The term "Chimaera" incites a certain amount of fear, a certain amount of amusement, and a certain amount of confusion. The word is really a classification of a large group of beasts similar only in origin, that of a particularly strange demonology ritual. However, whenever one comes face-to-face with one of the beasts, it is always best to run. Very fast, and very well, because there's no telling what skills the creature might have...
Appearance. Varies greatly, as can be understood. However, certain traits appear on all chimaerae; the blended portions have a distinctive fade-between, the eyes always have glints of red, and the face, insofar as one exists, bears the imprint of its creator's.
Special Abilities. Once again, these vary. One trait has been universally identified as one of a chimaera; the mouth, beak, or similar orifice always will undergo some form of magical transformation, be it firey breath, diamond teeth, or a sleep-inducing mist. Also, the beast will gain some rudimentary intelligence, mostly centered around a loyalty to their creator and the eternal urge to go to the Shivering Woods.
Territory. As in general no provisions have been made for their reproduction, no constant territory can be assigned to the Chimaerae, save one. At one point or another, a given Chimaera will spend some period of time guarding the grave of the man who created and destroyed the first chimaera; the Magus Delbarath, who lies in a secluded glade in the Shivering Woods.
Habitat/Behaviour. Usually, at their creation, their creator will form a powerful bond with them, and as such most Chimaerae will do exactly as their master wishes. However, those left uncontrolled tend to eventually wander to the Shivering Woods, and live out their lives guarding Ximax and their first maker's grave.
Diet. Whatever was eaten by the head/heads in life, with the critical addition of a small portion of magical power provided by their creator.
Mating. Very little mating is known to occur between Chimaerae, with others or non-Chimaerae. What few specimens have been equipped with the ability have turned out to be moderately successful, such as several attempts at resurrecting the centaurs of old, the occasional meat-ox, more recent tsor-shota, and (though this is told in but whispers, and no truth or falsehood can be attached to the tale) the very species of gryphons. However, skeptics point out that Delbarath lived long after the first tales of gryphons circulated. Believers reply with the theory that the previous ones had been badly identified gryphs, with the Magus himself creating the race known today. Disputes of this nature will likely go on until the end of Ximax.
Myth/Lore. The tale of the discovery and creation of Chimaerae all boils down to one man. That man was named Delbarath, and he is the unofficial Ximaxian Archpatron of the struggling student.
Delbarath was not entirely unusual, for a Ximaxian student in the school's relative youth. Great deal of talent, tired of alienation from his fellow humanity, he arrived at Ximax and poured his life into study, working on a major in Fire Magic, while pursuing a minor in Summonings, dabbling on the side of that field closest to Demonology. During one of his initial rituals, the young wizard by accident caused something to happen that much higher wizards had been working on for a great deal of time: Delbarath managed to fuse a supposedly sacrificial Cartashian bear with a chasm demon.
The creation immediately attacked its creator, thanks to the fact the wards against the chasm demon were worthless against the new being. Using his other powers, Delbarath managed to destroy his patricidal beast in a hail of rage and flame, but not before he had been driven insane. Under standard Ximaxian practice, the crippled, mentally ill, or otherwise severely injured due to forces beyond active control Initiate was given the choice of leaving Ximax with a full refund on his tuition. - Delbarath refused. He stayed at the school for another twenty years, reaching the rank of Enchanter before he finally left. But when he left, he took his "hobby" with him.
The insane mage had taken to randomly fusing animals just for the fun of it, and keeping them as pets. The first one he ever kept, a snake-headed goat, he named Chimaera. The name stuck.
Delbarath wandered all across Santharia before he finally died in the forest that would come to be known as the Shivering Woods. But he did not die alone: In the glade where his tombstone rests, there are several things. One, a fractured ruby eye, was left there by his descendants; reputedly it was once the top of his staff. One is a magically preserved skeleton, the bones of Chimaera, who died defending his master. And one is sunk into the tombstone itself, the gift of the first Archmage to ever see the lone, well-guarded grave. The words on the stone read thus, in words crude and time-scarred:
We guard you. Rest well, Father.
And beneath the man's name are five words, younger than the first by nearly two millenia, there enscribed by one of the men who Delbarath so honored by his determination, long years ago. They read: Magus of the Hand Tower.
Information provided by Xarl