|Official Name||Candle Mouse|
|Common Nicknames||Firetail Mouse|
The Candle Mouse is a tiny rodent with a peculiar fiery tail, found throughout Aloria in caves and abandoned interiors. The mice are often domesticated as endearing household pets, and their unusual ability to provide light is a practical boon. While once a trend in Altalar societies, the mice were forgotten for a time but are seeing a massive resurgence in popularity, centered in Regalia.
Candle Mice, while relatively unknown for those living in wealthy or common areas, are quite common and have been present all over Aloria for hundreds of years since their mysterious mass export from Jorrhildr. While the first discovery is not recorded not why the animal was removed from the region, Altalar have had contact with these critters since the Elven Empire began. It was the first to recognize the mice as household pets, mostly for their seemingly magical properties, though further research into them led to the conclusion that they were not magical, and far more similar to walking “candles,” hence their creation of the name. It was common to ship a large number of them just before winter, where the Altalar who enjoyed the species would get a new one every year. In present times, most Altalar interest in the species has deteriorated, and so it’s presumed that the candle mice were more or less a passing “fad” for them. Others have taken an interest in the Candle Mouse since, however. Candle Mice are very desirable in Regalia during wintertime to give light and heat to poorer households. Due to their tendency to produce many more mice absurdly quickly, the rodent is dirt cheap, making it affordable for those who can’t acquire logs for a fireplace - or even an average candle.
The Candle Mouse, while tiny, is rather large for a mouse, approximately six inches in length and weigh less than a pound. Their tail is always even length to its body. The mouse’s head appears perfectly average, with beady black or brown eyes. The nose is soft, pink and flat, where the mouth will be hidden behind fur when closed. Their ears are mostly fur-covered large flaps that stand to about an inch up from its head. A Candle Mouse also appears to have a mask on its face, which is a side-effect from wax buildup. The mouse’s torso is pudgy and far larger than it’s head, often appearing “fat” when healthy. These mice have four pink, hairless legs, though their hind feet are longer than their front. It is entirely covered in thick fur which will vary in colors of brown, grey or even white, depending on the region. Underneath this fur, the mouse is entirely pink with a thick coating of wax atop its skin. The Candle Mouse’s signature unique trait is its tail, of which is often maintaining a small flicker of flame at the tip, similar in appearance to a candle wick. The mouse usually holds its tail upright and away from its torso. The flame is known to go out, such as in the rain, but eventually rekindles within a few hours.
Candle Mice vary depending on the region, presumably, a result of it’s reaction to different climates. In Essalonia and in the North Belt, mice are more often snow-white in fur with light or medium wax coats. In the Regalian Archipelago and Ithania, they are chestnut brown with medium wax coats. Anywhere further south, they will typically grow further dark brown, though Candle Mice found in Farah’deen have been sand colored. A close relative of Candle Mice has been found in Farah’deen which supposedly ended up there long enough to change accordingly to the harsher environment. Farah’deen Candle Mice have wax coats that almost entirely cover the body, far shorter tails and are generally more lithe, able to jump far longer distances in contrast to average mice. Their wax coat also takes on a defensive mechanism of its own, protruding thin, long needles around its torso.
Life Span and Development
Litters of mice consist near eight, though the environment will typically take the weak in the days following birth. A single female mouse can have up to ten litters per year. As an infant, the Candle Mouse will contrast greatly to other similar ages mouses. The Candle Mouse has dark, purplish grey or black skin, and will slowly start growing hair after birth until two weeks when the hair is consistently fully grown. The wax coat only begins to build up around five weeks, and Candle Mice cannot fully control their flame until they are matured at three years. Candle Mice can live up to roughly fifteen years. If they are sheltered and maintained well as house pets, they can extend far past their limit. There have been records of Candle Mice living up to twenty-five years, though most poorer households cannot afford to keep their Candle Mice perfectly healthy and groomed, so the average is far lower. Candle Mice in the wild are especially low on the food chain, and accordingly are more likely to die young than those in cities or homes.
The Candle Mouse is naturally afraid of larger creatures, and have very sensitive hearing. They will listen closely for any loud footfalls or breathing nigh constantly, and so are traumatized by sudden, loud noises that disrupt their hearing. While a Candle Mouse is a reluctant house pet for the first few weeks of its aware childhood, it grows familiar with other creatures quickly, and seems to grow a trust for them - or at the very least, gauge when they aren’t a threat to itself. Candle Mice are intelligent and aware and can be taught to answer to simple commands similarly to household dogs. Candle Mice are comfortable around their kin and will raise their litter until maturity, exiling them to fare for themselves at three years. Most Candle Mice in the wild will immediately look for a mate after leaving its kin, their fires burning particularly bright in the nights to spot or be spotted by willing partners.
Territory and Groupings
Candle Mice travel in groups including the male and female partners and all their litter that have yet to reach maturity. This means a family of mice could vary vastly, depending on the amount the female has produced recently. These mice do not hold any territory, instead of traveling throughout their respective regions, but are docile to change in this behavior. Domesticated mice may travel in the location surrounding it’s home to explore, but will habitually return. If a mouse does not return, it’s presumed that one of its many predators caught it. For particularly protective owners, mice get antsy when cooped up for too long, unless they’ve built a strong relationship with their owner. Still, a Candle Mouse needs some physical activity, or it will develop negative traits and may even have a shorter lifespan.
- Attempts have been made to incorporate the Candle Mouse trend into Ithania, but surprisingly Ithanians looked down upon them. It’s considered unsanitary to bring an invasive rodent such as a mouse into one’s home.
- There is an absurdly large population of Candle Mice in the Regalian Crown Isle alone. Attempts to capture and tame these have backfired horribly, as it’s been discovered these country mice harbor many diseases found in the worst parts of the Regalian slums.
- While it’s presumed that Candle Mice originate from Jorrhildr, it’s not definite. The Farah’deen Candle Mice has likely been developing there far before the Elven Empire took an interest in the species they found up north.