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Tapazmali

by James Maliszewski

Homeworld: Dlaekan/Reft 3134 (Moiban)

Physiology

The Tapazmali perhaps differ the least of all the minor human races from their Terran ancestors. What few distinctions they have will be discussed below.

Height and Weight: They are slightly shorter than many other minor humans. Males stand about 1.5 meters tall, and females average only slightly shorter. Their weight, approximately 65 kg, generally falls within usual human norms - despite their shorter stature.

Appearance: They have a somewhat stocky appearance. It is not obesity, a phenomenon almost totally unknown among the Tapazmali. Well-built and muscular, Tapazmali generally are broader in the chest than other humans. This is perhaps the most noticeable thing about their appearance.

Their skin tone is somewhat light, but by no means albino. Hair is generally curly and of lighter colors like blond and grey. Grey and platinum hair colors are not uncommon, and occur even among the very young.

Diet: Like most humans, Tapazmali are omnivorous. Most eat only two large meals a day. (This practice may have evolved because of the scarcity of food in the mountainous regions where the Tapazmali evolved. It continues.)

Tapazmali eat well, and seem to have an almost innate knack of knowing what foods will be best for them. Thus, when one is sick, he or she will eat only those deemed best to facilitate health. This knack is not entirely instinctual, having been taught from childhood, but it seems so to outsiders.

Reproduction: Women give birth after a gestation period of between 10 and 11 months. Multiple births are entirely unheard of, at least in recent history. Furthermore, females are only fertile during a single season of the year. These factors combine to create low population growth among Tapazmali.

Since these factors deviate greatly from the human norm, it has been suggested that perhaps they were geneered into the Tapazmali by the Ancients. Such would have been wise since food was scarce on their mountain heights.

Senses: Tapazmali exhibit the usual human senses with no variation in their efficiency. The seemingly innate ability to select the best food for themselves is not an additional sense, but leaves that impression. To other humans, Tapazmali are "known" for their supposed instinctual ability to find good foods.

Anatomy: The only changes from human norms are the possible geneered changes in fertility. Blood types include A, B, O, and P, with the dominant types being A and B.

Lifespan: Tapazmali lifespans are longer than many human races. While they do not rival the Vilani longevity, many live to be 120 years old or older. Like the lower birth rate, this seems to be an adaptation.


Psychology

Two ideals dominate the Tapazmali psyche: belief in a well-ordered, hierarchical society and a sense of aesthetics. Combined, these ideals give a remarkably accurate picture of the Tapazmali people and clearly set them apart from their fellow humans.

In a sense, the ideal of order and hierarchies stems from their aesthetics. The Tapazmal see the Universe as intelligible and, therefore, ordered by eternal laws. Individual Tapazmal differ as to the source and nature of these eternal laws, but none doubt their existence. These eternal laws have an order of primacy, from the most important to various lesser degrees of importance.

They see society as a whole to reflect that order. The more important individuals should fittingly rule over the less important. That is, those Tapazmali whose role in society is greater should have power over the others commensurate with that responsibility.

The Tapazmali governmental structure has always tended toward the feudal. In earlier times, the more important people were who could find large quantities of food in the inhabited mountainous regions. Although gathering p'hazul berries did provide food, it did not provide enough for whole communities. A hunter class developed to procure the meat of several mountain- dwelling creatures. The leaders of these hunters came to represent life itself to the Tapazmali , for without the meat they could not survive. The chief hunter came to be the ruler and other hunters formed the nucleus of a noble class.

Each individual in Tapazmali society has a task. He or she must perform that task in accordance with his or her abilities, but that task must be performed. In earlier times, the failure by any member of society might have led to disaster. Thus, each Tapazmali is acutely aware of his or her place in society and does what society requires of them. To do otherwise would not be dutiful and contrary to the Tapazmal way.

Secondly, the Tapazmali have raised aesthetics to a very lofty level. They see beauty everywhere. That beauty has its origins in the order and intelligibly of the universe. Consequently, by creating works of beauty, the Tapazmali are imitating the order and harmony of the whole universe. They are attempting to share in the structure of the cosmos.

Art in all its forms is revered among the Tapazmali. The senses, through which one apprehends beauty, are greatly revered. Unlike other cultures and philosophies, the Tapazmali do not denigrate sense perception or the physical aspects of the universe. In anything, they revel in them. The beauty of a physical object of any sort reflects the insubstantial but nevertheless real beauty of the orderly universe.

Tapazmali have developed great art forms for all of the five human senses. There are even art works whose beauty goes beyond the purely physical and these works reveal their beauty to the human mind.

The Tapazmal are quite different in their psychology from other humans. Some call their aesthetic and cosmological views overly mystical and esoteric, but none deny their expertise in all art forms. Furthermore, their submissiveness to the proper role of certain individuals has surprised many. Solomani concepts of individual liberty and self-determination mean little to them. For this reason, Dulinor's actions against Strephon are seen as being utterly evil. As an archduke, a subordinate of the emperor, Dulinor should have done what was expected of him. What he did do is seen as a serious breach of the social contract and thoroughly without value.


Society and Culture

Much of what defines Tapazmali society and culture has been discussed above. This section discusses more specific information.

The two art forms which the Tapazmali have developed to the highest degree (and are most sought after) are those of cooking and architecture. Both of these arts concern themselves with the necessities of life, even more precarious among the Tapazmali because of where they lived.

Cooking is a fine art among these humans. Since food was scarce and they ate only two meals a day, Tapazmali developed ways to make the meals extra special. Various and sundry spices and seasonings as well as special cooking techniques make Tapazmali cuisine unforgettable. Since being given jump drive, the Tapazmali have used their interstellar contacts to obtain even rarer spices and herbs, as well as altering the dishes of other species, thus furthering their fame as cooks.

Architecture among the Tapazmali is well-suited to the mountain peaks and crags where the original Tapazmali lived. Structures tend to be squat and sturdy, like the Tapazmali themselves. This sturdy but beautiful building structure also reveals their beliefs about the order and stability of the universe. With the advent of space travel, the Tapazmali have begun to use other architectural methods other than the traditional ones, and have also added some new styles to their repertoire. All of these, no matter what their origin, still reflect the Tapazmali mindset and cosmology. Both beauty and order/stability are seen as the highest ideals, and ones which naturally flow from each other.

Tapazmali culture has a remarkable ability to adapt. New methods are being used, provide the Tapazmali see these new methods keep within their established patterns of thoughts. They are justifiably proud of their own ancient traditions, but the universe has so much diversity and so much beauty that it would be seen as somehow sacrilegious not to take advantage of that diversity. If space travel has affected Tapazmali culture, it has had the effect of undergirding its basic belief in the order and beauty inherent in all things.


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