Excerpts on Fauna

from

On Dumnonia

by

Shane of Corin

Birds of all descriptions populate the desert, usually congregating at oases. Falcons and hawks are sometimes trained to hunt by dragonless warriors and caravaneers, often for sale in Daethia and Rashtar. Guinea hens, partridges, and peacocks are staples in many Dumnonian diets. Ostriches are sometimes hunted for food and feathers, as are storks and swans. Pigeons are used by supply personnel to carry messages between camps, and some varieties have been raised for sport. Songbirds are sometimes kept by wealthy caravaneers, Dragonlords and monarchs. Enormous eagles have been used as mounts by some giants who have enlisted as followers of dragonless warriors. Chickens and geese are kept for eggs in many camps, and some dragonless warriors also raise cattle and goats for food. Birds in general are thought to be messengers of the Lord of Light, while domesticated fowl and other food animals tend to decorate vessels sacred to the Lord of Plenty.

Beasts of burden are among the most common animals in Dumnonia. Asses, donkeys and mules are favored by supply personnel, while traders prefer camels and horses. On rare occasions elephants are used, but these animals usually belong to households who specialize in entertainment rather than serious trade. All beasts of burden are found in their wild as well as in their domesticated states, with many of the wild herds being descendants of survivors of attacks by the forces of the Dark One on unlucky caravans. Beasts of burden are considered sacred to the Lord of Humor.

Dogs are popular among the dragonless warriors of the desert. The hunting variety, in particular, is a common sight in traders' camps. War dogs and watch dogs are not unknown, but they are expensive to maintain and usually only found in wealthy households. A few wild dogs roam the desert in packs, but these are usually slain by Hatchlings for food. Surviving pups are sometimes raised by the support personnel in charge of the Hatchlings with the intention of trading them to caravaneers for goods or favors. Dogs often appear in religious art dedicated to the War Goddess.

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Small, semi-wild cats wander freely through the various camps. Their larger feline relatives, ranging from lions to cheetahs, hunt the desert, often competing with the Dragons for food and sometimes becoming meals themselves. The lynx, in particular, is thought to possess many magical properties and is valued by traders for its pelt. Panthers are sacred to the White Wolf and generally left untouched.

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Reptiles of all descriptions populate the desert. Snakes and lizards in particular have been known to grow to incredible sizes. Smaller varieties flourish near plateaus while the larger versions tend to hunt the open desert. Lava toads are reptiles rather than amphibians; they live on harrats, and they possess only two horns in spite of the common Dumnonian oath that credits them with having three. Dragons are not thought to be native to the desert. The original dragons are believed to have inhabited mountains and sea coasts. Varieties with metal hides probably resulted from experiments by the Wizards of Corin, the most famous example being the Dumnonian Bronze, which was developed by Corin of Daethia from half-elven and draconic stock. Smaller, colored breeds with leather-like hides may have been bred from demons by the Dark One. Mutants--crossbreeds of two or more draconic strains--all trace their origins to the Dark One's magic. Dragons figure in the worship of all deities, while lesser reptiles are honored only by the clerics of the Dark One and his brothers.

Baboons and monkeys are found at some oases. Reports of rhinoceroses and water buffaloes have been made by wide-ranging caravans. Weasels and wolves tend to stick to the northern coast, although an occasional sighting has been recorded as far south as the Anvil. All animals appear in Dumnonian weavings dedicated to the Elven King. Wolves--particularly the winter-coated variety--are honored as friends of the White Wolf, and the slaying of a wolf is forbidden except when in self-defense or when starvation is imminent.

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