|Official Name||Northern Wolf|
|Common Nicknames||Black Wolf|
|Habitat||The North Belt, Northern Regalian Archipelago|
The Northern Wolf is a staple animal in the iconography of Velheim culture and the entire Ailor-occupied North of Aloria. They have existed for centuries alongside northern settlements, preying on the weak and covered in a black fur coat. They are also monogamous creatures and are known to be made subservient to Dire Wolves. Due to their wide dispersal, it is unlikely that the canine will suffer any population decreases for a long time, not unless a more concentrated effort is paid to hunting them.
The Northern Wolf has been a long-lasting animal in the northern areas, noted to exist for centuries. The Drovv people respected the animal as a warrior creature, as did the developing Velheim Ailor, but they also saw the creature as an annoyance. The canine threatened settlements along with its larger cousin, the Dire Wolf, and with other predators in other regions. The Fifth Void Invasion, which began in the core of the animal’s territory, had little effect on them as the Void targeted the Dire Wolf as a better tool of conquest than this small species. The subsequent Cataclysm did have a negative effect on the animal’s population, but it also helped spread the animal as landmasses broke, reformed, and emerged from the water. The Velheim Ailor, seeking to survive once more as their world drastically changed, maintained their views of the animal as a dangerous predator who needed to be stopped. The animal was eventually tied to Daina, Gaudr, Fadaudr, and Varfal by different Velheim communities following the Oldt Fayth and to the Union of Air in the Old Gods faith. This has continued until today as the animal has rarely suffered an overall population shortage due to how widespread they are, existing across the North Belt and in the northern regions of the Regalian Archipelago. It is said that for every Velheim community, there is at least one pack of these wolves nearby, laying, waiting to take advantage of the young, weak, or untended.
The Northern Wolf is a canine lacking any unique features in terms of physical traits with many of the traits seen in other wolves. They stand between three and a half to five feet long, (including their tail), two and a half to three feet tall and weigh anywhere between 80 to 100 pounds. They possess padded, four toed, clawed feet, on lean legs built for running attached to their sleek bodies designed for a similar purpose. Their heads possess all the traits of a wolf with a broad snout, short rounded ears, normal sized eyes that can be blue, green, or amber colored, a normal-sized mouth, as well as a short neck. The animal is also covered from head to tail in a black or black-grey coat of fur.
Female Northern Wolves are often smaller and lighter than males, while the difference between black and black-grey pelts have no ties to gender, size, or region.
Life Span and Development
Northern Wolves are born in litters of four to six, emerging with a thin layer of grey fur, and are both deaf and blind. Their mothers care for them in their dens for the next three weeks, as first their sight comes to them and then the ability to hear. As they grow up for the next four months, their mass and bodily features rapidly develop, though they are not yet hunters. They still have young teeth and play fight with their siblings. By five or six months, they join the adults out on the hunt and fully develop over the next half of the year. Close to the one year mark, the adolescent males are considered to be “full males,” and often leave the pack at this time to mate and either form their own pack or join another. Some don’t for at least a full year, resulting in a larger pack. Mating often occurs in the spring and this bond is for life. Their lives are surprisingly short, dying naturally between six and seven years old.
The Northern Wolf is a highly intelligent hunting animal well known for its complex methods of communication. Their faces are known to possess a range of expressions similarly to dogs, from curiosity, to boredom, to vicious. The animal also communicates through its howl, which is done to signal other members of its pack to group up, or to warn them, and this sound often echoes through the snowy terrain of the north, most commonly in the nighttime, but also during the daytime. The Northern Wolf is also a predatory animal, meaning that they are also hostile to other predators as well as animals it deems as prey. Rabbits, rodents, and cervids are the most common animal they hunt, while other wolves, like the Dire Wolf, as well as other northern predators like foxes, are usually confronted. In the case of the Dire Wolf, however, that animal often brutally asserts its own dominant over the others to create a hunting party around itself which usually continues until the Dire Wolf leaves of its own accord or Humans disrupt the pack enough to separate the subservient from master.
Territory and Groupings
Northern Wolves live much of their life in packs of five to twelve, controlling a certain territory from a set den. However, if prey grows too scarce, the den becomes unsuitable or they become too threatened, the wolf often shifts their territory. The size of each territory varies greatly and are marked by the wolves so that other packs usually know when they are entering another’s territory. They are also territorial, disliking other packs moving into their area, however, in some of the largest territories, packs unite together to form larger ones of 30, sometimes even 40 members. The only time one might see a Northern Wolf truly travelling alone, is when they have left home and are seeking a mate; this time rarely lasting any more than two to three weeks.
- Northern Wolf pelts are one of the most common commodities among the Velheim people, often adorning family patriarchs or matriarchs.
- Northern Wolves and Dire Wolves cannot interbreed, nor can Northern Wolves interbreed with any form of domesticated dog. The offspring of both such unions are said to be born rabid and stay as such until they are put down.