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1  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: The Dark Tailed Butterfly (first ever proto-creation) on: 18 April 2012, 03:54:16
Thanks for all the great comments; I shall incorporate them in good time!!!

I have to apologise for not seeing to the corrections immediately as I have exams in the next few weeks and the revision has kept me bent over a mound of weighty tombs and archaeological journals.

I completely agree that the writing style is very disjointed and clumsy, even sloppy in places. I guess I just wanted to get the thoughts out as quickly as possible.

But thanks again for all the great posts, and especially to Tharoc for letting me use his Ironwoods.
2  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: The Dark Tailed Butterfly (first ever proto-creation) on: 13 April 2012, 04:07:59
Awesome proposal Ta'lia. I shall definitely find a way of incorporating this. thanks for pointing out the big blunder!!  :).  I also wanted to incorporate a myth about the Silk's prowess in battle, worn by a famous hero of old (more research needed), but I don't know if I would have licence to do this?!?!?!
3  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: The Dark Tailed Butterfly (first ever proto-creation) on: 10 April 2012, 17:12:26
Thanks for all the comments so far!  :) Sorry that it is taking so long to edit!

A quick question: how do days and months work here?
4  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: The Dark Tailed Butterfly (first ever proto-creation) on: 09 April 2012, 17:19:38
Hi Valan, thanks for the reply. Concerning the confusion between moth and butterfly, I was proposing that Leif had made a wrong diagnosis when initially observing the moth from afar. After buying a specimen from the Kuglimz tribe later in his life, he found that it was indeed a moth and not a butterfly, but the name of Dark Tailed Butterfly had stuck. If you do not think this is a good idea, I can scrap it or try to make it more clear.

Concerning the Ashz-oc and trading, I found this in the description of the Prominent Mountains :

Under some conditions, it has been even possible to trade with the Ashz-oc for the leaves, wood and the nuts of the ironwood tree, though these attempts are by no means always successful and only the bravest merchants will try. Typically, a troop of Kuglimz warriors will be hired to provide protection while extravagant gifts (usually such things as cloth, which the orcs can not produce for themselves; southern spices/flavorings, exotic foods, decorative jewelry for the females, etc.) are sent ahead with some brave persons as peace offerings. Usually a man from the Kaaer'dár'shín tribe is hired as interpreter. Obviously this is not a simple trade mission. Due to the orcen language being largely made up of gesture and movement, the orcish ability to read body language is phenomenal and this is of great benefit to them in the negotiations.

I shall try to make my entry neater and tighter.  :)
5  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / The Dark Tailed Butterfly (first ever proto-creation) on: 09 April 2012, 03:15:31
Hi Guys, this is my first ever idea for the Dream. I'm sure you beasty boffins will give me lots of helpfull criticism. I started out small with a simple moth. Enjoy

The Aklitha or Dark Tailed Butterfly lives amongst the Ironwood Trees on the slopes of Mount  Emesz’gob, in the Prominent Mountains. Though strictly a moth of light and dark brown colours, this creature is seldom seen and eagerly hunted for the strange qualities of its cocoon.  

Animals, small, insect.

The Dark Tailed Butterfly measures approximately three nailsbreadths wide and seven nailsbreadths long (from antenna to tail). The length of the tail alone is three nailsbreadths.

Its colours appeared to be dull from afar but on closer inspection, the researcher, Leifloff Sjungnarr, claimed that more than two hundred shades of brown could be observed. These colours help it to blend into its environment. These colours enable the moth to go unnoticed as the Ironwood changes colour with age. The wings consist of a oval forewing and a trailing hindwing, which, along with its tail, assist in subsistence strategies. As the forewing is relatively small, at one nailsbreadth, flight patterns of the moth can be quite irregular and unpredictable, much like a leaf dancing on the air. The tail itself is long with three flailing, tentacle like glands that facilitate, amongst other things, the spinning of the cocoon.  

The cocoon itself is only four nailsbreadths wide and five long. This small size forces the male and female to practise their mating ritual which they would not otherwise do. The cocoon is charcoal black and very slightly sticky, owing to the various residues that the moth's tail glads secrete to bind the silk fibres. The residue also helps to bind the cocoon to the smooth bark of younger Ironwood Trees.

To the non-expert, it would appear that larvae digest and crawl out of the cocoon. This, however, is not the case. Under very close inspection, these 'larvae' have very small wings, and are infact 'proto-moths' (a term which Leif was pleased to coin himself).

The mistaken etymology of 'Butterfly' came about when Leif observed the graceful butterfly like movements of the moth as it fluttered from tree top canopies to the ground, much like a falling leaf. The researcher believed it to be a butterfly because of this characteristic, and mistakenly called it thus. It is not of this taxidermic family, however. The moth like characteristics are clear. Unlike butterflies, the antenna and body are furry and their forewings have small barbs with which to latch on to leaves and bark.

The Dark Tailed Butterfly only resides amongst the Ironwood Trees of Emesz’gob, and, as such, is a fairly rare creature. Remain of these creatures were found at Mount Colvin on the volcanic Isle of Climaxed, suggesting that they were once more common.

Habitat/ Behaviour
These moths are fast flying creatures that imitate the movement of leaves due to a small forewing and are mostly solitary. On the 21st of the Awakening Earth, the moths become very sociable and quickly find a mate. The are great pollinators of the Ironwood flower, but, as there are so few of these Dark Tailed Butterflies, the Ironwood Trees do not spread rapidly.

Due to their tough cocoons, the Dark Tailed Butterfly once had very few predators but due to the lack of Ironwoods, the moth could not very quickly propergate. As the Ashz-oc have come to use the cocoons, they have been slowly dwindling in number. Their greatest defence mechanism is their ability to camouflage but this is not enough to defend against Orc Collectors. Their brown colours enable them to 'blend' into the bark of the Ironwood as it changes colour throughout its life. Although there is a small amount of acid in their bodies, it is not enough to harm predators, only enough to make them taste quite bitter.

Strangely, the diet of these insects are the leaves of the younger Ironwood. The hindwings and long tail enable the moth to more easily rip the leaves of the tree and slowly nibble away at them. Glands within the mouth of the moth secrete a mild acid that help to breakdown the tough Ironwood fibres. This enables the moth to more easily swallow and digest its food. Although the Dark Tailed Butterfly doesn't strictly have a jaw, its mouth has small muscles that help it suck up the leaves.  The glands within the tail process the Ironwood fibres, and, with them, create a strong, flexible and very durable thread which is woven into a cocoon by the tail.

The moth spends its time alone for most of the year alone. One day each year, however, when the temperature is coldest, the moth searches for a mate. Once a partner is found a lively dance takes place in which the moths swirl, dive and leap around one another until they come to rest on an Ironwood branch. The male then creates a tight cocoon which embraces them both and this is where they lay their eggs, protected from the wintry frosts. The tight cocoon forces them to mate. It is likely that without this, the Dark Tailed Butterfly would now be an extinct species. The male and female produce an average of three small proto-moths in one season which are around one nailsbreadth long each. The fabric of the cocoon is able to stretch to accommodate the proto-moth eggs. For the first two months, these small moths have to be fed by their parent as the acid glands in the mouth haven't fully formed. The parent moths do this by dissoling parts of the leaf and spitting it back out for their offspring to feed on.  

As the proto-moths reach maturity, at three months, their tails increase in length and their wings fully form. At this point, the parent moths leave them and find new mates and the mating circle begins again.

Leif was fascinated with the Dark Tailed Butterfly's relationship with the...
After observing these creatures for six months, the researcher noted that the moths generally avoided mating with their immediate kin. Perhaps this is a factor for their sparsity. As a consequence of this observation Leif designated different family groups to these moths which he called flutters. He discovered that each female would take their mate to a special breeding tree that was unique to her flutter.

The Ashz-oc often harvest the cocoons of the moths when it can be found. Designated Orc Collectors once used long, hooked poles to drag the cocoons from the higher portions of the Ironwood. The first attempts at collecting these cocoons with this method resulted in the moths eating their way through the shell and escaping. More modern, yet less sophisticated techniques, involve extremely long laddersthat are scaled. Once at the cocoons, the Ashz-oc Collectors cut the round pods from the bark and stuff them into an ironwood box, the explanation being that the Dark Tailed Butterfly will not be aware of its capture. A simple process of boiling and steaming enables the cocoon to turn back into durable Ironwood threads. This process sadly kills the male, female and proto-moths inside. This thread, which has recently been called Aklitha Silk, is very hard to rip, yet is very flexible. Before the process, the Silk is extremely stretch, yet holds its tensile strength. The Ashz-oc add Squirim Moss to the boiling mixture to reduce the elastic nature of the the thread. The Ashz-oc use the Silk as bow strings and a stretchy string will not bend the bow.

 On rare occasions the Aklitha Silk is traded to travelling merchants at the city of Haz’Ar’Mhun, or to the nomadic Kuglimz tribe who are famous for their weaving. As the moth is quite uncommon, few Ashz-oc can pride themselves with an almost unbreakable bow string, and, as such only the military elite own them.  

The thread is highly prized by seamstresses and shipwrights around the world. It is sometimes used as thread for sails and baskets for carrying heavy loads. More recently it has been woven into undergarments  to help protect from poorly aimed projectiles. As there is not currently a weaving technique or technology that can so tightly weave this fine thread, a well aimed, or close shot will pierce the cloth. The cost of this cloth, though, is so extortionately priced that only the richest of the rich can afford it. However, these garments are not the most comfortable of clothings, and itch the skin so much that rashes can form.

It is rumoured that the elves, who make the deliciously soft hérin’sufár cloth out of Syrrus Moss, have interwoven it with the thread of the Dark Tailed Butterfly. The hérin’sufár is notoriously easy to rip and tear, but with the added dexterity that the Aklitha Silk gives, the cloth is invaluable. If these rumors are true, then this hybrid material could well be the most expensive fabric in the land.

Leifloff Sjungnarr tracked this moth down after he had examined the fine, black, glossy, durable thread used by a wealthy seamstress in Marcogg. A hefty bribe and several tenuous rumors led him to the Prominent mountains where he spent seven months looking for the moth. Not wanting to approach the Ashz-oc for information and specimens, he spent much of his time aimlessly traveling through wooded areas until he discovered a cluster of cocoons high up in the boughs of an Ironwood Tree. After observing these creatures in their natural habitat but finding it almost impossible to catch a specimen, due to their irregular yet very agile flight patterns, he decided to publish his initial findings, calling them the 'Dark Tailed Butterfly'. His paper was widely accepted and praised by natural historians across the continent. It was not until his heated discussion with Alysse, the Kuglimz researcher, about the validity of his findings, that he decided to extend his research on the moth. He needed a specimen and would obtain one at any cost. It was challenging to obtain one. He was forced to trade a expensive Ironwood dye with the Kuglimz after vainly searching for the moth on the slopes of Mount Emesz’gob. He spent a solid month studying the anatomy of the insect and took extensive measurements and notes. To his great distress and embarrassment the 'Butterfly' turned out to be a moth.  

Additional information
Some say that the Centoraurian tribes of South Sarvonia perform the dance called the Aklitha when celebrating the equinoxes in the 21st of the Awakening Earth.
6  Organization and General Discussions / Newbie Information, Joining Requests and Recruitment / Hi All on: 08 April 2012, 08:09:46
Hi Everyone.

This project sounds so immense and exciting that I get Goosebumps just thinking about it.

 I love writing stories and poems, creating worlds and playing the philosopher. I am very interested in the relationship between different social groups and classes and how they view aspects of the world in very different ways. The way in which people of different class participate in religious activity and associate with material possessions has always sparked a flame of engrossed fascination within me. Eventually, I would very much like develop these primitive ideas in this beautiful and intriguing world of Santharia.

I hope to get to know you all soon

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