"Blessed (is) the man who calls an Aj‘ his friend" - "Seyella blesses you with an Aj‘, a tent and a true husband" - "All a Shendar needs is the wide desert and his Aj‘" - All these sayings show us the importance of this perhaps most prominent animal of the desert Ráhaz Dáth and the Narfost Plain. The Aj'Nuvic is vital for the Shendar way of living. The name derives from the elven word for ai, meaning "before" and "nuvic", the word used for all races. Thus it is said that the Ai‘Nuvic is the animal which lived already in the vast planes of the Ráhaz Dáth before the intelligent races arrived.

The Aj'Nuvic
View picture in full size Image description. Two young Aj'Nuvic drinking at an oasis. Picture drawn by Talia Sturmwind.

Appearance. With a shoulder height of over two peds, the Aj'Nuvic is one of the tallest mammals living in the Ráhaz Dáth.

The Aj‘Nuvic has a shiny fur ranging from a soft white to a light gold brown. If you touch it, it feels hard and smooth, but underneath it is very soft. Its hind legs are slightly longer and more pronounced than the front ones, this gives its back a gracious curve which is carried on by a long neck. Tha Aj'Nuvic's head seems a bit small, but has the same delicate features as the whole body. The pointed, in comparison to the head rather big, ears are able to move in nearly every direction and can be twisted in a manner that they cover the opening and protect it from sand whirling around in a sand storm. The soft sensitive nose can be closed as well. But the most prominent feature of the Aj'Nuvic are the eyes of a golden brown, able to see very well in the dark. To protect them the eyes are surrounded by dense eyelashes. In the bright daylight an additional transparent skin covers the eyes and the Aj‘Nuvic closes the eyes at least half as well.

Another remarkable part of the body of this beast are the paws. They are qite large and have three limbs pointing forward and one very small to the back. Between these limbs, which the Aj‘ can spread apart quite far, is a skin so indestructible like the one of the Rahaz Estar. With these the Aj‘ is able to cross moving sands without effort and is very fast compared to horses. It also has a not too long tail without any remarkable features.

Male Aj‘nuvics furthermore have especially long hair on the chest (which is sometimes ornated by the Shendar with coloured ribbons or braided skillfully ).
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Special Abilities. The Aj‘ is adapted to the desert to a very high grade: It is able to live without water for over two weeks and can drink salty (sea)water without any harm. If it is very hot the Aj' has the ability to sweat with every part of the body and cool therefore his body temperature or, if the water in the body drops under a certain level, raise its body temperature up to 20% over the normal value. It takes the needed water not from the stomach, but out of its blood circulation and other liquid reservoirs within the body. This way it can lose one quarter of its body weight - and gain it again very quickly when water is available. An Aj' may drink up to 20 buckets of water in half an hour and is able to stay without food up to four weeks without losing its strength and endurance.

The Aj's nasal capabilities are very extended and perform the task of heat exchange.The air which is taken in is cooled down so that the amount of water in the air exhaled is cut down to 30%.
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Territory. Aj'Nuvics can be found exclusively in the Ráhaz Dáth desert at the southernmost part of the Sarvonian continent.
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A Shendar Woman and her Aj'Nuvic
View picture in full size Image description. A Shendar woman of the Shen-D'auras living around the Seven Jewels in her typical clothes with her aj‘nuvic, the familiar every Shendar bonds with when coming of age. Illustration drawn by Faugar.

Habitat/Behaviour. As the Aj'nuvics play very important roles in the life of the Shendar, they habitat is strongly related to the Shendar way of life:

Diet. Aj'Nuvics feed on everything they find in the desert: Grass, shrubs, leaves or the bark of trees, nearly all plants they can find including Vhin. But they are hunting smaller animals as well, especially when the female is pregnant and breast feeding. Return to the top

Mating. The Aj‘ chooses its companion when about to get mature. In the mating ritual one of the partners (male or female) starts to look for plants the Aj‘s favour, most times the leaves of a special shrub, and brings them to the desired individual. This goes on for several days till the other animal accepts the donation. Once accepted, both bring each other leaves or other special food which is accepted gratefully from the new partner. This partnership lasts a life long, they stick to it till death, wandering, hunting and playing together. If one partner dies, the other stays alone for the rest of its life. The lifespan of an Aj‘ is 70 to 80 years.

Only a pair with one to three kids of different age live together. But if there is an occasional encounter between two pairs one of them retreats without fight. As long as the offspring is very young they stay at one place in a hiding, but as soon as possible the family moves from one water hole to the next.

The only time when groups of Aj‘Nuvics can be seen is when they look for a partner. If an Aj is old enough it will leave its family and join one of these groups when meeting one by chance. These groups may stay together for one to two years. Aj‘s which have chosen a partner leave this group.
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Myth/Lore. Being so important for the Shendar it is not very surprising that they believe that the Aj‘nuvic was given to them by Seyella as a present and as a reward for their true belief in her. From this they derive their right to rule the Ráhaz Dáth, only made possible through the Aj‘Nuvic. Return to the top

Information provided by Talia Sturmwind View Profile