The most powerful gift of the Lyrisians, however, is not this passion for knowledge, but their unique ability to pass it on to their progeny. Their reproductive technology allows the transfer of an epigenetic map of the mother's factual knowledge into the daughter's cells, which will then guide the formation of synapses in the foetus and subsequent youth. This greatly accelerates learning.
The two words Lyrisian and Lyrisclensia (or Lyrisclensian) were once interchangeable, but following the assimilation of the Noctians into their society, the term "Lyrisian" has come to mean "member of the species Lyris trestunariae" and "Lyrisclensian" has come to mean "member of the culture started by Lyrisians," which includes the Noctians. The earliest usage of the word Lyrisclensium dates back to before the loss of the Y chromosome and is believed to derive from either a name or the location of the first Trestunarion conference.
Lyrisians closely resemble human females between five and a half feet and six and a half feet in height. They can be readily distinguished from Telai and Cossipai by their poor stature, thick glasses, and general disconnectedness from their environment.
Lyrisians do not automatically have access to their parents' knowledge; it must be re-awoken in them around age six (great cycles), and usually takes some time to blossom thereafter. Prior to that procedure, they are effectively curious innocents; some very strong minds may awaken on their own earlier, but forcing this to happen is generally hazardous. Minimal attempt at education is made during this period beyond literacy, basic mathematics, epistemology, and language; this is a slower childhood than Terran humans experience, as Lyrisians mature in five or six great cycles.
After their memories are awoken, however, they develop a very strong interest in reading, which keeps their learning self-directed for a good ten or so years before their interests shift to developing new material. It is believed that this period of reading lets them secure their memory-awakened state; writing new thoughts any earlier runs the risk of dropping old knowledge.
The path of separation that the Lyrisians took from the Telai and other human species explains, in a sense, why the Telai do not modernly possess a well-developed academic system themselves: the Lyrisclensiae were founded by academics from early Telaian civilisation who wished to improve themselves for their task, and continued to do so until they were no longer biologically compatible. (Their partial compatibility with the Cossipa is due to conserved, ancient traits that were lost in later Telai.) This self-refinement has gone so far that the Lyrisians are no longer even in the same genus as most other human species; it is estimated that at least 94% of the 60% of the genome they have in common with H. astrum has been recoded deliberately.
Eventually, the symbiotic arrangement of the early Lyrisclensiae and Telai degraded, as scientific and intellectual curiosity lost value to Telaian society, which was under a state of protracted duress—most of the Lyrisclensian research seemed superfluous in the face of such stressors. To resolve this redundancy, rather than allow themselves to be driven to extinction, the Lyrisclensiae left, to seek a place where they would not need to worry about the opinions of others, and would be able to sustain their small population without affecting the rest of the universe.
The place they settled they named the Trestunarion, an extrasolar asteroid in a large brane which was rich with transuranic elements and water. Here, using the many obscure sciences that they had mastered, which were useless to the Telai, the Lyrisians created a remarkable library for themselves, hollowing out the asteroid to create more liveable space, tweaking their own genetics to perfection, and establishing an economy based purely on the exchange of knowledge and novelty, which circumvented the usual issues of devaluation of currency: all currency perpetually expired rapidly, as it diffused throughout the population, but no inflation took place, as new discoveries were always being made.
Early interactions with others
This method of exchange was perplexing to outside merchants with whom the Lyrisians traded, but efficient, as the primary resource the Lyrisians had was in the form of knowledge, which would be bartered for resources as necessary. Trestunarion-educated scholars of other species were considered the highest-valued export of all, as few Lyrisclensiae saw much reason to stray away from the warm glow of learning and intrigue that their little world already provided them.
The Lyrisclensiae learned from these visitors, too. At some point around 2000 LKY it was suggested that they should develop a mythos, as it seemed to benefit cultural identity and cohesion in other societies; within a few years, small, non-serious religions ran amok and most of the Lyrisclensiae had adopted genetic modifications that granted them animal traits, in representation of religious membership. Unfortunately, the schisms this created were numerous and wildly harmful to their fundamentally objective, analytical society; to this day, the story serves as a cautionary tale, although the animal features have long-since been erased from their genomes. The well-known children's myth of Cogita and Chrona only appeared later.
The Trestunarion disaster
The Trestunarion was the site of many remarkable experiments, as well as several significant experimental disasters. Following the catastrophic failure of a synchrotron in 66428 LKY which forced a temporary evacuation, the Lyrisclensiae began seeking to colonize planets. They found a nearly-overcrowded universe, but during this long process, the collapse of the Ksreskézaian and Tletkettoyic empires provided a rare dearth of potential homes.
Much like the Kreskézai, the Tletkettoyi had built a sizeable empire for themselves as a self-defence mechanism, although unlike the Ksreskeizaian Empire, it was rather well-connected and contained no subjugated peoples. But its dark reputation and general radio silence meant that, even long after its demise, no one attempted to recolonise its worlds, or the worlds in branes adjacent to it. The Lyrisclensiae, who were distant to the region of space in which the Tletkettoyi had operated and knew little of them, found this curious, and were all too happy to devote a generation of their species to the role of archaeologist.
The Tletkettoyic Empire extended throughout only a handful of habitable worlds, however, and so it was inevitable that the Lyrisclensiae's thirst for understanding the fate of this society quickly led them to the Tletkettoyic homeworld, a small, rocky world in a tiny, ancient brane not much larger than the Trestunarion's had been.
Here, they found the Lilitai, who had little in the way of respect for the Tletketti ruins surrounding them. The Lyrisclensiae saw them as lost children and began educating them. They also purged the Hogenemian virus from the local TMF grid (which had caused the downfall of the Tletkettoyi and Ksreskézai) and thereby re-enabled the use of magic throughout much of the Expanse.
After decades of investigating Tletkettoyic ruins on other worlds, the Lyrisclensiae had developed an affinity for the minutiae of their culture—after so many years of being kicked about, the xenophobia was understandable—and wished to preserve as much of it as they could. They settled in the ruins around the Lilitai, being much greater in number, and built great infrastructures, soon surpassing the Lilitai in contribution to the colonization of the planet.