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The Saal (adj. Saalii) were a race of spacefaring humanoids who entered the the Greater Kikyo Cluster circa BYE 1566, through a rift event that scattered their race across space. A Human subspecies like the Nepleslian and Geshrin, they were generally described as gaunt, dark skinned and blue-eyed, and somewhat resilient to the hazards of space, but lacking any exotic telepathic abilities of their own. Although genetically similar to the Nepleslians, they did not descend from the human slaves brought to the cluster by the Black Claw Star Empire and would have been considered culturally alien to them.
Historical data generally describe them as adept miners and navigators, who attempted to cross the Rift Frontier in ten thousand STL generation ships, plundering thousands of worlds and building a fleet without compare in the process before they were dispersed.
Although they have ceased to exist as a race over a thousand years ago, the Saalii legacy was inherited by a number of races. The Iromakuanhe are the peaceful transhuman descendants of the Saal who settled on Maekardan, while the more warlike Sahaad retain a stronger attachment to the genetic and cultural legacy of their forebears. It is unknown if any of the Saal interbred with the ancestors of the Nepleslian, though there is some evidence to support this, with cultural mores traditionally associated with Saal-descendant cultures such as the water pipe and the occasional Saal last name being found in the inner systems before any contact was made with the peoples of the Astral Cluster.