|Common Nicknames||Devilmole, Void-Tunneler|
Norldas are dangerous tunneling mammals similar to moles with a notably high intelligence. Mutated during the Fifth Void Invasion, they are now one of the many deadly creatures hunted by the Drowdar in their fight against the Void on Drowda. Highly resistant to toxins yet poor at digesting, Norldas act as pests for the Drowdar while their body parts are eagerly sought after by alchemists.
Norldas were once common moles that lived on Drowda back when the Drovv controlled it. Living under the ground in large burrows, the mammal was merely a nuisance in the ancient times as they could undermine the structure of Drovv buildings. However, with the Fifth Void Invasion and the release of the heavy Void Taint onto the continent, these minor nuisances grew into powerful foes. Adding extra limbs, eyes and filling their mouth with teeth, they have since been considered to be far more deadly, and a challenge to kill. To this day, the Norlda still reside only on Drowda, where they tunnel into the earth in complex tunnel systems. These tunneling patterns frequently bring them into conflict with the Drowdar if they weaken a citadel’s walls, whilst every so often the animal try to steal from the underground farms the warriors keep.
Years before the Cataclysm, Norldas were transformed from simple groundhog-like creatures into devastating and fierce diggers. Their skin is a dirty brown with speckles of gray and black, and sports many petite hairs on the skin. They have a lengthened body of 2.5 to 3 feet long with an average weight of 90 lbs. Dissimilar to the common mole, the Norlda has six legs, three on each side, that are equally spaced apart. The first two sets of legs have four claw-toed feet, with the hind legs possessing five clawed toes on each foot, and on the back of the body, the animal has a stubbed tail. Their heads are small with a flapped snout, small rounded ears and two sets of eyes, both close to each other on each side of the face. Their mouths possess dull front teeth made for chewing dirt and vegetation, and sharper incisors closer to the back. Their most unique adaption, likely thanks to their Void-tainted homeland, is an immunity to most poisons and venoms—due to a gland found close to their heart. Simply called the Nor Gland by scholars, it produces an anti-toxin that it then pumps through the bloodstream when it detects a harmful substance. This is most often used to fend off the venom of the Giant Drow Spider.
Norldas are very female-centric as they have a very low birth rate when compared to males. The ratio is currently 4 to 1, giving rise to large nests whose main focus is placed upon a nestmother and any other females present. Norlda coats are unique to the individual, but the differences are sometimes so minor between coat patterns that it would take close examination to determine that.
Life Span and Development
Norldas are always born in groups of two to four. They are pink and virtually naked during the first few weeks, where they gain all of the needed nutrients from their mother's milk. Over the next two months they continue to grow, and their coat develops its common colors. Once their teeth come in, they are forced into eating regular food as their teeth begin to hurt their mother. From here the Norlda is considered fully mature, and can go on to live for 20 years, though most die prematurely by age 15.
Norldas have been noted for their high level of intelligence and capability to organize. They seem to have some form of rationalization; the mammal is able to avoid common hunter traps seemingly on purpose, as well as carefully select their nest sites for the most essential attributes. They are also capable of excellent organizational skills, storing food neatly and keeping room in particular areas of their tunnels for nesting while also having a vague hierarchy. Younger males serve as workers and collectors of food both underground and on the surface, while older males serve as lookouts and soldiers—attacking threats to the nest or attacking interlopers in their tunnels. Females overall do little if no work, the nestmother in particular barely moving unless provoked to action. Instead she simply issues orders through a series of snorts and physical movements from her den.
Despite this high intellect, Norldas are fierce and wild animals. Early attempts to train them by some Drowdar failed due to intense bond the giant rodents have with their nestmates and their species as a whole. When approaching solitary Norlda, it is best to move very slowly and demonstrate that you present no threat, else their calm demeanor can grow ugly fast.
Territory and Groupings
Norldas operate in nests of 80 to 100 focused around their nestmothers and the females. The nests are found underground in the forests and plains of Dorwda. Sometimes smaller dens are built closer to the Xaster Citadels, but these are soon cleared out by the Drowdar.
- Unknown to many, Norldas are omnivorous rather than carnivorous and eat large amounts of the Eluhwa throughout their lives. This diet is due to the Nor gland, the Void sacrificing the ability to digest well for the anti-toxin substance.
- Giant Drow Spiders as well as other insectoid monstrosities on Drowda have been known to wait until a Norlda nest is well established before forcing the Norlda out and taking over the perfectly formed tunnels and rooms for themselves.
- Norlda leather is a traditional fabric found in many Drowdar clothings or objects.