The Mantodea Empire, or simply The Mantodea, are one of the five dominant species inhabiting Aileron, namely in the Sand Coffin. They are a species of large, insectoid and mantis-like creatures that stand taller than humans by half nearly a human's height. Their society is matriarchal, being led by a queen called an An'assa, and all mantodea fall into a specific rank: high, mid or low, which dictates their duties to the empire. The mantodea are heavily defined by the hive-like society, organization and collective work towards the good of all mantodea.
The mantodea are large mantis-like insects that tower over humans over half an average human's height. They have two, large rounded compound eyes and two long antenna protruding from the top of their heads. Females are traditionally slightly slimmer and shorter than males, with the exception of the An'assa, who is more than ten times the size of an average male mantodea. They have slim torsos with two arms, three fingers on each hand, and large abdomens with four legs, three toes each. Over their abdomens, they have long wings that allow them to fly. Skin color of mantodea varies between brown, dark yellow and green, though there have been cases of other variations of skin color. Depending on their ranking within the empire, they will possess certain markings that denote their ranking.
Within the Mantodea Empire exists a ranking system that denotes an individual's place in empire. There are three rankings: high, mid and low. When a young mantodea reaches it's tenth year, it receives it's markings and is placed in either mid or low class depending on aptitude and skills. Changing from one rank to another is not common as it is believed in the mantodea empire that everyone has their place within the empire.
High rank - An'assa
High rank is the highest ranking within the mantodea empire and is reserved for royalty, such as the An'assa and her heir, the princess. The An'assa is the queen, matriarch and supreme ruler of all the mantodea. She is the largest of all mantodea, rules her subjects fairly and justly and work towards ensuring the continued survival and prosperity of all mantodea. The markings of an An'assa are purple.
Mid rank is the middle ranking within the mantodea empire and includes soldiers and mages.
The Ko'pis are high ranking soldiers within the mantodea empire skilled in armed combat and strategy. Ko'pis mantodea are typically placed as troop leaders and generals, commanding lower ranked soldiers, the Ko'leos. The markings of a Ko'pis are red.
The Ko'leos are lower ranking soldiers within the mantodea empire skilled in combat. The Ko'leos make up the bulk of the mantodea army and are led by higher ranking soldiers, the Ko'pis. The markings of a Ko'leos are blue.
The Sha'ard are high-powered mages within the mantodea empire. Magic is rare within the mantodea empire, so the Sha'ard are relatively few in numbers. Because of this, any young mantodea that show any signs of magical potential are taken in by the Sha'ard for training in hopes of fostering their magical ability. Possessing magical talents is considered by the empire to be a sign of honor and greatness and as having been chosen by the spirits themselves. The markings of a Sha'ard are white.
A fourth, secret middle rank that consists of spies that answer only to the An'assa. Contrary to every other rank in which individuals retain their names, which are placed after their rank name, S'lere give up their personal names and are individually and collectively referred to as "S'lere". They receive their orders from the An'assa and are often tasked with spying on potential threats and performing reconnaissance missions.
Low rank is the lowest ranking within the mantodea empire and consists of workers and large Ol'ethros beasts used by the Ko'pis and Ko'leos soldiers.
The Tek'ton make up the largest portion of the mantodea and primarily consists of workers. Tasks of the workers include construction, mining, sanitation, farming, nursery care for young mantodea and servants to the An'assa and princess. The markings of a Tek'ton are black.
The Ol'ethros are large battle insects used by the Ko'pis and Ko'leos in battle. However, nearly all the Ol'ethros were killed during the Human-Mantodea War and only young hatchlings survive to this day. The Ol'ethros do not have markings like other mantodea.
Culture and society
Mantodea culture and society is largely focused on the empire's well-being and survival as a whole. Every action made should go towards the benefit of the empire altogether. The An'assa is considered the most valuable individual within the empire, as such the mantodea worship and serve her without question since the entire empire would fall apart without her.
Mantodea are divided based on a tribal ranking system with the An'assa at the top, soldiers and mages in the middle and workers at the bottom. This does not necessarily mean that certain mantodea are considered more important than others. Instead the ranking system is in place to ensure that each mantodea is in their proper place within the empire. Males and females can take to any role within the mid and low rank, meaning that there is no gender specific roles within the empire. Markings play an important role with one's place within ranks. The color of one's markings depends on the rank they are put in. The An'assa is the one who chooses an individual's ranking, taking into consideration their aptitude and skills.
Magic is considered very important within the Mantodea Empire, as it was originally a gift from the guardian spirits long ago. Therefore, Sha'ard mages are highly respected and considered by others to have been "chosen" by the guardian spirits for a grand role.
The mantodea speak their own language, which consists of various clicks that non-mantodeas would likely be unable to tell the difference between. They do have some knowledge of Common tongue however, but only know enough to get by with simple phrases such as "go here" or "you leave." With regards to Mantodea naming conventions, individuals have a given name, but no surname. Mantodea given names consist of two parts which are divided by an apostrophe. In some cases, Mantodea will refer to each other by the first half of their name, though this is only ever in extremely close relationships such as family and friends. Otherwise, Mantodea are formally addressed by their ranking, followed by their given name. For example, An'assa Formo'sana, Sha'ard Ta'urica and Tek'ton Lo'wi.
As a result of the Human-Mantodea War, the mantodea have become closed off from other societies and developed strong anti-human beliefs and viewpoints. They are incredibly xenophobic, deterring away from anything that is not like them. They despise humans, considering them to be violent and greedy. However, they are willing to overlook their human prejudices briefly if presented with money or other objects of value.
The mantodea possess many natural abilities on top of their possession of magic gifted from the guardian spirits.
- Durable exoskeleton: The mantodea possess thick and durable exoskeletons that are strong enough to protect them from most physical attacks.
- Body shedding: They are able to shed their exoskeletons and emerge in a new body. Though this heals any injuries the individual has, it takes some time for their new exoskeleton to harden and become resistance to physical attacks.
- Heat resistance: They are naturally resistant to the intense heat of the Sand Coffin's natural environment.
- Burrowing: They are natural diggers and can easily tunnel beneath the surface.
- Seismic sense: They have the ability to detect and perceive vibrations in the earth.
- Wallcrawling: They are able to easily climb along walls and ceilings and cling to those surfaces with ease.
- Flight: The long wings in their abdomen allow the mantodea to achieve flight and even hover in place.
- Omnidirectional vision: Their large eyes allow them to see from all directions at once.
- Enhanced senses: With the antennas on their head and feelers on their arms and legs, the mantodea are capable of picking up smells at a greater degree than regular humans. In addition, they can detect changes in air-pressure and detect movement around them.
Beyond these natural abilities, depending on the rank they are placed in, an individual will possess other powers or skills appropriate to their rank. For example, the Tek'ton rank of workers will possess skills ranging from construction, infant care, farming, mining, etc. Soldiers of the Ko'pis and Ko'leos are generally skilled in combat and battle strategy. Finally, the mages of the Sha'ard rank are the only mantodea to be gifted in magical abilities. This range, power and potential of this magic is entirely dependent on the individual's own potential and mastery of the art. General powers range from elemental manipulation to movement and cloaking spells.
The Mantodea Empire originally lived on the continent known as Mantodeos, a land which was once a beautiful oasis within the desert continent. Their race slowly grew and evolved and eventually met and befriended two other races, the humans and the lepori. Together, the three races received the gift of magic, which led to the creation of the Order of the Sha'ard. However, as humans became more corrupt and greedy, the other races began to suffer, in particular the dragons, who had left Aileron in an event known as the Dragon Exodus. Because of this, guardian spirits took their magic back from the humans, though this did little to diminish their ambition. With the dragons gone, humanity turned their attention to the mantodea.
This ultimately led to the Human-Mantodea War, in which the humans launched massive invasions of Mantodeos to take the mantodea's resources for their own. However, the mantodea fought valiantly and were just able to continue repelling human forces. The human armies grew impatient and eventually decided to utilize a scorched earth strategy and completely destroy the mantodea resources along with the mantodea themselves. The assault was brutal and the mantodea barely survived and those that did retreated underground to construct a new nest hidden beneath the surface. An'assa Formo'sana, the reigning queen at the time, was killed during the final stages of the war, but was survived by her daughter, currently known as An'assa Dia'bolica. After helping her people rebuild, Dia'bolica inherited the throne from her mother and, along with her people, developed a deep hatred towards all humans for the deaths of their people and destruction of their empire.
Though many humans believe the mantodea were completely wiped out, many of the mantodea conduct illegal activities and various deals with some humans, purely to gain resources and currency to rebuild their once great empire. As Dia'bolica continues to foster the rebuilding of her empire, she also ends up having to deal with the growing curiosity of her daughter, Princess Coron'atus.
- Given names of the mantodea are all based on the species name of a specific type of mantis.