The Julah

An Ancient Race With a Heavenly Past

The julah are a closely related race to humans - or, it should be said, the humans are closely related to them, as the julah came first. Legend says they were the first mortals born into the universe when the Void was complete and the first galaxy created. What the purpose of "life" was, nobody, not even the julah, can say.

But the julah know they were the first, although their own recorded history does not mark when their human cousins were first created: only when first contact was made hundreds of thousands of years ago. For these countless millennia, julah and their human counterparts have coexisted under multiple political (and apolitical) ventures.

What marks julah as truly unique lies in two things: the fact that the average age of an individual is around 3000 years (with many living up to around 5000) and that they are the only known entities in the universe capable of sorcery, or Void magic. While sorceric abilities are not equal among all individuals, a minimal standard is expected to be reached by maturity. Those who show greater promise in the skill of Void magic can either apply to or be scouted by the Academy, the center of all magical teachings and research, and the oldest university known to mortalkind.

The home planet of the julah is Yahzen. The social structure of julahkind is not complicated, but it is rigid and has not changed much since the beginning of their society.

The greatest markings of julah society are:

Ramaron Marlow is one of the most famous julah of his generation. His father was also a noteworthy author who wrote one of the most successful pieces of julah literature in recent history.

  • The 100 Houses: Only 100 families are registered and tracked by the genealogy department. Each family has an ancestral "estate" with associated lands, buildings, and economies. Curiously, the estate and social standing of a family may be one of the fastest changing aspects of julah society. Families can rise in affluence via political, economical, or even artistic means. Likewise, they may fall due to scandals. It should be noted, however, that even the poorest julah house is still vastly richer than many of the human elite. But it's all relative on Yahzen.
  • Patriarchalism: Julah society is highly patriarchal, although women are granted full suffrage and other equal rights, including inheritance and the ability to contest a marriage. A "Master" is head of the household, although it is not uncommon for his wife ("Lady,") mother ("Grand Dame") or other close family members to run the day-to-day life of the family if the Master is busy elsewhere. When a woman marries, she often leaves her house to join her husband's, and any children begat in the marriage belong to her husband's house first and foremost. Thus there is great pressure on the sons of Masters to be successful, without scandal, and most of all to marry well. Arranged marriages are common at this level of society, and the department of genealogy tracks that no cousins are kissed.
  • Magical Application: It is rare for an individual julah to have no sorceric abilities, and there is great debate on how much genetics play a part in the level of ability and skill. By the age of maturity, most julah know how to teleport at least short distances and to accomplish minor tasks by using Void magic. Most can also heal their own wounds or those of others.
  • Quick Maturation, Slow Aging: The life cycle of a julah may be thousands of years long, but they mature quickly once they are born. Most are eligible for the Academy around the age of 60, and the age of majority is 100. The first stages of puberty hit as early as 20 and may complete shortly after, although it depends on the person. Young women go through a phase of puberty known as inkep, which is described by healers as "the body being out of balance as it prepares to receive Void magic into the womb to conceive the next generation of julah" and matchmakers cheekily call "that time when girls are either razing fields or humping everybody their age." Since the delicate balance between biology and staying out of scandal is taken seriously among society, most mothers partake in the "inkep industry," and employ matchmakers who guide girls through this phase, whether by giving allowing them safe but violent outlets, or arranging liaisons with young men who can keep a secret in exchange for a passionate time. Virginity is not valued in this society.
  • Spiritual Fortitude: The julah, both as a culture and as individuals, take their relationship to the Void seriously. They see themselves as not only the ones directly connected to the Void, but the blessed beings who were born into the universe for an express purpose. They are the originators of the Temple, which is the biggest religion in the universe and the default official religion of the Federation.
  • Ancestral Veneration: Unlike humans, julah are not believed to be capable of reincarnation. When they die, they return to the Void to keep watch over the other souls, a role that has been altered since the Ascension of the High Priestess of the Void. Through powerful rituals that employ a kind of Void magic, ancestors may be contacted in the Void for matters of blessings and to achieve even more powerful goals. However, they are not believed to be walking among the living, and estates do not usually have ancestral shrines.
  • Propriety: Whether it's because they live so long and have nothing better to do, or because they as a society truly believe it is in their interests, julah are masters of propriety and tradition. Their way of life has continued for millions of years with little change. Even their language, also called Julah, is largely unchanged going back millions of years. It is a culture where everyone is expected to know their place and what is needed from them. To that end, there is little room for rebellion beyond the pubescent stage. While young men and women have the final say in matters of who they marry and if they have children, it is still expected of them to marry and eventually become parents. While society is not explicitly homophobic, those in the upper echelon are expected to keep affairs private for the sake of the family and the greater good.
  • Low Numbers: The fertility rate of julah is extremely low. Even couples who marry young and live a long life may only have five children over the span of two thousand years. Between two full-blooded julah, getting pregnant is often an intentional matter including rituals and prayers to the Void. "Accidental" pregnancies can happen, but are rare. So are miscarriages once conception does occur.
    • On the other hand, human fertility rates are observed when mating with said humans, especially if it is a julah man with a human woman. Julah women with human husbands seem to have more control over their fertility.
  • Ma-Julah: Also known as "hybrids," these are the children of a one julah, one human pair. Hybrids live longer than humans, but only by about a hundred years, which means their lives are much, much shorter than their julah parents'. They are also capable of becoming sorcerers, especially if they are julah on their mother's side. This means many of the universe's priests and healers are ma-julah. Hybrids can only breed with each other, never with julah or humans.
    • Hybrids can be claimed by their julah parent and become an official member of the house, bound to the same rules and expectations as their family members. However, they often suffer a much lower social status and are often treated as "expendable" at worst, as a pet or novelty at best. Many choose to live away from the family estate to claim more autonomy. Those who do live on estates often became house servants or workers for the family's local economy, such as farming, artistry, or other crafts. Some may join the Yahzen Defense Force, as they primarily recruit young hybrid men, both affiliated with a house and unaffiliated.
  • Fashion Before Function: Most julah live a life of relative luxury, regardless of family status. As such, they have devised hundreds of ways to pass the idle decades, from parlor games to charity work for humans. Julah are the biggest patrons of the arts in the Federation, funding many of the fine artists, literati, and classical musicians and stage performers who appear on broadcasts and in any Lady's living room when the mood strikes her.