Thinderin Light Guard by DMFW ()
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The thinderin are one of the most important members of the society of contemporary races at the time of the bubble. Thinderin individuals have an unusual life cycle, particularly amongst known sentient species. It consists of two phases. As "seedlings" the young are motile but in later life they join or found a new grove, at which point they become sessile, unable to move and acquiring plant like characteristics. Thinderin groves are a repository of racial wisdom and the seedlings visit them to consult and commune with their elders on a regular basis.
In their motile stage, thinderin seedlings have three tripod legs which terminate in wide footpads which support the body and are also capable of extracting nutrients from suitable surfaces. Branch like limbs with mauve "breathing" leaves surround the core of the body which has a bulbous, fermenting, egg shaped belly. The branches can also serve as sophisticated manipulative arms. Wide celluloid lenses on multiple eye stalks project from the upper part of the belly.
Thinderin seedlings hear and talk using a pair of double purpose, tightly stretched membranes around their midriffs. These membranes are natural microphones and natural speakers. If the taut fibres are ever torn they will re grow, although the seedling will be deaf and dumb until the process is complete.
The seedling's intelligence resides in a neural network distributed around the top of the core and protected by a cap of thicker woody bark that serves as a skull. A canopy of somewhat overlapping parasol growths, sprouting from the top, function as highly efficient photosynthetic energy factories. This is coupled with a complementary saprophytic biochemistry that enables them to extract nutrients from dead wood and soil through their feet and combining both power sources the seedlings are able to store and utilise sufficient energy to maintain a surprisingly active metabolism.
In this image we see a thinderin seedling who belongs to the Light Guards, a semi mystical and military organisation whose self proclaimed purpose is to act as custodians of the ancient amnyine temple of chromatic enlightenment on the planet of Silusia Alpha. The Light Guard carries at their post with a primed rifle and wears a metal skirt with energy sheilding booster interlocks. Behind in the gloom is the melding minster, which stands at the summit of the temple. Part of an adult tree can be seen at the right hand edge in silhouette.