Why the Dar-Bandal?

We are asked, quite regularly, why the bandal was chosen as the first candidate for uplift.

The simple answer, of course, is that as a domesticated animal that had, unlike every other, been bred selectively for millennia for higher intelligence and more, which is profoundly social, the bandal was one of the easiest candidates available for uplift.

But that, while true, is not the whole story.

The bandal is also the avatar of Tárvalén, eikone of loyalty, promises, contracts, and agreements, and part of His protectorate; this for their nature, for a bandal is loyalty made flesh. More even than ourselves, we trusted them to guard us while we slept.

They have long been partners in our civilization – from the years when their wild ancestors and ours helped each other survive, hunting together in the Winter of Nightmares, to the modern day when their work in our homes and offices is all but indispensable. And this work they chose to do; when offered a life of indolence, as some have come to know, they look for ways to do their part.

Loyalty, labor, and an unfailing comfort in times of trouble; our helpers, friends, and exemplars of virtue for as long as civilization has existed.  If we hope to find minds compatible, yet different, through uplift – where else should we look?

And if we seek to give the gift of sophonce, the greatest gift we have to offer – why, to whom could we owe it more?

– A History of Uplift, Chapter One