"For everything you take, give back something of equal value. For every prank you play, help in equal measure. For each favour you receive, repay it as soon as you can. This is the Law of Equivalent Exchange, which forms the basics of Reciprocity. It will keep you safe in an existence where you have to take from others to live." - Keros.
Name (singular and plural): Kitsune
Sexes: Male, female.
Height: Ranges from 4'5" to 6'3" (135 to 191 cm)
Weight: Ranges from 88 lb to 176lb (40 to 80 kgs)
Hair: Red or orange are most common, but yellow is an option, as is every shade in between. Grey and silver are rare, but exist. White is evidence of being high nobility; being either from the head or main branch families of the twelve divine houses.
Eyes: Kitsune have two eyes in the normal humanoid position; green, blue, brown and gold are the most common colours encountered. Red is uncommon.
Lifespan: 80 - 150 years. Kitsune with more tails tend to live longer. Those particularly favoured by Keros can have much longer lifespans.
Maturity: As per humans, 18 years.
DescriptionMost kitsune look much like the average catfolk does, perhaps easily mistaken for one at a distance. Fox ears sit on top of their heads; these are capable of independent movement, and often continually twitch and swivel without any conscious input on their owner's part. Combine that with the fact that all of them have at least two fluffy fox tails, a number that only increases with age and power up to a maximum of nine, and they tend to look not that much different from the races of beast-kin which inhabit Savarra.
Kitsune tend to be diminutive and feminine in appearance — while strapping, manly fox-hunks do exist, they tend to be either rare or direct higher servants of the Trickster God, who appears to want to keep that appearance for himself. Males tend to be androgynous at best, or outright traps on the other end of the scale; outright shemales don't really exist. Their women tend to be slender, agile and finely formed rather than short stacks, and while A-cup agony is uncommon, most don't go above a high B, with the exception of den mothers/matrons.Kitsune tails are long — sometimes as much as their owner is tall — prehensile, and often stronger than their actual limbs. They're not just extremely sensitive, but feel intensely good to pet and fondle on the part of both giver and receiver due to how fluffy they are. Tail number is a shorthand for one's age, experience, power and favour with Keros; the more one has, the higher one's standing in floof society.
HistoryAccording to their own tales, kitsune were fashioned by their patron deity Keros, in the early days when the gods first walked freely upon the world. Curious and partly inspired by the rather vigorous activities of Lumia at the time, he made for himself a wife and twelve concubines in his image; according to legend, it's from this first harem that the Imperial line and the twelve divine houses claim descent from. Other kitsune came later, the trickster god's hands moulding foxes of the field into human shapes, but only the first thirteen can claim to have been fashioned from nothing but sheer divine intent and a few strands of fur.
Satisfied that his efforts were sufficient, Keros placed his creations on a fairly remote island chain, stepped back and watched them bumble and mess about trying to go about their lives, a source of entertainment which has been rather fascinating in the time between then and the Godswar.
In that time, they've developed something approaching a civilisation in accordance with their nature and environment, and have spread outwards from their homeland in little clusters. In the same way catfolk have spread all over from Jassira, so have small populations been established here and there around the world, largely due to migrations during the Godswar and the continuous status games the Seven play as they vy for influence amongst Savarra's peoples.They have never been a very populous people compared to fast-breeding races like orcs and humans, and stick to a quality over quantity approach.
Metaphysical StuffKitsune are the closest and foremost servants of the trickster god, possessing a metaphysical connection with him inasmuch as treants do with Velun, harpies do with Sorra, or valkyries with Lumia. As such, they possess a strange resistance to corruptive influences. Their deity's direct patronage also means that they can't hold extreme changes to their physiology, nor are there half-breeds of any sort. It's a strange state of affairs, but other such favoured races like harpies do exhibit similar traits, so it's not without precedent.
The biggest quirk of being a kitsune is their vampiric nature; one must periodically drain life-force from other sapient beings. Regular feedings would be considered two weeks or less apart, a frugal lifestyle might be once a month, and bare survival might be a single feeding every six to eight weeks. While one can subsist on mundane food much like other races, going too long between feedings is detrimental to one's physical and mental health; gnawing hunger easily causes one to snap long before the body gives out, leading to potentially dangerous situations.
Copulation is the most common method of coercing vitality from others — travellers will speak of being lost in the woods, coming across strangely attractive foxy men and women, and being dragged into extremely exhilarating orgies from which they emerge considerably drained. Keros' teachings on such are extremely strict: reciprocity — for what you take, always give back something of equal value, and sustainability — never drain someone to death, so they keep coming back for more. Those who wantonly and unabashedly flout this divine law are declared renegade and outlaw, and hunted down by their own kin without mercy. Sex is the simplest way to offer payment for vitality taken, so many resort to such; other kitsune may offer favours or goods in equivalent value to what they take from another.
It is possible, but undesirable in the least for one kitsune to drain another; doing so is much akin to eating another's vomit. Parents will feed their kits what they need to keep them going, but it is otherwise largely unheard of. One does not need to engage in sexual activity to feed; simple physical contact is enough, and the trained can even rip at another's energies from a distance.
It's said that kitsune can transform themselves into actual bestial foxes, but no one has yet to give a proven account of such yet. What is known is that they're inherently magical creatures, with a particularly affinity for fire magic. As opposed to the staves, wands and totems of the Frost Marches, Kitsune favour specially prepared scrolls for working magic, although the basics of magic do still require the presence of a focusing gem somewhere, which is traditionally set on the scroll rod(s).Writer's note: all kitsune NPCs can be reasonably assumed to have the foxfire ability. Depending on who they are, they may have trick, leech, will-o-wisp or hex. Abilities like devious ruse and kitsunetsuki should be reserved for powerful characters. These powers are unique to foxen as part of their nature and having them on non-foxen characters ought to be justified.
Society and CultureMost kitsune still adhere to the culture of their homeland in dress, mannerisms and architectural style. Some adaptations do occur to better suit life in foreign lands when they move, but by and large the vast majority of their style remains unchanged. In their own homeland, they live as much as other races do; it is, after all, a place where their natures are considered everyday and humdrum. Even in the Old Country, though, they are not alone or even the dominant group by way of numbers; kitsune share their society with tanuki and other races in the position of a dominant minority. In foreign lands, they are often considered more akin to monsters than civilised peoples by the native folk, and much energy and concern is directed towards getting sustenance without provoking the locals into driving them out.
Kitsune social organisation is generally a theocracy centered around their patron deity Keros, with those involved with clerical magic given great reverence; claiming direct patrilineal descent from Keros himself, the God-Emperor is viewed as a living divinity in the Old Country, and all authority and power flows outwards from him. The oddity of the Imperial Family aside, kitsune are matriarchal in nature in keeping with the twelve concubines Keros kept in addition to the mortal wife he made for himself.
Due to their natures and the need to keep themselves in check, their culture is highly rigid and hierarchical, being obsessive about etiquette in the only way that bloodthirsty vampires who need to live peacefully together can effect. Everything from how to address someone else to which napkin to wipe away spilled water during the tea ceremony is designed to smooth over potential arguments that could turn ugly.Most kitsune enjoy many hobbies and artistic pursuits originating in their homeland ranging from poetry, scroll painting, flower arrangement, music and martial arts. Instruction and education are often the function of the priests and priestesses of Keros when they are not otherwise occupied.
ReproductionMost kitsune are similar to humans when it comes to breeding - sex followed by nine months of gestation, which in turn is followed by kits. Like with harpies, kitsune women are dominant breeders, their children being full-blooded kitsune instead of half-breeds - this allows for their race to propagate without excessive inbreeding despite comparatively small numbers. Den mothers/matrons are an exception, though - designed to spread the Trickster God's influence through cranking out more minions for him, such - uh, gifted individuals are practically kit factories, having gestation durations of one and a half months, not to mention a host of other idiosyncrasies. Obvious to say, den mothers are extremely rare, and the capability to become one is usually passed on from mother to firstborn daughter; new bloodlines only arise through direct divine intervention.