The Sullen Gulf
The K’kree are among the most massive of the major races and are the only one of the major races to be descended from herbivores. The word K’kree comes from their own language, and translates literally as all the nobles, or more broadly, The Herd.
An adult K’kree stands about 1.5 meters at the shoulder and between 2.0 and 2.4 meters tall when standing erect. Weight averages 550 kg. They are bilaterally symmetrical, hexapodal, and homeothermic. The K’kree are covered with a short gray or black fur and with a dense black mane covering the head and neck and upper back of both sexes.
K’kree are extremely conservative in all aspects of their culture. Ceremonial military units (such as bodyguards) are armed with equipment which K’kree military technology outdated centuries ago, and (aside from modifications made necessary by the discovery of space flight) K’kree government has not changed significantly in centuries.
Because of their origins as plains-dwelling herd animals, the K’kree are claustrophobics; they cannot stand to be enclosed. K’kree cities are clumps of low, broad, buildings; the interior is never more than one story in height, which allows the sky to be visible. Internal building divisions are achieved with curtains or tapestries.
K’kree are extremely gregarious. They are never found alone, and will quickly sicken and die if removed from other K’kree for any length of time. Receiving a trade or diplomatic delegation from the K’kree means entertaining the entire family (one or more wives, servants, scribes, assistants, etc.) of the merchant or the ambassador. The K’kree word for “my” refers to a possession of an individual’s herd, not to that of an individual. Privacy and individuality are exotic and little understood concepts for the K’kree.
K’kree society is divided into castes. The system is a remnant of ancient times which no longer fits K’kree culture perfectly, but the K’kree stick with it because it is traditional. There are hundreds of castes, but the distinctions are too faint for non-K’kree to understand. For simplicity, castes can be divided into three general groupings: noble, merchant, and servant. It is possible for a family to rise in caste, but this is a rare occurrence.
Every male K’kree must serve a term in the military upon coming of age. Warriors are drawn from all castes; rank in the military is determined by the caste of origin (nobles enter the service as general officer trainees, merchants as lower officers and noncommissioned officers, etc.). Upon completing the required term of service, a warrior returns to his original caste and position. Warriors are the only K’kree permitted to bear weapons, and they are further distinguished by their peculiar flared and horned helmets. They serve as soldiers, police, firefighters, and bodyguards for diplomatic and mercantile expeditions. Female K’kree are casteless, and take on the caste of their father or husband. Females have no position in government or society other than the rearing of young.
The basis of K’kree government is rooted in the traditional herd system. The basic unit of government is the herd, which consists of thousands of individuals of all sexes, castes, and ages led by krurruna (literally: bosses) under a single steppelord. In recent times, most herds have been assigned specific geographic areas (several may be assigned to a city or a single herd may be assigned millions of hectares of farmland). A number of herds are governed by a single “lord of steppelords” (usually the ruler of a planet); and the K’kree race as a whole is ruled by a “Steppelord of the 2000 Worlds.”
The K’kree have fought one war with another Major Race, the Hivers.