Qilin are herbivorous deer-like animals that stand between three to five feet at the shoulder but never weigh more than 150 pounds. They are extremely thin and elegant, with soft, milky white fur that is highly valued across Aloria.
They have two large curled horns on their heads, which are for show alone on the males, but are used for fighting between one another with the females—contrary to most other horned races, where the opposite is true. These horns, while sturdy, are also extremely ornate, with a spiral patterns of a darker colour covering the surface.
Natural Habitat and Behavior
The qilin live on the eastern Yang-Tzu Islands, eating the grass and vegetation in the forests there. Somewhat iconically, they may be found grazing within groves of bamboo, eating the tender shoots and leaves. Their slender form helps them move gracefully through crowded growth and their long necks, especially when they stand upon their hind legs, help them reach branches inaccessible to other species.
They are often preyed upon by the Wulong, and their only real defense against this is fleeing. However, the Wulong have been known to clear entire islands of the poor animals; knowing the qilin are poor swimmers, they are often driven towards the shoreline for easy capture and slaughter.
Within the species, the females fight to impress the males, rarely to the death. Although beautiful creatures, these fights may be surprisingly brutal and bloody. The champion of the fight then wins the right to mate with the male but can be challenged again by any other females in the group at any time.
The Chi'i and the Wulong have both known about the qilin since the very birth of their races. Yet new visitors to the islands continue to be impressed by the enigmatic beauty of the qilin, as well as surprised by their mating rituals.
Interactions between other races and the qilin can be dated directly to the meeting of those races with the Chi'i. The first races, therefore, to have encountered qilin are Elves, followed swiftly by Dwarves, and then finally the Humans.
Most races do not often have the opportunity to interact directly with the native colonies of qilin. For that reason the Chi'i could easily become rich by selling the pelts and horns of the qilin, as they make wonderful decorations. However, they refuse to sell them, because the qilin are considered sacred in the Chi'i religion. As such, the price is even higher than it would have been otherwise, because only a few black market pelts and horns are available in the whole of Regalia. A qilin-pelt rug has often been considered a symbol of wealth and power.
- A full, clean qilin pelt is reported to once have been sold for 2,000 regals, and an undamaged qilin horn for 1,500. However, prices have recently fallen dramatically due to a large amount of goods making it past the Chi'i from an unknown source.
- The qilin drive another wedge between the Chi'i and the Wulong. The Chi'i revere them as spirit animals, while but the Wulong slaughter them for food.
- In Chi'i culture, every part of a qilin is sacred, but most of all the pelt, which represents its pure spirit. The horns represent the animal’s desire to protect those with similarly pure spirits. However, both lose all potency once the animal dies, be it naturally or unnaturally.