On Kab, the word "human" is defined as "an animal that is self-aware." There are five human species, referred to as clades. The five clades are:
Avians: The winged species evolved alongside harpy eagles,
Amphibioids: The amphibian species evolved alongside salamanders (or frogs, tbd),
Florians: The photosynthesizing species evolved alongside trees,
Insectoids: The insectoid species evolved alongside dragonflies (or ants, tbd), and
Simians: The mammalian species evolved alongside bonobos.
Why Different Humans?
The universe is limitless (well, actually, they all are). We have no idea what is out there. Or how other worlds look or how they evolved. We have no idea how plants, insects, and animals evolved across different
worlds. I am in love with the idea that we, Earth humans, are not the only type of species to develop into "humanoids" on their planet. I am also intrigued with the notion that more than a singular type of species evolved to "our level" (whatever that means).
So, I created a world where Earth-type humans are not the only kind of humans.
Species by Design
I didn't want to make each clade a homogenous species; like how, for the most part, Klingons are warriors in Star Trek, elves are bowhunters, etc. I gave a lot of thought to how the clades are alike and, besides the obvious physical ways, how they are different. But first and foremost, I didn't want the traditional human (aka Simians) to be superior to the other clades in the least.
So far, the only two traits that make Simian humans different from the other four clades are that they can throw overhand and have future-oriented imaginations.
Some of the clade-specific details are still yet to be decided. For instance, I know that I want to name the clades a color (e.g. The Red Clade) drawing on colors from traditional Native American/Indigenous Medicine Wheel** colors. I will also be giving the magical abilities (called obligations), a representative element, drawing from Feng Shui more than likely. But have yet to settle on which clade is associated with which.
While only into the eighth chapter (as I write this post), there are so many decisions to yet make. So many details yet in flux. What will not change is that all the clades can: walk upright; can communicate with one another; and they don't believe that one clade is more evolved, or better, than another. No more than we here on Earth think that plants are more special than frogs, or clay is more important than ants.
Clades in the Story
Anik'sha, like all the People, knows that balance is sacred. She knows that the stability of All That Is requires the world to progress naturally. Nothing develops unless the World needs it and nothing the World needs should be destroyed by another.
For the People, regardless of their clade, there is no such notion as race. Within each clade, origins may be different but people are not. For instance, different Florians, may have evolved from different tree species, but no one thinks one type of "tree" to be better than another; they all just serve different purposes. Each is as important to All That Is as the next.
In Magic of the Ancestors* conflict does not come from having the clades fighting amongst each other for superiority or resources. The story's conflict arises when an outsider, an Earth human, believes that their clade, the Simians, is superior. And he takes drastic measures to ensure that they stay that way.
And it's up to Anik''sha to make sure he does not succeed.
*Magic of the Ancestors is the beta name for my novel. When I select a "real" name, this post will be updated.
**Note: I in no way profess to be an expert on medicine wheels or on how they are, or should, be used. I did do many, many hours of research and reached out to more than one Elder.