This novel is set in the "Dancer" universe roughly forty years after "Battle Dancer". An alien culture, the Qurls gravitate around four biologically specialized races referred to as "sects". Humanoid in appearance, each sect employs bio-electric glands to achieve a wide range of abilities. Each species relies heavily on the other, coloring both their racial attitudes and technology. Qurls have both a homeworld called "Dessa", and also share another world called "Me'Auk" with the clannish Me'Aukin species. Yitzen is a first generation Me'Aukin Qurl whose people have been technologically accelerated by the clans.
The largest sect, Cothra comprise 35% of the Qurl culture. They can both transmit and sense a wide range of electrical frequencies. This allows them to detect and affect material on a molecular basis, making the Cothra ideal engineers. The Cothra supply both the technology and infrastructure for the Qurl race. Cothra have an even mix among males and females, with an average height of over five and a half feet (eight - nine hands).
Medicine and education are the responsibility of the Shandi Qurl, whose subtle electrical emissions can integrate them with the biology of living tissue. Of average height, the Shandi can be spotted by their slender fingers and a predominance of females. They comprise 24% of the Qurl race. The Shandi Mental Studies branch extends their influence into both education and mental conditioning; the latter used extensively on the Datha as a means of control. The Shandi sect has a close relationship with the Datha, literally a marriage in most cases as Shandi usually will marry Datha. The Shandi's unique position in their culture makes them the guardians of Qurl morals and social norms - a responsibility they serve zealously.
No sect is as exotic as the Ipper, who consist of 26% of the Qurls. Lively to the point of frivolity, the Ipper Qurl are marked by their ear fans...a spray of specialized hair along their ears that is used in the sect's primary skill of communication. The Ipper share common bio-electrical traits with the Cothra, having an ability to transmit and send signals across a wide range of frequencies. The similarity ends there, for Ipper work primarily on a sub-atomic level with their surroundings. This is the realm humans refer to as quantum physics, and it gives the Ipper abilities well beyond those they are willing to discuss openly. They are widely employed as navigators aboard void ships due to these abilities. The sect also handles entertainment, festivals, and advocate changes that often have them at odds with the Shandi. Ipper are an even mix of male and female, are slight of build, and have an affinity for water; which they can manipulate to a limited degree.
The Datha sect comprises only 15% of the Qurl race, and are specialized for the grim purpose of killing their enemies. Highly intelligent in tactics, and posessing instinctive combat abilities, the Datha are literally natural soldiers. An average Datha male will stand seven feet (12 hands) and weigh over three hundred pounds. Powerful muscles and quick reflexes are augmented by retractable claws and sensor glands (hunting eyes) able to pick up a prey's electrical field. Glands in their palms and wrists can deliver a lethal discharge of electricity. This is a primarily male species, with only 2% consisting of the rare female Dathia. Highly prized, the females average six feet (roughly ten hands) and weigh well over two hundred pounds. While not as strong as their male counterparts, they have equal endurance and even faster reflexes. Dathia also tend to have more aggressive dispositions, a trait the males find an endearing quality.