- Grace O'Hare
Bestiary Bookmark: Rodi
Huroden (hurodi singular), along with garjen, are an old original species of mine. Here's an embarrassingly old pic with both garjen and roden from my Microsoft Paint days (the roden are the little wolfy-lookin things):
Not bad for Paint, right? Guh, I intense sympathy pangs for my past self just looking at it.
Anyway, about huroden:
“Rodi” (pural: roden) is a base word with a variety of prefixes that can denote different species. The umbrella term for wild roden is “huroden.” A male rodi is called a “hob,” a female a “jill,” and the young are called “kits.” Familial groups of roden are called “clans” and hunting groups are called “packs.”
Domestic roden are descendants of the woodrodi, a social pack animal residing in the temperate forests and scrublands of Rowea. It is often called the Rowean hurodi or just hurodi (the word “hurodi” is a lot like the phrase “wild dog” in our world).
Hurodi clan structures are superficially reminiscent of earthly wolf packs, but that isn’t to say they are like the popular idea of wolf packs. Remember learning about Alpha, Beta, and Omega wolves in school? Well, I’m sorry to say that is all bologna. Wolf packs are based around families, not social standing. Mom, dad, kids. There are no fights for dominance in wild wolf packs, that type of behavior is only found in captive packs of unrelated individuals. In the wild, packs are made up of a breeding pair and their most recent offspring, and the social hierarchy is based around that. Sexually mature wolves (which start acting like grumpy little turds when they hit puberty) will get kicked out of the house by their parents to start their own packs, and the cycle continues.
Huroden behave similarly, but generally stay with their parent pack for much longer. Packs also frequently converge into large familial clans of five to thirty, depending on the species and the time of year. These clans split up into smaller hunting packs of around four to six individuals for more efficient hunting.
In Kellabor, the native species of hurodi is the direrodi. Direroden differ from woodroden in a variety of ways, not the least of which is size. Direroden are much larger than woodroden and domestic roden. Here’s a size chart:
They are also found in different places. Here’s a map:
Direroden evolved to be large in order to better hunt the Kellaborn wild boar and lesser dragonelk, both of which are far too large for their northern cousins the woodroden to take down. Direroden also regularly hunt deer and fringed garjen, and can hold their own against some of the larger Kellaborn natives…
But enough about wild huroden. Let’s talk rodi breeds!
Roden are the World equivalent to dogs. Suppose wolves never became such a successful species, but were instead replaced by social, pack-living wolverines. Humans eventually domesticate these large mustelids as working animals, useful for hunting and guarding livestock, and as a result:
Basically big fluffy ferret-dogs.
They are different from our earthly dogs in a number of vitally important ways. For example, they make dooking noises when they’re excited. Dooking noises! How cute is that! (click to witness the cute)
Roden also differ from dogs in other behaviors. They tend to be less aggressive and territorial, which means they aren’t always good at guard tasks, but some breeds have been bred to be better at it than others. Overall, they're more catlike than our dogs, but still display the same loyalty and trainability.
The kerarodi was bred as a guard-rodi, and has a larger, heavier build than other breeds. Though they have a sweet disposition towards their charges, they are known to react with ferocity when confronted with predators or strangers.
Bluebacks are hunting-rodi. They have short legs and a long body, making them maneuverable and fast in thick vegetation. They are particularly good at hunting small animals and are prized by fur trappers.
Highwinds drovers are weg-herders. They are smart, fast, and highly driven animals that excel when given a job to do.
Huroden, both wild and domestic, play big roles in Eastern human culture. Roden have been domesticated for thousands of years, though they were not introduced to the continent of Pujoutua until Rowean colonization. It is believed they were originally bred to assist humans in hunts of large game, as old breeds of roden are particularly good at overwhelming prey with their numbers. Later, more breeds appeared that were better at hunting small game or guarding the home.
The howl of a hurodi is said by some north-eastern cultures to raise the dead and heal the sick, and is good luck to hear. This sentiment is vaguely followed throughout the northern countries, but in Soria where direroden are endemic howls are considered bad omens. The howl of the sandrodi, found in Ateer, is notably raspy and high-pitched, and locals believe it foretells justice for the wicked.
The appearance of roden in art and symbology is common. Rowean Heraldists commonly place this sigil over doors, on valuables, on cribs, and on doorstops:
It depicts the Four Roden of the Eleventh Herald, which legendarily defended Rowea from great evil. It is used by Heraldists to invoke protection. The imagery of two sitting and two running roden is essential, but styles vary.
Around the world, huroden are associated with loyalty, bravery, and cunning. Woodroden in particular are revered as masters of puzzles and swift, intelligent hunters.
Huroden are generalists and adaptable, and are highly successful wherever they are found. Though woodroden face threats from habitat loss in Rowea, they are far from endangered. Direroden have occasionally been persecuted throughout their range, but manage to bounce back quickly.
So that’s about all there is to say about huroden. Keep an eye out for more Bestiary Bookmarks here on my blog!