Mhoats are physical embodiments of magic, their body made of a physical form of magic called aethic. Aethic is malleable and allows mhoats to transform between a quadrupedal and bipedal form. Flexible plates of hardened silk cover every part of the body where aethic doesn’t show through, these are formed naturally as a protective layer between themselves and the environment around them. The plating is usually subtle, obscured by soft fur-like strands of silk that sprout from the surface of the plates. The seams are visible at night when a mhoat’s natural bioluminescence shines through the seams of the opaque plating that covers their bodies.
Given their magical nature mhoats come in a range of different appearances, the various traits they present occur more often than others. Mutations or mythic traits are often a result of a mhoat’s natural magic or an encounter with wild magic altering their appearance. Outside of these random magical influences there are food items that mhoats find in the wild (mutation stones) or make during seasonal festivities (fruit drop jelly) that can draw forth specific traits that a mhoat desires.
Some mythic traits are viewed as special or significant, greyscale aethic for example is thought to be from a touch of the magic wielded by the mhoat deities, Yel and Myn. White, associated with Yel is viewed as a blessing, a sign of good fortune while black, associated with Myn is viewed as something to be treated with wariness, an ill omen. The colors presented in a mhoat's aethic are thought to be an embodiment of their magic; the colors present on their plating don't carry this same meaning which is why a much wider range of colors is present on the protective plating covering their bodies.
All mhoats carry some latent form of magic that they were gifted by their deities.
Yel’s gift is that of natural healing, most injuries can be healed with so long as a piece of the mhoat isn’t lost. A lost limb can reattach itself so long as the magic in that limb doesn’t fade into the surrounding environment before an attempt can be made. Most wounds are covered in a thin layer of silk until plating can reform over the wound, this often leaves a pale impression of the aethic color on the mhoat’s coat but it fades slowly over time.
Myn’s gift is one of limited transformation, mhoats can naturally shift between a quadrupedal and bipedal form at will. Along with this, mhoats are able to form a second set of arms with all of their arms able to transform at will. Even their bodies can be altered freely so long as the overall body mass remains the same, so a thin and willowy mhoat could change their body shape to be short and stocky.
Beyond these natural gifts in magic, mhoats often pursue branches of magic on their own or through lessons with other magic users either privately or through circles. Circles are places of magic research, where mhoats are dedicated to expanding the limits of known magic or unlocking new branches of study.
Branches of Magic
Primal Magics: Fire, Air, Water, Earth
The easiest branches of magic to learn, this draws on the basic elements of the world and tends to be the most common type of wild magic seen in the world. Most mhoats will learn one of the elements before they tackle the more advanced branches. Ambitious mhoats will learn advanced forms of the elements such as drawing forth weather, altering metals, and other forms of the elements.
Life Magics: Time, Healing, Oracle
Life magic is often associated with the deity, Yel. It is considered to be fairly precise magic, but also much more commonly studied than magics from the other advanced branches. Time magic often involves the speeding up and slowing down of time within small and limited areas. This is often used to aid the growth of plants or speed up a time to aid work, but this branch is fluid in its application. Healing and Oracle magics are more straightforward involving the mending of wounds and readings of future events.
Chaos Magics: Illusion, Transformation, Creation, Portal
Chaos magic is often associated with the deity, Myn. This magic is known for being unpredictable by nature and places where this magic manifests in the world are often avoided for fear of the effects it can have. Illusion magic involves altering the sense of the world, it isn’t uncommon for a mhoat to learn this branch before tackling transformation magic. Transformation itself involves altering the state of their being, their form beyond natural abilities, or transforming creatures and objects into other things. Creation magic allows for a mhoat to manifest new items and creatures from the world around them. Portal magic is the most studied of these branches, strictly controlled and the most useful for connecting the mhoat islands. This particular branch is often focused on group spells and extremely precise castings or rituals.
Spirit Magics: Barriers, Warding, Charms, Necromancy
A wide-sweeping area of magic, it is most often associated with magic in its purest form. The basic levels of this branch focus on barriers and warding, usually used for protective purposes or to add ambient effects to a location. At the higher levels of this group of magics, there is often communication with spirits, which are the lingering magical energies that have formed a type of sentience. These spirits are often tied to general emotions or the desire to serve; with emotions, they take the form of charms that affect the mood of either the caster or others while necromancy is a spirit of service taking residence in a fallen creature. Charms when benevolent are viewed favorably, but charms of a distressing nature or necromancy as a whole are viewed with some discomfort.
While some magical branches are viewed with fear, there is often a dark side to any magic. The benefit or misfortune magic brings depends entirely on the will of the one wielding it. Just like fire can bring warmth, it can blaze out of control and become a destructive force which is why those who study the branches most associated with fear are often the most vehement about their positive aspects.