|Official Name||Imperial Seal|
|Common Nicknames||Great Seal|
|Habitat||Drixagh, Regalian Archipelago|
The Imperial Seal, colloquially known as the Great Seal, is renowned for its immense size and illustrious black coat of fur. It resides in the Drixagh region primarily within and along the body of water directly between the Czabri Bone Shores and the Throatcaps and Walds. There was once a time where this animal was ample in number, yet throughout the years, Velheim raiders have taken it upon themselves to hunt the Imperial Seal for its valuable blubber. They do so without regard for overexploitation, which has caused its subsequent near-extinction.
The first recorded sighting of the Imperial Seal was in 179 AC after Skagger Wars. According to the renowned merchant, author, and zoologist Godfrey Chamberlain, the locals had referred to these creatures as what would translate to ‘Great Seal.’ In the letters reporting his findings to Emperor Allamaria I, however, he had dubbed it the ‘Imperial Seal’. Chamberlain’s reasoning for this remains ambiguous, though speculation suggests that it was his woefully-hopeful attempt at appeasing the Emperor. Thereafter, Godfrey’s nomenclature was adopted as official among all besides the Velheim.
Presently, Imperial Seals are far and few between. The remnants of these imposing animals are hunted relentlessly by the Northerners, with those still existent living in relatively small clumps along the coasts of Drixagh. Their sparsity, however, only serves to add to the acclaim one would receive for finding and killing one of these creatures; something which was quickly adopted as a cultural feat among the Northerne peoples. As a result of interest within Imperial administration, there has been a certain degree of discussion among scientific communities as to whether the Imperial Seal should be protected by Regalian Law. While there has yet to be any sort of tangible consensus, smaller lobbies have formed on the basis of preserving these fair creatures. It has yet to be seen as to whether or not these will prove effective, but nonetheless it is evident that any sort of action must come quickly, else these endangered animals fall victim to an untimely extinction.
The Imperial Seal is very bland in the sense that there are no variations in the creature’s appearance, except between genders. This is as a consequence of its remarkable weight, which has disallowed any significant departure from its home territory of Drixagh. Among the frosted landscape, the Imperial Seal is easy to spot—not only because of its size, but also due to its stark black coat of fur. This distinct characteristic has made it difficult to avoid predators and likewise has caused trouble when hunting for food. The Imperial Seal’s black coat is broken up by a single streak of white from the bottom of its mouth to the lower end of its underbelly. Their face consists of two black, beady eyes, a dark nose, and white, downward-curled whiskers.
The only recognizable difference between the male and female Imperial Seal is their weight. While both are certainly massive, males can weigh up to six thousand pounds whereas females typically range at around three thousand. Females are also half as long as their fifteen foot male counterparts, only reaching about seven and a half feet by full maturity.
Life Span and Development
The Imperial Seal embodies many of the archetypal features of an immobile and easily hunted animal. Its multitude of offspring normally do not survive their infancy, however those that do tend to live long lives of up to thirty years. Just as any other mammal of its kind, the Imperial Seal mates, gives birth, and raises their pups on land. It is the responsibility of the mother to care for the pups whilst the father searches for the family’s food. When the family is together, older members will huddle around the younger; their large bodies serving as bulwarks to any predators. These pups reach maturity at the age of six, but males tend to remain submissive until the age of nine. It isn’t rare, however, for pups to remain with their families even after reaching their prime.
Under no circumstance has the Imperial Seal been tamed or otherwise domesticated, yet this has been more the product of their considerable indifference to the world around them than overt aggression. Unless backed into a corner, the Imperial Seal tends to favor flight, except of course when hunting for their daily meals. The only exception to this is when their younglings and mates are attacked, in which case males will often intervene.
The Imperial Seal is a nocturnal hunter, typically finding food around the ocean floor. Their diet is made up of various fish, crustaceans, small mollusks. They utilize both their sight and whiskers as a means of detecting nearby movement in the unlit ocean. In general, they will gravitate around the same areas year-round, making sure not to stray far from their home territories.
Territory and Groupings
What few Imperial Seals remain attempt to stay in some semblance of a collection, the primary factor for which being their mutual security. They are found along the eastern coast of Drixagh, with particular groupings even isolating themselves to their own small areas for nearly their entire lives. Despite this rather permanent style of residence, the Imperial Seal won’t actively pursue animals who stray into their territory. In the case of another group of Imperial Seals immigrating into their territory, cooperation likely will ensue. This is rooted in their aforementioned lackadaisical personalities, meaning they’ll customarily prefer anything but a fight.
- As they near death, the Imperial Seal migrates to the Czabri Bone Shores—hence the location’s moniker.
- The Imperial Seal’s blubber proved a valuable resource to the Northerne people, especially given their relatively harsh landscape. Throughout the years, it became an integral part of their diet because of its high quantity and energy value. Now, however, it’s sparsity has meant that this has become more of a delicacy than anything else.