Author: Tymon Nitka, Peldak Warrior.
An article in the 1,020th issue of the magazine: The Monthly War Room.
Date: 44 AP
The masters of the galaxy, the warriors of light, the saviors and builders of civilization.
There’s much to say about my brothers and sisters who hail from that dark world of Peldor, and there’s many rumors and myths that need correcting. I’m nearly 2,000 years old and have personally spent the last 40 traversing this young nation of ours, trying to fix the various misconceptions that swirl around our people.
Here are some of the more common I’ve encountered.
-1. We are bloodthirsty maniacs.
Peldaks are tall and maintain muscle mass with relative ease. When aliens combine this fact with our seeming willingness to come to blows with each other, their mind jumps to the conclusion that we like fighting for the sake of it. This is untrue. If a peldak insults me, or I’m to establish myself as the strongest, or we’re just bored and wish to test our strengths, then of course we’ll begin to fight. It’s not senseless violence, and we’re too strong to bother fighting aliens. I wouldn’t hesitate to fight a peldak in response to an insult or just to prove my point, but it’s unconscionable to do that to an alien! Aliens are weaker, and could be seriously injured if we were to treat them the same.
A peldak’s willingness to brawl another peldak over disputes or matters of honor should not be misconstrued with a desire to draw blood. If a man calls me a fool and refuses to retract that statement, my attacking him should be seen as an attempt to keep my honor intact, not to specifically hurt him. If I end up breaking his lying jaw in the process of keeping my honor, so be it, but that’s not my intention.
It might be fair to say that peldaks are militaristic, as we pride ourselves in our force of arms, but this is wholly different from being bloodthirsty or insane. If a soldier has adrenaline rushing through his body, then laughing would be a natural reaction as he tears his sword through the enemy ranks. It’s the thrill of combat we enjoy, not the blood being shed. I assure you, every peldak would immediately wipe the gore and viscera off his or her body once the battle has ended.
-2. Peldaks have good night vision.
This is understandable, however incorrect. Our world of Peldor does not orbit a star, and is therefore shrouded in an eternal night. Combine this with our uncanny ability to traverse dark spaces, and many believe that we have developed a natural form of night-vision.
We have not.
Instead, it’s our ears. Peldak ears are long and pointed (mine top out at an impressive 8 inches in length), and are rather sensitive. It’s not good enough to let us ‘see’ in the dark, or at least mine aren’t, however they give us a general idea of what’s making noise and where it is.
I was once in a fight with a group of bandits on the roads of Ciratha, and dirt ended up getting kicked in my eyes. I didn’t have enough time to clean them out, and my allies were busy on their own fights, but I was nevertheless able to attune my ears to the specific sounds of my attacker. The shuffling of his boots against the dirt, the rustling of his clothes, the various grunts that came with every swing of his sword. He was no doubt careless due to thinking me immobilized, but I was able to move in, grab him, then throw him onto the ground. From there, it wasn’t difficult for me to wrap my arms around his head and give a sudden, forceful twist that resulted in a satisfying snap.
-3. Peldaks are expansionist warmongers.
This rumor comes from two main sources: The fact our planet is the only one in the Peldak Protectorate which is unified, and the Founding War.
The sayran have their family houses, the cirathans are divided into thousands of city-states, the monsoorai have their various island nations, but the peldaks are unified under a single flag.
This is because, many years ago, Peldor suffered through a terrible dark age. Ignorance, fear, violence, sin, these things ruled the land for millennia. It was so bad that nobody even knew the true scale of our lifespans, as nobody lived long enough to figure it out. This lasted until King Arus and his Army of Light began the Unification Wars and set out to fix everything. We didn’t wake up one day and decide to conquer everything in sight, we conquered everything in sight because the alternative was to remain ignorant, short-lived, and savage.
As for the Founding War, -which resulted in the Peldak Protectorate being formally ‘founded’- that was justified too. The relgi had been enslaving the firryans for at least two thousand years and refused to stop. Were we supposed to ignore that? Obviously not.
That’s why we landed on Relgan and destroyed whatever specific nation we were at war with. I don’t remember the nation’s name, but it was a fun conquest. We washed up on their shores and went wild for the next few years, putting every slaveowner we found to the sword. Everything we did was justified since our foes were fundamentally evil.
The brutality of our conquest sent the message loud and clear. We were in charge, evil won’t be tolerated, and the remaining nations abolished the practice not long after the capital city burned.
-4. Peldaks are ‘undying’.
This is partially true.
Peldaks do not age past our physical prime, which is around 25 years old for other humans. I, for example, am at least 1,900 years old, and took part in many battles during the Unification Wars.
The correct word would be immortal, as we can’t die of old age, though we can still die of injuries, or sickness. In fact, besides death in combat, the top cause of expiration for a peldak is hearts failure. We have two hearts which possess a remarkably inefficient structure. So many twisting veins rubbing against each other, if we don’t maintain perfect cardiovascular health we could suddenly drop dead at a moment’s notice.
That being said, we’re tough. After a peldak returns from battle, it’s common to see us walking around with broken bones, shattered armor, and gashes all over our bodies. On one campaign, many years ago, my arm was sliced off just below my elbow. It was my off arm, granted, but I had to tuck it under my armpit and carry it around until we could win the battle, then I could finally get it reattached. I wouldn’t say it’s surprising that so many aliens think we can’t be killed.
-5. Peldaks are dull and simple.
This mostly comes from the cirathans.
Their culture relies on negotiation and debate, while peldaks are refreshingly straightforward in our dealings.
For example, two city-states went to war, it doesn’t matter which ones. Some friends and I thought it sounded fun, so we hired ourselves out as mercenaries and went raiding the countryside.
We found a caravan belonging to the other city-state and we went to capture their goods. The caravan had no peldak guards and quickly surrendered.
This young man walked up to me, completely calm, cirathans are good at hiding their emotions. He gave me a long speech about the many reasons why we shouldn’t take their things, and I remember him making a lot of good points. It was morally wrong, their caravan didn’t even support the war, we came from halfway across the planet and stuck our noses in a conflict that didn’t matter to us either way, blah blah blah. But he spoke so passionately, I was beginning to think, yeah, we were kinda the villains.
Then I remembered that cirathans are famous for their wordplay and trickery. Coming to my senses, I pushed him into a soft patch of grass, then we pillaged his wares for the good of our client.
We don’t play along with their games, and in response they use those exact same games to slander us as dull brutes.
-6. Peldaks are religious fanatics.
This one just confuses me, to be honest.
The only reason we could escape the dark age which plagued our world was because God sent His own Son, Hananiah Vendall, to be born into our world and save us from sin and ignorance. He gave us a broad list of rules to follow to keep us from falling into that degenerate behavior again, are we supposed to just ignore His word?
It’s not religious fanaticism, it’s just standard behavior, exactly what you’d expect.
The cirathans have their ‘pantheon’, but that mostly just extends to wearing something like the necklace of a merchant goddess when you want a better deal in a store. The firryans recount embellished stories of their ancestors because they were a little good with a bow and they think that means their ancestors watch over them.
Now, I won’t disrespect their beliefs, but I think it’s clear that one religion is a bit more serious than the others. Of course the serious religion would have serious adherents.
-7. Peldaks see aliens as inferior.
This last myth is one of the more common I hear, and I’m glad I have this chance to dispel it.
We peldaks do not see aliens as inferior.
We work under a strict meritocratic system where those with competence rise to the top of their fellows. This has proved time and time again as one of the reasons we were able to sweep across the entirety of Peldor in less than 3 millennia. I, for example, was born to a tribe of backwater savages and didn’t even know how to read low peldish when our lands were taken over. Despite that, I learned quick, possessed a strong body, and had a natural affinity for people. I quickly rose through the ranks and was chosen to lead a small warband in no time at all.
We promote competence and punish incompetence.
It shouldn’t be seen as ‘hatred’ that we recognize that aliens are simply incompetent when compared to us. It’s natural, in fact, as we spend millennia perfecting ourselves, while aliens tend to live and die before even a century has passed. It’s often said that it takes a hundred years to master a skill, and while that’s unfortunate, it’s a sober observation of how the galaxy is, not as how we wish it to be.
If we hated aliens, we wouldn’t protect them from the myriad of horrid creatures that lurk in the darkness of space for such a low tax. There’s no telling what’s out there, but the ‘big, scary’ peldaks will keep the Protectorate safe, while the civilians are free to stay at homes, doing whatever it is aliens do while not complaining or spreading lies.