Kihai Elves; nature bound guardians that ward against corruption to ensure balance.
With plant-like bodies that adapt to the flora around them, the Kihai feel deeply connected to the land, and defend their territory viciously. Vigilant in their maintenance of their natural homes, they value mindfulness, diligence and natural beauty. Kihai seek to shape the natural world around them, for in doing so, they shape themselves.
Kihai have an 'Affinity' with the plant life around them. Over a period of months, their bodies will slowly adapt to whatever surroundings they inhabit, growing selections of the local flora on them. Floral growths, beards of pine needles, and bark-like skin are common examples. This adaptation process can only begin if the environment they live in is constant, but provides them with camouflage and slight environmental resilience once established. This adaptation can be controlled on some level, with Kihai maintaining the spaces they live in to produce favorable adaptations.
The Kihai keep a tradition of wearing ritual masks that embody changes or adversity in their lives, as a mirror to how their bodies adapt to the plant life around them. In preparation for major personal challenges, battles, or as an act of penance, Kihai may don a mask that embodies the aspects they will need most for the trials ahead. These masks are typically bestial in nature calling upon respected creatures, but can also represent Kihai heroes. These masks are most often made by the wearer, and the wood used in its creation is selected for symbolic reasons; with each variety of wood believed to enhance a specific mental, emotional, or bodily aspect of the wearer.
Kihai are often motivated to drive back the forest's harmful flora, as if this harm is left to fester, their adaptation to that might cause them to sprout thorns, nettles, or even darker floral attributes. Because of this need to maintain their environment, they have become master horticulturists, and they use these talents in conjunction with the Cuthaill to work the land and weave the trees into safe havens for the peoples of the Venswood.
Kihai do not share a common appearance aside from general shape and size, instead their appearance matches the plant life that they surround themselves with. When moving to a new environment, their appearance shifts over the course of a season to match the local flora more closely. This has lead to Kihai with a multitude of skin, hair, and eye colors, with many being able to blend in with their surroundings. Others intentionally sleep in beds of brightly colored flowers to give themselves a more bright appearance.
It is common for Kihai living among more trees than other plant life to develop bark like patches on their knees and elbows. Legend says that if a Kihai were to hold still to a tree long enough, they themselves would become a tree.
Kihai live to be up to 175 years old, and mature into adulthood at around 20 years of age. It has not been uncommon for older Kihai to emerge from those who have adapted to particularly long lived trees.
The following parameters are used within MPM, with a variance of around 10-15;
The name of a Kihai often possesses more vowels than consonants. The letter "x" is uncommon as is using two consonants in a row. Hyphens in names exist, but imply nothing. To the Kihai, family is not determined by blood ties but rather ties of developed relationships. This leads to familial names often being discarded in favor of names taken from these ad hoc groups.
Example male first names: Oleon, Satos, Kyrandl, Ilran-Lyonas
Example female first names: Thivyhrl, Visra-Axia, Ume-le, Arcaena