Nian (nee-an) are a species of bipedal insectoids. Hailing from a fringe cluster in the Helmi stream, the Nian occupy vast swathes of space formerly considered uninhabited by most interstellar authorities.
- NIAN is an IPC derived acronym and the official recognised name for their species: Natural Insectoid Artisans of the Nebulae.
- They are also colloquially referred to as Ткачи (Tkachi) by members of the USSP.
- The Nian abide by either of these, but officially recognise neither: Nian contend that a species is recognised as something occupying a role rather than as a discrete category.
- While not a one-to-one translation, Nian typically understand themselves to be "We who Incarnate Stars into Tapestry."
Nian Naming Schemes
N.I.A.N. (Nian) - Natural Insectoid Artisans of the Nebulae - An abbreviation that the Synthetic Union used, that was catchy enough for the wider cosmos to stick. Originally given this name because they’re protective of their home world and pointed at a cluster of nebulae as their origin instead of revealing their home star. (The moths would have preferred to be called Nian/Nianae instead of the full phrase, which is why they accept the terminology.)
An observation would be made at some point–seeing that their ships tended to follow the same description of their deities. Ship names would go along with the artistic focus is:
Rider of Winds, Glider on Aether, Carrier that Wields Starlight, etc.
So they proposed the following name structure for interstellar recognition:
The first name is always the primary skill of the being. It is always bridged with a preposition or prepositional phrase (such as ‘of the’ or ‘for’) The last name is related to a stellar phenomenon that they believe they are related to–by destiny, by family, or other means.
Examples of names include:
- Weaver of Antares
- Tender of the Crab Nebulae
- Knight of Epsilon Eridani
- Poet in Service to Cygni-9b
- Arkwright Bound by Tau Ceti
Moth people have a pair of long, fuzzy antennae, a set of bug-like eyes, with hundreds upon hundreds of hexagonal patterns within them and mandibles that surround their mouth. Moths can feel with their antennas, and overall have a light sense of touch throughout their many hairs along their body, being sensitive overall. This does allow them to find their way more in the dark, and makes it a little easier to see in low-light.
Along their torso are a set of two humanoid arms, and a pair of insectoid wings along their back that range from being monotone in colour, to multicoloured, depending on the age, wealth and status of the individual. Their legs are usually long and skinny, along with their torso being a little smaller than most sentient beings–this assists with flying on their homeworld, being more lightweight.
Overall, they tend to range in height on average between 4’5’’ (134.62cm) to 5’10’’ (177.8cm), with standard deviations up to a foot (30.48cm) in each direction. Where age, experience and wealth allows, moths tend to make small changes to their bodies by organic means (dye, elongated hairs or other features).
Moths aren’t sentient at the start of their life, they are not considered to be sapient in their first years. However upon reaching their XYZ day, at approximately 4-6 Sol years, they undergo a process akin to metamorphosis. This marks the start of a celebration known as XYZ, with the individual emerging after the festivities as a recognised individual possessing faculties sufficient for communication and basic skills.
The Tkachi Language
Language name: Tkachi The language follows a staccato rhythm.
Moth interactions between one another are often dominated by gestures with their antennae, wings or mandibles–and other times by buzzing or chittering. As such, their entry into Galactic Common was the first grand foree into trying to translate their (outwardly) strange way of interacting with one another was rather chaotic, and had to include some of their gestures to function properly.
When speaking in Galactic Common, Moths tend to express themselves with various buzzes and chitters, interrupting some of their speech sometimes, but allowing it to stay largely understandable.
The Nian Homeworld
Home planet is a desert world that orbits a red dwarf star; was largely unfeatured. Planet is naturally darker due to the low-light star. There are three moons with very reflective surfaces that keep a somewhat stable level of light at most times.
Determined to not be as bored with their surroundings, the moths started building things of their own. There were not enough materials to produce a mass industrial revolution for them on-planet, so all items tended to be hand-made, crafted with care and caution. Many items had to be reused or recycled to properly maintain their level of development, until they gained the ability to go into space.
Oftentimes, they would go into debt so their surroundings wouldn’t be so drab and boring. Guilds were made to manage materials and create new things, making things generally better than individuals. They ended up controlling more and more resources, merging to make better and bigger, and more intricate objects and structures.
Over time, the Guilds would collect debts from individuals, and use them to induct new members into them, creating a worldwide dependence on them. All moths would sink themselves into further debt to acquire more luxurious items and living standards, often not caring about how far in debt they ended up in a negative manner; becoming a prideful boast to some as they could afford to pay the interest on all of it instead of going bankrupt.
Guilds got together and formed a body that managed the debts as nobody trusted anyone else to be able to pay each other back. It became a power statement, and a fashion statement to have more debt to ‘show off their stuff’.
As materials shrunk in quality and quantity, the Guilds came together, deeming the situation an emergency. After some time of deliberation, they came to the concept of formulating a space mining cooperative that they all could stand to profit and grow from. Assembly lines of craftworkers–thousands long–would stand to be able to produce the parts necessary to create the first spaceships of theirs. Many individuals went bankrupt in this venture, and many lives were lost–a 24 carat golden plaque being set down in their honor in the capital.
Eventually, they ventured out into the stars and brought themselves to various planetoids, mining or pulling entire chunks away back to their homeworld to help customize it out. As a result the mass of their homeworld has increased by 13% to date. This has led to the need for gravity-adaptive technologies. This has also helped to drive the need for greater/newer monuments: older ones simply weren’t designed for the higher gravity.
Their first contact with the Synthetic Union happened when the moth people ended up in the system that New Canaan inhabited. First contact between the species consisted of the moths being distraught by the blandness and industrial-look of the Machine People. Without hesitation, they offered to grant some basic well-crafted baubles to try and attach to the machines, some of them learning how to stylize parts on a machine person just to help make them less boring.
As such for the gifts, the Synthetic Union responded favorably, providing templates and basic parts for the moth people to modify and adjust into newer, more interesting parts. A proper trading system went back and forth–with the machines gathering supplies to investigate individualism with their newly freed selves, and the moth people gaining raw resources, stock parts and other supplies to help thrust their people into a more industrial age, with all the bling they could slap onto their add-ons.
After some time, the USSP began contact with the Synthetic Union, and they met, learned about the moths, calling them ‘Tkachi’ spreading the knowledge of them to the greater galaxy–allowing more and more peoples to learn and interact with them.
The following are political powerhouses within the society of moths themselves, by affluence, by amount of total debt they wield against others or by the total amount of assets they wield together.
The Central Debt Mediators are those that volunteer their lives to oversee the regular work and flow of society along with being the collective that organizes the moth people into some sort of a government. They act as mediators between the larger Accounts throughout society to ensure the validity, sanity, and integrity of all obligations and debts within the species.
The Crafting Guild are those that follow a series of vigorous tests and training to create and customize items, foods and structures. The quality of their work is often a good determinant of their status among the guild and how good their mood is. The more varied, vibrant and exuberant the items they make, as long as they still serve their function, the better.
The Warrior Guild are those that choose to express their own various talents of artistry through battle and duels. It’s described that their combat system often looks like dancing at quick paces–and ranged weapons are frowned upon in their society where it can be helped. They will not shy away from using ranged weapons, though they have a heavy preference for melee on the basis of honor and beauty.
The Merchant Guild are those that are trained from early after cocooning in the value of everything. They are taught proper trading techniques, proper ways to approach individuals, proper ways to calculate worth and proper ways to try and extract as much wealth as possible. They are seen as a necessary evil to survive by some of the moth people, and by others, they are seen as a very important structure to civilization, and are respected as such.
Due to their predilection for luxury Nianae have long held the belief that more powerful people accrue larger debt as well as take on the debts of others in exchange for goods and services. As such, debts are often accrued from individuals whose skills are on loan to more powerful moths and organizations.
This ties into one of the two major reasons for the success of their guild-based society in that when a powerful individual dies/an organization fails ceases all belongings are liquidated to cover personal debts and any outstanding debts are distributed to those below them. The other being that those who manage to rise higher in the guilds often can afford to go into debt due to using debts owed to them to pay off interest.
Whenever celebrating, moths tend to go overboard with decorations, food, gifts, or other items. They are taught from an early date in their sentience that ‘excess is success’ and that doing things in a minimal amount, or with a minimal amount of effort is an affront to the gift of life that they have been given.
The cocoons that their young generate are considered an important source of silk for the people and no matter the caste, it is expected that part of the cocoon be made into an object of value or worth for the individual.
A foreign observer of Moth culture would detail the following: their religion seemed to relay deities without names (such as ‘he who moves the sun’, or ‘she who weaves the storms’).
Moth religion can best be described as a non-denominational polytheistic structure; with a long oral tradition that delves back into the mythos days of their ancestors and a more formal literature that attempts to put some of them into scripture.
There is no central church, however there are organizations of those that appreciate the same figureheads–the most popular three including:
He Who Channels the Winds - An entity that derives its power from the Nianen latent affinity for bluespace manipulation and the fervency of their belief, this deific figure inscribes objects with power based upon their aesthetic beauty. The more time, effort, and design put into an object, the more powerful the phenomena are.
She Who Guides the Stars - An apparent neutral being that guides the spirits of the deceased up into and around the cosmos, bringing their souls into the stars of young, middle, and old ages, depending on their actions in life. If a moth lived a particularly virtuous life, it would be placed into a star on the edge of a supernova, to be reborn anew, elsewhere.
The Beasts that Change Us - A benevolent, two-headed being of undescribed look, who grants a small portion of its own intelligence to every Moth that cocoons, granting them sentience from their previous non-sentient state. This one is particularly venerated among most.