|Official Name||Calemberger Fox|
|Common Nicknames||Wirtem Fox, Winter Fox|
|Habitat||Calemberg and southern Drixagh, Regalian Archipelago|
The Calemberger Fox is seen by many as the defining image of the Calemberg region of the Regalian Archipelago. This canine has roamed the snowy terrain for nearly four hundred years, and has been noted by the local Ailor for its ability to disguise its fur color by rolling in the dirt. The animal has the patronage and protection of the ruling families of the quartet of Calem regions, who are also some of the largest suppliers of the fox’s soft white fur to the wealthy and affluent across Aloria.
The earliest mentions of the animal, now called the Calemberger Fox, stem from records of the Wirtemcaller Kingdom, an ancient state that inhabited the region now known as Calemberg. The Wirtem nobility held a significant connection to the fox as many surviving images from this ancient state have the creature at their feet or in their family emblems. These connections lasted into the years following the Cataclysm, but the Wirtemcaller Kingdom began to decay due to a series of issues, from its unsustainable reach across the northern and eastern lands of the Regalian Archipelago and its inexperienced leadership. Eventually, the Wirtemcaller Kingdom collapsed due to these many pressures, much of it falling to the Skagger Horde while other regions joined with the Regalian Empire willingly. When the Empire assumed full control of the region, the New Regalians emerged from the ruins of the Wirtem people and continued to promote the importance of the animal. However, many of these families were members of the uplifted middle classes, and so, rather than the full mammal, the animal’s white fur and their tails became more commonly shown. The regional power that controlled the Calem regions at this time was House Cadar, one of the original Five Families, but they were rapidly rendered extinct, resulting in a number of other families stepping in to fill the void. Often in a bid to maintain their power, these nobles cordoned off large areas of forested terrain where the white fox species lived to ensure their stream of revenue remained intact. This action has largely succeeded and, to this day, this cabal of “fur families”, as they are sometimes known, control much of the territory known to hold the Calemberger Fox. Additionally, because of this, the Calemberger Fox population has maintained at a steady level for the past 75 years, and will likely remain a symbol of financial power and noble heritage in the region for the coming decades.
The Calemberger Fox is a canine mammal with short limbs and a body built close to the ground. They stand at around three and a half feet high with a length of four and a half to five and a half feet, with a weight of between fifteen and twenty-five pounds. The animal’s head has the characteristic fox features of pointed ears, a pointed snout with a black nose, large brown or green eyes, and a mouth of carnivorous teeth. Unique to this breed of fox, however, is that the ears and snout are shorter than those of other foxes, which is better for the cold weather the foxes thrive in. Their short neck connects the head to a slim, athletically-built body meant for sudden sprints. Their body has four legs, with a paw on the end, before ending in a pointed, long furry tail. Their bodies as a whole are covered in a layer of thick, soft white fur they grow and keep for most of the year. This coat is layered, helping to keep it warm during the winter months, and is notable for how easily all manner of things cling to it. Because of this, the Calemberger Fox will roll in the dirt and gravel to appear closer in shade to the surrounding landscape when spring and summer come. Additionally, their noses, the areas immediately around their mouths, inner ears, and the tip of their tail remain black throughout the changes of the seasons.
Calemberger Foxes have a fairly equal number of males and females, with only minor variations year to year. The species lacks further notable diversity.
Life Span and Development
The Calemberger Fox typically bears litters of up to three cubs. Dependent on their parents for warmth and food, these barely-furred babies are highly vulnerable in their early days, only further hindered by their heavily contrasting fur, which is a dark brown or black. After four weeks, they began to explore the den and its surroundings, being taught by their parents to catch smaller prey and other essential skills. By twelve and eighteen weeks, the cubs have grown their first coat of white fur and have learned to hunt effectively, allowing those that survived this time a near certainty of reaching adulthood. After a year, they are fully mature and soon leave to start their own families. They can live for up to five years.
Calemberger Foxes are wild and vicious creatures but display a notorious intellect as well. This intelligence is made clear in their excellent camouflage ability, as the canine is able to blend into their surroundings in all seasons. They do so by rolling in the dirt, greenery, or snow at the appropriate times of the year, allowing the substance to cling to their dense fur and form a layer of color atop their pre-existing coats. Even in the heat of summer, they will still have a chance at survival. Injured foxes have been known to escape human hunters thanks to this camouflage skill. Besides their smarts, the Calemberger Fox is also known to be an aggressive mammal, especially if cornered or protecting their loved ones. They commonly attack by leaping for the throat or the arm joints, but the face is always close behind. With others of their kind, they are gentle and placid, though rival dens or males can have spats against each other. As for tamability, some have postulated that the Wirtemcallers knew how to mellow out the fox’s ferocity, but such art has been lost today. Due to their interactions with Humans being almost exclusively violent, there has been little attempt to train the species.
Territory and Groupings
Calemberger Foxes operate in small family units, often made up of at least one but no more than four mated pairs. Lone foxes can also be seen, but these are usually dispersed males or females looking for a mate. These loners are not territorial and instead keep constantly on the move. Both family units and single foxes can be found in a number of the cold regions of Calem, as well as in the southern areas of Drixagh.
- The Order of the Golden Fox Tails is an unofficial political society in Calemberg known for wearing decorated Calemberger Fox tails on their clothing as a sign of unity. The Order often backs whatever the ruling family proposes or stands for but, in recent years with the fragmentation of the Calemberger Bloc, they are now mostly a social club.
- There was once a wild Calemberger Fox known as “Smug” by hunters, as his facial fur made him look like he was constantly smiling. He was known to have escaped capture four separate times and his pelt was never recovered.
- The lack of Velheim or general Northland cultural connections to the Calemberger Fox is probably due to its relatively recent migrations up into the tundra and forests of Drixagh.