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Lesshen

Furry humanoids who originally hail from mangrove swamps all over the archipelago. Lesshen are a great deal shorter than humans, standing slightly bowed-over at 130-160 cm tall, and are generally of slight build, though certain affluent Lesshen in the major cities have developed quite prominent pot-bellies. Their fur is long and silky, and keeps away the wet of the swamps extremely well. It comes in a great range of colours, from deep nutty brown to tan and yellow ochre, to grey and even deep red. All Lesshen have long whiskers and pointy, tufted ears, and their eyes range from deep forest green to amber and lilac. Lesshen rarely wear very much in the way of clothes, due to their fur's excellent capabilities in keeping foul weather away, and in their wild villages they are almost never seen wearing more than a simple belt or baldric. In the great cities, however, the Lesshen have adopted many of the styles of the other peoples, and enjoy the appearance and feel of long, draping garments in bright colours, and particularly like hats of all kinds. Simple jewellery such as beaded bracelets and necklaces are common, and due to their nimble hands and sharp eyes, many Lesshen have become recognized silver- and goldsmiths and jewellers.   Lesshen religion centres around the worship of a large pantheon of spirits and lesser gods, such as the Spirit of the Hunt, Makaha; the Trickster, Lua; and the Goddess of the Home Place, Cil. Shrines and lucky charms dedicated to these spirits are common, and worship is rarely more complicated than setting aside a token offering after a hunt, or hanging a wreath of fresh flowers under the eaves of a hut.   Lesshen society is formed in loose groups called “Clans”, each led by a matriarch, who is usually the oldest (and often wisest) female in the region. Clans are not so much organized by blood ties as they are by location, and though it's certainly common that many members of a clan have blood ties, it's not necessary, and the concept of inheritance is not one practised by the Lesshen. Courtship among the Lesshen is usually an aggressive affair, with a female stalking, attempting to impress and sometimes physically stealing away a male. These rituals are common themes of Lesshen tales and songs, and the theft of a prized male from one Clan by another is often a source of great pride. These sorts of matings are nearly always for the purpose of producing offspring, though it often happens that a male once stolen stays with the Clan of his thief, and rarely indicate some other sort of bond. Indeed, romantic and familiar bonds between Lesshen is a completely separate affair known simply as “Bonding”, and can occur between several individuals at once, of any gender, and is more related to forming a sort of “sub Clan” than to any sort of mating behaviour. People of other Stock can also be included in Bonding rituals, though this is relatively rare.   The Clan's young are raised communally, and little is made of each individual's parentage. Twins or even triplets are more common than single pups, and like many furred mammals, the young are born blind and very vulnerable, but mature quickly. A Lesshen is considered a young adult by age five, and a full adult at eight. Lesshen rarely live to be older than 50.

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