don't like being described as human
, but somewhat resemble them and elves
. They are the only native sapient
species to Instar
, certainly as far as they know, and they control the entirety of that hemispherical world.
"Instarrian" can also be used to refer to Instarrian language.
- 1. Physical
- 1.1. Appearance
- 1.1.1. Face
- 1.1.2. Hair - scalp, body and facial
- 1.3. Ageing
- 1.4. Two sexes
- 1.5. Magic
- 1.6. Material-mindedness
- 1.7. Telepathy
3. Instarrian characters
- 2.1. Behaviour
- 2.1.1. Basic body language
- 2.1.2. Physical contact
- 2.1.3. Apologising
- 2.1.4. Compliments
They are bipedal, warm-blooded and sexually dimorphic (they have two sexes, male and female).
These people look pretty human, with four limbs, clothes, a face, a head of hair, hands and feet - and no, we're not deliberately missing out any surprises like extra eyes. Well, unless the smaller fatty lumps beneath the breasts in females count. The major species differences, though, are internal. Genetically
they're probably not compatible with other humanoids.
Instarrian skin colour during the long summer ranges from tan brown to fallow brown. Skin gets darker in colour and more coarse with age, such that someone of three-and-a-half could get as far as raw umber. It may be striking that very few Instarrians, even those in dangerous jobs, have visible scars.
Hair colours: (greys) black, grey, white, silver; (creams) fawn, cream; or (browns) brown, blond, auburn and ginger. Hair in any of the yellow, orange or brown colours can be plain or striped (which results in an overall lighter colour).
Aristocracy (and only aristocracy) have a patch of dark, pigmented skin covering the middles of their faces. This is generally the same colour as their hair, just a bit lighter.
Instarrian eyes are forward-facing, are a bit larger than other humanoids' but typically held slightly narrower, and have a slightly different shape. (Note to self: not 'Asian' - downward tick to the inside corner, no prominent epicanthal fold.)
The bridge of the nose is slightly further out than a human's, and faces are reasonably broad, though facial shapes naturally vary. Ears are not pointed and have no separate lobes.
Facial expressions may be hard for offworlders to interpret at first; hostility, for example, is shown by a wide-eyed stare, and an expression of peacefulness can resemble sleepiness or smugness.
Eyes are only ever blue, green or amber, and are either bright or pale in colour.
This is a picture of an Instarrian woman. She's no beauty, but has a fairly normal facial structure, making allowances for Mutt's lack of artistic skill. (This picture is of course highly unlikely - you'd never see an Instarrian without makeup on.)
1.1.2. Hair - scalp, body and facial
Head hair in the general public can be anything up to around shoulder length, but on closer examination, it seems that only some Instarrians can grow it that long. Some seem unable to grow more than four or five centimetres' length. Gods
are sometimes portrayed with much longer hair.
- Instarrians have tiny, fine hairs all over their 'bare' skin, as a human does, in about the same density
- Likely longer hair in the usual moist clefts, but this may be waxed off, especially in men and people in performance professions
- Facial fluff:
- Women and men: Small amounts of light fluff (body-hair-coloured, ie practically invisible, not hair-coloured) underneath chin, poss. around jawline (depends on individual). Nothing within several cm of mouth. Distribution and texture of this continues lifelong without much change at puberties.
- Women and men: Three-year-olds (or thereabouts) grow fluff at back of cheeks, growing out of hairline, further back than sideburns; thus increasingly fluffy = sign of age. Generally little or none of this on forehead. Does not grow on ears, but continues forward around them.
- Men of this age can, but don't always, also grow longer hair in ears and nose as in humans. Obviously, this is plucked and trimmed.
- Women at this age, even those without any hint of striation thitherto, can begin to develop striping in their hair, including cheek fluff. This is generally concealed with dye, because it's considered unwomanly and embarrassing.
In internal organs and nervous system, there's a whole grab bag of differences from other humanoid species, but they don't have notably superior or inferior strength, stamina etc. One notable difference in physical confrontations is that all children who attend school are taught a civilian form of (unarmed) martial arts and, since it's part of their cultural background, most adults remain reasonably practised at it. (This is not
the same as the fighting style of the monks
Instarrian years last approximately 30 earth years. A rich Instarrian will live to four years of age more often than not. A poor one would be doing well to live to four. An Instarrian of one year looks 20 in earth terms, a two-year-old looks 40 and so on.
1.4. Two sexes
The two sexes are almost exactly equal in height (on average). Both sexes are light and agile, females tending to be curvier and more stately, while males are more athletic and lighter on their feet - but on average, both sexes are equally physically strong and muscular. Postpubertal males have no breasts, shorter hair and narrower hips than females and dress differently. Reproductive and excretory organs are different between the sexes.
Gender roles are different from Earth's.
All Instarians seem to have magical ability
at a similar, very weak, level. See that article for more information.
Though the Instarrian we have seen most often so far is Weft
, a cloth-mind
, material-mindedness is horrendously rare in them as it is in all Muttiverse
There's no native Instarrian telepathy.
Instarrians seem to be incompatible with Shaded telepathy. A Shaded telepath trying to read an Instarrian would experience a lot of discomfort. In theory, it they managed to form a private telepathic link (see article), it would be less secure than the telepath's normal state.
For telepaths from other worlds, the authors will decide between them. The Instarrian mind will feel quite alien, and, compared to other offworld species, quite insular, as though they are not naturally as social a people as others.
Certain divine and demonic beings found on Instar can read thoughts/minds/souls.
See also Instarrian beauty
and Instarrian fashion
2.1.1. Basic body language
They consider staring rude, unless the starer is higher in status than the subject. A steady stare out of open eyes is a challenge, and the same while tilting the head downwards even more so. Crossing one's eyes is a very disrespectful gesture.
Raising the head while lowering the eyes (e.g. tilting the head up but looking downwards) is an indication of submission. Cocking the head sideways, like a bird, indicates submission and hopefulness. A male closing his eyes and tilting his head upwards is either surrendering completely or enjoying himself, depending on the facial expression. A female doing the same may alternatively be thinking or gathering her breath, if otherwise confident.
If the hair on the head bristles and the skin along the spine twitches, the Instarrian is feeling uneasy or horrified, depending on the severity. Lowering the shoulders (seeming to 'shrink') and looking downwards are indications of guilt or avoidance of conflict. Turning the body a little sideways, mouth open a little, raising the shoulders and standing on the balls of the feet indicate 'fight or flight' - aggression or a feeling of being threatened.
- Wirin shook her head and slammed the backs of her fingernails into her palm, a gesture of constrained aggression. 
2.1.2. Physical contact
A hand-pass is a neutral greeting (see article passing hands
). Instarrians, especially males, are not shy of touching each other, and will hug, touch hands or thwap each other on the head quite freely in public.
However, touching of a romantic nature is strictly reserved for private occasions. The boundaries as to what is acceptable in public are complicated for a visitor to understand, so it's best to avoid touching cheeks, jawline, lower abdomen, groin or behind the ears, all of which are erogenous zones. You can't necessarily copy what you've seen other pairs doing, because they could be married.
The general form of an apology, when the apologiser is lower in status than the other party, is for the apologiser to express regret and then insult himself. If the other party agrees with this, the apology is considered accepted. When the guilty party is higher in status, it's not considered an apology, more of a generous condescension.
Compliments are given out where some other cultures might give tips of money. Expect to spend a lot of both on your sweetheart, especially if he's a male.
3. Instarrian characters