Baldy-prompt number seven was about wolves and moons, sorry to say, I posted the appendices pertaining to the moons that ‘orbit’ Cyralost but forgot to mention the wolves! Here’s some more for those who are interested:
The wolf (not to be confused with the larger and more famous Ashen-Fur Wolf) is possibly one of the most beautiful creatures to gaze upon, graceful in its fluid movements until the reality of its savage nature becomes apparent. This enchanting hunter lives in a wide range of habitats (which reflects its adaptability) and these include grasslands (occasionally observed loping alongside plainsmen back from a hunt), temperate forests (somehow able to blend in with the undergrowth, something that is noted by those who use wolf related spell components for magic pertaining to camouflage and stealth) but more commonly in the hills, mountains and tundra.
Wolves are built for swift movement with narrow chests and strong, powerful backs, with excellently proportioned legs that can trot for miles without effort at a fast pace. The wolf can cover up to fifteen feet with just one bound when at full speed, evidence of its incredibly powerful physique.
The wolf is certainly one of the largest canines known throughout Cyralost (with few exceptions such as Giant Dogs, The Cerberus etc) and weigh (on average) around a hundred pounds, gaining a height of around three feet and a length (nose to tail-tip) of five-to-six feet; and there have been reports of slightly larger beasts in the Wolf family but these may be Ashen-Fur Wolves that have been mistakenly identified or the overstatement of those who are afraid (or lying).
The coat of the wolf is usually grey (which appears silver in certain lights and there are a breed of Silver Wolves as well as the rare Green Furred Wolf that lives on the forest moon) with an under-fur of white that leads up the belly and the throat to the muzzle. An occasional sighting of a Brown Wolf has been reported in more southern climes and the near mythological Black Wolf is believed to be a genetic defect that occurs once in a hundred litters and is usually killed by its parents due to its unusualness.
Black Wolves are lonesome creatures, growing to an immense size through overeating and excessive exercise forced in its youth to run from packs of other Wolves. Black Wolves have been known to be recruited by Druids, magically enticed in to service as War-Wolves.
A wolf-pup has darker fur in its infancy and blue eyes that change colour to the familiar amber or gold after as little as four months. Men with yellow or golden looking eyes are referred to as Wolf, a rare condition that makes a man feared and suspicious looking. Some wolves have been known to stray from the ordinary gold in eye colouration, but few have been noted in written records and those few were likely magicians in Wolf-form or some other magical occurrence.
Wolves drive out their young to seek a mate by instinct, to pass on their genetic material. Wolves mate for life and are extremely affectionate to one another, almost to the point of becoming vulnerable when being playful, though the rest of the pack will not be far and will guard others’ ‘private time’ stoically.
The pack’s tension level rises significantly when a female comes in to season (begins their ovulation cycle) as mature wolves begin to feel the urge to mate and those in season attract lone wolves and rivals from other packs. The dominant male and female (the alpha male and alpha female) prevent other wolves from mating, most aggressively, as the pack can only support one litter of cubs per year.
Wolves howl for numerous reasons:
a) To communicate/keep in touch, this is effective over great distances or in thickly forested habitats.
b) To declare their territory.
c) For communal reasons like strengthening social bonds (barking is a sound used discreetly when nervous or warning other pack members of danger).
d) To summon a pack to a specific location.
Wolves use a base-like growl as their most effective warning (especially when in tandem with their teeth bared inimically). It is usually a threat and one that should be duly noted and left well alone. The angry wolf’s ears will be erect and its fur like bristles, the lips will curl back and display its teeth; the wolf may also arch its back like a cat and even lash out.
Wolves hunt in packs, a rank-oriented social hierarchy and are led by two dominant individuals (the afore mentioned alpha male and alpha female). The pack’s size changes over time and can comprise of two to twenty wolves (though an average pack size tends to be around seven or eight beasts). The pack hunts cooperatively, working together to kill large herbivores, occasionally taking livestock and attacking humanoids but usually avoiding civilization, building their dens far from populated areas.
Wolves are the biggest cause of death for Hoblins, a natural enmity evolved over centuries of abuse and ‘culling’ where Hoblin-kind have sought and slaughtered wolves for pleasure and profit (Wolf pelts and other parts of these magnificent canines fetch great prices) have led to Wolves naturally attacking Honlinoids on sight, whether in danger or not. A wolf pack will always abandon a den and move on to another territory if their home has been tainted with the scent of a Hoblin and at least one or more sets of Hoblin remains will be found in an abandoned den.
Ashen-Fur Wolves, the children of the Minoch
Ashen-Fur Wolves were banished from the Empyrean following The great Betrayal as part punishment to their parents, the Minoch, even though the wolves had no part in the event. In the beginning, there were two Ashen-Fur Wolf alpha males, the first of which was called Ulfred and the second of which was called Ullock.
Ulfred’s pack can be identified by their black muzzle, where-as, Ullock’s pack tend to have white and silver muzzles. The two packs are fiercely territorial and are constantly ‘warring’, trying to take the other’s territory by force. It is exceptionally rare to see a solitary Ashen-Fur Wolf as lone wolves tend to meet dire fates.
Ashen-Fur Wolves are not magical, despite their magical and divine ancestry but they are such fierce animals that to kill one is quite a heroic deed (and unlikely as they always travel in pairs or more and are frightfully violent, fast able to blend in with their surroundings as they tend to live in arctic tundra where the stone is covered in snow, the same colour as their coats).
The pelts of Ashen-Fur Wolves is highly prized for its softness, warmth and beauty as it is thick and attractive, used to make cloaks and rugs or blankets. Their flesh is unpleasant to taste so the carcass of any killed is usually discarded with the exception of their teeth which are sometimes used to make tools or embedded in shields such as bucklers to make the armour as much a weapon as a defensive tactic due to the sharpness of the flesh rending canines.
Ashen-Fur Wolves are handsome to look at, incredible hunters, fiercely protective of their own pack, especially their young and natural predators with no qualms about what they kill or how they kill it.