\ Species profile: Twi'leks | unlimitedi.net
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rightA common species throughout the galaxy, Twi'leks are similar to humans in many respects, but can be identified by the twin head tentacles that grow from their skulls. Native to the planet Ryloth, Twi'leks also have a wide variety of skin coloration, ranging from pale white to dark green

The prehensile appendages, known as "lekku" or tchun and tchin -"tchun-tchin" when talked as a pair - are advanced organs used for communication and cognitive functions. Each lekku is filled with muscles, and stored in the cells of the lekku were the Twi'lek's deepest memories. The lekku also contain additional sensory nerves, thus they are very sensitive and highly erogenous. Most Twi'leks have two lekku but rare variants have a single lekku or up to four (Ryloth Senator Orn Free Taa had four head-tails, which aided him in his rise to power, as the number of lekku in a Twi'lek signify their power.) Twi'leks also have been known to telegraph their moods and emotions, not always intentionally, through their head tails. Lekku thrash about when they, or the Twi'lek themselves, are hurt.

Though a large number of the Twi'leks seen in the galaxy have blue or white skin, the skin coloration of a Twi'lek varies, with all shades of the rainbow represented, as well as white and black. Each colour represents a different Twi'lek group; for example, red Twi'leks are known as Lethans, while blue-skinned members of the species are known as Rutians. Most Twi'leks feature solid colors, but a rare few can present spots or stripes on their skins, like slave dancer Ayy Vida.

Twi'leks speak Twi'leki, a language that combines verbal components with subtle head-tail movements. Filled with nerves, the sensory organs are used in conversation to add great depth to what a Twi'lek is saying. When they so wish, they can even communicate in complete secrecy using their versatile head-tails. Thus, only other Twi'leks or an
especially advanced protocol droid can accurately translate Twi'leks language. However, Twi’leks are capable of learning and speaking most humanoid tongues, and of course Basic.

Twi'leks in the galaxy can be found in positions ranging from pirate and smuggler, to merchant, politician and even Jedi Knights. Unfortunately for many female Twi'leks, slavers often had a perchant for the species. Their graceful movements and beauty doom many young Twi'leks, as they are often forced to dance or serve as slaves across the galaxy. The wealthy and corrupt have taken to brandishing Twi'leks as badges of prestige.

Twi'leks are also often involved in the trade, legal or otherwise, of Ryll, a very popular, but extremely dangerous and addictive, medicinal-recreational drug used in the Corporate Sector.

Their home world harsh environment and turbulent history have forged Twi'leks into tough survivors. Generally nonviolent, they typically use their intelligence and cunning to achieve their goals or resolve conflicts. Noble Twi'leks may seem stoic or even aloof, while less scrupulous members of the species can be considered ruthless and manipulative.

*Figure: from top down: Ann and Tann Gella, Ayy Vida, Bib Fortuna, Aayla Secura and Orn Free Taa.

Planet Ryloth

While for many Twi'leks life in the galaxy is tough, life on Ryloth can perhaps be even tougher. Few species survive on tidally locked planets, and it is a testament to the species that the Twi'leks not only survived, but prospered.

Ryloth is a harsh world of the outer rim territories, and a close neighbor to Tatooine. The orbit of the Twi’lek home world is such that only one side of the planet receives sunlight. This has created a unique set of conditions on the surface of Ryloth that makes the majority of the world uninhabitable to most known life forms. The Brightlands, and the Shadowlands meet in a small band of the surface known as the Twilightlands, and it is here alone that life can exist. The dark side is constantly swept by tornado-like 'heat storms' which blow in from the sun-blistered side of the planet at speeds up to 600 kph. But they are responsible for the heat which allows the Twi'leks to inhabit their underground cavern cities.

Through windmills and air-spun turbines, the Twi'leks create natural fuel from Ryloth's heat storms and other powerful weather conditions. With this technology, the Twi'leks not only create heat and light for themselves, but they took their first steps towards industrialization.

Due to the conditions on the surface, most of Ryloth's civilization has developed in great and massive caverns beneath the surface which are powered by wind and heat turbines above. The caverns can be labyrinthine to those not familiar with them and deadly to off-worlders. Twi'leks have an innate sense of orientation and excellent night vision, a species adaptation to their planet environment.

Although the Twi’leks have developed a technological society, they have never developed space faring abilities of their own, and thus have been at the mercy of other systems and organizations to provide them contact with the galaxy.

Twi'lek's History

In ages past, during the period of Hutt expansion, Ryloth came to be noticed for it's powerful and addictive spice, Ryll. The Hutts came to Ryloth seeking to dominate the mining and sales of Ryll to the rest of the galaxy, and there were struggles between them and the indigenous Twi’lek peoples of both political, business and military natures.

Over the course of the centuries, many groups have attempted to control Ryloth and the Ryll spice, and at times, some have succeeded, only to be pushed aside by another aggressor later, or temporarily repelled by the Twi’leks . It was during this course of history and the struggles for the control of the Ryll spice that the tradition of selling young female Twi’leks into slavery began. Renowned for their sensuality and artistic abilities in music and dance, the Twi’lek women became a bargaining chip in the struggle to maintain control of the homeworld. The peoples of Ryloth would sell their daughters into slavery to the Hutts and crime lords who threatened them, and in return were allowed to maintain control over the Ryll mines and their planet.

While this tradition has been destructive to the twi'lek society as a whole, and has left many scars upon its peoples and their families, it has managed to provide some measure of security for their race and culture, and has helped them avoid the devastating wars of the past.

In the waning years of the Republic, the Twi'lek homeworld of Ryloth was represented in the Galactic Senate by the corpulent blue-skinned politician Orn Free Taa. Even a politician of high office was not above flaunting a pair of lovely Twi'lek aides as a sign of influence and wealth.

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