Art by, CosmicClaxon
Common Jobs: Religion, Performing, Services, Clothesmaking
Likes: Beauty, Self-improvement, Aesthetics
Dislikes: Blind jokes, Tourists who don't like the Adamant Citadel
Attack Method: They'll usually try and use a combination of powerful swipes with their long arms and jabs with their short arms, or if pressed, close-ranged kicks with their large and sharp toe claws. Metima prefer to fight with weapons or at range.
The metimae traditionally worship the gargantuan diamond known as the Adamant Citadel, believing it to be the most beautiful thing possible. Rogue metimae or metima who were raised offworld outside the classical society are likely to believe in the limbo gods.
Metimae are bipedal mono-gender reptilians, with three toes with large claws on each leg. They have two pairs of arms attached to a double shoulder joint. The inner pair is short and typically held close to the body, usually used for most tasks, while the other is extremely long, able to casually brush the ground while the meta is standing upright, but thinner and almost skeletal in some cases. They only have three fingers on each hand, similarly to their feet.
Their somewhat elongated neck holds their four-eyed head, with a short snout and toothy mouth beneath. On either side of their head, an angled bony protrusion hides their ear holes and the edge of their jaws, providing extra protection to the extremely sensitive area beneath. Metimae also possess a webbed sail at the crest of their head, which can be raised consciously by a few metimae, but not most. This sail crest is normally raised as a subconscious indication of pride, making it hard for metimae to hide when they are proud of an achievement.
They also have highly developed senses of touch across their whole body, a good sense of smell, and excellent spatial orientation due to an extremely complex internal ear system, enabling them to navigate their surroundings even in darkness.
Metimae tend to be of fairly light build, and do not build significant fat reserves, however their chests are highly muscular due to the twin pairs of arms both possessing their own independent sets of strong muscles. Their bodies are typically shades of tiny and smooth scales ranging from green to greenish-blue, but some may be born with more complex patterning or pink-purple scales, and stripes or ragged patches of darker colours and bluer shades on the head are common.
They are a mono-gendered species, able to reproduce both with and without a mate (though mateless offspring have a higher tendency to visual "defects" and is hence culturally frowned upon), and lay a single egg at a time.
Metima eggshell is a soft pink.
Metima culture is based around their universal religion, which exemplifies beauty and perfectionism, believing that only through the endless pursuit of such can divinity be approached. The center of this religion is the Adamant Citadel, a mountain-sized piece of near-flawless diamond which is held, in its gleaming facets to be the most ultimate beauty in the universe. Into this, the central temple and seat of power in the metima hegemony is carved. This beauty is, to metimae, so great that the Citadel is thought to be divine, and it is a vile heresy for metimae or any other species to suggest otherwise.
In order to prevent travelers to the stars, long - deprived of its beauty, from being tempted by alien vistas and foreign artifacts, extreme measures were devised and even to this day are near universally carried out. Before any metima may leave the homeworld, legally, at least, they are required to visit the Citadel and undergo the ancient oaths of temperance, ritually removing their own eyes so that the promise of gazing on a greater beauty may never lead them astray. As a result, most metimae a traveler is likely to encounter across the galaxy will be blind, relying on their highly-tuned senses rather than eyesight to navigate the galaxy. This ritual is also carried out by the most highly-ranked priests and the devoted on the homeworld.
Due to the constant emphasis their culture places on beauty and self-improvement, most metima are quite absorbed in the pursuit of perfection - as not only is devoting great periods of time to making oneself 'perfect' a step along the path to spiritual enlightenment, but it is also an indicator of social status, since the wealthy can afford to spend hours each day on their appearance, unlike the working class. It is rarer to see offworlder metima of high religious or social standing, as they are less likely to want to leave their home planet, if only because of the loss of eyes entailed by such an undertaking. Generally, the lower the social standing of a metima, the more friendly and easygoing they're likely to be towards strangers, however all metimae value their close friends regardless of rank. Despite the cultural obsession with beauty and perfection, pride as shown by the reflex action of a raised crest is actually considered to be rude when displayed by a person in a position of power.
Metimae born offworld are not blinded by their parents, despite persistent nasty rumours to contrary. Blinding someone who has not seen the Citadel is culturally considered the worst thing that could possibly be done to a person, beyond even death. This cultural element has long since been obsoleted by the fact that it is now possible to obtain new eyes due to modern medicine, but the taboo continues, and was traditionally a punishment of utmost severity.
However, if the young are being raised in traditional metima culture and religion it is expected that at some point early in their adulthood they will make a pilgrimage to the Adamant Citadel, undertake the rituals of temperance, and cut their own eyes to blindness once they have "discovered its beauty."
The metima religion is well-documented and ancient. In the past there were warring empires across the globe, all touting their emperor and their families as the pinnacle of beauty. This continued through the the centuries until, in their equivalent of the enlightenment era, the great diamond mountain that would become the Adamant Citadel was discovered. The empire that discovered it spent nearly a century carving, cutting, and polishing the whole mountain until it was the Citadel as it is known today. The emperor, Aurelius VII, then invited every major leader of the religion and all their competing emperors to see its impossible beauty, and all were struck with awe.
It was decided at the subsequent Council of the Eight Divines that the soon-to-be-named Citadel, not any of the mortal emperors, was the most beautiful thing in existence, and therefore the most divine, and thus began the current theocratic worship-based government of the metimae.
While the society is theocratic, it is not totally monolithic. Two main organizations control the metimae, the Hierarchy and the Legacy.
The Hierarchy is the spiritual and theological base, whose highest Elders interpret the divine will, impose strictures and religious laws. These upper hierarchs are based within the gleaming, glittering temple of the Adamant Citadel itself, and believe their authority is absolute and divinely inspired. They also control the police forces of the metimae, including one of the two metima secret polices. Their every words, outside of secret council are recorded within gold-bound books and once approved, studied for generations by the masses of junior priests and pastors across the worlds in search of deeper meaning and revelations as yet unknown. As a result, commandments both come directly from the high councils and also by a consensus from the academic analytical bodies, who send the extracted truths of the words back upwards to be approved for all metimae to learn.
The high councils are notoriously a mix of honest well-meaning religious leaders who truly want only to bring enlightenment to their subjects, and backstabbing political powerhungry narcissists who are more concerned with attaining "perfection" by getting powerful at everyone else's expense than helping any subordinates do so. At this level of the government, it is not uncommon for failed grabs at power to result in deaths, banishments, or minor revolts by the personal followers of the disgraced. The incidence of these events has been slowly increasing, each generation of powerplayers rising over the heads of the last.
The Legacy, meanwhile, is the civilian government of the metimae. While it is still officially a religious organization overall, it oversees the mundane and everyday. Where the Hierarchy dispenses wisdom, the Legacy imposes zoning law, and where the Hierarchy spreads the word of the Citadel, the Legacy spreads bureaucracy. It is controlled by three Legates, elected from the ranks of the Legacy by the lesser administrators, or prelates. This huge bureaucracy commands every aspect of daily life, even as the Hierarchy seeks to control the hearts, minds, and destiny of the populace.
The three Legates each have their own title - this is always the Legate of Iron, of Soul, and of Life, with their own responsibilities and duties. Iron manages the defense, law and order of the nation, and the ultimate court of appeals. Soul is in charge of what effectively amounts to PR, winning the hearts and minds of the populace through controlling speech, diplomacy, and the second metima secret police. Life meanwhile is in charge of everything mundane. Agriculture management to parking, trade regulations to zoning laws, all fall in her jurisdiction.
While officially the three positions are considered equal, the post of Soul is unofficially considered junior to the others, as being in charge of the PR ministries means constantly taking directions from the Hierarchy about the proper ways with which to guide the metima race. The other legates have even been known to hint that they find this distasteful, as they are a separate entity from the Hierarchy and think it is beneath metima of their station to receive orders.
The three Legates wear suits of ancient and ornate armour at all times, being sealed completely inside upon their election from the tribune of Prelates below them to represent their devotion to the position. It is a position for life - the armour is removed from them only upon their deaths. This armour was a gift to the legates of several millennia past, but the records showing exactly who from have since been misplaced. When a Legate assumes the suit, they discard their whole past. All their previous scheming, their hatreds, and petty grievances are officially forsworn, and they suit up inside the armour of their predecessors, never to remove it.
Conflict between the two highly authoritarian pillars of metima society is frequent, as both are of the opinion that they are the real power, and they often issue contradictory directives. This low level tension often gets in the way of the day to day running of the metimae, and shortages of basic goods due to paperwork-based arguments are not unheard of. The common view of external observers is that while the metima are currently a fairly strong species, barring major governmental changes the system is likely to blow apart from the top-down within the next few centuries, causing a complete collapse of their society.
The military arm of the government maintains a separation at arms length from these two factions, due to this self-conflicting tendency. This divide was imposed unilaterally in what was essentially a mass mutiny, after the near-coup ninety-five years ago when both the Legacy and the Hierarchy ordered the army to arrest their counterparts on trumped-up charges at the same time.
The metima homeplanet of Tiberus is a picturesque planet with many mountain chains and shallow seas, with long and winding coasts where the forests reach right down to the water. The Adamant Citadel sits in a high equatorial mountain range in the largest continent, and is surrounded by the capital city of the metima, Ascension.
Blessed: Occasionally a metima child will be born, typically to wealthy or high-class parents from the priesthood, with what is considered to be a "flawless" body, with no variations, defects, or mixed colourations of any kind. These children are considered divinely blessed or even partially divine themselves, and are typically destined for high ranking positions in the Hierarchy, or even elders at the Adamant Citadel itself. The elder councils of the most holy chambers are often heavily stacked with this otherwise rare subspecies (The Legacy has no official position on the Blessed, but there are certainly barely more than a handful known to be working there.)
Blessed are, however, not permitted to leave the homeworld, as they are officially too valuable to risk beyond the reach of the Hierarchy. There is academic discussion outside the metima sphere of influence as to whether the blessed really count as a subspecies, or are just a rare coincidence, but as the metimae insist they are completely separate they have been noted as such here.
• The metima language does not have gendered pronouns due to the exclusivity of mono-gendered life on the homeworld, but the monogender pronoun is by default translated to Limboish as "she." Individuals' preferred pronouns however may vary, especially for those raised offworld or who are longtime residents of the universe beyond home.