The Aslan are a race of intelligent beings who have settled in large numbers
within the Imperium. Aslan stand roughly human-sized, averaging 2.0 meters in
height and weighing about 100 kg. They are descended from four-limbed, upright,
bipedal carnivore/pouncer stock, originally adapted to a solitary arboreal existance.
The earliest Terran explorers saw in them a vague resemblance to the Terran lion,
and they have been described (by Terrans) as lion-like ever since, although there is
very little true similarity. The derivation of the word Aslan is unknown. There are
two sexes, male and female. The most notable external difference is the increased
size and mane of the former. Females outnumber males by 3:1.
Aslan have a single highly specialized claw under each thumb which folds back
jacknife fashion into a horny covering in the base of the thumb and palm.
A vast Aslan-dominated empire (the Aslan Hierate) lies far to rimward; but
Aslan themselves have ranged far beyond its borders, with many settling within
the Imperium and attaining full status as citizens. As citizens, they subordinate
themselves to Imperial authority, although they have remained culturally apart
from human society. Aslan serve in the Imperial armed forces; they achieve noble
positions; they pay taxes; they run businesses.
Aslan Society: The Aslan are a warrior race, proud and noble, devoted to
those in authority above them. An individual Aslan is usually a member of a family
(e’kho) of from 2 to 12 individuals under a patriarchal leader. Several families will
combine into a pride (ahriy), with one family dominant. A number of prides form a
clan (huiha) again with a top pride. Aside from military organizations and the ruling
council (within the Hierate), the clan is the highest social/political organization
among the Aslan.
A deep-seated territorial instinct causes the Aslan to have an inordinate (from a
human standpoint) concern with land. For male Aslan, owning land is a major goal
in life. An Aslan’s stature is determined by the amount of land he (or her husband)
controls, and the amount any higher lord he may be vassal to controls. The lowest
classes of Aslan are landless, and provide the farmers, laborers, craftsmen, and
factory workers. A holder of a large territory will often grant authority over it to
vassals (usually sons, brothers, or male relatives by marriage) who administer the
land in his name.
The sexes have very different roles in Aslan society. Males (in all but the lowest
classes) are concerned mostly with military operations, acquisition of territory, and
political affairs. Females are concerned with trade, industry, and the accumulation
of knowledge. Upper class males have little conception of money and are literally
incapable of functioning in a technological society without aid, and are thus seldom
encountered without the supervision of a wife, mother, or other female relative or
employer. For instance, a typical Aslan mercenary unit will be organized by a
wealthy married female, who will then assign its operation, for a share of the
proceeds, to an unmarried female relative. The battle commander and most of the
troops will be unmarried males (many of them also relatives), hired with the promise
of land grants (and the opportunity to gain honor and reputation in combat);
however, staff, operations, supply, and intelligence officers will generally be female.
The extremely deadly nature of any combat between Aslan has led to a rigid,
ritualized pattern of behavior designed to reduce conflict. Aslan are very polite and
formal, and must be dealt with in such a way as not to insult their honor. Although
most have learned to be patient with non-Aslan, accidental fights still occur. Disputes
between individuals are handled by the patriarchs, disputes between families
by the pride leader, between prides by the clan leader.
Aslan in the Imperium: Large numbers of Aslan have settled outside their
Hierate, and many have settled within the Imperium. Entire planets of Aslan lie
within the Imperium, swearing fealty to the emperor and holding land from him
personally. Aslan mercenary units are in great demand (even though they must be
employed in all-Aslan units because of their equipment requirements) and Aslan
merchant corporations trade throughout most of known space.