The plantlife of Qaiyore.....
spice of Hria
Mugu: The food source of the Te'ngk
Orif : The mobile tree of the Razanian Coast
Rapai Bush: The food of the Safi
Sfika Grass: Food of the Te'ngk and the Sfika Pigeon
Shake: A farmed plant of Hria
Shalan Tree: A tree of Hria
Thysle: A useful plant of the Mountains of the Rim
The animals of Qaiyore.....
Catayarsh : The feline mount of the Calarnar
Fallanar: The semi-mythical creature of the southern forests of Midsea
Gurder: The pack-animal of the Razanian Coast
O'ku: A pet mammal of Hria
Raken: The reptilian mount of the Tavar Mountains, introduced into Aryisa by the Asagmari
Safi: A valuable insect of Hria
Sfika Pigeon: A common bird of south and east Hria
Sigru: The domesticated herd animal of the Calarnar Desert
Sil: The intelligent rodent of the Razanian Coast
Taigan: The reptilian pack animal of northwest Midsea
Teeg: The herbivorous pet of the Zelkori aristocracy
Te'ngk: The three-horned Hria pack animal
Theranth: The avian mount of northern Midsea
Tora Bird: Rainbow-coloured bird of the northern rainforests
The Catayarsh (by Kenny Crowe & Brennan Taylor)
The catayarsh are the primary riding and companion animal of the Shanari. They can be trained to protect herds of sigru, the goat-like herds most Shanari maintain. Catayarsh are exceptionally intelligent, and those that are raised by humans are readily able to act in surprisingly useful ways, protecting their masters as well as entering battle with no apparent fear. Catayarsh can grow to a great age, between 40 and 50 is not uncommon. No Shanari would ever eat a catayarsh under any circumstances; it is considered tantamount to cannibalism. Dead catayarsh are given funeral pyres just like humans.
The Fallanar (by Mike Shenkar)
These mythic creatures (the "double-faced" in Videssian language) that dwell in the western forests are the sacred beasts for all Videssians. It is believed to be brought from the south by Agatius Fossern. Fallanar is the embodiment of the philosophy of the Videssian religion, the reflection of the titanic struggle within the upper being. During the day's light Fallanar appear as the children of Foss - friendly bearlike creatures with a yellow fur something like 1 meter tall. They are always ready to help people. However with the day defeated by the dark forces of the Night, Fallanar turn to the most deadly creature of the woodland. Almost nobody have survived the encounter with Fallanar at night, so the is no clear information how does it look like. This is the only reason that the forest natives have abandoned the western forests. It is forbidden by law to cause harm to Fallanar, the punishment is to survive a night in the western forests.
Gromura (by Dylan Martinez, Greg Hindman & Brad Snape)
A spice found in Hria. A new fast-growing subspecies was discovered in 1408.
Mugu (by Brad Snape)
A shrub: food source for the Te'ngk.
O'ku (by Brad Snape)A small mammal, approximately 1.5 feet long. It is brown in colour and quite furry, and has a flexible tail that is over 1 foot long. It is arboreal, and found in the Northern jungles, eating a diet of fruits berries and leaves. It is popular as a pet, and has also been the model of a plush toy made out of te'ngk hide for children.
Raken (by Aaron Nowack)The Raken is a scaly reptilian beast which is about the size of a small horse. Its hide ranges in color from a bright emerald green to a dirty greenish-brown. Raken are effective warbeasts, with sharp claws and teeth and capable of carrying a grown man's rate. They were domesticated by the Asagmari and are used as mounts for their calvary. There are still some today living in the Tavar mountains. Unfortunatly, few Raken survived the Exodus, and the Asagmari continue to attempt to increase the numbers of Raken. By now most of the calvary is once again mounted on Raken, but there are not enough for use for other purposes. They are related to the Taigan and Teeg.
Rapai Bush (by Brad Snape)
The food source for the Safi.
Safi (by Brad Snape)A small insect that feeds on the leaves of the rapai bush for three moons before spinning itself a cocoon. After a further month, it hatches as a beautiful butterfly with blue wings and a black trim. The fabric of the cocoon is used in the production of Safi silk, a valuable cloth. Safi farms are beginning to develop in the area north of the Bega River.
Sfika Grass (by Brad Snape)
A food source for the Te'ngk and Sfika Pigeon.
Sfika Pigeon (by Brad Snape)A small grey bird with pink underwings. Sings a rapid song whilst in flight. It has a single feathered 'horn' on it's head. Lives on the grain of the sfika grass, hence it's name, and is quite common in the South and East
Shake (by Brad Snape)
A farmed plant of Hria.
Shalan Tree (by Brad Snape)
A tree found in the gardens of the Shalpath Palace in Hria.
The Sigru (by Brennan Taylor)
The sigru are goat-like creatures which are herded by most Shanari.
The Taigan (by Peter Bonney)
A beast of burden of desert origin, or at least, being well adapted to desert life.
My starting point was the dewbacks ridden by the Storm Troopers on Tantooine in Star Wars (see http://cobweb.clemson.edu/~jvalice/cool2.jpg and http://cobweb.clemson.edu/~jvalice/dewback.jpg) . Not wanting to do a direct ripoff, I tinkered a bit. I added a flaring neck-fringe (see http://www.ozemail.com.au/~wildart/pics/frilz.jpg ) for cooling in hot weather, and spines like a horned toad (see http://www.texvideo.com/horntoad.gif or http://www.sachamber.org/images/horntoad.jpg ). The creatures stand about5-6 feet high at the shoulder, and some 12 feet from nose to tail.
As far as temperament, I've borrowed from yet another real-world animal: think rinocerous. Yup, that means they are not generally pleasant company, being short-tempered and agressive. However, the Taltherani have learned a trick from certain desert tribes involving various herbal preparations which, when added to the taigan's feed, renders them somewhat docile. However, even drugged in this manner, they require special handling (taigan handlers are a highly regarded profession in Taltheran).
Oh, and taigan have a nasty aversion to being over water. An expert handler can usually coax the animals across a shallow ford (2-3 feet deep). Or they can be ferried across a river if blindfolded & surrounded with incense and offloaded within a couple minutes. On the other hand, it is the flip side of this strange behavior around water which is what makes them so prized in the desert. They have an uncanny ability to scent water from a considerable distance. They can also travel long distances without water.
Taigan are herbiverous, and are typically found eating rushes and leaves in desert oases. (Experienced desert travelers always take care when entering an oasis to ensure they don't startle any resident taigan.) A smaller relative is common amongst the swamps lining the River Tal, but the Taltherani use the sturdier desert stock for domestication. Cold-blooded, taigan do not fare well in cooler climes, though they are sometimes seen in the south during the hottest months of the year bearing loads for Taltheran traders. As long as the temperature is low 20's/70's (C/F) or above, they get around okay. The hotter the weather, the more active they are.
The effort involved in handling and feeding taigan is well worth while, as taigan can carry significant burdens, and in hot weather can move at a brisk pace. [I haven't determined whether domesticated taigan are typically of one, or both, genders. Breeding and other details of their biology and ecology are also TBD.]
The Teeg (by Peter Bonney, Dylan Martinez & Steve)
A much smaller relative of the Taigan common amongst the swamps lining the River Tal. The export of Teegs brings Taltheran a useful source of revenue, though the creatures in the wild are facing extinction as the city of Tal continues to grow, draining the swampland that is the natural habitat of the creature, forcing the Taltherani traders to search further upstream, towards Hadrair, for new supplies.
The Zelkori are occasionally ridiculed for the odd position of Teeg within elite Zelkori families. Teeg, lizard like creatures larger then dogs, are considered sacred and accorded a religious significance. The Teeg have several feast days, and are frequently pictured in Zelkori art. Injuring or slandering a Teeg is legaly identical to injuring or slandering the head of the house where the Teeg lives. Individuals have been executed for murdering Teegs. Teegs can also inherit property and are represented by a seat in the House of Stewards, reserved for the Princes Teeg.The Te'ngk (by Brad Snape) A distant relative of the Sigru, the Te'ngk stands about 3 feet tall, is a quadruped with thin grey wool. Unlike the Sigru, it has 3 horns (Te'ngk is Hri for 'three-spired') and looks quite distinct from it's cousin in this respects. It is herbivorous, eating sfika grass and mugu shrubs, and as such is found throughout Hria territory. It is sure-footed in rocky areas, and was recently used a pack animal by the Celpali expedition to Bel'Adne. It is also used to plow fields of shake, and when a fesitval occurs, is a prized source of meat. They are quite docile, but have a habit of being stuborn at times.
The Theranth (by Peter Bonney & Brennan Taylor)The theranth are ostrich-like birds which make a fast and reliable mounts, but which are very hard to obtain and train. Moreover, while taming and training theranth is difficult, breeding them is well-nigh impossible. These factors combine to restrict their use to the wealthy or important.
Theranth range throughout temperate to subtropical climes, and are predominantly found in open terrain where their speed is an asset. They are omniverous, eating insects, very small animals, and succulent vegetation.
Most males are solitary. The females tend to gather in small social groups, consisting of two to five females, possibly a number of hatchlings, and a single dominant male. The females will typically lay one to three eggs once every two years. All the females in a group will lay at the same time, usually selecting a small protected copse of vegetation with good sightlines, and will cooperate for feeding breaks, incubation and defence of the eggs.
While not aggressive except in self defence or in defence of an egg clutch, theranth are effective fighters. Theranth do not have the powerful kick of our ostriches, but they compensate with a vicious toothy bite. Moreover, their heads are protected by a bony structure which terminates in a hard-edged crest, which is both useful protection and also effective for delivering a stunning blow to an attacker.
Domesticated theranth are usually captured as eggs or as young hatchlings. The training process is arduous and specialized. Best results are obtained if the young theranth is encouraged to bond with its prospective rider; however, a theranth trained in this way will only be usable by one individual. Unbonded theranth, on the other hand, can not be trained to the same level of sophistication, and are less cooperative.
Theranth can not carry as much weight as our horses: Riders above average human weight (including humans in heavy armor) will significantly impair the theranth's mobility. Moreover, the theranth will not carry any loads in the absence of a rider. Finally, while they are competant climbers, theranth tend to balk at skirting steep drops, and if forced may be vulnerable to vertigo.
The wild theranth of the eastern Calarnar desert are only hunted as food animals by the Shanari, not as mounts. They do capture some alive to sell to traders who are interested in them, though.
Tora Bird (by Brad Snape)
Rainbow coloured birds of every shape and size imaginable in the Northern jungles. Only record seems to come from some patrols out of Tolshath Mahla, and further investigation and classification is required.