. They serve as the backbone of the bureaucracy of the Zorren Kingdoms, as well as core of any military - most professional soldiers are Armsbounders, either being born into it or ascended from particular levy veterans, one of the few means of a Landbounder to ascend higher.
Armsbounders are still very much below the Bloodbounders and are required to dutifully serve them in the time of need in the form of the Fyrdlevy, a call to arms in times of war. Weapons and equipment must be paid out of the own pocket of the Armsbounder, which leads to a varying degree of battle readiness and troop composition. Richer Armsbounder can buy themselves free of their required military service by either paying into the war chest or contributing with naturals or goods to the cause. This is done often.
However, there exist some influential Armsbounder, especially in the wealthier farmer families having grown rich from ancient, re-cultivated land, using their funds to press for more rights and privileges and subverting the subservience required to the Bloodbounders.
For a Armsbounder to ascend to a Bloodbounder, there must be some extraordinary deed the Armsbounder has done. This might be saving a Bloodbounder’s life or years upon years of loyal and outstanding service. To found a new Bloodline is very, very rare.
26% of all Highland Zorren are born bound to arms, with 4% of these being rich, influential merchant and farmer barons.
“Bound to Blood”
are the true elite of the Royal Zorren, their priest nobles and leaders. Virtually any noble born Royal Zorren is literate and educated at least in the basics of their culture and beyond. Nobleborn Zorren represent the true richness of the Zorren, having the most funds, power and prestige, leading in almost any venue of life, be it in learning, culture or warfare. Only Bloodbounders are allowed to lead troops or grant the permission to build and found communities - an effort often paid out of his own pocket. Bloodbounders serve in any government function as the highest authority and from them comes the legitimization of many institutions, such as town guards, soldiers, researchers or their corporations.
Bloodbounders are first and foremost loyal to their family - their clan. The intricacies of dynastic politics are byzantine and complex, where marriages and inheritance are just as effective tools of power than pure strength of arms. Many unions between noble families are purely done out of family reasons, with love being a distant, secondary concern.
Bloodbounders inherit their lands and titles by primogeniture with true cognatic preference. Thus, the firstborn inherits all titles of their parent upon death bed without care if it is a male or a female.
Royal Zorren, true to their name, organize themselves into kingdoms of semi-absolute rule, where the main political conflict reigns between the power of local magnates and noble houses against the decrees of the Monarch and their family. While many Royal Zorren have weaved a careful balance of obligation, aid and marriage alliances, the truth is that interference, power politics and violence can unravel it quickly - many Zorren Kingdoms suffer from periodic violence and civil war in time of time when their rigid caste system collapses under its own weight and insurrections surmount under the pressure.
The Ardent Flame
Beyond the temporal power, Bloodbounders lead the Cult of the Ardent Flame, a mystic congregation exalting the Advance of Society and Order.Many nobles are also the priest of their parishes and the Proctor levies much influence as leader of the local believers. The Ardent Flame symbolizes the light and drive of civilized people against the darkness of barbarism and only the excessive hedonism and waste of civilization’s gifts of the precursor Zorren has led to the descent of Virgo Prime to its savage, broken state. And thus, the Royal Zorren see themselves as Custodians trying to restore the planet with order, steel and sweat.
The Cult of the Ardent Flame is manifold of use for the Bloodbounders - It is a legitimization of their rule (invoking the rigid society is an extension of order), an anchor in the often poor and sometimes miserable lives of the Landbounders and as a counter force against reform of the current society’s system.
Only a measly 1% of all Zorren is actually born into a noble family and therefore Bound by Blood.
Free Tribe Zorren
Free Tribe Zorren do not live necessarily in flatlands either and their designation as "Flatlanders" can be traced back again to the first NT contacts with the Zorren. There the noble ambassadors of the Royal Zorren referred to them as “Flatfooters”, which would be today translated rather as “footpad” than “Flatlander”. However, their penchant of a nomadic lifestyle and their main living areas being the wastes of Virgo Prime made the name stuck.
Tribal Zorren are nomadic shepherds, craftsmen and occasional raiders, with less social stratification than the Highlanders. They are quick to recognize quality in works and even a lowly artisan can raise to quite high social status if he proves him useful, savvy and influential.
A “Banner” is the main unit of tribal organisation, representing the clan of Zorren, usually consisting of closely knitted extended family groups. Joining a Banner is a process of several influential members of the Banner vouching for one. In theory, this is available to everyone who could prove himself useful. In practice, only other Flatlanders enjoy being integrated into a Banner.
A Banner travels together in a set territory they claim as their own, patrolling it with warriors and exploiting it with shepherds and artisans. If another Banner infringes on this territory, there will be conflict. This happens frequently.
A Banner is lead by a Bannerlord and his council.
Bannerlords are the elite of the Free Tribe Zorren, almost universally fearsome warlords and fighters, having made their name on countless raids and tribal clashes. Their word is absolute and they decide what the Banner on the whole does.
Bannerlord is not a hereditary title - Rather, every decade (or if the Bannerlord died), there is a call to the Banners. Every Zorren has the right to plant his own banner into the ground, upon which other Zorren can gather and declare their allegiance to this specific prospect of a bannerlord.
In reality, Zorren often value their previous bannerlords or other Zorren of similar renown. Most of the time, the previous Bannerlord or his protege gathers the most support, leaving other Zorren who have called to the Banners with greatly diminished numbers.
This, however, is on purpose. Either, the smaller Bannerlords wander off to claim their own territory somewhere, or they swear allegiance to the Bannerlord with the most Zorren. Thus, they become powerful lieutenants and council members for the Bannerlord.
While Tribal Zorren do not recognize a divine right to rule solely based on blood, relations to a famous figure among the Free Tribe Zorren carries a certain clout. This phenomenon is called “Bloodname”, where a prestigious family can become a force of its own. Free Tribe Zorren are, however, entitled to disassociate from their Bloodname and try and make their own fortune.
The Broken Cycle
The Broken Cycle is the syncretic shamanist religion of the Free Tribes. While local traditions, chants and rituals vary from Banner to Banner and region to region, the universal belief that the hubris of the Pecursors has led to the destruction of Virgo Four must be atoned.
Because the ancient Precursors have tampered in playing deities, the eternal cycle of death and rebirth has been broken, leaving Virgo Four on a permanent state of being mostly dead and decaying - Thus, the Zorren must atone by living short, brutish lives and do their best to survive.
This has the reason to repair the Broken Cycle, by imbuing their souls with scars of having lived long, well or brutal. Upon death, the forehead of a Free Tribe believer is carved into to release the soul and let it whisk away to the Forge of Seasons to be hammered into a chain link for the Cycle. If there are enough well lived souls refined in such a way, Virgo Prime will be reborn, verdant and free again.
Thus, believers tend to seek risks and survive them, proving their worth and scarring their soul, making it hardened and strong to survive the process of eventual refinement. The worst that could happen to a Free Tribe Zorren is to die young or to die without receiving their funeral rites, trapping their soul in a rotting body forever.
The Zorren have a complicated relationship with technology, as they see it as destabilizing influence in the lives of their kingdoms, while the Free Tribes cannot use much technology if it is not hardened against the rigors of their nomadic lifestyles and the wastes of Virgo 4. However, they also value their precursors and have an almost worshipful relationship with artifacts left behind - thusly, their technological level varies wildly between kingdoms and castes.
Most of the research and technological progress is not through classical advancements, but rather by reverse-engineering, refurbishing and understanding precursor technology, with entire branches and universities devoted solely on datamining and reintegrating ancient artifacts into the industry of the Zorren - ancient devices being reverse-engineered or otherwise adapted with local understandings of technology to function to some degree. So do powerful computers who have been used for quantum calculation to simple PDAs working on silicon-processors much like NT's PDAs.
This leads to the Zorren to be technologically advanced enough to be considered an interstellar species, even though they lack the industry and knowhow on how to actually produce ships en masse, with many kingdoms actually refusing to step away and create/discover technology that is not based on precursor designs or directly adapted from their technology. It is a matter of honour.
Zorren are mostly concerned with their own affairs and are, with exceptions, usually very wary of outsiders of their cultural circles. This includes NT, humans and other aliens, usually dubbing them “Outlanders” and viewing them with a mixture of wary curiosity and thinly veiled contempt. Royal Zorren are usually more willing to work together with othjer species and some are actually quite amiable, such as the Kingdom of An-Tahk-Et, who agree both to let NT carry out expeditions on their territory and to let Offworlders settle in the corporate town Anur.
Beyond that, the Commonwealth has agreed to a Non-Aggression Pact, as well as trade concessions with the Zorren Kingdoms as a whole, organizing trade expeditions with the help of NT, while the Elysian Colonies and the Ares Confederation rather deal with the kingdoms directly.
|Species on Vorestation|
Akula - Angels - Demi-Humans - Demons - Dionae - Humans - Nevrean - Promethean - Rapala - Sergal - Skrell - Tajaran - Teshari - Unathi - Vasilissans - Vox - Vulpkanin - Xenochimera - Xenomorph-Hybrids - Zorren - Alraune