Much of Vinali history is unknown by the Confederated Human Worlds. Only brief mention has been made of their upbringing on the planet Vina, mostly regarding a civil war that rests in Council records. Little is known of the rest of their history, as the Vinali seek to keep it hidden from others, lest their weaknesses be exposed.
It appears that the Vinali are a race of people dedicated purely to combat. During the first faster-than-light journeys of the emerging Confederacy, they discovered the Vinali homeworld of Vina. It was one of the first worlds discovered that could hold the potential for human life on another planet without strict terraforming. The colony at Vina was a success in its first decade, showing an unparalleled amount of growth. Human colonists worked the land to ensure that they were effectively self-sufficient. The first generation of colonists to be born were celebrated on Earth with a massive parade in their honor.
To the Vinali, the human colony was little more than a new annoyance. They would take humans from the colony in secret, bringing them to laboratories that were held deep in the swampy cities of Vina. Massive insects kept humanity from delving into the swamps — strange creatures of unknown origin and incredible voracity. When the Vinali made themselves known, they approached a colony that was bound together in fear of the very world upon which they lived. It was humanity’s fear of Vina that made them so successful; they were able to construct their colony in spite of the environment, rather than work with the environment of Vina as the planet’s native inhabitants did.
The Vinali people brought complaints to the human colony, having used the captured humans to learn the language of their kind. The Vinali are a very strict, regimented race. When a Vinali is born, it is decided what the hatchling will be when they become adults. The Vinali that approached the human colonists at Vina were dedicated towards working with the humans; humanity saw it differently.
With suppositions created by the barest glimpses of knowledge at what had happened to their fellow colonists at the hands of the Vinali, the human colonists declared war against the reptilian race. Because of this slight against the Vinali, (who believed that learning of human customs through taking human slaves was a kindness to the young race) they eradicated every colonist on Vina and followed a retreating freighter ship back to Earth. Reparations were demanded of the human people. Earth at that point was divided, still made up of many nation states that were not bound under the glory of confederation. The various nation-states of Earth could not come to a definite conclusion on how to treat the Vinali demands. Meanwhile, the Vinali grew impatient and attacked Earth.
The war raged for the better part of two years, with much of Earth becoming completely unusable. The Vinali were dedicated fighters, who knew little of human customs. They did not understand why a race that was routinely beaten over and over again would continue to fight. When the Vinali were about to send a massive asteroid into Earth using a kinetic sling, the Quanara journeyed to Earth and demanded an end to bloodshed. Because of this, the three races — Quanara, Venali and Human — have been locked in a power struggle for centuries, seeking alliances with one and treachery against the other. The Vinali retreated back to their worlds in the Perseus Arm, brooding over the slight given to them by the Quanara.
The Vinali are a reptilian race of humanoids, evolved from the amphibians and reptiles of their homeworld. There is a small degree of ethnic diversity among the Vinali, giving some of them abilities that are specific to their particular sub-species. The Vinali are broken into three distinct sub-species: the Ulgan, the Pren and the Garto.
The Ulgan are the dominant race of the Vinali, having evolved from small, fast lizards. Among the Vinali, the Ulgan are considered to be sly and cunning, possessed of great insight and vast intelligence. The Ulgan were the least likely to succeed in the civil wars that plagued the Vinali during their upbringing in the Vinali empire’s early years. It was only through the foundation of precarious alliances and a checks and balances system of treachery and deceit that the Ulgan maintained their rule. Since the Vinali are naturally predisposed towards ancestry, the Ulgan have maintained their rulership over the Vinali people. They are a smaller sub-species, with blue to green scales and yellow or black eyes. Ulgan possess the ability to change the color of their scales, similar to a chameleon. They are faster than other Vinali sub-species and tend to think faster on their feet.
One of the first known species of the Vinali, the Pren are natural warriors evolved from monstrous lizards within the Vina jungles. Pren are preternaturally strong. Their scales and coloring mirrors the gila monsters and komodo dragons of Earth. Pren bear small claws that serve as natural weapons to balance their natural armor. During the Vinali civil war, it was thought among their kind (and the Quanara that observed) that the Pren would rise above the others. Unfortunately, most Pren are not as quick-witted as the Ulgan. They fell to a series of negotiations that reduced their power and set them against two enemies rather than one. Since then, the Pren have accepted their place as warriors for the Vinali people. It is a rare occurance to have a Pren serve in any capacity other than combat or warfare. Combat engineers, soldiers and generals, the greatest warriors among the Vinali have always been Pren. Most Pren can recount the deeds of their ancestors four generations back; they take pride in discussing this with outsiders.
A secretive and quiet sub-species, the Garto are serpentine and sinuous Vinali devoted to upholding the traditions of the Vinali religion. While the Garto were pulled into the Vinali civil war, they were not interested in ruling the Vinali race. The Garto have always been interested in bringing enlightenment and knowledge to the Vinali, suggesting that their companions focus on the will of Vina-Trion, the three-headed reptilian god of the Vinali. They bear all the secrets of the Vinali history, keeping it secret from the rest of the galaxy and teaching it to the hatchlings that emerge from the various worlds in Vinali space. There is a saying among the Vinali that the Pren fight, the Ulgan lead and, above all, the Garto believe. The Garto have long since been the backbone of Vinali rulership; they have given their people faith and succor in times of hardship, and are treated with ultimate respect by the other sub-species of their kind. Garto do not believe in family lines. They believe that one of their kind will be created when Vina-Trion smiles upon a clutch of eggs, allowing one to rise out of it as a Garto. They are the smallest and considered the weakest members of the Vinali race, but often supported by a hundred Pren fanatics who seek to appease Vina-Trion.
Vinali culture is built on a strict society formed of checks and balances. There is little art or beauty in Vinali society, with artists, musicians and poets considered to be wasteful to the expansion and growth of the Vinali. Despite this, warrior-poets have often become vastly popular among the Vinali people. The greatest of these poets was the Pren warrior, Gita Thren. Gita Thren wrote the songs that remain as Vinali anthems of war and prosperity to this day. All Vinali are taught these songs and expected to quote or sing them when deemed necessary.
Most hatchlings are not given a standard education. The Vinali evolved in a world where paper and books would quickly decay, forcing them to teach their youth through oral history and parable. With the advent of technological advances such as digital records, the Vinali used this to their advantage in creating powerful artificial intelligences capable of teaching many hatchlings through speech. When a hatchling is ready to learn of their people, they are brought into a classroom with hundreds of other young Vinali to learn at the feet of dedicated AI constructs that recite the oral history of their species. Parenting is not common among the Vinali. Male and female couplings rarely last long enough to see their eggs hatch; the Vinali focus intently on numbers, with females producing a large clutch of eggs more attractive than those who produce a single egg.
Family is important to the Vinali despite their disregard for their children. Hatchlings born with one another in a clutch are bound for life, becoming a Bonded Circle. Bonded Circles are groups of brothers and sisters that work to protect each other throughout their lifetimes. Through this, the Vinali are taught the basics of small-unit tactics, allowing each to excel where he or she wishes to serve the better part of the whole. Those born from single eggs are both despised and respected. Most single hatchlings are often killed by the harsh environments in which their species thrives. They have no real allies among their kind, so a single Vinali, not part of a Bonded Circle, is often tougher and smarter than others of their kind. The Unbound, as they are called, are kept at a distance. Hatchlings born alone often rise to become powerful assassins or devoted priests, not required to support anyone other than themselves.
However, Vinali know and understand what they are. At a young age, hatchlings learn the history of their line, including understanding all of the accomplishments of their family. By the time a hatchling reaches adulthood, she will be able to recite her family line five generations back and can tell with certainty which relative performed which task.
While not overly religious, the Vinali are anything but secular. Their species focuses on more practical matters, leaving religion to priests. No Vinali is an atheist. All of the Vinali are taught the knowledge and wisdom of Vina-Trion, given understanding into the prophets of their species and are taught about the horrors that were performed by heretical sects during the Vinali civil wars. Rarely, a Pren or Ulgan becomes a priest; non-Garto priests are treated with suspicion and distrust until they prove themselves otherwise. There have been ten recorded Ulgan or Pren priests in the history of the Vinali species. As the Vinali are not prone towards change, there will probably not be an overwhelming number of non-Garto priests in this century or many thereafter.