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Introduction

The Aranatym, singular Arana, are a sentient alien species that closely resemble anthropomorphic spiders. Originating from the world of Helleon Prime, they are one of the two races that compose the Helleonic Confederacy – the other being the Vespatym, with whom they share, and used to fight over, a native star system named Helleon. The name of their species comes from the Helleonic word aaran-ah-tiim, meaning People of the Mountains (referring to the many volcanoes on the surface of Helleon Prime). Vezph-ah-tiim, in turn, means People of the Jungles (because Helleon Secundus, the Vespa homeworld, is covered in thick, dense jungles).

In the Main Canon, both races are recruited by Utannic commander Vaasi Idris as mercenary soldiers and participate in the Utannic invasion of Sol. After they are fought off of Earth by combined Mecharussian and Imperial forces, they are pushed back to Helleon by the vengeful Mechanocracy of Mankind and are ultimately wiped out along with the Vespatym by High Commander Artyom Madrek's three destructive Helleon Campaigns.

In the Alternative Canon, both the Aranatym and the Vespatym battle the Mecharussian empire again, fighting the armies of Generals Khiron, Yulia Trotskaya and Ippolyta's horde of Prokazniki for control over the resource-rich systems of the Triarium dimension in the mid-to-late 2160s and early 2170s. This version of the wars known as the Helleon Campaigns, however, end in a stalemate, as opposed to flat-out genocide.

Characteristics

Aranatym possess monochrome, chitinous, almost rock-hard skin, tailored by evolution to be strong enough to weather the harsh desert climate of Helleon Prime. They, like most arachnids, have eight eyes and limbs; they stand upright on two legs and grasp with two four-fingered claws, but they also possess two extra pairs of spindly, quad-jointed arms attached to their backs, normally hidden from view. These limbs, tipped with single, blade-like spikes, exist mainly to assist with climbing, but also make for fierce weapons in hand-to-hand combat. Aranatym are also known for possessing excellent eyesight in order to spot prey and targets across the great distances afforded by the desert. In addition to the two pairs of long, spear-sharp fangs designed to pierce flesh, they possess a set of pharyngeal jaws designed to penetrate the thick skins of their planet's equivalent to the cactus and draw water for sustenance. Aranatym sometimes use these jaws to drain blood from an animal (or xeno) for the same purpose, though this is usually done only as a last resort.

Arana blood is also highly corrosive, thought to be part of an evolutionary response to the high concentrations of sulphur dioxide in their homeworld's atmosphere as a result of frequent volcanic eruptions. This makes tackling one in hand-to-hand combat difficult and dangerous: even a splash will burn straight to the bone if it lands on a human being. Arana warriors are well aware of this unique aspect of their physiology, and some even deliberately slash themselves before a hand-to-hand battle. Their acidic blood is also the main reason why the Vespatym consider the Aranatym such tough opponents. There exist many stories of a Vespa soldier unfamiliar with her foe's anatomy succeeding in overpowering him, only to receive a nasty (and agonisingly-painful) surprise when she tries to impale him with her stinger. It is from this that the Vespa phrase "breaking necks", used to describe a simple and painless method of doing something, originates.

Aranatym display considerable sexual dimorphism. Men are typically broad, stout and average a height of two and a half metres. Women tend to be lithe and very tall, an individual towering far above her fellows at ten metres tall when stood upright. She is also markedly faster and stronger than the male. Additionally, the gender ratio is overwhelmingly skewed in favour of men, with approximately 0.5% of all Aranatym at any one time being female. This disparity, however, is compensated via extreme fecundity, the female laying up to three hundred eggs in her nest each spawn. She will also guard, socialise and educate her brood from birth up until they are sexually mature, a period of approximately twenty years. While she is around to look after them, their safety is almost guaranteed: not only is it a cultural taboo for Aranatym to attack children, a brood is almost always exceptionally difficult to find on account of being meticulously hidden. Not to mention, no smart or sane Arana will dare to tangle with the mother (unless seeking to mate with her – see below).

Culture

Along with physical appearances, social behaviour also differs radically between the sexes: men are highly gregarious and regularly congregate within their tribes, while women prefer a more solitary lifestyle. They will hardly ever, however, stray far from their tribe: her offspring will frequently look up to her as a source of wisdom and guidance.

Martial prowess permeates Aranatym culture so deeply that it even determines reproduction. In order for a male to win the right to mate with a female Arana, he must issue a challenge to single melee combat and defeat her – achieving such a feat being far easier said than done due to her general superiority as a combatant. Conventionally, the woman will always accept, but it is considered cowardly on the man's part to make the challenge when she is wounded, elderly or otherwise unable to fight at full capacity. If he wins, he will have earned the right to mate with her. If he loses, however, he risks being killed and devoured by her, since cannibalism is another fact of Arana life. If, however, he proves to be a suitably challenging foe for her, she may spare him and allow him to return to his tribe. Such 'Scarred' Aranatym are considered paragons of bravery and combat prowess, and fearsome warriors even by their standards. One example of a Scarred Arana is Yekhetley, who becomes one of Ippolyta’s Death Knights and a founding member of the Infinity Collective.

Notable appearances

The Aranatym have received no proper appearances yet.

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