Flunkies are small, quill-bearing rodents that dwell mostly in the Thaelon area of Southern Sarvonia. Odd creatures to behold, they can be aggressive if interfered with, and fight furiously for food and territory, using long claws and sharp teeth. As they are conspiciously colored, their only protection from predators are their long, sharp spines which, when fully hardened, are almost unbreakable.

Appearance. Flunkies stand about five hands high at the shoulder, but when up on their hind-legs can stretch to almost a fore-and-a-half. They are shaped rather like fat half-spheres, with the flat base to the ground, although older Flunkies seem to be trying to fill out their bellies to complete the sphere! When fully mature they are a dark purple in color, with midnight blue spines along their back ridge. Newborns are a more of a lilac color and with light blue, rubbery back spines.

A long snout decorates the front of the Flunki's head, underneath which is its mouth. The Flunki has small beady eyes, and poor eyesight. It has long incisors for biting down and ripping meat, heavy molars to grind plant material, and long claws that it can use to climb trees and dig. A Flunki normally stands on its hind legs to eat, mate, and groom, but moves on all fours. Most of its pudgy little body is covered with hand-long sharp spines which lie from front to back, extending at the base of its spine to cover a short, flat, prickly tail. The spines are hollow and slightly hooked at the ends. They also detach easily and will work their way into a soft substance - an effective deterrent against predators.
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Special Abilities. A newborn Flunki's spines are extremely soft and flexible. They harden though, (providing they have the proper nourishment) within five to six weeks, becoming fully hard and sharpened within fifteen weeks.

When fully grown a Flunki's spines are as hard as diamonds and it can curl up into a ball to protect itself against predators. In fact, adult Flunkies are only successfully preyed upon by humans; a few rangers and hungry travelers know the secret of flipping a Flunki over with a sharp stick to dispatch it and then rolling it in clay and baking it directly over the coals of a hot fire. The spines will remain in the clay when the ball is cracked open, and the meat is said to be sweet and tender. However, the average pardurin or wolf has no such advantages, and the Flunki makes its nearsighted, waddling way through the forest mostly unmolested.

Apart from its spines, the Flunki's only special ability appears to be turning bits of forest provender into Flunki fat as quickly as possible!
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Territory. Flunkies are most common in the woods around the Thaelon. They have been known to be seen in Voldar though in particularly lean winters, scavenging for food. Some have been found as far north as the Ashmarian Lands and may venture south to the Aerelian Lakes.
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Habitat/Behaviour. Flunkies are generally aggressive towards creatures other than their own kind or that are smaller than themselves. They usually live in social groups of eight to twelve beasts, and have dens close to or under tree roots. They are often seen playing around with each other, or attacking prey or intruders near their "den".

Flunkies seem to have a taste for salt and can commonly be found around rock salt deposits such as abandoned quarries. Some Flunkies become addicted to the taste of salt and when no salt presents itself the Flunkies will travel to farms and the like and chew the wooden handles of farming tools for the taste of the salt in the perspiration soaked into the handle. What with this undesirable habit and their propensity to eat everything else they come across, they are not popular in cultivated areas, and young farm boys are often encouraged to practice their hunting skills on the creature.
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Diet. The Flunki is omnivorous and will eat whatever its eyesight lets it stumble across. Plants, berries, tree bark, insects, small rodents and any unwary birds are all fodder for the Flunki. It is also an accomplished scavenger and will smell out and eat any already-dead creature if it can find no other food. Flunkies have a particular taste for the kaouje plant and the waterberry, which they will seek out and nibble right down to the roots.
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Mating. The Flunki males compete with each other during mating season by performing various tasks. Normally this appears to be fetching food for the female, and she usually chooses the male who brings back the tastiest meal in the shortest time. This test appears to be performed all through the mating and nesting season, as female Flunkies are continuously hungry during the pregnancy. The successful male must then continue to bring various foods for her to satisfy the female’s ravenous appetite.

There are litters of around 2-3 born to the female Flunki in the middle of the year, normally around late Burning Heavens or early Sleeping Dreamer. When the young are born both parents fetch food for the young, taking it in turns to guard the babies and rest.
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Usages. Flunkies have very few practical uses. Their quills are sometimes used to make various tools such as small brushes using younger Flunki spines which are quite flexible, or leaf rakes using the longer, harder spines of the adult Flunki. They can be eaten, though it takes some effort, and their flesh is not in demand.

Some children however, keep these animals as pets. This is rare and only usually only occurs if the child happens to find a young Flunki that is hungry enough to let one not of its own kind look after it. Once tamed, the Flunki does make an extremely loyal pet though, and can be seen riding along on its owner's shoulder, or waddling beside. A tame Flunki can sometimes be used to search for salt, although they are rather unreliable and will swerve off-course to eat anything that appeals to them.
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Researchers. Fredrick Calason, a farmer in the Thaelon area, is primarily responsible for the amount of information we have about the Flunki. One winter his granary stores were broken into by an animal that he had never seen before and he spent the winter putting out various types of food in the hope of seeing one again. Towards the end of the winter, Calason was successful and saw a little purple rodent-like creature with blue spines. Being something of a scholar, he started to study these creatures and find out about their behavioral patterns. He quickly discovered their love for sweet-tasting foods such as kao-kao.

He also discovered how sharp their teeth are after he nearly lost his right ring finger to one that was trying to eat the handle of his hoe as he attempted to wrestle it away from the creature. This also led Fredrick to the discovery of the Flunki's obsession with salt, and how some of the creatures can even become addicted to it. Return to the top

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