- "Strength and Honour"
- — A Kartanin greeting
The Kartanin are true warriors at heart, honorable until death. They live to fight, which also reflects in their language - the verbs "to fight" and "to be" are identical. There are dozens of different words for "war", each one having a slightly different meaning about what kind of war it is, while "peace" might better be translated as "not war". While they are not oppressive warmongers in the traditional sense - not anymore - they are not above starting a war to slake their thrill of battle. They choose their enemies carefully - inherently peaceful targets are of no interest to them, but other warlike civilisations are fair game to the Dominion. Victory or defeat is of the last consequence to them; the glory of battle is what truly matters, and a glorious death in combat against overwhelming odds, where each warrior fought heroic until the end is valued higher than easy victories. It is also quite easy to provoke them. A famous example is that of an independent trader from Corellia who accused a Kartanin captain of being a liar - all in good humour - and never left the Dominion again.
Gender roles are something where Kartanin simply fail to grasp some galactic concepts. The very idea of males or females treated differently puzzles them, as their own are equal in all aspects. Courtship follows no gender specific paths either, and pursued by both with equal aggressiveness - sometimes leading even to short bursts of violence between two interested parties. This of course has been cause for a series of amusing misunderstandings with offworlders. Kartanin relationships are usually neither exclusive nor longlasting. In case of childbirth, however, both partners and their respective families are expected to raise the offspring together. The resulting "merge" of families has been a powerful factor during the rise of many of the high houses. Cross-species interests or relationships are virtually unknown among Kartanin, especially since most galactic species likely wouldn't endure a Kartanin's attention for long.
Family and HouseEdit
Kartanin among themselves are organised in single families, which are in turn part of an entire house. The houses consists of a select few to countless single families, most tied together through distant blood relations or offspring from two of the families. It is not impossible for a family line to cut their ties with their house, and swear fealty to another. However, since this often brings trouble between relatives such cases are rare, and usually only occur with very good reason. An example where many such changes took place was after the fall of the Kartanin Empire, when many families were suddenly cut off from their old houses.
Kartanin carry three-part names. A first name chosen by the Kartanin himself after having passed the Trial of the Hunt, a family name and finally a house name. Before their trial, which happens roughly when the Kartanin becomes twelve years old, they are called the Untested. Up to that point, they have gained no honour and spilled no blood for their family and house, and are thus not worthy to have a name of their own.
It is considered an insult if a stranger shortens the name of a Kartanin, as it diminishes the honour of the neglected names. Within the same house however Kartanin refer to each other on a first and family name basis, while interfamily relations usually use first names only. Lovers from different houses and families limit themselves to first names when alone, indicating privacy and singular attention by doing so.
Kartanin behaving unhonourable beyond acceptance are often punished by having their house and family name stripped. They are then offered the choice between a try at redemption or exile. A kartanin who introduces himself with less than his full name is often such an example, and likely trying to regain his honour.
Some very rare exceptions limit themselves to first and family name only, usually indicating that they are honouring their blood ties and heritage, but sharply disagree with their house. The exact details of how to interpret such behaviour may vary, and is exceedingly uncommon. One such example is the Jade Empire Patriot Kalo-Kaa.
Certain family names denote not particular families, but parts of the Temple of the Voice.
- Dar: Reserved for Prophets and Priests, such as Rada-Dar-K'hat.
- Merr: Reserved for Asanatira, such as Shiana-Merr-D'hios.
- Lin: Reserved for the Voica, such as Cyara-Lin-D'hios.
To a human, Kartanin look like large cats walking upright. They have all the traits normal cats would possess, like a tail, whiskers and their exceptional senses. They also have the same superior stamina, speed and strength - especially in the leg area. However, the main cause for this is the higher gravity of Kartan. The average height for them is a bit more than six feet - 1.85 metres - but they can grow as tall as seven and a half feet easily, also influenced by heritage.
Heritage is something that matters less and less lately, due to crossbreeding between the different houses. In the days of the Kartanin Empire however, one could take a look at a Kartanin and instantly recognize them as a member of house D'hios due to the black fur, green eyes and height of about 6'2". It was simply impossible to mistake them for a snow-white member of House H'ay.
Today it is slightly more difficult, although the general appearance remains the same for the most part.
Over time, multiple offshoots of the "baseline Kartanin" have evolved on some Dominion worlds, including the following:
Inhabitants of Targellis. They tend to be somewhat taller but physically weaker than their homeworld counterparts, and have longer,thicker fur to cope with the lower temperatures, often taking great pride in their manes. They do have superior night vision as well.
Inhabitants of Aralya. They usually have lighter fur, both in amount and colouration, than their ancestors from Kartan. They tend to be a bit taller and weaker on average, though not by any large degree. They do take warmer temperatures comparably well, although still not to the extent of for example humans. Out of necessity and to benefit from the cooling waters, most Aralyans have become adept and comfortable swimmers.
Kartanin are roughly on a similar level of technology as known space; most major differences disappeared when regular relations were established. Some noteworthy differences remain however.
For centuries, Kartanin have prefered antimatter based reactor cores supported by fusion APUs as power sources on their ships. Since this technology is comparable in efficiency with its galactic counterparts, this hasn't changed.
In theory, Kartanin medical technology has reached galactic level. However, their experience in treating certain kinds of injury is very limited, since heavily wounded Kartanin are expected to die and not live on as a cripple, or only supported by machines.