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The Jelfinma are native to Amosi, the first planet of the TBE370 system. They share the world with the Krisgung, but historically, the world has been a bloody battlefield between the two native intelligences.
The Jelfinma are thin-furred fliers, descended from quadruped stock. They stand only a 1.5m tall, have a 3m wingspan, and make up for their lack of arms and hands with a long, doubly-forked tail that ends in four wide, flat, boneless fingers or tentacles. They're bright white on their fronts (their bottoms in flight), and their heads and backs are mostly tan to orange, with black, white, and golden markings.
In warm areas, the Jelfinma wear only "pants" covering the upper legs and lower body; pockets are a great help to fliers. In cooler areas, they wear a "vest" on the upper body and "tailpants" covering the tail down to its second split. Since the Jelfinma can't fly if they clothe their wings or tail-fingers, they can't tolerate living in very cold areas (arctic or alpine).
The Jelfinma are obligate carnivores whose remote ancestors preyed on smaller fliers and land animals. Their forked tail evolved early, as it provided more manuverable flight. Later, the Jelfinma developed complex social structures due to competition for food and territory, and the need to protect their young despite relatively fragile bodies. (Injuries to their their wings or tails could force a Jelfinma to the ground, where they'd be easy prey for other species.) Larger brains made managing coalitions of kin possible, eventually leading to sapience and tool use. While that was occurring, a sport appeared with a doubly-forked tail, which was rapidly selected for as the Jelfinma became increasingly sophisticated at making tools.
The Jelfinma were, however, late to the tool-making game, and came under increasing pressure from the Krisgung, who were already experimenting with herding and seed-saving as the Jelfinma were inventing their first hafted stone tools. Under pressure from the expanding Krisgung, the Jelfinma developed large coalitions of distantly related groups, which made fighting the Krisgung possible. However, the Jelfinma found folding such coalitions together difficult. They gradually developed councils of group leaders, which developed into oligarchic republics, and then into empires with the same structure. By then, the millenia-long conflicts with the Krisgung were long-since joined.
Historically, even conflict among the Jelfinma was often bloody. While they're too delicate to be willing to fight even battles, when one side can gain superiority, the Jelfinma fight savagely. Unfledged babies were attacked as well as adults. Defeated, surviving opponents were frequently enslaved, and often kept from escape by blinding them in one eye and/or cutting one of their wings. Interestingly, fledged but sexually immature adolescents were not attacked or mistreated, as the Jelfinma consider them too valuable as potential allies or mates for one's own children.
The successive appearance of the prophets of the Atli Mu Strando and the founding of the Redepa Simalo have moderated both wars between Jelfinma groups and between the Jelfinma and the Krisgung.
Jelfinma intelligence is considered both better and worse than the galactic standard. While they're slow to develop radically new ideas, they're excellent at imitation, improvement, empiricism, and improvisation. In terms of scientific/technological development, they are not good theoreticians, but good at developing many applications -- often surprising ones -- of a given idea.
Jelfinma society remains fractious -- or freedom-loving and individualistic, depending on one's biases -- with many sub-planetary nations, both on their home world and on the other planets they've settled. Making general statements about their culture or cultures is therefore difficult.
Still, it's possible to say that they have finely developed arts of oratory and debate, are fond of music -- especially large ensembles featuring many players singing and playing in harmony -- and have invented and refined many dance forms, both aerial and ground-bound. Significant minorities are also fond of comedy and representational arts (everything from sketching to holosculpture).
The five most powerful Jelfinma nations considered to be (in alphabetical order):
The Jelfinma have expanded to several other worlds and systems:
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