Sunday, 14 September 2014

Yhtrian Society Is Not A Civilization

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation, 30 June 2014.

Ythrians are winged carnivores but intelligent. The flapping of their wings pumps enough oxygen into their veins to generate the energy needed to lift bodies capable of intelligence in Earth-like gravity. Each Ythrian family needs territory for hunting or herding. The sexes are equal. Parents are bonded by care of children who cling to them in flight, not by sex, which is only when they are in heat.

Their Stone Age was ended not by agriculture but by herding and domestication. Agriculture developed later for fodder. Later, larger, more complex social units are not civilizations because winged Ythrians have never needed cities. Sedentary centers for specific purposes, like mining, industry, trade or religion, are small with floating populations. Since contact with Terrans, machines have mostly replaced wing-clipped slaves while, simultaneously, the Empire reintroduces slavery.

Families are grouped in "choths", diverse in size, organization and tradition. All free adults can participate in democratic meetings called "Khruaths" but the only way to enforce a Khruath decision, if enforcement becomes necessary, is for the presiding officers, the Wyvans, to cry Oherran, calling on everyone in the territory to attack the defiers of the decision. Oherran is a deathpride matter. Wyvans whose call of Oherran is rejected have no honorable course but suicide.

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