Trope-a-Day: Undying Loyalty

Undying Loyalty: What a personally-focused estxíjir is (see: Blue and Orange Morality); not common – although more frequently emulated through I Gave My Word – but a recognized trait of the greatest leaders.

Also, the reason why the bandal, or dog, is the symbolic animal and avatar associated with Tárvalén, the Binder of Obligations, eikone of loyalty, vows, oath-contracts, promises and agreements and the social order.

Trope-a-Day: Precious Puppies

Precious Puppies: As a guide to just how straight the eldrae play this particular trope, even where their giant wardogs are concerned, it should be noted that under the list of special cases that is the Ungentlemanly Behavior Act (47, As Subsequently Revised), the consequences of literally kicking the dog are legally recognized as a type of suicide in every single Imperial jurisdiction.

(While there are some people who in private would admit that this constitutes Disproportionate Retribution even by the Empire’s, ah, generous standards for such, there is absolutely no-one willing to court the plummeting reputation score that would attach to anyone who suggested removing this provision, the puppy-hating bastard.  It’s a mélith thing; dogs give essentially infinite loyalty, so that’s what they get in return.)

((And, of course, this is also pretty much what started people off on the Immortagens For Everyone crusade in the first place…))

Trope-a-Day: Horse of a Different Color

Horse of a Different Color: The cerrúr is a four-horned, hexapedal, browsing animal, but it fills much the same niche as the horse, as historically early basic transportation/power and later prestige transportation.

Despite much wishful thinking and a few attempts, no-one ever managed to breed a bandal large enough to create an actual riding dog.  There have, however, been some attempts to engineer flying mounts, mostly limited to gas giants and low-gravity moons.

Do Not Ask About The Bear Cavalry.

Trope-a-Day: Hellhound

Hellhound: Some of the larger and more militant breeds of bandal are thought to fit this trope, like the Ancyr warhound, but really, they’re just particularly intelligent Big Friendly Dogs.  (Unless severely provoked.)

Now, in the modern era, when the Imperial military fields entire legions made up of sapient (uplifted) dire wolves in power armor, you might have a point…

Domestic Animals

So, regarding those “Ethnographical Questionnaire” chunks I have posted occasionally – I conclude that I’m going to start posting smaller chunks, on the grounds that (a) it takes me so damn long to finish a section, and (b) smaller and more often is better than giant and occasional.  So, that said, here’s a new piece:

What are the most common domesticated animals here? And what are they domesticated for?

This, of course, varies quite radically by planet – so here’s the original most common domesticated animals of Eliéra, the eldraeic homeworld:

  • The adhaïc [honeybee] – hive insects, greenlife, kept for their honey, wax, and pollination services.
  • The bandal – a canid greenlife species, or more accurately, another subspecies of Canis lupus, differentiated from the Earth dog by virtue of having spent its domestication mostly being bred for smart, rather than obedient, being expected to operate more as junior partners in civilization than tools (including, say, the ability to operate clockwork automata in at least a limited fashion) in many and varied roles; distinguished by a higher forehead and more manipulative forepaws. Also associated with Tárvalén, the Binder, Eikone of Loyalty (see myth).
  • The cerrúr – a four-horned hexapedal browsing bluelife animal, used for riding.
  • The certárúr – a four-horned (with stunted horns) hexapedal browsing bluelife animal, used for riding and as a draft animal; also for leather.
  • The chiashaïc [silk-spider] – a bluelife pseudo-arachnid, used for fiber.
  • The ékaláman – a hexapedal flying carnivorous bluelife reptile with a mid-wing, used for hunting, as we do raptors.
  • The élirúr [dormouse] – a greenlife rodent, used for meat.
  • The fírastal – a slightly larger greenlife relative of the Earth cat, kept for pest control and occasional hunting.
  • The hasérúr – a hexapedal browsing bluelife animal used for meat and milk.
  • The kuléra – a four-winged bluelife bird, used as a scout and messenger.
  • The líhasúr – a quadrupedal rooting greenlife animal, used for meat; a close relative of the Earth pig.
  • The nekhalyef – a quadrupedal grazing greenlife animal, used for meat, milk, and fiber; a close relative of the Earth sheep.
  • The pengál – a bluelife pseudoserpent, kept for pest control.
  • The reshkef – a hexapedal browsing bluelife animal, used for meat, milk, and fiber.
  • The quebérúr – a quadrupedal grazing greenlife animal, used for meat and milk; a close relative of the Earth bison.
  • The sevesúr – a two-winged greenlife game bird, used for meat and eggs.
  • The tiryef – a large flightless bluelife bird, used for meat.
  • Underwater, the ííche [dolphins – well, technically, it means “cetaceans”, but in this specific case; greenlife] and cúlnó [octopodes; greenlife], which occupy a similar niche Below as the bandal do on the surface.  Also, various farmed fish.

Which animals are likely to be pets? Which ones won’t be?

The most commonly kept as pets – but for values of pets which usually involves working (which, in their terms, includes “for companionship”), rather than simple ornamentation, since the eldrae have ideas about dignity and what they shouldn’t expect any animal smart enough to be a pet to do – would be the bandal, the firastal, and the kuléra; underwater, and to a lesser degree in space, some species of cúlnó are also popular.

As for which won’t – anything that’s too dangerous or insanitary, as usual, plus anything not smart enough to hold the interest of their keepers.  With the possible exceptions of aviary birds, aquarium fish, and butterflies – but then, they are ornamental.

Alliances

The half-grown hasérúr dashed through the threadbare forest, and Hanych followed, stumbling in the dim light of the storm-wracked sky.  His breath was loud in his ears, the pain in his side nearly quieting the acid burn in his belly.  Snow and old ash scattered at their passage, he and Daeych at his shoulder, the promise of food more than – yesterday’s? two days gone’s? – meager meal of scavenged argor tubers, half-rotted.

Howls rose from left and right. Bancrach. His fist clenched on the haft of the axe he carried, a priceless relic of the time before this endless winter. It is not yours!

The howls again, closer now on the left. The hasérúr jerked and turned aside, sending them stumbling up the remnant of an old pathway, stones breaking apart and sinking into the mud, sliding underfoot. Bones crunched too beneath his tread, and Hanych hissed Elmir’s curse upon the azg-darath, as quickly renounced. They had no more choice than any when the star fell, and if the stonefolk hadn’t learned to eat rock down Below, they’d be as starving as any by now, too.

A cliff loomed before them, rocks and earth spilt down its length over the old azg door; the hasérúr turned to scramble up the precarious slope. Daeych’s knife flew from behind him, skimmed past head, and struck stone. It started in alarm; a moment’s hesitation only, but enough for Hanych to sink his axe into its neck.

A moment of triumph only, for the howls now came again, closer, and Hanych beheld the bancrach for the first time; an older male, still half-man-height for all his ragged, hungry look, perched on a low cliff-ledge, and two smaller shapes hidden in the shadows of the path. Hanych turned at bay, gripping his axe – three bancrach and two el-daratha was a hard fight always, but all half-starved, long-ran, and desperate… but without food, would they even last the night?

They are as hungry as you, as kin-loyal as you.

If they had not turned the hasérúr, you’d have lost it at forest-edge.

And still they have not attacked us.

A favor for a favor; that is the law.

Hanych’s axe rose and fell, once, twice, severing two haunches from the dead hasérúr, and a last effort thrust the remaining meat toward the shapes in the darkness; stiffly, the old bancrach jumped down from his ledge and dragged it away to his pack.

Triumphant howls rang in the darkness. A moment later, Hanych and Daeych’s yells joined them.