A sapient species of humanoid avian, native to Turvess. The newest of the galaxy's spacefaring races, they were contacted just prior to the Reaper War, a conflict they avoided by retreating to their homeworld and destroying all spacegoing technologies. They re-emerged a couple of years after the war's conclusion, and are still finding their feet.
Raloi are descended from arboreal avians, and are naturally ambush predators.
They are covered in feathers and possess talons on their hands and feet. Their beak is sensitive, as tactile as the rest of their face.
Raloi genitalia are internal; there is little to no outward sexual dimorphism.
Female raloi lay eggs. In more technologically advanced regions, it is common for a female to get an implant that uses chemical adjustment to enable her to skip the egg formation process until she actually wants to have "peeplings". It's safer than just letting it go on naturally because of the possibility of an egg getting stuck; also, there's a danger of malnutrition because creating eggs uses up a great deal of calcium and other nutrients.
In historical times, it wasn't uncommon to consume unfertlized eggs if necessary, during times of famine.
In raloi, a sign of impending biological adulthood is when the courtship feathers begin to grow.
According to Grackel, there are a bald-peaked variety of raloi native to one specific northern principality.
One nation's rite of passage into adulthood involves the youth donning gliding suits and leaping from cliff sides overlooking their towns. This is to emulate their distant ancestors who were capable of flight. A youth glides from the clifftop to their homeyard; if they manage to remain silent during the descent, avoiding noise either out of their own beak or from steering the suit poorly, it's considered an auspicious sign.
Raloi languages include Khjleshi, a trade language.
Some raloi keep pets, such as leemli.
The raloi made first contact with the asari in 2184 after launching their first space telescope and discovering the asari cruiser Azedes in their system. The next year, they were formally welcomed to the galaxy.
Sold-out Council-sponsored shuttles arrived at Turvess bearing intrigued visitors and gifts of good will. At one point the krogan representatives of the galactic delegation were ejected from the proceedings after introducing a violent sport called kowla, which resulted in multiple deaths and injuries. After the conclusion of the ceremonies, a raloi delegation was dispatched to the Citadel for a three-month stay to learn about intergalactic law, history, alien biology and culture, and mass effect physics.
Francis Kitt, of Elcor Hamlet fame, soon produced a raloi version of Swan Lake, which was the inspiration for a minor riot at the Citadel’s Reyanommond Auditorium. Due to the unfamiliar musical style, erotic choreography, and sparseness of the performers’ costumes, the visiting raloi diplomatic delegation believed that their people were being exploited at best, and mocked at worst. Quick action by C-Sec contained the disturbance but several patrons suffered minor injuries.
Regarding the show itself, critic Nur Olan said,
“Francis Kitt has produced a masterpiece. Using birds to play birds allowed him to design the choreography around the raloi’s unique physiology. It is a shame the performance will likely be remembered for the pandemonium it endured rather than the landmark it set in the art of performance.”
In more positive fashion, the honour of closing out that year's Exodus By Arcturus music festival went to folk-jam group Featherstar, the first raloi band to attend, who wowed the crowd with soulful folk ballads from their native Turvess and covers of everything from human spacer rock to salarian spoken-word. As the concert ended at dawn, lead singer Dazhire spoke for the assembled fans: “My friends: good bye, good morning, and see you all next year!”
Reaper War and Aftermath
Not all raloi made it back to Turvess. A very few were left stranded elsewhere or chose to stay. After the war, there was much speculation as to the fate of the species, and a spate of "raloi sightings" on Citadel worlds.
At least one dead raloi was found on an asari planet (Hyetiana). Among the crushed remains found in the rubble during normal rebuilding efforts was a very peculiar corpse. Most of the body was mutilated; preliminary findings failed to identify the species beyond a vaguely humanoid frame. Upon an autopsy, the skeletal structure and DNA analysis showed the corpse’s identity to be raloi.
A couple of years later, a slaver convoy headed for the Terminus in the Crescent Nebula was intercepted by elements of the Republics Navy. Led by the cruiser Iluata, the asari task force seized the convoy and escorted them to Athena Nebula for processing.
However, when marines boarded the slaver vessels to inspect their cargo closer, they were met with surprise as hundreds of slave-collared raloi looked back at them. This turn of events sparked speculations about the Belon’s Rift relay having been restored to working order - four other relays had been recently repaired, and the 96th Patrol Flotilla was dispatched back to confirm the situation in the Crescent Nebula. This led to contact being reestablished with Turvess.
On The Topic of Smell: A raloi brings the issue up.