The current rulers of Khorrum, this small beast-race is outwardly friendly and somewhat naive when it comes to other civilized cultures. Only their mastery of the elements have kept invaders at bay and allowed them to survive in the harsh savannas of Khorrum. Their governing body is the Mhekhurr, a large order of shaman, who rule from their capital, Khor'Juhn-dro. They are at eternal war with the Wurxith.
PhysiologyMhenuur are a bipedal hyaenidae race, stout and powerfully built despite their short stature (Average is 4'8" to 5') and slight hunched appearance. Male fur color ranges from dark brown to a deep maroon and female coats a light brown to a dark orange. Their pupils and iris are invisible, giving them the appearance of their scalera's color, which can be bright oranges, yellows, reds, and, on rare occasions, purple or gold. Their jaws are lined with teeth typical of omnivores with the exception of twice the amount of canine teeth, two pairs of normal canines on the upper jaw and a smaller incisor-like canin behind the bottom jaw's normal canines.
At a certain age and right of passage, a Mhenuur earn their "marks" of elemental power and they display themselves as downward stripes across their face, often bright coloring discerned by their choosen element. Mhenuur Shaman can multiple stripes signifying mastery of multiple elements.
Their diet consists mostly of the meat of the Hrum-va supplemented with tubers and other roots.
The Mhenuur's strong sense of community instills traits like loyalty, honesty, and racial pride from an early age. They tend to expect others to speak the truth and tend to take statements at face value, but their somewhat stubborn and prideful nature makes trading difficult for foreign merchants; often finding that while Mhenuur may believe just about anything, but have their own idea of worth. While outwardly friendly, they are slow to accept outsiders, but will fight to the death for those they call friend.
Adolescent and young adult Mhenuur tend to go through a phase of adventure and wanderlust, leaving the tribe to experience the world; typically taking jobs with traveling merchants, sailors, or as adventurers abroad.
The Mhenuur believe in the Elemental Spirits, four powerful god-like beings that control their respective elements; they are known as the Earth-bones, the Lifeblood-water, the Heart-fire, and the Sky-wind. Their connection coming from their defeat of the Juhn-ro-Krim-da by the first Mhenuur shaman and gaining their freedom as well as their ability to thrive in the unforgiving savanna. The Mhenuur believe that a shaman is equal to these spirits and can commune with them, often being viewed as god-kings by common Mhenuur.
Mhenuur society is built around strengthening the tribe as a whole, young cubs are raised by everyone and parental ties do not come into play. Everyone is expected to give and work freely, even the concept of a monetary system was new to the race at the start of the <X> Era. Young Mhenuur are sent to the local shaman to learn their people's ways, of the world around them, the elemental spirits, and how all this relates. This can go on for many years, with gifted young being taken as apprentices and working for the day that they will be sent to Khor'Juhn-dro to become a full fledge shaman. Not all pass though, only those that exhibit mastery in all four elements will be taken and those that fail are sent out to lesser subsects of the Order. These sects differ by element and focus, they wield their elements as specialists in their respective field.
The Whoro'cro is the sect of healing focused lesser shaman, their muse is water and their focus is on restoring natural order. Their work is highly valued in Mhenuur society not only for healing, but for extracting water in the harsh savanna. A small faction within this sect trains lesser shaman to use water as a weapon in any of its forms, this is largely frowned upon as an ambitious few have found that blood is much easier to manipulate and with efficient results. It was the Whoro'cro that came to Whorn-ik to cleanse the corruption within the Ebon Glade Forest under the guidance of a few shaman.
The Krim'thun is the sect of warriors, their muse is the earth beneath them and their focus is on protecting Mhenuur lands. This is the most common sect that lesser Shaman are sent to as most Mhenuur show an affinity to the earth spirit. While their main focus is acting as the main military force of their people, they are also known for a strong craftsman tradition. It is the Krim'thun that erect the massive and seemless stone walls of most Mhenuur cities; they also are their people's smiths, they bend and shape stone to be hard and dense as steel. Many Krim'thun try to emulate the Shaman's ability to forge a stone weapon in seconds from sand or dirt, a few have been successful, bring in a new faction of weaponmasters into the fold.
The Cthif'yor are the sect of magi, their muse is fire and their focus is on guiding their people in life. Many Cthif'yor are great orators and act as preachers to their people, focusing on warning people of the dangers of wielding great strength and giving them hope to persevere in hard times. They also lead their people into battle, moving their warriors' hearts and encouraging them to fight to the fullest, no matter the odds. Some Cthif'yor become entertainers, using their talents in oration to drum up a crowd and theirmastery of fire to put on spectacular displays. Their flashy nature can cause many to disregard their strength, but even the weakest of Cthif'yor boast the ability to launch fire from absolute nothingness with absolute precision. Recently, a new trend has cropped up among the Cthif'yor where two entertainers compete against eachother, using their skills to attack their opponent while trying to keep the favor of the crowd.
The Urum'far are the sect of the unpredictable and unseen, their muse is the sky and their focus is on attacking the enemies of the Mhenuur with deadly efficiency. This is the least common sect that lesser shaman are sent to, partly to do with few having affinity to wind, but also due to this sect's bad reputation. The sect is split into two factions, the Awake and the Swift; the awake act as spies and messengers, observing anything of potential danger to their people and using their power over the wind to whisper to eachother over great distances. Awaken go through a ritual to strengthen their memory and observation skills, something that can unnerve others. The Swift are the shocktroopers of their race, attacking with insane ferocity and with quick efficiency. Swifts go through a ritual to control lightning, as well as the electricity of their bodies; this combined with their mastery of the wind makes them some of the fastest runners in the world. It also has the bad side effect of preventing Swifts from ever sleeping which leads to personality disorders and mental instability. Swift warriors move with great speed, leap great heights, and destroy obstacles with their howls alone; attacking with lightning strikes, wind slashes, and deafening howls. The Urum'far are sent to the outskirts of Mhenuur society and to warfronts such as Wurxith caverns. The sect is closely watched by the Shaman order, being the one of the few to overwhelm their power.
The Shaman Order itself stands above these sects and the Mhenuur race itself, guiding and protecting their culture. All shaman must boast the strength in all elements and greater power then their specialized cousins regardless of the element. Shaman are allowed to roam as they see fit, helping where they're needed or advancing their people's knowledge of the outside world. They come from all walks of life and it isn't uncommon to find shaman among the lesser sects, acting as teachers or expert craftsmen. They are revered by their people, even above the elemental spirits, and every tribe has grand celebrations when one of their own are accepted into the greater world. The Order is governed by the High Fane, a council of experienced shaman led by the First Shaman himself; they decide their people's direction and handle international politics.
Mhenuur that show no talent in the elements whatsoever become farmers, breeders, or sailors. Mhenuur settlements commonly have at least one Hrum-va farm and most individual Mhenuur keep Goro as pets.
Mhenuur names follow a simple pattern, often their first name consists of one or two syllables at most and tend to be short and simple. Their middle name is based off of their elemental affinity, earned during an early right of passage ceremony; while Cthif, Krim, Whoro, and Urum make up the majority of Mhenuur middle names, "Khor" is reserved for those with full affinity to all the elements at an early age and "Brim" is given to those that lack any elemental talent whatsoever. Surnames are based on the settlement that the individual was born in, rather then being linked to a particular bloodline. Translated, their names are pretty straightforward; Morn Khor Khorrum, for example, means "The Worldly Morn of Khorrum".
Examples: Borm Cthif Juhn-rak (The Fiery Borm of Juhn-rak), Krith Whoro Whorn-ik (The Tidal Krith of Whorn-ik), Hern Urum Forn'Baes (The Wild Wind Hern of Forn'Baes), Morok Brim Hrum-Krim'ro (The Corporeal Morok of Hrum-Krim'ro)
The Mhenuur's form of shamanism involves years of apprenticeship under an older local shaman, involving many rituals and journeys involving the four major elements of their pantheon. In these early stages, the novice apprentice has very little magical potential and it isn't until they are sent to the Shaman Order that they undergo the three rituals that they achieve powerful magical ability. The Ritual of Binding is a process where an aspiring Mhenuur is forced to meditate for three days straight, forgoing food, water, sleep, and other natural urges, as they commune with the nature. During this time, the Mhenuur is unconsciously binding his soul to the world itself, allowing them to move most natural elements as an extension of their body. Most of the apprentices sent into this trial succeed, only to die of dehydration or starvation, a small percentage bind their souls too fully with the world and their souls are trapped away from their bodies for eternity. The second ritual is the Ritual of Strength, where the Mhenuur is trapped deep within the earth by the overseeing Shaman and the novice must escape before dying from a lack of air. The Mhenuur must be calm and pull the air from the soil around them while parting the earth; overexurting can lead to using up the supply of air too fast, whereas going too slowly can lead to ground collasp or using up the air supply anyway. Few make it through the second trial. The third ritual is the Ritual of Restraint, the novice is sent deep into Juhn-ra territory and are warned that using their shaman powers will quickly incite the natives to converge on them, they must fight their way back to Khor'Juhn-dro without any supplies, a trek that takes a full week. When they return on the seventh day, they are welcomed as Shaman. Those that fail to pass, but survive are sent to one of the sub-sects for lesser shaman, the sect they are sent to is dependant on their strongest element.
Shaman exhibit powerful and instantenous control over natural elements, as well as their state of matter, shape, and, in some more powerful cases, even changing them completely into another element. Raising stone walls from sand, freezing water in midflight, handling fire without harm, flinging objects at high speed with the power over wind, all these are common applications within the shaman's repertoire. More advanced or experienced shaman have exihibited the ability to walk across water, move through the ground with ease, turn their bodies into flames, or even fly.
Mhenuur technology is primitive at best, they often use their elemental magic in place of scientific advancements and often shun machines as a whole. They often depend on breeding and taming animals like the Gorm-ba for travel and heavy lifting. What little weaponry or armor that isn't shaped by shaman magic is mostly simple materials like wood, stone, and leather. Most Mhenuur weapons are axes, spears, or blunts like maces and are made from shaped stone or precious ores. Armor ranges from simple leathers to magic-infused stone up to the coveted Heartfire Glass.