"Sukey" by Altair
Deep in the forest we rest
Past the plains of gold and the rivers of blue
Come now, be our guest
An expedition is due
In the trees where vines trail
And fog rolls bye with lazy pace
Look up to find a flash of fur, or a long tail
Do not be frightened; we won’t eat your face
Fur as soft as velvet and voices that cry to the sky
Bodies of all shapes and sizes, and colors that vary
Eyes seeming innocent, always asking why
And arms full of bananas, whatever we can carry
Our shadows seem to take the shape of a monkey
Of us, you’ll surely become fond
We are creatures called Sukey
Now come, find your bond
Group: Troop of Sukeys
General Info: These little monkeys aren't the most intelligent of creatures. They can be trained to do tricks and the smarter of them will even be able to imitate and recognize a few words (typically Sugems and Sutops), but they will never be able to truly understand their meaning. They rely more on chirps and body language to get a point across than the sparse vocabulary some have picked up. As stated the Sugem and Sutop are the most intelligent of the Sukeys, with the learning level of a three-year-old child.
Physically, Sukeys look pretty much exactly like small monkeys, with a long and dextrous tail which is used as a third arm, like the tail of a spider monkey. They come in a variety of colours, ones that on Earth would be considered natural — browns, greys, white, black — as well as shades of green. In other words you won't be seeing a purple Sukey with hot pink stripes unless its bonded decided to dye it
The concept of present-giving is prominent in Sukey society. For instance, when two Sukeys first meet and take a liking to each other, they will exchange gifts to confirm the friendship. These gifts can be anything, but mostly they are purely symbolic: each Sukey can, for instance, pick a pebble up from the ground and give it to the other. Sometimes, however, the Sukeys put a little more thought into their gifts and choose gifts relating to their rank. Two such occasions are the mating and bonding rituals. In each ritual, gift-exchange is a prominent feature, and for these the Sukey will often be more careful in picking out their gift — it will at least always have something to do with their rank.
Mating Info: As previously mentioned, gifts are a large part of the Sukey mating ritual. Both the female and her suitors will have brought gifts to the chase, and the ritual is completed with the female exchanging gifts with one suitor. Before they can even offer their gifts to the female, however, the suitors will have to chase her. It is a wild chase, usually taking place high up in the trees unless the female is a Sudirt, and it generally goes on for a long time. While running, the female will be judging both the suitors and their gifts, and when she is tired or has reached a decision she will stop and present her gift to the winner. This is not always the suitor who keeps up the longest or catches her.
Bonding Info: Gifts are also important for Sukey bonds. Before a bonding, each young Sukey will have prepared a gift that relates to their rank, and if the hopefuls had enough forethought or ample warning they will have done so as well. If not, they had better think of something rather quickly because in order to bond a Sukey will have to exchange gifts with the humanoid of their choice. What their decision rests on varies from critter to critter. Some might give more importance to who they're bonding to and choose the person they get a good feel for, while others will just go after the prettiest or tastiest of what is being offered. Of course, in order to even present their gift the hopefuls will have to actually get close to the Sukeys. They are often rather shy critters and most of them prefer to stay in the trees, so if you aren't a skilled climber you'll have to lure them down to you somehow.
After bonding, the Sukey will want a name, and these have a template that they have to follow. Queens will only accept names that begin with Su–, and a lord's name has to end with –key. Commons have slightly looser standards, and only demand for their names to begin with S– and/or end with –Y. As an example, Surly would be an acceptable name for a Sugem or Sutop, but a Treekey or Herbkey wouldn't have it. A Common would, however, because it both starts with an S and ends with a Y.
As the highest-ranking queens, Sugems are also the most intelligent of the Sukeys. As previously mentioned, they have the learning level of a three-year-old child and can be taught to imitate and recognize words and commands quite well. Sugems are rather vain and spend a lot of time keeping their fur perfect — some times they will even employ a lower-ranking Sukey to pluck it for them. They are the largest Sukeys and have longer tails than any of the others. When it comes to gifts, Sugems know what is valuable to humanoids and will find a rare stone, fossil, or other such object to offer. They mate rather infrequently but have large litters.
These junior queens are only slightly less intelligent than their seniors, and are quiet and reserved creatures by nature. They prefer sitting back and observing rather than going out and doing, and hate being the centre of attention. Perhaps an unfortunate character trait when you're a queen. Like the Sugems, Sutops know to distinguish valuable items from junk and will not accept a gift that is not valuable in some way, though it doesn't have to be monetary value. Sentimental works just as well. They mate more frequently than the Sugems but have smaller litters.
Treekey simply adore puzzles, and as their name implies have a general fondness for trees. They are the most intelligent lords, and their greatest abilities lie in solving logical puzzles, which they do instinctively. At a bonding, a Treekey will have brought something from their namesake, a stick or a pretty-looking leaf, for instance. Often serving as second-in-commands to the Queen, Treekey are loyal by nature to the shinies they befriend as well as their bonded. They are larger than the Herbkey and usually have brown-colored fur, though there are exceptions.
A good way to describe the Herbkey in one word is soft. They do not like to make a spectacle of themselves and hate when things get noisy, so much that they despair when it does, suffering a miniature nervous breakdown or simply running away. They are very kind creatures, and will automatically attempt to heal any malady, even that of a total stranger. Herbkey have an instinctual knowledge of medicinal herbs and plants and will by scent and taste be able to pick a healing plant from a useless one. Simply show them a wound and they will most likely run off to find something to cure it with. It's not too odd, then, that their bonding gift usually is some sort of medicinal herb, anything from a common one that treats rashes to a rare one which cures a dangerous disease.
Steadfast and unchanging as rocks, Sarocky are not easily swayed. They might not be the most intelligent of the Sukeys, but once they get an idea into their heads they won't let it go easily. Sarocky typically long for stability and are suspicious of the slightest sign of change. They are the largest and brawniest of the commons and can be either male or female. Sarocky give rocks and stones as their bonding-gifts, and instead of choosing the valuable ones as Sugems do the Sarocky are more likely to pick out a large, sturdy-looking rock to offer, paying no heed to its rarity. The females of the rank chase quite often but never bear children.
The odd ones out among the Sukeys, Sudirt despise heights. Really — they can't stand them. Any Sudirt will by far prefer staying on the ground to being in the trees, and they only climb said trees with much reluctance. This phobia has a rather negative effect on the Sudirt, since the Sukey's main tool to survival is their ability to stay far above any predator, and so they are rather helpless things. As a result, a Sudirt will always claim a protector. It might be a parent, sibling, other shiny entirely or their bonded, but whoever it is they've deemed strong enough to keep them safe they will cling to always, never letting their protector out of sight and getting downright panicked when they do. Sudirt bonding gifts are usually dried lumps of dirt. They are smaller than the Sarocky and larger than the Topkey, and can be either male or female. The females of the rank seldom chase and never bear children.
Topkey are the most intelligent of the commons and the closest Sukeys come to matching the queens' intelligence levels. They are shy, antisocial creatures, the complete opposite of the Sudirt in that they prefer to stay as high up in the trees as absolutely possible for protection. Generally unwilling to socialize, Topkey are happiest when left alone and make few exceptions to those whose company they actually enjoy and might even seek out. At the smallest sign of rowdiness, however, it's up and into the trees again. Naturally, Topkey will bring bonding gifts from their preferred habitat, and their gifts can be anything they find in the treetops. These tiny commons can be either male or female, with the females chasing even less frequently than the Sudirt and never bearing children.
Most difficult to tame of all the Sukeys, Sadarey are as the name implies natural-born daredevils. Always looking for an adventure, these little monkeys will try anything once. Perhaps because of their reckless nature, the Sadarey are rather uncommon to find among Sukey ranks, and are only slightly more common than the queens. No matter how long it has lived among humans, a Sadarey will always be a wild thing, and will never stop doing new and exciting stunts, and dragging anyone they can into them. They trade not with objects but with physical performances of skill, such as leaps from tremendous heights. They are small and nimble, smaller still than the Topkey, and are a purely female rank. Their chases are always rather dangerous for everyone involved, and they don't bear children.