Flames and Steel: The Chromatic War
Kitsune (fox spirits)
Kitsune aka fox spirits are often powerful spirits of the natural world. Red foxes are associated with being playful tricksters while black foxes are seen as malicious and ill tempered beings.White foxes are something of a mystery and often seem to play both sides as it suits them. The number of tails a fox has tells the age and power, with 9 being the highest known number.
Regardless of how they feel about the incursions of humanoids, all foxes are protectors of nature and minor spirits that dwell there. Red foxes keep to the forests while the more solitary black foxes tend to prefer the stone and cold of the mountains.
Not all foxes can master the art of shape-shifting. some are naturally better than others, in fact some never learn anything of the sort. It is mostly the curious red foxes that learn to take humanoid forms. Again the number of tails is a way to guess if a fox can assume more than one different shape.
While there is no centralized homeland for the foxes, they do maintain a pack like order among themselves. Mostly keeping to a few strict rules that have been laid down by foxes past. Interactions with non fox humanoids are supposed to be kept to a minimum, largely only being allowed as cases where protecting the natural world requires their help. However, curious young adult foxes of both genders have a tendency to get too close and wind up getting caught either in traps, or accidentally reveal they are really foxes in a humanoid form. Interbreeding between foxes and non foxes is possible provided a transformation is of the highest caliber. Even the occasional tryst between foxes and non foxes very rarely results in offspring. Cases of a fox mother are even less common due to complications of birth, ie the mother must maintain a humanoid form to birth a humanoid child.
The rare hybrid offspring are an unfortunate lot. All of them are cursed with the inability to control transformations and wind up in a half-fox state some or all of the time. Worse still are cases of berserkers that completely loose control when they assume a half-fox state. There are rumors of a pack of mostly black foxes called the Ko Shu that, otherwise acting as assassins, put down the berserkers as soon as they are discovered.