The Dinaelurus illumina sapiens are a fictional species of intelligent, prehistoric felines based on the extinct nimravid Dinaelurus crassus.
These animals are the protagonists of the series and the main characters.
They resemble cheetah but are more bulky and without spots (but share the same black "tears" of fur under the eyes). Spots remains until they're cubs, also the mane is a features that disappear with age but some individuals keep it. The pelt can be of many colors: most common are tawny, sand and dun. They quickly age: usually mating seasons is during autumn and cubs are born in spring. Young cubs are considered teens by the time of the new autumn and the parents could mate again (even if it's uncommon that a mother has another litter so early). At one year of age the young are usually not old enough to be successfully mated, but they're known to have done it, especially out of the Clan.
In the series, the Dinaelurus can be split in three groups: even if such groups represent their factions, they also often include heavy differences in features. (it's however important to notice that individuals can move away or be exiled from a group and join another one: this can also cause events of cross-breeding).
1) People of the Named. All of them are sentient, with a different degree of colors of fur (most common are sand/tawny/dun), usually with not-protruding fangs. They lives together into an unified Clan.
2) Un-Named. Most of them are not sentient and behave no differently from animals, with different degree of colors including also silver and (rare) black variations, many Un-Named has been noticed with bulky bodies and protruding fangs. Most of the Un-Named are loners, however they often rally together to raids the Named, under the leadership of few sentient individuals. Non sentient Un-Named are known for episodes of cannibalism.
3) Face-tail Hunter Tribe. All of them are sentient, even if they focus their awareness toward their inner side rather than the external world, sharing a communal link. They have a mix of features between Un-Named and Named, even if most of the members have a widespread brownish color, they have larger bodies than the Named and protruding fangs.
Despite the differences, all the Dinaelurus has been proved perfectly able to mate and produce fertile progeny, making the groups as variations of the same species.
Former Groups Edit
There are other groups that however are formed by members of the previously listed sub-groups of the species.
1) New Singer's group (disbanded) A temporary splinter faction originated from the Hunter Tribe. They have no basic difference, except following a different Singer. Following the events in Ratha's Courage the group was reunited with the original tribe.
2) Old Clans (disbanded) In ancient times, the Named ones were organized in different multiple Clans and not just one: their members were noteworthy for being sentient but less advanced and more violent and primitive (common habits of these Clans was expelling young males: these ones often formed coalitions and bands that went to attack Clans with older males, as results they killed or forced away the old males of the conquered clan, killed the cubs and finally forced the females to mate with them to sire their own progeny). Most if not all of these Clans are known to have been destroyed by the Un-Named ones and having merged into the single known Clan.
Crosses between Named and Un-Named produces healthy and fertile offspring sharing traits of both the parents. For the first books of the series it's believed that such crosses inherited mostly the lack of self-awareness of the Un-Named parent (despite some evident exception). Later is discovered that probably all the cubs are gifted with will, but most of them needs more time to show and express their intelligence.
Known crosses are here listed: Reshara (female Named) mated with an unknown Un-Named (almost surely sentient): resulting in the birth of Thakur and Bonechewer. Both the children proved to have been gifted with intelligence.
Bonechewer (cross) mated with at least one unknown Un-Named female (without intelligence): it's known that the resulting offspring lacked of intelligence. (to reader's and Bonechewer's knowledge).
Bonechewer (cross) mated with Ratha: at first it was believed that the cubs had no self-awareness but it was later proved that Thistle-chaser is intelligent, even with trends to focus her self-awareness into herself (rather the external world) and her spelling isn't as good as the Named. It's noteworthy to say that also Bonechewer at first believed that Thistle-chaser wasn't gifted with intelligence: this mistake (made by a too much early evaluation) could have also been made with the progeny of the Un-Named female he mated before.
(suspected) The female daughter of Shongshar and Bira, was probably the female that abandoned Mishanti to let him be found by the Clan. She had probably mated with an Un-Named without will. It's interesting how this pairing produced an intelligent cub, because could means that also the first litter produced by Bonechewer could have resulted in gifted cubs.