|Official Name||Elladorian Badger|
|Common Nicknames||Volddsom Jordkriger|
The Elladorian Badger is an animal known for close-knit familial bond as well as their underground burrows known as setts. They are an ancient creature, with ties to half a dozen different peoples through the centuries, from recorded sightings by the Elven Empire to a degree of importance from the Velheim Ailor. They possess a black and white coat, and hibernate throughout the long Ellador winters. The Isldar invasion of Velheim settlements possibly threatens their population, but as of yet, no reports of frozen furry animals have been reported.
The Elladorian Badger is an animal with an ancient history, interacted with by the Velheim Ailor, Dwarves and even the Drovv. Records of the Elven Empire vaguely mention a black and white “earthdweller” appearing as a gift to one of the Elven Emperors from a Drovv political mission to his court before the Cataclysm. The animal was also noted to be a presence in forested regions by all sides during the brief time that the Elven Empire and Dwarven cities united to attack the Isldar. The Dwarves, in particular, respected the Badger as a unique animal among those that buried in the earth and has been used in their art and emblazoned on their armor ever since then. When the Dwarves retreated into their cities, however, the Velheim Ailor were the next to find the burrowing mammal. They too respected the animal for its unique characteristics but expressed their respect in a different way: by hunting the Badger as a worthy foe.
Unlike other Elladorian wildlife, the animal was never transplanted following the Velheim movements after the Cataclysm, the animal’s familial and wild nature tying it to the land. Even as the Velheim spread, settled and grew old, they told tales of the fiercely loyal Badger, dwelling in his earthen hall and protecting his kinsmen. It became a tradition among many Velheim groups to send at least one hunter to try their hand at besting this prey, which has remained a custom until today. The animal has also developed religious significance, with ties to the Oldt Fayth deities of Varld and Varfal and the Old Gods Union of Earth. These significances have barely translated over to the Regalian Empire. At most, hunters from the Calem regions are intrigued by the possibility of maybe going and hunting the animal themselves, which some do. Despite this focus from the Velheim, the Elladorian Badger continues to survive in Ellador though some worry that the Isldar invasion will kill large setts where they slumber in hibernation as they bring with them cold temperatures unseen in centuries.
The Elladorian Badger is a stout creature built similarly to a dog. They possess four legs with five claws which support their long body. They can weight anywhere from twenty to thirty-five pounds depending on the season, stand at an average height of one foot and are between two and a half to four feet long. They cannot stand erect like other mustelids, as their leg muscles lock them into a quadrupedal existence. Their heads are wedge-shaped, with a strong snout, small eyes, a small nose and short whiskers at the end of their snout. Their eyes have a wide color range, from green to brown to blue. Their mouths possess covered canine teeth, as well as heavy molars for consuming plantlife due to the animal’s status as an omnivore. The animal is covered in a coat of black and white fur, arranged in a somewhat random pattern across the body, generally making their backsides and faces black or grey (due to close patterns) while their limbs and undersides are white.
The Elladorian Badger possesses an equal gender binary, and the patterns on their fur coats do not indicate which gender they are.
Life Span and Development
Elladorian Badgers are born live like almost every other mammals after a gestation period of seven weeks. Their litters are anywhere between one and six “cubs,” the term for Badger young. When they are born, their eyes are totally shut, and their pink body is covered with a thin layer of white fur. After a period of three weeks, their darker pigmentation comes in, and their claws also begin to form. Depending on the season, they are often lead outside after a month and a half living in their sett, but if it is winter, the children will need to wait until their parents deem it safe. Once they are allowed outside, “lesser” Badgers, often help raise, clean and protect the cubs simply became they do not have their own. When they have grown into their adult size after a year, most males leave home while females stay, attracting other males seeking mates. Around the same time, they reach sexual maturity and are able to repeat the process. They live anywhere between ten to fifteen years.
The Elladorian Badger is one of the most “Human” creatures in the animal kingdom in the way they behave. They are tolerant of other similarly sized animals such as foxes and even allow their setts to be connected to some fox dens. They have a familial and communal mentality, often connecting their setts together in fairly substantial underground complexes with multiple entry and exit points. They also protect each other’s young, as any female Badger lacking children to take care of becomes subservient to those who do and helps them. They even “bury” their dead, moving those that have naturally died into lower burial areas of the sett where these corpses rot. Once full, the area is filled in with dirt, and a new one is dug.
The animal is a known hibernator, which keeps them alive in the brutal winter temperatures and storms of their native land, Ellador. This lasts from October or November to April. To do so, they always build up their body fat and sett food supply. They are an omnivorous species, eating plantlife, ground-dwelling insects as well as smaller mammals like rodents to survive. Fish are also a prime target, but this often puts them into conflict with Velheim fishermen and the Badger will attack if provoked to action. They run quickly and bite at the ankles or knees of Humans or larger prey while slashing these areas with their claws as well before going for the face if their target falls over.
Territory and Groupings
The Elladorian Badger is a highly communal animal, living in family units often made up of parents with their offspring and their offspring’s mates. They live together in their setts for the entire year and pass them on when they die, meaning that hunters can come back to the same sett territory every few years and be fairly sure there will be prey to hunt. The only type of solitary badger are the males who leave home to seek mates and a new sett to call home. These loners often “bunk down” with foxes and similar animals, rarely digging their own burrows unless absolutely necessary. They are either killed by hunters or find a new sett within three weeks.
- Elladorian Badger skin is rarely ever traded by the Velheim people as there is some attachment to possessing the skin and showing just how good a hunter and thus provider you are for your family.
- The largest sett ever discovered was by a group of Dwarves in 289 AC. They all reported being able to crawl inside, at first mistaking the site for a small cave before they stumbled upon the Badgers within. They luckily slipped out before the hibernating creatures were too roused.
- Elladorian Badgers are curiously “generous” when it comes to encountering moles. Considering their size, some might consider them viable food for the Badger, but apparently, scholar have noted that this is not so.