Endless Blue – Week 67 – Vitruvian Kouton   1 comment

Biology

Vitruvian Kouton

Secretive and reclusive, the Kouton originate from the south-western part of the Known World, but have since migrated to the other Fluid Nations.  Despite whatever settlement or society they choose to dwell amongst, inevitably the instinctive Kouton secrecy keeps them from becoming fully integrated.  Not anti-social, Kouton still find it hard to form intimate bonds with others of their own kind, let alone the other sentient races of Elqua.  The deep seated compulsion to hoard information, collect precious secrets and obscure knowledge, makes a Kouton seem cold and difficult.  They simply do not profer details unbidden.  A charismatic speaker that knows how to frame questions that illicit more information from a listener will find an easier time conducting a conversation with these reluctant people.

The overall physique of a Kouton is thin of limb but thick of torso.  Their arms and tail are thin, almost reedy, while their concave chests accentuate the paunch of their bellies.  Even the most athletic of Kouton, their musculature developed to the fullest extent, has a look of flab and sag about him.  Bags under the eyes and a stooped back make all Kouton seem old before their time, but also adds to the image that these pisceans are wise beyond their years.  Their skin is delicate, and must be kept well lubricated in the oily sweat their endocrine glands excrete.  The procedure for maintaining their skin’s juvenance is intensely personal and a taboo among their kind. akin to the elimination of bodily wastes — they all do it, but it is never spoken about.

Perhaps even more of a taboo is the practice of collection this excreted oil and mixing it with other alchemicals to form a sticky adhesive.  This adhesive is resistant to dissolving in water, and that fact is utilized by Kouton who coat their aegis in the material as an aid to disarming enemies.  Ungues that strike such a coated item become stuck, and the Kouton can then wrest the weapon free, leaving their attacker defenseless.

The side effect of keeping their epidermis freshly coated is a minor but significant ability of chameleonic pigmentation.  The emotional state of a Kouton will cause cells in their skin to change color.  This change is a reflexive one, and cannot be controlled anymore that a person can control blushing.  The color change is a general shifting in hue of the skin, and lacks the ability to mimic finer details needed for true camouflage.  The emotional state determines the shade of coloration: frightened Kouton turn pale; angry Kouton become livid; saddened Kouton turn blue, and so on.  To a race whose most sacred ideal is the seclusion of information, such obvious tells of their emotional state are a glaring contradiction.

The digits of the hand, as well as their caudial and pelvic fins, are elongated and webbed, ending in flattened pads at the tip.  The expanded surface area of these pads provides the superior gripping needed to pry objects away from the adhesive concoctions the Kouton use.  The webbing of the hand is shortened, extending between the second knuckle and the first, and provides little added benefit to Kouton swim speeds.

The head of a Kouton  is flat, almost truncated at the face, giving the impression of being pressed against clear glass.  Their bulbous eyes are wide spread on either side of the head, with just enough mobility to be able to focus their gaze ahead of them.  Each eye has a pair of membranous inner eyelids.  Semi-transluscent, these inner nictating eyelids move independently the other, and out of sync with the other eye.  Because of this non-rhythmic blinking, Kouton constantly adjust the angle of their head while looking at something, some times even changing to the other eye when closely examining an object.  These additional eyelids grant the Kouton its extensive visual acuity, acting as lenses that provide a filter for light.  The inner pair provide the Kouton with the ability to see into the infra-red wavelengths, allowing them to see in low-light to no-light conditions, while the outer pair enable vision in the ultraviolet range, granting the ability to variation in coloration due to fluorescent properties.

Behind and a bit below each eye is a circular depression.  These are the ears of the Kouton, and the skin stretched tightly over the audial crater in their skulls forms a tympanic membrane that vibrates in the presence of sound, sending the signal into the audial crater, which acts as a reverberation chamber.  The ears of a Kouton are well suited for picking out the slightest of inflection in speech, but further aggravates the Kouton’s head-cocking behavior as it adjusts its head for optimal sound reception.

Their wide mouths house a multitude of tiny, needle-like teeth behind wrinkled lips, which sag downward into loosened jowls around the neck.  Their jaws can lower to a great degree, showing of an almost circular ring of sliver teeth jutting from their gums.  When their mouths are closed the rows of razor sharp teeth interlock.  An individual tooth is both pointed at the tip, and serrated along the edge, making it perfectly suited for tearing wounds into prey that cause bleeding out.

Vitruvian Kouton

Alleged Resurrectionist document titled “Vitruvian Kouton”.

Like most of the Primitive Races, Kouton reproduce ovipariously.  The female lays a clutch of eggs that the male then fertilizes.  The eggs hatch into a larval form of Kouton, transparent and toothless, little more than a pair of bulging eyes on a tail.  The eyes have their nictating membranes grown over their cornea, sealing the eyeball in a fleshy bump.  As the larva slowly grows, it develops teeth and limbs, and the flesh over the eyes splits to form the inner eyelids.  As they mature into adulthood Kouton young are utterly dependent on their parents for feeding and protection.  But as soon as the juveniles reach an age where they can collect secrets on their own, they are abandoned and treated as any other Kouton — basically a rival.  While family is noted in Kouton society, it does not grant one any preferential treatment.

One response to “Endless Blue – Week 67 – Vitruvian Kouton

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  1. Pingback: Endless Blue – Week 95.2 – Kouton: Illustrated | Endless Blue

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