Zhu is a general term for the collective of species and are the descendants of the final creatures created by the Great Mother. They are natives of the Zhu Empire, a highly militaristic society that originated on the planet Kios. A diverse species made up of 4 very distinct races and many more sub-races, they are all largely humanoid in shape though with various non human traits. Outside of their military they are a race most known for their natural Atonement with energy and their intense love for nature.
While there are differences between the various Zhu races they all share certain key biological traits and are despite their different appearances a single species, as shown through the fact that their chi is only similar to one another and not any other known creatures. It is housed in their dantian like with humans but it is made up of an unknown energy type, theorized by the Zhu people to have been brought into the Universe with the Great Mother, their Goddess. All Zhu have innate ability perceive chi in a way that is different from most others and can even subtly communicate with one another through their auras. Their chi powers can be used as a substitute for actually eating and drinking if the individual has strengthened the ability of absorption enough.
In regards to the dantian women have a much wider center and their chi reserves go deeper on average, with men having a narrow dantian that makes using chi easier but normally slightly weaker. Zhu have a very stable birth rate and although spikes occur they mostly keep around the same population for extended periods of time, with the majority of people almost always being in their teens and 20s. The average life expectancy is around 65 although through magic and chi control one can live to be hundreds of years old, it simply takes too much to be a practical solution to most. For the same reasons the physical effects of aging rarely show on Zhu outside of their 30s, their bodies keeping a mostly consistent form no matter how old they get and only the energy itself beginning to wear down. The Zhu have a gestation period of only 4 months making many births end up closer together than on Earth. A zhu pregnancy is not like that of a mammal, upon conception a mix of the two chi signatures forms a second dantian in the woman's body that feeds off of the energy within her. This shows no clear physical signs on the woman's body but is evident with chi senses, especially as time goes on. After four months it moves down towards the woman's vagina where it passes through as a malleable floating energy baby ,which hardens into a humanoid shell capable of crawling within a few hours. The family duties are pretty evenly split in most cases between male and female with the primary care taker just depending on which parent has the most demanding job at the time.
Appearance wise they are very human, specifically appearing as humans from the region of East Asia. That appearance extends to the common aesthetic of many buildings and the majority of their clothing, resulting in the superficial feel of being in ancient china to travelers from Earth. The most major difference between humans and Zhuni is of course that that as Zhu, Zhuni have a different form of chi and extra senses built solely around energy. In general Zhuni are also physically greater than earth humans in every aspect, although significant training a human could bridge the gap on most. They as a whole tend to look pretty fit, with the partial energy being state of their existence pretty much making even the unhealthy Zhuni rarely look it unless the result of a powerful poison or illness. When it moments of high emotion or stress their eyes tend to glow whatever color their chi tends to manifest itself as, their aura subtly becoming visible around them as well. Appearance wise the sexual differences between men and women are the same as with humans. Their name comes from the fact that they look most like the central prophet.
Their most distinct physical feature is the fact that they all have gray skin and bright red eyes, making their very human appearance seem very alien. These gray skinned Zhu’s kingdom is on a world where barely any sunlight gets through, resulting in most areas being in very low light. As such Xenkor have weak eyesight/ extreme light sensitivity only being able to see up close and in low light, them being almost blind during a sunny day on another world or even a highly lit room. As such they primarily see through energy perception and a form of echolocation allowing them to maneuver around and go about their lives with very little problems, as they are able to get all but the smallest visual details of people and things. They are very rapid thinkers, their minds thinking things about everything they know to aid them the second they learn something. Their chi tends to be less heavily trained on average than the others as they use it primarily as a way to survive, but it allows them to require next to no training to use it as a sense augmenter and they even are born being able to use it to substitute breathing for a few minutes at a time. The constant use always make their chi very adaptable and sensitive, greatly helping the few who do try to do more with it. Due to their issues with their eyes it has become a custom for them to cover their eyes during most of the day which over time expanded to cover their eyes in public. Not covering there eyes breaks no laws or anything, but most nowadays do so and it's generally expected to at least have a tied cloth over them. They are named for the prophet Xen, who was one of them and is seen as the Zhu avatar of cunning and wisdom.
Appearance wise they are virtually indistinguishable from Kitsune though magic users and individuals with chi senses will be able to easily pick up the different in their eneries. As a Zhu race they are composed of a unique form of chi from their land instead of the spirit energy a proper kitsune is made of. They have tails ranging in number from 1-9 the number being entirely determined by genetics with the tails potentially growing up until mid puberty. Local belief is that tails show power potential with higher tails meaning more power, but that is mostly just superstition. Despite no real evidence to back it up however the local Xerin communities take the belief very seriously, which is only furthered by the fact that the upper castes tend to have 7-9 tails more often than the lower castes. Informal discrimination and fighting do occur over the belief and even nobles with low tail counts are often seen as a bad omen unless they prove themselves just as capable as their more "blessed siblings." Their name comes from the prophet Xer, considered an avatar of grace, who was one of them.
Their appearance is that of humans with very rich solid red and pink skin tones and often faintly glowing chi marks across their body. They tend to be heavier and taller than most other Zhu races, their bones being very dense and their muscles capable of growing very quickly. They are the most naturally gifted of the Zhu races in terms of power both physical and magical, quickly coming upon more potent applications of their abilities with little to no training. They are capable of boosting their abilities even more by going into a state known as a Qi-Zan where their chi pushes itself into overdrive their bodies becoming harder to damage and all of their abilities vastly increasing as their mind does nothing but pump the energy out at whatever is before it. The ability is very powerful and hardwired into their genes, occurring on its own both when stressed and randomly while they are young and learning control it. During the state they have difficulty stopping themselves until they run out of energy and fall asleep, or are incapacitated. While various objects and methods arose to snap them out of this, the most reliable way was through special signals sent from chi of other Zhu races. The most effective and reliable method was through the dancing of talented or powerful Xerin, the dance calming them back to normal rather quickly in most cases. They are named for the prophet Ethra who was one of them, and is considered by many an avatar of might.