This article is a work in progress; It is currently not approved as canon.
It is an important distinction to make that the ith are not true taistealaí. The true taistealaí were a race that existed many billions of years ago. Their origin is unimportant. What is important is that the taistealaí were a deeply spiritual and pacifistic people. Their interactions with other species were generally peaceful. They were completely xenophile, experiencing endless fascination with every new species they came across.
The problem with being so naive was that inevitably they would meet species that were not so keen on peace. With the taistealai so willing to gift their advances in technology for the betterment of all life many others benefited and hammered their science and technology into the cogs of would be war machines. Once their technology was shared what use were the taistealai to the other species?
It was murder. They were a naked empire, unable and unwilling to defend themselves from the machinations of every other nation that knocked on their door and thus they were nearly ushered into the void. It was into the void that a few fled for they still had no heart to fight.
It was unknown how far they traveled though surely it was a distance difficult to fathom. They arrived in a sector of space free of other sentient species and free of most life. Here they tried to rebuild but their genome was so badly damaged and degraded that they could no longer reproduce. There was a division in their ranks and two leaders lead what remained of their species down separate and distinct paths to saving it. One vanished from the annals of history.
One of these factions would terraform the world of Ithica and engineer a race using a combination of their genetic code and that of a non-sentient feline like race already present on the planet. Their race wasted away and they build machines that build machines to accomplish this monumental task. The few recorded their sentience and animated it with science.
The few that were left shaped other planets and other star systems with their machines. Expertly they carved their mark into the cosmos to insure their creation would prosper. To insure their children would stretch their hands out into the cosmos they crafted a faster than light network that would stand the test of time. Great gates were set in orbit, visible from the ground.
Their last great work was to insure that the ith, their children would not again bare their neck when an executioner came to call. The machines that were left would press them, mold them, and cut them through their great sacrifice and hardship. By the designs of those that came before them the ith would always feel as if they were just on the edge of oblivion and yet it was always by design.
From the earliest onset of their sentience they gazed up and thought the great gates were gods looking down upon them. Somehow they knew then what they were but over the ages the knowledge of what the gates were and their progenitors faded and blurred to become the Chailís faith.
The ith, interchangeable with taistealai from this point forward started as a tribal, nomadic society. They migrated and grew in number over the centuries. Eventually an agricultural revolution began in numerous temperate and tropical areas around the globe. Just like humanity this marked a transition from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle as farmers in permanent settlements around the globe. The systematic husbandry of plants and animals and relative security and increased productivity provided by farming allowed communities to expand into increasing larger units, fostered by advances in transportation.
These cities always developed reliable sources of potable water. As farming developed, grain agriculture became more sophisticated and prompted a division of labor to store food between growing seasons. Labor divisions led to the rise of a leisured upper class and the development of cities, which provided the foundation for civilization. The growing complexity of taistealaí society necessitated systems of accounting and writing. With the advent of writing the Chailís faith exploded around the globe, becoming the dominate religion. The expansion of settlements promoted specialized skill sets and eventually the development of the ceol tí, tí, or teach social system.
The taistealaí, also called the ith are a race of carbon based humanoids with some feline features from the planet Ithica. They resemble humans in most respects, able to pass for a human in near darkness. Their average height is significantly shorter for both males and females when compared to the human species, ranging between 4' and 5' in height for both males and females. Males tend to have more muscle mass than females and are taller on average.
A healthy and average weight range for most ith is between 60.6 lbs and 128.0 lbs dependent on height and sex with males weighing more on average than females.
The ith are plantigrade like humans but walk and stand very similar to digitigrade creatures, only resting on their heels when completely relaxed and comfortable. Thick dark pads cover the bottom of the balls of their feet and their toes, each foot having only four digits. Across the top of each digit is a thick black nail formed of alpha-keratin with elevated amounts of iron.
The muscles of the legs are dense and defined indicating evolution from pursuit predictors. Large hips provide a increased stability, muscle anchorage, and ease of childbirth for females. Lines of spots similar to a cheetah's fur pattern from the size of a dime to that of a quarter run down the outside of either leg of males and females and also inside up to the groin across the skin of females. These appear only after puberty.
Skin color ranges from light skin similar in color to a human of European descent to the dark skin of humans of Indonesian descent. Color is not entirely uniform across an individual's skin; for example, the skin of the palm lighter than most other skin, and this is especially noticeable in darker-skinned ith. The skin on the pads of the feet and toes tends to be much darker than the normal skin coloration but is influenced buy the individual's natural skin color.
Ith have belly buttons as they would be classified as placentals. They tend to have more lithe or wiry upper bodies than humans. Females have breasts which can lactate late in pregnancy and after giving birth. The mammaries are small but clearly distinguishable. The smaller upper-body can give the ith an appearance similar to human teenagers.
The hands have four digits with the same thick dark nails they have atop their toes. This consists of three fingers and a thumb. Spots grace the base of their neck, across on either side to their under-ear, across their shoulders, and down their spine. These spots also appear on female's lower abdomen to the base of their breasts and below the belly button.
A taistealaí's eye color changes with their mood and can range across all manor of molten metallic color such as copper, brass, silver, steel, and gold. On either side of the nose, adjacent to the inside corner of either eye are patches of dark skin and enlarged channel from the tear-ducts.
Hair color ranges from platinum blonde to raven black, covering all the hair colors that are natural in humans. Those with darker skin color tend to have dark colored hair while fairer ith tend to have blonde or brown hair. Red hair is extremely rare.
Ith have binary vascular systems. They have two - four chambered hearts that beat an average of 120 beats per minute at rest, up to 240 beats per minute under stress, and down to 30 beats per minute during rare states of unconsciousness. Channeling blood vessels in the ith body are more elastic than similar structures found in humans but the elderly or those with poor diets can suffer from heart attacks and strokes made somewhat worse by their home-world's harsher gravity. They can also suffer from binary heart arrhythmia which is one heart beating out of unison.
Ith skin is more elastic than a humans and they do not develop pubic or underarm hair. Upon the head, hair grows with varying thickness and color. Other body hair is thin, fine, and sparse. Fat is stored in similar area and ratio to a human. Obesity is extremely rare due to a combination of societal norms and the race's metabolism.
The skeletal system of the ith is not notably different from a human's. The bones have a slightly higher iron content which promotes production of collagen and red blood cells. Their bones tend to be slightly thicker when compared to a human of similar size and same sex. A dense lattice structure further increases bone strength but increases bone weight.
The sex organs, such as ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina, mammary glands, testes, vas deferens, seminal vesicles and prostate are similar in size and shape to what one would find in a human of the same sex and size. The gestation period of ith offspring is the equivalent of six months. The female has the equivalent of a 62 day menstrual cycle. Child birth is relatively painless due to a disassociation trigger within the female's nervous system.