The extremely rare Caracal (plural: Caracal as well) is a large feline residing in the north-easternmost regions of Northern Sarvonia, predominately the Icelands Coast. Its most distinctive features are two large fangs, which reach a two palmspans in length. These beasts are one of the most feared predators of the region, even taking down the massive thunderfoot. The Ice Tribes, who are also sometimes this creature’s prey, believe that it is the offspring of Necteref, their God of Death, and thus, give it a wide berth.
Caracal are about a ped to,
at maximum, a ped and a
half at the shoulder. They are three to, at maximum, four
peds in length, with their
tail extending out that far again, if stretched. The cat’s
magnificent fur is long and woolly and helps protect the animal from the extreme
cold of its harsh habitat. The colour of their coat varies upon the climate.
Their hair seems to react to the temperature that surrounds them, turning white,
with a slightly bluish hue in cold temperatures, turning more and more goldish
brown as the weather warms.
The powerful jaw houses many sharp teeth, although the cat’s most distinct feature is its fangs. They reach about two palmspans in length and curve slightly towards the creature’s body. The sides of the fangs closest to the animal are serrated, and the fangs themselves are very sharp. Without access to snow or grass, the Caracal’s fangs would always appear red with blood, but since the creature can wipe its fangs clean, they usually appear off white. Combine these large teeth with the creature’s strong jaws, the Caracal can tear into its prey quite easily. These fangs grow until the day that the beast dies, and it must sharpen them against rocks every once in awhile, to prevent them from growing too much.
The Caracal's hind legs are longer than its front, which helps it in leaping. The front legs and shoulders are heavily muscled, to help it clamp on to prey. Its hind paws are smaller than its front paws, but are large nonetheless. All four paws are wide, and padded, to help it remain quiet in grass, or walk in deep snow. Each paw also ends in four retractable claws, which are four to five nailsbreadth in length. The Ice Tribes are adamant when they say that the paws of this beast easily reach a fore.
The cat has triangular ears, tipped with hair, on the top of its head, which it can flatten against its head should it be angered, or stalking. Its light purple eyes fit the size of its head, and are almost always filled with certain intensity.
The creature’s fur, while not as insulating as the fur of some other northern
beasts, does very well in keeping the animal warm during the Iceland Coast’s
very long harsh winters. They are also adept runners, being able to chase down
most deer. The Caracal’s main feature, their teeth, are
obviously quite large, and quite sharp, and are its main
weapon in taking down prey. The beast’s
large size also gives it strength, which it uses to take down its larger prey,
The Caracal’s eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell are all fantastic, which
makes it a terrific tracker.
Territory. Caracal can be found on the continent of Northern Sarvonia. They particularly enjoy staying in the icy regions of the Peninsula of Iol and the Icelands Coast, but they can be found anywhere on the mainland east of the Imlith Mountains, and north of the Vindel Mountains, although, unlike the lingradau, they cannot be found in the forests, preferring areas that are more open. During the winter, the tend to stay closer to the southern regions of this area, but can still sometimes be found along the Icelands Coast. Whether or not this creature can be found in Cyhalloi is not known at this time, although this Compendium writer would not be at all surprised if that were the case.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Caracal are solitary creatures, only spending time with each other to mate, or while being raised by their mothers. Both male and female Caracal follow herds of prey animals, or hunt in areas that usually have prey, although these rare areas are often contested by other Caracal.
These creatures are considered fearless, for they often attack prey that is too large for them, like the thunderfoot, or they will attack a large group of warg riding orcs. However, they do in fact have fear. Not for animals, or orcs, but for water. It never ever swims, even to save its own life. It rarely rains where it lives, and the creature doesn’t mind snow, so that is not much of a problem.
The Caracal’s hunting methods vary depending on the area in which they live. In the Heaths of Wilderon, they crouch as low to the ground as they can, blending in as best as possible with the tall grass. They slowly stalk towards their prey, until, when they are finally close enough, they use one energetic burst of speed, and take down their prey with the large claws and fangs, usually going for the neck or throat. In the Icelands, where there is no cover, the beast often buries itself in snow, and waits for creatures to pass, although after a while it must free itself, and run around to restore warmth to its body. Due to the colouration of the Caracal living in the Icelands, they are fairly hard to see even without the use of cover, so they can often get pretty close to their prey without the use of hiding.
Diet. The Caracal are exclusively carnivorous creatures. They feed on tar’andus deer, cloaked elk, hynde goat, cragok goat and the woolly boar. Sometimes they will make off with some poor fellow’s landesh pony. When desperate for food, they will eat the small leveret rabbits, but this morsel is not nearly large enough to satiate this beast’s hunger, unless of course they eat a large number of the unfortunate critters. Of course, Caracal are not above eating some poor Ice Tribesmen, or a Rhom-Oc orc, should the opportunity present itself. There are even stories of these beasts coming into a settlement, and dragging off some poor soul in the night, a tale often told to children, to keep them from sneaking off, although unlike many bedtime tales, this one is based on truth. There have even been reports of these beasts taking down giants, although at this point in time this Compendium can not confirm whether that is true or not.
The Caracal are also one of the few wild animals than can successfully hunt a fully-grown thunderfoot. They do this as often as they can get one by themselves; thus, they regularly attack solitary males. The Caracal also have no compunction against eating frozen meat, so they may attack a calf, leave it dead, wait a few days for the herd to move on, then eat the dead and partially frozen calf with leisure. This, however, is a dangerous venture, for in attacking the calf, the Caracal will have to deal with an entire herd of very angry thunderfeet, thus the attacking of calves are only done in the most desperate situations.
Mating. The gestation period of these animals is hard to record, for they only birth when the environmental factors of their surroundings are beneficial to birth, such as abundant food, and preferable weather. Thus, the gestation period of these animals varies from case to case. If a male Caracal comes into contact with a female, the male will incite some playful fighting. After a few minutes of this, if the female becomes interested, she lets the male mount her. The male then leaves the female, his business done. Litters consist of anywhere between one and six cubs.
Usages. The Ice Tribes use no part of this creature. They do not hunt it, and should they come upon an already dead corpse, they give it a wide berth, refusing to come close to it. They believe that the beast is the offspring of Necteref, their Death God, and leave the creature be, so as not to invoke the God’s wrath.
Unlike the Ice Tribes, the Rhom-Oc orcs will occasionally send out a group of warg riders to hunt one of these beasts. Also unlike the Ice Tribesmen, the orcs have no compunction against eating this magnificent beast, for while quite tough, the meat is particularly nutritious. They also use the claws, teeth and some of the smaller bones for many things, including weapons, talismans, amulets and necklaces. Because of the vicious way in which the cat is hunted, the orcs rarely make off with an intact pelt, although they occasionally do, which they often use as clothing, or perhaps a magnificent throw rug.
Myth/Lore. The Ice Tribes believe that the Caracal are the offspring of Necteref, their God of Death, and Zundefor, their God of Land Animals. The creature is encountered so rarely, that the tribes believe that there is only one, and when it dies, Necteref comes and breathes life anew into the beast, so that it may continue to do his will. This is the reason that they leave the animal be, not hunting it, or using parts of its corpse. They believe that should they do such a thing, it may bring the wrath of Necteref down upon them, and everybody knows that invoking a curse from the God of Death can ruin one’s entire day.
night, while with the Ice Tribes, I heard screaming. I went to the flap of
my tent, and looked outside. On the other side of our camp, there was this
enormous… monster. It was huge, and had two very large teeth. It had
killed some poor woman, and was dragging her off in the night. They were
frightened whispers coming from the other tents. The next morning, the
whispers continued. The only thing I could get from the other women was
that death had come…”
Information provided by Pikel Thunderstone