Thursday, 5 May 2016

Commander Ludwig Nicstaed’s ‘The Creatures and Monsters of Esdaria: A Bestiary Written in Blood’, Part Two of Six

Part two of Commander Ludwig's bestiary focuses upon the slightly more 'traditional' beasts that wander the continent of Esdaria and swim in the waters around it. Like the first part, he has a tendency to focus upon the most exciting creatures. For example, a complete list of beasts that inhabit Esdaria would include all manner of wild wolves, roaming deer, wild horses, and so-on. 

There are slightly less notes in this section, as a great deal of his work is corroborated. Gulons, for example, are common knowledge, as is the warg. Though both are rare, they require no further explanation than what Ludwig provides for them here.
Beasts – Those that Walk Upon the Land and Swim in the Sea

The wolves that inhabit the green swathes of the Imperial Heartlands, the great empty spaces of Westmoor, and the rolling hills of the west, are all descended from the gulon. The size and shape of the largest dog one has ever seen, some even grow to the size of ponies. The gulon is a rare sight, however. They are broad-backed and strong-legged, with twice the number of fangs that a normal wolf or dog would possess. They are great shaggy creatures, with pitch-black fur and sparking amber eyes that can see as well in the night as they can in day. Their muzzles are often scarred and mutilated from decades of fighting, and they are fierce upon the eyes.

Within the deepest, darkest reaches of the ocean lurk certain beasts that have fallen so far from the light of Vidoria that they have become truly monstrous in shape. The kraken is one such creature. With numerous, squid-like tentacles the size of the tallest towers, a kraken is capable of shattering entire vessels with one flex of its sucker-covered limbs. No-one has ever seen its face, though many have spoken of their thousands of sword-sized fangs and teeth that fill the terrible, gaping maw of a kraken. It is the second-largest creature to inhabit the oceans and seas that lie around Esdaria.

This is based heavily on Westernaean folklore. As a seafaring people by nature, the Westernaeans often tall tales of creatures such as kraken, and Ludwig’s account is likely heavily influenced by this. That said, however, there have been sightings of large, many-tentacled creatures lurking in the furthest reaches of the visible seas to the south and west of Esdaria.

Also known as a Kyrados Saean [Demon of the Sea], the leviathan is the largest creature in existence. Said to have been ancient when the world was young, some say the leviathans are the last remnants of old gods who once walked Esdaria. Said to be serpentine in appearance, its girth is larger than that of ten ships, and its length cannot be measured. It is said to be able to swallow kraken whole, and its eyes, which themselves are the size of whole sea-vessels, are said to burn like the dawn sun.

As with the account of the kraken, this is based heavily on Westernaean folklore. Outside of folk-culture, no record survives of a leviathan ever being sighted.

Distinguishable from the normal horse by its opalescent horn and glittering-white coat, the unicorn has not been seen in Esdaria for centuries. Supposedly ridden by the Elves of the First Age, it is thought that under their cruel whip the legendary creatures – which could supposedly talk – were driven to extinction.

Again, this particular account is taken straight from a folk-song called ‘Aedmund and the Horned-Horse’. In the story, Aedmund and the horse sing to one-another, and the horse tells him its name is ‘Yiynucron’, from which the legendary creature’s name ‘unicorn’ is derived. The unicorn laments that its people were destroyed by the Elves, and that they were a dying breed. Consequently, though, a unicorn has never been seen in Esdaria.

If one were to stand the common wolf or dog beside a gulon, the would seem very different. When they are considered beside a warg, however, the transition between a wolf and a gulon seems to make more sense. Neither as large, nor as shaggy and savage as a gulon, the warg is often found amongst packs of wolves or wild dogs as its alpha-male. They are dirty and bloody creatures, prone to violence. They have been known to attack fully-armoured Vidorian soldiers, and their jaws are said to be strong enough to tear through heavy leather, though they can do little against Vidorian steel.

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