The Melór'áel (plural is Melór'áel as well), literally translating into "Shadow Eye", is an elusive quadruped animal native to the Nybelmarian forests. This subtle little mammal swiftly glides through the trees unseen and has a range of very unusual abilities, be it a very flexible neck, the capability to "meld" with its environment and become practically invisible or the very unique and still unexplainable way to communicate with others of its kind through mental means.
The Mélor'áel is roughly two
palmspan long quadruped mammal; it is around one palmspan
wide and generally weighs around a couple of
hebs. Its tail is equal to
the length of its body and feathers out at the end for extra stability while
gliding. From head to tail the mammal is covered in a very unique, small layer of
transparent fur; the actual colour of its fur is unknown because this tiny
mammal has the ability to change its fur colour at will. Mostly it is a dark
brown or green, though, adapting to the colours of the forest it lives in.
A thin layer of skin stretches from the animal's hind leg to its fore leg. This skin is used for gliding from tree to tree. The animal uses its tiny claws to cling to almost every kind of surface and their feet have very tiny groves that allow it to attach itself to even the smoothest of surfaces.
The Mélor'áel has rather large ears that it uses to listen for approaching danger. Its eyes are normally an ember colour, however hazel and silver eyes have been reported. Its nose looks much like that of cats and just slightly from the face sloping down till it meets its mouth which is filled with tiny barbed teeth.
The Mélor'áel also has a furry tuft of hair on their chest which plays an important role in their mating rituals.
Being so small the Mélor'áel has to rely on its special abilities to survive.
One of the animal's abilities is that it has a very flexible neck and can almost turn its head all the way
around giving it the possibility to see all if its surroundings and react
accordingly if danger approaches.
The Mélor'áel can also change the colours of its fur to match the surrounding perfectly; it can imitate patterns and landscape details to become practically invisible to those who may be looking for it. It is able to do this by changing the colour of its skin which makes the transparent fur appear to change colour also. However, while gliding these animals are unable to camouflage themselves - as it obviously takes time and concentration - thus leaving the beast exposed and very vulnerable while moving.
This animal also has the unique ability to warn the other Mélor'áel in its community of danger by using a silent warning. So when one Mélor'áel sees danger it seems to alert the others almost instantly, reports from Mélor'áel trainers lead us to believe that they possibly even use visual pictures allowing the others to see the approaching danger so they can quickly camouflage themselves. Some therefore believe that Mélor'áel are - for the lack of a better word - "telepathists", and are so by the Gods designs. It is also believed, backed up by Mélor'áel trainers, that the Mélor'áel can also send emotional sensation that can be felt by the recipient. This is the Mélor'áel's way of communication, through this ability they can sense the feelings of those around them leaving any other form of communication obsolete.
The Mélor'áel also have the ability to glide through the air with the help of a small layer of skin connected to their hind and fore leg. The animal can also stick to smooth surfaces with the help of tiny grooves on the bottom of their feet.
Finally the Mélor'áel are endowed with an amplified sense of hearing and smell, giving them the ability to detect danger that is out of sight. It seems proven that honing carefully on specific sound vibrations these little animals can distinguish the size, speed and to some extent, with the help of certain scent patterns, the species of the potential threat.
Territory. The Mélor'áel are typically found throughout the forests of Nybelmar, preferring the humidity of a thick forest to any other climate they don’t venture too far from the forest. However, they are able to thrive in almost any climate zone apart from extreme coldness that lasts throughout the whole year. This is known by many a merchant who capture these little guys and sell them as pets all over Caelereth.
Habitat/Behaviour. There are two kinds of Mélor'áel: the Toagta, or the civilian Mélor'áel, and then there are the Syean, the guarding Mélor'áel. The Toagta spend their day playing, eating and exploring, while the Syean will make sure the Toagta are safe. However, not all the Syean will be out at once, they typically have only guard one day out of the week, and the other Syean are out playing.
The Mélor'áel are very social animals that live in colonies of around twenty to forty members. They will nest in a unique and complicated labyrinth of tunnels under ground. While sleeping they will have two Syean at each entrance who will watch about an hour shift before relinquishing their post to the next group of Syean.
When the animals are not sleeping under ground they are out playing with each other. Their favourite game is kind of like "Tag". They will chase each other through the trees and the one who gets caught will chase the others. Once a victim gets caught it is grabbed and they will lock together and spiral downward the tree. Only if the caught Mélor'áel cannot break loose before the ground is hit, it will become the new catcher. The game actually is also quite dangerous at times due to fierce aerial battles... - The Mélor'áel by the way have very strong family ties and when they lose a member of their community they will mourn for two and a half days by remaining under ground and screeching for the duration of the mourning period.
For being so protective of themselves the Mélor'áel are very curious animals and will explore anything unfamiliar to them they will go and study the foreign object and label it bad or good, if it is good they will integrate the object into their livfe by playing with it or on it, but if they label it bad they will hide themselves from it and keep their distance.
The Mélor'áel are also very fond of beings with a high level of intelligence, which they can sense - some say through their "telepacy". Even though a few people have taken advantage of their curiosity by capturing and selling them as pets, they have an immense understanding that not all people are bad so they only fear those who have treated them badly.
Diet. The Mélor'áel typically will eat on smaller insects, they will camouflage themselves and wait for their prey to come to them then they lash out on their unsuspecting prey to devour them. However, most of the Mélor'áel find this form of hunting to be boring and time consuming so they will sneak into villages and towns and feast on the leftovers of the inhabitants. This is not only faster but they can reach their fill quicker, and for these little guys it is important because they must eat three time s oftheir own body weight in order to keep up with their extremely high metabolisms.
Mating. When the Mélor'áel find a partner they will stick with that partner for the rest of their lives and if one dies the other partner will not try to find another mate. They will live the rest of their life alone and every year when the time of the partner's death approaches they will mourn for approximately two and a half days underground.
The mating ritual is rather simple. When reaching the appropriate age for mating, roughly two years, the older Mélor'áel will get to try to obtain a mate first soon followed by the younger ones. The animals then try to impress a female by changing their little tuft of hair on their chest to different, very vibrant colours and if she is attracted to more than one suitor then the males will try to woo her with a barrage of presents. If she still can’t decide then the males will duel with each other trying to force the other one to withdraw. Sometimes these duels can last only a few blinks or even a whole day depending on how stubborn the male is. And when a female chooses a male he has one more test to complete to prove his loyalty to her: Male and female will have to climb high into the trees together and lock claws and begin to spiral downward. Not only must the male not break off but he must put the female on top of himself so that he takes the full impact of the ground and protect her from harm. If he succeeds then the two will remain with each other until death separates them, but if he fails he will be branded a coward and will have a hard time attracting a mate next year.
Usages. The Mélor'áel are sometimes captured and sold as pets all throughout Caelereth. However the Coór'hém elves have befriended this little mammal and use them for reconnaissance. The Coór'hém will feed and take care of a Mélor'áel community in exchange for their ability to spy on other clans. The Mélor'áel will use their supposed telepathy to "inform" the Coór'hém of rival clan activity.
The Coór'hém view these little companions as equal rather than mere pets. And the Mélor'áel view the Coór'hém as friends and "will be their faithful companions until the end" as a Coór'hém poet puts it in one of his works. However, typically only a Ruhn is able to train these little guys by using a special training technique passed down from one Ruhn to the next. If a Mélor'áel were to ever meet up another Mélor'áel from a rival clan they would more or less ignore each other. Not really caring what the other Mélor'áel was doing they would just mind their own business.