- "See that small one in the hood, with the tail? More stamina in that field mouse than the biggest lupines. You'll see. Real strength, Rose, doesn't come from muscles and exercise, it comes from determination. Mecians have an unassuming look that belies a hardiness what could shame an orc warlord."
—Carrick Dreamwright, Master of Riverstride Orchard
Name: Mecian (pl. mecians)
Sexes: Male and Female
Height: Mecians range from 4'0 to 4'10 with almost no outlier.
Skin: Mecians can be born with or without fur, but never without their signature ears and tails. Males have a higher probability of being born with long muzzles and full coats of fur, standing on digitigrade legs, while Females tend to have furred limbs or no fur at all. Skin colors range from light to umber. Fur colors are similarly plain, the most common colors being brown, gray, and black.
Hair: Regardless of whether or not they have bodies of fur, all mecians have hair that typically finishes growing at their shoulders, usually a plain contrast to their skin or fur color.
Eyes: Mecian eyes are round and non-distinct, identical to any human's. They share the same colors: blues, greens, browns, etc.
Ears: Two round, circular ears atop the head, filled with a little fuzz. Mecian ears are large, with very little if any difference in size and shape.
Lifespan: 75-85 years. Due in part to their uncanny vitality, some mecians may live for much longer periods.
Maturity: 18 years.
Mecians are diminutive humanoids possessed of features found on common rodentia. Apart from lengthy bald tails and dish-shaped ears, the mousefolk have the unique quirk of being born with or without fur. Fully furred individuals walk on digitigrade legs while others walk plantigrade. All mecians have claws on their hands and feet perfect for climbing. If left untrimmed, they become dangerously pronounced, turning an advantage into a sharp distraction. Additionally, all mecians have mousey buckteeth: two incisors either small or oversized. Those with the latter tend to grind their teeth on stale foodstuffs until a desired length or edge is achieved.
The mousefolk are a lithe, slender, and endurant race with superlative hearing and long, prehensile tails. Their tails are as long as they are tall, functioning as an extra limb in their own right. Mecians have full control over their rear appendages, possessing enough strength to effectively wield tools or weapons attached to the ends. Some are known to be able to support their entire body weight with it.
In spite of their small stature, all mecians are surprisingly tolerant of hardship, possessed of an almost supernatural vitality. Many common ailments, and indeed most poisons and toxins, are known not to affect them. Their bodies may look thin at a distance, but each mouse is a fit creature for their size, traveling great distances without need for rest or sustenance. These inborn qualities tend to steer the mousefolk towards stringent fieldwork like agriculture or construction where their uncompromising physiology truly shines. Rarer, and equally noteworthy, is the mecian who chooses the life of a trader or merchant, leading great and profitable caravans.
Tales gathered from tight-lipped mecians all tell a similar origin story: that none know from whom they are descended. At no point in history have the mecians ever controlled great tracts of land nor fashioned themselves rulers of any demesne. Two reasons have been bandied back and forth for many years, but scholars argue that neither explain the rigid adherence to increasingly outdated tribal standards. The first is that most mecians tend to wander the greater world for much of their life before choosing to settle down in extant homesteads, or banding together to establish a new home. The second is that mecians are a rare sight, and that there have never been enough of the mousefolk in a single area to lead to civilizational evolution. A third, unsubstantiated reason suggests that the mice simply do not desire great families.
Homesteads, villages, and even the unique walled town were found all across Savarra before the Godswar, chiefly in lowland plains, hills, valleys, and sometimes in the mountains. Even the wildest orcs could be persuaded into leaving them alone in exchange for valuable trade goods and copious foodstuffs. Devoted to the simplest forms of economy, backed by a desire for peace, the mecians became known for their agrarian society.
While they maintained a strong relationship with the Belhar Empire and all its constituents, and indeed a fair presence within its borders, even the desolation wrought by the Godswar did not unite these people into one cohesive faction; their natural skittishness and eagerness to please those of other races who could inspire them as leaders meant they never quite coalesced into a single racial identity. Their numbers dwindled after the collapse. Whether or not that's because they chose to flee, go into hiding, or were caught by the wraiths is unknown.
Nobody noticed when they gradually began to reappear, reconnecting with scattered settlements and Belharan remnants attempting to eke out the living they once had. Where other races had come to rely on their advancements in the sciences or the magics, the mecians were able to cope with simple needs, simple goals, and once again contribute their resourcefulness to the slow rebuilding.
Society and Culture
Mecian society is odd in that it runs on a single, simple hierarchy befitting small hamlets numbering no more than a hundred at any given time. There are captains of the guard, there are village elders, but no one member of a thorpe ever has more say than any other. Titles are important only insofar as the need for delegation is matched, but beyond that, they're a respectful nod to the experience or skill of the epithet-bearer.
Freedom is the most prized trait among them, almost fanatically so. Anything that hampers the individual is frowned upon, even names, hence why no mecian carries a family surname, and all children are given temporary names until they themselves are old enough to choose one. Mecians living together often append the name of their home to their birth names. To the cynical eye, the desire for free-will shown by the mice relies too much on trust, for no domicile they construct is locked. After all, anyone who would steal from another would quickly be found out and punished. Through mutual vulnerability, a unique and strange communal confidence is assured.
Any mecian raised among their own is typically taught to hold an inherent distrust for religious worship, vocally decrying all deities as collective hallucinations, or in some blasphemous instances, regarding them as demons. Missionaries have spoken of being turned away for so much as uttering the name of their patron deity near one. Without fail, most parents (particularly within mecian villages) inoculate their children to scripture and belief the moment they can walk. Most non-mecians write this apostasy off as a symptom of their quiet and isolated nature that has precluded them from ever bearing witness to the appearance of these deities, and it has certainly limited their influence among larger populations where the pantheon is widely respected.
Families are no larger than two children, and there is no formal marriage in mecian society. A male and female simply come together and declare their intentions to have children, allowing their neighbors to expect the new additions. Children are only conceived during the bumper years when food stores allow for the feeding of babies possessed of deep hunger and high metabolism.
Mecians are functionally identical to humans in a number of ways, and that's no more obvious than their breeding — with one caveat. Following ovulation, insemination, and four months of gestation, a young mouse will be birthed. Mecians are not dominant breeders, and they have been recorded as having successful pregnancies with most known races. However, the child will always possess a feature of rodentia, be it the signature ears, the long tail, or both.
The folk of the field always mate in pairs and usually only have children as the possibility opens up. Reckless propagation carries a stigma and is seen as the signing of a child's death warrant in mecian villages, where resources are carefully managed and maintained for months in advance. Obviously, this is in contrast to how quickly they can grow a large family tree. Though extremely rare, mecians have settled in with other races where they've produced more offspring in their lifetimes than have ever been produced in many villages combined.
Love is not a foreign concept to the mousefolk, but settling down long enough to mate is difficult enough for a race of such high energy and boundless wanderlust.
The most children a mouse-mom-to-be can bear is two at any time: double conceptions are considered to be a sign of good fortune. Mecians also observe the stars at the time of a baby's birth, identifying astrological formations to predict the future of their young. Only four star signs have been traced: the Serpent, the Hound, the Spider, and the Eagle, and, respectively, they represent the traits of cunning, diligence, patience, and determination.
Only one of the conditions below must be met to unlock the Mecians Codex entry:
- Met Master Whisper
No such transformative items exist yet