The Aerle are a skinny race of intelligent plains-dwelling ghyllinoids, of which our local Plain of Brahang has a small contingent. Ranging from half to three-quarters of a unanit tall, the Aerle burrow deep underneath the ground, thus resulting in their exceedingly pale complexion. Aerles have no fear of the sun, or of Pinky and Perky, but prolonged exposure dries out their seven moist tentacles--their equivalent of our seven fingers. Although the tentacles are retractable into their skin, they fear the fate of their legendary hero, below.
Aerle are well-adapted for their underground homes (or "burrows", as some of my esteemed colleagues like to sneer) as each arm has a large bone plate with "mulching spikes" that help cut through deep rock or compacted earth. Similar in appearance to a convex rectangle with sharp protrusions, the plates terminate a few inanits past the end of their arms. Their tentacles, when protracted, extend out from the arm nub under the plates; when they've been retracted, the plates appear as if they were the Aerle's only natural hand-like appendage. In cases of distress or danger, the bone plates can be used as both weapon and armor.
The race is a fervent member of the Unchanged, a cross-species philosophical group against any modification, for better or for worse, of any form of life. They're against focused farming, cross-pollination, piercings, selective breeding, or created automatims such as the Mechanauts, Ecto or otherwise. The Aerle were first discovered in -75 EC, when the powerful Earthquake of Fluyr caused an unearthing of a small "city" in the plain 50 leles east of Baleman.
The present-day Aerle believe they are the direct descendants of Latnai, the leader of the legendary revolution that brought their people out of slavery. The story tells of the ground magically opening and an unnamed enemy forcing them into hard, painful, and often fatal, labor. Latnai was among the enslaved Aerle being used as personal servants of the enemy king. Fearing they'd be permanently pushed into slavery when the other Overheads saw the king's example, Latnai instructed his people to keep their tentacles hidden. It was with these "fingers" that Latnai defeated the enemy king by strangulation. He then led the revolution that proved the Aerle a force to be reckoned, recording the first use of the bone plates as an effective armor and bashing implement. As all heroes must eventually turn martyr, Latnai's tentacles dried up and dropped off due to the amount of time they had been hidden in his skin.
The Aerle are an immensely spiritual race and most commonor Overheads don't understand the extent and richness of their religion. There is a strong belief that the morning dew is not caused by nature, but rather a regular ritual that each Aerle performs on awakening. The combined strength of conviction causes the dew to appear, symbolic of the tears cried by Latnai for his loss, and is yet another example that proponents of consensus reality point.
--Morbus Iff 16:31, 20 May 2005 (EDT)