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Sword of the Stars

Tarka Change

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A Lady's Favour Edit

The rarity of senior males among the Tarka population was a subject of some interest to Human biologists, who for many years could not understand the process by which an average Tarka male could become a senior. For years after first contact, these questions remained unanswered — why did so few Tarka males ever achieve the Change? And of those who did, why did some undergo the Change so early in life while others waited literally decades longer to go through the same physical process? If the Change was a random event, visited on only a tiny percentage of the male population, then why was it so common in members of the highest castes and less often achieved by lower caste Tarka? Was the caste system based on a genetic tendency to produce more viable males? And if this was so, why were males Tarka from humbler origins able to achieve the Change so readily after they had made some noteworthy contribution to society? Was there some correlation between the social recognition these Tarka achieved and the production of male sex hormones?

Due to the social taboos surrounding the open discussion of the Change and its triggering mechanism it took years to find the answers to these questions. The key to understanding was finally discovered not in the laboratory but in the library — the answer was revealed when our linguists were finally able to translate the Tarka gutter dialects. A great wealth of pornographic literature had been written in these lower–caste languages over thousands of years and a sizable majority of the fantasy scenarios in Tarka pornography are directly concerned with the Change — and its aftermath of course.

The mechanism by which Tarka males achieve the Change is simple: they must eat the unfertilized eggs of Tarka females. Because these eggs are her personal and highly sacred property and because all Tarka females are aware of the prize that their eggs represent, no female will relinquish an egg to a male without reason. If she does not have a worthy male available at the end of her egg cycle, a female Tarka will simply eat the egg herself. The act of giving an egg to a male as a reward for his achievements or for services rendered is sometimes referred to in more civilized circles, but always obliquely. The act carries a delicately euphemistic name: "Shal mek Tot" or "The Lady's Favor".

No data is available on how many eggs a male Tarka must consume in order to trigger the Change — there is some evidence that the onset of the Change may vary with the individual. However, it is obvious that a single egg, or even several, is insufficient to trigger the transformation — it seems far more likely that the Change is brought on by a fairly steady diet of eggs over a significant period of time. It is also apparent that when a male Tarka consumes even a single unfertilized egg, the broth of fertility chemicals consumed has an immediate & powerful effect on his body and mind. All authors willing to discuss the subject describe the consumption of the egg as an ecstatic, almost psychedelic experience — eminently desirable even if it does not lead immediately to the onset of maturity.

Once the mechanism of the Change was revealed the behavior of lower–caste and less affluent Tarka males was far more easily understood. Their lives can be seen as a never–ending quest for reproductive viability and all the privileges that go with it — their willingness to accept great personal risk is balanced by what they perceive as the possibility of great personal gain. Achieving the Change is an important goal for any male Tarka but only one in a thousand is ever able to become a father — under the circumstances, male Tarka who are not born into wealth and power are extremely motivated to prove their worth to the females that surround them and to achieve as much wealth and status as possible.

A Changed male's body is a commodity, always under scrutiny by every female he encounters, and being the object of lust is a constant in his life. He takes it for granted, for the most part, that females like to mate and that more females than he will ever have time for probably would like to mate with him — especially for free.

You may wonder why lower–caste Tarka don't just obtain the required eggs from their sisters and aunts.

The realm of a Changed male is a dangerous one. The Change doesn't not magically make you a cultural power. While a weaker or lower caste family can produce a Changed male, that doesn't mean he will survive contact with a better set one — and the hormones and dominance systems mean the average Changed, especially new and poorly counciled ones, leap far sooner than they look. An unsupported Changed Male has a very short lifespan. Picture those poor male wolves wandering around the edge of packs trying to get in and magnify it a couple fold.

Correspondingly, it would be both socially and biologically irrelevant for a Tarka male to "coerce" the Change by trying to effectively "rape" Tarka women. Doing so would achieve none of the relevant aspects of becoming an adult male in Tarka society, nor would anything valuable be gained for potential offspring. It takes more than one female to change a male. Ergo, it is irrelevant, not to mention culturally inconceivable, to "rape" Tarka women.

And although multiple females can be kidnapped or otherwise coerced to give up their eggs, a Changed male without a cooperative support system of females will not do well in society. Alone, he is considered a loose cannon and a threat by most "civilized" Tarka, even the junior males who might otherwise be inclined to follow his lead.

Of course, if the male in question is at odds with society, or sees no need for acceptance from society — especially if he has collaboration from other males — the act becomes, although still socially unthinkable, practically much more plausible. It's difficult to see what the motive for such a crime would be, of course, since being Changed is not of much value without the social status and personal benefits that go with it.

Also, in general, Tarka females do not take kindly to imprisonment or slavery, and given that they are not significantly weaker or more vulnerable than males it can be difficult to control them. They make dangerous opponents, and can shut down the egg cycle in a number of ways, including self–starvation or self–abuse — if left unfettered they are more than capable of going on hunger strikes and/or giving one another daily abdominal bludgeoning to prevent ovulation. And like any Tarka, they also recognize suicide as an option preferable to extended humiliation or lingering agony.

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