|Common Nicknames||Vanna Lizard, High Lord Lizard|
|Habitat||Minoor Isles, Hadar|
Corr’daga are unique reptiles known to only one area of Hadaria, that being the Minoor Isles. First encountered immediately upon the arrival of the Altalar settlers fleeing the degradation of the Allorn Empire, the species ability to run on water, and easily climb trees in a corkscrew fashion has made them a useful tool by the Minoor people. Known for their great migrations, and lethargic nature, the Corr’daga is also brightly colored and leaves a mark on all who encounter one.
The Corr’daga were some of the first creatures ever encountered by what was to become the Minoor Altalar, though their first interaction was disastrous at best, cataclysmic at worst. When the colonists reached the densely jungled lands, now known as the Minoor Isles, several of their ships broke off from the group to find another landing site nearby, to spread out their population and not overwhelm the capacity of a single island. This small group of ships is now called the Massacre Fleet for what happened next. Sailing between two of the region’s islands, there was a sudden surge of water and what seemed to be reptilian beings moving toward them. The ship’s crew and passengers panicked that something was coming to attack them from the island. Knowing of the Allar from their servant populations, but long associating them with savagery, the group’s few mages stepped up to set out a barrage of withering magical fire to drive off these threats. However, the creatures kept on coming, but then they hit the ships, literally. Dozens of the large reptiles slammed headfirst into the wood, instantly sinking, while others scrambled to find purchase, and the colonists desperately fought them off, turning the water red. What few creatures did make it up the deck shocked the passengers, as they were not sentient foes coming to kill them, but large, brightly colored reptilian animals acting on almost pure instinct. The creatures beelined across the ships, and then leaped back into the water; now able to see them from behind, the Altalar were able to see that the creatures somehow ran over the water’s surface.
This was the first, and so far only, disastrous meeting of a Corr’daga Run and the Altalar, but it marked the animal as one of note in the area. The Massacre Fleet’s actions, while technically justified, would later be revealed to have almost culled half of the Minoor Isles of any Corr’daga. In the generations following this, the locals adapted and came to admire the strange creatures, especially given their calmness to the presence of others. Their large size seemingly denied them the ability to get skittish around creatures smaller than themselves and, over time, Ailor slaves came to form slow bonds with the reptilians. Ultimately, when the slave populations were freed across the islands, some Ailor now sought to complete the slow process that had begun with their ancestors, and tamed, then domesticated certain Corr’daga populations. The creature, while not used for grunt labor, still became a mount for movement across the tropical region, and when the conflict first began to emerge with the outside world, as shocking war mounts that startled the first foes the Minoor peoples faced. In the modern-day, while the Corr’daga Runs may be smaller than they once were, they still take place and are now regional events where Minoor pull up to watch the creatures make their signature movements.
The Corr’daga sits at some fourteen feet long, and a weight of around 400 pounds. They have a stocky head with a narrow snout, two large dark brown or green eyes sitting prominently above their wide mouth and small, but visible, nostrils. Their tympanum are also clearly visible, being located far back on the head, close to the connection of it to the animal’s neck. The underside of their neck is slightly wrinkled, but this smooths out once the animal’s underbelly is reached. The rest of the animal’s body possesses a flattened, middle section, supported on four limbs longer than most other reptiles. Each of these ends in a short-clawed hand with five digits, though the rear legs possess a unique adaptation, in the form of scaled fringes that exist both on the legs themselves, and between the toes. They are normally unseen, but when the animal enters the water, their front airs rapidly paw at the air in front of them in a strange, nearly windmill like manner, while their rear limbs kick along, the fringes extending and allowing the animals to run over the water. The animal’s body then ends in a long tail that is brought to a singular point at the end of it. Their bodies are covered in small scales, and possess bright colorations, with deep greens along their heads and backs, with stripes of blue also sitting there and along their underbellies. Their bodies are also accentuated with crests of fierce orange and red on the top of their head, and along the lower half of their back which extends onto the first half of their tails.
Coor’daga possess sexual dimorphism in the appearance of their crests, as on females they are quite short, barely reaching half a foot or so off of the body, while on the males they can extend as much as two feet, at least on the head; these frills often tend to flop slightly as the animal gets older. Corr’daga colors, meanwhile, are universal, and are believed to be a result of their environment, resting and staying in the jungle, gifting them their green coloration while their blue underbellies and stripes came from their water running abilities.
Life Span and Development
Corr’daga have a unique life cycle that should be explained from well before conception to the same point later in their lives. The reptile has a strange instinct for migration, moving from island to island of the Minoor Isles alone, rarely making it to others in Hadaria. However, this migration also serves a reproductive purpose, as only after completing a Run, the term for this migration, will Corr’daga from the same marathon mate. They produce as many as 80 pale blue, round eggs at a time in huge pits dug into the sand and vegetation of their island homes. This number is often drastically less for domesticated Corr’daga. The adults stay in their spawning area for weeks while the eggs mature and, ultimately, leave just as the latest clutches of Corr’daga hatchlings emerge. They are near identical copies of their parents, with their frills the only part of their body underdeveloped, and they then spread out across the island they have been spawned on to survive. Many will die, but many will also live, growing over a period of three years into a full-sized adult. At this stage, they are liable to form a Run, and thus begin their own journey to reproduce. They can live for up to twenty years in the wild, with domesticated variants doubling that at around the forty to forty-five range.
The Corr’daga is described by most outsiders, as a fairly stupid lizard. Indeed, the animals lack much in the way of defense until they sufficiently grow in size, and the story of the Massacre Fleet has earned smirks and headshakes from non-Minoor who hear it, as it sounds like a tale of idiotic creatures running headlong to their demise, when they could easily have gone around the threat. But others would point out that the migration instinct in many animals is strong, and only those domesticated variants of Corr’daga have fully escaped it. The Minoor also know better, as the species have been loyal companions to many on the islands for decades. The creatures are overall, lethargic, often spending a great deal of time in the sun or resting in their treetop homes. When requiring food, they often seek out rivers, where they find rivers, amphibians, smaller reptiles, and insects to satiate themselves. They rarely go after anything larger than this, unless they are truly desperate, and they never seek to eat sentient Races. If they are irritated, especially in domesticated surroundings, they may nip at clothing or the closest part of a person, but their teeth are not especially sharp, and rarely draw blood against such large forms. Their mentality around the Run has been mentioned previously, but it is also important to note aspects to this fervor of their life. They will go without food or water throughout a Run, resulting in them gorging themselves in the week before the mad dash over land and water to their spawning ground. They are also notably caring to their mate of choice after the madness has ceased, with licking of areas around the head a strong indication of such affections. Corr’daga will also lick their caretakers in this way, a process most get used to by the time the animal is large, and their tongue, similarly so.
Territory and Groupings
Corr’daga in the wild live together in large groups called Marathons, which number anywhere from forty to two hundred individuals. They only group up into their Marathons as the time approaches for their Run, sometimes laying on one another during the day as they lounge in the sun. Corr’daga Marathons that join together for a single large Run, such as the one the Massacre Fleet broke up, are called Rushes. Few have been seen in Minoor in recent decades since the taking of a number of Corr’daga into domesticated surroundings, but the last one was reported in 288 AC, and ran through a coastal town, causing significant havoc. Wild Corr’daga migrate, and while they have a central spawning ground they resume every half a decade or so that they return to, their travels are otherwise constrained only by the borders of the Minoor Isles. Domesticated Corr’daga meanwhile, exists in ‘sprints’, much smaller units of around ten to twenty individuals to a glade, the term given to their unique arboreal paddocks.
- Corr’daga are never actively exported to other areas of Aloria. While adaptable to other climates, the animals are still viewed with significance among the Minoor, and the creatures themselves seem highly used to Minoor surroundings.
- The most famed Corr’daga rider, Kiro Janaï Salaanma Minos Veia, recently died at the ripe age of 110. An Ailor, he has left behind no progeny, save the trio of sisters he and his husband adopted. They are all Altalar and have taken the reins recently in pushing the abilities of Corr’daga riding among the Minoor military.
- Some have speculated the Corr’daga and the Suvial mount of choice, the Dirrin Reptile, may be related, given both have excellent climbing abilities. However, this is easily dismissed as a poor understanding of biology by Minoor scholars, as the creatures have many differences, the least of which being geographic.