The mustenel are one of the three Eala races alongside the wolven and felinic people. They share an origin tale and many physical features with the other Eala races.
Mustenel have an affinity with magic similar to that of the kayka, though their powers are not always as strong. They can learn multiple magics easier than their felinic cousins, though often do not master any of them; often they are referred to as “jack of all trades” spellcasters and are popular hires as teachers for beginner magic classes outside of their own countries.
Av. Height (Male): 5’0″
Av. Height (Female): 5’3″
Commonly, mustenel ears are small-but-thick and very animal-like, with short hairs that are sensitive to loud noises. Mustenel have the best hearing of any Sentient and, with some effort, are able to hear up to a kilometre away.
They have semi-digitigrade legs, with paws in place of their feet with the fur from their paws growing up to anywhere between ankle and hip-height. Similarly, their hands are rather claw-like, with fur up their arms stopping anywhere between their wrists and their shoulders.
They have long facial whiskers that and are able to grow beards and other facial hair regardless of their sex.
The mustenel people have a wide variety of hair, eye, and skin colours, even within a single family. It is not uncommon for mustenel children to be born looking like neither parent; it is often said that, because of the magical nature of the mustenel people, their blood can be “unpredictable” and will sometimes draw from the deepest part of their genetics unexpectedly.
Sex and Gender
The easiest way to tell mustenel women and men apart is by their height, as mustenel men are usually a half-head (or more) shorter than women.
Mustenel men have longer, sleeker tails than the women. Puffed-out tails are considered feminine and many mustenel women will put extra effort into their morning routines by fluffing out their tails to the fullest extent they can. Women will also often add colourful clip-on extension to their tails to make them appear longer or fluffier.
Traditionally, mustenel men will wear their hair longer than women and it is considered feminine to cut your hair shorter than shoulder-length.
Mountaineers, also known as the mountain mustenel, are the smallest race of mustenel. Their height matches that of the average foxen person, though their body shape and body hair is closer to that of a wolven’s.
It is believed that they originated from the caves of the Kutu mountains; their smaller-than-average frame helping them climb over the thinner outlets of rock.
The snow mustenel have thick white fur covering most of their torso, pale skin with a strange blue tint to it, and they gain body fat slower than other mustenel.
They are the tallest race of mustenel, standing almost an entire head higher than the average, but also the lightest.
They are from the South, originating from Wetea and eventually spreading over Aurn’la Ann in small communities.
These mustenel are the largest race of mustenel; though they are short, their large bodies make them at least twice as heavy as non-Zeht mustenel. They have greater muscle mass and stronger bones than their kin. They also have webbed toes and deep-set eyes, and their skin often has a scaly texture to it.
It is believed they are descended from Kurlune; a famous Zeht mustenel raised by kurloke.
Common Disabilities and Health Issues
Because they are overloaded with magic, mustenel are prone to becoming very sickly. They suffer from a large variety of ailment, and it is near-impossible to find a mustenel family without at least one member who suffers from a chronic illness.
Emotional issues are very common among mustenels, especially during adolescence. Depression and anxiety are common ailments that often affect mustenel youth, even without apparent cause.
Mustenel are also very susceptible to magical corruption; the overuse of magic can cause varying levels of physical and mental issues that inhabilitate the mustenel permanently.
Relationships and Life Stages
Marriage and divorce
Mustenel people love marriage… and love divorce just as much. They are quick to marry almost total strangers, only to have the relationship fall apart and for them to end up saying they’ll be better “just staying friends”. A lot of the times these friendships are very successful, though, and their friends will help them find new partners.
Marriage-into-friends is so common that it is rare to find someone over the age of 30 who doesn’t have 3-5 friends they have been married to before.
Many mustenel will have between 4-6 children, and because of the mustenel habit of rushing into marriage it is quite common for these children to be mostly half-siblings.
Mustenel usually have 1 child at a time, rarely more than 2 per pregnancy. However, early into the pregnancy there can be up to 13 embryos; most of which will be absorbed back into the body before the 20th week. Only the strongest embryos don’t get reabsorbed.
The mustenel gestation period is 7 months, though premature births are extremely common and many are born up to 2 months early. Children born more than a month early are considered lucky for the family if they survive, as the early birth means better health for the mother and usually has no permanent consequences to the surviving child.
Because mustenel are so physically weak, they’ve evolved for their labour to be as short as possible. Their strong internal muscles and small size of the newborns mean that most mustenel don’t spend more than 3 hours in labour.
Their children can be weaned off milk between 2-3 eclipses when they begin learning to talk, though most will continue to feed their children breast milk until they are around 5 to help maintain their immune systems.
Mustenel puberty starts at around 11 eclipses old and is a hellish time. New and changing hormones tend to worsen any pre-existing hormonal issues such as depression or anxiety. However, after puberty has ended most mustenel people will have their hormones even out and find themselves in a much healthier state of mind.
Mustenel are considered adults when they first start going through puberty, and they have a ‘right of passage’ which involves learning their first spell; most choose healing magic.
• The average mustenel lifespan is 90 eclipses.
• Mustenel believe that losing their tail will shorten their lifespan by 10 eclipses. Surprisingly there is evidence to support this; though most other Sentients say it is coincidental.
• 30% of pregnancies are unsuccessful. 15% are because all embryos were reabsorbed. 10% are miscarriages due to the mothers growing sickly. And 5% have unknown causes.
Mustenel people prefer to live their lives in small cities. They gravitate to lightly populated areas where they can socialise easily, but tend to dislike larger crowds.
They enjoy making social experiences personal and form strong bonds with those who live around them. Neighbours tend to be trusted friends, and most shopkeepers can name their frequent customers.
Oftentimes, mustenel people will have small celebrations or city parades. Not all of these have reasons or are considered holidays; in fact, most are simply celebrations of life spurred from a good day or a happy group of friends that made their celebration public.
Besides these celebrations, mustenel life tends to be quiet, personal, and mostly cheerful.
Each mustenel individual is filled with great amounts of magical energy. Some believe this magic comes from the Original Nine of the Eight Star, others believe it is elemental magic— while some believe the magic is from their own blood and not from gods.
Mustenel don’t tend to master any one magic and prefer to learn a small variety of magics that compliment each other. They tend to have strict rules and laws on the usage of magic, both for personal and public safety.
The mustenel countries on Aurn’la Ann are some of the only cultures to not have banned more morally ambiguous magics such as necromancy, dark spells, and animal merging; though they usually have restrictions on the spells.
The mustenel language is very slow and monotonous. They separate each spoken syllable into what sounds like its own word and don’t often vary their tones. They are sometimes taught to vary the tone and speed of their speech when speaking International, but it doesn’t come naturally to them.
The written mustenel language is made of quick pen strokes. Generally, their paper is waxed on top and they write by using a fine knife-like pen that scratches the coloured wax to reveal the plain paper underneath. Mistakes are made often and are unfixable, so it is common to find mustenel-written papers covered in crossed out words and corrective scribbles.
Mustenel tend to snort when they laugh. They often express joy with open-mouthed, nasal giggles that are littered with snorts and chokes.
Because of their paw-like feet, mustenel prefer to wear sandals. Usually these sandals are made from wooden bases and denim straps, but metal bases are a fashion trend that phases in and out through the generations. The biggest boom in the popularity of metal-based sandals was in the 7,030s, when a famous mustenel actor used the sound of the metal plating on the bottom of his shoes to help exaggerate his emotions on stage.
Most clothing is made from simple cloths such as cotton and denim. They don’t tend to use silks, furs, or leathers. Like their shoes, mustenel have most of their clothes custom-designed for them; hand-me-downs are rare and uncomfortable because of this.
Lots of mustenels also enjoy wearing gloves, headbands, earrings, and tail-bands. The cluttered look is favoured over simple clothing, and sometimes mustenel will overdress to the point of encumbrance.
Mustenel also enjoy getting tattoos, which vary from senseless patterns to fully-illustrated cartoons, depending on the individual’s preferences.
There is a famous mustenel depicted in old paintings dating back to as early as 50,000 BW, they are known only as the “Kurlune”. Kurlune’s true name has been forgotten, but they are depicted as a mustenel raised by kurloke. Most paintings show Kurlune at a valenor war front, or leading an army of shackled kurloke to freedom; several other paintings (found in an old Zeht castle in 520 AE) show Kurlune surrounded by mustenel wives and children, only one of the inscriptions on these frames is partially legible: “Great Kur[…] ruler of Zeht, […] of peace, slayer of the […] armies and hero of all kurloke; with his 204 sons and 126 daughters.”
It is believed all Zeht mustenel have a small amount of Kurlune’s blood in them, and this is what gives the Zeht race their strength.
Mustenel use a special leaf known as Falji Akji to thicken smoke and give it a sweet, soothing smell.
They used the thickened smoke as a painkiller, tattoo ink, and also to tell stories by shaping the smoke into relevant symbols or images. The leaves are also often used to tell the future either in tea-readings or smoke imagery.
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