I suppose this can go alongside the 'facts about zhuards' journal/post, but it has been requested, and so out of curiosity of a few I have decided to post. What does it mean when I say zhuards were 'designed'? I use the word a lot as it is exactly what I mean with them. I hope this clears some things up- and hopefully the refs do as well. Feel free to grab some snacks and a drink. Unlike the refs, this is straight text, no images below.
A note beforehand:
I have been long looking into ways to describe zhuards and their structure vs. their size vs. their environment. I have had many internal, instinctual leads about this but it’s always nice to research the subject and get opinions on how large creatures operate. Learning where and how zhuards were formed only increased my intuition and curiosity of what can or cannot be possible on Earth- and I say curiosity because zhuards were not designed on Earth or even for Earth. Nor Issuhiro, a somewhat earth like planet in which creatures can grow very large and where I visualize the most. They were founded in a totally different type of environment. The Lesser Known World/Realms are beyond limitations of our understandings, and it was the area in which zhuards were ‘born’. Also worth noting that they were not the first beings the Taiber’su created- they have created many creatures as it seems to be of great interest to them- but zhuards were the ones they had a high investment in.
Since zhuards even in terrestrial form are very large, with pharaoh being the largest form, I’ve always been captivated by monster movies that featured monsters many, many meters tall. Although Interesting theories* about so called kaiju (rather, extremely large and complex critters not explained fully by the sciences we know) can be found in several places, I already knew that zhus were designed to suit their needs- to adapt. But reading all the theories made me want to write out exactly how. Having it on one post would hopefully help others understand the major intelligent design points of zhuards as well. One of the more at length and most interesting to me of the theories, can be found here **not written by me**: http://www.angelfire.com/ego/g_saga/kaijubiologyarticle.html
If you’re interested in the topic out of curiosity I suggest you go over a few ideas discussed in that article.
***Although I have left out a lot of their biology that is written in length in an essay type format elsewhere alongside this- or explained briefly in drawings. Here I am focused on very specific qualities concerning their overall design: what was intended and created, not residual aftereffects due to being designed (such as their vocalization, or having a mane). None of those things were specifically intended and just happened and/or supported the zhuards lifestyle- such as hunting strategies. That said, zhuards are not the product of natural evolution, and they have not changed to support any case of extensive evolution aside from on the social/emotional scale and immunities or susceptibility to sicknesses when outside of the Lesser Realms. ***
The anatomy of a zhuard is relative to all other forms they take, having similarities but separate functions that their creators deemed too important to task to one form. It wouldn’t have made sense otherwise. Regardless, a zhuard will always be recognizable in their three forms (pharaoh, ka’nar and terrestrial) by their spurs between the shoulder blades—these spurs act as a focus for their energy. Of most interest in terms of design is their skeletal system.
Zhuards were peculiarly designed with a skeletal system that is interwoven with metal not found naturally on Earth, but Issuhiro, (to which some creatures have either a substantial amount due to their evolution or trace amounts). Although this metal is beneficial, as calcium is beneficial for our bones, other metals play a role in a zhuards body as they are developed in the womb from the mother ingesting them- but none greater than this peculiar metal (of which I term ‘shirkra’). For zhuards, this metal was similar to ways the native fauna use it.
Issuhiro fauna who evolved in high pressure areas have this reinforced metal to better cope with the environmental restraints (even though Issuhiro has relatively less gravity than Earth, the principle still applies the deeper you travel.) Zhuards were expected to travel to different areas with their masters and needed to adapt accordingly. Each of the three forms reflects that, given their different sizes and functionalities, and made the zhuard less susceptible to said pressures depending on form and even breed. The Daggerneck Burrower zhuard breed has shorter limbs with a much denser skeletal structure than other zhuards. Many ‘mini’ zhuard breeds follow this rule, as much of their role included tunneling.
The varying metallic skeletal structure aided in keeping the zhuard upright despite size, and even their keeled sternum provides an example of counterbalance by remaining center. This is of course at a cost- zhuards cannot swim well given the density of certain parts of their skeletal system. The are also much more rigid in their upperbody than their more agile hindparts. Class 3 zhuards- the semi aquatic breeds- can swim and dive for short periods in semi-shallow water due to other adaptations not found in other breeds.
-zhuards are semi biological in the fact that although they are capable of performing certain life functions, they can receive sustenance to support themselves via specific energy. For creatures that depend on energy from specific resources-such as plants and the photosynthesis processes, there are limits imposed on how that creature will grow, how it will move and function all while being healthy. Zhuards are no different in this regard.
The energy chosen by the Taiber'Su as the main medium to sustain zhuards has many names in many places, but it is known in Issuhiro as Domruku. As primarily a guardian which will sit for long periods of time keeping watch (pharaoh form), scout (terrestrial), or converse between different beings (ka'nar form)- zhuards were not designed to rely purely on physical sustenance as that would be impractical for their masters. A zhuard who had lived on Issuhiro or on earth will eat but will never feel hunger to the extent other lifeforms might. As a creature that has multiple ways to claim resources that help satiety, what they do eat does give them energy and will pass through their system, but it is not fully compared to what Domruku or this transformative energy can give them.
Despite having different ways to provide their body with resources, it is clear that the zhuard body highly favors and will take to Domruku more than physical food. As such a fact, zhuards are more so considered starving or malnourished when they are not getting enough energy (in the case of an illness known as corruption) versus not getting enough food. They are occasionally considered malnourished when they are not getting enough support for their skeletal structure.
Rise of Generations and Submatriarchs:
There was a mix of intended and aftereffects concerning zhuards being introduced to biological reproduction. When terrestrial form was made, pharaoh form (the original form) was manipulated into being quadruped, they were much smaller and therefore of greater value, but very different from one another. Zhuards did not reproduce originally as they were few in number and were created instead. But their creators knew of how advantageous biological breeding was; it was simply not possible with the massive and extremely aggressive pharaoh form. When terrestrial form was created, it was of a much more manageable demeanor for this. Since zhuards essentially were made up of different parts of lesser world beings put into one solid creature, their uniformity grew a lot more solidified from breeding than when pharaoh form was just being manipulated.
Terrestrial had less physical variations than pharaoh form however, but what grew from this were several effects the creators didn’t care about. Fur patterns being one of them. They did place great emphasis in physique and functionality, and from that gave rise to lineages, zhuard breeds and class categories- each class having a specific function or role in order to guard the domain of their masters- and it worked. Although pharaoh form was still used, there was a rise in use for terrestrial form heirs.
Submatriarchs were made to circumvent the issue of a high percentage of brood females-females that were more willing to carry offspring- to the low population of males. There wasn’t any direct correlation causing this phenomenon and the way it was worked around was the only way the Taiber’su masters were best at. They had cultivated androgens which influence male behavior and appearance and used that on developing zhuard females to view the outcome- such hormones were not found in the Lesser worlds.
It seemed very simple at first. Since zhuards were not of earth or Issuhiro origin, the results were exaggerated: developmental changes varied from female to female which is why all female zhuards have the look and functional anatomy of a male, yet vary in the desire to attain that role. The alteration made the females with a higher percentage of the hormones have a disposition much more biologically male: These females are submatriarchs. Voice and mannerisms partly came from this percentage, but more so mimicry of other species- perhaps even their creators.
Mimicry integration with domruku:
As touched upon, zhuards are reliant on this energy. They can and were intended to use it as most intelligent fauna did as well. Those who can manipulate domruku due to its transformative nature can form it to any other element. It is such a highly concentrated type of energy that large amounts go beyond the mimicry illusions it is known for and manifests into physicality at someone’s will. Creatures lucky enough to have evolved with an affinity for this energy and other elements can bend it and transmute it to what’s needed from what is already in the environment. An individual wandering a desert cannot command domruku to turn itself into a lake if there is not a droplet of water for it to mimic first.
Likewise, a zhuard can phase forms because they already inherently a part of those forms. They were designed to take full advantage of this. Outside of their forms (things concerning “magic” which is just using this energy under specific elements), zhuards are not well versed as much as others may be and therefore must learn. Much of this energy is cultivated on Issuhiro by technology, to which zhuards also make use of even if they do not need to, as they themselves are a focus for it. Some much better than others.
A Zhuard’s Flaws:
-Locomotion it seems would have been perfected as terrestrial zhuards, mainly breeds from Class 1, a division of scouting breeds, were used as mounts. Yet this is only true in the way a zhuard can move his or her legs in the form of different gaits. Not how fast he or she can go. Locomotion depends on several factors, and something so large can only move so quickly as it might burn through its energy source just by walking. More so if moving at a certain speed. Despite zhuards getting most of their energy from a source of a transformative energy-it can only do so much. Domruku can mimic anything that is required of it. Concerning zhuard design, although they are very well integrated towards using and cultivating this energy for their survival, there is an individual’s limit on how much they can handle.
If a zhuard is using most of this energy to stave off cold temperatures by allowing this energy to bounce off the fur to create thermal energy (domruku mimicking a body heat), the zhuard will have less energy in other areas. This includes locomotion. Things as simple as phase changing affects this as well. Naturally most zhuards are slow moving, even for their smaller sizes, especially pharaoh phase (not in flight) which is the largest form and requires the most energy to stabilize. Pharaoh form, given that it walking arms are longer than its legs, doesn’t walk in a typical manner.
A zhuard’s reflexes are average unless trained—so then why are they classed as apex predators? Zhuards learn quickly. Whether cognitive intelligence or simply their ability to mimic, you can dodge a zhuard, but your skills will also be noted and copied. That said, if you can out pace a zhuard, you can push the limits on them. A zhuard who is panting is one that is not efficiently directing domruku flow to its body for use of locomotion and this is where oxygen has a much greater role. Zhuards like this, those who aren’t very efficient in multitasking, run out of steam quickly. A zhuard that is stressed by using too much at once is susceptible to corruption-a fatal disorder where they can no longer control their energy reserves.
Mimicry integration with domruku:
Zhuards who have only known one species and have been in that particular species’ guise for decades will sooner or later develop and become that species through a seemingly forced change to their genetic makeup. This is an unfortunate side effect of being integrated with Domruku. The process is gradual but if left to go on, this can seal the fate of the zhuardarian species in a natural setting.
Issuhiro and beyond
Zhuards in Issuhiro fit in with the fauna in terrestrial form. Some keep the stories of their masters alive, but others have forgotten. Terrestrial form is best suited for Issuhiro now. Pharaoh form, in opposite fashion, thrives in the origin place of zhuards, an interconnected dimension known collectively as the Lesser Known World/realms, although zhuards whom had crossed the bridges feel comforted by the L.W’s expanse. It is not known if the Taiber'su had zhuards in other areas like Issuhiro as to study it but what is known is that there are many more zhuards in the interconnected dimensions of the Lesser World than on Issuhiro. Given the technological Advancements of Issuhiro and other areas, cross travel to and from their ‘home turf' is doable with little affect to the zhuard besides perhaps a ‘culture shock'. Zhuards from either side seem to be on generally neutral standing with one another.