THE BOUNCER (HÁL-AC-AVÁN, ELG'WUK)

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES - MYTH/LORE

As the name suggests, the Bouncer (Styrásh "Hál-ac-aván", Kulgimz'seitre "Elg'wuk") is renowned for… well, bouncing. It is a small round furry creature, generally up to two palmspans in diameter, and appears to be just a ball of fur lying on the ground. It has an innate sense of balance which enables it to twist its body and rock about without losing its path of destination. The eyes are almost indiscernible, tiny black dots in its mostly brown fur. It is known to harass travelers by bouncing back and forth and biting the unfortunate victim.

The Hál-ác-ávan, as the elves call it has a small mouth with several teeth in it, mostly flatter, chewing ones to eat plants and squash bugs, but also some fangs. It is very attracted to shiny things. Its only way of moving is through bouncing. The Bouncer can convulse its body to create movement energy and when it slowly bobs up and down it increases its speed with every bounce. It is known to reach a speed of one stral per minute, swooping high up in the air to maintain its speed. Although it is an annoyance to ignorant travelers, the Bouncer generally only poses a danger to very small insects and leaves. Often, it may be found at the mithril birch trees in the Shaded Forest, which has given rise to questions whether the Bouncer and the mithril birch trees are connected in any way. Some say that the Bouncer is a close relative to the rolling hedgehog, which also lives in the Shaded Forest, although they both have their own peculiarities, but there is no proof of this (try catching a bouncer for once!)...

Appearance. Seemingly a little ball of fur, the Bouncer is known to grow up to about two palmspans in diameter, though many remain smaller than that. Having a circular backbone with wide ribs attached to the sides of it, it seems like an impenetrable cuirass. However, these bones are all made from stiff cartilage, giving the Bouncer an abundance of bouncing-ability. They have a coat of brown fur, ranging from very light to dark brown, depending on the climate of the habitat, which sheds into white in the winter, to act as camouflage. The Bouncers’ head is situated inside the enclosed ribcage, making this creature really a ball-shaped beast. Its eyes seem two tiny black dots in this brown fur, and if the Bouncer keeps his mouth shut, one will barely notice the tiny fangs which obtrude from it. When the Bouncer opens it though, one may observe a big gaping mouth, full of blunt teeth, varied with some sharp long fangs. It is almost impossible to determine sex, but there seems to be a slight variation in fur which points to the existence of various sexes (which is what we don’t know yet). It generally weighs about two od, which is pretty light and is enabled by the Bouncers’ bones, which are not very dense and contain a lot of air. Return to the top

Special Abilities. Well, as one might guess, the Bouncer can bounce. As a matter of fact, this is its only way of movement, as it has no legs or other ways of moving. After dissection of the beast, researcher discovered that the bones of the Bouncer are very springy. This would seem to be the source for its bouncing ability. Also discovered were the muscles which entwine the bones of the ribcage, probably so that the bouncer can start its bounce with a muscle generated "jump". We do not know the limit to its jumps, but no one has ever seen one reaching above the great trees in the Shaded Forest. The creature always remains leveled, due to a layer of fat located on the bottom of the creature that holds his bottom pointed at the ground. It is widely believed that the Bouncer stores extra water as fat and uses it to stabilize his round body. Return to the top

Territory. The Hál-ác-aván lives mostly in the Shaded Forest, in Northern Sarvonia. It stretches from the plains of Tannahn to the very feet of the Prominent Mountains. The Elg’wuk is especially often spotted near mithril birch trees. Because it lives in Northern Sarvonia, the Bouncer has developed a white fur in wintertime, to blend in with its surroundings. It also has been spotted migrating more to the south, disappearing in every forest it encounters. But these migrations are rare and one still is most likely to find this creature in the Shaded Forest.
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Habitat/Behaviour. Bouncers usually do not live in large groups. They tend to wander alone through the forest in search for food. They will probably not notice one when walking past them, but they will be attracted very strongly if one wears any shiny things. They do not attack people often, it will take something like mithril or gold to really aggravate them enough to launch themselves at somebody. Once they start to attack, one should run, and run fast, because these little lovely creatures are very agile and almost impossible to hit cleanly with a blade or other weapon. Although they often wander alone, if in distress, they can let out a high bellow of sounds which attracts other Bouncers to the location. They all come together once in every three years to mate, which is detailed below. Their main predators are the two kinds of wolves resident in the Shaded Forest. When bouncing, the wolves can't catch them, but when they lie on the ground, the Bouncers are very much at risk. It will take some time for Bouncers to start their bounce, and that time has often been proved too short. Although the bears of the Shaded Forest are also predatory towards the Hál’ac’aván, these creatures are too slow to be a big threat.
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Diet. Bouncers love to eat butterflies, and often lurk at the edges of clearings waiting to leap out and snatch another butterfly with their mouths. In the winter they survive by re-digesting their food, which keeps them alive. They also eat the leaves of the mithril birch trees in the forest. Any other bug they can catch is also a welcome meal. They also eat shiny things, if not too big, and according to scientists, they have a small compartment in their stomach where these things are stored.
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Mating. Once in three years, all the bouncers gather in the clearings at the edge of the forest to mate. In some way the bouncing is an important aspect to their mating ritual. It seems like one big mating dance. After bouncing for two nights, a large group (the females?) disappear in the woods and they go to the center of the Shaded Forest. No one has ever seen how a Bouncer is born, because the Bouncer females (?) are very shy and they won’t be seen if they don’t want to. The life expectancy of a Bouncer is about ten years. An older bouncer will have thinner fur and less bouncing strength.
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Usages. Most peoples cannot use Bouncer parts extensively, since it is a creature which is hard to catch and even harder to dissect. But, once that work is done, the Bouncer has a lot of uses, one could use its ribcage as a helmet or make a clay bowl out of it, using the bones as skeleton. The fangs of the Bouncer are sharp and narrow, ideal for working with hides and skins. It is also rumored that the Kuglim eat its eyes, as a potent painkiller. This is only hearsay though. Researchers never tested it, because the eyewitness claimed that the Kuglim who ate it collapsed and remained unconscious for a day.

It might be possible to have a Bouncer as a pet, if one could lure it with gold, and keep a constant close watch on the beast. Very important though is the fact that even though one can lure a Bouncer and capture it and make it do some matters, but the beast will never be completely tamed and will probably escape the moment an opportunity becomes available.
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Myth/Lore. There are no known legends about the Bouncer, the creature just being a natural part of the fauna of the Shaded Forest. Its life is not an abnormal one, and one will not often spot such a creature. It has no mythic properties, being denied the ability to fly and the ability to walk. Bouncing is not the most romantic or heroic way of moving oneself. There are however some sayings about the Bouncer, mainly used in the education of younger children: “You look like a bouncer!” – used to address a child that is being very annoying or irritating. Another saying is: “Watch out, or the Bouncers will get to you!” – used to address a child which shows off. 
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