Meet the Yrmaks

posted in: Science fiction | 0
Yrmak matriarch

It’s very easy to dream up a weird name and a sketch of an alien monster for a science fiction story. But if the creatures are going to be part of the story, not just some throw-away excuse for a battle, they need to be placed in a setting, with a culture. Otherwise they’re simply cardboard cut-outs. 

The Yrmaks are the go-to villains in my Dryden Universe They’re been around longer than Humans, and consider themselves to be superior to Humans, although they share some planets. They have scaly skin and yellow eyes, and their eye ridges go red when they are agitated. They have two hearts, one on each side of the chest.

They are humanoid, but also a bit reptilian. Females are larger than males and do all the ruling since it’s a matriarchal society. Priestesses (Rylats), generals, and most merchants are female. Many more males are born every year than females. Males are either warriors, or workers. Having said that, the females are warriors, too, as they fight their way up the clan’s hierarchy. 

The Yrmaks evolved on one planet (Pok Yaavan), then spread to the stars. As well as being matriarchal, their society is also a theocracy. From their home world the Yrmaks revere a constellation which they see as the Mother (much as we can see the constellation Scorpio in our skies). As they spread among the stars, the shape of the constellation became distorted or disappeared completely from their skies and its meaning was lost for later generations on distant planets. But the more fundamental groups always come back to the Great Mother in the sky.

Yrmaks will happily fight with each other if there are no Humans or other alien species around, often even then. Their society is very much clan-based, with each clan having its own secret language – although they share a common language for inter-clan communication.

Yrmak warrior

Yrmak warriors gravitate naturally to piracy, raiding other clans and other species. On mixed worlds they will also take jobs such as bouncers, or general purpose thugs for gangsters. But not all Yrmaks are blood-thirsty brutes. Yrmak workers will take positions with merchants, and sometimes set up in less orthodox Yrmak society as merchants in their own right. Here’s an example of Yrmak/Human interaction on a planet. It’s from Eye of the Mother.

Sue pulled a face. “Skinner and Loorn have run a maintenance shop here for — oh — eight years. They had their moments, of course they did. Yrmak and Human. But they were friends. Loorn was murdered and they arrested Skinner. I sure don’t believe Skinner did it.”

“Loorn. Oh crap,” Brent muttered. “How did he die?”

“Spitted in the guts with an Yrmak spear.” Sue mimed the blow. “And then his ankles were slit to drain his blood.”

“Spear? They use spears?” said Tian. She might as well act dumb, keep the woman talking.

“It’s an artifact. A ceremonial weapon from the old days,” Sue explained. “All Yrmak males have them. It has two prongs, one for each heart, with all fancy workings on the metal. Loorn was killed with his own spear.”

Probably THE most wonderful thing about AI art is that it’s finally possible for not-artistic people like me to have the wherewithal to create images of alien species in my SF books. I’ve had a go at creating Yrmaks in earlier versions of Midjourney – but v6 does a so-much-better job. The images above are very good depictions of my vision of Yrmaks.

You’ll find Yrmaks in all of my Dryden Universe stories.

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