|Common Nicknames||Wódbeast, Wolond Stampler|
|Habitat||Wolond Walds of Daen|
An essential though terrifying piece of Wolathar Kathar society, the Wódbehaeri are a species of massive Elephau that dwarf all other types. Their impressive size and strength make them fantastic beasts of transport and war. The most common use for them runs among the Wolathar in their war against the Avanthar and Cielothar. The Wódbehaeri are generally left alone by other sentient Races, given their presence is solely within the boundaries of the Dread Empire, primarily in the Wolond Walds of Daen. They are a hard beast to fell, but with the march of progress in Alorian society, this ancient creature is unlikely to endure, even if the Kathar mutate it even more than they already have.
The Wódbehaeri is an ancient creature and is believed to have survived through the last two Void Invasions. In the past, as displayed in Meraic ruins excavated by the Allorn Empire, the creature was even larger than it is today, but with time has gradually reduced in size. During the formation of the Allorn Empire, however, the creature was unknown to the Altalar. When it was officially discovered is unknown but it is generally placed sometime during the Consolidation when 1000 years of Altalar high civilization reigned and their population expanded dramatically. It is believed that the Wódbehaeri either lived in Teled Methen’s deepest jungles, or out in the Far West. Regardless, Altalar expansion brought them into contact with these massive land animals. The creatures proved domesticable due to their limited intelligence and served the Altalar upper classes well as a symbol of their power. Over subsequent millenia, the animal gradually grew rarer and rarer, their ugly features ultimately seeing their elimination from grand menageries in the name of beauty while the jungles they call home naturally and gradually were reduced in size. How the lumbering animal became attached to the Void cults that would one day become the Kathar is unknown, but in these dark jungles, the Void helped the Kathar to further fortify the Wódbehaeri into the true titans of strength and stamina they are known as today.
When the Wildering came, the Wódbehaeri survived in the deep forests of what became the Wolond Walds. For a time, they were forgotten by all as they were already so unbelievably rare, but then came the birth of the Wolathar Kathar. Their formation at the fringes of the Dread Empire saw them come to dominate the dark forests that now bear their name, where they quickly made good use of the Wódbehaeri as a mount of war and transport. To the Avanthar and Cielothar however, they are beasts of terror, ridden by Wolathar war parties in their attacks on settlements in the Ularen Plains belonging to those two other Races. They are also very difficult to physically bring down given that the Void manipulated the creature into having almost unstoppable legs and a thick, fortified hide. Still, the creatures have been known to fall in such raids, mainly when Avanthar climb and kill or shoot and kill their Kathar drivers, which can lead to them steering off course, flat out tripping, or stumbling to a stop. The Avanthar did not share these tactics with wider Aloria, but the forces of the Altalar and the Regalian Empire hardly needed them when they engaged the Dread Empire in the Dread War, which saw these colossal beasts lead the charge towards these new foes. However, cannons, Altalar Magic and more ultimately forced the Kathar to abandon the use of the animal on the frontline of the war, instead turning it into a transport animal, much to the annoyance of the Wolathar Kathar who begrudgingly followed the policy. With the conflict now over, many suspect the Wolathar will soon return to using the Wódbehaeri on their front lines again as they have done for decades.
The Wódbehaeri is an incredible creature to behold, standing anywhere from 15 to 30 feet tall, 30 to 40 feet long, and weighing anywhere between 20 and 30 tons. Its head features a beak-snout that is covered in the same thick, dark grey skin as the rest of its body in addition to large nostrils and eyes colored yellow or red that are located laterally on the head. They also have ears that sharply stick up on either side of their heads. Additional features of the head appear to likely be a result of Void mutations, with sharp, upward-pointing tusks emerging from the mouth. The most common addition is a series of sharp spines along the top of the head and along the back of their sizable necks. Curled-forward horn arrangements with thick facial plates are other possible Void mutations that appear on the creature. As for their necks, they are thick and between six to eight feet in length, protruding the head out forward from the animal’s large and heavy body. Their body is rounded with support derived from four column-like legs that end in circular feet. The front feet each have three toes, whilst the back feet have four. Their shoulders and hips are elevated when compared to the section of their spine that spans their back. Their spine ultimately ends in a short pointed tail, similar to other Elephau species. This main body is covered in thick skin, with the sturdiest skin being along the legs and feet, where the flesh is often so thick that it is brittle, and often solid black when compared to the dark grey flesh on the rest of the Wódbehaeri’s body.
Wódbehaeri are functionally uniform between the two sexes, with the only differences in appearance being whatever unique mutations might exist on their heads. However, their gender population has a much larger number of males when compared to females, which causes an intense mating season. It also serves as a reflection of the Kathar’s empire as a whole, where females are often above direct combat and warfare while males are steeped in it.
Life Span and Development
The gestation period for a Wódbehaeri is anywhere from 18 to 20 months, after which a single calf is liveborn. They then develop over the course of four to five years, keeping close to their mother and her Wolathar caretakers, learning to trust them in the process. During the first four to five years of their development, they eat around twice their body weight in vegetation and grow at a rate proportional to the lifestyle they live. Sedentary herds (those most often used in transportation) often see calves that develop to full adulthood in around five years, while the more active ones used by the Wolathar in their raids won’t see their calves develop for ten to twelve years. Wódbehaeri have a lifespan of roughly two hundred and fifty years, making them some of the longest living animals in Aloria. However, most die at around the 20 year mark, felled in combat against the enemies of the Kathar.
While some Wódbehaeri prove to be intelligent, they are largely creatures of habit and necessity with little development of the mind. Wódbehaeri only do things because they need to be done, and not for some form of purpose, though the Wolathar can direct their actions thanks to domestication. The species was originally a herding sort, and while the Kathar have helped to foster an aggressive spirit of high competition and utter dominance within a species which naturally likely lacked one (their ancient herds described by many as docline and calm), they still do cooperate when required. They care for their young fully and can grow aggressive, even to Kathar, should a calf be removed from their side before the time is right. However, they are still a dull-minded species, and their small array of grunts and noises for communication has been learned by the Wolathar to aid them in their control of these massive creatures.
Territory and Groupings
While it is likely that there were once Wódbehaeri that were not under the influence of Wolathar Kathar, they have since fallen entirely under the control of this Race. As a result, in their domesticated state, they travel as directed by the Wolathar Kathar with any sense of their original herd mentally broken by centuries of domestication and mutation by the Void.
- The Wódbehaeri are often considered the “prey” of the Void Prefect of War, and so during the mating season, all those males who fail to acquire a mate are slaughtered by the Wolathar who are experts at killing their own creatures.
- Wódbehaeri bones are routinely incorporated into the housing of the Wolathar Kathar.