H Y B R I D S
Perhaps one of the most unique beings on Sekkai, Hybrids, or more formally known as Qih-nzak, are also amongst the oldest. Their history dates back before an history recorded by man or remembered by dragon, no doubt making them one of the first species to walk Sekkai. Throughout the generations, which number countlessly, their traditions and society has remained basically the same, despite their similar appearance to some of the other sentients of Sekkai.
In general, Hybrids appear to be a cross between a dragon and a human. They often stand higher than most humans, though a few of the shorter Hybrids stand at about the same height as a tall human male. They often have draconic scales, spines, and claws, as well as tails, though wings and muzzles are required through different levels. Another similarity that they share with dragons is their innate magical skills, though their's appear to be on a completely different level than that of dragonkind.
While their body structure is basically human, they are, in no way, genetically similar to either humans nor dragons. With a highly decentralized nervous system, they are quite difficult to kill. The fact that they possess two hearts and a third lungs makes them even more capable of feats of strength and skill than other species. setting them apart from the other two-legs that roam the land. Their body also requires less oxygen, which may somehow relate to the fact that their blood is a somewhat opalescent dark purple.
Hybrids also appear to be elementally based, though in a much more restrictive pattern than that of dragons. These elements are mainly displayed in their coloring, the types of horns and spines they have, and other physical displays. As well as this, though, they also appear to be more magically proficient in a certain element, sometimes going so far as being able to create the element within or on their own body, as dragons are capable of. The most common of their elements are earth, water, and fire, while rarer elements tend to be flora-based and wind, as well as the rarest of those types, ice and lightning.
While Hybrids are a single species, there are three definite subspecies within their order. These are classified on both appearance, strength, intelligence, and their magical capabilities, and luckily each level of skill fits into a specific appearance slot. Breeding within these often produces the "higher" level, based on the numeric values assigned to each.
Crhe level Hybrids are the most human in appearance, never possessing wings and rarely possessing tails. In the case that they do possess tails, these are often short and more cosmetic than useful. They often possess shorter horns and spines, mainly in the form of nubs, though some within the Crhe level choose to remove them. This makes them excellent candidates for blending in with human society. Their scaling is only slight and often on areas of the body that is covered by clothing, such as the inner thighs, belly, chest, and spine. Their fingers and toes are longer and often end in claws, though these are easily disguised with the aid of shoes and gloves.
These Hybrids are the most proficient with magic, making them excellent teachers for magic among humans. It is rare that one would find another level of Hybrid with more magical skill than even the most inefficient of Crhe. They are excellent at teaching magic to humans, though of course only teach non-riders, and often those who lack affiliation with a large power, such as the Academy or the Desolation. It is rumored that the strongest of these Hybrids can defeat the most powerful of dragons with ease, though who would believe such a...completely plausible myth?
While their lower-level counterparts appear nearly human, these Hybrids are an almost-perfect blend of humans and dragons, appearance-wise. They often possess tails and wings, though wings aren't horribly common, as well as a greater amount of scales, and longer horns and spines. Scales often cover fifty percent of more of their body, but a Khri level Hybrid always has skin visible. All of these Hybrids have horns of varying degrees, while some possess spines, spikes, ridges, or other such modifications along their backs. Their wings, if they have any, are often similar to those of most dragons, though will rarely be feathered. While walking upright and possessing hands similar to those of the Crhe level, their legs are distinctively more draconic, with an extra joint and a dew claw toe. These are often taloned, which disallows for them to wear any sort of foot covering.
Khri level Hybrids possess an advanced intelligence which outmatches that of many. Master strategists and philosophical thinkers, they are more inclined to taking no action at all, instead inspecting a point from every angle before making a move. They often plan their life out, arranging events to happen in a certain order and manner. Some Khri are more of diplomats and bound for social relations, while others are excellent military minds and strategists. They are easily some of the most creative minds as well, though their philosophical disposition tends to lead people to believe otherwise.
These Hybrids are undoubtedly the most draconic of all their kin, looking like little more than bipedal dragons. Their bodies are completely coated in scales, while some even have chest and belly plating, though this is rare. All Qhek level Hybrids possess wings and tails, as well as horns and spines, though of varying degrees. Perhaps most unique about Qhek Hybrids is that they possess short muzzles with fangs, which may stem from their affinity for meat. They are also more muscular and heavily built than either Khri or Crhe level Hybrids, giving them an undeniably daunting appearance. Most Qhek are easily capable of walking on all four legs instead of simply two, though they often refrain from doing so around other bipeds.
While their cousins are intelligent and magically inclined, these Hybrids are extremely powerful and difficult to kill. They possess tremendous physical strength which is easily considered unnatural. With a denser body structure based around musculature, they are more than capable of going up against a small dragon, though not always guaranteed to survive. They are still hard to kill, healing quickly and possessing stronger, more rigid scales than other Hybrids. While they are not the most intelligent, they are hardly stupid. A male Qhek often leads groups of other Hybrids of varying types. Their magic is still weaker than that of other Hybrid levels, though is still efficient.
Most noticeable in Hybrid society is the fact that females often hold the most power. Outnumbered by a ratio of at least 10 to 1, females often have more than one male mate assigned to them, with lower-ranking females possessing more viable mates. While females often hold affection for only a few of the males, each male gets due turn within the harem-like hierarchy, which is often based upon a battle of strength, wits, or magic, sometimes to the death. Males are assigned rank through their female and a sub-rank from within the harem, which makes for a complicated system. Higher-ranking females have fewer mates, though those are often prime compared to the males of less-ranking females.
Still, mating is restricted by higher-ranking females. The low-ranked females are often considered "neuter", thanks to the strict magical system of Hybrid society. Although able to perform the proper mating rituals and follow-throughs, permission must be attained from the controlling group of females for the neuter restriction to be removed so that actual reproduction can occur. These requests can be vetoed or accepted depending on reasons. As it is, those children born are placed into a magical void where time is accelerated and separate from that on Sekkai. They mature within a year, reaching early adulthood. During their stay, they learn of all that is to be known of for their new life, though much more is learned after they emerge.
This void is also used for the advancement of magical skills in those humans the Hybrids feel worthy of learning magical. They are taught within this for what will seem like a few years, though is in actuality only a series of months. Since Hybrid society is the most magically based, they value this above all else, carefully considering those they are willing to teach. They refuse to teach those who are dragon riders or dire handlers, instead having an affinity for those who are without family or companion.
Hybrids also favor neutrality over all else. The oldest of their kind, which reach about 900 years of age, not including their "Hibernation Period," teach neutrality, pure and simple. Good and evil must be equally taught, so in this sense, they will teach both good magic and malign in parts that they believe are equal.