General Anatomy of Ren
Ren are a species of humanoids known for having colourful blood, called “hemotones“. They are the only species of comparable intelligence to humans to exist in the Orb. Unlike spirits, who can choose between corporeal and ethereal forms, ren can only manifest as physical beings.
There are two subspecies of ren: Landdwellers and Seadwellers. As their names imply, Landdwellers live most of their lives on land and Seadwellers remain in or near water their whole life.
Ren are mammals. Landdwellers are bipedal and possess two arms and legs, a torso, neck, and head, and five fingers and toes on each hand and foot, including opposable thumbs. Seadwellers who have adapted to life on land are bipedal and possess two arms, two legs, a torso, neck, and head, and have two long, spindly fingers on each hand as well as opposable thumbs. Solely water-dwelling Seadwellers may possess jellyfish-like characteristics or tentacles in place of feet, but will likewise have arms, a torso, neck, and head, but will have more pronounced fin membranes between their fingers and may lack opposable thumbs. Both species are capable of performing highly dexterous tasks and make great use of tools and Essence to perform them. They have complex methods of communication both with one another, spirits, and the deities of the world. They differ from spirits and most other animals in their ability to form organised civilisations. Many ren have the ability to draw some amount of Essence into their nervous system to psychokinetically manipulate matter, including souls, blood, and flesh (anatomancy).
Lynxlike in appearance, landdwellers generally possess small, flat noses that resemble a cat’s. Their eyes are large, monolidic, and have elliptical pupils. The presence of a tapetum lucidum allows them to see clearly at night or in the dark, and creates an eyeshine effect in bright light. Most landdwellers are tetrachromats. Their teeth, which can be quite sharp, are capable of regrowth (particularly with the aid of anatomancy) at any point in their life. Landdwellers are natural omnivores. A layer of very fine transparent hairs over their entire body, with a concentration of thicker hair atop their heads.
It is possible, although somewhat rare, for Landdwellers to be born with bioluminescent freckles or birthmarks, which is a trait most commonly found in Seadwellers.
The sex of an individual is typically determined at birth birth. Sexual dimorphism related to height, muscle mass, and similar is relatively low. A few key traits, such as internal and external genitalia, the presence or absence of breasts, and the ability to become pregnant make up most differences between the sexes. A significant percentage of landdwellers are androgynous.
Landdweller pregnancies last for 65-75 days. At birth, most landdwellers are blind and very small, but they mature rapidly, typically reaching biological adulthood at 15. Landdwellers have an average lifespan of 65 years. Both sexes are capable of reproduction until death, but female ren only possess 200 to 300 eggs. Female ren menstruate, but cycle lengths typically range from three to four months.
Seadwellers who have adopted life on land are usually froglike in appearance with long, powerful legs that are slightly bowed and aid in swimming. Their eyes are protected by two lids which can be opened or closed at will; they also possess a nictitating membrane to protect their vision while in water. Like landdwellers they possess a tapetum lucidum, although in primarily water-dwelling individuals this organ is nearly three times better at reflecting light. Seadwellers are also tetrachromats and are capable of distinguishing very slight variations in colours on a green-blue spectrum with far greater ease than Landdwellers. Most are piscivores or herbivores, with some overlap in those who are primarily land-dwelling. Their skin must be kept wet at all times, and can burn very easily in the sun. Most land-based settlements are on rivers or near large bodies of water, and many times are located in swamps or marshes. They are hairless, but possess fins atop their heads, spine, and elbows as well as fin membranes between their fingers and toes. Seadwellers are naturally bioluminescent, but the greatest percentage of seadwellers with this trait are deep-sea dwellers who rarely, if ever, surface.
Seadwellers typically only develop a sex after they have a mate. There is no immediate differentiation between male and female seadwellers. Gender roles are generally non-existent except in a portion of those who primarily live on land, who tend to mimic the established roles of the landdwelling cultures around them. Once a mate is decided upon and a sex has developed, the female lays 10-20 eggs for the male to fertilise and bury. Gestation is complete in 150 to 175 days. The parents will remain near the clutch until they have hatched. In some cultures, individuals whose mate has died or those who did not take a mate in the first place will be in charge of monitoring the entire group’s clutches. Although adulthood is reached within 5 years of birth, most seadwellers will not endeavour to find a mate until they are 15 to 20 years old. Seadwellers can live to be anywhere from 200 to 350 years old; the oldest known Seadweller died aged 395.
It is generally understood that there are three landdwelling races: saaren, solnren, and lunanren. However, most cultures primarily identify themselves by hemotone.
Saaren have a higher rate of complete heterochromia and bioluminescence when compared with any other race of landdweller. Their irises are typically very light, pale shades on a green-blue colour spectrum, although violet and orange variations exist in those of Məzqhan descent. Hair tends to be thick, straight, and richly coloured on a white-black colour spectrum. Light green-blue hair has been recorded, again mainly in those of Məzqhan descent. Their ears tend to be very angular and bony, usually pointing upward and laying very flat against the sides of their heads. The average height of a saaren is around 7 feet, 5 inches. Their complexions tend to range from deep ocean-grey with bluish undertones to navy. Most whitebloods are saaren. All redbloods are saaren. This is due to the interference of spirits during the Məzqha Exodus.
Solnren possess the broadest range of hair and eye colour. Green is the most common in eyes, while red is the least. Their hair is commonly dark shades of greens, blues, and purples. White and grey hair is not uncommon, but tends to be seen less than other colours. Red and orange are rare. Solnren’s ears tend to point upward, although those of Candrish or Mazrijan descent are more likely to have downward-pointing ears similar to a lunanren. The angulation of cartilage tends to be less pronounced than in saaren. The average height of a solnren is 6 feet, 9 inches. Complexions tend to be stormy grey; blue undertones are most common and generally more pronounced than in lunanren. Most solnren are bluebloods or blackbloods.
Lunanren typically have warm-coloured eyes. Yellow is most common, and red the least. Many ren of Mazrijan descent have grey or clear blue eyes. Their hair tends to be red, orange, or silver, with little variation, and they tend to have either very curly or pin-straight hair. Very rarely, lunanren will have white hair that appears to be opalescent. Unlike saaren or solnren, it is very common for the hair and eye colour of a lunanren to match. Their ears point downward, possessing soft angulation and defined tips. Their ears tend to stick out from the sides of their head. Lunanren have the greatest range of motion in their ears, which allows them to rapidly change their position in order to display emotion. The average height of a lunanren is 7 feet, 8 inches. Most frequently, their complexions will be pale to dark grey. Blue undertones are generally absent. Nearly all silverbloods are lunanren, as are most blackbloods. In Solka and Örös, a significant population of blue-blooded lunanren exists.
A seadweller’s “race” is primarily dependent on the climate and environment in which they matured and is mainly a term of reference used by Landdwellers to distinguish between three general groups.
Seadwellers who live primarily in cold, deep water (“litaren”) tend to have paper white, silver, or blue skin with marbled, solid, or ombre patterns. Their fins tend to be much longer, thinner, and flowing than warm-water dwellers. Their bioluminescence tends to be more pronounced than others and can also be found on their fins. They are primarily blackbloods.
Cold-water dwellers who keep to shallower depths such as lakes, rivers, and straits (“komoren”) can have a variety of skin colourations that range anywhere from vibrant green to deep violet. Like litaren, their bioluminescence is obvious but usually restricted to their face, torso, and limbs. They are primarily bluebloods.
Seadwellers who primarily live in warm water (“tomuren”) usually have more muted skin in areas such as swamps, marshes, and bogs, whereas those in more tropical areas tend to have warmer-coloured skin and more fanciful markings with shorter, thicker fins. Their bioluminescent markings tend to be muted compared to other Seadwellers. They are primarily bluebloods.