“Remember the past, aim for the future, but above all... live in the present.”
- - Archon Reminocles to Predictor Advisor Jahric
The Tert'a'nai are a reclusive species in the far reaches of Segmentum Umbra, Andromeda Galaxy. They are notable for their ancestry, being related to the ancient Tertamians of the Tertamian Alliance.
Despite it being clear that Tertanai are related somehow to the Tertamians, the exact origin of the species is unknown. Following the contact of Tertanai with Radeons, similarily related to the Andromedan ancients, many Tertanai believe that they are Tertamians' creations of some sort, like Radeons were the creations of Rades. Of course, this theory is disputed and not accepted in the whole Ascendancy; some Tertanai believed they descended from Tertamians directly, perhaps a result of them destroying their own technology with the intent of abandoning oppression of complex sociological problems in order to live a more simple life. There are also those who believe that Tertanai, and perhaps the Tertamians, were the creations of some divine entities, usually referenced in Illidian as Ata'lani.
No matter what was behind the Tertanai's existence, their written history begins a few thousands of years ago, on different worlds and star systems scattered across what is now known as the Ascendancy Space. Various conditions in these worlds resulted in different subspecies and races being born; as such, Tertanai are notably diverse genetically. As time passed, civilisation began to emerge out of their homeworlds and expand into space.
The most notable world during this early space age was Tirar; a cultured and proud world with a long religious and imperial history; home to the Cult of Ata'lani and the longest-standing Tertanai planetary state; its unity and power were a result of vast metal deposits on their homeworld and its enormous military force more than anything else. Eventually, though cultural, religious, economical and political dominance, Tirar became the head of Tertanai community. Its ideology became prominent everywhere and its network of viceroys eventually spread, forming an aristocratic Ascendancy Cluster.
However, over time, the Tirar ruling family became ineffectual; viceroys split and became kings in their own right; petty crime and power struggles became wars between worlds, and the Imperial government shattered into countless feudal realms. Eventually, another world became prominent; Il'larion, known for its democratic culture, the youngest Tertanai planet was never under the Tirar control; ruled by its Archons with a gentle hand.
As the aristocracy became so ineffectual that poverty, war and starvation reigned, the young and ambitious ruler of Il'larion, Lord Nalarem Menali, decided to sway the dying worlds at his side through diplomacy and ambition, and also their secret weaponry: knowledge of the ancients. Menali promised freedom, democracy and end to corruption; those monarchs who submit to the new rule became the puppet rulers under his control and those who didn't suffered from Menali's new arsenal, reverse -engineered from the Tertamian Alliance itself.
Il'larion, being the ancient capital of the Tertamians, was the site of many ancient relics, moreso than other worlds, who tended to ignore them or study them less that Il'larionians. But there was more behind the ancient relics than just weapons. Menali appealed to the ancient times of the Alliance which were but myths to most of the Tertanai; it was a democracy and Menali believed his nation to be its rightful heir. This allowed his Tertanai Ascendancy to gather many followers, with Tirar and other aristocratic planetary states becoming a thing of the past. The Ascendancy enjoyed dominance over them and after years of neutrality, contact with them was strangely lost. While at first the Tertanai did not care, it turned out to be a serious threat: the Crystalline Hive.
For all the technology and power the Ascendancy had, it was not prepared to fight an extraterrestrial civilisation; an alien mind that thinks differently and acts differently was a serious threat. Wars between Tertanai were that of politics and were fought with words as much as with weapon; the Hive did not negotiate and did not have a leader. This resulted in many Tertanai worlds being overrun; in despair from these events, the old ruler did commit suicide and a new leader, Lamenar Reminocles, was elected. He had a new policy and led the Ascendancy into hiding; they managed to remain unseen by the Crystallines for five years.
Recently, however, the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth's presence caused the Crystalline attack on the very core of Tertanai society, Il'larion. While the attack devastated the ancient world to its very core, the result was the Crystalline Hive's withdrawal from the Tertanai space; later, Tertanai did participate in the battle for planet Cathemera, where most major threats to the galaxy were eliminated or at least left leaderless.
Currently, Reminocles did align himself with other nations of Segmentum Umbra to form New Tertamian Alliance, and Tertanai are now joining the Andromedan society as whole.
Physically, Tertanai aren't much different from their parents, Tertamians; they have four strong legs and a centauri body plan. There are few primary differences, though; Tertanai lack head ridges and their bodies do not always have fur; due to evolving on many worlds, they are very diverse, with their skin and hair colour varying wildly; red, bronze and dark cyan being the most common so far. Tertanai are chimeras having features of both mammals, avians and reptiles; however, they are usually referred as mammals due to feeding their young with milk. Tertanai are a monotremate-like species; females sweat milk and lay eggs; usually, there are two or three hatchlings in a clutch; Tertanai eggs hatch in a year. Unlike Terran monotremates, however, they are endothermic and overall resistant to cold.
Tertanai are not notably strong for a species of their size; an adult male Tertanai is usually around 3,2 meters tall and can grow even taller. While they are slightly stronger than humans, that merely comes from them being larger. They are, however, very fast due to Tertamians' apparent evolution from a species similar in niche to Terran horses, a trait which remained with their descendant species, and their kicks are powerful. Fully utilising this, Tertanai have developed a unique, effective if somewhat dirty combat stile, Lunai, consisting of using a mixture of punches, kicks, bites and tail swipes. The last has to be taken seriously due to their poison, which will be described in the "abilities" section.
To compensate for these strengths, Tertanai's large size puts them in disadvantage in comparison with smaller species like Radeons; they lack agility and may get stuck in smaller places; they also need a lot of food. Tertanai's diet leans toward carnivorous tendencies - more precisely, scavenging meat; their beaks are similar to that of buzzards. However, plant matter is suitable for them as well; in their cuisine, it is usually eaten as appetisers and desserts with meat being the actualy meal. Tertanai do have a resistance to poison in general, partially due to their scavenger tendencies, partially due to being poisonous themselves.
Tertanai have developed a poison in their bodies that is transferred through a tail spike. It is a potent weapon if utilised well; while not deadly, it can incapacitate a person easily. This poison is a defensive weapon more than offensive; it shuts down the nervous system for a short period of time, allowing a Tertanai to escape. Generally, however, they do consider this practice barbaric and uncultured.
Tertanai have a notably liberal culture and outlook on life, with even the regimes that they considered tyrannical, such as the aristocratic government of Tirar, being far from totalitarian; a Tertanai thinks for himself first, national and religious concerns being less important. They are known overall for being cunning, down-to-earth and somewhat emotional; they make decisions quickly and are concerned with currently important tasks rather than long-living plans; to live in the present is very important to Tertanai. Due to their culture and biology they are not open to warfare, preferring to deal with things diplomatically; they aren't any more benevolent than any other species though; noble houses of ancient Tertanai civilisations solved problems not by swords but by poison, lies and daggers, their wars being in shadow.
In the ancient times, Tertanai were ruled by kings and nobles; nowadays, they have adopted a democratic system where most of the government officials are chosen one way or another; monarchy is considered to be a thing of the past with the remnants of old ways being generally ceremonial and nominal. Tertanai are notably interested with other species' government systems, seeing them as strange, even though they are not very cosmopolitan overall.
Tertanai have a religion known as Ata'lani, notably similar to the Rambo faith in the Atlantica; whether this is a coincidence or there is something mystical behind it is unknown. They follow a pantheon of divines led by a supreme goddess, Tertame, and have a complex mythology which every Tertanai knows. However, other religions do exist. Despite all of this, most of Tertanai are agnostics or atheists, taking their faith in themselves, their friends and their science.
The Tertanai are typically considered to be one of the most sexually frivolous species in Andromeda, especially by the more conservative races of the Core: outgoing, sensual, and adventurous in amorous affairs, even outside their own species. This stereotype is seen either in a positive light (painting the Tertanai as free-spirited, liberated and free of jealousy), or in a negative one (immoral, irresponsible, degenerate). The truth is a little bit more complicated. The Tertanai are indeed more predisposed towards promiscuity, both biologically and culturally: casual sexual contacts are meant to be discussed openly and are not frowned upon. However, their relationships are in actuality no less free than those of other species, merely more frequent. The complexity of Tertanai courting etiquette may rival that of Radeons: there are strict, though not unbreakable, unspoken rules regarding the forms of sexual contact allowed in each situation, the length of each relationship, and the amount of attention one must devote to each partner. In fact, with the large role sexual relationships play in Tertanai culture, and how transparent they are, one could even argue that their love lives are even less free than those of other species.
Illidian, the language of the Tertanai, has two main words for sexual acts, between whom there is a very strict division: aramani, or the long game, and relimani, or the fast game. Both can be used for emotional relationships between lovers as well as their physical expression: the two are usually mixed together in Tertanai culture. Relimani constitutes quick, foreplay-like activities, sometimes verging into true sexual acts, that Tertanai do not consider to be signs of a true emotional attachment; though it would seem passionate and sensual to an outsider, and it generally is, there are no more strings attached to it than there is to hugging among humans. It is commonplace among friends, practiced between teenagers to alleviate their frustrations, and used at times to settle disputes and tension. Many believe that the Tertanai's cultural dislike of violence stems from that practice. Outside of informal communication, relimani also plays a role in Tertanai etiquette in general. This had caused several problems during the species' integration into a galactic community: it took quite a while for diplomats from the Brood of War to understand why the NTA's dignitaries were so frustrated and distressed during meetings, and for the dignitaries themselves to realise that the Zazane messengers' refusal to nuzzle sensually with them was not a sign of hostility.
Aramani, on the other hand, is more intimate and emotional, and resembles the traditional human concept of love and sex more closely. There are quite a few nuances to it that distinguish it, though, particularily its transparency. In general, Tertanai hold honesty in relationships as the highest virtue, perhaps one of the few things they are honest about. One is allowed to have as many aramanai as one wants, whether long-term or not, but to lie about the nature of one's relationship, or to actively hide it from the public is frowned upon. If a relationship is meant to be a one-night stand, it is meant to be agreed upon as such; if it was agreed upon as a more lasting union, desertion before the appropriate time is met with social stigma.
This is perhaps similar to the utopian free love societies envisioned on old Earth, but the system is not free of broken hearts and jealousy. There are many romantic stories on Il'larion describing the downfall of women who, having agreed for a short relationship with a man, ended up falling in love with him deeply and desiring more, only for him to ignore her pleas, or of young couples who committed fully to each other only to realise their relationship no longer functions after a few years, but, tied own by familial bonds and thus unable to move on, filling in vain the void in their hearts with shorter trysts. In short, though strange on the outside, Tertanai relationships are in fact not so different from the rest of Andromeda.
Tertanai, strangely enough, heavily value their families (which makes sense considering that their ancient societies were largely governed by blood ties), and, while polyamorous, have a concept of long-term unions as part of aramani. Tertanai have traditionally divided them into two main forms: connubial and concubinal. Connubial unions are chiefly heterosexual, imply cohabitation and birth of children, and are intended to last at least as long so as to raise them; concubinal unions are usually homosexual and imply regular short, but passionate meetings for one's physical and emotional enjoyment. This division largely stems from old Tertanai aristocracies, whereas each noble would have an official wife or husband with whom to continue the bloodline as well as a harem of lovers of the same sex as a form of alliance between families. For example, it was considered an act of good will to have two young heirs from allied houses to form a romantic bond between each other. Both forms of relationships are official and are seen as normal.
As noted before, heterosexuality and homosexuality are associated with each union respectively, but are by no means limited to them: same-sex connubial marriages are socially accepted, though uncommon, as are opposite-sex concubinal pacts. In general, Tertanai have no social construct of sexual orientation, and are expected to enjoy both forms of relationships equally; psychologically, most of them are bisexual to some point.
While Tertanai scientists' creations aren't something beyond imagination, the children of Tertamians are certainly not primitives; technologically-wise, they are classified as "tier 3", way ahead of other civilisations in Segmentum Umbra. This technological progress was driven by the species' natural predesposition towards competition; simple enough, Tertanai worlds which inhabitants developed the most advanced technology survived and achieved dominance over others, both through weaponry and economic superiority. Another reason for Tertanai's unusual level of advancement was the unusually large amount of Tertamian relics on their worlds, and since hyperadvanced technology simply lied beneath their feet, Tertanai became excellent archaeologists. Some of this ancient technology was reverse-engineered and is now in mass-production, while other, more obscure Tertamian tech is kept as unique relics; each such artifact is extremely valuable and Tertanai will guard them with their lives.
Tertanai's own technology is notable for its aestethic; most buildings, spaceships as well as normal devices they make all share the sleek, geometrical aestethic; Tertanai opt for a combination of style and function.
Quotes from other users
“We are allies now, I guess...”
- - President S'Nar
“These diplomats have yet to earn our honour.”
- - Warmistress Abal'nyan