Maajit

In the heart of the volcano, the Maajit worked their metallurgical wonders where no other could tread. I followed my guide as far as I dared, but the heat rapidly overtook me. I was forced to retreat, flushed both from the unbearable calidity and her obvious amusement at my attempt.
— Neriphue, Vessunan Advernturer
  Little is known in the larger world about the inhabitants of Mount Malice, for they live in an environment that is inimitable to all others.

Basic Information

Anatomy & Morphology

Maajit are slender and tall with two arms and two legs, coal black skin, and a mystical immunity to damage from heat. They do not have body hair; the hair on their heads is not hair or fur in the sense that most species understand it, but rather long, heat-sensing filaments.

Biological Traits

Immune to heat-based damage

Genetics and Reproduction

Eggs are fertilized within the body of female maajit. A secondary "mating" takes place approximately two days after fertilization, during which the fertilized egg is deposited in a special pouch in the male's belly. The egg develops internally over the next ten months, at which point the infant is born. Either parent may then feed the infant via nipples on their chests.   High temperatures are required for reproduction. Maajit removed from their native habitat can live but not reproduce. Many expecting fathers spend part of their day in magma baths. Though this has not been proven to have any beneficial effect, tradition holds that it produces stronger young.   Maajit do not ever have multiple births. In the rare instances of twinned embryos, both die well before term.

Ecology and Habitats

Maajit live in Mount Malice. (It should be noted that this negative epithet is not how maajit refer to the mountain. They call it Yana Culpan, which translates roughly as "forge home.") Immune to the heat of the volcano, they build living chambers in the inner walls. This is not without hazards, however. The last time there was a major eruption, hundreds died from crushing and suffocation. The maajit regard this philosophically; the fire god sometimes demands sacrifice. Clearly, they believe, they had angered her.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Maajit subsist almost entirely on altinbay, a dark, crust-like lichen that grows near the vents.

Biological Cycle

As maajit age, they begin to grey all over, somewhat like dying coals. They call this "cooling." Elderly maajit begin to lose complete immunity to fire. As a result, elders move to sub-communities near the lip of the volcano.

Additional Information

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Though it is not a thing they need themselves, the hair-like filaments that make up their main sensory organ can be pressed to create a miraculous burn treatment called arilis (Vessunan for "flame salve.") This has put them in more than a little danger from other sapients.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Found only in the volcano called Mount Malice

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Maajit are very hard of hearing, though they do have tremor sense. Heat sensors in their "hair" allow them infrared "vision," and many spend their days deep in the chambers of Mount Malice with their eyes closed. Even when they need their eyes, they tend to keep them half-lidded, making them appear sleepy to other species.

Civilization and Culture

Naming Traditions

Female: Guzal, Leniz, Zukhral, Nurban Male: Kavhe, Talgat, Sariv, Ravil Surnames: Galim, Izmai, Shevah, Batyr

Major Organizations

Sabir Gainevh

The "blind" monks of the Sabir Gainevh have shaved their heads yet still live dangerously close to a magma flow, dedicating themselves to the worship of Layzan, the fire god of the volcano. (Maajit won't die from the heat, but they can still drown in liquid rock.) Some of these have, for various reasons, chosen to donate their "hair" to other species to be made into arilis. Others have taken the "blinding" as a result of visions.

Beauty Ideals

Both genders: smooth, pitch black skin; slender, muscular limbs; ears that come to sharp, thin points
Female: prominent cheekbones, orange eyes
Male: slightly rounded bellies (seen as representative of strong incubation capacity)

Average Technological Level

They have the most advanced smithy techniques in the known world. This is at least partly due to their immunity to heat damage and their infrared sense. They can handle heated metals directly, and they "see" proper temperature and uneven heating. They also make intricate blown glass items.

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Ildus (Ilduzan)

Common Dress Code

Maajit don't wear much at home, since cloth of any type doesn't last long. Outside of the mountain, they will yield to the norms of other cultures, covering up whatever bits social niceties dictate.

Common Taboos

Cutting a maajit's "hair" is akin to blinding them. Once these filaments develop, unlike hair, they will not grow back.

Interspecies Relations and Assumptions

Maajits are extremely wary of other species, and for good reason. An oil pressed from their "hair" can be used to treat burns with miraculous results. But since these heat-sensing filaments don't grow back and a great quantity is required to extract useful amounts of the oil, there have been periods of history during which maajits were hunted and either killed outright or shaved. They keep to themselves for the most part, with only a handful of foreign merchants allowed into their trade posts.

Lifespan
160-170 years
Average Height
5'10'-6'
Average Weight
190-220 lbs
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Black skin that grays with age
Some have subtle striation
Skin may have rough patches


Cover image: Dark Elf by Vlad Gohn

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!