The Muzina[edit | edit source]
The Muzina are one of the races of the Eastern Continent, and the Speritanians’ arch-rivals. They are a strong, high energy, long stamina people built for hard work and complex tasks that require dexterity, power and finesse. One of the first 5 Clans, the Muzina developed from a race of mountain jackal called the muzmyan.
Appearance[edit | edit source]
The Muzina have smooth, hairless, tanned skin (darker hued in the Flatlands than in the mountains). The only hair they grown is that of their eyebrows, eyelashes and hair on their heads, and incapable of growing facial hair. Their eyes can be blue or gold (the exact hue depends on which region they are from), their ears are rounded and they have a set of pointed incisors on their top jaw and a more prominent set on their lower jaw, but otherwise straight teeth. They have a great deal of dense, tightly coiled muscle, but have a sleeker appearance than the bulky Speritanians. They can grow to heights between 5’5” and 5’10” on average.
Their musculature is more complex than a human's, consisting of more finely grouped muscle fibers in a blood solution within the major muscle groupings enabling more strength and transport of nutrients and removal of wastes like lactic acid. The Muzina's overall muscular appearance is defined but generally sleek rather than veiny and bulky like human body builders.
In facial structure, Muzina have minor epithelial folds above the eyes, and with less prominent noses - usually they are rounded, button, or stub noses. Their ears are identical to the human conch-style ear. Their hair is thick, luxurious and usually poker straight (though some curly-haired RnClan have been cropping up in recent history).
Beyond this there are two distinct groups of Muzina that have developed and even in breeding between them have retained the qualities of one or the other. The RnClans on the Flatlands are typically swarthier, with mocha-coloured skin and garnet red hair. Their eyes can either be a burnt gold-hazel or a midnight blue. They tend to be on the short side and can achieve more defined musculature than their T'Clan neighbours.
The T'Clan, conversely, are slightly slimmer and svelter with a lighter shade of tan skin. They grow to the higher end of the height limits and have either crystal light blue or honey golden eyes. Their hair tends to be a multi-coloured blend of low-lights, midtones and highlights in hues of rust red, fire orange, amber and white gold.
Fashion[edit | edit source]
While tattoos and gold jewelry are popular - especially chain link necklaces, chainmail decorations, cast pendants as well as leather bracers or woven cords - ear piercings are reserved for the institution of marriage alone.
Due to the hot and often stormy or volcanically active climate, the garment called a "tuzi" has not changed much in hundreds of years. The term tuz' technically refers to the jacket-like garment worn by both men and women, though it is generally used to refer to the entire ensemble of jacket, pants, sleeves and belt. While there are not gender-specific styles of tuzi, since all clothing is custom-made in Muzin, different lines ensue for men's bodies than for women. Also there are cuts that are career specific, and since many careers in Muzin are dominated by one or the other gender, certain styles of tuzi are worn nearly exclusively by the gender that fills that role in society.
The tuzi itself is a sleeveless, long-tailed vest-like back piece with a front panel that buttons, clasps or ties down both sides of the chest from collarbone to hip. Many tuzi styles have stiff shoulder panels or high collars (these panels are armor plated for warrior classes). The length of the tails and front panel vary - past the knee to ankle-length for clerical, scholarly, aristocratic and business-like professions; hip to mid-thigh for highly active people like hunters, sailors, heavy laborers and certain craftspeople. The standard length is just past the knee. Colour is generally up to preference with the most common dyes available to the average Muzina consisting of the following: berry, rust and blood reds, all shades of brown, ochre, yellow, orange, greys, plum purples. Black is popular but more costly; white, cream and mocha reserved for ceremony, weddings, religious practise and monasteries. Dark greens are reserved for people in the trade of death, including undertakers, assassins, necromancers etc; ghostly pale greens, moss green and icy mint green are for mourners, widows and widowers. Blues, vibrant purples, turquoises and fabric woven with metallic threads are highly expensive and a measure of wealth. Also brocades, painted tuzi, extensive embellishment like embroidery, appliques, sewn coins and cord-work are more expensive but often each Muzina will work hard to have at least one formal tuzi.
The pants that are worn with a tuzi are broad cut, baggy and with a crotch-line sometimes as low as the knees - similar to our concepts of sirwal. These pants are generally bound up at the ankle or occasionally the knee with cord or tucked into tall boots. Rather than wearing layers beneath the Tuzi, sleeves are crafted separately, attaching across the back of the shoulders by a strap or behind the neck with ribbon or cord fastened by buttons or ties. This way when the Muzina grows too warm, they can simply unfasten the strap and remove the sleeves without needing to remove the jacket. During the tumultuous storms of 1st and 4th Season, wraps, gloves with the fingers cut off, cloaks or other external layers are worn. Muzina never wear hats, and actually take care to style their hair with braids, bunches, or scented styling waxes. Length of hair is rarely very long as it is hot to maintain such thick hair in Muzinish humidity. Both men and women can wear long hair (to the middle of the shoulder blades at extremes) or short and cropped, but the style of pigtails (either braided, bunched or in buns) is solely worn by women. Muzina almost never shave the head unless ill as it is the only hair on their bodies and they tend to relish it. When they grow old, Muzina do not bald, their hair simply goes white-gold (in Rn Clans) or ash-white (in the T'Clan).
Culture[edit | edit source]
The Muzina economy is run on a barter system of goods, services, skills and favours. The Muzina remember these tabs with unerring accuracy; on the other hand, they also remember slights and errors equally as long. Action on these grudges depends on the personality of the Muzina involved. The Muzina oral traditions are kept accurate and alive through these memorizations.
They are a sensual people, highly physically sensitive, enjoying intimacy and physicality that would seem overly promiscuous to most human cultures. However, the Muzina's physical sensitivity also helps their reaction time enabling them to pick up on movement or proximity extremely quickly. This defines their personal sense of space very strongly, and combined with their high sense of respect extends to respect for other's personal space as well. The Muzina is also characterized by their sense of respect, and their devotion to tradition and regard for those who outrank them in merit, skill or honour. They put a great deal of faith in the tried, tested and true and are hard to divert from what they believe in.
All Muzina are raised with a national creed from the earliest time they can speak. This creed serves a dual purpose of teaching them their language, and teaching them the virtues good Muzina should uphold.
- Ambition (Zuis)
- Bluntness (Orkon)
- Brotherhood (Laos)
- Common Sense (Demith)
- Conviction (Renath)
- Death (Yamun)
- Glory (Nomor)
- Hard Work (Vasza)
- Honesty (Atas)
- Honour (Tashek)
- Knowing Limits (Shazmit)
- Loyalty (Soras)
- Patience (Umdor)
- Pride (Indus)
- Respect (Guras)
- Strength (Kizyn)
- Valor (Emzyn)
- Vitality (Muzin)
Based on these tenets, there are certain cultural taboos which should be avoided in Muzin at all costs. Breaking promises is a breach of several of these virtues, including honesty, loyalty, conviction, etc. Illusions are also considered a breach of these virtues as they rely on deception and obscuring the truth.
Sexuality[edit | edit source]
Sexuality in Muzin is either homosexual or heterosexual, with about 30% rate of homosexuality. Curiously enough, though homosexuality is considered normal and is fully accepted, bisexuality is frowned upon. Dallying with both male and female partners simultaneously or consecutively is considered unclean and ingenuine. A decision must be made in the Muzina mentality. Because of the prevalence of same-sex couples, marriage is not limited to male-female relationships. In Muzinish marriage there is no 'husband-wife' dynamic, but an 'inviter-invited' (Kuszek-Kuszamin) based on who proposed to whom. Once married, however, there is simply a term for spouse depending on if that spouse is male (suunom) or female (spella), though in same sex marriages (regardless of gender) the terms Zarak (or Dominant) is used for the one who fills the "male" or "yang" roll by our standards, and the Tezuria (or submissive) is used for the one who fills the "female" or "yin" roll. The Zarak is usually the prime bread-winner and the one who upholds the household's honour and reputation, while the Tezuria is generally the one who balances the books and maintains the household and community standing.
Spouses are considered financially and politically equal and have rights to raise children - either conceiving their own or adopting if a same-sex couple. Non-married couples are not supposed to have children as it is not a 'stable' environment for a family unit. Since childbirth is a serious component to the social structuring ceremony of the Test of Pain, birth control and abortion are relied on to maintain social stability. Children born out of wedlock will be removed by Hunters.
Marriage[edit | edit source]
In Muzina marriage there are ten steps in the act of proposing to a loved one. Each step is to demonstrate the Kuszek (Inviter's) suitability as a spouse. They are generally referred to as the Trials of Love or Zoikammen in the Muzino tongue. They are as follows:
- Compose (a poem or song to perform for your love to show that you intend to begin the Zoikammen. Generally these are proclamations of love and devotion)
- Feat of Virtue (perform some task that extolls your strongest skill or virtue - these are usually to do with the Muzina's line of work, but can be a test of courage or fidelity, etc)
- Cook (or bake or brew something edible for your love to demonstrate your ability to provide)
- Mend (something that belongs to your love that has broken, ripped, torn, worn out or been damaged)
- Create (a trinket, object, craft or some other sign of your usefulness)
- Defend (against physical attack or verbal slander - this stage is usually ceremonial)
- Budget (to save for a pair of wedding tuzi)
- Build a Home (where you will reside with your love, while it is allowed to get a group of friends to help in the building of it, the Kuszek needs to physically labour him or herself on the work of it from beginning to completion)
- End of Abstinence (during the 1st to 8th trials, the lovers have to refrain from intercourse to prove their marriage is a matter of love and not simply lust. At this point they are allowed to begin sleeping together again, and the night of the End of Abstinence is considered a very special occasion)
- Piercing of the Ears (the lobes are pierced with hoops of gold and a priest/priestess writes a certificate of marriage which is signed with both names. During this ceremony, a gold chain is worn between the Kuzsek's left ear and the Kuszamin's right lobe)
At any point during the Zoikammen, either the Kuszek or the Kuszamin can cancel the marriage if they discover they are not suited for each other. Divorce is not legal until the children are old enough to leave home (the age of 16). After that it is legally allowed but socially frowned upon. Earrings are not to be removed in the event of a divorce or death of spouse. If the Muzina remarries a secondary set of earrings is added above the original earrings.
Family Units[edit | edit source]
Family units are fairly small in Muzin, ranging from 1 to 3 children that are kept after the sacrifice of the First Born in the Test of Pain. Property is rarely left to one's youth, so any assets to be split between them are generally to do with the family business, heirloom tuzi, weapons or trinkets. Children take the last name of their mother (depending on which parent was the Kuszek, this may be the father's name by way of the mother) and bonds between children are very close. Often Blood Bonds are most commonly formed between siblings.
When a business partner journeys to the home to make a deal it is custom that the business partner is allowed a conjugal night with either one of the children that has reached adulthood or the person's spouse based on their sexual preference. In RnClan regions this practice is not usually acted upon and is a mere formality, but often in T'Clan regions it still takes place.
Coming of Age[edit | edit source]
Young Muzina do not produce sexual stimulus hormones or become capable of erections or orgasms until around 15 or 16 years old. Because young Muzina cannot feel pleasure from sexual acts, pedophilia in Muzin is a horrible crime and offenders are often killed before the law ever arrives. When this happens, the murderers are almost never charged. All Muzina children have one of three Auspices which only fade when they hit puberty.
As children, they are ugly and deformed either by having purple discoloured splotches all over the skin (Ishala Auspice), having squashed and mushy features and curved spine (Shama Auspice), or having overly large hands and feet and stretched jackal-like features (Meshura Auspice). These all fade away in the months leading up to adulthood. The Muzina believe that the type of affliction relates to certain features in adulthood. Those Ishala children are said to grow up to be extremely beautiful, where as Shama children are said to become extremely strong, and those of Meshura become very quick-witted, astute and dexterous.
Once males have their first erection they are sent to their Test of Pain to determine their place in society as a man and are legally considered an adult after they have completed the Test, enabling them to enroll in the military, marry, start a business, and own land. Females are considered adults after their first menstruation but do not have to take their Test of Pain until their first pregnancy.
Both males and females have equal social standing. Land cannot be retained after death unless it is a registered Imperial institution such as a monastery, school, temple or theatre etc.
Death[edit | edit source]
In the event of a death, a period of abstinence and mourning is practiced by close friends, family and close co-workers in which only white-green, pale green and grey-green may be worn. All tattoos, scars and marriage earrings are covered up with cloth, shawls, ribbons or cowls and all other jewelry is removed for a period of time equal to the days it took for the person to die. During this time music, sex, dance and theatre is to be avoided. All this is a precaution against distracting the deceased's spirit from transcending to the afterlife.
Superstition has it that if a soul lingers around their body or loved ones or home longing for life after a period equal to the time it took them to die their soul will be barred from reaching Isham's Embrace and will instead be sent to the Realm of Ghosts. As for short, sudden traumatic deaths - like accidents or murders - it is much harder for the souls of these individuals to let go and this is why most lingering ghosts are angry or have 'unfinished business'. If a soul has been barred from Isham's Embrace, it takes the invocations of a Priestess or Priest to gain pardon from Isham, and allow the soul to be embraced by the Goddess. Curiously, in the matters of duels (which are common in Muzin) it is considered that the time it takes to die begins when the challenge is made and whomever survives the encounter was not having his 'time counted' by the fates.
Muzina cremate their dead in a ceremony overruled by priests and priestesses of Isham.
Education[edit | edit source]
There are four options for education in Muzin: The Scholars, The Acolytes, tutors and home-schooling. Home-schooling is the most common, as it doesn't cost the family anything more than a bit of time. In this case the child(ren) is trained by the family in their trade or business, taken to festivals and told family history. This is the extent of their worldly education. Most of these children learn an oral tradition of folk lore from their bed-time stories, poetry or folksong from festivals and a bit of local history from the various aunts and uncles or surrogate aunts and uncles of neighbouring families. They will never learn to read or write, but likely will never have cause to need to in their lifetimes.
Tutors are either paid in trade or given room and board for the duration of their training. Tutors are generally well-travelled and teach weapons work, languages, the arts, history and the sciences of both matter and magic. The skill and accuracy of the tutor depends on their experiences, upstanding character and connection with the youth(s) the tutor is teaching. There is generally an interview with the family prior to taking on a term to ensure that the tutor is suitable.
The Scholars have institutions in almost every major city in Muzin, though these range from dusty libraries to expansive campuses. The Scholars are a collection of learned masters of a variety of intellectual pursuits, including Mages, Prophets, Sages, Doctors of Medicine, Historians, Bards, Wizards, Alchemists and Linguists. The Scholars gained prominence and popularity after 2959 PT when New Script became the international scribal set. The Scholars pursue knowledge, scrolls, artifacts, skills, records and memory. Those who attend the Scholar Institutions can study with any number of masters there, but only after they have learned to read and write New Script. The product is a far more worldly and understanding Muzina, which is desirable to merchants, diplomats, regents and officials, travelers and performers etc. The Scholars do not have an age limit of those who can enroll with them, but they do take tithing from each pupil.
The Acolytes are the ecclesiastic alternative to The Scholars. The Acolytes teach religion and magic primarily, but also science, math, language, simple crafts and exclusively hold the knowledge of Muzina Runes. Like the Scholars, students of the Acolyte temples and monasteries live on site and pay with trade of physical labour, skill and the assistance of friend and family ties and/or influence. The Acolytes will only teach certain skills (such as high magics, runes or summonings) with young Muzina who have come with the goal of becoming an Acolyte themselves. However, other Muzina of any age can take refuge in their walls from false persecution, or those in need of shelter or sustenance.
Cuisine[edit | edit source]
The Muzina love hearty, spicy and filling foods such as kelban (bread stuffed with meat, sauce and stewed vegetables), thazish soup (brothy soup with chunks of vegetables, meat, cheese and bread in it), kuzat (sweet and spicy sugary candy embedded with nuts), smoked/dried meats, fowl, smoked fish, etc. A popular seasoning is tazik from dried and crushed luga berries. The Muzina use this peppery, spicy-sweet powder in everything from fire tea and baked goods to soups and sauces and it is one of the trademark flavours of Muzinish cuisine.
Overall, a Muzina can consume and burn nearly three times the calories as your average human and are far healthier. Obesity is almost unheard of in Muzin, accounting for 0.4% of the population and is socially frowned upon for their own kind. Likewise your average Muzina can consume about two times his or her blood volume (about 10 to 12 litres of alcohol) before they will show effects of intoxication. Again, drunkenness is also frowned upon as a lack of understanding of one's own limitations. Smoking is popular as a social past-time or for meditations with incense, katyin smoking herb, or smudging herbs/spices. Smoke intoxication is more effective than liquid intoxication by far. Consumption of many poisons is utilized in beverages, smoking or cooking ingredients as Muzina are highly resilient to small doses of poisons and therefore are able to ingest many things that are toxic or fatal to other races. i.e. the sari black berry (used in liquors), kyaon thorn bark (used in smoking meats or as a smoking herb), and zinna fern (used in sauces, soups, rice dishes or as a psychotropic if distilled).
Tavernas are a popular part of culture, offering bardic entertainment, drink, food and often hotel rooms/breweries/smoking lounges or games rooms. They are the hub of breaking news and social gossip as well as the best place to find someone to hire for their trade.
Because of the unique qualities of the Muzina blood cells, Muzina are not suceptible to almost all allergies and are resistant to many diseases. They are however devastated by blood parasites, hemophelia, auto-immune diseases, blood coagulants and bone marrow cancers.
Comparative Statistics[edit | edit source]
Intelligence: 10/16. Intelligence is something that is difficult to judge directly between races, so we compare on a basis of common sense, swiftness in understanding, learning curve and versatility of knowledge. The Muzina have a learning curve quite like that of a six-year-old human: speedy, independent and comprehensive. However, whereas a human's learning curve exponentially slows down as they age, the Muzina's learning curve remains at that rate for their entire lives. They are more practical than a human, able to grasp what is needed in a situation and move beyond personal position to act accordingly. The key thing that sets the Muzina apart is their exceptional memories.
Wisdom: 10/16. Wisdom is compared by things like emotional empathy and control, and connection to matters of the spirit - including faith, perception of the other Realms and awareness of the senses. The Muzina have a better sense of smell and taste than human beings with about 9 million olfactory cells to the average human's 5-6 million. Their hearing is marginally better, able to pick up a range of 10 to 28,000 Hertz compared to the human 15 to 20,000. Their vision is within the same range as a human's but they are less prone to visual impairments like astigmatism, near or farsightedness and blindness. Where the Muzina are most advanced is in their sense of touch.
Agility: 14/16. Agility is a measure of raw speed, dexterity, multi-tasking ability and reflexes. In this standpoint Muzina are about 80% faster than human beings. This is further assisted by their keen senses to be a highly competent, reactive and speedy race. The Muzina do not sacrifice strength for speed, and with their lithe muscle and compact strength, the Muzina use their dexterity to make every pummeling hit count. About 40% of Muzina are ambidextrous, and about 18-20% can simultaneously complete different tasks with each hand.
Strength: 16/16. The Muzina are one of the three strongest races in the world, being twice as strong as human beings. This strength is calculated not only from their brute strength of how much they can lift, but also how much they can carry and how much damage they can do with a blow. Obviously there is a range in how much weight a Muzina can bear, but even on the lowest range it still amounts to some 1800 pounds, where on its upper levels it reaches 3200 pounds. Because of this advantage, the Muzina manage to work with simpler or less tools altogether than weaker races and relish their ability to do hard labour with nothing but their natural speed and strength. Having an intense level of strength and using it keeps the Muzina bone strength and density strong and sturdy well into their elder years. Many Muzina retain stable health into their 90s and only start to decline in their last 10 or 20 years of life. In the same standpoint, their virility also remains strong well into later life for both men and women.
Resistance: 15/16. Resistance encompasses how well the body withstands damage - including natural immunity, toughness of body, and resistance to illness or aging. The Muzina have incredibly supported, dense musculature so that they can withstand a lot of damage without injury. Internally, the Muzina's blood cell structure is quite a bit different than ours - containing a hybrid cell of red and white so that every one of their blood cells is both a carrier and a phagocyte - consuming any unhealthy cells, foreign elements, and agitators that might upset the balance of health. However, they also absorb and carry all nutrients, oxygen, minerals and vitamins and convey them to the areas of the body in need. Because of this, their bodies better process all elements into their systems, defend against disease and better supply the cells. Partly because of this rigorous upkeep of health, the Muzina have a longer life than humans, living on average for 130 years.
Recovery: 13/16. Because of the various Muzina biological systems, their ability to bounce back from injury, illness or poisoning is about 30% faster and more complete than ours. Muzina have a habit of pushing themselves when they should be resting and healing, which often results in scarring and reinjury. But if treated with medicines and magic, a Muzina can return to peak levels with no lasting detriments.
NMP: 4/6. Natural Manna Potential, or NMP, is the gauge by which a race's aptitude for magic is judged. NMP reflects not only how proficient a race might become in casting, it also tells how easily they can learn magic, how well they can connect with the Manna Weave and Huskline sources in the planet. The Muzina are fairly in-tune with the Manna Weave and Huskline. They consider its presence second-nature, though not every Muzina feels a need to exploit this awareness by becoming a caster. Usually, a Muzina might learn a couple of casting magics to better assist their day-to-day life - such as warding, mind speech, conjuring etc. However, those who do go in to learn magics - such as priests, mages, summoners, healers etc - do so with as much gusto and determination as Muzina approach everything and can become incredibly powerful magic users in their fields. While they tend to focus on potency of casting, they are not as expansive, and generally aren't good at improvising in their magic, sustaining multiple spells at a time or magically multi-tasking. In the same vein, the Muzina open themselves fully when casting. While this can create raw force it does leave them susceptible to oversaturation, leading to manna sicknesses.