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Twisted Confessional | Settings

WB Kitsune

Kitsune

Natives of the planet Phaeton, these look like a cross between a gibbon and a fox, and stand about waist-high to a human. They have prehensile hands with two fingers, and two opposable thumbs. Their eyes are set far back, like a rabbit or a parrot, and are constantly moving, updating their picture of their surroundings. Their head also consistently twitches, getting new views of the environment.

The Kitsune's most noticeable feature is their crest. Stretching from the name of their neck to the samll of their back, this silicate crest reaches 4 to 8 inches high, like a small dimetrodon fin. It glitters in the sunlight. The crest is a source of pride amongst the Kitsune of all genders, and its shape, size, and appearance are one of the benchmarks of their physical ideal.

The crest is made up of a material like chitin, only silicate in nature. It continuously grows throughout the life of a Kitsune. Beyond being a source of pride, the crest serves a more practical function: it is protection for the spine, which has inherited a lot of the higher functions of the nervous system (a Kitsune's brain is in their skull, and consists of what amounts to a large cerebellum, a medulla oblongata, and gray matter called mnebrum which is entirely storage media for sensory memories. The crest is also home for a group of sensory organs called vibrams. Vibrams are extremely sensitive to air pressure changes and vibration -- like a human ear, the shape of the crest is an important factor in allowing the Kitsune to determine the direction of the change that is being sensed.

Their eyes, however, as wideset as they are, are not well suited for hunting and pursuing prey and though their eyes are as good as human's, they are all but unable to focus on a single point. This is theorized to be one of the reasons the mnebrum was evolved - to compensate for the sight. A Kitsune's eyes constantly dart around, as to a lesser extent do their heads, twisting and turning to effectively film their surroundings. This information is constantly dumped into the mnebrum, which allows the Kitsune to visualize a near-total picture of the area, which is constantly being updated by the changing angles of the twitching eyes and head. This means, however, that the picture of the area always has outdated info, as the eye cannot point everywhere at once -- sight for the Kitsune is for long range and/or liesurely activity, and is only secondary in hunting.

Along each side of the crest, following the spine, there are matching pairs of sockets, evolved to hold the Stones that form the lifeblood of Kitsune mental development. One socket also exists at the nape of the neck - this one is the Keystone socket. These Stones are basically a network of synapses and other neural material (each Stone has a different configuration, which helps to make each one unique) surrounded by a conducting organic substance that is similar in texture to amber, but darker. Stones are about the size of a child's fist. These Stones are repositories of personality, creativity and potential intellect that are available for the Kitsune to use. Besides the Keystone, the average Kitsune has 10 sockets available for use, though that number can vary from as little as six, to as much as 14, in an average population.

As children, Kitsune cannot hold Stones -- their sockets are tightly shut until they are large enough to hold a Stone, and then they open. Until they get their first Stones, Kitsune children are highly curious beings with the intelligence of the average dog and an eidetic memory (using the mnebrum, pure memory storage) -- as such they have to be watched carefully by the mother and the community. When a child's sockets open, parents rejoice, for that means in the near future they will become a full-fledged individual with all the rights and responsibilities that brings. Though their first Stone is traditionally harvested nubile, grown by allowing a honeyfly to nest, the majority of a child's first Stones tend to be given by family and other well-meaning souls, imbued with their taste, their touch, their personality, and even a few of their memories. A Kitsune's personality begins as a muddled descendant of the bits and pieces of its Stone contributors, combined with a bit of novelty and interpreted throughthe forces that have shaped it so far.

Unless used, Stones eventually go bad. They can rarely be stored away from a Kitsune.

Umbelrune

Standing almost thirty feet high, umbelrune trees have interesting patterns on their bark, patterns that probably developed the runic Kitsune writing system. The Kitsune have domesticated these trees, growing them in something closer to a forest than a grove. These trees are also their homes - they live in the branches. Their massive fruit, known as the umbelkain, are considered a delicacy - umbelkain 'meat' is called phalla. They have sockets in their trunks similar to the Kitsune - and digest the subsequent chrysalis rather than turning it into a usable Stone.

There are also 'ambelrune' trees, which are sort of like bonsai versions of umbelrune trees. They stand no taller than a shin, and contain one Socket - this is the only method of storing Stones when they're not in use, so that they don't begin to rot or otherwise break down.

Honeyflies

The Kitsune and the umbelrune trees have a symbiotic relationship with a particular kind of insect called the honeyfly. More than half the grubs of the honeyflies wind up in Kitsune dishes, and honeyfly syrup is considered a wonderful ingredient for food, the all-purpose spice. And most importantly, the honeyflies are responsible for the Stones.

Honeyflies have four genders: workers, females, broodmothers, and males. Males are the fastest fliers, more like hummingbirds. Females look like butterflies. Workers look like dragonflies, once they get their wings.

Grubs always turn first into workers. Once these workers sprout wings (which is generally around the day-shadow), they leave the hive and find a place to spin a cocoon. Their choice dictates whether they become males or females. After chrysalis, females adopt a hive and stay with it for life -- usually the hive they came from, but always the closest hive (or the first one they discover). Males, on the other hand, travel between the various hives independently, impregnating any female they come across. Males have a short time in which to live as they die in the night, unprotected by the insulation that keeps workers, females, and broodmothers warm.

Broodmothers find pregnant females almost irresistibly tasty, and eat them whenever they get a chance; this happens often as pregnant females have a craving to eat the broodmother as well as other pregnant females, which requires them to get close enough to the sessile broodmother to be able to be eaten. A new broodmother is created once a female successfully eats enough other pregnant females, though this is rare as the broodmother tends to eat her competition. Any pregnant female who is eaten has her eggs birthed by the broodmother after incubation. A female who somehow comes to term without being eaten by a broodmother or gathering enough mass to become one herself winds up being eaten by her young as they claw their way out.

New grubs are born in the waning night, and are workers by the dawn. By the time of the shadow, the workers of the previous year begin sprouting wings and flying off to cocoon themselves -- perhaps a quarter of these make it. They hatch the next dawn.

Those who nest in umblerunes wind up female, those who nest in Kitsune (and Xiang) wind up male. Males spend the rest of their lives haranguing females, breeding with them when they can, until they finally die as the night sets in. Females collect pollen for the honeyfly syrup, and get pregnant and eaten by the broodmother -- those who don't get pregnant become food for the grubs and the workers during the long night. Through the night, the broodmothers continaully birth, the cycle starts over again.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, honeyflies hives contain a form of honey (miella), which the Kitsune harvest and consume.

Xiang

Looking like a cross between a gorilla and a wildebeest, the Xiang are probably the closest evolutionary relatives to the Kitsune. However, they only have one Socket (the Keystone) and their 'crest' is more of a pommel. Xiang eventually 'digest' their Stones. They are not sentient, but are perhaps halfway between a dog and a dolphin in terms of intelligence.

The Kitsune use them as steeds, and as herd animals, harvesting their milk ('leng') and slaughtering them for meat ('urrison'). They frequent the ground beneath the Kitsune homes, content with grazing on the grasses and weeds that happen. Sometimes humans also ride them as steeds.

Mnebrum

The equivalent of 'mammals' on Phaeton all have a Mnebrum and an extra-developed spinal cord. Only the Xiang and the Kitsune have Sockets.