The dyrajt are a sapient lifeform native to the the Milky Way, their homeworld located a few thousand parsecs trailward of Sol's original location. The eldest member of the Triad, they served the First in their absence from the Milky Way, exterminating and enslaving races that might one day become chosen. They encountered humanity a few years before the Purge, using a singulus - a regalic artifact granted them by the First - to open a gate to Sirius. They attacked immediately, an event now called the Contact War.
Like humans, they possess an immense variety in shape and form. They are four-limbed bipedal creatures with a slim, vaguely reptilian construction, with scaled skin of varying colors covering muscle tissue and a calcium-based exoskeleton. Their feet and hands have four digits each, with paired opposable fingers (two to each side) ending in strong nails, though not quite claws. The majority of specimens possess a vestigial tail, and most do not walk fully upright. They have no necks, their heads fixed to their torsos much like a fish or whale, though the eyes and mouth point 'forward' and not 'up'.
Dyrajt breath and hear through various membranes in their skin, and they possess a form of echolocation which serves as their primary sense. They have two eyes, which appear clouded and are nearly vestigial, preferring to 'see' with their skin. They communicate with a series of clicks, snaps, and hisses with their mouths, and the complexity with which they can do so is quite impressive, allowing for them to utter something resembling human or renlai speech.
They are a sexually reproducing species, with 'males' and 'females' though the exact mechanism for reproduction is somewhat different. The females lay eggs, which allows them, in theory, to reproduce quite rapidly, and despite a fast maturation cycle, they have an extended lifespan, capable of living nearly two cycles. Their genetic variation is far greater than that of root strain humans, and are in fact be several distinct species, created through millennia of strict breeding regimens.
Like others of the Triad, they are divided into many 'castes' through intense breeding, with a variety of duties and capabilities. Only the priests are a single species - the other two are closer to overcastes, comprising many smaller sects.
- The priest caste is the de-facto leader cast, primarily bred for intelligence. They function as organizers and engineers for the Dyrajt, though their numbers are too few to provide real advancement for the civilization, even ignoring their lack of ingenuity and dogmatic principles. Unlike the other Castes, specific professions are based on merit, rather than birth.
- The soldier caste is the one most familiar to humanity, making up the basic combative class, and come in a variety of subcastes.
- The worker caste are a bred slave race. They come in a variety of subcastes, and are not terribly intelligent, even by the low standards set by the Soldier caste.
Like each of the Triad, the dyrajt are an intensely religious species, and have a philosophy bordering on xenophobia though they are not, it seems, directly opposed to the existence of other races. Instead, 'unnatural' intelligence - artificial or genetically engineered, is taboo, and they believe strongly in a stratified society. As such, many of them expressed sympathy with the exiles. To them, the First are simply gods, and such rules therefor cannot apply to them.
The 'priest-engineers' make up perhaps one per seven-hundred fifty in their population. Millennia of breeding programs have eradicated disloyalty and heresy from the lower castes, causing the soldiers and workers to possess a fanatical loyalty to the Race. They do not question, and only serve the benefit of the greater whole.
The priesthood, therefor, makes up the majority of the dyrajt culture. It appears to be a semi-feudal system, normally suffering massive fragmentation over the roughly two hundred terraformed worlds that they control. They all appear to subscribe to the same 'faith', though they do not consider it such, their religion being fully integrated into their society, with, in most cases, heresy and crime being considered much the same thing.
Once the Diaspora ended, things calmed down somewhat, and they are grudgingly tolerant of the Concord. This isn't so much because they have gained any understanding, but, simply, they cannot pose a credible threat. Calls are frequently made to carry out various jihads, and are sometimes answered, and though they may inflict some damage, they are always 'dealt with'.
Dyrajt technology is clearly borrowed - a certain, extremely limited subset of First technology, some of which still did not surpass 21st century human capabilities until the Diaspora. In particular, they are extremely wary of artificial sapience, requiring them to use assisted navigation and targeting in space. With no genetic engineering or other enhancements, and nearly no patterns, this puts them at an incredible disadvantage.
Due to their limited understanding of technology, their terraforming operations have been limited to near-Earthlike worlds, and colonized comparatively few planets entirely on their own. The First, and later the Concord, gave them most of their support.
Time has permitted them more technology, but they still have many difficulties and few believe any Triad race will ever reach a parity with the Concord.
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