A race of intelligent beings with an established interstellar dominion spinward and rimward of the Imperium; in addition large numbers have settled within the Imperium.
Aslan stand roughly human-sized, averaging 2.0 meters in height and weighing about 100 kg. They are descended from four limbed, upright, bipedal carnivore/pouncer stock originally adapted to a solitary arboreal existence.
The earliest Terran explorers saw in them a vague resemblance to the Terran lion, and they have been described (by Imperials) as lion- like ever since, although there is very little true similarity. The derivation of the word Aslan is unknown. There are two sexes, male and female. The most notable difference is the increased size and mane of the former. Females outnumber males by 3 to 1. Aslan have a highly specialized dewclaw under each thumb which folds back jackknife fashion into a horny covering in the base of the thumb and palm.
A vast Aslan dominated region (the Aslan Hierate) lies far to rimward, but Aslan themselves have ranged well beyond its borders, with many settling within the Imperium and attaining full status as citizens. As such, they subordinate themselves to Imperial authority, although they have remained culturally separated from human society. Aslan serve in the Imperial armed forces; they achieve nobility; they pay taxes; they run businesses. See also Aslan Border Wars, Aslan Hierate.
The Aslan are a warrior race, proud, noble, and devoted to those in authority above them. An individual Aslan is usually a member of a family of from 2 to 12 individuals under a patriarchal leader. Several families will combine into a pride with one dominant family. A number of prides form a clan, with a dominant pride. Aside from military organizations and the ruling council (within the Hierate), the clan is the highest socio-political unit among the Aslan.
A deep-seated territorial instinct causes the Aslan to have an inordinate (from a human standpoint) concern with land. For male Aslan, owning land is a major goal in life. An Aslan’s stature is determined by the amount of land he (or her husband) controls, or by the amount of land owned by any higher lord the Aslan may be vassal to. The lowest classes of Aslan are landless, and provide the farmers, laborers, craftsmen, and factory workers. A holder of a large territory will often grant authority over it to vassals (usually sons, brothers, or male relatives by marriage) who administer the land in his name.
The sexes have very different roles in Aslan society. Males (in all but the lower classes) are concerned mostly with military operations, acquisition of territory, and political affairs.
Females are concerned with trade, industry, and the accumulation of knowledge. Upper class males have little conception of money and are literally incapable of functioning in a technological society without aid, so they are thus seldom encountered without the supervision of a wife, mother, or other female relative or employer.
For instance, a typical Aslan mercenary unit will be organized by a wealthy married female, who will then assign its operation, for a share of the proceeds, to an unmarried female relative. The battle commander and most of the troops will be unmarried males (many of them also relatives) hired with the promise of land grants (and the opportunity to gain honor and reputation in combat); however, staff, operations, supply, and intelligence officers will generally be female.
The extremely deadly nature of any combat between Aslan has led to a rigid, ritualized pattern of behavior designed to reduce conflict. Aslan are very polite, and while most have learnt to be patient with non-Aslan, accidental fights still occur. Disputes between individuals are handled by the patriarchs; disputes between families are handled by the pride leaders; disputes between prides are handled by clan leaders.