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 involuntary 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. Nana Sano, for instance prefers not to hang out with the Tokyo Lupa on full moon, and took quite a while to warm up to Edar in his fur form--despite the fact that he's her husband and that she already know about Lupa in general (Chapter 23 of Taki & Miara, Book 1).
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.
The Lupa language incorporates three distinct sets of communication.
The first is the sound language, consisting of the different types of throat noises the Lupa can make. This includes growling, whines, guttural noises, and pitched sounds. To a Terran, they can make noises that are feline (no purring, sorry), canine, lupine, and then some other sounds that don’t fit into any of these categories. They can also make some sounds that are below or above what a Terran can naturally hear.
The second is the body language. This includes gestures, movements, and body positions. Lupa are aware of every part of their bodies from a young age, and can read signals through muscle groups, as well. Two people who know each other well can in communicate easily without ever actually making noise.
The third language is the word language. Their language is practical, but often uses very similar words for similar meanings. For example, the words hunt, pursue, court/date, and to catch/get are all based on the same root word. The basic sentence structure in Lupa is verb (action), subject, and then the object.
As a general rule, Lupa do not speak Lupa in front of non-Lupa, unless they are doing it discretely or don't want others to understand. Sound language would only be used at appropriate times, or with animals. Movements, however, tend to become part of how one normally moves, and often appear very natural.
More information on the Lupa spoken language is available on the Lupa Language page.
Lupa is written in sound symbols rather than picture symbols. They have five types of punctuation which are roughly equivalent to the period, comma, question mark, exclamation point, and one representing a growl sound. There are no capitols, although words may be written larger or underlined for emphasis. Long sounds, which would normally be written double in English, are written with a line over the letter or symbol. (As this is impossible in the chatbox, long sounds are written with double letters, such as Moon or Altonno's names.)
All Lupa are taught to read and write as children, and writing is mostly used in the form of personal correspondence or highly important documents, as paper is not available in spades as on Terra, and most of it can be found around the Place of the Touched.
The HunterKiller did all of the initial translating when the Lupa first came to Terra. She chose words that made it easy for Terrans to understand some foreign ideas, which comes across in today’s English with words such as pack. Terrans understand this kind of structure from nature around them, but the Lupa communities do not literally operate this way. These types of ideas are often transliterated rather than translated. Hunters are almost always referred to as Hunters, no matter what language the Lupa may speak. Everything else is translated normally.
Some words have gone into standard Lupa as well, such as rabbit, since they were imported to xcheamo quite some time ago. The Lupa do not have separate words for battle, war, or fight, and the word they use is translated as fight. They don’t have words for politics, most kinds of weapons (anything that takes bullets, missiles, etc.), technologies like computers or electricity, etc. They do not translate the names of people. Therefore, Moon’s name is not the same word that means moon in Lupa, since it actually comes from the words for song or lullaby.
The word Lupa roughly means 'dual unity,' when used as the name of their species, but lupa (lc) can be used for 'person' or 'people' among Lupa (this is more prevalent on xcheamo).
It is postulated that some words from the Lupa language found their way into modern Terran languages, probably one of the most notable being the modern French word 'lupa,' meaning 'she-wolf.' Astral is a similar word. Since the Lupa have been on Terra for thousands of years, it is only natural that such a thing would happen. Unfortunately, some such things also have ties to why there are Hunters. Most similar words, however, are usally just coincidence, as there are only so many sounds most beings can make, and almost every language has similar sounds.
- Leader: the Leader of a community
- Speaker: a Touched person who acts as a community's counselor
- Agemate: an agemate is a person within five years of one's own age that is considered a closer friend or part of one's personal group of friends. For example, Eiry (32) and her brother in law Jake (36) are agemates, while Eiry and her brother Ian (39) are not.
- Mate: the life partner with which one specifically cultivates a soulbond. Consider anyone with a mate married.
- Soulmate: used ONLY to describe someone you have a soulbond with OTHER THAN the mate, twin, or other close family member. Soulmates share a deep platonic relationship without romantic connections. Example: Eiry and Tally
- Bond (sometimes soulbond): When two people have a bond between their souls. Some, like mates, have deliberately made one, while with most soulmates one just happens via similarities and/or exposure to that person. Some happen spontaneously. Twins would cultivate their bond while sharing the womb. Mothers also cultivate a bond with their unborn child, and then the bond will grow weaker as the child grows up and moves into their own life. A soulbond will weaken with disuse, but it's impossible to cut one off all together outside of death.
The HunterKillers Hunt Hunters, but one hunts for their next meal. Only hunting related to Hunters or other forms of human evil is capitalized.
A Lupa would differentiate between the phrase "there are Hunters in the woods" and "there are hunters in the woods" by the way in which the word "hunters" is used. "Hunters" is usually said with malice in mind, and the word carries a certain gravitas to it when used by Lupa.
The word Change is only capitalized to describe turning a nonLupa into a Lupa, while the change in general isn't capitalized for those already Lupa. This is mostly because it's an extremely common word among Lupa and it's just easier to capitalize it only when it's truely important.
Lupa follow a standard introduction when meeting new people that designate their lineage and location. For instance, Eiry, while still living at home with her family, would introduce herself as "Eiry, daughter of Jonathan and Kara, of Luke's pack." The order of parents is not important.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
Parents are responsible for overseeing or teaching the basics of Lupa life, such as: language and movement; environmental basics and first aid(survival); letters, numbers, and other shapes; provide socialization; to control their changing; encourage curiosity and creativity; begin teaching life skills such as hunting; food preparation; fighting and self defense; teaching songs. These are all things that children should have some knowledge of before joining other children in group learning around 5 or 6 years of age.
While Lupa engage in group learning, this usually does not reflect the classroom approach favored by most other societies. When young and still in their home packs, children attend a group meeting type of class daily. The class will usually change location or move around as needed or just for something different, and is taught by those good with child care and development. Many pack members lend their services to teach on their particular skills, and Lupa children are exposed to many different crafts and occupations in this manner.
These group classes further develop parental teaching. They are also taught reasoning and logic, to read and write, basic arts, trades, and history. They delve more deeply into the subjects of teaching songs and stories, both common and unique.
The group classes are open to anyone under placement age, and generally are not broken up by age group. Children from about 5–10 attend the group class daily, and after the age of eight, will usually receive more personalized instruction from their parents and other pack member if they have found an interest to pursue. Once a child is 10, they are expected to begin finding interests they would like to pursue into adulthood in preparation for placement at 11 or 12.
After, or often before placement (see Xcheamo page for placement), a teenager will seek out a mentor or be assigned one in whatever craft or occupation they have chosen to study. As with many traditional crafts, the mentor-student relationship is key in Lupa work and learning. People more advanced in a particular craft or subject are expected to help those with less, and one often forms a close relationship with a mentor or student. In certain things, this bond is essential, such as with fighting training, learning to live in the desert, or in astral training.
Those who are Touched or astralgia often take two educational paths; one for their astral training, and one for some other occupation, usually an artistic craft or leadership.
When a Touched child is placed, they will usually take up training with that pack's Speaker if they aim to be one themselves. Usually later in their teens, after a Touched has been in their placement pack for a few years, they will begin attending the seasonal classes for their skill group at the Place of the Touched. They will be expected to have had the basic training from their mentor, and the group sessions are used for more advanced study under the supervision of older, more experienced people, usually the immortals themselves and older astralgia.
Once a Touched has attained a certain level of accomplishment, usually over the ages of 25–30, they may be placed as a Speaker by the Speaker's Order, depending on abilities and personality.
Unlike most normal Touched, astralgia are often set in a different position at placement, although again, this can depend upon certain factors, such as if the person specifically wants to pursue a certain craft or trade. While astralgia generally don't normally become Speakers, they hold another place in Lupa society: they are the ones who become experts in commanding astral power and in all things astral.
The lives of astralgia are usually challenging, filled with constant study and improvement, following after astral feelings without really knowing where they're going or what they're doing, and teaching others. They often take on larger projects or problems, are placed and mentored either with another astralgia or at the Place of the Touched, and are almost always trained in leadership. Because of their intimate astral ties to nature/the universe, some astralgia become catalysts, or "movers and shakers." This is one of the reasons they are taught leadership and given more responsibility by their teachers and mentors, and while their lives can be great, they are also required to work with great discipline and control over their abilities and rigorously follow the instructions of their mentors and trainers.
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
For those with light and/or agile bodies, this style is practiced especially by women and children. It is the first form taught. May also be called light form or speed form.
For those with strong, powerful bodies, this style is practiced especially by men. It is the second form taught. May also be called heavy form.
A mix of both forms, usually used to counterattack the first two forms. It is the third form taught.
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.
Most Lupa medicine is herbal, or otherwise based on the natural substances around them. They take a holistic approach to healing, and thus healers and Speakers often work together. The average Lupa can take care of their own scrapes and scratches well enough, and would generally only go to a healer for something more serious.
As for a Lupa's natural healing, in most cases scratches and bruises would be completely gone in 2–3 days. Anything involving a more serious separation of the flesh (blade wound, etc.) would take 3-4 days to heal in most normal cases. Something like a sword wound across the body could take up to two weeks to vanish completely. Unless the injury was particularly severe or attached to a mental trauma, there would be no indication of injury. Broken bones also heal more quickly, and generally don't cause weakness or require favoritism afterward.
A salve made from kolle is the most common first aid treatment, and is used like first aid cream. It contains healing properties and keeps the skin soft. They also use medical techniques like stitches, cleaning wounds with a sterilizing substance, and surgery when necessary. They use a paste made of a numbing plant as a local anesthesia, and will drug or otherwise sedate a person if they have to for surgery. Drugs are usually only used in healing, as necessary.
The poisons native to xcheamo are stronger than those on Terra, and the Lupa do have antidotes for most of them, as a minority of their people may not be immune to all of the common ones. However, many of them are lethal quickly, and at small doses, and most people are unable to get help in time. The most common unnatural death on xcheamo is poisoning.
When treatment is needed for multiple people with serious injuries, poisoning or life threatening injuries get treated first. If everyone has a similar injury, such as if a group has been poisoned, a pregnant woman will get treated first, then the youngest person, then the next youngest, and so on. The goal is always to preserve as much life as possible, and younger people have more of their lives ahead of them. Interestingly, in some specific situations, this can also allow for those who know they can't be healed in time to prepare for death and possibly even say goodbye to loved ones if they are nearby.
More information on the Lupa immune system is available on the physiology page.
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.
Like most other peoples, Lupa enjoy music, and like to dance. Common instruments include drums, pipes, simple stringed instruments, and shaken instruments. They also love nature sounds and will sit and listen to what’s around them to relax.
Most Lupa songs are on subjects like nature, seasons, love songs, or common life events like birth and death, for teaching, or as a lullaby. Below is a common song called Sun, Moon, Stars. It can be traced back to the beginning of Lupa history, and some think it represents the times of day that the original three immortals became aware of their existence.
the sun shines bright
on a clear spring day
as I lay in the field
sweet grass, pleasant warmth
moonlight dances on water
I drink in the moon
make it part of myself
see my fur is gleaming silver*
stars wink down
making patterns in the night
my feet are light and swift
chasing clouds across the sky
- This line is often changed by Terran Lupa to "see, I'm gleaming silver."
While nearly all members of the species are born Lupa, a very small percentage of Lupa were once Human. Almost all of these people are Changed on Earth, having befriended Terran Lupa. It is done by putting Lupa blood into the blood stream (either vein or artery is fine). The process is relatively simple, and can be done in many ways--so long as blood gets into the circulatory system. It's not exactly known precisely how much blood is needed to Change someone, but most Lupa won't play around with even a few drops. [I don't know if it's possible to Change someone by drinking blood; it's possible that stomach acid changes the composition. <Anyone have thoughts on this?>]
While getting blood into another person may be painful, taking the Change itself is most likely surprisingly not that painful--it is usually accompanied with a growing sense of strength. While there isn't all that much discernible physical difference between Lupa and Human in skin, someone who has been Changed will partly retain their Human assets--such as body hair. They probably are not as strong or fast as a naturally born Lupa, and the higher bone density would be added over time. Their immune system and senses are the same as any other Lupa. Most importantly, they will gain the ability to take on the fur form. It would be the same with other races, as well, i.e., retaining their natural skin form with some additions, and taking on the ability for fur form. Any children had by a Changed Lupa would still have to be by another Lupa (Changed or not), and would take the Lupa skin form rather than taking on any of the Changed parent's original species.
Those in box who have Changed others are:
- Eiry (Tally)
- Zaira (Eva, Todd)
No one in box has been Changed as yet.
I think that Lupa cells have proteins and links that change shape under different chemical conditions.
That if their cells are exposed to that particular hormone, or a powerful acid or base, it will cause the muscles and bone structure to reconfigure into another shape.
Essentially, that lots of Lupa proteins have an alternate orientation when they change form
This would also explain why they can Change people.
Like the Prion protein, Lupa proteins can make others like themselves in large doses.
Having a really low pH or really high pH that's required for your cells to change would kill the crap out of bacteria, invading microorganisms, would react chemically with poisons to neutralize them, and would kill human sperm.
predators have low pH: The reason a lion can eat that zebra that's been lying there is that it's stomach is 10-100 times as acidic as ours, so it kills the bacteria.
Herbivores, like humans and monkeys and rabbits, have long digestive systems to work on plants, since plants are harder to break down than protein. Lions and bobcats and dogs have shorter ones, with a REALLY strong pH, because protein and water can be extracted and broken down quickly, and stronger chemicals will kill bacteria.
If acidity in the body is the symbol for the change in the protein, this would kill two birds with one stone. But it could be the opposite---they could become more Alkaline, too. Lupa produce powerful pheromones, and have psychic ability, so it's a good bet that they have some kind of cellular organelle or tissue that we do not. That tissue or cell could make the blood more acidic, and signal the body to change. And once this organelle is in your body, it would tell your proteins to be built differently. That's a stretch, but haven't thought on that as long as I have the pH thing.