The species of animids which, until quite recently, populated the Aarn peninsula of Septus Beta were peculiar in several ways:
Principally, they were born out of ecstasy into complete and total blindness!
Their visual organs, whilst utterly dissimilar to ours, would have been most effective were it not for a thick layer of skin which covered the entire top portion of their skulls, thus rendering them useless.
Only within approximately one month of a natural death did these “eyes” ever see the light of day - as due to a freak evolutionary joke the skin around them would crack and recede, leaving them exposed, at last, to what was often described as “the season of revelation”.
The scientific truth of this phenomenon is now believed to have merely caused death due to the extreme stress on the brain initiated by such a sudden sensory change.
It is thought that life would have continued, perhaps for many years, were it not for the unfortunate fissures developed in old age around the head and upper limbs.
Nonetheless, this rite of passage was assigned such significance within their belief systems that to die “unnaturally”, before “The Cracking”, was considered a huge dishonour. So much so, that the relations of such a case would be treated as pariahs for three generations, or until such a time when enough “Puredead” had cleansed the family name.
Secondly, being completely blind, they would not take a mate on the basis of physical attraction in a visual sense.
They had no word for “ugly”, and used the various synonyms of “beautiful” only to express satisfaction of a thing in a practical or pragmatic sense. For example, a mate could be termed “beautiful” if they fitted a behavioural pattern conducive to productivity or other forms of gain, but for no other reason!
Because of this, courtship and the act of reproduction were stoic affairs, often approached with apprehension, even fear. This is assigned to the fact that, for them, sexual intercourse – which followed, more or less, the same mechanics as ours, save that they were invariably androgynous – was excruciatingly painful, sometimes crippling.
Were it not for the natural instinct to propagate ones own species it is doubtful whether they would have mated at all, as no pleasure in the slightest was ever derived from it.
Children were rare – perhaps one couple in four would become parents, yet up to seven or eight siblings could be born in one “litter”, and so family lines were maintained.
The most curious point to make on this subject is that whilst no tangible joy was experienced during conception, the labour of birth itself was reported to induce prolonged feelings of physical rapture which made those who had not yet dared to brave a sexual relationship mad with jealousy.
Historically the most likely victim of an Aarnian murder was a “mother” either during or shortly after childbirth!
Rating: mostly harmless
Status: possibly extinct
Right thing to say if you ever meet one: "Hello, I'm over here!"