Six to seven feet tal, the Monroi appear like walking twigs - they are extremely slender, actually emaciated, with their veins, muscles and tendons showing under their silvery skin. The attachment points of their muscles on the bones are more pronounced, likewise their thoracic and pelvic bones are larger, as to offer better leverage to their musculature, enhancing their slim appearance even more. Despite this, they possess great strength and resilience, as their flesh and bone are surprisingly durable.
Their posture is digitigrade, leaving four apendages to manipuate and fight with - two of their arms are long manipultors with six variously opposable fingers, while the other pair has only four fingers and one clawed talon that can be hidden in the forearm when not in use, protecting its razor-sharp edge.
Like the rest of their bodies, their faces are almost skeletal - pronounced cheekbones, no apparent nose and large colorful eyes are accompanied by long pointed ears and feelers where a moustache would be, as well as two bony ridges on their head that protect arrays of sensitive antenae that resemble mohawks when extended.
Monroi females mature normally and are considered grown up at an age of 20.
The males have a more difficult time at this - they are actually neuters until they go through three 'Fires' or 'Pyres', or stages of maturation. These are triggered when a Monro male enters a cold homicidal rage when in combat against another male in the same stage of maturity, and defeats him. The pheromones shed during such an encounter set a positive feedback loop in motion that leads to the shedding of even more pheromones and the induction of changes in the body. Finally, the death of the adversary sets free the final component necessary to trigger the Pyre.
Some males need to pass but one such combat to proceed to the next stage, others need to win as many as seven.
The presence of more mature males generally dims the aggressiveness of the youngsters somewhat.
A curious fact is that the combat and victory against a member of the same species is not always necessary for the transformation - sometimes it is sufficient to find an able member of another species and defeat him in combat - a weak empathic sense and observation allowing the Monro to determine whether a would-be opponent might be sufficiently tough to trigger the onset of his maturity.
The immature males tend to everyday tasks and labor, while those more mature will direct them, and the adults assume positions of leadership.
While less directly aggressive, their females establish a social standing amongst them through intrigue, social cutting and backstabbing.
There are no marriage customs per se amongst the Monroi: the males live solitarily, tending to matters of state and business, beong courted by the ladies by night: it is a sign of prestige to mate with a prominent male.
When not actively vying for the attention of a male, the ladies will group up in pairs, rarely triplets, to show affection and intimacy to each other, the time of the males being not sufficient to actually care for a woman, though the more considerate send presents or sometimes seek the company of the most pleasing ladies during their spare time.
Their society is a merciless meritocracy, with the strongest claiming the most resources - no social care whatsoever makes for a rather cruel society that sheds all but the most cunning.
Like their are towards their kin, so are they towards neighbours: calculating and cruel, enslaving and raiding, exploiting resources to fuel their huge spire-cities, places of heavy industry clouded in permanent fog and fumes.
The monroi like it warm and moist - to that end, they heat their cities, and warm huge vats of water to fill the air with steam. All private and public places will have water courses and pools.
To be comfortable in dryer regions, the Monroi used to wear the skins of other creatures, flayed and kept from decomposition by secretes of their bodies, while nowadays, they use tightly fitted leather, goggles and cloaks, most often only their antennae and ears will go unprotected - many of their servants never see their lord face-to-face.
A monroi wil adorn himself with tokens telling of his achievements, like the number of kills, his wealth, charms granted by those consorts overly content with his performance, all to show off his ego.
To prevent unnecessary infighting, all Monroi of higher social standing will follow elaborate codes of conduct as to avoid insulting the pride of another. Thus, dealings with them are very difficult, for you never know when a seemingly innocent remark will make them unsheathe their 'pocket-knives'.
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? Responses (8)
The Monroi have to fight and kill each other to mature and have children.Do their laws reflect this?
All hail the victorious stick-people!
But Cheka does have a good point. What sorts of laws do they have to keep breeding season from turning into the Freddy and Jason franchises?
They are very different from the average insect person. I too would like those questions answered, if Echo ever returns.
Of course, we could just start answering those questions ourselves...
As this is a necessary part of their existence, laws would surely reflect it... but do they actually have laws as we understand them (prescribed behaviour for any aspect of life with all the do's and dont's)? Laws are something for the weaklings - or would be to a Monroi.
If they have elaborate codes of conduct for common dealing with others, it is logical to assume that they have customs for this important part of their life. So there is surely a proper challenge. Given the mad rage they enter afterwards, there would be no 'proper way of combat'; but a kill that is too easy - backstabbing, shooting from afar, via a trap etc. would not trigger the maturing - it must be combat to the death.
Just to clarify... there are the neuters, and then there are three various stages of maturing, each to be triggered with a duel. What are the actual changes that accompany maturing? Is it only more pheronomes (making them have more charisma/sexappeal/leadership aura)? Or do they actually grow stronger, tougher, or get anatomical changes? If we go more for the insectoid image, they could even weave a cocoon... or just undergo a period of hibernation/downtime. Particularly after the first Pyre when their sexuality evolves is this likely.
Monroi male teenagers should be avoided.
This is a great idea. Do we want to take it further?
I would assume, given their insectiod nature, that there are, at least early on, a massive number of young 'males'.
A good 'grey' villain species. Not 'evil', simply pragmatic.