Aluma is full of many amazing creatures. The term “beasts most fantastic” is hardly for show.
And yet even so, its residents never fail to find ways to imagine them as more amazing.
An old saying goes:
For every beast most fantastic, there is a ‘beast more fantastic’.
Superficially, the kimaira is much like the real cimaerra, a heterogeneous and variable creature. Beyond that, the resemblance gets murkier.
A kimaira is said to form when multiple living creatures are forced together in something like a biotranscendence. In this state, their minds become linked and their bodies synchronised to become a sort of super-being on a higher plane of existence. If the composite animals are suitably balanced* and it is content with its state, a kimaira has the power to assimilate as many other beings as it wants to, though the more it assimilates the harder it will be for it to remain stable and content.
If it is not content, the creature’s synergy and biotranscendence will break down, and the individual animals will be freed, but if it is highly not content, they will be held in their prison to fight each other until the creature either calms down or dies.
In Hinotoria, everyone is well aware of the great mascot bird, Da Jinhuang. But in locales more remote from her influence, notably Grævonia and Mitrokh, people instead have a peculiar notion of a bird called a “phoenix“.
In colour, the phoenix is said to be like a flarefowl to a sage grouse—to a flarefowl. It is always flaming, in similarly brilliant colours. If it dies, its body will sap all the heat and life away from the nearby area until it has enough energy to burn up its remains, at which point a new phoenix consumes the old body from the inside out and comes bursting out in an explosion of flame. It is a highly gentle creature and it hurts no one.
The kamaileo is an interesting animal, part deer, part lizard. It is said to have no less than three antlers—one of which coming off its nose—a scaled face, and an armoured crest on its head. The legs of the animal bear a strange twisted and exaggerated shape never seen in anything living, ending in “hands” with two nearly amorphous clawed toes, and its tail spirals upon itself unnaturally. Its eyes are covered in thick clear shields and it has a huge tentacle-like tongue. The creature bristles with coarse fur accented by scaled surfaces and a few spiny ridges.
Attributed to it is the ability to blend into literally any situation. It can shapeshift its surface to any colour and texture, along with a nearly endless ability to adapt its behaviour, voice, and other attributes.
The cœlailurus (or cœlail) is a vaguely Hexartiform animal, resembling a wildcat with wings. While a few people do believe in its actual existence, it is mostly just well known throughout the world as a metaphor for a grand and improbable fantasy.
As the story goes, a crafty hoax artist in Grævonia once coached a hexart to metamorphose into a winged cat, and toured the taxidermied pelt of the animal around the country proclaiming it the new species Coelailurus volagradi. People had a good bit of difficulty telling whether it was really a new species without the skeleton, and many assumed the hexart must have imitated a living animal even after a taxonomy expert finally solved the mystery.
In mythology, the cœlailurus is sometimes described as a grand, amazing creature whose coat patterns a person literally could not dream of. It is often associated with the ability to make any ambition come true.
Best known in Vvaghras, the umao is a leijonœrn-like animal. It’s described as having a long, lustrous coat, nearly white except for an unearthly blue-green shine, and a striking figure. It is never not dignified; no matter what happens, it will always find a way to look perfectly natural in any circumstance.
Every umao is said to have boundless wisdom, and the power to guarantee hope where seemingly nothing could possibly allow success. The umao itself does not step into people’s problems, but it will send a messenger who can come up an ingenious plan to deliver people from disaster. Umao are said to spend most of their time drifting around in the distant sky, keeping an eye on the world. They take pride in seeing societal achievement and will assist anyone with promise.
The limbs of umao, unlike leijonœrns or Griffin leijonœrns, are all shaped as pawed wings. They may have just six, or may have any number of smaller additional ones on various parts of their bodies for decorative purposes. (For instance, one perfectly common design is to have a pair of wings inside the main wings, outside them, in front of them, and behind them. Rows of wings may also be lined up in a flower or wing shape across the sides of the creature.) The number of wings is sometimes connected with the creature’s wisdom, but not always.
The leijon or leo is an extinct animal from the Hinotoria-Kskenghra area thought to be like a fulvopard. In lack of many specimens, all that is known for sure about it is that its coat colour was similar and it was apparently a fairly large, bulky animal.
People have likened it to half a leijonœrn, with a fluffy leijonœrn-like tail, protractile claws, a flexible body like many extant felines, and a mane like a fulvopard’s.
In light of this limited knowledge, Aluma culture has run wild with the animal, portraying it as a fearless creature brimming with cloudlike mane that guards gates, towns, even whole provinces from a number of kinds of bad supernatural influence. The mythical leijon’s pearl-like orb is a manifestation of its power and connection to all life; the more powerful the leijon, the larger and more vibrant the pearl, to a point. Though its pearl would suggest Unity, the mythical leijon is usually associated with Faith.
From my glimpses of previous timelines, it appears most Aluma residents distinctly forget the sexual dimorphism in this animal, portraying both sexes identically with huge manes and a body midway between the streamlined shape of the female and somewhat bulkier shape of the male. Few do its vertically bulky snout justice, and there is also an amusing tendency to portray it with an overbite like a leijonœrn or other archosaur. Also, many give it pointed ears when its ears appear to have been more rounded (understandable when both fulvopards and leijonœrns have pointed ears). People will work with the information given to them, I suppose.
The sagari or fire-drake, mainly known in Grævonia, is a dragon- or vvagra-like creature with blood made of fire. It is highly proud and never gives anything but its best, whether fighting to defend what it believes in or guiding its young to fly.
The sagari’s fire circulates all through its body before coming out its nose, mouth, or wrists (sometimes in rainbow colours), any one of which it can wilfully blow fire out of. If it is not careful and spews out all its fire, it might die, but fortunately, it is always constantly striking up new fire deep inside, so it’s unlikely this will happen.
No matter how dark or difficult a time, the sagari will always keep trying. If it has the slightest spark left, it will not only reignite itself, but anybody else in need of reigniting. Its fire has the ability to leave no burns and boost Soul as long as it’s used in a benevolent way, so it’s all good.
The Kkharun is a mythical animal claimed by the Sirrita to be kept back in their homeland of Sirritarhn. Supposedly, its hide is impervious to anything but a point forged of trillionfold-concentrated tides. (When asked if a theoretical nuclear-fission explosive would be enough to destroy one they said ‘the energy, yes, but the power needs to be formed into a piercing blade or it will just survive it’.)
Kkharun are not especially fast, but are useful as a mount because they can run over any terrain and their feet are tough enough to leave deep tracks in anything; if they run over air or water, they will leave tracks of highly compressed ice.
Kkharun may look like they’re mainly built for power, but believe it or not, they are actually quite refined beings with exquisite thoughts and tastes, who could never be interested in the mundane things humans talk about. Their mind is tuned to the transcendental magic frequency, much like a Sirrita, and radiates a soft light at this same frequency along the length of their forehead horn. When asked if they brimmed with wisdom, the Sirrita clarified that no, it’s more like they brim with useless philosophy problems and realisations about metaphysics. If they were so inclined, one might say that the Kkharun are nerds.