07 – Shiqi

| November 11, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Uncina were a result of one of the Mage-Emporers who held a small Kingdom in Western Tibet.  He created sentient beings from the Snow Leopards in the hills of his Kingdom to act as his personal guards and enforcers until his death ninety years later.  Similar practices were common throughout the world, and at least 107 new sentient races were created.  Out of these, only three survived to the present, the Uncina being the most secretive and fewest in number with only around 300 still alive. 

They are culturally very different to humans, they are largely solitary and they are not named as humans do – the females take the name of their territory, while, the males, once adult, take their name anew at the Cragmeet – where all Uncina meet on the Winter Equinox every seven years.  At this point, male children get their first name – essentially it is a tournament with various physical disciplines.  Every males name is essentially his numerical rank – the champion is the Uncina word for “one”, second is Uncina for Ttwo” and so on.  They keep this name for seven years when they must defend or attempt to improve upon their rank.  Children in their first Cragmeet have a title meaning young, and an Uncina who has fought in seven or more becomes “venerated”, these function to allow for children and elderly to be protected from low status due to age, as status is important in controlling territory.  A high ranked fighter has the right to hunt in the territories of lower ranked males surrounding his own.  A small number of females enter each year too to assert their prowess.

Shiqi has just come out of his third Cragmeet, and is ranked seventeenth – a very good ranking for one so young, second highest of all those whose first cragmeet was the same as his.  He is also the one Uncina to have any notable contact with the outside world, and is unofficial representative to humanity, both to the humans who live in the foothills below the Uncina territories, but also to the group of people from the UN who serve as intermediaries between the Uncina and the rest of the world.

This character came about on a discussion I was having about how “Cat-people” in popular fiction tend to be a bit rubbish – not necessarily as characters, but just that the concept is generic and they are never really presented as anything other than quirky humans who happen to look like cats.  I decided it would be an interesting challenge to try and come up with a race of Cat people played seriously, with a social structure that made sense for a species which is solitary, carnivorous and territorial.  I’m vaguely pleased with the results.

Category: 2011, Fantasy

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