The Slashrim is one of the four main Native species, and are, on average, the least intelligent of the four. Humans typically dismiss them as savage monsters, but the other Natives consider the Slashrim to actually be more like Humans than any other species. And, ironically enough, the Slashrim have integrated into Human society more than any of the other Natives, though this is largely because they are more numerous and less socially cohesive as a whole.
Throughout what humans know of their history, all the Slashrim have ever done is fight. At first they formed small packs and large tribes, each one constantly warring with all the others. This lack of unity kept them from gaining substantial power as a civilization. This period, now called the "Age of Chaos" by Helexith, ended for the most part (though some independent tribes still exist) when the Mahlok began aiding a single tribe, helping it gain power over all the others. Soon this tribe (the Chosen of Helexith) and its Mahlok allies ruled over most of the Slashrim.
Enslavement by the Mahlok Edit
The Mahlok now use the Slashrim as weapons, sending them into battle as the main soldiers of their army, and using the older, larger individuals as vehicles and siege weapons. Most Slashrim do not seem value another individual's life at all. They see all living things as competition, respecting only those with strength. This makes them extremely hard to command as a group, and only by instilling fear in them can a commander hope to inspire "loyalty." The Mahlok do this using religion, because the Slashrim are surprisingly religious. When the Mahlok first came toSlasheth, they learned of one tribe's god, the sun-god Helexith, and began perverting him to serve their own means. They claimed to be the servants of Helexith, and the leader of their original group, a Mahlok named Zuhaxellod, proclaimed himself Helexith's prophet. All later leaders of the Helexith Coalition would call themselves Zuhaxellod, later even going so far as to call themselves "living avatars of Helexith." Thus, they became god-emperors.
Few know what the original religion of Slashrim was actually like, but today the worship of Helexith follows thus: Helexith is the supreme god of all life. He is actually a combination of three gods: Hel, Lex, and Sith. Hel is the god of Heat, Lex the god of Liquidity, and Sith the god of Light. All good things, according to the Slashrim, are Hot, Liquid, and Light. These are the properties of life. Living things require Heat, Liquids, and Light to survive. Of course, this means that Fire is the holiest element of all. The Slashrim worship it as the bringer of life, and thus they worship the Mahlok, who have the power to create fire at will. The Slashrim further consider anything cold, hard, and dark to be evil. Thus they consider all weapons evil, because they are cold and hard and dead, and they take away life. But Helexith, according to the Mahlok prophets, demands that other worlds be subjected to his dominion, so the Slashrim use the deadly powers of evil weapons to bring greater "good" to other worlds. They view war and the taking of life as holy, because burning villages and bodies feeds the hungry god Helexith and furthers his noble goal. According to their religion, the entire universe will end in fire as all the worlds burn and become one with Helexith. This fits well with the Mahlok tradition of burning any world they cannot conquer.
Gender and Reproduction Edit
Males and females in Slashrim society are treated exactly the same. Indeed, it is hard for any Human to tell just by looking at a Slashrim whether it is male or female in the first place, just as hard as it is to discern the gender of a lizard without close inspection. The Slashrim have no trouble telling the difference though - largely through the use of pheremones - for they breed rapidly and in large numbers, laying dozens of eggs at once. They have no system of marriage, no loyalty to their spouse, and do not take care of their children, instead using them for menial labor.
Slashrim are considered incredibly savage by nearly every other sapient species. Cannibalism is common among the Slashrim people, and they love the taste of Human meat as well. This in particular seems to earn them the most disgust from Human kind, though there are a few more civilized Slashrim tribes who teach more traditional Humanistic values. Due to their relatively low intelligence, the Slashrim language was exceedingly simple before the Mahlok forced them to adopt the Mahlok language. Now all Slasrhim speak Mahlok, with a few words of their old language remaining behind as the only reminders of that ancient tongue. Their art is never simply for decoration; it always serves a purpose, even if it is a religious one. Some Slashrim decorate their armor and weapons with crude carvings and drawings meant to make them look more fearsome or powerful, or to appease their gods. This they view as important a purpose as any. However, no "art for art's sake" exists. Their technology is always adapted from other species or borrowed from the Mahlok, for they are believed to have only reached the Iron Age by the point that the more advanced Mahlok conquered them.
Of all the Natives in Nova Refuge, the Slashrim are also the largest and most fearsome, rivaled only by the mighty Wrognoth. But above all, Slashrim are the most varied. This is because they have a very "unstable" biology prone to frequent mutations. One peculiarity of Slashrim biology is their hands, which have five fingers: three in the center, with an opposable thumb on each side.
Skin and EyesEdit
Slashrim have thick, leathery skin, usually without scales, contrary to what those who call them "lizardmen" might believe. Their skin is tough enough to deflect some small arms fire, but it is susceptible to heat, making slashing and burning weapons (laser and blazer) the best choices when combating the Slashrim. Their skin varies in color, including tan, red, brown, green, and black (blue Slashrim have never been observed), though the color of it is never particularly bright, except in the case of some individuals that have colorful patterns on their backs. Their eyes are always some variation or combination of green, yellow, or red.
Teeth, Claws, and HornsEdit
The teeth of Slashrim are usually very long and sharp, and they have even longer, sharper claws and horns. Their horns have been known to emerge from nearly all parts of the body, usually extending from the bones in their arms, legs, shoulders, head, and back. Some individuals have different numbers and patterns of horns than others, and these horns are one good way to tell individuals apart.
Slashrim biology is, as mentioned, quite unstable. Not only do their horn positions and colorations seem to be entirely random, but some are born with multiple heads, a split down the center of their lower jaw, more limbs than normal, or other deformities. The Mahlok like to breed these mutants together in an attempt to make their Slashrim soldiers more powerful. For example, all Slashrim have a natural immunity to the vast majority of chemicals that would would be toxic to any other creature, so the Mahlok have bred some Slashrim that actually have venomous saliva.
Stages of GrowthEdit
Slashrim never stop growing larger as they grow older, and thus they can reach immense sizes if they survive long enough. In order to better describe the life of a Slashrim, we will follow their lifespan through all six stages. Although the stages of development are not necessarily clear-cut and easily defined, since the Slashrim grow constantly, they are categorized according to social standing in the Slashrim society. The name in the Mahlo-Slashrim language for each stage will be given, followed by the nicknames sometimes used by Humans when in battle with the Slashrim.
Mahlo-Slashrim term: Yillik
Human slang: "Goblins"
Age: From birth to 6-12 TSCs
Height: About 1 meter
Caste: Worker CasteThis is the first stage of Slashrim development, immediately after emergence from the egg nest. The Yillik tend to be about one meter tall, and they do not yet have horns or tails. Since the Slashrim breed in large numbers, the individuals in this stage tend to be the most numerous. As such, they are typically used as slaves and workers by the other, larger Slashrim, placing them squarely in what we would call the Worker Caste. They are not typically used as soldiers until they grow larger, but they are still deadly fighters. They are fast, vicious, and difficult to control, but they are intelligent enough to understand simple machines and construct buildings (which they are usually forced to do). Yillik must be very clever, strong, and tough to survive long enough to grow older. Slashrim remain in this stage for about five Earth-years, gradually growing larger until they reach what we call Stage 2.
Mahlo-Slashrim term: Grommuk
Human slang: "Orcs"
Age: From 6-12 to 20-25 TSCs
Height: About 2 m
Caste: Soldier CasteAt Stage 2, the Slashrim grow their first horns and begin developing larger muscles. They are about human size and are used as the main soldiers of the Slashrim army, due to their large numbers and ability to use the armor and weapons of other, enemy species with relative ease. The only difficulties are with the horns and the short stub of a tail that begins to appear in this stage. The legs, while oddly-shaped, can be contorted to fit into most Human, Sarran, or Mahlok leg armor and vehicles. Though their intelligence does not yet increase significantly, they operate complex machinery (though they hardly understand how it works). The Grommuk can be considered members of the Soldier Caste, which they do not escape until they grow older, and longer horns and snouts appear. This usually occurs around age 20 to 25, though most do not survive that long. This stage, due to its relative stupidity and use in warfare, has the highest death rate.
Mahlo-Slashrim term: Zrillak
Human term: "Lizardmen"
Age: From 20-25 to 60-70 TSCs
Height: 2.5 m or more, when standing erect
Caste: Leader CasteThis is the "adult" stage of Slashrim development. At this age, the Slashrim appear more like lizards than men, finally sprouting short tails, longer horns, and an elongated snout. Some Zrillak can reach heights of up to 2 and a half meters or more when standing erect. This is also the main breeding stage, when females begin giving birth. The sex of a Slashrim is extremely hard to determine, since they lack mammary glands, their genitals are well-concealed, and they seldom care for their young in any personal way. As a result, Humans refer to all Slashrim generically as "he." The Slashrim do not seem to have a problem with this, since the general demeanor of males and females is exactly the same (usually brutal and warlike). Zrillak are the most intelligent of the Slashrim stages, and thus they are considered the highest "caste": the Leader Caste, considered to be of the same rank as even some Mahlok in the Helexith Coalition. They operate as the commanders of the Slashrim armies. Still, Slashrim at this stage are just as vicious and warlike as ever, so not all of them live to the age of 60 to 70 or more, which is when they typically move on to the next stage. The Zrillak stage does have the best survival rate once it is reached, however.
Mahlo-Slashrim term: Buyok
Human term: "Trolls"
Age: From 60-70 to 80-100 TSCs
Height: 3 m or more
Caste: Machine CasteAt Stage 4, the Slashrim mind begins to slowly become weaker again, eventually reverting back to the intelligence found in Stage 2. When this decrease in intelligence is detected, and the jaws begin to grow wider (making the snout seem to "shrink" comparatively), the Slashrim cease to respect that individual as a Zrillak, and it becomes a Buyok, again taking orders from the Zrillak as it did at Stage 2. Gaining heights of over 3 meters tall, the Buyok also grow heavier and more sluggish when walking on two legs, so they sometimes revert to running on all fours like an ape. They prefer not to, however, so that they can use tools and guns as they did in previous life stages. They are often used as living siege engines and heavy lifters, so they could perhaps be considered the "Machine Caste," since they fill the roles for which Humans usually use machines. They can be considered between the Grommuk and Zrillak in rank, since though they lack the Zrillak intelligence, they make up for it in increased strength. They are often used as enforcers by the Zrillak, for keeping the Grommuk in line and guarding the commanders. Slashrim remain in Stage 4 until around the age of 80-100..
Mahlo-Slashrim term: Wogrok
Human term: "Ogres"
Age: From 80-100 to circa 150 TSCs
Height: Up to around 8 m when standing, but usually walk on all fours
Caste: Vehicle CasteWhen they reach Stage 5, the Slashrim become practically animals again, as they were at Stage 1. Their intelligence is just enough for them to understand basic orders in their language. Now reaching heights of close to 8 meters when standing tall, they find it impossible to stand erect for an extended period of time and are forced to walk on all fours (at which point they are reduced to 4-5 meters in actual height). Because of this, the Zrillak often use the Wogrok as mounts, riding them into battle (though this usually requires that some horns be sawed off before a saddle can be strapped on). Due to this menial usage, the Wogrok could be called the "Mount" or "Vehicle" Caste. The main respect they are shown is that only great leaders are allowed to ride the Wogrok (who are, after all, former leaders themselves) into battle. Obviously, extremely few Wogrok survive to reach ages around 150, at which point they become the most fearsome Slashrim in existence... the Sovalok.
Mahlo-Slashrim term: Sovalok
Human term: "Pseudodragons"
Age: From circa 150 to more than 200 TSCs
Height: Around 6 or more meters
Length: Up to around 20 meters
Caste: "Great One"
Humans refer to Slashrim at this stage as false dragons, or pseudodragons. They have been known to grow to around 20 meters in length and bear an exterior resemblance to a dragon, with few scales, many horns, and lacking wings. They do not, however, have a dragon's level of intelligence. Indeed, by this stage a Slashrim's brain has faded almost entirely. They are little more than huge, destructive animals. They cannot understand language; only orders reinforced by pain. But this is enough understanding for the Slashrim commanders, the Zrillak, who still use Sovalok individuals as mounts on occasion. This requires more cutting off of horns, and the mounting of an even larger saddle, something like a howdah. An armed and armored Sovalok is a match for even a high-grade military walker. Gradually the Sovalok becomes even harder to control, until the other Slashrim are forced to release it on a reserve, for even the Slashrim will not permit an elder this powerful and revered to be "put down." At last its brain simply fades away entirely, and the individual passes away. They typically die in this fashion when they reach an age of 200 years or more.