Before the Reformation Epoch
Before the genesis of the Keilicaela, there existed a creature known as the Helminth. Over the course of its journey through the Milky Way, the Helminth impacted with and burrowed into the core of the planet Namine, destroying and breaking open the planet's moon, Cryorcia, in the process. Over the course of thousands of years, the Helminth consumed portions of Namine's subterrane, while civilization began to emerge on the surface. The surface-dwellers came to learn of the Helminth and began to devise a plan to destroy it. The Helminth, likewise, had plans of its own.
Within the Helminth's womb were constructed the Keilicaela, a hive of hulking insectoids armored with thick layers of plated chitin, armed with stingers, claws, and mandibles, and installed with wings with which to swarm over the Helminth's enemies. A unique breed of Keilicaela was built for each of Namine's biomes: the Chi-Keilicaela for the forests, the Aen-Keilicaela for the savannas, the Tvi-Keilicaela for the volcanic wastes, the Ret-Keilicaela for the deserts, and the Ner-Keilicaela for the swamps. United under the Helminth's hivemind, the Keilicaela emerged from the depths of the planet and began their mission to annihilate the planet's sapient life.
Over the course of a bitter and bloody century, all civilization on Namine was driven into extinction, devoured and demolished by the unrelenting Keilicaela horde. Only those who escaped via spacecraft survived, and even they were never heard from again. After the Helminth's enemies had been overwhelmed and annihilated, the Helminth shifted the Keilicaela's purpose into altering Namine to better suit its own existence.
It is unknown how long the Keilicaela hordes spent doing the bidding of the Helminth on the surface. Only five years after the prior civilization was wiped from Namine, the Helminth went quiet and lay still, releasing its grasp on the Keilicaela. The creatures were now free.
With no sentient life but themselves on Namine, the Keilicaela, free of the Helminth's control, began to emerge as sapient, independent beings. Evolving from animalistic intelligence to spoken language, the Keilicaela formed tribes, mostly segregated along geographical (and therefore racial) lines. Primitive religions based around ancestral worship began to form; the most prominent of which was the Cult of Namine, first prominent in the Tvi-Keilicaela, who sought to make all Keilicaela adherents of the faith.
Simultaneously, the Aen-Keilicaela began to inhabit the abandoned megalithic structures of the people they once consumed countless aeons ago, remembering nothing of the Helminth or what they themselves had wrought upon the planet. As time marched on, the Aen-Keilicaela began to scavenge the ruins of the fallen civilization, learning from their doctrines, translating their language, and adopting their ways. It was from this that the advent of the city-state was born--a sharp contrast to the tribal ways of the other Keilicaela races. Though they learned the fate of this civilization and their place in it thanks to their translation efforts, the Aen-Keilicaela persisted, unfazed by their nature as killing machines and discarding the notion of having any loyalty to the long-dead Helminth.
The Aen-Keilicaela city-state, named Verikron, rose to prominence as it absorbed neighboring tribes and became what was easily the only civilization of note on the planet. To compete, non-Aen-Keilicaela tribes began to reorganize into proper city-states in order to have a chance to maintain their independence from Verikron. However, given that Verikron was the oldest city-state with the most time devoted to harnessing the technology of the original fallen civilization and what remained of their war machines, the city-states closest to Verikron's borders quickly fell and were captured.
The age of Verikron was where the Keilicaela were forced to reconcile their antithetical biology: that being their nature as creatures built to be weapons and their newly-developed personalities and individuality. Indeed, being weapons and having nothing else to fight, the Keilicaela plunged themselves into war against one another. Their lack of a unifying hivemind was, in some estimations, the direct cause of perhaps the greatest period of strife in post-Helminth Namine's history: the 573-year-long war of the Reformation Epoch. Over the course of this war, Verikron would declare itself the Empire of Namine, initially conquering the neighboring city-states of Thutria, Thyste, and Skopida.
The Reformation Epoch
In the years of the Reformation Epoch, the Keilicaela species would make their greatest advancements through unfettered warfare. Energy weapons and cyber-mechanization changed the landscape of conflict on Namine, as did the advent of primitive artificial intelligence in the year 100 RE. Enemies of the Empire of Namine would undermine the advantageous nature of such technology by obtaining these technologies themselves through espionage and subterfuge, assisted in part by corporations that profited off of the continuation of the war (a dynamic that would set a precedence for the role of corporations in Keilicaelaac society for years to come). Perhaps the most notable instance of technological subterfuge was in regard to spacecraft technology, an advent achieved by the Empire in 110 RE. This was a decisive edge for the Empire until, in 115 RE, its enemies had spacecraft of its own to counter the Empire, sparking conflict for mining rights within the remains of Cryorcia--conflict that would not have existed, and, indeed, drove the war from a near end back into a standstill, thanks to corporate interference.
All the while, the Empire of Namine's Synod had instituted an Imperial Cult as a means of filling the void left behind by the Helminth's hivemind (knowledge of the Helminth itself being hidden from anyone outside of the Imperial Synod). The Imperial Cult deified the Empire's fallen Emperors, enshrining them as supreme authorities in death. Followers of the Cult of Namine were forced at the tip of a sword to convert, and, as the wars dragged on, the Cult of Namine died a slow, dwindling death. Only isolated tribes, such as the Tvi-Keilicaela Sootshrouded, were left to practice their ancient customs. Similarly, the Ret-Keilicaela tribes who had retreated to the underground of the Great Sharazdi Desert would resist the Empire's advances, retaining their savage ways and their permutation of the Cult of Namine. The Empire would come to see little value in the barren wastes of the Sharazdi, and, eventually, give up on their incursions into Ret-Keilicaela territory. To this day, the Ret-Keilicaela continue their barbaric practices in the Great Sharazdi Desert, bereft of any notion of civilization.
The cycle of Keilicaela war would carry on in perpetuity until the ascension of Ferkanid Trinalak to the Imperial throne in 431 RE. Over the course of his reign, Trinalak would push for an end to the war that had defined their species for the entirety of its autonomy, seeking to unite all of Namine under the Imperial banner. As a student of history and having access to all knowledge the Imperial Synod kept locked away, in 433 RE, Ferkanid sought to use the Helminth to raise the army he would need to conquer Namine. Using profane technology that even the Emperor should not have been able to create, Ferkanid's bid for power succeeded, bringing the Helminth's organic factory back online. In 550 RE, for the first time since the fallen civilization's age and after over a century of work on the Empire's part, the Helminth was once again giving birth to Keilicaela--each one transported to Imperial training facilities to be indoctrinated into the Imperial army and trained to use the weapons of war they would need to conquer Namine.
Just 20 years later, in 570 RE, a grand fleet of Imperial ships was completed and manned by Ferkanid's Helminth army. In much the same way their enswarmed ancestors did at the dawn of the species, Ferkanid's fleet overran known civilization on Namine, forcing the Empire's enemies to bend to his will. By 573 RE, there was no Keilicaela on Namine who was not an Imperial.
The Post-Reformation Epoch
Rise of the Empire
The Post-Reformation Epoch saw the Keilicaela species expand into space. Ferkanid Trinalak would die of natural causes in 20 PRE. On his deathbed, he ordered the blasphemous facilities created to manipulate the Helminth's womb shuttered in order to prevent the Helminth's power from being used against the Empire. Furthermore, he abolished the position of Emperor, declaring himself the one, true, only, final Emperor and God of the Empire; there could be no other. To this day, Trinalak is the only Emperor worshiped in the Imperial Cult. All other figures the Empire deems worthy of worship are far beneath the rank of Emperor.
With the faster-than-light technology prototyped in 450 RE perfected in the form of Tearstream in 31 PRE, the Keilicaela species began to inhabit other worlds by 51 PRE. From 500 - 949 PRE, the Empire itself saw the greatest degree of growth, ushering in sapio-synthetic AI by 500 PRE and growing to 60 star systems by 949 PRE. During these years, the Empire cemented itself as a notable player in the Milky Way, drawing the ire of the Compact of the United Civilized Systems of the Milky Way Galaxy while simultaneously representing the Keilicaela species at large in the galaxy, as the Empire was the only faction comprised overwhelmingly of Keilicaela.
The Corruption, Alignment, and Second Empire
The Keilicaela's place in the galaxy would be majorly disrupted in the year 949 PRE with the Fall of Namine. As the Corruption devastated civilization on Namine, crippling the Empire and cutting off its colony worlds from Imperial rule and resources, the Qualdron Alignment would emerge. Formed upon the ratification of a pact between the formerly-Imperial worlds of Qualdron, Symonah, and Parand, the Qualdron Alignment represented the first time the Keilicaela had multiple (often diametrically opposed) powers within the Milky Way to represent them. Indeed, from 950 PRE – 983 PRE, the Qualdron Alignment remained the only multi-planetary Keilicaelaac government. In 951 PRE, a Keilicaela known only under the self-imposed name Ferkanid Trinalak II staged a bloody coup within the Alignment, claiming to be the reincarnation of the original Ferkanid Trinalak, and therefore the true ruler and God to all Keilicaela. Under his rule, the Alignment morphed into a fanatical cult-like dictatorship claiming to be the only legitimate continuation of Ferkanid Trinalak's primacy, deadset on bringing all formerly Imperial worlds under its divine rule. However, the with growing storm of the Corruption raging, the Alignment found that survival--let alone, conquest--was an arduous river to cross.
The Alignment's hegemony would eventually be indirectly challenged by the Armada of Namine's Fire, which formed in the immediate aftermath of the Fall of Namine. From 949 PRE - 976 PRE, the Armada made a name for itself as it joined with the Ashderian Regime, Vigilant, and Alarian Splinter, taking the war to the Corruption and contributing a great deal to their extinction in 976 PRE. Civilization on Namine, which had been in a painful state of recovery since 950 PRE, was joined by the Armada of Namine's Fire in 976 PRE, which donated manpower into helping the world heal. By 979 PRE, Namine had entered a state of relative repair--suitable enough for Vespid Heterodonyx, a war hero from within the Armada, to reestablish the Empire of Namine just one year later. The former Imperial colonies (save for the Alignment worlds) found themselves desperate for resources and direction; seeing little other choice, they pledged allegiance to the Second Empire, much to the chagrin of the Qualdron Alignment.
War sparked between the Second Empire and Alignment less than one year after the Empire was founded. From 980 PRE to 983 PRE, the Empire-Alignment War raged on. The Armada of Namine's fire discharged its non-Keilicaela forces and rejoined the Empire. Meanwhile, in order to increase power between all parties involved and to stand more stalwart against the yet-remaining threat of the Compact, which had endured through the age of the Corruption, the aforementioned non-Keilicaela factions entered into an alliance with one another and the Empire of Namine--an alliance known as the Syndicate. With the Syndicate's support, the Empire-Alignment War came to an end, seeing the Alignment crushed and all Keilicaela worlds once more united under a single governing body.
Beyond the Empire-Alignment War
Though the Keilicaela species at large continues to fall overwhelmingly under the Empire of Namine, the former Alignment planets continue to peacefully campaign for independence. The Second Empire of Namine has endured with its Syndicate allies through the Crysek Conflict, Hivemind Crisis, Boundary Cataclysm, and Princefall Incident. Through these conflicts, the Keilicaela species has remained ultimately united.
Just during their non-space-faring existence on Namine, the Keilicaela have invented over 4,500 languages, each with multiple, diverse dialects. Keilicaelaac (not to be confused with Old Keilicaelaac, an almost completely different language used during the early years of the Reformation Epoch) and Namirec are the languages in the most widespread use, although many other Keilicaela languages have survived and remain in use as well. It is worth noting that this does not account for the unique dialects that are created over time when the Keilicaela colonize new planets; for example, Namian Keilicaelaac and Venguarkian Keilicaelaac have many noticeable differences, although they are both technically the same language and retain a great degree of mutual intelligibility.
Known Keilicaela Languages
Note: a word in parenthesis after a language signifies a specific dialect for said language. Only notable languages/dialects have been listed.
- Occult Glyphic
- Old Keilicaelaac
- Keilicaelaac (Traditional, Simplified, Namian, Venguarkian)
- Namirec (Traditional, Simplified)
- Metikren (Traditional, Thutrian)
- Peritune (Traditional, Southern)
- Zerexzki (Traditional, Simplified, Amended)
Keilicaela have been documented to live as long as 220 years. It is thought that this is a relatively recent development in the Keilicaela species, as the average lifespan of a Keilicaela was far lower in the era of the Helminth, as well as prior to advanced cybernetic augmentation.
Anatomy and Physiology
Rather than having skin as we know it, Keilicaela have a thick, hardened layer of chitin, intended by the Helminth to serve as impenetrable armor. Should damage be inflicted upon the exoskeleton, an organ known as the xaonok secretes a chemical that simultaneously softens and repairs the damaged area of the exoskeleton, allowing for regeneration. The newly regenerated soft chitin quickly hardens afterwards.
The initial Keilicaela population did not experience any sort of physical growth. They were created by the Helminth in adult form to be ready for combat the moment they exited its womb. However, these Keilicaela were outfitted with reproductive systems, enabling them to raise armies autonomously as the Helminth continued to produce further swarms. It was the generations of Keilicaela born rather than built which could experience any sort of growth. After the Helminth's brain was shut down, all further Keilicaela (save for Ferkanid's conquering army) were subject to infancy and therefore growth.
Unlike other insectoids, Keilicaela do not shed their exoskeletons. Instead, when the time comes to grow, the the xaonok comes into play, secreting a modified form of the "healing chemical," one that solely softens the exoskeleton, making it malleable as to allow for a size increase. Once this size increase is complete, the exoskeleton re-hardens until the xaonok is activated again. As such, Keilicaela are not constantly growing. If the xaonok were constantly making the Keilicaela grow, they would be easy targets for predators. Thus, their growth periods are restricted to three phases, each phase adding a considerable size increase.
The first growth phase of a Keilicaela begins when they are five years old. The xaonok activates for growth purposes for the first time around this age, allowing the height of the Keilicaela to increase by up to a foot, and the exoskeleton to an inch or so in thickness. This generally ends in a four-foot-tall child Keilicaela with an inch-and-a-half thick exoskeleton. This growth phase takes anywhere from three days to a week.
The second and perhaps most major growth phase occurs at the age of ten. When the xaonok activates, the Keilicaela will gain two more feet in height and yet another inch in exoskeletal thickness. The completed form can be anywhere from five to six feet tall (depending on how much that particular individual grew during phase one), and a two-and-a-half to three-inch thick exoskeleton (again, depending on the individual). This growth phase may take one to two weeks.
The final Keilicaela growth phase occurs only three years after the second one, at the age of thirteen. Keilicaela will reach their final height, ranging anywhere from six to eight feet tall (meaning if one grew to six feet in phase two, there could potentially be no change), and final exoskeletal thickness, which can be anywhere between three-and-a-half to four inches thick. Not only this, but the reproductive organs of the Keilicaela begin to function, bringing the Keilicaela into adulthood. The length of this phase varies between individuals, but is at least a week long and at most a month long.
The coloration of the Keilicaela exoskeleton, stinger, and eye vary from individual to individual. However, there are a few rules that this trait follows:
- The largest factor in a Keilicaela's exoskeleton color is race.
- Prevalent colors in Aen-Keilicaela phenotypes are red, yellow, and orange.
- Prevalent colors in Chi-Keilicaela phenotypes are green, lime, dark brown, yellowish-green, and blue.
- Prevalent colors in Ret-Keilicaela phenotypes are brown, tan, and orange.
- Prevalent colors in Tvi-Keilicaela phenotypes are white, black, and gray.
- The second-largest factor in a Keilicaela's color is gender.
- Red and yellow are the two most common colors of modern Keilicaela. Red is generally found on females and yellow is often a male color, but these are not rules; red males and yellow females exist and are more common than one would think.
- Black is the least common of the most common, and is not exclusive to males but still rare in females.
- Brown, white, blue, and orange have no gender preference.
- Stinger color is generally either yellow-and-black or orange-and-black.
- Yellow-and-black is male-exclusive.
- Orange-and-black is female-exclusive.
- There are fairly common genetic mutations, however, that allow the non-black stripe color to be the same as the exoskeletal color.
- Eye color can either be the same color as the exoskeleton (the eye will a different shade of the exoskeleton color, however), or an inverse of that color.
- For example, blue Keilicaela often have a blue eye shaded differently from their exoskeleton. They can also have a red eye, or on occasion, a green eye.
- Red Keilicaela can either have a different shaded red eye, a blue eye, or a yellow eye.
- Green Keilicaela, as in the case of Vespid Heterodonyx, either have a different shaded green eye, a yellow eye, or a blood-red eye.
- White Keilicaela have been noted as an exception to the rule, possessing a wide variety of eye colors from black to blue to green to orange.
There are five notable Keilicaela races, each created by the Helminth to thrive in the varied climates and biomes of Namine. At the inception of the species, the races worked in tandem, serving the Helminth's will unfetteringly. After the Helminth's death and subsequent genesis of independent thought within the Keilicaela, the races began to turn on one another, forming tribes and societies, with the Aen-Keilicaela being the progenitors of the Empire of Namine. After the Empire's successful conquest of the planet, racial tensions began to fade as the species at large set its sights on the stars and found much more bizarre, alien, and hostile things than each other to focus their malice upon.
The Aen-Keilicaela, nicknamed the Sunbaskers, ran through Namine’s vast, wide-open plains and savannas, hunting down their prey with primitive weapons and forming hunter-gatherer societies. They gained their nickname from generations of running through the light of the twin suns with only the occasional tree to provide sparse shade from the blazing heat.
The Chi-Keilicaela, nicknamed the Forestgliders, hunted and thrived in the lush tropical forests of Namine, where they were infamous for their hanging vine traps and forest rooftop abodes. They were nicknamed for their primary manner of travel: gliding high above green canopies until they needed to swoop down and catch their next meal by surprise.
The Ner-Keilicaela, nicknamed the Murkdwellers, were present in the swamps and bogs of Namine. They could often be seen rising from the depths of murky, rancid lakes as a surprise hunting tactic. Many Ner-Keilicaela were famous for carving their habitations out of the monolithic trees that dotted Namine’s swamps--a tactic that the Chi-Keilicaela would adopt for use in their home forests.
The Ret-Keilicaela, nicknamed the Sandburrowers, were created for the Great Sharazdi Desert, where they formed savage tribes and resisted any form of civilization. They were nicknamed for the sand burrows their cultures were fond of digging for both habitation and trapping purposes.
The Tvi-Keilicaela, nicknamed the Firewalkers, were abundant in Namine’s volcanic wastes and ashland regions, where they primarily hunted smaller animals and those creatures that were as steadfast as they against the double-punch of the binary suns and boiling magma rivers. They earned their nickname from generations of thriving in the unforgiving fires of the ashlands.
- The word "keilisar" in the Keilicaelaac language is a term equivalent to "man" in the English language, and would be used in such contexts as "that man over there," "manpower," "mankind," etc. The equivalent female term is "keilisae."