Alphyn

Singular: alphyn
Plural: alphyns
Pronunciation: al-fin

Avg. Height: 85cm/2'9" (at shoulder)
Avg. Weight: 92kg/203 lbs.

Habitat: highlands, particularly mountains and forested hills
Diet: carnivore


An alphyn (Kounelilykos roghii) is an aggressive, carnivorous quadruped native to the forested hills and mountains of Ydra. It vaguely resembles a hunting hound, with long ears like a hare, a pointed nose, and a tufted tail studded with knots of muscle that give it a curious "twisted" appearance. Their coats are long, silky, and ranges from silvery gray to darker shades of brown, forming a makeshift mane around the neck and shoulders. The fur on their faces is generally short, and on adult alphyns fluffs out in a goatlike beard on the chin. Their eyes are unusually large and yellow; alphyns' pupils rarely ever dilate, and their vision tends to be poor, particularly during the day. An alphyn's front feet are taloned like an eagle's, boasting scales the same color as their fur, while their hind legs have mammalian paws.

These creatures are notorious for killing more prey than they need to eat, burying some for later but leaving the rest to rot; alphyns engaged in a battle for territory often kill the largest creatures they can and leave the corpses as a dominance display. Normal territory-marking behavior involves chewing or clawing things as well as scent marking. They can and will attack sentients, even if vastly outnumbered, and prefer ambush hunting. An alphyn's ideal diet involves a balance of large and small game. Thanks to their claws, alphyns are excellent climbers, and sometimes use this talent to scale trees to get at nests or larva-bearing beehives.

Alphyns are vocal creatures, making sounds similar to giggling in addition to a plethora of growls, yowls, and warbles. When upset they produce a distinctive scream. An alphyn's tongue is long and slightly prehensile, used both for grooming and investigating their surroundings; they have a fairly developed Jacobson's organ and can "taste" the air to smell for nearby prey. They often stick out their tongues or bare their teeth in a grin to intimidate intruders on their territory, though these behaviors are also used to greet mates (potential or otherwise). Alphyns are meticulous groomers and regularly spend time licking their fur clean.

Alphyns live either alone or in small family groups. They mate for life, and have litters of 3-6 kits an average of once every other spring; both parents care for their young, though the mother stays close to the den to nurse the kits until they are old enough to digest regurgitated meat. Kits reach sexual maturity in a year and a half and are driven away from their parents' territory shortly afterwards. Mated pairs often hunt together, groom each other, and will keen for each other if they become separated for an extended period of time. An alphyn who loses its mate usually will not seek out another one unless it was a very new pairing, though they do not display long-term mourning behavior aside from this.

Any attempts to domesticate them have ended poorly.

Those who follow the Hroendir associate the goddess Roghasoldarian with the alphyn, both for its savagery and loyalty. Some Roghian cells keep one or more alphyns as devotional animals, offering them food and prayers; unsurprisingly, members of such groups are more likely to be missing fingers.

Ydra Animals of Ydra

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