The Qalili (pronounced /kəˈliːli/) are one of the major thedes of Ym, a crinose race usually characterized by relatively light skin and dark hair. Qalili tend to be capable fighters, partly through natural inclination and partially through a culture that encourages rough-and-tumble combat. While not the physically strongest of the major thedes (that distinction goes to the Olkhan), Qalili are on average the most nimble and agile.
Qalili reach an average height of about 1.77 meters for males, and 1.66 meters for females. Their skin ranges from pale pinkish-white through tan to light brown. Their hair, both the hair on their heads and the hair that grows copiously on their bodies, is usually brown to black, though blond Qalili exist, and some have white or gray hair even in their youths. (Oddly, their hairiness doesn't extend to their faces; while Qalili can grow facial hair, in most cases it tends to be sparse and wispy.)
Qalili tend to have mesomorphic builds and to easily gain a moderate amount of muscle mass, though of course this does not prevent some individual Qalili from becoming gaunt or obese from their diet and habits. Their limbs tend to be significantly thicker midway between the joints than at the joints themselves. Double-jointedness is common in Qalili, though not universal.
The head of the average Qalili is rounded, with a low hairline, high cheekbones, and a prominent but not overly large chin. Their often narrow eyes range are usually brown in color, but blue- and green-eyed Qalili are not unusual, and some individuals have light or dark gray eyes.
Like all the thedes of Ym, the Qalili have spread throughout the world and in doing so have largely assimilated to other cultures. Still, the original Qalili culture, elements of which often persist even in Qalili communities very far from the Carness, put much emphasis on sports and physical activity—much like the Olkhan, except that while the Olkhan favor relatively simple contests, the Qalili often create complex games with elaborate rule systems. Many sports invented by the Qalili have now become common all over Ym, ridgeball and tagball being only two of the best known examples. Also perhaps related to the Qalili's affinity for physical activity is their love of dance; Qalili culture includes a panoply of different dances for various occasions, some purely for amusement and some with ceremonial significance, some involving detailed costumes and some performed wearing little or nothing.
Qalili place great value in their word; to break a promise is, to a traditional Qalili, one of the vilest of misdeeds. To a lesser degree, this extends to promises made by others on their behalf; the tension between the importance of fulfilling someone else's promise and following one's own conscience and desires is a common source of conflict in Qalili stories and theater.
Most of the thedy powers possessed by Qalili center around earth and stone and mountains. One fairly common power is the ability to detect the presence of certain minerals. Some can only detect one or two specific minerals, others a broad spectrum; the distances over which they can sense the minerals, and the quantities necessary to trigger the power, also vary. Other Qalili can harden their own bodies, or parts of them, making them more resistant to damage, though at the possible cost of slowing their speed. Still others can shape and mold stone as easily as clay, an ability they may find useful for sculpture or construction.
Less commonly, some Qalili can go farther than merely hardening their bodies and actually turn themselves to stone—or can petrify others, possibly permanently. (Some, but not all, Qalili gifted with this power also have the ability to reverse petrifaction.) Other Qalili can pass through stone, walking through solid rock as easily as through air. Still others can cause rocks to move at their command, producing earthquakes or avalanches or just making them dance and fly at their command.
A number of different subthedes exist within the Qalili thede. The Lallim are slightly smaller in stature and significantly paler of skin and hair (the former more so than the latter); their powers tend to enchance their agility to supernatural levels, allowing them to move faster and leap much higher and farther than would normally be possible. Ghara have somewhat slimmer proportions than other Qalili, and are slightly less hairy; where other Qalili have powers over rock, they have powers over metals. Yaqani, on average slightly taller and bulkier than other Qalili and with wavier hair, have power over sand and gravel, and sometimes can split themselves into a pleotic form. More angular in build and facial structure than other Qalili, and often having more intense and unusual eye colors, the Teghari often have the ability to draw stone into sharp points and blades. The `Aij, whose complexion tends toward a more caramel color and who tend to have somewhat broader faces than other Qalili, frequently have power over mud and ooze.