The rradri (pronounced /ˈrɑːdriː/) are a race of ambatic mammals native to the crystal world of Nyang. In fact, they are the dominant species of Nyang, and apparently the only native ellogous species. Like many races of the crystal worlds, the rradri have spread outside Nyang to Varra itself and thence to some other crystal worlds, though not in very great numbers.
Like many ambates, the rradri has six limbs, four of which it walks upon and the other two of which it uses as manipulating members. All six of the rradri's long limbs end in prehensile, four-fingered paws with sharp black claws. Both the rradri's upper and lower torsos are covered in fur, the patterns and colors varying by individual. Tiger-stripe patterns are most common, but some rradri have spots like a cheetah, or an irregular blotchy mottled pattern. The most common colors for a rradri's fur are orange, black, red, and white, in that order, though yellow, brown, and silver occasionally occur; a particular rradri, however, will only have two colors in most of its pattern: red and black stripes, for instance, or mottled orange and brown. Regardless of the colors of the patterns over most of the rradri's body, the ventral surface on both torsos is usually white or cream-colored. The rradri has no tail or other large appendages apart from its head and limbs.
The rradri's head looks fairly close to human. The ears are large and pointed and near the top of the head, and the rradri does have whiskers and a somewhat elongated snout, but all that aside it still has a fairly human appearance. Many people find the rradri's face, in fact, somewhat disturbing, being just close enough to human, while still clearly not being human, to occupy the notorious "uncanny valley".
Unusually among ambates, the rradri's digestive system is contained entirely in its upper torso, save for the intestine which extends into the very front of the lower torso. This means that the rradri's stomach is relatively small compared to their total volume, and means that rradri need to eat relatively frequently; they lack the stomach volume to slowly digest large meals. The rradri does, however, possess a heart in each torso, and even possesses a ganglion in the lower torso large enough to almost qualify as a secondary brain.
Because the lower torso contains no organs vital to the rradri's metabolic functions—it seems to exist mostly for locomotive purposes—a rradri with the lower torso almost completely severed (save for the anterior part containing the intestine) is still able to survive, if it is somehow prevented from perishing due to blood loss—though its mobility will be sharply curtailed (even if the middle pair of limbs is left, the rradri isn't structured to be able to walk bipedally on them, or even to move them forward and walk quadrupedally on its front two pairs). Because the lower torso lacks a digestive system, the reverse is not true; however, if the lower torso is somehow supplied with the nutrients it needs for sustenance (by intravenous feeding, or by magical means), it too can survive indefinitely independently of the upper torso. In fact, if separated at just the right place, the rradri can be so divided into two separate living beings, though this has almost never been done in practice.
Naturally, for a whole and healthy rradri, the two brains work together as as a single unit, and the creature has a single identity and consciousness, but if separated the two brains can each continue to function independently. As a matter of fact, in rare cases internal injury may sever the connection of the two brains while the rradri is still alive and otherwise intact, a very rare phenomenon known as discerebria. In this case, the upper and lower torsos of the rradri essentially become two mentally separate but physically joined individuals.
Rradri are hypercarnivores; their digestive systems are specialized for the digestion of meat, and they require a large amount of protein to survive. They can eat fruit and other vegetable matter, but it makes up a relatively small proportion of their diet, and they cannot live on such food for long without protein supplements. The protein need not be fresh, however; rradri can tolerate eating meat in an advanced state of decay with no adverse effects. (This is no doubt an adaptation stemming from their necessity for frequent feeding rather than occasional large meals; the rradri can store meat for later consumption without worrying much about its spoiling.) Indeed, putrefaction has become an important part of rradri cuisine, and there are many rradri dishes that incorporate decaying meat that to most other carnivorous creatures would be considered so rank as to be inedible. For the rradri, state of decomposition is simply another element in their culinary palette.
Those meeting single rradri or small groups of them in Varra or where they might have settled in other crystal worlds often assume that the creatures have a monolithic culture, that all rradri come from societies similar to those that they are acquainted with. This is very much untrue, however; the crystal world of Nyang where the rradri originated is large enough that rradri civilization has diversified into a wide variety of cultures; rradri from two different parts of Nyang may have widely different customs and speak unrelated and mutually unintelligible languages.
Nevertheless, there are some constants, or at least some common threads. In general, most rradri do not bother with clothing, except perhaps for utilitarian purposes; they may cover themselves with cloaks or blankets if it gets too cold, or wear belts with loops and pouches to carry useful tools and weapons and other materials, but otherwise go bare. There are, however, exceptions; there are a few rradri societies where clothing is the norm, and going without is considered scandalous; in these cultures, ornate costumes may be developed. Jewelry and ornamentation is likewise relative rare among most rradri cultures, though it's not uncommon for them to dye their fur, sometimes in vivid colors and complex patterns.
Rradri societies tend to be matriarchal, especially on the small scale—while it's not terribly uncommon for male rradri to serve as community leaders, the woman is almost always considered the head of the family, and descent is figured matrilineally. In some societies, this is taken to extremes, the males considered little more than the personal property of the females, though this practice seems to be in decline.