Anatomy of the Prydaen
The Anatomy of the Prydaen
-Written and record by -- A Curious Olvi
The Prydaen people are not a race you will find much written about. Primarily, this is because they seem to pass all of their teachings to new generations by way of verbal instruction. Since their migration into the Eastern lands, more and more of them have realized the value of written lore. Due to this, thankfully, a small and quite open-minded family has agreed to allow me to invade their privacy in order to document some of their physical attributes, and bring to rest so many of the questions that have been posed by Easterners for years. As part of our arrangement, I have agreed to share the opinions and impressions of my hosts, which shall likely appear in numerous portions throughout this document.
When the Prydaen first came to Kermoria, many of us simply thought of them as rather large cats. Some of us even brought them into our homes, adopting orphans, and treating them as little more than pets and dolls. Thusly, have we spawned a generation of Prydaen that do not know what it means to be Prydaen, instead, acting like the common house cat. My hosts have indicated that most Prydaen elders deem this behavior to be befitting only of kits. The majority of the Prydaen seem look to these others with a mixture of derision, pity, and disgust. Some Prydaen recognize this as a failure at allowing Easterners to adopt and teach their young.
The Five Senses and Various Physical Attributes
The eyes of Prydaen are highly responsive to light. While most often the pupils appear near rounded, when contracting, the eyes sharpen into vertical slits. I have been assured that the Prydaen see in color, but tend to describe reds and oranges as washed out colors in comparison to the vivacity in which they perceive other colors. This lack of an ability to perceive distinct shades of red and orange does not hinder the Prydaen peoples. If anything, it seems to make hunting in low light or at dusk much more manageable for them. During some experimenting, I found that while I was unable to track a rabbit in a field as I faced the setting sun, but the Prydaen had no such issues, and were very neatly able to turn it into dinner.
As a Prydaen ages, it is not uncommon for this washing out of to extend into the rest of the spectrum, leaving an elder mostly color blind. We believe this degenerative effect is somewhat circumvented by the exposure most of their population now has to empathic healing. A far greater number of Prydaen past their prime seem to have retained full visual prowess.
As for scent, the Prydaen nose is quite like that of a large feline. They display a wide range of features in terms of nose bridge. Their noses tend to be flatter, tapering down from their eyes and are punctuated by a soft nasal plane and philitrum. While the Prydaen do seem to have a much stronger sense of smell than say, an Elf, they do not seem to utilize it for hunting, instead relying on their sight and more strongly, their hearing.
Extending from the philitrum, the Prydaen have a cleft upper lip, which at times, gives their words a gruff or muffled tone, especially when hearing them speak in their native language. While the upper lip does not seem to be very fleshy, their bottom lip tends hold a slight roundness, though this is not true of all of them. While not heavy with them, the Prydaen also have several short whiskers near the upper lip, and springing from above the eyes. The whiskers, much as they are with large felines, are used as sensory tools. I've been told that while these whiskers are an aid to a Prydaen, they are not a requirement and if a Prydaen were lose them somehow, it would not cause major issues.
To speak briefly on the structure of a Prydaen head and face, I must say that they do not all have flat features. In fact, it seems with some Prydaen, a slight protrusion of the mouth and nose gives the effect of a short snout or muzzle. I have been told that despite originating or native region, this protrusion may be longer, shorter, or completely nonexistent in others. In addition to this extension of the face, the overall shape of faces varies markedly, even among the various regional markings, which I will speak on later.
The Prydaen mouth commonly boasts thirty-two teeth. Their canines are extended, sometimes protruding from their mouths in the case of the errant, poorly-grown fang, or an unfortunate overbite. The upper fangs are larger than those on the lower jaw, and betwixt each set of fangs are four incisors. Consisting of mostly slender, sharp teeth with sturdy roots, the teeth extending along the jaw behind the canines are all interlocking molars.
The Prydaen people are omnivores, though it seems from talking with them, that most prefer raw meat and little to nothing else. This is not very surprising, as their sense of taste is exceedingly dull as they'll never be able to truly appreciate one of my dear mother's berry tarts. The Prydaen tongue appears smooth without a rough texture and only slightly fleshier than that of a leopard or tiger. The faces of my hosts when I asked to touch their tongue was one of shock and offense, but eventually, one of the younger ones agreed to allow this seemingly great transgression. I was informed, quite sternly, that the Prydaen do not use their tongues to groom, nor is it acceptable behavior to lick others.
In terms of preferred tastes, the Prydaen do not seem to overly care for sweets as many other races do, though they are certainly able to taste and enjoy them. Interestingly, my hosts did not seem to appreciate sour tastes very much, but were appreciative of both bitter and salty flavors.
As I began to examine the hands of my hosts, I noted with growing curiosity, that the fingers appeared stunted or short, though very much still articulate. Their claws appeared to be growing from close to the tip of each finger. The Prydaen often sharpen and file their claws down, honing them to the perfect length and shape. This is done both for hunting purposes and for utility, as claws that are not groomed could potentially result in an accidental injury. I have been informed that they are unable to retract their claws, and while accidental scratching can occur, they are generally quite able to use their fingertips without causing harm to others.
Upon the palms of their hands, the Prydaen have thick, almost callous-like skin, though not as thick as on other felines. The Prydaen also seem to refer to their hands as paws, which does not seem entirely incorrect if I am to consider my findings. The Prydaen sense of touch is not one of high sensitivity, though they seem quite aware of their surroundings at all times, I have been told this has much more to do with their hearing and sight, than anything else.
Unlike traditional felines, who mainly walk on their toes, Prydaens have a foot that very closely resembles a human's foot, with one exception -- a sharpened claw appears on the end of each toe, instead of a toenail. The same callous-like skin that appeared upon their hands or paws, I should say, was also present upon the bottoms of their feet. My own opinion is this is the reason behind why so many Prydaen seem to forgo shoes. It certainly lends much to their agility and the frequently utilized ability to stalk their prey quietly in some case.
Uniquely, the Prydaen ear structure varies a great deal. I have noted that the ear shape varies from a soft rounded edge, to severely pointed with dark tufts, like that of a caracal. The length of the ear does not seem to play much role in how well one Prydaen over the other can hear, but their ears, much like their tails, appear to be in constant movement. Used for common expression, the ears are also host to the strongest of the Prydaen senses. My hosts have told me that a deaf Prydaen is a dead Prydaen, for they rely on their hearing more than anything else.
Like the ears, the Prydaen tail appears to be used not just in a utilitarian fashion, but also as a means of expressing themselves. Prydaen tails seem to be most like those of large felines and while they can sometimes be quite thick, I have also seen some tails that taper and end with tufts. They are not prehensile and are ill-suited for anything but balance and expression. My hosts were not at all eager to discuss their tails, though, the eldest of them has asked me to add a quote, "While we use our tails for balance and expression, we consider the tail as a gift from the Triquetra. It is a symbol of who we are. It is honor. It is pride. It is community. To be without our tail is to be Cemsiat, and cast out from our people. Cast out with little hope to find redemption and return to the Wheel."
Astutely observant people would note that there is a wide range of physical features and colorations seen among the Prydaen. My hosts have told me that in the far western lands, where their people are from, it was usually easy to tell where a Prydaen might live just by their markings, fur colors, and ear shapes. I have been told that while these regional markings were of great import in their mother land, the Prydaen people are largely nomadic in the Eastern lands, meaning that the tortoiseshell fur that would have denoted a forest dwelling Prydaen, may not mean that this Prydaen resides in the forest only, but likely only hunts there. Since the migration, and likely due to the loss of so many Prydaen, There has been a large melding, making it especially true that one may find what looks like a Prydaen of the grasslands, born of a mating of two that appear to be from the mountains.
Prydaen fur does shed in much the same manner as felines, though they do not typically require regular brushing. In addition, it seems the Prydaen, while taking great pride in their fur, do not need to perform any specific regiments with their fur other than to clean themselves as anyone else would bathe. Prydaen skin glands are very responsive and it is not long after a thorough washing that a Prydaen would soon have a healthy sheen upon their fur.
Expanding on their fur, it appears that while the men of the Prydaen do not grow beards or mustaches, their manes, and I do stress that it is a mane, tend to grow thick around their jaw, close to the ears. While some Prydaen will cut this away in favor of shorter hair, I have witnessed some Prydaen men that allow this to grow out wildly and appear very imposing. The Prydaen mane grows from the top of their temples, often around the ears, and rather than stopping at the base of the skull, it seems their hair continues down their neck, their hairline, as it were, stopping just between the shoulders. Here, the mane becomes sparse, thinning and blending in with the rest of the fur.
As I am sure my gracious hosts will certainly read all of the insights I have written to share with the world, I must issue my most sincere gratitude for allowing me to not only intrude upon their lives, but also their propriety and their privacy. The Prydaen people are truly remarkable and after learning more of their physiology and senses, it is no surprise to me that their culture is based so strongly around hunting.
A Curious Olvi