To'ul'hs are a sapient species in the Orion's Arm universe, native to planet To'ul'h Prime in the H'tat'sa'thoss System. In-universe, they are the first sapient extraterrestrial species discovered by Terragens, around the 58th century.
The plural for To'ul'h is To'ul'hs. Just like all other terms borrowed from the To'ul'h language in Orion's Arm, the word is an approximate transcription using Latin characters.
Anatomy and physiology Edit
In terms of body symmetry, To'ul'hs are bilateral, though they show approximate tetraradial symmetry as well. To'ul'hs are tetrapods and possess a bony endoskeleton. The braincase is located in the middle of the body. It is thin and lightweight, cushioned by adipose tissue to absorb shock. Adults mass between 40 to 100 kg (88.2 to 220.5 lb), but typical weight is 70 kg (154.3 lb) for males and 63 kg (138.9 lb) for females. Size has not been stated by the Encyclopedia Galactica, but images suggest that adult To'ul'hs are approximately 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) tall on average, but can grow up to be 1.9 m (6 ft 3 in) tall.
Three bat-like ears allows echolocation, the primary sense for To'ul'hs. Echolocation is either active or passive. Passive echolocation is just hearing the environment with the lateral pair of ears, giving To'ul'hs an approximate idea of their environment. Active echolocation provides a much sharper definition by generating sounds with the central ear, which is powered by a lung-like organ. These sounds waves bounce with different objects, which allows To'ul'hs to know the distance to and shape of different objects.
The four limbs look very much alike, organized into frontal and hind pairs. However, the hind limbs are stronger, heavier and keen at jumping. Except for the space between the forelimbs, all limbs are connected with patagia. These membranes can be extended and retracted at will, so To'ul'hs can glide extending them. Certain birth defects can render a To'ul'h unable to glide.
All four limbs are divided into three segments and end with hand-like structures. Each hand has six fingers and two thumbs, thus making a To'ul'h octodactyl and giving the impression that land locomotion is digitigrade. The eight digits are arranged symmetrically.
To'ul'hs are heterotrophs and carry out digestion within their bodies. The digestive system begins with sideways-opening mandibles between the forelimbs and ends with an anus between the hind limbs, and both openings are located on the ventral side. The stomach and intestines are located in the ventral central part of the body, protected by fat like the braincase. Mastication is carried out by a gizzard on the forepart of the stomach rather than by teeth in the mouth. After nutrient absorption in the intestines, liquid waste and excess salts are excreted through the anus.
To'ul'h circulatory system resembles that of Earth echinoderms, and it is divided into pulmonar and systematic. To'ul'hs possess three hearts, two connected to to the lungs and one pumping oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. To'ul'hs have three lungs, two for respiration and one for active echolocation. These two book-lungs are independent and each has openings (spiracles) to both dorsal and ventral surfaces. Breathing is rather complex. With normal exercise, air just flows between the dorsal spiracles, helped by limb movement. With heavy exercise however, air can be pumped by opening endings in both surfaces in turns, providing greater oxygen uptake and cooling at the expense of greater hydration.
To'ul'hs reproduce sexually and are dioecious (divided into male and female). They have internal genitals similar to the pedipalps of Earth spiders. Fertilization is internal and happens in the female.
Modern To'ul'hs consist of pygmy, average and giant races. Before contact with the Terragens, all To'ul'hs belonged to the same subspecies. Around 180,000 years ago, the First Plague, an extraterrestrial virus that came to To'ul'h Prime through a meteorite, infected the To'ul'hs and almost wiped out the giant racial phenotype.
Environmental requirements Edit
Phylogenetically, To'ul'hs belong to the hyperthermophile superkingdom, a group of organisms with an optimal physiological temperature of 135 ºC (275 ºF). Without clothing or hydration, temperatures loower than 100 ºC (212 ºF) or higher than 150 ºC (302 ºF) are fatal. To'ul'hs thrive at an atmospheric pressure of 60 atm, but 50 atm is still bearable. They can survive short-term exposure of as little as 10 atm, but Earth-like pressure is immediately fatal, causing bodily fluids to boil. To'ul'h metabolism is aerobic, needing an oxygen concentration between 7 to 15%.
To'ul's drink moderately acidic (pH 4) water, but pure or alkaline water is fatal. They can tolerate hypersaline water by excreting excess salt. The sunlight intensity on Earth's surface is harmful for To'ul'hs, as it can blind their eyespots and cause skin burns.
Evolutionary history Edit
To'ul'hs and all life on their homeworld had a common, prokaryotic ancestor roughly 2 billion years ago. Some point after that, that common ancestor diversified into three different prokaryotic superkingdoms that would eventually and independently create multicellular eukaryotic life.
One of these multicellular eukaryotes evolved into crinoid-like sessile organisms with tetraradial symmetry, which would eventually give to the dominant animal phylum to which the To'ul'hs belong. Roughly 400,000 years before humans first landed on the Moon, modern baseline To'ul'hs appeared, making them twice as old as the Homo sapiens sapiens.
A To'ul'h's primary sense is based on sound. Three large bat-like ears are used for this. A To'ul'h can just listen and still get a lot of information about a place. This passive form of sonar can help a To'ul'h image a low-resolution picture of something up to one kilometer away. However, the central ear can produce ultrasonic chirps in 50-200 kHz range to define features as small as half a millimeter within a 20 meter radius; this is named echolocation or active sonar.
Besides, the forelimbs contain organs that generate and sense weak electric fields within the range of a meter, constituting a To'ul'h's second most important sense: electroreception. On land, it allows detection of distant storms. It is more helpful on water or mud than on land though, since nearby creatures can be detected this way. On land, a To'ul'h is able to detect the magnetic field of the planet and use it for orientation (magnetoreception).
Touch is very sensitive, especially on their hands and the overall ventral surface. To'ul'hs can also taste with their hands, in order to distinguish between edible and poisonous saprophytes or track prey. Smell is also very acute. Arguably, their least sophisticated sense is that of sight. With a dark and noisy environment, hearing resulted more useful than seeing. Eyespots do allow a To'ul'h to perceive light, but not form an image. Hence, they are functionally blind, and capable of no more than telling light from dark.
Despite all the differences between humans and To'ul'hs, there are simmilarities in developmental history and reproduction with a profound impact between both species understanding each other's psyche and society. They are as capable of concentration and rational thinking as humans, which is necessary to understand science and invent technologies that rely on patient planning rather than eureka moments.
However, having sonar and electroreception has a profound influence in their method of thinking. Not having sight distances To'ul'hs from understanding humans, bringing them closer to getting literary concepts of other blind species, such as the ancient space-faring Muuh.
To'ul'h metaphors are based on the properties of sound, since light is not something positive and are afraid of occassional clear patches formed on the sky in the same way a human might fear lightning. In fact, their version of Heaven is that of a warm, damp and dark place, while the human vision of it as something fresh and brilliant embodies their vision of Hell.
To'ul'h are is best appreciated through touch, hearing or sonar. Sculptures examplify this. Their electric sense also allows to appreciate the amazing "visual" properties of metals. A notable To'ul'h art, never developed by humans, is that of polmusic. Polmusic is an amalgamation of politics, poetry, music, logic and rhetoric. Though humans are inherentedly unable to grasp its essentials, some uplifted cetaceans claim to be able to do so.
Poetry and literature are known to have been made by the To'ul'hs. The Great and Terrifying Journey of the H’kal’sha Brothers to the Summit of Mt. 'Thass'thon' is an epic poem written down by Hath'jo the Younger, one of the Six Great Poets of Sh'lakh'sha.
Beliefs and religion Edit
Many of ancient To'ul'h religions appear to be polytheistic. The religion of the K'bakh'tho League had 512 deities. A later society believed in Aldas'tha, the goddess of love; and 'Landa, a terrifying sky god who had a child.
Benevolent deities were generally thought to dwell underground, since it is closer to the To'ul'h vision of Heaven. The religion of the K'bak'tho League was an exception to this norm, placing their 512 deities on top of Mount 'Thass'thon'. This is unusual because being closer the sky meant that these deities (presumably benevolent) where dwelling in a hellish realm.
Communication and language Edit
Perphaps surpringly, To'ul'hs communicate using sound despite their noisy and astoundingly loud environment, speaking with their ventral respiratory openings. However, their environment would mean no impediment at all if the are able to produce sounds with a higher pitch. Since their To'ul'h can produce ultrasounds for echolocation, this is likely the case.
For millennia, To'ul'hs have had means for recording history and enabling long-distance communication through writing. Letters, ideographs and glyphs are carved rather than written however, in order to be read by active sonar or touch. Anyway, To'ul'h writing resembles anything from runes to braille.
Though there are or have been hundreds of languages, the common language is To'ul'ho'lo'ss, which was already in existence in existence 30 millennia before present. Strangely, though To'ul'ho'lo'ss names can be translated as written words in Latin characters, many of them are unpronouceable in English. Names such as H'th'h'h, H'sh'l'ho'th'th or Ho'th'hss'lho exemplify this. Furthermore, what the apostrophes (found in virtually every To'ul'h-related word) are used for is never explained.
Cultural diversity Edit
Despite being planetbound before contacting humanity, their long history resulted in the creation of many different cultures. Analogs of Capitalism, Christianity, Confucianism, Fascism, Hinduism, Humanism, Marxism, Neoplatonism, Stocism and Taoism have all at least emerged once, as well the in-universe ideologies of Etodism and Negentropism. Longlasting cultures are those which promoted social stability and balance, rather than change.
Customs and traditions Edit
Eating the dead is a persistent and widespread custom. Since animal meat was rare in many agrarian societies and To'ul'hs are omnivores, this led to families eating the dead bodies of their loved ones. Over time, this custom has acquired a religious facet, to the point that it is blasphemous today for non-relatives of the deceased to eat their bodies. At least one culture in antiquity, the Gla'shoo'ath, practised trepanning (making a hole in the skull for medicinal or spiritual reasons).
To'ul'hs are known to have had patrilineal monarchy as a form of government, at least in the region of Kaze'hntis around 37,500 BT. At least two kingdoms are known to have existed, Gla'shoo'ath and H'faah'lahn.
Science and technology Edit
To'ul'hs today are completely integrated within Terragen society, thus currently being equal in scientific knowledge and technological prowess. For this reason, it makes more sense to talk about the science and technology that was genuinely invented by them before contact with Terragens.
To'ul'hs use a base 8 numeral system. This is due to having 8 digits on each hand. As a consequence, multiples of eight such as 64, 512 and 4,096 are frequently found in their culture.
Prior to contact with Terragens, To'ul'hs had reached the Industrial Age, but had never become fully immersed in it for a variety of reasons. There are no coal or gas deposits on To'ul'h Prime, so the energy needed to boost them from industry to space travel was absent. Nevertheless, electricity was an early discovery, because To'ul'hs are capable of electroreception.
To'ul'hs did develop steam engines, but they were not as practical as they resulted on Earth due to the much potent fires needed in high pressure and lower oxygen levels. Inspired on floating fauna, dirigibles were invented, but even their use was limited by the cost of getting and heating the needed gases. Dirigibles allowed the rise of skywhale-hunting cultures around the 6th millennium BCE.
Due to absence of fossil fuels, internal combustion vehicles were commodities only affordable to aristocrats. The major cities of the Narrow Sea had methane-powered cars, with oils refined from cloudforest plants.
Science never became an enterprise of its own in To'ul'h Prime, because many inventions and vehicles needed for discoveries were exceptionally expensive. However, it is implied that To'ul'hs had knowledge of physics and geology; because by the time of contact with Terragens, they already knew that their planet was approximately spherical and had an age of millions of years.
Chemistry had advanced to the point of constructing a periodic table of elements and building batteries, which means that To'ul'hs were aware of the electric nature of matter before Terragen contact. Furthermore, the fact they could refine hydrocarbons from plant matter implies that they knew about organic chemistry and biochemistry.
It is implied that astronomy did not exist before Terragen contact, because the dense atmosphere enveloping To'ul'h Prime prevents any observation of the nightsky.
Like humans, To'ul'hs had a long Stone Age, primarily living around water bodies. They were first limited to tribes on shorelines and fungal swamps, which interacted through trade, war and intermarriage. Some populations later migrated to the continental plateaus and settled along rivers.
The use of fire was known but rare back then, since oxygen has a lower molar fraction on To'ul'h Prime's air. Since metals easily rust and corrode in their environment, To'ul'hs had no other choice but to fashion their tools out of obsidian. This volcanic glass is composed of silicates and metal oxides, so it is acid-resistant and cannot rust. Pottery and basket woving were developed.
About 100,000 years ago, To'ul'hs entered the Agricultural Age, and began settling permanently alongside seas and rivers five millennia later. The new system consisted of providing certain parts of land with water and organic matter, and plant fungi spores or sponge seeds. However, agriculture never reached its full potential, since the land productivity is similar to that of Australia.
Certain portion of To'ul'h history can be divided into three epochs, marked by the catastrophic eruption of Mount 'Thass'thon' and the contact with Terragens, shown as followed.
- c. 400,000 BT - First anatomically and behaviorally-modern To'ul'hs speciate from their ancestors, beginning to live as bands of semi-nomadic foragers.
- c. 180,000 BT - The First Plage drives the giant racial phenotype into near-extinction.
- c. 95,000 BT - To'ul'hs develop agriculture by this time, along with tools made of obsidian and ceramic.
Pre-eruption (72,500 BT to 37,500 BT) Edit
- c. 72,500 BT - The Necropolis Civilization (also known as the First Ones) become the first society to emerge on To'ul'h Prime. Members of this civilization use the psychotropic landsponge known as tho'rahl'shothan for recreational purposes, though not possibly being the first ones to do that.
- c. 37,500 BT - Supervulcano 'Thass'thon' erupts, resulting in the death of tens of millions of To'ul'hs in the most destructive event their history.
Post-eruption or Pre-contact (37,499 BT to 4010 AT) Edit
- c. 30,000 BT - The oldest written recordings in To'ul'hoss language are made.
- 25,883 BT - Beginning of the To'ul'h Calendar, 'Ha'ts'ul in To'ul'hoss language.
- c. 7500 BT - The most recent skywhale-hunting cultures end.
- 3831 AT - Terragens discover To'ul'hs through the MPA ship Fortunate Cloud, but decide to observe them instead of revealing themselves.
Post-contact (4011 AT onwards) Edit
- 4011 AT - Terragen-To'ul'h first contact is made. Shortly after, the To'ul'hs are invited to join the Terragen civilization, beginning a renaissance era on their homeworld.
- 4211 AT - The first intra-To'ul'h conflict occurs, between the Spacer and Homeworlder factions.
- 4300 AT - To'ul'hs have already integrated Terragen technology and ideas to their culture.
- 4318 AT - First humans to ever be killed by To'ul'hs. The incident takes place on the Eithne habitat orbiting To'ul'h Prime.
- 4328 AT - The Homeworlder faction expels the Spacer faction.
- 4511 AT - Ideological tensions rise between the Spacer and Homeworlder factions, resulting in the major intra-To'ul'h conflict since Terragen contact, the Spacer-Homeworlder Wars.
- 4645 AT - The Spacers' final assault on To'ul'h Prime is intercepted by transapient O'hoth'so'toh, also known as Smoking Mirror, who is affiliated with the Caretakers. He declares To'ul'h Prime under his sovereignity, establishing the current administration.
- 4720s AT - Nearbaseline To'ul'h H'th'h'h begins to live in the megastructure of Kiyoshi, experimenting the nomadic philosophy of the Vagabond Way.
- 4750s AT - H'th'h'h converts into Islam and begins to passionately study the Qur'an for months.
- 4793 AT - H'th'h'h arrives and pilgrimages on Medina, a Terragen Islamic world, to explore and learn in the virtual reconstructions of the Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.
- 4912 AT - After preaching to other To'ul'hs, H'th'h'h has developed a sizable following and expose their plans of terraforming and colonizing a world with Muslim To'ul'hs to the Stellar Umma.
- 4998 AT - H'th'h'h and his followers arrive at their target system for colonization, the third world of the H'sh'l'ho'th'th System. The Stellar Umma provides the colonists with the needed mediums to accomplish terraforming.
- 5042 AT - H'me'ch has been terraformed for To'ul'h habitation and is subsequently settled by 30,000 To'ul'h colonists, 20,000 AIs and 500 xenosplices.
- 5900s AT - Many non-To'ul'hs begin to visit H'me'ch.
- 6000s AT - H'me'ch is renowned by the Stellar Umma for its philosophers and culture.
- 6001 AT - H'th'h'h ascends to the first toposophic level, becoming a post-To'ul'h.
- 6833 AT - H'th'h'h disappears from the Stellar Umma, perphaps to continue to preach other extraterrestrial factions about Islam.
- 8753 AT - H'me'ch is annexed to the Wormhole Nexus.
Future events Edit
- 11053 AT - The To'ul'h Calendar completes its first Great Year. Some cults believe that apocalyptic or historical events happen at this time.
- The To'ul'hs were first published by the creators of Orion's Arm in 2002.
- On the original article, their technological level was described as being equivalent to that of Ancient Greeks. Further edits however have insisted that To'ul'hs already had motorized vehicles when they were discovered.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 To'ul'hs. Encyclopedia Galactica. 26 June 2006.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Mt. 'Thass'thon'. Encyclopedia Galactica. 29 June 2016.
- ↑ Octodactyl. The Century Dictionary Online. Page 4079.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 First Plague, The (To'ul'h Prime). Encyclopedia Galactica. 8 August 2016.
- ↑ To'ul'h Prime Phylogenetic Tree. Encyclopedia Galactica. 9 July 2014.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 'Thass'thon' article at Encyclopedia Galactica.
- ↑ 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 H'me'ch at Encyclopedia Galactica.
- ↑ Moonless Earth. History Channel. Published on YouTube on 22 October 2014 by stargazer.
- ↑ Ho'th'hss'lho. Encyclopedia Galactica. 7 March 2001.
- ↑ Web Original / Orion's Arm. TV Tropes.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 King Ho'than'shi II of Gla'shoo'ath. Encyclopedia Galactica. 8 August 2016.
- ↑ King, Hobart. Obsidian: Igneous Rock. Geology.com. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- ↑ -13.7Gy to -7000AT: Preterragen Era. Encyclopedia Galactica. 11 April 2003.
- ↑ To'ul'h Calendar. Encyclopedia Galactica. 23 July 2006.
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 The To'ul'hs. Orion's Arm (old version). Wayback Machine.