The Lupa are a species of people from the planet xcheamo who have two forms. This allows them to live in the harsh conditions of their planet, which is full of extremely high-grade poisons and large, nasty predators. They are prone to interpersonal fighting and in general are physically active, adept, and masters of the body. As a social collective, their viewpoint is rather different than that of Humans.
Personality of a People
The Lupa are a people that are personally aggressive, yet socially peace-driven. The ultimate goal is always peace, which has been reinforced by events in their past. Having a fight with a friend or someone you disagree with is normal, while one would never have a physical fight over territory or trade agreements. Such disputes are handled openly before the community at large. Dominance often plays a large role in Lupa society and societal structure.
The Lupa are very concerned with nature and not messing it up. They live very much in their environment. Beauty is considered to be tied directly to what is natural, and they take care to preserve it. Destroying land when it’s not absolutely necessary is an appalling idea to them, and even so they would do it reluctantly.
Most Lupa have problems with heights, and being near larger fires (more than one would use for cooking) and large bodies of water. They typically don't like flying or going to sea; they'd much rather keep their feet on the ground. Similarly, they also dislike being underground. Hunters and Urvenis are the people most feared by Lupa in general. However, they will sleep easily when surrounded by rhythmic sounds like at the beach, or in warm, sunny places.
As one might say that Vulcans are a race that conquers the mind, the Lupa are a race that conquer the body, and even the average Lupa has better mastery over the body than most Humans. This enables them to learn new physical activities or movements quickly, and someone with a high level of training may be able to mimic members of elite sports or types of movements, such as ballet or fighting styles just by watching for a relatively short amount of time.
They have superior physical senses to those of Humans. They have better balance, are faster, and can generally lift up to 1 1/2 times their body weight, perhaps 2 times if survival depends on it. Sitting too long makes them fidgety, and they usually prefer movement and action. This often helps motivate them in their work. Lupa can generally tolerate pain, and many will work through even crippling pain if it means survival.
Lupa hair is strand to strand thicker than a Terran's, and a little course. However, they do not have any body hair other than the hair on their heads, eyebrows, and eye lashes. When cold, they can simply change form.
The average Lupa lives to 130-150 years of age, and will usually see great grandchildren or even great great grandchildren before they die. They can walk and function much more quickly after birth than a Terran child, and will develop motor and comprehension skills before devoting more serious amounts of energy to body growth.
Once they have moved through adolescence, Lupa look their age in their early twenties, and then their aging slows down. A 60 or 70 year old will look like a Terran 40—50 year old. The prime years are considered to be between 40-70, when the body is still functioning excellently and one is old enough to have gathered some experience. Most Lupa usually only have 2 children in their lifetime, replacing themselves and keeping balance so as to not overpopulate their planet again. It should also be noted that Lupa are incapable as breeding with other species, as further outlined on the physiology page.
More on Lupa physiology can be found on the Lupa Physiology page.
As the word Lupa suggests (see the Language section), the Lupa are people with two forms. These two forms are treated equally and neither is considered the superior or primary form. They refer to each form as "skin" and "fur," respectively, the skin form resembling a Human, and the fur form in the nature of a 4 legged mammal.
They in no way consider this an "animal" form, as it is a Lupa form only and there is no change in the mental and astral being between forms. They are literally one being with two forms; being in fur does not make one a feral animal, and being in skin does not make one superior to someone in fur.
For the most part, Lupa look at the two forms as a great blessing, especially since it is necessary for survival on their planet. They will sometimes feel sorry for beings with only one physical form because they are missing half of everything, especially when it comes to communication and mastery over the body.
While changing is painful, Lupa get over this part of changing while still babies, and for the most part ignore it as changing only takes a few seconds. Most Lupa can control some specific parts of the change, and with much practice some people can even control minute parts. However, constantly changing can become painful rather quickly, and so not many people delve deeply into this ability; however, everyone can "grow" their teeth, claws, and tail while in skin, and some amount of fur. A Terran Lupa is much more likely to be able to effect the right amount of fur in skin to pass as body hair.
Change between forms can be triggered both consciously and unconsciously and is triggered through the nervous system. It sends a signal to the person's DNA, which is rewritten by the last "blank" in the DNA sequence. The normal double helix gains another dimension, becoming a triple helix. A person can be made to change (unconsciously) via the right combination of magnetic fields and frequencies, such as during full moon, but the rest of the time one can change at will. There is no difference in the process of changing between a voluntary or unvoluntary change.
The fur from can be described as a demonic-looking 4 legged creature, usually lean, with a spring-like but flexible back and tons of fur. The neck is dropped from the shoulder to enable the head to reach the ground, and the long tail has a kink at the end. The legs are thin under all the fur, and constructed in the same manner as a horse with a full knee in the foreleg. Along the spine run a series of protective plated spikes which can rise and fall at will.
The body and head in general are rather angular, and the average adult Lupa in fur is about 3 feet high at the withers. They generally have deep hock action for a large, moving stride. Color patterns include solid, swirled, fleabitten, and possibly roan, though not spotted or blanketed.
The Affects of Form
Unfortunately, the Lupa fur form is demonic and frightening in appearance, so much so that they are often hunted down by other people (Humans, since they have only been on their homeworld and Earth so far) who have discovered their second form and what it looks like. Based on their appearance and "otherness", most Human--even those who have known them for years--still become Hunters when they cannot reconcile the fur form with any good qualities. Instead, they will insist they were lied to, deceived, and betrayed by a race which was only pretending to be Human. There are even rumors among some Hunters that Lupa eat babies--because they look like it.
Even those decidedly friendly to Lupa often find themselves uncomfortable around Lupa in fur form--they and the Lupa themselves understand that the form is alarming.
Given that Lupa society on Earth has been nearly entirely shaped by the existence of Hunters, which is highly based on appearance, it is safe to say that their appearance has much to do with their current self-isolated situation, and that the fur form is indeed quite scary--no matter who you are. Even Lupa who are confident and safe will not reveal this form, and most consider it a gross betrayal. Miara herself waited some years to appear in the House in this form, even though she knew it was a safe place.
As a vital and unusual aspect of Lupa culture, the extensive information on astral has been moved here.
One of the most notable parts of Lupa society (especially in relation to Human society) is their understanding of dominance. This section has been moved to a separate page and can be found here.
FIGHTING AND WEAPONS
The Lupa generally don't use external weapons, preferring to use their mastery over their bodies in physical contact fighting. For this reason, their use of the term "hand to hand" does not include hand held weapons--it literally refers to using only one's body, in either form. Fighting with weapons is generally taught at the Place of the Touched to those who take an interest in it.
Lupa usually employ a fighting style that allows them to use their mastery of their bodies, and the main Lupa fighting style is a conglomeration of many recognizable movement styles, such as wrestling, martial arts, and street fighting, and also includes elements one would find in gymnastics and other athletic disciplines. Most Lupa only need basic instruction as a youngster to carry out settling any personal squabbles or conflicts, as they are naturally good fighters and spend a lot of time honing such skills between agemates in play, and as hunters.
They do, however, use many types of knives and short blades in daily life, and children receive basic instruction with knives at the proper age. They have no guns, and generally don't produce pole arms or other such weapons, as they have little use for them.
Among the Touched, astral power itself can be a weapon, and anyone Touched enough to be a Speaker has at least minimal control of this ability. The two most important conflicts in Lupa history were between the Immortals, and so astral power has been the foremost and most influential weapon they've had globally up to this point.
Master fighters convene every 20 years to train together and learn from each other. For more information on this, see the Master's Seminar section on the xcheamo page under Holidays and Events.
Known Fighting Styles
Speed or light form: For those with light and/or agile bodies, this style is practiced especially by women and children. It is the first form taught.
Power or heavy form: For those with strong, powerful bodies, this style is practiced especially by men. It is the second form taught.
Mixed form: A mix of both forms, usually used to counterattack the first two forms. It is the third form taught.
Sku'rarei: The Changing form, this style is practiced by literally only a handful of people in each generation. It is extremely difficult and painful to use, as it means constantly changing various body parts as needed in a fight. One need not be a particularly skilled fighter to be scouted for this form; it is more important to have a high pain tolerance.
Lupa are a people who feel great sorrow at death, and then try to move on. While it is seen as a natural part of life and one which cannot be changed, the death of someone you're bonded to is extremely traumatic and leaves a gaping hole on one's soul--the broken bond. Death rips the bond apart, and the living half is acutely aware, literally feeling the other die. Someone who dies may often impress the bulk of their feelings about another person upon them at death, which the living person will then explore later and hold quite dear.
Shortly after death, the body will be attended by those present, and a Speaker or someone close to the deceased will perform the death rites, which will include anything one wishes to say, and then a set recitation dedicating the body back to nature. The body will convert to energy and dissipate into the surrounding area.
At the death of a mate especially, most Lupa experience a brief but intense period of anguish and rage. Most either have vague, bad memories or do not remember what happens during this time, and sometimes a close friend will help them in the need to fight. They may also encounter shorter bouts of this throughout the early stages of their grieving process.
Sometime after the death, the mate, parents, children, or agemates of the deceased will go through all their belongings and sort them out. They will usually keep certain things, and the rest will be laid out at an open house for visitors and well wishers to take and use. Until this time, most pack members will leave the mourner(s) to grieve in their own way, and in this way the open house serves as a signal that this period is over, and the person(s) are ready to see others and talk about what happened/the deceased with others they are not extremely close to.