Cifsa People and Culture

 

Cifsa are not human, though they are genetically close enough to cross-breed with humans.

Most humans perceive cifsa as being very beautiful. Most are lean and graceful, averaging in height between 5’6″ and 6′ tall. There is no perceptible average height difference between males and females. Most have high cheekbones, and males have no facial hair. Skin tones range from dark mahogany to pale gold, but mid-tones predominate. Eyes have oblong irises, and are usually silver-grey, tawny, or gold, with occasional green or blue. Hair is usually dark brown, dark auburn, or black. Cifsa hair does not start to become grey until extreme old age.

Cifsa reach puberty at about 35, adulthood at 60, mid-life at about 200, and old age at 370. Average lifespan is between 425 and 460, though some live longer. The oldest recorded age is 512.

Cifsa-human hybrids are invariably sterile. They mature more quickly than cifsa but more slowly than humans, and their lifespans fall in between their parents’ races’ as well. They reach puberty at 20, full (though not legal) adulthood at 35, mid-life at about 95, and old age at 180. Most do not live beyond 200. If the human parent is dark-eyed, the cross-bred child usually is as well. Cifsa mothers and human fathers account for better than 98% of hybrid children, due not only to human mating customs but also to extremely high miscarriage and premature birth rates among human women carrying half-cifsa children.

More of the space in cifsa eyes is given over to light receptors, so they have fewer color receptors. Consequently, they have excellent night vision but perceive color at a lower saturation than humans do. This leads to a common fondness among them for colors so bright that they can be painful to human eyes.

Cifsa also have a much finer sense of smell than humans.

Túfóžan society is ordered by matrilineal clans or Houses. Individual loyalty belongs to one’s House (ruŋ), and especially to one’s mother. A person’s full name includes a matronymic and a House name.

The culture does not recognize marriage. Some people do establish more or less stable relationships with one or more sexual partners, but others never do. Neither pattern is considered preferable, and most people fall somewhere in between.

Only the children of one’s mother are considered siblings, and one’s father is treated mainly as a valued family friend. Most lovers, perhaps three-quarters or more, are members of the same ruŋ, though any adult of the same social standing is usually acceptable, short of incest.

The concept of incest is very limited among Túfóžans. The only people considered inappropriate sexual partners are one’s siblings, and one’s direct maternal ancestors and their siblings and lovers. It is not uncommon for siblings to share lovers.

If a woman dies, surviving minor children are usually adopted by a close kinswoman, most often a sister or a close cousin of the deceased. When this occurs, the child keeps the original matronymic, but adds a new one in honor of the adoptive mother.

If a woman is cast out of her ruŋ or disowned by her mother, her minor children are also adopted by a relative, as above, but the disgraced woman’s matronymic is dropped from the children’s names. Officially, this does not lower the children’s status in the House, but practice is not always in accordance with ideals. Upon majority, the child of a disgraced mother may choose to reclaim the matronymic, but usually at the cost of becoming an outcast, too.

Adult children of a disgraced woman are usually forced to choose between their mother and their House.

Adults cast out of their ruŋoš must drop their House names but may keep their matronymics unless also disowned by their mothers. If the disgrace is especially severe, a mother may be forced to choose between her adult child and her House.

Other cases of adoption are very rare and usually only occur when the adoptee is an adult, as a special recognition of a close relationship and/or extraordinary service to a woman of higher social standing. This is considered a great honor.