The Dewclaw is a defining feature of Aslan anatomy. It is a specialized claw under each thumb. The dewclaw folds, in jack-knife fashion, into the base of the thumb and along the palm of the hand.
The dewclaw is a folding bony spur, primarily formed of hardened keratin. It is attached to the base of the thumb. The dewclaw, when extended, extends 6 to 8 centimeters from the base of the thumb, though some can grow to be 10 centimeters or more. The dewclaw is quite sharp and is capable of cutting, slashing, and impaling damage depending on technique and usage. Dewclaws can regrow if torn or damaged.
Cultural Dewclaw Expression
Aslan ideas about the dewclaw may differ greatly. Most Aslan find it to be an expression of strength and part of the identity of the warrior culture of the Aslan. Others find it an impediment to tool use and have it surgically removed. Some clans serrate the edges of their dewclaws, while other use cutting edge cyberware to enhance them. The point is that Aslan are a mature sophont species, not a culturally monolithic block, and their opinions about the dewclaw, a feature of their anatomy, may differ greatly from clan to clan.
In the Aslan Hierate, the general cultural setting treats the Dewclaw as an important part of their warrior culture. Aslan use the Dewclaw as an important part of their dueling. The Dewclaw also serves as a marker of rank and importance of an individual within the clan.
History and background
The Aslan are carnivore-pouncers, a sophont species evolved to be pack hunters capable of tracking down and slaughtering large prey. Before Aslan developed tools mature Aslan used cunning, numbers, and their dewclaws to take down prey. The Aslan dewclaw is a vicious weapon, fully capable of worrying prey, slowly bleeding a wounded beast to weakness when a mortal strike could be performed, generally the dismemberment of a head or limb, or the evisceration and gutting of the digestive cavity.
Kuzu, the Homeworld
Kuzu (world), the homeworld of the Aslan, is a binary star system.Many sophontologists believe that it is tremendously more difficult for life to arise in such systems. The complex gravitational interplay of suns and expressive radiation can present very complex factors including many multiple seasons, extreme climate variation, and deadly radiation periods. Many scientists believe that such complex environments produce increased evolutionary pace, physiological adaptation, and genomic mutation. Polydactyly (many fingers) and ogliodactyly (few fingers) are relatively common in Aslan due to inbreeding (no cultural taboo among most Aslan) and fairly high exposure to environmental teratogens.
In the Aslan, these ideas certainty seem to have found vindication. While the baseline Aslan genome is very stable, a number of variable expressions of Aslan vigor can be noticed, especially with Aslan manipulators. Some Aslan literally have hands, fingers, and dewclaws of different appearance, not a great difference but considerably more variation than typically exists among humans. Some have just three fingers and a thumb while others have five to seven fingers and a thumb. All such species are interfertile and physiologically compatible. The same holds for the dewclaw. Considerable variation can exist alongside each other. Not all dewclaws were created alike.
References and contributors
- Loren Wiseman. "Contact:Aslan." Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society 07 (1981): 25-26.
- Gareth Hanrahan. Aslan (Mongoose Publishing, 2009), 2,4.J. Andrew Keith, Marc Miller, John Harshman. Aslan (Game Designers Workshop, 1984), 2,4.
- Author & Contributor: Crawm Lermil
- Author & Contributor: Lord (Marquis) and Master of Sophontology Maksim-Smelchak of the Ministry of Science