|“||You may call the Silpha fragile, weak, and generally a pathetic waste of flesh. But my biggest fear is how no one seems to notice how commonplace they are. I bet if we were to push this species too far we may see them fight back with as much ferocity as when the Kun'ko Empire was at its peak. And the scariest thing is even if we cleanse the whole region of these tiny terrors, a few breeding pairs are enough to overrun the world deep in the shadows of the caverns they call home.||”|
— Unknown Historian, Circa 373 P.K.
Silphas are a species of bipedal sapient creatures. They are the namesake of the titular Silphaverse and are one of the most abundant species of sapient life in this universe. They are also the most common B.K. era species being one of the few species who managed to survive and thrive after the dissolution of the Kun'ko empire.
The Silpha are a light-built species being roughly 4-5 feet in height and weigh on average 100 pounds. They have a noticable mottled green skin coloring with a complimenting complexion ranging from dull grey to jet black on their forelimbs and back neck. They have five-fingered hands and four-toed feet with each finger and toe having a hooked, dull colored talon on each end. They have fully prehensile 2-foot long ears which are ovular and end in a tapered split. Their ears have an extendable transparent membrane that allows a Silpha to double their ear's width to act as protection from airborne irritants to enter their eyes. Said eyes are standard sized with irises coming in a variety of earthly colors. The pupils of a Silpha uniquely don't retract when surprised or angry and instead expand when a Silpha senses these types of emotions. An average Silpha individual also has access to 21 pairs of serrated teeth with the back most teeth having a smaller hook-like structure on the front-most side. In a case of sexual dysmorphism males and females both have head spines, but the males have long singular curves down their forearms and females have shorter, hair-like spines come down their backsides. Males and females also have sexual dysmorphism in their tale with the females having tails ending in a sharp hook and males having split tail ends, but both are hairless and 3 feet long.
Silphas are mainly a subterranean dwelling species, living in large cavernous areas just above the Mid-Core regions. To accommodate their increasingly large populations they developed a high-affinity for using one-handed tools such as knives, pick-axes, and shovels to make up for their lack of strength. They are often nicknamed as "glass-rats" due to their high mortality rate and even higher birth rate. Silpha females have extremely short gestation periods of one week and can birth to up to a dozen Silpha children at a time. Young Silpha have 7 of their 21 pairs of teeth in their mouths and this allows them to eat solid foods just after birth. A Silpha gains the capabilities to walk at one week of age and after one year become mature adults and capable of reproduction with a fellow Silpha. A common misconception is that Silpha can only live for 20 years, in reality Silphas can live for over 300 years. Its just that so many of them die before the age of 20 due to a combination of predation, mutilation, and simple stupidity that its became a common myth over the years. Due to maturing extremely quickly the few Silpha who managed to live past 20 years look as young as when they first became adults, with the sole difference being their spines being grayer in color and their tails becoming paler and gaining a thin layer of white spines.
Silphas, despite their primitive looking settlements, are actually well adept at manufacturing due to their large populations allowing for the quick development of tools and other devices. Silphas often commit themselves to one of several roles to help their community, dubbed as a "tribe". Firstly there are what the Silpha dubs "House-Miners" who mainly dig out hollowed-out opening deep underground, both to proves room for further population growth (Hense the house part of house-miners) and to also mine rare ores such as silver, gold, and cadmium. The metals the miners dig up are used by the "Hard-Cutters" who forge these precious metals into mundane tools and equipment. Due to the large populations of these tribes the Silphas can't take advantage of selling these precious metals for profit. Instead Silphas use the scales of creatures known to cause a lot of Silpha fatalities as currency. "Scale-Bankers" are the ones who manage the economy of the tribes and they lead a group of "Scale-Traders" who run trade inside and outside the tribe. The value of animal scales is proportional to how dangerous the monster the scales come from to the Silpha. Due to valuing animal scales over gold outside civilizations sometimes mock them and a few unscrupulous individuals often swindle tribes out of hundreds of tons of precious metals for a few bags of animal scales. Some cultures however treasure trading with the Silpha as these tribes are some of the only reliable sources of Eggstones which is highly valuable inside and outside the tribe. Due to the high protein value of eggstone yolk Silphas like to hunt for these glittering shells as a premium food source for their young. "Egg-Cluthchers" are responsible for hunting of eggstones and are often accompanied by "Meat-Clutchers" to help in protection against the parents of these rare subterranean delicacies. Meat-Clutchers also explore outside the tribe to hunt for meat to feed their growing population and are often the ones to die the most due to the amount of creatures that are interested in killing them.
Due to the high mortality rate of Silphas they don't typically have funerals. The main exception is when the rare occasion of an entire tribe becoming eradicated which is usually met with other local tribe leaders paying their respects with large gifts to the dead including donating the most valuable local eggstones and building monoliths containing carving of the extinct tribe's leader. Due to not being experienced in mourning most species become unerved when the local Silpha are non-chalant about any immediate death.
Silphas, despite their high birth rate, still mate for life, and if one mate were to die the other will traditionally only find another mate if their late spouse were to bless it as their final wish. Aside from those wealthy in animal scales, those who are part of the largest family groups typically have the most power. When a family has sufficient popularity and size they can elect one of their own to become leader of their tribe. Traditionally they will only elect those who have a spouse but there are exceptions. Tribe leaders deal with trade with other tribes, help the population commit to specific projects, and direct the expansion and territory growth of the tribe. When there is a sufficient enough issue all of the local tribe leaders will form a council with other leaders to delegate on potential threats.
When a group of tribes become large enough they elect the most popular tribe leader and that person becomes the tribe lord. Tribe lords run the military of all local tribes under their jurisdiction and help elect officials for the local courts of law. Warfare between Silphas are rare but when they occur they tend to be long and bloody due to their large population. There isn't any set military, rather the skills the Silpha learned in their choses jobs reflect their role in combat (Meat and Egg-Clutchers are footsoldiers, House-Miners run the machinery, Scale-Bankers act as spies, etc).
The sheer number of Silpha often catches the attention of other species, in exchange for animal scales these individuals outsource whole tribes of Silphas to run factories or compliment a nation's already existing military. These groups are often dubbed as colonies and these colonies often live in poor conditions and their already high mortality rate rises as well due to increased danger and inexperience running heavy machinery. Some Silpha also get involved in the local black market and while some are simply used as workers transporting illegal goods, a few Silphas carve their own niche selling rare animal eggs and counterfit eggstones.