Average Lifespan: 3 ¼ Tam'nýer—a''n Years / 95 Earth Years
Age of Maturity: 3 Tam'nýer—a''n Weeks / 9 Earth Months
Thanks to their 'short' lifespan, the Ãoni's age of maturity is quite young in comparison to other Tam'nýer—a''n races (other than the Sk'älik ). However, when it comes to maturity, the Ãoni are a bit different. Whilst children are raised by their parents and their colony, Ãoni raising changes fundamentally based upon gender, as girls have a higher priority. Girls will be devoted more time to be taught life skills than boys, as boys will follow the other males to simply tend the fields, and animals. Since girls must be raised to be leaders of their future families, focusing towards making them as knowledgeable as possible is the main concern of any Ãoni colony.
It should be mentioned that while girls get more attention when it comes to education, it also means there is more pressure put upon them to learn quickly and efficiently. The Ãoni still make certain that affection is as equally spread among the children as possible. Boys are praised for their hard work, as they make certain that the colony can eat, while the girls are praised for gaining leadership skills.
Aging Process: During the early stages of their lifespan, the first 3 Tam'nýer—a''n Weeks tend to fly by excessively fast. Ãoni children grow up very quickly. Think about going from your infancy to the age of 18 in just 9 months time. That's fast! Ãoni children are put through a real wringer compared to other children in the world, as they are expected to reach mental maturity in those 9 Earth months.
After reaching their age of maturity, the Ãoni will be at their 'pique' until 2 ½ Tam'nýer—a''n Years. From this point a noticeably physical downhill will take place. Ãoni do not have balding patterns, but it is possible for them to become more scraggly in their appearance. Typically they will begin to hunch forward, some requiring canes to stay up right more easily. Their feathers may begin to dull, or become damaged from preening, and their eyes have a tendency to lose depth in the pupil that takes them from a deep black to a warm grey. Adversely the skin of the feet and hands will begin to darken and become drier in appearance too.
Ãoni have the longest names on Tam'nýer—a' as they carry the first names of both their parents and then their own name. Think of it as the olden days when you might have been referred to as 'Your Name' son/daughter of so-and-so. However, instead of simply stating your father's it would be both your father and mother's names; mother's name goes first. This may seem extremely wordy, but it does abolish the need for a surname.
For example: Matthew, son of Liza and John
But in Ãoni culture once a pair have mated there is no 'and' as they are united under Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii. So, in Ãoni it would look like this:
Sðurenie, öž Kara Ytori
Given name first, of Mother's name, Father's name.
Do know that this is only customary for Ãoni who live in their colonies. Many Ãoni who decide to leave, drop their parents' names and simply go by their given names or they fuse their parents' names in order to have a surname.
The Ãoni are a generally tall species, averaging 7-8 feet, bipedal bird-like species. Covered in a blue to ashen white spectrum plumage, they are considered a visually pleasing race despite their gnarled hands with talons. Walking on thick, yet stalky legs and three-toed feet they are able to walk into the waters with little difficulty. Females and males are more or less the same physically, apart from their genitalia, but that does not mean that some may have more variations. With eyes in red and gold colours (and the only species with red eyes), their eyesight is nothing short of remarkable as they can pin point fish near the surface of the water from a distance of 2 miles away. This function is aided by oil droplets in their colour receptors as it improves distance vision and most especially in hazy conditions. It should be mentioned that the Ãoni are also ultraviolet sensitive, meaning that they not only see a Humans colour spectrum but ultraviolet as well.
EYE & PLUMAGE COLOURS
The Ãoni's spoken language is erratic. Each colony has a different dialect, and while there are foundational words such as 'food', 'home' and proper names of colonies, their species, and names for other species, the grammar will vary. This will make an outsider of a particular colony, yet still an Ãoni, very easy to pick out. This is why their written language is preferred as it is pictographic and universal amongst all Ãoni.
But you might be asking, why don't the Ãoni simply use C'eröd, the universal language? Well, that's all tied into their belief of their Goddess: Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii.
The Ãoni are an extremely religious race. All is for the greater good and worship of their Goddess Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii (th-tz-rr-ah-kee), which they speak to through their Matriarch, and permit to live through each individual. This means that every day of every Ãoni's life is a day lived and experienced for Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii. She lives through them, essentially having a copious amount of lives lived all at once, and with every death, she dies as well.
While religion is deeply rooted within each and every Ãoni, they are also a race of collectors. They are very protective of their stories and legends, although, surprisingly not limited to only their beliefs or culture. They have a tendency to borrow, or take from other species' legends, building their 'history' and subsequently their fanaticism for their religion. This means that whatever stories, fables, or legends an Ãoni might hear or a Xtola'cuxen brings back to a colony gets reworded and attributed to Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii.
Last, but certainly not least, it should be explained that despite Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii being a part of every Ãoni's life, some do not believe or, in some cases, want more than to simply be a vessel for their Goddess, wanting to live a life for themselves. This also ties into the rare case of Ãoni who still believe in Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii but want to give Her variety of life.
That being said, when an Ãoni does leave the colony, it is unlikely that they will ever be permitted to return. This is due to the Ãoni being so protective of their own legends and stories, as well as their dedication to their goddess. When an Ãoni leaves the colonies, they are breaking all things understood about their goddess and viewed as abandoning their own. This in turn is as though they are completely shunned by all other Ãoni in the colony. An Ãoni leaving the colony could even be shunned by their own parents although they may still love them and respect them in secret.
If, however, an Ãoni who has left chooses to come 'back into the fold' as it were, they must make offerings to their Matriarch and go through many rituals showing a repentant nature, and a willingness to devote the remaining amount of their lives to Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii.
Taking advantage of their numbers, and their religious attributes, they have a history of using chants that have turned to magic over the millennia. The Ãoni's lookouts use the large tunnel systems like a megaphone to alert the entire colony by chanting back into them if there seems to be a malevolence approaching their coasts. Their voice will soon be joined by more voices that will cause the spell to grow in power and absolute magnitude to protect their colony. Soon, the entire colony would be surrounded by a protection spell; a magical barrier of which no one can enter or exit until the threat has moved on, or they run out of energy.
The Ãoni are a steadfast race though, so be prepared for a long war of attrition. Aside from large defensive/protective spells, the Ãoni can affect their surroundings on a massive scale, altering the weather in the way of hurricane winds and the like. It should be said that chanting magic has never been achievable by any other race or member of a different race, and the Ãoni are extremely protective of their chants.
Sex in the Ãoni culture is very active, for lack of a better term. Of course, being a matriarchal society, it is up to the women to make a move, and pick their partners. It should noted that there is no shame or discrimination for Ãoni women to have multiple partners or change partners frequently. The only time they are expected to only seek the bedroom with one particular male is if they have gotten married and are still married to one another.
Reproduction: Ãoni can crossbreed solely with Humans
*Please note that if you do wish to write a crossbred character that in Tam'nýer—a' the child will always take after the mother more
Ãoni pregnancy lasts roughly 4-6 Tam'nýer—a''n days, so they breed very quickly. They tend to produce anywhere from 1-4 children, and the survival of the children is more so dependent upon how fast they learn to fend for themselves. The mother will fish for them, and provide warmth, but she will only do this for 3 Tam'nýer—a''n weeks. After that, food is up to the kids. But this does not mean that Ãoni mothers stop being mothers after this 3 week period, it simply becomes a group effort of the colony to educate the children and have them grow into themselves.
Their diet consists of fish, with a preference for shellfish, Wôrdiţ, nuts and the bark of mangrove trees they call Muntade.
The bark and roots of this tree are also used in the construction of their homes as means of being load-bearing beams and archways of their homes. The Ãoni reside in cliff side caves and trees. The caves are large pockets carved out of the rock, nesting close together, and deeper into the cliffs, connected by a tunnel system.
The higher ups of the colony will most likely reside in whatever trees deemed safe enough to nest in growing out of said cliff side. Every Matriarch, in charge of her separate colony, and her immediate family reside in a tree that stands on the top of the cliff. This permits the Matriarch to watch over her colony more easily, and the colony's herd of Wôrdiţ.
Apart from living in colonies, some Ãoni leave them to live in the main continents of the Sky-Coral Sea (Uwhang) and the varying Human Kingdoms scattered throughout Tam'nýer—a'. There, they can quite easily make a living, as they are known for their magics (healing) & religious storytelling, and proficiency at being midwives, doctors, and teachers.
When it comes to dressing, the Ãoni usually do not wear clothing when living in their colonies. If they do, it is usually the males wearing a simple garment to keep bits of natural debris such as twigs and burrs from getting stuck in their plumage. If living amongst the people, Ãoni do their best to fit in, wearing whatever is in fashion at the time but altered to fit their physique.
Otherwise, it is more common for Ãoni to wear jewelry.
Like clothing, the Ãoni are not one for shoes as it detracts for their ability
to clutch onto things, feet and feel the current when standing in the water.
If anything, an Ãoni might react to shoes like dogs & cats generally react
to socks; "get it off me!"
Distinctive of their everyday lives, Ãoni jewelry is one that is beautiful for its simplicity.
Commonly made from muntade tree bark, soaked in the oceans and vinegar to
transform it into a leather-like substance, and with the copious shells littering their
shores, and bits of bone, their necklaces are a natural delight.
It is not uncommon in Ãoni culture for the women & men to unwind together. Unwinding for them includes dancing, reminiscing by bonfires communally under the watch of their Matriarch and flying (though some Ãoni cannot fly due to never using the muscles, leaving them very weak).
When it comes to courting, like most things Ãoni, it is the women who initiate and make the decisions. However, that does not mean that male Ãonis cannot try to impress a female either and they can do this by collecting items or making items and gifting them to a woman.
When a woman decides upon a male to court it is usually announced when a colony is unwinding together, this is so that the male can be claimed publicly. For instance, to initiate courting and to declare that a male has been chosen for this process, a female will offer him a small ceremonial stool at a bonfire for him to sit with her. The stool and offering the man a seat is symbolic to show that the woman delights in hearing what he has to say. It also means that she values his insight and this can be further shown over time as the relationship cements through decorations the female Ãoni may place on the stool, and is also viewed as a gift.
Despite this ‘claiming’ though, other females can still choose that male to sleep with. But, (and this is probably where the men finally seem to get some empowerment and say in Ãoni culture), if a male is chosen, he has the right to refuse to sleep with other Ãoni females. If he does choose to sleep with other Ãoni women whilst being courted, this is not frowned upon or deem him unfaithful.
As a relationship progresses, a male Ãoni can materialistically return the affections by giving his female partner part of what he gathers in the fields, showing that he is a good provider. Of course, this is huge too because what he gives her must come out of his share, meaning that he is rationing out to his woman part of his personal supplies so that she may have a sense of luxury.
Courtship with Humans
It is well known that the Ãoni can only mate and produce offspring with humans, but with the Ãoni Coast so isolated and far away, it is mostly the Ãoni living in Püertagœ and ZàÞça who have mixed unions. The Ãoni-Human Courtship Traditions have therefore originated in the city, and have been somehow inspired by the Khah’ courtship rituals also.
It is said that a long time ago, an Ãoni male fell in love with a woman with long beautiful hair, which reminded him of Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii. Fascinated, but still held back by the Ãoni traditions where females take the lead in courtship matters, the poor bird could do nothing but bring his beloved gifts. He started with IÞ'clet and Kandanžu berries on the first day, and they sat and ate them together, chatting and laughing. The second day, he brought more, but also he brought her flowers, and she jokingly braided them in her hair. The third day, the Ãoni told his new love interest about Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii and the creation of his race, and asked for permission to be allowed to braid her hair as well. The woman, who in the meantime had started to appreciate the gentleness of the bird, consented, and teased him about starting courtship in disguise in the Khah’ fashions. The male thought and thought and on the fourth day he brought with him leather, shells and feathers, and braided them in the woman’s hair, announcing his courtship and seeking Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii’s blessing. Since then, the practice has been adopted by mixed couples as part of the formal courtship, and also by humans wanting to show their ties to the Ãoni community.
Like most things when it comes to the Ãoni people, they tend to incorporate their Goddess. In stark contrast to our earthly tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other for 24 hours before getting hitched, the Ãoni spend the night before on their knees, sitting in meditative silence side by side.
Although it is very important to reiterate that the Ãoni are a matriarchal society, and again, they do everything for their Goddess, Ŧ'ţ'ra-'kii. If the couple falls out of love, the union is then broken, and the male must move out, as per custom. Love is the only reason for the Ãoni to be together. Of course, they procreate, but it is not a reason to live together. That being said, there is also no divorce. It is simply accepted that the heart changes, and if they are not happy, they are forcing their goddess to be unhappy, and that is unacceptable.
The typical Ãoni death ritual consists of either burning their dead or casting them out to sea. This is merely dependent upon season. In all irony, if it is monsoon season they are burned. This represents to the Ãoni the struggle to let go. As the whole colony participates it is shown that all are affected and work through the grief together.
The main instrument of Ãoni Coast are the voices of its residents.
It should come as no surprise that for the Ãoni, the most precious music they could make is a reflection of their devotion, and meditation for their Goddess, in turn strengthening their unity and their magic with chanting.
The Ãoni traditional dances vary between colonies, as do their language dialects, but most follow a simple rule of 'displaying' their wings. As on Earth, male peacocks show off their tails, the Ãoni do this with their wings in their dances, usually side-to-side or, more importantly, up in the air.
As we can't obviously show a video of Ãoni actually dancing, here is a film to give you an idea of how Ãoni traditional dances are.
Academy of Hawaiian Arts: Wahine Kahiko
Being a matriarchal society, heterosexuality is common practice as a woman should always be a part of a household, and head of said house. Lesbianism is more accepted than being gay, but can suffer from societal stigma in the sense that they are 'taking away' a woman from a male potential mate, leaving a house without a proper leader and males astray.
Ãoni specific professions
To be a Xtola'cuxen brings almost as much prestige as being a colony's matriarch. No joke, Xtola'cuxen's are viewed with awe, and it is considered an honour to house one during their travels. Travels, you may ask? Xtola'cuxen are the only Ãoni individuals permitted to leave their colony and traverse the soil and waters of Tam'nýer—a' without consequence, (aka. having to repent for leaving).
That's because the Xtola'cuxen is an Ãoni who has devoted their life to learning the songs, stories, and religions of the world, in order for the Ãoni to continue on with their tradition of 'borrowing' from other cultures and adding their religious fables to their own dogma. Think of Xtola'cuxen as prestigious Ãoni bards.