|Tropical islands of Westwynd
The Sola Cavya is the humble, adorable rodent from several of the tropical islands of Westwynd. Whole herds of the animal run rampant through the islands they call home, to the point that some of the islands are nicknamed the Cavya Isles. Diverse in color, both in eyes and coat color, in addition to coat hair formations, the animal’s further diversification has been helped by the heavy domestication by Ailor and others who find the animal worth loving as a pet. Highly social with a range of identifiable vocalizations, the Sola Cavya is a pet many seek out, though one that must be given lots of love to properly thrive.
The Sola Cavya has a murky history, as many believe it to not be originally native to its wild island homes. These tales claim that creatures similar to the modern Sola Cavya originally inhabited the larger islands, but were rapidly rendered to near-extinction by the Teledden raising their great fortresses for slave processing across the rocky landscape. Who exactly transposed the Cavya away from this original land is unknown, with the figures ranging from gods to mortals to Mages. Whatever the case, now on the lush and isolated islands far from outsiders, the Sola Cavya was altered with time, made unfamiliar to predators, and became key to the local ecosystem. The true effect of the Cataclysm on the region is unknown, as some believe that the island didn’t even exist before that great disaster and the ancient transfer is instead a much more recent phenomena. Regardless, in 80 AC, one of these small tropical islands hosting the Cavya was first discovered. Sailors were startled at the number of curious Sola Cavya that rushed to greet them, and a few sailors even fled in fear, convinced they were about to be eaten by ravenous, deceptively cute, beasts. Instead, the sailors found it easy to pick up, hold, and carry the creatures around with them. It was also exceptionally easy to eat them, and for a brief time, of around twenty years, that was all the region was, a supply stop-over with plentiful natural resources to food-strapped crews.
However, this consumption of the native populace ended both when the Sola Cavya population suddenly dropped off, and with the arrival of proper Ailor colonists. They established themselves and named the scattered islands, before outlawing the consumption of the Cavya given that the species was almost extinct. The nobility who led the effort were men and women intent on protecting the animal, but also on making huge sums of money from them. While most had been eaten, some Cavya had gone on to be wildly popular exotic pets across Aloria. In the end, the Ailor settlements and slow extraction of its valuable resources actually saved the region instead of dooming it, and the Cavya population slowly recovered, where it hovers to this day. Abroad meanwhile, the Cavya has remained a highly popular pet though it lost its exotic nature around 230 AC as many more flooded the market. Still, subvarieties with longer and fluffier hair, or certain coat colorations have been lauded as more suitable for the wealthy citizenry of the Regalian Empire and beyond, and it is unlikely that the Cavya will drop in population again anytime soon.
The Sola Cavya is a rotund little rodent, reaching lengths of between nine to twelve inches, and weights of one and a half to three pounds. They have a large head, with a broad round snout, a large sniffling nose with several small white whiskers, a small mouth, and a pair of large eyes. Their ears are large but are often folded on either side of their head, sometimes getting lost in the animal’s hair. The animal’s neck is large as well, and smoothly attaches the head onto the rest of the thick body which is supported by four short-clawed legs, with four toes on the front paws and only three on the back pair. The animal then ends on a round rear, lacking a tail. The animal’s body colorations greatly vary, from browns to beiges to whites to a mix of colors, often with light colorations on their underbellies and their pink skin most visible around their noses and eyes. Their body hair is also diverse, often being short-haired, but other domesticated varieties see this hair lengthened or curled.
The Sola Cavya is a highly diverse animal as mentioned above, with multiple coat types and coloration possible, along with a wide variety of eye colors. The species has too many breeds to list them all but the most populous are: the Common Breed, the Anglian Breed, the Freddie Breed, the Silken Breed, and the Hadrav Breed. There is also one breed more notable than the rest, but it has been rare to occur. Occasionally, Sola Cavya exposed to Primal Essence will have their eyes turn an unnatural light purple or blue, often with a limbus of the other color that is not their iris, while their fur is shocked pale purple. These specific Cavyas are often the companions of Primal Mages.
Life Span and Development
Sola Cavya are born in litters of one to six individuals only an inch or two long and emerge from their mother with fur, eyes open, and much of their mobility. Within mere hours, they can eat solid food, but they will supplement this with their mother’s milk. Over the course of six months, the baby will grow into an adolescent and often drift away from their mother or female caretaker at this time, taking a full year to finish maturing into a full adult. At that point, they are capable of mating year-round, and are able to live up to seven years in the appropriate wild conditions, and as high as fourteen years in domesticated surroundings.
Sola Cavya are highly social creatures with a surprising degree of intelligence for their size and rodent origin. Their society features large groups caring for one another, females adopting the babies and young of those who die, while social grooming across genders is seen frequently both in the wild and in those raised as pets. Cavya vocalizations are also distinct, as they can whistle with excitement, purr when happy, rumble when scared, angry, or asserting themselves, whine when chasing one another, chittering or squealing when distressed, and chirping when suffering discomfort. Cavyas are also known for their hopping when excited, bouncing into the air in quick jumps. Wild Cavya have little to no defense against predators, and many of the island grouping’s imported dogs and cats have been trained to understand the creatures are not food. Still, when threatened, the Sol Cavya herds will stampede away in all directions, scattering into the underbrush while often zig-zagging as much as possible. In domestic settings, however, Cavya often freeze and go silent, and then flee.
Territory and Groupings
In the wild, the Sola Cavya live in large herds of anywhere from thirty to a hundred members, moving about the underbrush of the small island they call home, eating grass, and avoiding the many flowers and other plants around them which are toxic to their species. In domesticated surroundings, Sola Cavya can live alone, but often require a high degree of affection from a keeper or need to have been exposed to isolation for long periods before they reach adulthood. It also helps if their enclosure has stimulation of some variety.
- Sola Cavya are so integrated into the Ailor-settled islands that the locals have even built little pathways and bridges for the creatures to use to more easily get around the island.
- Sola Cavya are notorious for developing health issues in non-humid climates, some minor and others quite extreme.
- While cucumbers are not naturally occurring in the region wild Sola Cavya call home, the rodents abroad have shown a rabid interest in them.