Art by, Soulsplosion
Common Jobs: Guard, Fighter, Hunter
Likes: Words, Songs, Shiny Objects, Hunting, Killing, Meat
Dislikes: Robots, Guns, Cowards, Cowards with Guns
Attack Method: Hokkans pounce on their prey and tear them to pieces with tooth and claw. If in a fight with a formidable opponent, they will rear up on their hindlegs and topple their foes with wide-sweeping, lunging strikes.
They rarely, if ever, focus on the gods. When they do, they tend to follow whatever god fits their fancy at the time.
The appearance of a hokkan brings back familiar memories of primitive creatures that could only be found before a planet is colonized. A being that is tremendous, wild, and untameable by the efforts of sentients. Boasting a form that resembles an ancient cross between bird and reptile, the hokkan is a creature suited for the skies. Its feather-covered body protects it from extreme weather, impermeable in all but the strongest of rainstorms. The plumage of a hokkan is vibrant, with red, green, and purple being their most prominent colors. Dark coloration is also known to appear, especially in clans where the gene for it has become the primary pigment.
Hokkans possess powerful jaws, capable of snapping bones with ease. Their teeth are more suited for ripping and tearing flesh, as opposed to chewing. While the mouth of the hokkan is its primary killing method, the hunt for prey typically begins with the large talons found on the feet. For their size, they are refined runners, using their wings in conjunction with their legs to chase down prey. The two cone-shaped ears on the hokkan can swivel around, allowing precise hearing of their next target. This is critical to the hokkan's survival, as their cluster of small eyes are weak compared to most high fliers. The long tail of the hokkan both stores fat for times of starvation and assists in maneuvering. In more modern settings, hokkans may have their wings clipped to allow them to work with tools and weapons they usually are unable to, though many hokkans will refuse such treatment.
Despite their looks, the hokkan is not always so fearsome. Young hokkans, those from birth to the age of two, are often called "pups" due to their resemblance to young canines. These children are far more suited to running and ducking into small holes to grab an escaping meal than they are to the flying and crushing motion of adults. To those untrained in the looks of hokkans, they appear to be a different species, a fact that would later influence hokkan history.
Of all the facts pertaining to the hokkans, one stands as the most surprising: their adoration of language. Once a far more sophisticated creature, these ancient fliers still have a substantial connection to words and music, and enjoy repeating words and songs they find appealing. While this seems to be a simple case of mimicry at first, they can connect meaning to sound, a fact that took many years to find out. Bigger, more complex meaning words have the most appeal. To the hokkan brain, making sounds and figuring out their meaning is a joyful puzzle, especially in more difficult situations where they may not understand the context. When not conversing through conventional means, they express themselves through melodic croaks and warbles.
These massive creatures have an affinity for "dressing highly," and will wear objects of clothing out of a desire to appear more intelligent. They have a particular fondness for shiny objects and like to adorn their bodies with them. Those who have achieved something in their lives will pick certain things to wear, such as a hokkan who has killed a powerful beast going on to wear its teeth as a necklace, or a hokkan who finally got approved to drive a truck wearing a wheel rim. Trinkets that are too large or valuable for wearing are used to decorate the nests of a hokkan. Many travelers have attempted to steal valuable ancient artifacts from these nests, only to be scooped up by the resident and flung from the peak to their demise.
Approaching a hokkan one does not know should be done with care, especially if not sure the hokkan understands simple speech. Many will have little reservation about mauling and devouring people who they feel are invading their territory. Even civilized hokkans will admit that when they first encounter a person they hate, they feel the need to pick them up and toss them from the highest point possible, if not outright eat them. It's not uncommon for adults to duke out their grievances in an "old-fashioned" manner, involving a bloody but nonlethal fight. For this reason, it is best to make sure two hokkans in the same workplace are either compatible or go through proper conflict resolution training, so they understand that bloodshed in the workplace, even if both parties agree, is unwelcomed.
Being a species proud of its hunting and fighting prowess, they have a clear distaste for "unfair" battles. To a hokkan, killing another with a weapon when the other lacks one is cowardly and shameful. They even believe that animals should only be hunted with one's claws and teeth, as animals are unable to make weapons to fight back.
At the end of a hokkan's life, their body is left where it lay, and the trinkets that belonged to them in life arranged in a circle around the deceased. Those who know the hokkan are not allowed to take these trinkets, but others may. For the next week, the body will be visited by any nearby hokkans. Visitors are allowed to consume some of the corpse if they bring tribute. These tributes can range from priceless items, to nothing more than a shiny rock the hokkan found on the way there.
A look at the planet they live on reveals these circles dotting the land, appearing on the highest mountains and the deepest caves. While they appear primitive and crude, a more in-depth look into the culture behind the hokkans shows the glimmer of a complex society. One that was ripped away from them, but still visible should one look just a bit closer, as with the hokkans themselves.
Due to the persistent and heavy storms ravaging the landscape of Hox-Zan, the first group to find the planet did not bother to land; instead labeling it as inhospitable and unable to support intelligent life. It would only be later, once the artifacts hoarded by hokkans were studied, that this idea was disproven. These investigations proved that the planet had not always been so untamed.
Once there existed a rather conventional civilization, one with a complex social structure and culture. It was ruined in an instant when a perfect firestorm of situations arose. Scientists are unsure if it was a meteor, multiple supervolcanoes, or both, but the planet became devastated practically overnight. The society that thrived upon the world disappeared.
Mirira Se-Vorta, an eccentric unuxis explorer, took an interest in the planet after being forced to land due to a ship malfunction. She came upon two hokkan funeral circles and became entranced by the artifacts that were found in them. She stayed on the planet for the next few days to study these items and the nature of the circle. It is at this time she watched a four-legged creature come to these bodies throughout the day and feast upon them. Despite her better judgement, she attempted to feed the beast her own rations when she felt the bodies had decayed past safe consumption. The animal readily expressed friendliness to offers of food and had begun to repeat back words. When Se-Vorta had her fill of studies, she loaded the creature, which she named Driima, onto her ship and left the planet behind.
Se-Vorta’s reports on the planet had created a gold rush of archaeological interest, and she obtained fame and fortune by leading expeditions into the harsh world. Her popularity was influenced by Driima, who served as an impromptu mascot for the affair. Her cute looks and mimicry of words caused her to end up in famous videos, with many viewers remarking how smart she was.
As years went by, the planet became a bucket list item for those in love with civilizations far gone, and Driima grew larger and larger. Her kind had been snapped up by exotic pet trading companies to sell, and all those who owned their very own "Driima" were learning firsthand that the adorable creature was only the baby state of a truly massive being. At the time, hokkans were considered mindless, all-consuming monsters, but Vorta felt otherwise. She noticed Driima seemed far too intelligent, and if actively taught words and meanings, she seemed to understand. At times Driima would chain words together in what appeared to be broken sentences or answer questions incorrectly on purpose because she found saying the same thing all the time to be "boring." Driima knew at that point that hokkans were an intelligent lifeform.
The road to getting hokkans approved as a species was an uphill battle. By the time the fight started, hokkan pups were considered cute exotic pets to be thrown into zoos or released into the wild once they became too big. These ex-pets became an invasive species known for eating livestock and people alike. The bad press greatly hindered their fight for specieshood, but Vorta and Driima never stopped fighting, and support grew. Sadly Driima would die of natural aging-related causes before hokkans were finally approved for full species rights. For her efforts in showing that the universe that hokkans are intelligent, the law she worked so hard to obtain is called "Driima's Right."
Today hokkans are an extreme rarity in the universe, moreso those who are not the wild descendants of ex-pets. They are typically seen in fighting and hunting jobs, working with those on the ground to track down escapees or meals. While known for their brute strength, the hokkan's love of words has caused quite a few to branch out into science and coding, where they gain great joy in learning "rare words" and their usage. Some hokkans still live in zoos as "workers" acting like animals. These hokkans perform in shows where they pretend to be stupid, aggressive beasts who are "tamed" by another performer. These acts are heart-stopping to the viewer as they watch other people seemingly inches away from the jaws of death. As hokkans are rare, many who watch have no idea that these are mere acts performed by an intelligent species, and no danger exists.
On their homeworld, most hokkans remain feral, but language is inching across the landscape. Some can form complete sentences and phrases while others only know the bare bones of language they picked up from other hokkans. It is not uncommon for an explorer to come across a hokkan that screams, "ANGRY! ANGRY! ANGRY!" because while they do not know what the word means, they do see that it establishes the emotion of not wanting the invader in their territory.
Before her death, Mirira Se-Vorta expressed that, while she feels responsible for what the hokkan species had to go through, seeing hokkans finally establish themselves as a member of the universe brought closure to her life. She only wishes that Driima could have seen it.
Hox-Zan is a world of barren mountains that erupt into life around the rivers that snake around them. The cracks between the mountains remain dark for most of the day due to being overshadowed. These are dotted with cave systems, both natural and creature-made. Some of these tunnels can become so large that many fauna can only be found inside one particular mountain, virtually extinct to the rest of the world.
Due to the sheer amount of island chains on the planet, Hox-Zan looks as if its continents are ripped apart. It is known as "the rumbling world" due to its constant quakes that make building a permanent base of operations an unrealistic goal. Should the shaking not deter construction, the countless hurricanes will. While the mountains ensure that any storms that appear are short-lived, the climate of the planet guarantees that it will make up for the loss in length with high frequency and destructive power.
The mountains are dotted with cave systems, both natural and creature-made. Some of these tunnels can become so large that many fauna can only be found inside one particular mountain, virtually extinct to the rest of the world.
The planet is a hotspot for fossil hunters and archaeologists due to the fascinating artifacts and ruins. The best of these can be found inland, where the mountains have killed any storms that wished to pass, and volcanic ash has coated the landscape, preserving it. Even most of the islands on the planet are the remains of long-dead volcanoes.
Hox-Zan is described simply as a land only meant for those who enjoy viewing or being the dead.
Taizu: Taizu are hokkans with thick, bushy green feathers who blend in with the plants and forests found in between the mountains of the homeworld. They are smaller, but able to quickly maneuver around trees, and are superior ambushers. Hokkans who scale down the mountains to the bountiful forests below know to watch out for these hungry hunters.
Katakka: These are purple to black hokkans that blend in with the night sky, and have traded most of their puffy display feathers for a slicker form. They are the lightest of all hokkan types, but what they lose in weight they make up for in speed. Diving down from the skies, this subspecies delivers such a strong impact that its prey dies instantly.
Abaxalt: Unlike the other two subspecies, which are both super clans of hokkan that have evolved according to what traits the clan approved of the most, the abaxalts are a more natural evolution. They are primitive even when compared to most hokkans. Found in the deepest and most complex cave systems on the planet, this subspecies has modified claws better suited for carving mountain crevices into large nesting sites. Cannibals by nature, these beasts will mimic the sounds of hokkans they have heard in the area. When a friend or mate goes in to investigate the sound, they will be ambushed and killed by the heavier and stronger jawed abaxalt. Horrifyingly enough, this subspecies will go on to mimic the sounds they heard in the attack days later to attract anyone who may be searching for the missing victim.
Predatory Instinct: Hokkans have great appetites befitting their size, and the skill set required to fulfill this need. Any hokkan worth their tail feathers will be able to hunt for food, if told to, and come back with enough to feed themselves and their crew. Care must be taken not to send them out hunting on more civilized planets, else they may accidentally kill a person. If a hokkan begins to starve, they will become highly aggressive and will put their survival before anything else.
• When Driima came in contact with an arma, the arma had called her an "idiot bird." In turn, Vorta noticed the arma's resemblance to a bovine, and she called him an "idiot cow." To this day, the hokkan word for arma is "idiot cow." Even hokkans who are mostly feral will shout "THAT IDIOT COW?" when spotting an arma for the first time.
• Due to how long a tunnel dug by a abaxalt can be, if enough abaxalts are in the same area, the mountain they're living in will lose structure. This causes mountains to give way and collapse in on themselves. When these massive cave-ins happen, whole clans of abaxalts and other hokkans can disappear in an instant.