|Common Nicknames||Rainbow Mirage, Spikescales|
Though its prickly appearance may suggest otherwise, the colorful Pastalid is a popular pet among Aloria’s artists and performers. Despite their unusual and inhospitable habitat, the Pastalid has captured the attention of the Alorian public far from its Ithanian home. With its rainbow-hued, scaled appearance, the Pastalid continues to bedazzled and surprise desert travellers in Ithania while guiding them when needed.
Pastalids were discovered in 190 AC by an Ithanian band of travelling performers, who found themselves lost in the Ithanian desert on their way to their next show. When they first laid eyes upon the wild Pastalid, the performers assumed it was just a mirage but, as desperate as they were, they followed it anyway. In a very lucky turn of events, this Pastalid was heading to its home at the edge of desert and, taking advantage of the creature’s flawless sense of direction, the troupe was able to follow it to safety.
Along their journey, the performers grew enamoured with their guide’s colorful appearance and decided to take it with them once they escaped the desert. Their next show amazed the audience with the small rainbow animal so much that the troupe decided to feature the Pastalid in their subsequent performances as well, telling the story of its discovery in their shows. In this way, the Pastalid (whose name was invented by the very performers that discovered it) was introduced to the world and became common knowledge, as well as a popular pet among fans of the performers. Pastlid popularity remains high among these groups, whilst also serving well as pets for the guides of Ithania’s desert.
One of the most well-known qualities of the Pastalid is its striking appearance. The Pastalid has the general appearance of a smaller monitor lizard, except with a very vibrant color scheme; with rainbow colored scales covering it from head to tail. Its triangle-shaped head, broad shoulders, and stubby legs usually have the warmer colors such as red and orange, while its serpentine tail and equally stout hind legs are covered in cooler colors like blue and violet. Aside from its scales, the Pastalid has small retractable spines that cover its back. When in danger, the Pastalid extends these spines, curls up its tail, and covers its head to become a small ball of sharp, spiky defensive armor. The Pastalid also possesses long, thin whiskers on its snout that help it to sense obstacles and make up for its very poor eyesight. Covering the feet and stubby legs of Pastalids is surprisingly soft fur that mirrors the coloring of the surrounding scales. This fur is another reason Pastalids are so popular, as its naturally dyed appearance can be used to make items such as colored fur coats and scarves much more cheaply than using dye. The fur is able to be shorn off, like a sheep, but once this is done, it will never regrow to its former volume, instead only producing small tufts of fluff here and there, mainly on the bottoms of its feet. Aside from that, the Pastalid has, much like some birds, an internal magnetic compass, allowing it to find its way around its desert habitat with ease. Pastalids can grow up to one and a half feet long in the wild, but are more commonly only a foot long, or less, in captivity.
The Pastalid is a creature with a very unique appearance, but within the species they are very similar. Each separate Pastalid has slight variations of its natural coloring, but none that are very noticeable to the casual observer. The females of the species are a slight bit longer than the males, usually by about three to four inches.
Life Span and Development
Pastalids have a relatively long lifespan, which is luckily offset by their fast rate of breeding. A Pastalid begins its colorful life as a small egg, which then hatches into a tiny, inch long, baby lizard. The baby Pastalids usually stay together with their brothers and sisters, of which there are generally between 5 and 9, for about a year before going their separate ways. At this point, their spines are relatively dull, so they are much more vulnerable to attack. After this stage they continue growing until they’re mute, which takes another year and a half. They can live for up to 20 years total.
Pastalids are generally peaceful animals that are quick to warm to people who attempt to tame them. Domesticated Pastalids are generally more passive and lazy than their wild counterparts and are slower to act in most situations. The wild Pastalids are often more cautious and wary of threats. In the wild, Pastalids will extend their defensive spikes whenever they feel alarmed, such as when another creature sneaks up on them, or if a loud noise occurs nearby. Domesticated Pastalids are slower to react to such things, but will still accidentally prick their owners from time to time when they’re caught unawares.
Territory and Groupings
Pastalids are, by nature, solitary creatures and when domesticated are best kept separately. In the wild they live alone for most of their lives, with the exception of their birth and when they mate. Rather than claim any specific territory, all Pastalids simply consider their birthplace their home. Every year during the mating season, the Pastalids return to their home with their mate using their compass-like senses to navigate. During the rest of the year, they wander around the desert, never quite settling down anywhere for too long.
- Occasionally, a Pastalid will be born with rainbow-hued spines and whiskers as well as its colorful fur. These rare mutations are highly valued by collectors and Pastalid breeders alike.
- The Pastalid’s bird-like ability to magnetically sense directions is the key to many desert travellers success and survival. Some guides even sell pet Pastalids just for these trips.
- Over the years, the retelling of the Pastalid’s discovery story has gotten so exaggerated that barely anyone remembers how they were actually found. In some versions, Estel turned the performers themselves into the first Pastalids for hubris.