Similar to the Ogres of Ellador in that they are a near-sentient mammalian species the Thylan have been a non-dominating feature of Jorrhildr since pre-Cataclysm times. As tall as a Dwarf and easily outnumbering the Url and Velheim Ailor that live alongside them, Thylan are nevertheless badly adapted for the various demanding climates of Jorrhildr. Due to their failure to adapt properly, the Thylan are currently considered a common, though manageable threat or, in some particularly well-fortified areas, a pest. In recent years, however, Jorrhildr’s numerous Seraph ruins have garnered ever more scrutiny from the outside world, though reaching them requires a long and dangerous trek through Thylan-infested lands.
The Thylan have been lasting creatures in Alorian history, in spite of their few notable accomplishments. In the time of the Elven Empire, records of the region that would later be known as Jorrhildr made note of diminutive canine creatures that resided on the very fringes of their empire. When the Drovv became a client state of the Elven Empire, they also reported populations of the very same creatures living at the edges of their society. Both groups deemed the Thylan too primitive to serve any use, and due to their belief systems, did not make any move to uplift or aid them. In later times, the Elven Empire grew crueler, enslaving Thylan tribes for the sole purpose of hunting them for sport. Some also turned to experimenting on them. However, with time came change, and the Elven Empire grew bored of treating the Thylan as their playthings, resulting in nearly 200 years of uninterrupted growth. By 200 BC, they were a thriving species and when re-discovered by adventuring Ailor, showed growth in their mental capacity enough that they could now fashion crude spears and basic tools.
Unfortunately, these developments were almost immediately stymied by both the Ailor and the now-emerging Url, eager to carve out their pieces of lands. Conflict arose between the two groups, as well as some independent Url, but the Thylan always had the upper hand due to being well-aware of the terrain and vast in number. This superiority did not last, however, as when the Isldar activated their ancient spell to save the dragon now known as the Frostweaver, the blast of ice and snow hit Jorrhildr first. Almost overnight, the region was blanketed in snow, and over the following months, many plants and animals died, made extinct by the now-freezing temperatures. Being hit the hardest and facing immediate annihilation by the cold, the Thylan saw no choice but to flee into Jorrhildr’s many caves. No Thylan was sighted for over 200 years.
When the Cataclysm came, the Thylan released themselves from their self-imposed isolation. The species that emerged was still much the same as before, short as dwarves and brandishing simple spears of frozen wood, but now they had a ferocity, or a desperation, according to some scholars, that was entirely unseen prior to their disappearance. Ever since then, the species has actively waged war with both the Url and the Velheim Ailor across the entire continent. Despite still being largely unadapted for the cold climate that surrounds them, Thylan are beginning to show further signs of progressing intellectually. Most notably, some of their most prominent tribal figures are recently reported to have clothed themselves in a similar fashion to humans. Simultaneously, the mysteries of Jorrhildr itself - such as its myriad of intact Seraph ruins - attract attention from sources outside the continent. Only time will tell how and if the outside world will continue to shape the Thylan as it has for the past 3,000 years.
The Thylan species is one of the more unusual in Aloria, possessing multiple features rarely found on any other animal. They are short, standing upright at a heights that range between 4’3 and 4’8, with an average weight of 60 to 70 lbs. Their bodies are slim and sturdy, built to endure, and almost all of their weight consists of muscle. Thylan heads, their most recognisable feature, are canine in shape, with the typical dark brown eyes, triangular ears, narrow snouts, and wide-opening mouths. Thylan bodies are similarly canid, though their forelegs are used more like humanoid arms, whilst their well-developed hindlegs, digitigrade as with all canines, maintain their purpose of movement and standing. Thylan can easily switch between bipedal and quadrupedal stances, though the latter is often reserved for fleeing from predators or confrontations.
They have clawed feet and hands, though the latter possess opposable thumbs and more separation in their toes. Their entire body is covered by a thin layer of tan-grey fur, but thicker layers of hair are found on their underbellies and their neck. The lower backs of Thylan possess anywhere between five to ten small black lines in their fur which extends down to a solid black stiff tail. Thylan genitalia are covered by a trait fitting of a marsupial, not a mammalian canine. A pouch, used on females to store their young, can be found facing backward while for males, the pouch protects their vital sex organs.
Thylan gender diversity is especially low, with females very rarely being seen or reported, though they are known to exist. It’s speculated that most of these females are often hidden away in Thylan-inhabited cave systems, or heavily-guarded Thylan camps. However, whatever physical differences there are visually between males and females are negligible, except during the pregnancy of a female, in which the pouch of the female is obviously stretched and appears full.
Life Span and Development
Thylan are born in litters of two to three, and are extremely vulnerable from the moment they leave their mother. Pregnancy forces Thylan packs to stop and seek shelter, because Thylan pups can, and will, freeze to death without proper care. Female Thylan gather together in large-scale birthing events where, over a period of two weeks, several pregnancies can occur at once. The pups are then protected and kept in their mother’s pouch for three weeks, during which time the entire Thylan pack remains stationary to accommodate the newborns. After a month, Thylan pups have grown enough to run, and so the pack begins moving again. Over the following six months, Thylan pups mature physically and reach adult size, at which point they become able to reproduce. Mentally, they take at least two years before they leave their adolescent stage and enter adulthood. Thylan can live up to fifteen years, but since their re-emergence following the Cataclysm, few have lived past five years of age.
The Thylan demonstrate many mental traits said to define a sentient being, but primitive animalistic aspects still restrict their being. The Thylan are capable of a simple emotional range, exhibiting rage and sadness but higher ideas of melancholy or boredom are reported to supposedly exist by Url and Ailor hunters who spy on large packs. The one emotion the Thylan constantly possess is caring, for each other, their offspring and the elderly. They will defend these individuals with a pack mentality but if major leaders or too many are killed, they will scatter out into the wilderness to either regroup later or join other nearby packs. This pack mentality makes the Thylan dangerous, in that these packs often travel only a dozen or so miles away from each other, which can lead to a large group of furious creatures surrounding a smaller hunting party. But, ultimately, just like the smaller packs, large packs can be broken apart and scattered.
Thylan also possess an intellect which has allowed them to craft crude tools to aid in their survival, but are not yet advanced to make proper shelter or ways to insulate themselves. The tools they make are often held when walking, but when needed, are fitted into the creature’s wide-opening jaw to run on all fours with. The Thylan are ultimately poor hunters individually but, in their packs, can take down or hunt prey efficiently. The Thylan are a proud species, demonstrating something similar to honor in existence among them. Pack leaders are often the most rugged and fierce looking of any group, with the highest level of aggression. The Thylan have an issue in their communication, in that it seems crude. Series of yips and howls along with crude gestures are all that exist of any possible language, and while this is often enough in everyday life, the conflict with the Url and Ailor makes such communication difficult in the swirl of battle.
Territory and Groupings
The Thylan live in packs numbering anywhere between twenty to forty individuals. They are led by specific Thylan labelled as Pack Heads by observers, who are always male and are the best at fighting in their packs. The women of any pack often live in hiding, away from others, kept in the most secure locations of any camp along with any young Thylan or pups. These camps are often crude, rarely ever located out in the open and are often found in mountain caves. Each pack is located in a cluster of up to five groups which help support each other if enemies attack, existing within roughly a dozen miles of each other constantly. Each cluster moves about constantly in Jorrhildr, rarely interacting with each other unless under extremely tenuous circumstances.
- The Thylan are often an obstacle in exploring the Seraph ruins of Jorrhildr as the areas around such sites are often hotbeds of Thylan activity. Some believe the Thylan are inherently protecting the ruins but others point to how most of the ruins are in rocky areas plentiful in the caves Thylan enjoy.
- The largest scale battle between the Thylan and any other force was the Battle at Bær Bluff where two whole clusters of Thylan attacked a group of traveling Url who ended up making camp right above a network of caves holding said clusters during a snowstorm. When both parties awoke, the battle began which ultimately saw the Thylan fleeing away but most of the Url dead.
- The Thylan cannot be seen outside of Jorrhildr except as corpses or drawn images. They violently resist any attempt to imprison them with most killing themselves rather than remaining as captives.