|Primary Languages:||None, telepathic communication|
The Venari are a mineral intelligence native to the planet Venar, sole satellite of its star, Ven Sol. Crystalline and rocky in appearance, venarite nodes depart drastically from the otherwise-humanoid sapient life of the galaxy -- in clusters, nodes are capable of "speech" through manipulation of Blue Chrono (which gives the crystal its signature azure color), creating auditory hallucinations in other nearby sapients. Larger concentrations of Venari create more complex illusions, while individual, separated nodes -- called Shards -- are relatively inert and appear as mundane crystals.
Etymology & Other Names
Possessing no traditional language of their own, the Venari are "named" after their single-planet solar system, Ven Sol -- in turn named after a forgotten human astronomer during the pre-spaceflight age. The name has since far outgrown its original human owner, and the Venari themselves do not consider it an insult to be bound to it, only deigning to use verbal language when communication via their humanoid intermediaries -- the Shardbonded -- is necessary.
The other races of the galaxy typically use their proper name, but individuals may use derogatory nicknames, commonly "rocks" and less commonly "braingems."
Biology & Anatomy
Venarite nodes and Shards appear as a faintly translucent, quartz-like mineral, azure in color and relatively soft when newly formed, acquiring hardness on the Mohs scale as they grow and their crystal structure develops. The nodes are capable of growing in almost any environment, requiring only natural stone to draw the necessary material from for continued crystal growth, and the most ancient node clusters resemble great pillars of diamond. When struck or otherwise acted on by outside forces, the crystals "sing," musically resonant at different pitches depending on their size: high tones for smaller nodes, and deep basses for mountainous structures.
With no ostensible gender or sex as a species, Venari nodes reproduce by growing and shedding Shards, which bond to the ground and "seed" new nodes. Having no natural predators on Venar, incapable of supporting traditional carbon-based life as the world is, this venarite growth continued uninterrupted for millennia until first contact with the rest of the galaxy -- and as a result, nearly the entirety of the planet's inhospitable surface is covered in venarite node clusters, serving to render the planet as a massive, networked intelligence: a collective referred to by other, offworld Venari intelligences as the Grand Choir. If considered to be an individual in spite of its enormous, diffuse nature, the Choir could easily be the most powerful Chrono-sensitive being in the galaxy, accepted by many to be a de facto deity.
Venari are also capable of growing symbiotically with and suffusing organic life-forms, creating Shardbonded.
Sociology & Culture
Venari "culture" is shrouded in mystery and often varies between intelligences outside the Grand Choir, each individual a closed system. Many motifs, however, are common -- typically those of music and voices, in terms of which many Venari perceive and define the universe. Possessing no traditional "senses" beyond simple vibration, this perception has a strange effect on Venari language: both true Venari and Shardbonded often describe sights, smells, emotions, and even people in musical terms. The energetic human race, for example, are referred to among the Grand Choir as "percussive," while a Shardbonded might call pleasant-tasting food "melodic." This arcane manner of speech has garnered Venari a reputation for being lofty and bafflingly poetic, which, in fairness, they generally are.
Incapable of movement on their own, the Venari rely on the other races of the galaxy for much of their quality of life, communication, and general function in the universe at large via the creation of Shardbonded, and most of galactic society associates the word "Venari" with these symbiont humanoids rather than the true crystal intelligences that constitute the bulk of their race.
In galactic politics, the Venari are currently lobbying for a planet to dedicate to the creation of a new Choir, though the failures of previous attempts and misconstrued fears of the intelligence's "invasive" nature make this unlikely.
Perhaps expectedly, true Venari and Shardbonded alike have a deep appreciation of music.