"Unity Brings Perfection. Perfection Brings Salvation"~Ashrellist mantra
Toshra are long, serpentine and amphibian creatures. They are about 4 meters (13 feet and 1 inch) long, and about 1 meter (3 feet and 3 inch) wide. They have an oval, fish like head with a round mouth completely filled with teeth. They have small eyes, that can't see very far in front of them. They also have whiskers located near this mouth. These whiskers are used for smell, 'hearing' (it's more similar to 'feeling' vibrations in the air) and a limited form of electroreception. Longer whiskers are often seen as attractive by Toshra. They have a sail-like structure on their head, used for regulating body temperature. They have two long hands, which end in three-digit claws.
Toshra developed out of amphibian hunters on Shrall. In order to be able to hunt with more precision, they developed whiskers to feel the vibrations in the water. They also developed a sail in order to warm up quicker. They also developed a round mouth in order to swallow their prey whole. Over time, the whiskers started getting more and more uses. Eventually developing ‘hearing’, smell, and even electroreception. At some point, these hunters started working together in order to catch more prey. From this ‘teamwork’ social order, and eventually sapience, emerged. Interestingly, however, Toshra never developed the charity many other sapient species did. Whilst they do work together, this is often only done to further their own goals. Due to this, Toshra developed an extreme sense of ambition, and also, to a more minor degree, greed. Toshra also have an extremely good memory.
Toshra culture universally places a great emphasis on loyalty to your nation. Toshra are expected to put the good of their nation in front of their own lives, and those of their families and friends. Those that do not behave in the best interest of the nation are seen as extremely selfish, and shunned by society. This especially applies to government officials. Corruption is usually punished with death sentences.
Toshra culture is also extremely ambitious. Individuals are expected to always try to climb higher up in the social ladder, and those that have made it to the high echelons of society are practically revered as gods. Interestingly, whilst Toshra do not need clothes because of the hot temperature of their planet, high-ranking individuals will often wear lavish clothes to show their position.
Modern Toshra culture places a huge emphasis on perfection. In general, Toshra do not really care how you behave (provided what you are doing is beneficial to your nation) as long as you do it absolutely perfectly. Artists are expected to make statues perfectly true to live down to the last detail. Soldiers are expected to kill without remorse, and leave no trace of the enemy behind. Pacifists are expected to be the perfect example of peace and harmony. Children are expected to outclass their parents one way or another. Those that fail to meet these high expectations are shunned, and seen as failures.
Toshra tend to take insults very seriously, and will challenge anyone who insults them to a 'duel'. These 'duels' are games or activities that the challenger excels in. Those who lose one of these 'duels', are also seen as failures.
Toshra use a similar naming system to humans, with a first name and a last name. The first name often comes from some quality (e.g, ferociousness, pacifism, generosity, calmth, intelligence) that the parent wants their child to excel in, or a historical 'great person'.
Art and Architecture
Toshran art is usually either based on abstract geometric shapes, or historic events. It tends to use a relative low amount of colours, and the colours tend to be dark. Toshran literature is usually about perfection and how it is reached.
Toshran architecture is heavily based on circles (seen as the most perfect shape by the Toshra). Land-based buildings are often glorified domes, with glass tubes connecting them to other domes. Most of the actual building is underground. Recently, a new trend has settled in Toshran architecture with the creation of underwater cities. Underwater buildings tend to be larger, and usually look like round 'poles' with flat 'domes' on top of them. These buildings are usually referred to as 'Breachers'.
Toshran spaceships also use round shapes, often looking a strange combination of circles and cylinders.
Religion and Philosophy
Almost all of Toshran philosophy is based on Teskralism, a philosophy founded by Teskral Omnabrash. Teskral believed that every individual should strive for perfection, and that perfection is easiest to achieve within a collective. In other words, Teskral promoted nationalism an extreme devotion to the state.
The current most popular religion, Ashrellism, is an off-shoot of Teskralism. It believes that there is a perfect realm beyond this one, populated by Gods and Saints. Ashrellists believe that all sapient life originated in this realm, but was cast out for not being perfect enough. Thusly, every individual is stuck in a perpetual loop of reincarnation until they can reach utter perfection and become a Saint. Many influential leaders and otherwise great persons in Toshran history have been canonised as Saints. For an example, Teskral is considered the Saint of Philosophy, Ashrrol Tekanbash (first Emperor of the Commonwealth) the Saint of multi-speciesism, etc. Recently, the Ashrellist clergy have started reviewing the histories of other species to determine which of their historical great persons should also be canonised as a saint. The religion is also the national religion of the Shakar Kingdom.
For most of their history, the Toshra lived in small bands of about 30-50 individuals. These bands would stay together only for mutual survival, and would often collapse due to the amibitious nature of the Toshra. In some rare cases, a band would be able to conquer an other, or get some permanent land to hunt in. Until they too, collapsed due to infighting.
When animal husbandry, and eventually agriculture were discovered though, the Toshra had to settle in more permanent villages. Those that did this, had an advantage over the anarchistic bands, and were usually able to conquer them. These early kingdoms did also not last long, though, as they also had to endure near constant rebellions of ambitious Toshra. This, combined with the terrible weather of their planet, caused most early Toshran religions to be bleak and nihilistic. Believing that the world was inherently violent and without hope.
This situation endured until about 3000 BSE, when Teskral and the philosophers under him first came up with their philosophy of perfection and nationalism. Governments started to promote this philosophy, because it had the potential to bring stability to their kingdoms. Most other parts of Shral eventually developed a similar philosophy in order to survive.
Because of their hostility to each other and inability to cooperate, Toshra development was slow.
After in the Toshran industrial age, a nation known as the Shakar Kingdom emerged on the Shakar Island. This nation was remarkable, in that it prioritised science more so than other nations on the planet. It was, for an example, one of the first nations to embrace the steam engine, on top of being the nation to invent both nuclear energy and nuclear bombs on the planet. This made it a world power, and gave the Kingdom a chance to expand to become of the biggest nations in Toshran history.
Eventually, the Shakar were the first to invent the Warp Engine, giving it a massive advantage over its rivals. The Kingdom used the Warp Engine to colonise planets and get much, much more resources than any other nation on Shral. It used said resources to conquer its rivals. After a while, there were only 5 nations left on Shral, 2 superpowers (of which the Shakar were one), 3 vassals/puppets to the Shakar, and 2 vassalsto the other nation.
After First Contact was made with the Jre and Pakoph, Toshran society was shaken to its core. For a long while, the Toshra had assumed that they were the only sapient species in the galaxy. Their philosophers and theologists were at odds due to this. Some believed that these were also fully sapient species capable of reaching perfection. Most, however, believed that they were either mere animals that happened to have discovered Warp Drives, or that they were inherently imperfect. Regardless, the Toshra at large saw the aliens as an opportunity for conquest, and were thusly the most major cause for the Contact Wars (184 BSE-150 BSE).
The Contact Wars was used as an excuse by the Shakar to annex their 2 puppet states. On top of this, the Wars greatly weakened their rival, so the Shakar eventually managed to conquer them. This made the Shakar Kingdom the one government of the Toshra species. They continued the Contact Wars, however, now only as a united front.
Eventually, however, the Toshra were forced to ally with their former 'opportunities for conquest' to defend themselves against a Zorkan Star Destroyer that threatened them during the Zorkan Invasion of 150 BSE. It was a Shakarian general, Ashrrol Tekanbash, that destroyed the Star Destroyer.
10 years after the destruction of the Star Destroyer, the Shakar Kingdom was instrumental in the creation of the Commonwealth of Stars, as they backed the Ashrrol's ambition to unify the three species. Nowadays, the Shakar Kingdom is one of the most influential members of the Commonwealth of Stars, with most of its Emperors being Toshra.