Grysaille are, essentially, mammals with modified hairs as scales (as are echidna, armadillos, etc). And like most mammals, female Grysaille have estrus cycles (instead of menses, which is reserved for primates), with females coming into estrous 2-5 days out of every 21. Average body temperature is 100.5.
Like the ancient Greeks, when men thought they were the center of the universe and the ‘measure of all things,’ emphasis with Grysaille is also placed on having sound bodies. This is related to their religion, and physical deformities, such as birth defects, are unfortunately connected to the darker side of their religion. This is especially prevalent among the older, more rural and superstitious communities on Eeria. Because of this, newborn Grysaille that have physical deformities are frequently dropped off on the doorstep of the local orphanage (in the big cities) and the parents tell their friends and relatives that their child was stillborn. In small towns, deformed newborns are dealt with however the parents decide. “Enlightened,” liberal, and progressive minded Grysaille don’t believe this old superstitious ‘nonsense,’ but they are few in number. General Sandozon would be in the latter group, but even so, he was still terrified that his feet would be amputated. The ‘old ways’ can be rooted pretty deeply.
But because of this, overweight Grysaille are not common, and clinically obese Grysaille are rare, both because of their beliefs and because of their physiology: scales don’t stretch, and their skin to scale ratio is rather small, so serious obesity would put severe stress on their internal organs.
Secondary Sex characteristics:
There are definite differences in secondary sexual characteristics. Males are taller, and much broader and heavier in the upper torso, and thicker with more crest through the neck. Females are lighter in the torso, and have longer legs, in proportion. Females are frequently the fastest runners, and in the military, they often function as couriers. Males have the heavy chest plates (scuta), females’ are much smaller and curve around their breasts, which are smallish, firm and high.
Fangs and teeth: Males have bigger fangs; females’ fangs don’t usually show when their mouths are closed. This has sexual connotations as well; before civilized times, males used fangs for fending off rival males and, like boars’ tusks, for holding onto females during mating. Females have slightly longer and sharper curved reptilian snake-like front teeth. This is also used in mating practices (more on this below). Side teeth are similar standard carnivores: dog and cat-like, with some flattening of molars because they have evolved into being omnivorous.
Horns: Males’ are bigger and extend a little higher on top. This, too, had much to do with sexual prowess before they became civilized, with a good deal of head butting by young male ‘bucks’ during their twenties/thirties
These are definitely horns, not antlers, and curved. Each horn has a major arterial blood supply and a major nerve running through it. Breaking off a horn is excruciatingly painful! Lack of adequate nutrition will cause them to grow out grooved.
Horns erupt around a baby Grysaille’s first birthday, and is accompanied by pain and crankiness like human kids’ teething. Each “baby” node grows at a rate of about one every four years; the first ones are smaller and produce the tight curls at the end of their horns that lie fairly close to their heads, each node larger than the previous one. They are just long enough at around 9 or 10 years of age for their fathers to grab them by their horns as part of disciplinary action. By the time they are sixteen they have grown out the first 4 “baby” nodes of the smaller curl, and the length is about 5 or 6 inches, measured along the longer outer edge. The next node is a bit larger (first of the ‘adult’ nodes), and by the time they are 21, they are working on their sixth node, and the growth rate begins to slow down as each node becomes larger and takes longer to form.
Estrus and fertility
Both males and females know when a female is in estrous, and males are taught from a young age to control their urges around fertile females. The males do have a lot of self control in this area, (perhaps more so than would humans). This is not always easy, because the females in estrous have an overwhelming desire to mate, as well as being a bit cranky. In the military, it is forbidden for a male to mate with a female in the ‘usual’ baby-making manner while the female is in estrous. Pregnancy is not allowed. For this reason, it is not uncommon for two females who are good friends to wander off to some ‘relatively’ private place while in estrous and relieve their frustrations. Conveniently, it is also not uncommon for the estrus cycles of close female friends to synchronize.
Because of this, birth control is fairly easy. In addition, there are herbs on Eeria that will cause smooth muscle contractions, and will prevent implantation of the zygote if taken immediately after coitus. The herbs will also abort the fetus if taken later, although the latter is considered an affront to the Goddess.
In the military, if a Grysaille male and female are found in the act of copulating while the female is in estrous (and there is little real privacy in the military), punishment is administration of a dose of the herbs mentioned above. In addition to uterine contractions, it will also cause intestinal contractions, producing intestinal cramping and diarrhea (that’s the downside), and because it is a punishment as well as a pregnancy preventative, both the male and the female will be ordered to take it. Just staying around camp after that would be fairly uncomfortable for a day or two, but a 20 mile march with a full pack or heading into active battle will make the couples’ lives extraordinarily miserable, and chances are, the behavior won’t be repeated.
Females don’t cycle in the coldest months of winter, and most babies are born in high summer. Grysaille gestation is long… about 14 months
Grysaille are generally lusty, and joyfully so. Their customs regarding sexual activity are as strange, weird and diverse as are human beings’. Love-making can range from the gentlest and tenderest of physical contact, to full-on violent wrestling matches, and anything in-between. Sexual activity, and love itself, is approved of and sanctioned by the Goddess, and considered a good, healthy, and positive thing.
Sexual activity between both the opposite sex and the same sex is acceptable, although parents of same-sex couples often rue that they will not be grandparents and great-grandparents. Because having ‘family’ is important to Grysaille, same sex couples frequently adopt healthy Grysaille orphans, and there is practically a waiting list for these children.
Grysaille who have formed a partnership are considered ‘mated’ (ie boyfriend/girlfriend). Mated couples frequently live with each other after they leave home. Marriage is highly respected, but doesn’t usually happen until a ‘mated’ couple have spent quite some time with each other and are ready to have a family or buy a house. Getting married raises the honor of either partner to the higher status of their future spouse. A female (or male) who weds to a Grysaille of higher status, wealth, lands, etc. is not considered to be a ‘gold-digger’ but rather is honored as someone worthy of the love and commitment of their partner. Married couples are monogamous, and “cheating” on one’s spouse is considered disgraceful and without honor. Marriage splits all wealth/honor/status/lands/etc equally between spouses, and is never entered into lightly. For this reason, there is very little pressure to actually get married, until couples are ready to have children or purchase property together. Having children out of wedlock is frowned upon. Grysaille believe children should be brought into a ‘stable’ established household. Weddings are big celebrations, and all ‘witnesses’ (friends and family) are charged with keeping the wedded couple together, frequently acting as counselors to help the couple through marital distress. Grysaille divorce, although permitted, is rare.
Nuzzling and fondling the soft skin furry “V” area on their chests is considered flirtatious, the equivalent of getting to “first-and-a-half base.”
The full-contact ‘sport’ of rough love-making generally includes biting from both partners, in an effort to ‘pin’ one’s partner. Having scales prevents most serious punctures, but sometimes a little blood is drawn. Males generally use their fangs to grasp the females behind their necks (on the scale part, not the skin part), which has a weirdly ‘calming’ effect on the female, much like when a mama cat grasps her kitten by the back of the neck and the kitten goes limp. Females like to use their needle-sharp front teeth to grasp the males by the lip, which, due to the sensitivity of that area, pretty much renders the male malleable to whatever the female desires. Now and then a male will show up to his place of work with a swollen lip, and there is often a little ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ kind of acknowledgement that one’s co-worker ‘got some last night’ in a positive way. Needless to say, this type of rough sex would be very dangerous between Grysaille and humans, although a little consensual nipping probably happens. Some Grysaille would miss this ‘wrestling match’ aspect of sex, if mated to a human.
Good Grysaille fathers have ‘the talk’ with their sons fairly early, and unlike humans, this is usually a joyful experience and not at all uncomfortable. Not only does it include the usual ‘how not to get your girlfriend pregnant’ speech, but also conveys the ‘secrets’ of having a good sex life. They impart to their sons everything their fathers taught them, in addition to everything they have learned, including how to attract a female, how to please a female, how to recognize what makes a worthy partner, respect for one’s partner, and any ‘secrets’ to insure their sons will have healthy, active, and fulfilling sex lives.