|Official Name||Jaded Roo|
|Common Nicknames||Qafaz Alghazalan, Malicious Marsup|
The Jaded Roo is a large marsupial well known to the Colonial Ailor and Midlands Url of Essalonia. A curious animal for its size and capability to hop quickly across the local plains, the Jaded Roo is also perpetually seen as an aggressive animal. Patches of black fur above its large eyes give it a look of constant annoyance though the animals only lash out with kicks or swipes in the mating season or when members of their “mobs” (the term assigned to groups of the animal) are threatened. They remain populous, but that might change when the New Ceardian Colonies push into their home of rolling, grassy hills.
The Jaded Roo has a long history in Essalonia. While it is not known when the animal was first encountered, scattered Altalar records of their colonies there vaguely mention the animal alongside other curious creatures. Though, as the Altalar settlements ultimately failed, there is little information on this interaction. The Qadir were next to find the animal in Essalonia, doing so two or three centuries before the Cataclysm when their explorers pushed northward from their colonies. On the Essalonian plains and savannas, they found a variety of exotic animals they had never seen before. Among these were the Jaded Roo, which the Qadir observed with fascination due to its unique appearance and body. In the following centuries, others gradually became aware of the animal. The Ailor in particular, whether Velheim or Ceardian, learned of the animal through direct interaction via exploration or through trade connections to the Qadir state of Califaera that rose in the wake of the Cataclysm. For the Regalian Empire though, they did not believe in the animal’s existence, concluding instead that the creature was nothing more than some Altalar fabrication reflected onto the Qadir. But, when they got to Essalonia themselves and explored, surveyors stopped dead to watch the strange creature bounding past them on the open plains. In recent years, the Jaded Roo has been hunted by the Ailor of the New Ceardian Colonies on top of already existing hunting at the hands of the Midlands Url, but their population has remained stable. It remains an exotic and distant curiosity to many but is no longer seen as a myth as it was a mere half a century ago.
The Jaded Roo is a curiously constructed creature, even for a marsupial. Their “height” varies greatly depending on their position with their most consistent measurements being their length (five to six feet long) and weight (70 to 150 pounds). The Roo’s head is long and narrow, shaped somewhat like a more delicate breed of cervid (hence its designations over the centuries as a “hopping deer”). However, its large black eyes, black snouts, and prominent large furred ears mark it as something different than those animals. The rest of their body draws the most attention. It possesses a pair of large and very well designed back legs which it uses to bound forward at a startling speed. When doing this, the animal bends forward almost to the ground, pulling its smaller front limbs up out of the way while its head sticks out forward. These smaller limbs are capable of supporting the animal’s weight. When not standing upright on its large feet, it is bent forward and slowly moving. These front feet have small hands with black blunted claws while the back feet have similar claws that in a very different configuration designed to help them in their bounding technique. Their bodies end in a long hairy tail. Their bodies are covered in fur, with males possessing a more reddish tone while females are shades of grey. They do not have a differently colored underbelly (though they do as joeys), instead, have a paler shade to their normal fur. The animal’s name of “jaded” also comes from their fur coloration as no matter gender or age, two black patches of downward standing fur exist above their eyes, giving them a perpetually cross look.
The Jaded Roo possesses a stark sexual dimorphism. Males are always larger than females once they have matured, both in weight and in height. In addition, male fur has a red tinge to it while female fur can exist as a variety of grey tones. Females are additionally distinguishable due to possessing an upward facing pouch for their young.
Life Span and Development
The Jaded Roo has an interesting development cycle. Females never gives birth to more than two joeys at a time though can have as many as three, all at different stages of their childhood, at once. When they are born, they exist within the pouch and live there for at least three months, slowly growing in size as they feed on their mother’s milk. At this stage, they start to properly develop hair and the female can then allow a new child into her pouch if she so wishes it. After another three months, the joey begins to stick its head out of its mother’s pouch, beginning its exploration of the world. Soon after this, it will fully leave the pouch and begin to grow up alongside her, though it can re-enter the pouch with a nuzzle. During this time, it will drastically strengthen its legs, unused within the pouch. By the age of two, it will have fully matured both physically and mentally into an adult and properly joins the mob of Jaded Roos it grew up in. The Jaded Roo can live for up to twenty years. They are also one of the few clear examples of naturally developing blindness in the elderly of the animal kingdom. While overall rare, some Roos are unable to see in their final years or months, resulting in them relying on their nose and others in their mob to guide them to grass.
Jaded Roos are surprisingly non-aggressive creatures, despite their perpetually angry faces. This does not mean though, that they do not fight. The mating season often produces male on male competition, especially between the largest males, simply for the expression of dominance. In these fights, males will usually lock their upper limbs and using their powerful legs to kick each other, wrestling. A Jaded Roo kick has also been said to be “powerful enough to knock out an Orc” by the few unfortunate Ailor who have faced one. Such confrontation is rare, as mobs of Roos are more likely to retreat upon being approached by a larger presence like that of Aloria’s Races. When it does happen though, it is usually in defense of joeys, the older members of a mob or because a male feels his dominance is being tested during the mating season. They do not kick chasing predators, preferring to outright flee, and only kick as a last resort in those scenarios. Jaded Roos are highly caring individuals with regards to their joeys and the older members of their mobs (who are labeled as such after living past the age of fifteen), especially if said individual is blind.
Territory and Groupings
Jaded Roos exist in mobs which number anywhere between twenty to forty members. They are nomadic, moving across the open grass plains and savannas of Essalonia slowly. Mobs rarely meet on purpose, though the mating season usually sees males leaving their original mob, sometimes to join another, which they are accepted into after a brief examination by several members of the new mob.
- The Jaded Roo’s meat is very nutritious, hence why the Midlands Url of Essalonia hunts the animal. Said meat is also desirable across Aloria, though more so for its exotic origins.
- Joey the Joey was a Jaded Roo joey kept in the Colonial Ailor settlement of Southie several years ago. When he grew up, he proceeded to “box” his way out of town, kicking and scratching at his keeper, an accomplice and two militiamen trying to rope him back in on the way out. The story is now a regional children’s book but also definitely showed the locals that Roos can’t be tamed.
- Surprisingly, the Sihndar draw a connection between the Jaded Roo and Drowda as their records speak of a similar hopping marsupial who lived in the region before the Cataclysm. Unfortunately, they died off through a combination of poisonous magical taint or the new fierce predators that surrounded them. Some suggest therefore that the Jaded Roo originated in the north but was driven into Essalonia by the Cataclysm.