|Official Name||Listigsvart Stoat|
|Common Nicknames||Northern Black Stoat, Mostest Weasel|
|Habitat||Boreal regions in Cain and The Skags|
The Listigsvart Stoat is a small mammal native to the northern regions of Cain and The Skags. It has been present in these regions for a long time. Its black fur is very prized by the Velheim and even foreigners for its luscious sheen, crafted into fine coats or clothing elements. The Listigsvart Stoat is also known for its aggressive tendencies, with a mouth well suited for biting, and its propensity to take over the burrows of smaller creatures after it has killed them. While hunting has reduced the animal’s numbers, they have begun to stabilize in recent years, suggesting a continued survival for generations to come.
The Listigsvart Stoat has been synonymous with The Skags and Cain for many years, dating back a few centuries before the Cataclysm when Proto-Velheim Ailor started to dot the region with their settlements. In this ancient time, the land looked very different, but the Stoat was already well developed for what was to come. The Proto-Velheim for their part took to casually hunting the animal, but overall, remained close to the sea and never ventured far inland to where the heart of Stoat territory was. But then came the magical blast of energy shortly before the Cataclysm, followed by the disaster itself. Ailor fled inland in droves as the coastline became volatile, and while initially unstable as well, the inland regions of what were now The Skags, broken apart and away from other land, and Cain, reduced from the vast territory it had once been, sustained the Listigsvart Stoat. While these disasters had taken a bite out of the species’ now divided population, the following decades with limited predation (as predators also took time to recover), allowed the animal to spread, and repopulate the lands it now calls home. However, this limitless expansion eventually found its old foe in the Ailor, as well as other northern-inhabiting Races and Cultures who took to hunting the Stoat for its luxurious coat. The animal’s numbers have slowly reduced over the past century as a result, but are believed to be holding stable nowadays due to world events causing many sentient Races to avoid the wilds of the world, but also because natural boundaries in the north remain formidable, protecting regions where the Stoat will likely continue to thrive for many years.
The Listigsvart Stoat sits at around a foot to a foot and a quarter in length, with a body low to the ground and retaining minimal weight, often less than a pound. Their heads are large, with a pair of sharp canine teeth in their large mouths, sitting below a short muzzle, small nose, set of white whiskers, two large black eyes, and a pair of short rounded ears. The animal’s neck is long, setting it far forward from the animal’s first pair of feet, supported by two in total. Each limb is well built and ends in a small, five-digit paw with black claws. The animal’s body then ends in its tail, which accounts for between one-fifth to one-quarter of the Stoat’s length. The animal’s body is covered in glossy black fur.
Listigsvart Stoats have clear gender dimorphism, with males being often larger and usually heavier than the females. There were also, at one time, differences between the Stoats of The Skags and Cain, Cain’s population featuring white spots on their paws and noses, but this trait appears to have been either hunted out of the population by those seeking the unique pelts, or simply bred out, with the last sighting reported in 176 AC.
Life Span and Development
Listigsvart Stoats are born in litters of two to four kits, where they emerge blind, deaf, toothless and pink-skinned with a thin layer of white fur. Their teeth begin to come in after three weeks, with their eyes and ears opening after six. Listigsvart Stoat kits remain thin-coated for at least three months, before slowly, their black coating of fur comes in, allowing them to better withstand cold temperatures. Males are considered adults after about ten months, while females mature much earlier, ultimately leaving their mother’s side at different times due to these differences. Listigsvart Stoats live for between five and six years in the wild.
Listigsvart Stoats are well known for being vicious little creatures, with a predatory streak which expands beyond just hunting. The small mammals do not dig their own burrow, instead taking over those belonging to rodents or other small mammals who they hunt and kill. The Stoat, while not as vicious as larger predators, exhibits limited fear when confronting said larger predators or hunters from other Races, snarling at them, and raising into a defensive posture. They will often scurry away quickly in the case of the largest creatures, but some have been known to adopt the mentality of death by a thousand cuts, nipping and biting at their foe until it or the foe retreats. This same aggression is viewed between males of the species when fighting for territory and females, while females largely show it to each other should two females, unrelated by blood, seek to cohabitate in a burrow. Stoat mothers are doting to their babies, while fathers remain distant if not totally uninvolved, but are sometimes known to visit from time to time in their patrol through and around the territory of females who they consider their own.
Territory and Groupings
As mentioned above, Listigsvart Stoats are territorial creatures, singular males holding dominion over patches of land which hold multiple small female territories. Older males often hold the largest territory, and younger males, while holding portions of the same territory, will avoid marking it as such. The Listigsvart Stoat is ultimately solitary as while they live close together, males and females only cohabitate for a brief period around the mating season, and otherwise they all keep their distance from each other.
- Listigsvart Stoat fur loses its sheen when dyed.
- Velheim beliefs loosely tie the Listigsvart Stoat into the gods of the Union of Air, given the animal’s ferocity.
- Velheim nobles wearing Stoat fur and Wirtem nobles wearing Calemberger Fox fur often present a clashing image, exactly the point of the exercise, and serves as a political statement within Regalian noble fashions.