|Common Nicknames||Rainbow Mirage, Spikescales|
|Habitat||Deserts of Ithania|
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.
The history of the Pastalid is shrouded in apocrypha and tales told for generations. It is said by many that the Asha were the first to know the creature, and when the great empire made the deserts bloom, the Pastalid was a part of the diverse forms of life that existed there. But then, the Allorn Empire came, and ruined this ecosystem driving the Pastalid back. However, such a narrative doesn't at all suit the precepts of Ithanian society, and they instead claim the animals to have been born of the Cataclysm, and the explosion of magic and destruction across the world, altering some previously existing reptile into the current shape held by the Pastalid. They further state that the animal's first content with the world was in 90 AC when an Ithanian band of traveling performers found themselves lost in the 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, assuming it was a creature that knew of nearby water.
In a very lucky turn of events, this Pastalid was instead heading to its home at the edge of the 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.
Pastalids are relatively small creatures, being up to one and a half feet in length, and only a few pounds in weight. They have a triangle-shaped head, with an average snout from which protrudes a cluster of long, thin whiskers which help it to sense obstacles and make up for its very poor eyesight, found in two small deep green eyes. They have a short neck to connect their head to their body, which has a unique build. They have broad "shoulders" on their front pair of legs, but stout legs overall, ending in four-clawed feet. Their tails are also quite short. The rest of the animal is uniquely covered in a mix of scales and patches of fur, which are a gradient from head to toe that ultimately represents the colors of the rainbow. The warmer colors can be found in the front half of their body, while their rear half features the cooler colors. As for the animal's fur, it covers the feet and stubby legs of Pastalids, and mirrors the coloring of the surrounding scales. The fur is able to be shorn off and can regrow to its former splendor, though it takes time. 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.
Pastalids have only slight variations in where their natural coloring takes place on their bodies, 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, while Pastalids bred in captivity are similarly slightly smaller than their wild counterparts.
Life Span and Development
A Pastalid begins its colorful life as a small white egg speckled with black dots, and are laid in the sand in clutches of as many as twenty. When they emerge, they are tiny, being about an inch long, but largely appear like their parents though they lack fur. Baby Pastalids usually stay together with their brothers and sisters for about a year before going their separate ways. During this time, their spines gradually sharpen, and their fur emerges, meaning that the departure after a year is mainly due to their mutual dependence running out. They can live for up to twenty years in the wild, but many push thirty in captivity.
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, the following year, 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.
- The Pastalid’s bird-like ability to magnetically sense directions is the key to many desert travelers success and survival. Some guides even rent pet Pastalids just for these trips.