|Official Name||Black Pathor|
|Common Nicknames||Lesser Jungle Cat|
|Habitat||Daendroc and Hyarroc|
The Black Pathor is an animal native to Daendroc and it is well known for its cool attitude. It was often confused with the Great Jungle Cat before the rise of the Elven Empire, which saw the feline as the idealized version of a Varran slave: silent, and obedient. Following the Cataclysm, the distinctions between the Black Pathor and its larger cousin were lost for a time, before eventually being distinguished as separate species once more. The two animals share many similar features; however, the Black Pathor lacks the prominent over-sized canine teeth that perpetually force open a Great Jungle Cat’s mouth. Today, the animal remains a symbol of the aloof jungle hunter, and is unlikely to once again be confused for its wilder and fiercer relative.
The Black Pathor has been a constant in Daen culture since the rise of the Elven Empire in Hyarroc. As the Elves expanded their dominion over the jungles of Daen, one of the first beasts they encountered was the Black Pathor. Its Imperial Elven name means “one who is black and beautiful, yet deadly”, an accurate summation of many of the supposed encounters that Elven rangers had with the beasts. In spite of this, much debate exists among scholars about the accuracy of these reports; a Black Pathor’s frosty attitude to outsiders doesn’t match the fiercer actions of the stories. Historians instead point the true culprits of these tales as the cousin of the Black Pathor; the Great Jungle Cat. By the time of Emperor Céar-néallë’ná, the Black Panthor and Great Jungle Cat had been identified as separate animals. Starting at that point, the Black Pathor became a symbol of the ideal Varran slave, and were often kept as pets by Elven princes and monarchs to help push this symbolism as far as possible.
Following the Cataclysm and the collapse of the Elven Empire, the Black Pathor and the Great Jungle Cat blended into one in the minds of the Ailor and grew to be a symbol of the jungle’s fury, rather than of the Varran’s servitude. It wasn’t until 100 AC that Ithanian scholars working in Daenshore made the distinction between the two species again, using their own records. Since then, the Black Pathor has been left alone when encountered. Even hunters refrain from attacking the Pathor, out of fear of their response. Some have even returned to their role as menagerie animals to wealthy Daendroque and Altalar across the continent. It is commonly viewed as a calm and collected creature of the night in Daendroque culture, while Alto-Atla culture still see them as the ideal representation of a Varran slave. Apart from any radical shifts in the culture of Daen, the Black Pathor is expected to remain in its position of cultural significance.
The Black Pathor is a compact and muscled mammal standing at a height of around two, to two and a half feet, with a weight varying between 150 to 210 lbs and a length of between four and six feet. Their heads have classic defining feline features, with brown or green eyes, a whiskered snout, a sharp-toothed mouth and slightly pointed flexible ears. They stand on four powerful legs and clawed paws with a long and thin tail making up as much as a quarter of their body length. Their whole body is also covered in a thin, but elegant, layer of black fur. Some of the most sought-after Black Pathors have minor yellow patterning along their rear flanks which occurs for unknown reasons.
The Black Pathor has an equal gender ratio with standard gender dimorphism, in that males are larger than females. In addition, some Panthors are noted for light yellow patterning that appears on the rear flanks of their body as opposed to the solid black fur color the vast majority are known for.
Life Span and Development
The Black Pathor is born in litters between two to five kittens, already possessing black fur but lacking any way to defend themselves. Pathor kittens stay with their mother as they develop and grow skills to hunt for themselves, taking nearly six months to mentally mature while physically, they mature after a year and a half. During this year period of physical growth, one by one, the kittens will leave their mother for the jungle, and achieve independence. Sometimes, daughters stay with their mothers but this occurs rarely. When mating season comes, males and females rendezvous in small clusters to choose mates. The males fight for dominance, while the females watch on the subject of the fights. Once mates are chosen, the pairs will breed and remain together for as long as the female takes to gestate her kittens. When these kittens are born, the male leaves for a solitary life in the jungle. In their fourteen-year lifespans, Black Pathors mate anywhere between two and four times. Domesticated Pathors can live as many as twenty years, though individuals so old are few and far between.
The Black Pathor is most known for its accurate depiction as a cool, solitary cat. While it does have sudden periods of intense activity when it hunts, the majority of time by the creature is spent in trees, looking down. When encountered by sentient life, the animal is similarly cool, never snarling and regarding these people with mistrust. If it is startled, the animal’s powerful legs will help it leap into the underbrush and escape. They only attack sentient life if cornered or violently encounter them in the jungle. When they encounter members of their own species however, the Black Pathor is far more standoffish. If a male and a female meet outside of the mating season, they often exchange a brief flurry of bats or blows to the face before leaving. When males encounter each other, fighting breaks out and can range from a simple bat to vicious rolling through the underbrush.
Females can grow similarly vicious, especially if threatened by an aggressive male seeking dominance over juvenile males or to sentient races trying to capture their children. When domesticated, the animal exhibits great calm and lacks a confrontation attitude with other members of its kind. Some would even say that domestication makes the Pathor better, more likely to get along with its own species and exhibiting their cool, majestic aura.
Territory and Groupings
The Black Pathor has an interesting style of grouping. Females remain stationary for much of their lives, claiming domain over a stretch of jungle as their own. It is where they also raise their young. Males on the other hand, constantly move across Daendroc’s jungles and often travel between these stretches of jungle controlled by females. Black Pathors only gather when it is the mating season and often converge on each other one by one, unmated males and females travelling to the closest grouping of their species.
- Black Pathors and Great Jungle Cats are compatible for breeding, but these matings rarely go through, as female Black Pathors are usually killed in the mating process by male Great Jungle Cats. On the reverse, Female Great Jungle Cats do not allow male Black Pathors to mate with them.
- Black Pathor remains have turned up across half of Aloria in often unexplained places. The oddest location was in a cave in Ellador, but many scholars believe they are remnants from crashed Elven slave ships or dead Elven explorers who brought their pets along with them.
- The strange yellow patterning that occasionally occurs on Black Pathor flanks makes such pelts highly sought after. Curiously, Elven nobility in the Elven Empire never killed these Pathors and instead, only extracted their pelt once the animal had died a natural death. The same practice is undertaken by Altalar nobility across Daen.