A Timu (“Dark one”) is Zhiro’s race. Usually two-to-three feet shorter than a Tamakepe (or “Light Bringer”), with larger eyes better suited to nocturnal activity, non-retractable claws on the hands and feet, and more pronounced noses and ears, sharper canines and occasionally sharper pre-molars or incisors. Their skin colors typically vary from dark brown to tan, and their faces and builds are generally stockier and wider.
Tamakepe, by contrast, are tall, thin, and almost blood-less in their complexion. They often have pronounced foreheads and elongated skulls, particularly in noble bloodlines, and high cheekbones. Their eyes are usually a variety of blue, green, or grey, and will take on an unusual luminescence. However, their sense of sight, smell, and hearing is not particularly good compared to a Timu. Their design was heavily influenced by an exhibit I saw on Ancient Egyptian Art at my local Art museum.
Although both are humanoid, neither are human.
When I first started developing this story, it was going to be a post-apocalyptic science fiction. Timu were going to be what humanity had evolved into to survive. The Tamakepe were aliens from outer space that had come down and re-settled Earth, using the Timu as slave labor for the task. So a part of me still thinks of the Timu as the most human, and the Tamakepe as the strange ones. I’ve heard a lot of people view it the opposite way, describing the Tamakepe as human and Timu as some other kind of “creature.” Something about that response really bothers me. And I worry that there are messages that are being sent that were not my intention. Once I realized how people were viewing the dynamic between these two races, I wanted to consciously explore it. To say something with these creative choices. It’s made me a lot more aware of how my work fits into a larger cultural context, and I hope that I will be much more cognizant of those impacts in the future.