6:32 PM

Spirit of the Wind

Non-Acitan in Acitan Society

Some of the most important creatures in acitan society are not felines, but crabs. Crabs are considered by the acitan to be one of their success stories (which might be a sign of something besides confidence; crabs are notoriously bad at filling the niche of rodents in drier areas), and the acitan have adopted several species of crab for use in their settlements.

Robber crabs are the largest species of non-magical land crab known to the acitan, even taking ancestral forms only known from fossils into account. While the acitan have found fossilized specimens of crabs far larger, these were solely aquatic, or magical, as they wouldn’t have been able to support their own weight on land without structures like carbon nanotubes or metals (which would have left traces that have never been found despite extensive searching). And so the robber crabs serve both as companions and beasts of burden, carrying moderately heavy loads that the acitan can’t without being seriously encumbered. They are fairly affectionate creatures, at least for invertebrates (probably due to the process of domestication) and can be taught very simple sign language that builds on the communication they already use their claws for. Some robber crabs have been seen to learn not only sign language, but context—they make the sign for water not whenever they find water, but when they need to divert someone’s attention to the water. The possibility of acitan-like intelligence on the part of robber crabs is a very controversial matter, but most of the evidence indicates that they are as intelligent as a very very stupid acitan (and they are—in game terms, most are Int. 3 and a few are Int. 5). Everybody agrees, however, that they’ll get more intelligent as time goes on, because recently mate selection has been based on intelligence, not how large claws are. As they’ve grown more intelligent, robber crabs have also had an increase in lifespan; the smartest ones can live a hundred years and be sentient the whole while.

Due to a retrovirus released during the Great Breach, many species (little file snakes, river crabs, cheetahs, and bats being the only ones with significant proportions of the population affected) have sentient populations. The little file snake is the most affected one, with a sentient population spanning across the entire Llaw Drainage Area of the Southern Basin (and one of their main strongholds is near where Korinko lived). There’s talk among them of establishing themselves as a separate species, but so far such proposals have been overruled as foolish at best—the file snakes are mortally afraid of inbreeding. Like the silvanshee, file snakes often will live in acitan settlements, acting as scouts and technicians underwater and in tight places that even the silvanshee can’t fit into.

Many of the completely sentient species, especially the dragons, act much as acitan, but are acknowledged to have different specialities (and often, greater intellect) than the vast majority of acitan.

-- Citrakayah

Written 2012