- Physical look:
- Height at shoulder (body parallel to ground): 1 - 1.25 meters
- Length (Head to tail): 2.5 - 3 m
- Mass: 200 kg
- Head: in profile, like a cross between a chisel and a tilted toilet bowl and lid. The top front of the head, the upper jaw, is mobile, a solid bony slab covered with skin. It slants down to meet the lower, fixed, jaw at a sharp angle, forming the chisel point. The head is somewhat elongated, (but not to crocodilian extremes) and tapers somewhat in width as it goes forward. The eyes, though forward staring, are mounted up and far to the side on almost chameleon-like projections just to the rear of the jaw hinge. The bulk of the mass of the head is below the eyes, all of the soft bits being lower slung, including the low-frequency vocalizers near the head-neck joint. They have no nose, and breath through their mouth.
- Mouth: Front teeth are sharp and replaceable, for tearing meat. Rearmost teeth have grinding surfaces, allowing for consumption of vegetable matter, but are also used fro the crushing of bones to extract marrow. Aeran lips are always slightly open for breathing, near the corners of the mouth, but not the front. Primary olfactory reception is done at these openings, with secondary receptors being external, and just outside the mouth openings.
- Hands: 2 fingers 1 thumb. They have skinny hands with long fingers, bony except at the fleshy tips. The claws on these hands have become mostly vestigial, but less so than human fingernails.
- Legs: Their four legs are in two distinct pairings, the stronger, stockier mid-limbs, and the somewhat more flexible rear limbs. The mid-limbs operate directly under the Aera in their normal gait, while the hind limbs are slightly splayed. An Aeran sitting (upright) position is somewhat cat-like, the mid-limbs locked at full extension, and the hind limbs out to the side enough for the rear to sit down while the tail extends behind. The rear limbs are viciously clawed, and their flexibility allows for both kicking and pushing off from uneven surfaces, whereas the mid-limbs are all about raw, simple strength and support. Their movement is more similar to that of a wolf or big cat than to a reptilian.
- Arms: They have two arms that are long and much slimmer than the locomotive legs. They never use these to walk, though they may push off and balance with them. They are rather muscular, especially the gripping muscles in the forearm.
- Tail: Thick, and not prehensile, but long enough for balance like most common lizards.
- Skin: Hairless, leathery, alternating between smooth and wrinkly as it goes from muscle to joint. Ashen gray, with yellow blotches of color, the skin is rarely marked visually, preferring scent markings, but portions of the torso will be covered by brightly colored clothing indicating various status attributes.
- Torso: The Aera have bilateral symmetry, but have 4 analogs for spinal columns, 2 on each side. The joints for limbs are between these pairs. The ribs from different spines do not meet evenly and fuse, but interleave flexibly, like the fingers on two hands. The front section of the Aera, between arms and mid-limbs, is shorter than the section between midlimbs and hind-limbs
- Other attributes: pupils are murky green with a sharp pupil like a cat when not dilated. Their original environment was the lowest layers of a vast, towering, dense jungle filled with beasts that would put any Terran predator to shame. They were not at the top of the food chain until the development of technology, and relied on pack tactics and keen intellects to survive more than raw strength.
- What kind of people are they?
- They are chronically beset by what others would consider paranoia, but that the Aera see as justified by the degree to which the universe has dealt them unpleasant cards. They are unafraid of violence, or confrontation, but they do not seek conflict for the love of it. They are ruthless and cunning, but almost never cruel - when they fight and kill it is because they believe it necessary, although this belief runs deeply. In their perception of reality, they act somewhat as though they are the victims of abuse by an unjust universe, and have difficulty trusting non-Aerans, sentient or otherwise.
- While their homeworld was once covered in lush jungles, the Aerans clear-cut almost every ecosystem on their planet, replacing it with agricultural mono-cultures. The Aerans are deeply ill at ease with any environment they don't control, and have spent great energy at the expense of their original environment in padding their sense of security.
- The Aera have great cultural appreciation for technology. On the Aeran homeworld, there were always bigger and nastier creatures than the Aera, which occupied a niche somewhat like wild dogs among a world of lions and tigers and bears. Thus, it is through mastery of technology that the Aerans have prospered, and, if not worshiped, it is revered, as are those who advance it.
- Religion with the Aera has never been separable from their philosophical tradition. The Aera have an almost Zoroastrian dualism of destruction and creation, but their belief systems have become profoundly abstract and no organized religion remains. They believe that the accomplishments of an individual can only be judged at or after that individual's death, and the highest honors in their society are reserved for the remembrance of the accomplished dead.
- Each Aera is a strong-willed individual with respect to decisions that they make concerning themselves, but they are innately, on a biological level, fiercely loyal to their hierarchical superiors. This holdover from the pack mentality has caused Aeran history to be a sequence of successive, rapid integrations of entire societies into that of the victor in any war amongst Aera until, in the end, there was only one hierarchy of Aera remaining, ending all intra-Aeran wars. In practice, the rational consideration of this effect is an intense loyalty to the species, and rapid response to orders from any superior.
- The Aerans excel at discovering enough of how things work in order to control the phenomena in question, but are not universally curious, leading to very deep knowledge in some fields, but somewhat uneven coverage. The Aera so deeply distrust other species that they are loathe to copy even the successful aspects of the technologies of others, preferring to re-engineer for the same effect from first principles. The Aera are somewhat technologically advanced relative to humans and the Rlaan in several of the physical sciences, but no group is monotonically superior. However, the Aeran pace of advancement is very rapid, and many of their advances are fairly recent in human terms, or very recent in Rlaan terms. Although they have a pragmatically utilitarian streak, they also have a strongly developed notion of the "elegance" of a solution or artifact. Given a choice between a something that works and something that works in an aesthetically pleasing manner, they will prefer the latter, but happily use the former if it is available.
- Diet and taboo:
- They are, preferentially, heavily meat-eating omnivores. However, practical limitations on food production require them to derive significant portions of their sustenance from plant matter. Reverence for the accomplishments of the dead makes the Aera particularly ornery about desecration of remains.
- The Aera are fundamentally crippled at making friendly relations with other species due to their trust issues. Their stewardship of the Bzbr is primarily out of something like pity for their similarly hellish world of origin, and that only viable because the Bzbr are incapable of being a meaningful threat to the Aera. Up until the invasion of Forsaken space, the Aera maintained formal, if chilly, relations with the human governments. The Aera are on passable terms with the Uln, and, following their conflict with the Rlaan, have little contact with them since the armistice.
- The Aera are happiest when they feel accomplished, and only comfortable when they feel securely in control of everything around them. The greatest shame for an Aera is to die without having been productive, draining resources without having returned sufficient boons to the race. A frustrated Aeran can quickly turn into an angry Aeran.
- Construction aesthetics:
- Wedges, teardrops, subtle curves draped over clearly technological internals, where visible. Exteriors of Aeran work often resembles wood carvings in some degree of shape, but not in material. Materials used are universally processed or synthetic. Unibody construction, clean surfaces, in contrast to blocky snap-fit component designs. Modularity is present, but obscured.