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Say "shaht CAAH vah" or "shot CAAH vah".
The Chatcaava are dragon-like creatures. Males are called drakes and are usually winged, thus their word for an alien summarizes to an approximation of "wingless freak." Females only rarely have wings.
The Chatcaava, once they evolved shape-changing, grew in technological knowledge very rapidly. They retained a feudalistic government on their homeworld and kept that system when they expanded into space, issuing each feudal lord a planet instead of a patch of land. Each ruler had warriors to defend his land and serfs to work it. When this system began, the Chatcaava were, if not models of perfect leadership, then at least dedicated to the ideal of good and just power. They were concerned with the welfare of their workers and with justice and truth, and saw that they would not be in power without the protection of their liegemen and the food and shelter given them by their workers. But as time went by, the system degraded. The lords grew drunken on their power and amassed huge forces to conquer neighboring lords for their planets and resources. One by one more and more lords succumbed until the Chatcaavan empire grew corrupt and decadent. At this point the Emperor, until that time a figurehead and nothing more, amassed a bigger army and conquered all the lords, uniting them in fear and respect of his power. He demanded tributes to keep his decadent lords in line. In the beginning, the emperors were Chatcaava of the old regime, concerned with justice and the law, and were strong enough to demand respect from those who had gone wrong. They provided guidance for the lords who wished to rule in the old ways and punishment for the lords who tried to overstep their bounds. Unfortunately, even the Emperorship was not impervious to corruption. A long line of emperors as morally-decayed as their lords has ruled for some time.
Historically, before they became Slave Queens with mutilated wings, the Queens of the Chatcaava watched over the Empire's spiritual status, different individuals using different methods to keep track of the connections between worlds. The most common way was by stringing jewels onto a frame, and switching them out for lesser rocks as the worlds and their connections became less pristine.
The religion of the Chatcaava before their corruption was a worship of the air that sustained them. 'Living air!' was a common oath, for they depended on the air for life and believed it gave them life. As the corruption settled in, however, the religious bent changed, and slowly the Chatcaava began to believe that the air was lucky to sustain them. They worship themselves for the most part, now. There are some varied cults that have sprung up here and there, particularly hidden cults dedicated to worshipping mothers and women in response to the oppression levied on females of the race.