Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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The Six Races: The Madhusudana

This is part of the bonus material for the February 5, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl, describing the six races of the series A Conflagration of Dragons.  Begin with Part 1.  Skip to Part 3, Part 4.

The Madhusudana

Madhusudana means "honeybee," "honey-drinker," or "demon-slayer."  It also has references to detachment. Like other names relating to this race, it comes from the  Mahābhārata.  The associated elements are Air and Water.

The capital city  Shaunaka was built into the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean. Read about its destruction in  "The Janardanakavita."  Madhusudana hold the coastal territory. They have considerable shipping, as their culture relates strongly to motion and travel. They also use wind power as a source of energy by means of sails, windmills, and other methods. Restoration and healing interest them as well. They are among the more expansive, extroverted, and gregarious races. They have multiple marriage forms with divorce.

Madhusudana are average height, about 5'7" to 5'10 for males or 5'6" to 5'9" for females. Their lifespan is about 75 years. They have a thin and delicate build. Neither sex has facial hair, and body hair is almost nonexistent, although they do have hair on their heads. Males have wiry muscles and do not bulk up easily, even if they exercise a lot. Females have small breasts and hips. Madhusudana have long, narrow wings with feathers coated in water-resistant oil. While they cannot breathe water, they can hold their breath for a very long time. Their scales are thin, flexible, and delicate. They are dry on land, but exude a protective coating underwater that keeps the skin from absorbing water and wrinkling. The scales are barely visible but give the skin a pearly sheen. Their hands are delicate, with fingers webbed to the third knuckle. Their dominant senses are hearing and smell/taste. They tend to have small noses, often short with an upturned tip, which can close to keep out water. Their ears are small rosettes similar to those of a seal, also closeable. These are usually hidden under the hair, set relatively low near the base of the jaw. Eyes are large and rounded. Common colors include blues, greens, and aqua. Uncommon colors include silver and hazel. Rare colors include grey and violet.

Skin tones are pale cool colors: silver-grey, lavender, ice-blue, aqua, sea green. Patterning appears on the dorsal side of the body, with part of the ventral side solid. This usually takes the form of ripples or streaks; sometimes it appears as dapples, rings, or small dots. Most markings are just a slightly darker version of the base color. Less often, someone may have colored markings on a silver-grey background. Other combinations are rare.

Hair is wavy, anywhere from almost straight to quite strongly rippled. It is often bicolored and may be brindled (tiny patches of differently colored strands scattered throughout) or streaked (more discernible, larger patches of one color appearing against a background color), depending on the size and shape of a person's skin markings. Common colors include platinum blond, creamy blond, and slate. The color slate is a bluish gray, and in Madhusudana the blue note can become very pronounced. Uncommon colors include white and gray. Black is rare.

Their skin is sensitive and easily irritated. They need to wet it regularly or keep it supple with oils and lotions. They bathe daily, often more than once. They prefer soaking to showering for the purpose of getting clean, although they love to play in showers or fountains for recreation. Because Madhusudana are adapted to a wet environment, they are vulnerable to desiccation in general; dry air is hard on their eyes, lungs, and mucous membranes. When traveling away from the coast, they tend to keep crocks of water open to humidify the air.

Madhusudana (Air/Water) are the least virile of the races, not often willing or able to have sex, although they are somewhat fertile once engaged in the activity. Their infants have extremely piercing cries and mind control to force their often-vapid parents to take care of them. Other races find this aggravating, so are rarely willing to foster them. Shu (Earth/Air) and Eofor (Earth/Fire) have some natural resistance to it. Hachi (Earth/Water) are uniquely vulnerable because the nurturing quality of Water puts a chink in the natural armor of Earth; they can be run ragged by the untempered manipulation. This ability usually fades as Madhusudana children grow older, but a few individuals retain the ability to influence or even control others, and learn more about manipulation. They become the autocrats who control cities, ships, or other groups. That leadership is pretty much the only way their culture can focus enough cohesion and motivation to sustain a civilization.

The primary magic of Madhusudana is psychic power.  This includes illusion (making false input to any or all senses), scrying (obtaining information via mystical search, often through manipulation of objects), clairsenses (perceiving things at a distance), mental communication (telepathy, empathy), temporal awareness (sensing the past or future), psychometry (reading objects), mediumship (communing with spirits), mind control (making a creature or person believe or do something), astral projection (out-of-body travel), etc. It cannot create physical objects and can affect the material world only indirectly, not directly. Some abilities require contact, such as psychometry; but others may have long range or even no apparent range limit. The distance is often determined by the caster's strength and skill, as in astral projection. Duration varies, but tends to be short, with few effects lasting longer. Psychic power does not require material components, although it may be enhanced by such (as in using a crystal to scry). It works on willing or unwilling subjects. The effects may be perceived as pleasant or unpleasant by subjects.

Madhusudana are influenced by mind/thought and soul/intuition, so they delight in ephemeral intercourse. They focus on the abstract and immaterial. They are hedonistic toward daydreaming and sensual pleasures. Many people of other races find them soothing. Most Madhusudana are strongly averse to conflict, inclined to do what everyone else wants rather than argue about it. They tend toward a strategic mindset. They maintain a good balance between subjectivity and objectivity. They are expressive of thoughts but can be secretive about feelings. Their dominant modes of communication are computer and placating, so they tend to be logical but resort to pleas when something goes wrong. This race is also the most prone to distracting.

Madhusudana eat a great deal of seafood, primarily shellfish and edible seaweed gathered close to shore. They do some fishing but are too small and frivolous to make a heavy practice of it. They eat meat and eggs from domestic poultry, seabirds and other waterfowl. They grow salt-tolerant varieties of leafy vegetables and fruits, mostly in terraces. Some of their recipes are very salty. Because some of these people cannot digest red meat or dairy products very well, those items rarely appear in Madhusudana cuisine.

They raise poultry for meat and eggs. Cats run feral along the docks and are kept on ships to hunt vermin. They are rarely kept as housecats because few Madhusudana have the reliability to keep pets; but that's all right, because cats can look after themselves.

Madhusudana dress in lightweight, filmy clothing when possible. They wear loose draperies much of the time, but tighten the garments before flying. They like things they can get out of quickly if they decide to go swimming. They make much of their own fabric, seasilk, out of a particular type of seaweed. Seasilk is light but strong, dyes beautifully, and is a favored trade item. Madhusudana prefer plant fibers such as linen and cotton to animal products such as wool or leather. Some are even allergic to wool. They like cool pastel colors: lavender, peach, soft blues, pale grays, sandy tones, cream and white.

Preferred weapons include bolas, gig-spears, nets, slings, and throwing knives. They use shortbows, usually with blunt arrows such as intended for birds. However, many of these people are pacifists and don't use weapons at all, or only use them for hunting and not combat. Conversely they are famous for luring assailants into hazardous terrain: slippery cliffs, craggy flyways, snarling reefs, etc. For music, they like woodwinds and strings, especially flute and harp. They are famous for their conch horns and seashell whistles.

After the Conflagration, the substitute currency of Madhusudana (Air/Water) is stamps. These convey right of transport for messages, goods, people, etc. Because few of the elaborate instruments survive the fall of Shaunaka, they turn to plucking tunes on a bowstring or trading with the Hachi for instruments made from reeds.

Imran (Air/Fire) and Madhusudana (Air/Water) have a loose alliance based on exchange of news and entertainment, opposed against the stronger trade alliance of Shu (Earth/Air), Eofor (Earth/Fire), and Hachi (Earth/Water). Shu (Earth/Air) and Madhusudana (Air/Water) are particular unfriends. Eofor (Earth/Fire, mountain) and Madhusudana (Air/Water, coast) disrespect each other and prefer to avoid contact.

Virtues:  cheerful, easygoing, elegant, kind; brainstorming, refreshing, releasing, sailing, theorizing; absorption, beauty, communication, discovery, empathy, innocence, knowledge, originality, persuasion, serenity, tolerance and appreciation of differences, versatility.

Vices: careless, dreamy, fickle, gossipy, gullible, inattentive, lazy, libertine, turbulent, uncanny; worrying; oversensitivity; can't shut up, gets lost in the long view and overlooks details.
Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, nonfiction, poetry, reading, writing
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