. The name of the Ksreskézai is, first of all, a bit ambiguous: the Ksreskézaian Empire was a vast interstellar nation spanning hundreds of worlds and dozens of species in several modest pocket universes in the vicinity of Thet. (These pockets were collectively known as the Ksreskézaian Expanse.) Its founders and masters are often referred to as the Ksreskézai, but this is as a social group. The literal species name as used on Thet is usually the less cumbersome derivation okse
Indeed, on a number of occasions, smaller outgroups of oksete declared themselves independent, and formed rebellious governments, both on the homeworld Ksreskézo before interstellar and interplanar travel were discovered, and in backwaters of the greater Empire. These were not referred to as Kreskézai, but appropriately as to their social group.
The oksete are generally considered to have been driven into extinction as the primary result of their ongoing three-way war with the Tletkettoyi
, an event referred to by the Lilitai as the Ksreskézaian Holocaust. Normally an event of this ancientness would relegate a civilization to being rather forgotten, but the long reach of their territory and their direct influence on the Lilitai and other subjects has left a significant mark on the shape of history in many of the cultures that are a part of the social fabric of Thet. (Despite this, it is worth noting that they were in economic decline when this occurred and may have eventually exhausted the Empire's available resources within a few hundred years.)
At adulthood, the typical okse is about nine feet long from head to hindquarters. They are quadrupedal creates with long tails, typically four feet tall at the shoulder, and heavily armoured. Anatomically, they resemble an ankylosaurus or armadillo, exhibiting strong symmetry across the sagittal plane, a fully-developed head featuring two eyes and a single mouth, which is used for verbal communication and eating. Breathing and olfactory sensation is accomplished via gills along the neck. The face is also adorned by several stubby horns.
Oksete do not produce solid waste and hence have no excretory anatomy; microbes in the hindgut fully digest any unusable or excess nutrients into gasses which are diffused through the gills. Because of the high metal content in the planet's biome, this often includes superheated vapours. Oksete can hence withstand the significant internal heat produced by these reactions. Naturally, they inhabit volcanic and desert regions.
The success of the okse in civilization is largely dependent on their ability to stand upright and sit on their hind legs, and thereby use their forepaws as hands. These are less adept at manipulation than human hands, but adequate in their bearing of opposable thumbs. Most everyday containers and tools made by the okse include handles for transport by the mouth; often these will include hooks on the bottom so that more than one object can be carried at a time. It is known that at least some direct ancestors and contemporary siblings of the oksete were bipedal, and it is posited that they returned to a primarily quadrupedal stature in pursuit of a better stance for fighting.
Oksete reproduce sexually, and have two sexes closely analogous to the Terran male-female scheme; the male provides spermatozoan gametes which fertilize the female. These gametes are transferred by pressing together the genital regions located between the hindlegs. Males tend to be larger than females by about 15-20% on average, and were born twice as frequently as the less-armoured, protected females.
The Ksreskézaian Empire is the natural product of the oksian culture. Essentially a warrior society, the oksete evolved in a harsh climate, rife with competition from other species in their genus and tribes within their own species. This led to dimorphism and eventually the development of sexual reproduction, as the role of child-rearing became too demanding for the formerly asexual warriors to bear. Resources were at a premium due to a long period of global heating until the last thirty thousand years of their existence, during which civilization flourished.
The beauty of subtlety figures largely in Ksreskézaian art. Not naturally subtle creatures themselves, interaction with other species and with their own environment taught the oksete to cherish finer forms.
Indeed, the extremeness of oksian emotions was one of the primary motivating factors behind their religion. They believed that all
emotions were possessions by spirits. Later alchemist-philosophers even posited that these spirits were parasitic and sought to interfere with an intrinsic levelheaded rationality for their own satiation. (This scheme was borrowed by the Lilitai, but only for its literary utility.)
The Ksreskézaian calendar, Glotshakhto
, started in 61973 lky and ended in 67891 lky with the fall of the empire. During that interval—a period of almost twenty-four millennia by the reckoning of the oksete—their world saw the rise and fall of many great smaller empires, kingdoms, and other nations. In the earliest of days they even competed with other sentient species for dominance of the resource-poor world, most of which were close relatives from the same genus.
Deferent to the warlike nature of the oksete, the date of 1 ksepo marked the first conquest and unification of the entire oksian population. By 500 ksepo the other species had been enslaved and eradicated, and for the next three thousand years the people of Ksreskézo subdivided and reconquered each other repeatedly with increasingly-sophisticated means.
Useful alchemy and a systematic (if deeply superstitious) understanding of magic had arisen by the end of the fourth century, giving them ample opportunity to invent and create everything from conveniences to weapons without a deep understanding of materials science or chemistry. Without a doubt, this premature discovery of such a powerful science is primarily responsible for the slow intellectual development of the oksete. Even though they had left their world by 4500 and conquered other planets, they remained deeply ignorant of the laws of nature and maintained many philosophical and religious notions that we would consider pre-Platonic.
The slokdtabasa (early Lilitai
) enabled them to grow past this. Because the Rotomem had been a deeply analytical culture cognate with the Telai
, the first of their kind introduced into Ksreskézaian society were adept at making distinctions and decisions that their masters could not. This difference in perspective was passed down through the generations of slokdtabasa, making them adept at managerial tasks—none of which they could officially be allowed to perform, lest the empire be embarrassed. Different political powers on Ksreskézo maintained different unwritten philosophies about how much the humans should be allowed to meddle; in general, the more, the better. The most prominent example of this is Moiléa Tévopía
, who sat on the ruling council of the Ninth Empire for more than five thousand years, her existence unknown to the outside world.
Whenever a nation conquered all of Ksreskézo or was the dominant power, it tended to take up the self-styled title of being the Ksreskézaian Empire. This had been the moniker of the first empire in 1 ksepo, and much like the many successor states to the Roman Empire on Earth, these cultures were eager to recapture past glories.
The original capitol of the first empire was in Tévopío, which sat at the mouth of a great floodplain. These plains had been excellent for agricultural purposes, but the city proved indefensible, and so challenges came often from mountainous Wemno, on the other side of the planet. From the start of the calendar (and even before) until c. 13200, power shifted back and forth between these two places, finally settling on Tévopío.
|Second (Old Wemnian)||657||1360||Wemno|
|Seventh||5784||9012||Dashro Oasis (near Tévopío)|
|Interim||9306||13097||(various Wemnian monarchies)|
Note that Dashro is actually a desert adjacent to the Tévopío plains, and was chosen because it was more defensible. The final settlement of Tévopío was made permanent through shrewd trade agreements with the fractured states left behind by the disintegration of the eighth empire.
Other important dates in Ksreskézaian history include: capture of the Rotomem in 4922, war with the Hogedep in 4986 (following sabotaged 4980 peace talks), and war with the Tletkettoyi in 8102. Their sudden extinction at the hands of the Hogedep in 23949 marks the conclusion of their calendar.
From 3500 to 23949, the Ksreskézai flourished as an interstellar empire, although they were bounded on all sides by the smaller Tletkettoyic and Hogedep territories. At their height, they subjugated over a hundred planets and dozens of alien civilizations, including the Peseneyi