Jiuweihu are foxes that have accrued significant magical power with age, culminating in longer lifespans, intelligence, and preternatural abilities. Their main distinguishing feature is multiple tails in their definitive form. Jiuweihu are also known for shapeshifting like most magic beasts, especially into a humanoid form. They are often tricksters, with motives that vary from mischief to malevolence, but some act as faithful guardians, friends, local deities even lovers.
The most striking physical characteristic of a jiuweihu is generally the presence of multiple tails; otherwise they look like typical red foxes. The number of tails range by age and maturity from one to nine. They are covered with a downy coat of auburn or red fur, although some have gray, silver or white coloration. A jiuweihu's humanoid form will resemble a typical member of a Human or Humanoid species with bodies that tend to have a lithe build. The form can also retain some fox attributes like a fox tail or ears.
Multiple Tails: Once a fox can be called a Jiuweihu, they can have more than a single tail, and may grow as many as nine. While each jiuweihu matures at its own rate, standard studies of the species reveal that a typical jiuweihu tends to grow one new tail each century of its life (instances of slower or more rapid growth of tails have been documented). Jiuweihu tails are not only used as a means for balance and support when moving, to provide warmth in cold environments, but also serve as a visual cue for their basal magic capacity. Shapeshifting: Jiuweihu gain the ability to change their form once they are fifty years old. Jiuweihu are able to use the mana in their bodies to turn into a human or elven form of the same sex. They can also temporarily transform into plants, objects, or another humanoid. They can also expend less mana by retaining some of their fox traits in the form like their tails or ears. Illusion Glamour: Jiuweihu are innate illusionists. To them, their illusion is as real as anything else around them and they manipulate the mana around to make them happen. The jiuweihu, using this glamour, can make objects, weapons, people, homes, and even manipulate the landscape to suite their needs. One is capable of creating illusions and manipulating the landscape in a small vicinity, but when they gather their collective resources, whole villages can be made. Kitsunebi "Fox Fire": Jiuweihu can breathe out a magical fire that consumes no air, burns no fuel and creates no smoke. Foxfire appears as a mass of floating orbs of light, usually only a few centimeters in diameter and less than a meter above the ground. The orbs are as bright as lanterns and, in most cases, appear red or orange; although they are sometimes blue-green. They also have complete control of the luminosity and temperature of the fire they generated, often using them to see better in the dark, or their own amusement.
Genetics and Reproduction
Jiuweihu females or vixens are able to reproduce the earliest by their first year. However any litters they have as natural foxes will only produce more natural foxes not jiuweihu. Once they live long enough to transition, both sexes lose fertility until approximately age 150 to around 700 years of age, in most cases; there is some variability in exact points, of course. Generally, however, most jiuweihu (especially kitsune) are unlikely to reproduce again until around age 200 or older. Jiuweihu that reproduce with their own kind (either jiuweihu or natural foxes) give birth to a litter of four to six kits like natural foxes. While most will have the typical fox lifespan, a few will age slowly enough to become jiuweihu if they live long enough. While most litters only have one or two fox survive long enough, litters that provide multiple jiuweihu births, especially twins and triplets, are significantly higher than other henge races. Jiuweihu who reproduce with humanoids will have hanyou offspring that typically appear as their humanoid parent but can have jiuweihu abilities.
Growth Rate & Stages
All jiuweihu are born as fox kits and develop at the same rate as one. The kits will reach an adult fox size by 7 months. While most foxes only live for 5 years in the wild or 15 in captivity, those with the potential will age slower after this time to live much longer. Foxes who live past around 15 to 20 years start to develop cleverness and cognitive functions beyond that of natural foxes. The transitionary fox becomes a jiuweihu around 50 years of life, where they attain sorcery. However despite being physical adults as foxes, they still have the mental immaturity of children, which is reflected in their ability to only take the form of hominin children. It isn't until around 100 years old until their minds start to mature and their humanoid forms begin to mature as well. As such most jiuweihu are considered adults by 150 years old. Most jiuweihu have likely developed at least two tails at this point and usually gain another one every century until they reach nine. Jiuweihu can often live for up to 900 years.
Ecology and Habitats
Jiuweihu live around the world in many diverse habitats including forests, grasslands, mountains, and deserts. They also adapt well to developed environments such as farms, suburban or urban areas, in either of their forms.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Their diet is the same as in their days of being natural foxes. Jiuweihu are solitary hunters who feed on rodents, rabbits, birds, and other small game—but their diet can be as flexible as they will also eat fruit and vegetables, fish, frogs, and even worms.
Geographic Origin and Distribution
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Keen Hearing: Jiuweihu ears sport a fluffy filling protecting their softer tissue from wind, dust, and insects. This is an advantage for them where it comes to discerning the nature of any sounds they hear in the wilderness as well as in learning about the exact pronunciation of arcane words, where subtle differences in height and frequency of the voice may have a great impact on the efficiency of an incantation. They are capable of locating sounds to within one degree at 700–3,000 Hz, though less accurately at higher frequencies. These ears can also be retained in their humanoid forms and serve the same function. Night Vision: Behind the light sensitive cells lies another layer called the tapetum lucidum which reflects light back through the eye. This doubles the intensity of images received by the jiuweihu and improves vision in low-light areas. Keen Smell: Jiuweihu have the same great sense of smell as natural foxes, which allows them to track odors, even in the deepest darkness.
Civilization and Culture
Jiuweihu the world over are broadly split into two groups based on disposition and moral code, Holy foxes and Wild foxes. Holy Jiuweihu strive to follow a set of rules or law set forth by their matron deity of Huxian for Huli Jing and Inari for Kitsune. Commonly known rules may include not harming others unless in defense of a third party, refrain from draining or killing humans, keeping their word at all times, and other things along those lines. Nevertheless, these benevolent jiuweihu weren't above playing tricks on proud samurai and corrupt nobles in order to teach a lesson. Kiko that serve Inari sometimes wear a red scarf or bandanna around their necks to identify themselves as followers of the deity. Wild Jiuweihu do not follow any rules but their own, do not follow Huxian or Inari, and are typically regarded to as mischievous and callous if not outright evil. They are more of the sort mentioned above that intend harm on the innocent, even kill mortals readily, often doom a farmer struggling to support their family, and other nefarious deeds. The nine tailed foxes of this disposition are more common, especially the Gumiho in Gojosen where the foxes lack a deity native to that land.
Jiuweihu families tend to be matriarchal, as female offspring are more common than males in most populations. Within their family unit, it is generally only the dominant female who will have kits, and the other family members will often assist in the raising of the kits.
Most mated Jiuweihu are in pairs with their own kind; however, relationships of larger polyamorous groups or across species boundaries are fairly common as well. Female jiuweihu are commonly known for taking on their human form to mate with humanoid males, though a similar situation can happen with male jiuweihu as well. Marriages of jiuweihu with human species are well known in the Yaojing region.
Common Customs, Traditions and Rituals
Magic and Transformation Jiuweihu possess a wide variety of magical abilities which range from place to place and family to family, even individually within a family. Among them, age does seem to be related to power in certain matters; as a jiuweihu ages, they tend to develop specific, strong sorcery gifts in their life. These magics are not related to ability or skill with divine or trained magic; merely natural magical 'knacks' the jiuweihu has that can vary among dozens, if not hundreds of possible variations. Examples have included oracular visions, stone shaping, creation of sound, and improved physical strength. Like most abilities, while the jiuweihu has the potential to excel in these areas, training and time are required to improve and hone their personal skills. The most common ability possessed by the species is transformation. Jiuweihu can transform into animate or inanimate objects, but the most well known transformation is that between a full fox and the humanoid form. Their mastery of their species sorcery can be seen here, as many younger Jiuweihu are unable to completely and convincingly assume a near-human form. While a master of transformation will appear completely human, novices are often seen sporting fox ears or tails (sometimes even paws) and some retain all or a portion of their fur and other canine attributes. Very young jiuweihu are unable to control shifting between a fox-form and a more 'human' one with tails and ears and often shift when tired, sneezing, surprised, bored, not concentrating... well, often. As they grow older, they gain control over their body until their shape only changes when they desire; skilled shifters are able to gain an anthropomorphic form that blends vulpine and humanoid features, or to choose to only shift specific parts of their body. It should be noted that in native lands or where they are common, it is not unusual for even masters of transformation to retain their ears and tails, simply as a mark of racial pride.
Antiquity Legend has it in ancient times, there were foxes that served under a deity known as Inari, trained to deliver messages between devout followers. A common folktale describes how a pair of foxes were able to take some beast cores from an inexperienced and young Drakain. After ingesting these cores, decades pass and they developed the mystical abilities their descendants would be known for. Their cultural tale also descibes the falling out that occurred between these figures, resulting in jiuweihu that follow a path of the divine and those that follow their own personal code or whims. Due to scarcity of food, water, and similar basic necessities due to the Ghulat Wars, most jiuweihu were fighting among each other or other races. Many abandoned the collapsing structure of civilization and returned to living in the wilderness, primarily in their fox forms. Depending on their environment, this could have meant more freedom, shorter lifespans, healthier bodies, more uncertainty and less security. Modernity With the world becoming plentiful again, a few races were taking a shot at making their own civilizations. The Hauflins were one of the most successful attempts after the wars. So much in that some jiuweihu thought to get in on their surplus. These jiuweihu used their ability to assume humanoid form to walk among them, marry into their families, and other means to amass food, culture, and wealth. They had also used similar tactics to infiltrate the smaller societies of Homins and Amazons. These resources came to starting up their own patches of civilization for their own kind. Today, there are isolated jiuweihu villages, as mainly in the Yoajing region of the world. Of course with the big interspecies movements in recent history, their are also many to be found living among other races without having to hide their true identities. There are still plenty of jiuweihu that live in the wild, either their families never left or some that tired of civilized life.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
Jiuweihu have a varied reputation depending on the people and the area. Human races like Hauflins , Amazons and sometimes Homins saw them mainly as a nuisance until recently. Though this wasn't an idea share by all as intimate relationships have been established for centuries. They get along well with Fairies for their shared playfulness, but have average affinity with other fey races or with Anthropoids . Jiuweihu have varying relations with other henge; Wild Jiuweihu may attempt to prey on before they are capable of taking on a humanoid form. Drakians are respected due to their sovereignty and partly out of fear of their power. They have tensions with Okurinu as they usually get into disputes over hunting territory and kills, which will often result in Okurinu killing Jiuweihu if they are not careful. They also have a long standing rivalry with the Tanuki ever since the first Kori no Tatakai battle in Wakoku. For the most part, Jiuweihu give their respect and personal space to most of the spirit races, which has led to many good friendships and favors from the spirit community. They typically hold divinity of the Amatsukami and Shen in high regard, especially Inari and Niángniáng who many devote their morality to in order to ascend to a higher calling and plane of existence.
Vulpes vulpes jiuweihu
Huli Jing, Kitsune, Gumiho
500 - 1,000 years
canid: 45–90 cm (18–35 in), humanoid: 170.7 cm (5 ft 7 in)
canid- 2.2–14 kg (4.9–30.9 lb), humanoid- 68.6 kg (151.2 lb)
canid: 45–90 cm (18–35 in) in body length with tails measuring 30–55.5 cm (11.8–21.9 in)
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Jiuweihu have the same fur color variations as natural red foxes along with golden or white hair.