Drell appearance is very similar to that of humans or asari, but their muscle tissue is slightly denser, giving them a wiry strength. They have five-fingered hands, though two of the fingers are fused.
Their hyoid bone, located in their throats, is particularly developed. This allows them to inflate their throats and produce vocal sounds outside of the human range. Drell have two sets of eyelids; the inner lid is milky white and closes horizontally, while the outer lid is black and closes vertically.
In humans, sustained skin contact with drell can cause rashes, as well as hallucinations if the contact is oral.
Many of their more reptilian features are concealed. This includes a three chambered heart with a muscular ridge that’s capable of shunting oxygenated or deoxygenated blood as needed. They have dark, blue-green blood, bordering on green-black. The blood is hemecyanic; the tone of it derives from the extremely dark green immune cells. They can shed tears.
The average drell lifespan is 85 standard years. Most drell have implants in their eyes allowing them to observe the bioluminescense that the hanar use for communication. They’re able to see ultraviolet light as a silvery colour, though they often lose differentiation between shades at the opposite end of the spectrum, such as dark red and black.
Drell are adapted to arid climates, and their adoptive home of Kahje is in fact unhealthy for them in the long term. The leading cause of death for drell on Kahje is Kepral’s Syndrome, caused by cumulative long-term exposure to a humid climate. This disorder erodes the ability of drell lungs to take in oxygen, and eventually spreads out to other organs. It’s noncommunicable, and there’s currently no known cure, though leading hanar scientists are working on creating a genetic adaptation.
"Drell are passionate, we temper this passion with a measure of self-discipline. Figures like Reave or Abattoir show, to a (ridiculous) extreme, what drell passion looks like without this measure of self-control." -- Hadas Kronos.
The drell are known for their eidetic memories, which result in an excellerated education.
The Kalyan Practice is perhaps the best-known mathematical curriculum for young drell; it covers grades four to nine, with additional chapters recently available for purchase covering higher grade-levels. Another program is the Palsat Standard, which is less popular and more abstract, but particularly invigorating for students of exceptional intellect.
In modern, information-saturated settings, their memory often becomes over-cluttered. External stimuli can trigger a powerful memory recall; these are so vivid and detailed that some drell mistake it for reality.
The concept of an “other father” is part of some minority cultures of non-enkindled drell. The basic idea is that a child can have multiple fathers. The primary father is often the husband of the mother, but she can also confer the right of being an “other father” of the child to another man. This second man is often but not always the biological progenitor of the child; it could also be a close friend or even another male family member. Being an “other father” carries certain responsibilities, both ceremonial and practical, but in the end, it is the mother who has the final word on the level of involvement. In some cases, yet again depending on which tribe or cult a drell belongs to, it can even be the case that the husband is the “other father” and the biological man is recognized as the primary father; once more it’s the mother who decides such things. This custom stems from the need to keep the gene pool diverse after the exodus. This custom is also the basis of more complex systems, which includes an integrated feudal and caste system, with a lot of theocratic elements on the side.
The original term is "ar’cheri-fa" and can be roughly translated as "carrier of the right", "carrier of the legacy", "carrier of the family" or even, "carrier of the blood". Drell language is very much context sensitive, the meaning of a word can change drastically depending on who speaks, about who or what they speak, etc. In traditional drell cultures there is more than just a separation between body and soul (although that gets the most advertising and is most romanticized,) there’s also the concept of life-force, or mind, which is the preferred ‘medium’ between body and soul. One of these aspects is the concept of ‘blood’. In most cultures the idea of a blood relationship (for example between parent and child, between siblings or even between more distant branches of a family,) confers certain rights, for example when dealing with inheritance. In some drell societies this ‘aspect’ is a separate thing. And thus an individual can (and is allowed) to give it to others as they choose. The father, through the mediation of the mother, gives the Other Father the right to carry his ‘blood’ and give it to Other Father’s children if certain criteria are met. Most common being that the child should have the ‘blood’ of the wife.
When a high priest or monarch, in this system, was incapable of having children they would often allow one of their trusted friends or allies to be their blood carrier and continue their lines. In extreme cases when both of them prove to be infertile, they would both appoint a blood carrier. Such a couple, who themselves would not have royal blood or had no claims, would still give birth to the legitimate heir, who could continue the line. Naturally, such a process could be and was manipulated to start and end wars.
Under Citadel law, drell are considered legal adults at what in human terms is 17.82 years of age. Though the hanar Illuminated Primacy is obliged to respect these laws, numerous exceptions have been made for the Compact.
Old drell religions could be startling in their violence and passion. As an example, thousands were sacrificed each decade to celebrate the rule of the Unspoken King. The exact number is actually unknown; what is know is that people were sacrificed until the blood of those sacrifices flowed from the summit of the Divine Spire all the way to the steps of the imperial palace. This is not to say that sacrifices were only a ‘once in a decade’ occurrence, many historical papers show that the ruling cast of blood priests expected daily sacrifices, mostly animals, but sometimes drell. (The Unspoken King once again upped the stakes by having hundreds of drell sacrifices on the Divine Spire, daily.) Scarring and blood oaths are similarly something that has been sanitized in modern drell. Drell are passionate and traditional beliefs were a visceral experience; sometimes it meant blood had to be spilled, other times it meant feasts or orgies had to be held. When they came into contact with, and were saved by, the far more ascetic hanar, they had to reign all of this in. Now most of the drell who follow the old ways do so in a symbolic way.
Most drell see death as a departure from the body, and state that a person’s body and soul form a Whole. When the soul is traumatized or otherwise disrupted, or the body is ill or injured, a person is no longer Whole. They also believe that a person’s body can be directed as a separate entity from themselves, such as in the case of Thane Krios taking no responsibility for his numerous killings, which were ordered by the hanar. The drell religion is polytheistic, with the drell having multiple gods whom they pray to in varying situations. These include Amonkira, a god of hunters; Arashu, Goddess of Motherhood and Protection; and Kalahira, Goddess of Oceans and Afterlife.
Drell gods have many aspects, often separate gods that became accepted as forms of the same deity. However, these aspects also remain distinct, so that a god can encounter itself -- possibly fight or romance itself. This was a necessity on Rakhana given drell memory -- if a nation invaded another they couldn't just censor a faith; burning books wouldn't work if you have an entire population that remembers it all perfectly word for word and could spread it again over a weekend. So cultures and faiths merged, split and merged again over the millennia, resulting in a gigantic pantheon of Gods and their variant forms.
Drell writers are famous in xenoliterature circles for their treatment of such themes as salvation, loss, survival and adaptation. However, aliens often face huge difficulties following more plot-oriented drell works, as these are written for audiences with eidetic memories. Alien readers are strongly encouraged to take extensive notes.
The hanar sport of sarophan’tialamenus garnered a respectable following amongst drell, initially through simple proximity to hanar, but later through the “mixed doubles” form of the sport allowing drell to participate. Mixed doubles sarophan’tialamenus incorporates raised platforms above the water level, to avoid immersion for drell players. The Kahje-based entertainment and education network IPSPN provides stellarcasts of sarophan’tialamenus games throughout the Illuminated Primacy, and to other major worlds beyond. IPSPN has been criticised on occasion for editing its broadcasts in an effort to appeal to non-hanar by presenting the game as more similar to traditional non-hanar sporting contests - a typical tactic is to broadcast only a single commentary track, rather than the multi-sided commentary debate a hanar audience would expect.
In drell mythology, the Manifestation of Guilt is a loose translation for an entity that pervades all forms of drell religion. Most commonly referred to as "The One Who Consumes All Selves," this leviathan - a metaphorical beast - seeks those who utilize their bodies incorrectly and acquire guilt without acknowledging it. In short, it is a fail-safe, but it is rarely recognized in modern religions.
Unoth and Kaire is a drell creation myth.
Drala’fa: The ignored.
Rhusevar: An old word meaning "Many Teeth".
Sere: An honorific term for drell adult males.
Siha: The name of a warrior-angel of the goddess Arashu, used as a term of endearment for someone who can be described as “fierce in wrath” and a “tenacious protector”.
Tu-fira: To be unable to forget someone, “lost in another”.
Speak of the Unspoken King: Depending on where the drell using the phrase is from, it could mean two different things. Drell from Kahje use the phrase generally to mean "watch your tongue" or "be careful what you say". In contrast, drell from the Terminus Systems often use the phrase to mean "speak of the devil". Like the saying "the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb" which is often bastardized into "blood is thicker than water", "Speak of the Unspoken King" is shortened from the full quote "Speak of the Unspoken King and the dead shall haunt your dreams."
Drell are exceptional throat-singers due to the structure of their hyoid bone. Their unique vocal output derives from an unusual larynx designed to shut out excessive moisture; they can employ dual pitches at once, with an extremely wide range regardless of the individual.
Topically, music has always been at least somewhat religious, but pre-Compact arrangements had more to do with folklore and mythology than the triple goddesses or the body/soul dynamic.
Traditional or pre-Exodus music still exists. Several of the more popular artists had recordings that were brought with the refugees taken by hanar, and their work has been copied and distributed since. Glamis Tyr is the most well-known of them; most of her material can be found in various specialty dealers on the extranet.
- Mirovia: A band that sings in the Enkindler Gospel tradition. They’re known for including translated-for-hanar versions of their songs in wide release. They’re also considered somewhat aggressive - many of their songs detail abuses of the Compact. Albums include Furious Fellowship, Reaper Theory, and Left Untranslatable.
Food and Drink
The drell combat ration provided by the Illuminated Primacy is generally decent by MRE standards. One flavour has been described as "rice and chickpeas with little sardiney fish, much drier and chewier than a human would make. And this brittle for desert, with seeds and flavoured with bitter melon flowers."
Gifted by the hanar with acute perception of interspecies body language, solitary drell travelers often seek out new species in the wider galaxy, adapting to other cultures and rarely returning to Kahje. Such drell number in the thousands, and are scattered across the galaxy, tending towards quiet, integrated lives.
Ask This One About The Drell: Abattoir answers questions in detail.
Are All Drell This Mental?: Impressions of the drell's passionate nature.