Intelligent major race evolved from herbivore/grazers originating on the world Kirur ( Thirty / Ruupiin 1315). The word K'kree means Great Herd. K'kree are among the most massive of the major races, and are the only major race descended from herbivores. They have two sexes: male and female. The adult K'kree stands about 1.5m tall at the shoulder, and between 2m and 2.4m to the top of the head when standing erect. They weigh about 550kg, with males averaging 15 to 20% larger than females. They are bilaterally symmetrical, hexapedal, and homeothermic. Due to their resemblance to creatures of ancient Terran myth, K'kree have also become known to humans as Centaurs.
The arrangement of the K'kree manipulative organ (or "hand") on the front limb is one of their most interesting features. A complex cartilaginous structure of tubes permit the fingers of the K'kree hand to telescope up out of the way when the hand is used as a weapon. Fully extended, the fingers are mutually opposable to each other and to the "thumb", which in reality is an extension of the ulna. The K'kree hand is very flexible but somewhat weaker in grasping power than the human hand.
The K'kree are covered with a short gray or black fur, and with a dense black mane covering the head, neck, and upper back. Unlike Terran mammals, the young are fed partially digested, regurgitated food instead of milk.
Smell is the sharpest of all the K'kree senses. A K'kree with experience in dealing with another race (such as humans) can detect certain basic emotions (fear, hunger, anger) from scent alone. K'kree works of art concentrate on olfactory rather than visual or auditory elements as the major focus.
The K'kree are very conservative in all aspects of their culture. Ceremonial military units (such as bodyguards) are armed with equipment which K'kree military technology out-dated centuries ago, and (aside from modifications made necessary by the discovery of spaceflight), K'kree government has not changed significantly in centuries.
The plain-dwelling origins of the K'kree have meant that they are claustrophobes; they cannot stand to be enclosed. K'kree cities are clumps of low, broad buildings; the interior is never more than one story in height, which allows the sky to be visible. Interior building divisions are achieved with curtains or tapestries.
K'kree are extremely gregarious, as befits their descent from herd animals. They are almost never found alone, and will quickly sicken and die if removed from other K'kree for any length of time. A lone K'kree is either terminally ill, has been exiled to die, or is dangerously insane. Receiving a trade delegation from the K'kree means entertaining the entire family (one or more wives, servants, scribes, assistants, etc.) of the merchant or ambassador. In fact, the K'kree word for "my" (traa) refers to a possession of the individual's family, not to an individual. Privacy and individuality are exotic and little understood concepts for the K'kree.
K'kree are strict vegetarians, and they have an instinctual hatred of meat-eating creatures. Even the smell of dead or dying animals causes them considerable distress. When the K'kree encounter a carnivorous race, their first instinct is to convert the race to a vegetarian way of life. If this fails, they exterminate the uncooperative carnivorous race. Wars of extermination, where they annihilated carnivorous intelligent races that refused to change, fill K'kree interstellar history. They fought the most spectacular of these wars from -2029 to -2013 with the neighboring major race, the Hivers. The Hivers quickly gained the upper hand, and they forced an armistice that has stood for three millennia.
K'kree society is traditionally divided into castes. There are hundreds of castes, but for simplicity, three general groupings exist: servants, well-born (also known as "merchants"), and noble.
The servants (L'llurik) are the lowest caste, and include farmers, factory workers, unskilled labourers, personal servants, and males who have lost their caste. for all classes.
The well-born (Kaa'kr) form the next higher caste, and include most skilled workers, scientists, engineers, technicians, scribes, artisans, and government administrators, as well as merchants and businessmen.
The nobles (Ghik'keer!k or steppelord) are the highest caste, and include the leaders of government (known as krurruna), the high military officers, diplomats, and heads of trade and manufacturing concerns. Nobles are usually garbed in much more ornate fashion than the lower castes.
Female K'kree are casteless, and take on the caste of their father or husband. Children, likewise, assume the caste of their male parent. Females have no position in government or society other than the rearing of young.
Every male K'kree must serve a term in the military upon coming of age. Warriors are drawn from all castes, with military rank determined by caste of origin. Nobles enter as general officer trainees, well-born as NCOs, and servants as line soldiers. Upon completing their term of service, a warrior returns to his original caste and position. Warriors are the only K'kree permitted to bear weapons, and they are further distinguished by their peculiar flared and horned helmets. They serve as soldiers, police, fire-fighters, and bodyguards for diplomatic and mercantile expeditions.
The structure of K'kree government is rooted in the traditional herd system. The basic unit of government is the family unit or herd (k'krr), numbering from six to hundreds or even thousands of individuals of all castes and ages. Large herds contain under-leaders called "bosses" (krurruna), and the herd leader is the Keer!, or lord, regardless of the herd's actual caste. In recent times, most herds have been assigned specific geographic areas. Several herds may be assigned a city or a single herd may be assigned millions of hectares of farmland.
A herd collective is termed a xuruk. This consists of several herds in a given geographical area, ruled by a steppelord (ghik'keer!k).
A collection of xuruk within a single area forms a xurxeer!k. In human terms, this would form a country, but in K'kree terms a better designation is "group of cities". This carries the connotation of a number of cities related by trade routes and products. It is dominated by a "lord of steppelords" or Overlord (Ghir'ghik'keer!k). On K'kree colony worlds, the overlord is usually the ruler of the planet.
The K'kree empire is known as the Two Thousand Worlds (T't'tkahk Xeng Kirr). Commonly translated as creation, night sky, or universe, it represents the (roughly) two thousand stars visible from the surface of Kirur ( Thirty / Ruupiin 1315). The deeper meaning in the phrase stems from the K'kree notion that they control all that they can see. The ruling K'kree lord of the entire race is known as the Ghik'keer!k'ak T't'tkahk Xeng Kirr; that is, the "Steppelord of the Two Thousand Worlds".
The K'kree calendar is based on the period of Kirur ( Thirty / Ruupiin 1315) around Gzang, its star. The K'kree year (Pim!bigr) is 439.56 standard days in length.
(SUPP-8, 1107; MT-ENCYC, 1120)
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