In the Seventh Book of the Ontiba, Sham’ayn and Aster created the Sha’an in an effort to placate the Deity of Trickery. Unlike all other Sentient Species, there was no species-wide purpose for the Sha’an, and they were left to their own devices.
The symbol for the Sha’an looks very much like a dream catcher, and incorporates much of the symbology of both the Sha’an as a species and Sham’ayn. The seven rhombuses extend from a circle in which seven squares have been rotated and overlapped to produce a net-like symbol with a heptagon inside. Alternatively, the Sha’an sometimes use this net-like symbol containing the heptagon—what is inside the circle as a whole—as a stand alone symbol. Other times still, the Sha’an fill in all the space between the heptagon and the circle, making one solid shape.
Many aspects of Sha’an culture have disappeared over time due to the dystopia that has swept across The Blade in After Time. Every couple of decades on average, there is some semblance of unity when a Reign attempts to unite the species. This rarely lasts for more than a couple years. Very few Shani live in groups larger than a couple hundred.
While Sha’an do not ignore family dynamics, little exist due to necessity. Due to the lack of community, many ‘families’ die out after two or three generations, unable to find non-related mates. Sha’an females can have litters of two or three between the ages of 15 and 35, capable of reproduction in roughly the first half of their lifespan. These mothers raise their young for as long as they can, or until the children leave to seek better lives elsewhere.
Each Sha’an exists in one of two kinds of governing bodies–a Reign or a Remnant. Remnants are the most prevalent, as most Remnants are fighting with each other to be Reigns. Reigns control larger sections of The Blade, almost always multiple planet-stars. Remnants do not usually control multiple planet-stars, but it does happen. Both Remants and Reigns are ruled by a Sha’an known as an Achran, who functions much like a king or queen in each group.
Due to not having a single unifying culture, Sha’an do not make their own music. What music that has been published represents either the harshness of their land, or their dystopian societies as a whole.
Shani by and large are hunter-gatherers, with most of a Remant scattering throughout their lands over different parts of the day–partially for safety. Reigns who are able to control larger sections of The Blade are able to take advantage of shipping lanes and cross-Omneutia travel, or are able to purchase or barter food from a Remnant the Reign may have some sort of symbiosis with.
Main Article: Sha’an Religion
All Shani believe in the power of not only Sham’ayn, but some believe that the other Deities have cursed them as well, ironically despite the domain of curses and trickery being held by their parent deity. There is an ancient tradition said to bring luck to a Sha’an that makes a tribute to Sham’ayn. In Sha’an communities across The Blade that have access to a temple to Sham’ayn, this is still common cultural practice for all young Sha’an to do before making a mask.
The only homogeneous fashion identity between all Shani is that save for Achrans, their clothing is made from scavenged materials. Very few Shani are able to have the emblems of their Remnant or Reign embroidered on their clothing, unless they find some previously made cloth. Each Sha’an also wears a mask that has some aspect of their personal identity and conveys any sense of individuality, though Achran’s masks resemble the animal their Remnant or Reign is named for.
There is no universal layout for Sha’an cities. Rather, cities are constructed haphazardly, just like their structures. Structures are built when the local group is a Reign, and slowly crumble as the group becomes a Remnant.
Most Sha’an travel on foot, and can swing from building to building with the help of their tail, or run on all fours. When needed to go further or faster, the most common form of transportation are single-passenger vessels. These ships are constructed in a number of ways with different engines taken from crashed ships, or old dilapidated single-passenger vessels and combined in an often improvisitory fashion. Many Shani die in space due to lack of knowledge in assembling these vehicles.