The centaur people are otherworldly, but as peaceful and friendly as they come.
Name (Singular): Leithan
Sexes: Male and Female
Height: Leithans can range from 8’ 6” to 10’ tall, with females usually slightly shorter and lighter than males. Their tauric frames are roughly 5’ at the shoulders, with their humanoid halves ranging from three and a half to five additional feet.
Hair: Most Leithans have dark, stringy hair. Black, dark yellow, and shades of gray and brown are all common.
Eyes: Leithan eyes have bright, universally blue irises, with white storm patterns surrounding their twin pupils. Leithans have exceptional eyesight, and a secondary eyelid allows them to see even in extreme brightness, as is common on their homeworld, without sacrificing their low-light vision.
Ears: Leithans have two large, sensitive ears which grow from the center of their brows, roughly two inches apart. Their ears are alert, but are soft and frequently flop back against their heads at high speeds or in emotive response. A secondary pair of ears are located where human ears are, on the sides of the head. While larger than a human’s and gently tapered (some describe them as “elfin”), the secondary ears are for all intents and purposes without special function.
Unlike many advanced species through the galaxy, the Leithans began as prey creatures on their homeworld, and have over the millennia developed several defensive adaptations to ward off the very large, unintelligent predators that attacked them. The first feature most people notice about a Leithan is her natural armor: while the tauric lower body is completely covered with thick, leathery scales (befitting the species’ reptilian origin), the flanks, arms, legs, and tail are protected by a chitinous secondary layer. Leithan armor is thick enough to stop most low-caliber bullets, and even deflect low-grade laser fire at range; more importantly for the species, however, it is capable of withstanding the enormous pressure of most titanic predators’ crushing maws, giving Leithans some defense against their native hunters.
Second, the Leithans have developed six powerful legs, allowing them unparalleled running speeds over short bursts. Leithan endurance is not above average, but their speed is usually enough to avoid or outrun danger before exhaustion sets in.
Third, Leithans have adapted bright warning signs on their armor plates. These yellow, bioluminescent patterns are unique to each Leithan, and serve to frighten off some larger predators, especially at night. The coloration of their warning lights has become iconic in Leithan culture, and many Leithans choose to dye their hair or decorate themselves with gold stripes and swirls, adding to the effect of their natural defense. The bioluminescent stripes have a variable brightness, controlled subconsciously by their owner: in times of extreme emotion or distress, they flare brighter, while when calm and relaxed, the lights are almost completely dimmed.
The Leithan homeworld, a small planet orbiting Alpha Centauri (hence the common nickname for the species, Centaurins) is a vast, cold-weather desert and shrubland for the most part, punctuated by several dozen small seas, but no proper oceans. The atmosphere is naturally very dense and humid, with a water content much higher than that of Terra or Ausaril.
The most notable feature of the world are several species of truly titanic, flesh-consuming predators. Ranging from overly large, rudimentarily-intelligent humanoid reptiles standing six stories high to flying creatures vaguely reminiscent of mythological dragons whose wingspan can extend twenty yards in the largest cases, the Leithans arose on a world quite hostile to them, where they were regarded as little more than prey for the titan-class predators. Due to the inherent hostility of their world, many Leithans take the first flight out they can catch, and as such, the Leithan race has become one of the most widespread transplant or immigrant races throughout the galactic core. Relatively few choose to migrate to the fringe, especially during the Planet Rushes, as the Leithans are inherently skittish about danger and violence, and the rough-and-tumble nature of the frontier ill suits them.
The Leithans propagate their race much as many reptilian species do. At certain times of the year (usually twice per year), the female will enter heat, and her body will begin producing a powerful attractive pheromone. This will cause nearby males to seek her out: due to the relative mortality of their race, most Leithan females will accept most if not all suitors to help ensure pregnancy. After a brief gestation period of about one month, she will lay a clutch of eggs, usually in her home or that of a trusted friend and caretaker. An average clutch is between four and six eggs, each of which is nearly two feet long. Eggs hatch after another month-long period, during which the mother will become highly defensive and easily agitated as her maternal instincts insist that she defend her “nest.”
After the U.G.C. “uplifted” the Leithan race during the early stages of the Planet Rush scheme, the race’s reproductive habits have changed somewhat — especially among those living away from the homeworld. With a dramatically higher survival rate off-world, Leithan males and females have become more comfortable in being selective with their partners, and recreational sex drive has become much higher. While Leithans still have a difficult time with the concept of monogamy, and most freely move between several partners, the idea of a female allowing any male to approach her in her “heat” period is nearly nonexistent now.
Unlike many sapient species, Leithans have a nearly 0% fertility rate when coupling with other species. Halfbreed Leithans are nearly unheard of, and almost always the result of genetic manipulation and non-natural fertilization. Because of this, and the higher sex drive among offworld Leithans, many Leithans of both sexes find themselves to be easy “swingers,” and eagerly skip the courting and dating process to open themselves up to several attractive partners of other species, since their couplings are virtually no-risk.
Culture & Society
Before being uplifted, the Leithans existed as a nomadic species, desperately clinging to their precarious existence in the shadows of titanic predators. Divided into small tribes scattered across the desert, Leithans bands wandered from water source to water source. Over time, their technology advanced in small but important bursts: they discovered methods of water collection from the atmosphere fairly early on, and made great strides to domesticate smaller reptilian creatures which were able to aid them in hunting and alert them against impending attack.
Some Leithans attempted to protect themselves in high-walled cities, and because of this protection and stability, were marginally more successful and advanced than their roaming cousins when First Contact happened. Many of the walled cities had developed primitive flintlock-era firearms and cannons, with which they were able to fend off predator attacks — one city even created primitive rockets to guard against aerial attacks. Since their uplifting by the U.G.C. in the Third Great Planet Rush, Leithan cities have become veritable fortresses against their one-time predators, and the race has eagerly adapted to the advanced technology the Confederacy brought with it. They have adapted so well, in fact, that in the modern day Leithans are valued as exceptional engineers and technicians, especially in regards to machine maintenance and robotic tech. Many top of the line drones, turrets, and unmanned vehicles are produced in Alpha Centauri or on Leithan colonies.
Societally, Leithans are regarded as being very open, friendly, and cooperative. When teamwork and group loyalty are the biggest defense you have against being eaten by a six-story tall monster, it pays to be easy to work with. Most Leithans are highly empathetic, making them keenly aware of others’ emotive states, and are most comfortable in small, close-knit groups of friends. Solitary Leithans are almost unheard of, and most revel in social activity - especially in the core words, where Leithans are constant features of nightclubs, dance halls, and just about any party they can find.