0x7D3 December 0xA

Banshees are the largest predators on S'trawn. Reaching a length of twenty meters, the land-based variant is one of the most common causes of death in the human settlers. Only killer bees and falling trees are more likely causes of untimely demise. Banshees can change colour to match their surroundings in seconds. The cladistic grouping to which the term applies is, as is common on newly-settled planets, quite large. (Although, unlike many new colonies, all banshees on S'trawn do actually appear to be no more distantly related than, say, spiders on Earth.)

The banshee is an adorable, lemurlike primatoid, named for the incessant wailing it emits at high noon during the mating season. Banshees have three large, solid blue eyes, although they primarily identify their prey by means of scent receptors located in their fingertips. The hand of a banshee is suprisingly similar to that of a human infant in proportion, although the smooth, pleasantly scented grey fur has no parallel among the human-descended settlers.

The keening wail associated with the banshee is generated by the lung complexes of the colony. Large infestations of banshee have been known to result in human insanity, especially during the time of the fetid marsh winds when they release their spores. Active damping technology is not effective; they can hear the dampers, and vary their frequencies accordingly. The Ministry of Tourism has ordered all banshees within a hundred pfarths of the capitol city and the military space facilities exterminated; the gas used is a variation on a standard xanthobenzine trimerase exemplifier.

Banshees are worshipped by a splinter sect of Theosophists, who hold that their unusual stalked eye-clusters are in fact signs that they are the Old Ones referred to in prespace writings by messrs. Blavatsky, Lovecraft, and Zeming. While their citybuilding activities indicate sentience, the opinion of the majority of xenologists to examine the so-called "Banshee Worlds" is that they were a spacefaring race that succumbed to the temptation of using evolutionary engineering to improve their adaptation to their social environment. As they perfected their bodies, so the theory goes, the stresses necessary to produce strong mentalities faded.

The warrior caste, referred to as "Banshees", is a modification of the basic stock that emphasizes strength, speed, and emotional brutality above mentation, dexterity, or long-range planning. Even in mourning, the ferocity of a Banshee is such as to make them a byword among their neighbours.

It is the most common, and most elementary, failing of archivists: to assume that commonality of terminology implies a common root. The Banshee of S'trawn is twenty meters long, covered in chitin, and unusual in that it can actually digest human flesh. The Banshee of the Celestial Haven is a primate derived from the human, with a maximum size only a little over a meter. The inhabitants of the Banshee Worlds devolved to animalism long years before the first protobanshees of S'trawn appeared in the fossil record. The sessile Howling Banshee of Drept is an immobile photovore.

Yet, analysis of the records does show one clear link between some of the Banshees listed above. The "Lemurlike" banshee was apparently named after the inhabitants of the Banshee Worlds - but not for any similarity to them. Rather, research shows that at the time they were named, "Lemur" was a derogatory term for unmarried Theosophists.

We urge the student to remember this at all times: There are over a hundred thousand planets habitable to our race in this galaxy. Derivates of our stock can live with minimal protection on at least a hundred times as many planets. The most fertile of worlds can have several billion sentients and several thousand languages, which can be expressed through means as diverse as direct neuromuscular stimulation, patterned binary interaction, ordinary speech, reflectivity variation on surfaces, or modulated atmospheric vibrations. It is wildly unlikely that words that seem identical across languages share a common origin, much less ones that merely bear a similarity of form or function to their imagined counterparts in another language.


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