The world of The Scent of Gravity
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Masters (Saitaralen)

Masters, also called Saitaralen (Syteizon for “control people”), are typically obsessed with position, status, and dominance. Well over 99% of Masters are male. Males average about two and a half feet tall and look a bit like toads, but they have a crown of eight eyes on the top of their heads, and their wide feet have suction cups on the bottom and little feeler tentacles between the toes. They are often green, though some are more brown, yellow, or (occasionally) blue-green or teal. Their blood is violet.

The most common Master clothing is a one-piece suit, and as a species they don’t have a tradition of footwear. However, they love other species’ fashion and are often seen wearing bits of other species’ clothing that may not suit them well. Some types of alien clothing are status symbols for Masters, with boots topping the list, despite (or maybe because of) their feet being ill-suited to boots.

The Master home planet is strictly regimented, and everyone has their place in it. Jockeying your way to a higher position in the pecking order is very difficult, which is one of the reasons a group of Masters built Sapog Kuabure: to have a new, less restricted place where they could build more influence.

If a Master builds up enough influence with enough other Masters, his followers will begin releasing a pheromone around the influential Master that will start a transformation in the influential one. Over a period of weeks, as his followers bring him massive amounts of food and continue to release the transformation pheromone, the Master will transform from male to female, growing to fifteen or twenty times the size of a male Master. Female Masters benefit from a greatly increased brain, and although they are immobile, they are physical powerful and have the absolute devotion of the males in their group. Female Masters are the uncontested leaders of Master society and are known to be highly intelligent, insightful, and long-lived.

Female Masters mate regularly with their favorite followers and lay groups of eggs with an ovipositor, with the number of eggs being determined by the space and resources their group has available. These eggs are cared for, and the hatchlings are raised, by male Masters called Nestfathers.

The most widely-spoken Master language is called Great Continent Master, but there are many local dialects. Master speech is rapid and blabbery. Even in translation, you can hear the quivering in their voices.

Masters don’t have a concept of gender identity separate from physicality. It is not uncommon for a Master to be aromantic, while on the other hand some Masters are part of small romantic clusters or polycules, occasionally as small as a pair. These romantic relationships are always between males, as the differences between females and males are extreme, although in a sense females could be said to be bonded with their favorite followers–but not in a balanced way.

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