|Common Nicknames||False Bat, Drowda Vas Lipiron|
One of the stranger creatures to emerge from the Essence-soaked lands of the Sihndar, the Qilkar is a large chiropteran-esque beast which also possesses strange reptilian features. Ridden by the Sihndar as a unique mount in their expeditions abroad and at home, the creature does not fly as its chiropteran features might suggest. Instead, it can leap great distances, and grip onto the ground, granting them superior and sudden movement in regions with rough terrain.
There is little evidence of the Qilkar’s existence before the Cataclysm, though some claim creatures similar to them were sighted by a singular Allorn expedition sent to Drowdar in the final decades of the declining Allorn Empire, which was tasked with acquiring tribute for the Empress or rather, the complex layer of nobles and aristocrats that handled such matters by this point in the Empire’s lifespan. However, others suggest they simply saw normal bats. Whatever the case, after the Cataclysm, the animals certainly showed themselves, battling for aerial supremacy with the Drowda Vas Pirion and other mutated creatures. Unlike those savage animals though, early Sihndar found themselves not so much a target as an object of curiosity by the large creatures, save for when the warrior Race got too close to a Qilkar nest. Much like with other Drowdar wildlife that wasn’t immediately hostile to the Sihndar, like the Drowdan Stag, the tyrian-skinned Nelfin got to work domesticating the creatures. The process took a considerable amount of time, nearly a century, with some setbacks as a result of attacks on Sihndar positions across the wild continent by other regional fauna and even some flora, but at last, the Qilkar were tamed. In the century and a half since that time, the beasts have made scattered appearances among Sihndar enclaves across Aloria. Most recently, while most Altalar noted the use of Drowdan Stags with interest during the Sihndar efforts against the Kathar in the Altalar-Regalian War, the contributions of the Qilkar riders were overlooked, likely given their mounts much less appealing appearance. The creatures remain in use by the Sihndar today, its population unlikely to grow or shrink much both in the wild and in domesticated surroundings.
Qilkar have often been described as alien and this is, in some respects, true since few reptiles possess anything even remotely similar to their appearance. The creatures sit at about ten to eleven feet in length, with a weight of between 300 to 500 pounds. Their heads are narrow, with pointed snouts, small, darting eyes of dark blue or green, and mouths full of sharp teeth. Their nostrils are slitted, and are capable of sharply opening or closing. Their head is attached to a long, thick neck of the same scaled texture that reaches back down to the main, bulky body, which is where the animal’s truly odd aspects exist. This body is rotund, and possesses a thick coating of hair along its body, especially at the point of the neck meeting the body, forming a sort of mane. The body also possesses a strange limb structure, with two huge, bent and forward facing hairless limbs with tiny, grasping hands with four claws. Their rear limbs meanwhile, are similarly curiously bent and hairless, but are smaller, with five clawed toes on each foot instead. This is where the animal primarily takes its chiropteran features from, as when the animal crawls or moves, it appears like a bat, though with the obvious indications it is not, due to the clear reptilian head and lack of wings. The animal’s body ends in a short, scaled tail. Their colorations vary, with their scales, limbs, head and tail often having dark grey, grey-blue or deep blue colorations, while their body fur is a range of dark brown dominating the area around the neck connection, before achieving black on the rest of their furred form.
Qilkar females are notably larger than males in most cases, even in domesticated spheres, though there is no further obvious ability to tell the genders apart. Females are also less populous than males, at a ratio of around one in four.
Life Span and Development
Qilkar are laid in clutches of up to six, half-a-foot-tall, pale grey eggs. After incubation and being hatched, Qilkar babies, known as Qilkits, possess a scraggly, barely encompassing coat of thin fur, while their scales are significantly paler than those they will have as adults. For the next six months, they will gradually grow, increasing in physical size until they reach an adolescent stage. It is at this time, in the domesticated sphere, they are ideally bonded to their first rider, and the concept of being ridden begins to be trained into them. Over the following year, the animal almost triples in size, achieving its adult appearance while also undergoing a mental shift towards a mature mindset. They also gradually become more independent during this period, leaving the nest for longer periods before finally setting out on their own. They sexually mature at the age of two. The species has a lengthy lifespan for such a short maturation period, reaching nearly fifty years in both wild and domesticated specimens, though many in the wild only live to a point well beneath that due to the hostile wildlife of Drowda.
Qilkar are in many ways, an enigma, domesticated varieties of the beast presenting only a few unique traits or clues as to how they treat among themselves, and with the world around them. For those in the wild, it is best to say there is a wariness around other members of their species, and their social hierarchy often makes this more apparent. Qilkits are cared for by their mother and her mates, but rapidly learn self reliance as they mature. As carnivores, Qilkar have a variety of hunting options. Many use their impressive leaping ability to jump down onto unsuspecting prey to consume it, or leap from deep cover into a group to begin causing damage, dividing a group and going after weaker members. However, they also benefit from their long necks, being capable of suddenly snapping forward and spearing fish or small creatures nearby or unaware of their presence. Qilkar in domesticated surroundings, however, are more caring, and demonstrate a fondness for their offspring and their main rider, becoming depressed should they die, or when needing to part from them. The animals also possess far better relations with other creatures of Drowda, though will still attack whatever is commended to them.
Territory and Groupings
Qilkar in the wild live in so called broods, which make up three to four females overseeing a cabal of males beneath them, oftentimes three to four males for every female. Nests are located at the center of the brood, and are where the females live, sleep, and have their eggs while the males exist in a protective circle around this site, serving as an early warning system. Young females will often be driven off by existing brood females unless she asserts herself, though a daughter of an existing brood leader may easily become a brood leader when she matures. Individual males, runts of their litter, or simply not favored by the females, do exist in isolation between these broods. Brood territory is a vast swath of terrain, marked both by scent and by distinct, small scrabble in the earth and tree bark. It heavily varies based on the area, as regions with plentiful, easy kills are often quite small, where more hazardous areas often have vast spaces made out to them. Qilkar in domesticated surroundings meanwhile, lack broods, with rookeries of Qilkar forming communities among their different members. Their terrain is often the Citadel they were raised in, but some also claim territory around a Citadel as well, especially in harsher areas where they might be used frequently to fight against dangerous beasts.
- Domesticated Drowdan Stags and Qilkar get along fairly well, producing strange interactions between the two creatures, given their drastically different appearances.