The Murmillion people have hunted the wargs since they defined their territory. While their time-perfected skill and fine-crafted bladeaxes kill swiftly, the beastly wargs challenged everything they had, and so this breed of bloodhound was bred to be used in combination with their spears and arrows. Kaal Bloodhounds are well suited to a cold alpine climate, with their large build and thick coat, and have acute senses of sight, smell, and hearing. They are tenacious and vicious creatures, whose loyalty is hard to gain, and unpredictable once gained. These hounds have also been used in warfare by the Murmillions.
Appearance. These are large dogs; from head to paw, Kaal Bloodhounds are around two fores and a palmspan in height, and from snout-tip to tail-tip they are around a ped and a fore. The coat can be grey, yellow or black, but black dogs, called Purehounds, are most prized by the Murmillions, as black is considered by them to be a pure colour. The hounds' fur is long and sleek, to protect them from the cold of the Nightvalleys. Their small, round eyes glow red in the darkness of Nybelmar's forests.
These hounds have wolf blood, and it shows. They have a much larger build than the other domesticated hounds of Caelereth, attributed to an extra layer of fat and muscle. They have pointed snouts with long, sharp teeth for ripping and tearing meat, and claws for gripping their prey. However, the hounds' heads are leaner than wolves', their fur coarser and shaggier, and their build slightly finer. Their long, muscly legs enable them to run fast over long distances.
The Murmillions give their hounds wide black leather collars, sometimes studded with pieces of iron. These collars serve not only a decorative but a practical purpose: they prevent the dogs' throats from being ripped at by sharp warg teeth. The collars of younger dogs may be fitted with leads to keep them in control. Also, some of the wealthier hunters provide their dogs with specially fitted cuirasses protecting their stomach and back.
Special Abilities. Kaal Bloodhounds are the ideal hunting dogs. As they are descendants of wolves, the hounds have extremely acute senses of hearing, sight and smell. They can feel vibrations in the earth nearly a stral away through their paws. Their key strength lies in their incredible strength and their sharp teeth for tearing flesh.
They have also been used in war, as shock troops, very effectively. Tenacious, naturally vicious creatures, they attack their victim's throat and won't let go. Chances are, if you're surrounded by Kaal Bloodhounds, you're about to die a very bloody death.
Territory. The bloodhounds of Ehebion have been bred by the Murmillions, a people who nowadays live in the foothills. They are accustomed to the cold temperatures. There was brief experimentation in the trade of these skilled hunting dogs for regions with problems with bigger prey, but the hounds proved to be too difficult to move and train.
Habitat/Behaviour. Kaal Hounds are vicious creatures. As pups, they are extremely energetic, stubborn and difficult to train. A Murmillion village will usually have at least one man or woman who specializes in the breeding of the dogs, although owners must, through a combination of will, patience and strength, train the hounds themselves; as this is the only way a hound will be loyal to its owner.
Their one disadvantage is that the hounds can be uncooperative and competitive with others of their species, making it difficult to take more than one hound on a hunt.
Diet. Meat, meat, and more meat. The Kaal Bloodhounds have voracious appetites. Their owners provide them with warg or wolf meat as a reward for a kill, but mostly they feed upon the entrails and tough parts of cattle and sheep. They also like milk and cream, an unusual taste in a dog.
Mating. Like sticks to like; Kaal Bloodhounds rarely if ever mate with another species of dog. There are several hound breeders among the Murmillion people, who breed prime hounds for maximum strength, agility, and endurance. It is considered preferable to own a hound of a pure colour: grey, red, yellow, white, or best of all black.
Hounds are ready to mate at age three or four. They have a gestation period of three and a half months, and generally bear litters of two to five pups.
Usages. The dogs were bred, first and foremost, to hunt the wargs, and while they hunt other prey as well (deer, wolf, bear, and even smaller rodents), they are most at home chasing after the fierce wargs.
They have been used in battle, too: Kaal Bloodhounds can be utilized for tracking or even in the front lines, as men are easier to bring down than wargs.
The dogs have also been used in an arena-type sport popular with the Murmillions: a dog is pitted against another in closed combat, or sometimes against fiercer prey - wargs have been kept in captivity for just this purpose. The hound breeders sometimes do this to test their skill against one another.
Origin. The bloodhounds' name, Kaal, comes from the man who is said to have originally bred them, Kaal Farko, a Murmillion cursed from birth with a twisted foot. His defect made it impossible to run after the swift prey, or hunt it all, so he decided to contribute to the Murmillion hunting culture another way. Using his skill with handling animals, he bred the hunting hound from wolves and the rough dogs used as ratcatchers in Murmillion settlements. From what researchers have gathered, Kaal was greatly interested in canine breeding, the first of his tribe to be so. The dogs were the result of several experiments.
While at first many Murmillion hunters thought the idea of using a canine helper weak and cowardly, they grew to see the benefits of these dogs and the use of hunting hounds became widespread among the Murmillions.
Information provided by Amera Tristis