Martian (Kaldanes and Rykors)

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Denizens of Barsoom, including Kaldanes and Rykors in the lower-middle panel

Kaldanes and Rykors; Kaldanes are Martians engineered down to disembodied heads, and Rykors are their headless humanoid mounts.

Origin: Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Barsoom" novel franchise


Kaldanes are an advanced Martian race, descended from White Martians, whose modern form has evolved into one consisting almost entirely of only a large, nightmarishly misshapen head, with six small spider-like legs and a tiny pair of spider-like forearms, whose racial goal is to evolve even further towards pure intellect and away from bodily existence, aided greatly by the Kaldane's extensive genetic tampering with their own DNA and the DNA of other Martians. The bodyless Kaldanes typically live an indolent and sedentary life in elaborate burrow cities: dreaming, thinking, and philosophizing while being served by slaves.

Kaldanes, never a very large or successful population on Mars, have maintained a foothold on that dying world by forming unsteady pacts with the invading Uliri; it was the Kaldanes who helped to breed their fellow Martians into a suitable food source for the Uliri, having had long experience at breeding other sentient humanoid Martian races in similarly monstrous ways.

Kaldanes have also bred "Rykors" from White and other humanoid Martian stock. A form of mounts for Kaldanes, the nearly headless Rykors resemble nearly perfect, beautiful human bodies with rudimentary necks and partial heads containing just enough of a brain to serve as a control system and just enough skull for Kaldane riders to settle onto in place of a head, and steer these nearly-perfect bodies as if they were their own. Kaldanes can exchange Rykors almost as easily as an Earthly human might exchange horses.

The Kaldanes appear as over-sized blue-grey heads, with six spider-like legs that they walk with when not using a Rykor, as well as two symmetrical chelea (rudimentary mandibles or claws) that they use to eat. Their large bulging eyes are lidless, their noses nothing more than narrow slits, and their mouths round tooth-filled holes described as being sphincter-like. Lacking lungs, they do not have to breathe. Because of the development into their current bodyless form, Kaldanes are reliant on Rykors for most manual labor, and to control the Rykor they use small tentacles that descend from their underside.

Today, colonies of all but completely decadent and helpless Kaldanes have physically withdrawn forever from the surface of Mars, surrendering their physical forms to an almost permanent sleep sealed deep within their burrows, and Dreaming themselves into free, strong, and beautiful Astral bodies in the Dreamlands.

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