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“We stare at those creatures of the Great Beyond. Those beings whose existence rose based on light from the furious blaze at the top of the world. Those who have their bodies squished, divided into two. Those demons from the realm of darkness, purging all those unfortunate enough to become part of this world. The creatures who claim vast empires, yet whose brains are stunted from birth, their potential limited so that they may suffer ever more. We are Eriaroon, and we wonder, how could such beings come to be. What sin they must have committed in their lives to be tortured so.”
Erialgos Rezalam Shurotoga Shumtuncha-Zelim, Diviner of the Great Beyond
The Eriaroons (Aktiniki enkefalou) are a carbon-based race of intelligent aquatic cephalopods. Unlike most species with access to spacefaring technology, the Eriaroons are entirely aquatic and use gills rather than lungs. The species originates from the world of Uroncayde, an icy moon in orbit around the frozen gas giant known as Pailexa. Rather than the light of a star, life on this was instead provided with energy via hydrothermal vents. Eriaroons are notable for using a mixed chlorocruorin and hemocyanin blood system, making their blood appear aqua in color. Their skin possesses small areas which contain bioluminescent material. Rather than bilateral symmetry, Eriaroons have a radial symmetry in four directions. These features make the Eriaroons an exotic spacefaring race. Eriaroons have large and powerful brains, but the growth of their nervous system is not regulated. This causes them to mature rapidly but die at a rather young age.
The society of the Eriaroons is known as the Eriaroon Eugenic Republic. It is notable for its mastery of genetic engineering and the religious belief system, which posits this reality as the underworld for unworthy souls and in which the only escape from an even worse fate is to find a way to break free of this dimension.
Eriaroons are based upon carbon, and are similar to most lifeforms in terms of their biochemical composition. They use water as a solvent and also for respiration by using gills to acquire oxygen from the liquid. Unlike life on planets such as Earth, the chirality of an Eriaroons amino acids is dextrorotary and their sugars levorotary, however this has little impact on them. Eriaroons do not use DNA, but rather a substance known as ORNA to store their genetic information. Eriaroons live in oxygen rich water and their blood is less efficient at carrying oxygen than that of a human, so to them being in atmospheric oxygen levels can result in suffocation after a prolonged period.
External Anatomy Edit
Eriaroons are adapted to survive in a wide range of temperatures. They can survive prolonged exposure to hydrothermal vents and very cold water. The species lives within high pressures compared to terrestrial life, so Eriaroons have a tendency to burst in atmospheric pressure.
The skin of an Eriaroon is typically black and coated in a slimy substance that can react with chemicals they excrete to become adhesive as a defense mechanism and movement aid.. Despite being flexible, Eriaroon skin is sensitive to touch and is fleshy, making it easy to tear and break apart. As a result of a mutation, the Eriaroons have portions of their skin which express bioluminescent qualities. These cyan patches are often shed within weeks but continue to appear as additional skin layers in most locations on an Eriaroon. The patches can be illuminated and dimmed on command and serve as a method of lighting dark areas when needed or as a method of communication. On the very top of an Eriaroon is a large, rigid armor plate, which protects their central nervous system.
Eriaroons have a total of twelve tentacles. Eight of these are small, flexible tentacles with single points at their tips. These tentacles aid with changing directions while swimming and can also rapidly become rigid to aid in grasping. The remaining four tentacles are larger and more muscular, and end in three-pronged graspers which are used to hook into various objects and also for manipulation.
Eriaroons have four tubular structures at the very "bottom" of their bodies. These tubes intake nutrients through a combination of sucking in water and filter feeding. These structures can also serve as jets to propel an Eriaroon. They are very simple structures compared to the mouths of most intelligent creatures.
Eriaroons possess four eyes. These eyes can detect light and dark but not color. They are similar in importance to an Eriaroon as smell is to a human. An Eriaroon's main sense is touch. They use their many tentacles to gather tactile information about their environment. Eriaroons also have small elevations on their skin which are specialized to detect heat. Eriaroons have four appendages that appear to be sets of tubes on their heads. Each one is designed to detect sound, chemical composition and balance. They can also be used as jets to launch water out of and for the equivalent of "verbal" communication. Finally, Eriaroons can vaguely detect electrical activity due to the spines on their "top" portion. This ability, although useful for detecting large and sudden muscle movements, also makes Eriaroons unnerved by electricity in a similar way to how humans despise powerful odors or incredibly loud sounds.
Eriaroons are able to absorb large amounts of nutrients from the water thanks to their typical environment being very rich in microbes that create compounds they can break down. As well as filter feeding used on tiny or microscopic organisms, Eriaroons mainly consume portions of sedentary beings analogous to plants or fungi. Although they are able ingest meat if needed, Eriaroons have difficulty digesting it and prefer gelatinous materials if they are forced to consume mobile creatures.
The Eriaroon digestive system is simple. They have a single stomach, which uses combined microbial and chemical digestion to break down compounds. The mix of compounds is then sent to a tube which acts as an intestine, collecting and absorbing nutrients. At the end of this tube, undigested waste material is liquidized and released into the water where it dilutes.
Internal Anatomy Edit
The Eriaroon central nervous system is comprised of four "sub-brains" and a single "main brain". Each radial side of an Eriaroon has a sub-brain dedicated to controlling its movements. These small neural organs can be regenerated if lost. The main brain, however, cannot be repaired if damaged. The Eriaoon brain is almost spherical shape, located within the armored plate on their "top" portion. This brain holds all memories, senses all emotions, and makes all conscious decisions. It also receives sensory input and stimuli. The main brain continues to grow as new knowledge is gained. Eriaroons have nearly eidetic memories and excellent logical skills as a result. However, gradually this brain expands too far, and their bodies struggle to support it. Eventually it either begins to atrophy or, more commonly, is crushed after being pressed against the very plate supposed to protect it.
The circulatory system of an Eriaroon is unusual. Rather than hemoglobin, Eriaroons use a combination of the blood pigments hemocyanin and chlorocruorin. Hemocyanin contains copper and chlorcurorin contains iron, and if one element is in short supply production of the alternative pigment is increased. This adaptation was developed as result of many areas in Eriaroon habitats being rich in one of these materials but not both. As a result of this combination, Eriaroon blood is an aquamarine color when oxygenated and a pale red when not. Eriaroons have simple and small hearts existing mainly to create pigments and pump them throughout the body via arteries and veins. Neither pigment is contained within a cell, instead moving freely through the bloodstream. However, neither are as efficient as hemoglobin. Although not a major issue in a typical Eriaroon environment, this can result in them slowly suffocating in surface levels of oxygen.
The gills of an Eriaroon, of which they have four, are located just above their tube like "mouth" structure, slightly to the side. As water is taken in for filter feeding, it is also sent to the gills which process the water and collect oxygen from it. The oxygen is then sent to the heart where it can be distributed to the rest of the body. Eriaroons can regenerate their gills but death I extremely likely if more than one is damaged at the same time.
Being invertebrates, Eriaroons have no spinal cords or spines. Indeed, they have no bones at all. However, they do make use of reinforced cartilage combined with a gelatinous substance as a kind of flexible skeleton. Although easily broken, these structures can also be much more easily repaired than bone.
Eriaroons have large and powerful brains. They are much less regulated in growth than in most creatures. Eriaroons as such have almost eidetic memories and are capable of easily performing calculations and making rational decisions. They tend to be rather timid, relying on speed and agility rather than strength in a fight. Eriaroons have an unusual sense of direction owing to their radial symmetry. They view up and down as the most vital and distinguishable directions, and view lateral directions as essentially identical. Eriaroons are usually seen as cynical, however this is mainly from cultural impacts rather than a natural biological predisposition.
Eriaroons reproduce using eggs. These eggs are released through their tube-like "mouths". An Eriaroon can release as many as 16 eggs in one "spawning session", however only rarely do they survive long enough to hatch. Eriaroon eggs are genetically identical to their parents, relying on high levels of background radiation to produce mutations and the ability of ORNA to be rapidly repaired to keep them alive and functional. Genetic engineering technology has resulted in natural births being uncommon but they are still undertaken. It takes around 2 months for an egg to hatch.
The history of the Eriaroon race can be traced back to the very beginning of life on Uroncayde. However, as with most species, much of their early history can only be speculated upon using limited evidence. The Eriaroons divide their history into three categories: Evolutionary History, Prehistory and Societal History. Evolutionary History is based upon the evolution of the Eriaroon species, and which physiological characteristics it developed at which time in the past. Prehistory is an area of religious study involving attempting to discern what the previous life souls come from was like, and is an important part of the Eriaroon religion. Societal History is essentially what most humans would consider to be history, involving important individuals, past events, the development of civilizations and the creation of technology.
Evolutionary History Edit
The Eriaroons are believed to have evolved from a category of species simply known as Eriarooniforms. The "progenitor" species of the Eriarooniforms is believed to be Aktiniki kardiamys, a creature which is speculated to have had moderate intelligence for an animal. The species is thpught to be physically similar to an Eriaroon, but smaller and with weaker limbs. Like all Eriarooniforms, Aktiniki kardiamys is considered to have had an unregulated growth system, with an estimated average lifespan of 15 years before heart failure. The next step in the evolution towards Eriaroons (who are known scientifically as Aktiniki enkefalou) is Aktiniki eponemovina, which is speculated to have been the point at which the main brain became powerful enough to be considered truly intelligent. It is believed that this species was capable of using simple tools such as stones, reeds, corals and shells. Over time, Aktiniki eponemovina developed into the modern Eriaroon.
Societal History Edit
The earliest recorded society on Uroncayde is known as the Juushal Civilization, after the modern name of its location. This civilization developed stone structures and used soft forges (hydrothermal vents, in other words) to create simple masonry. It is believed the Jusshal Civilization was destroyed by an influx of nomadic raiders and scavengers. The Juushal are known to have developed simplistic writing, creating sculptures used to record language in a tactile manner. This system would be commonly adopted by later Eriaroon societies.
- The Eriaroon is Methanogen's most normal creature so far in terms of biochemistry but the most unusual in form of anatomy.
- The Eriaroon Biology page is also Methanogen's first featured article, an occurrence which Methanogen is rather surprised by but glad for.