Intimidating in size and appearance, the Ulgaroth (plural: "Ulgaroth" as well) is an herbivorous quadruped native to Northern Sarvonia. While their horned face and muscular frame suggest a strong, violent beast, the Ulgaroth’s temperament is quite mellow, allowing them to become tamed quite easily.
|Image description. A member of the Ashmarian barbarians riding on a tamed Ulgaroth. Picture drawn by by Aragorn.|
Quadrupedal in nature,
the Ulgaroth walk upon all four of their muscular legs, though they are known to
lean up onto their hind legs when they require extra height to reach fodder and
fruit that is higher up in foliage. They have very large tails, some growing
almost as long as their own length, but most at around two
peds. The tails are quite
thick at their bases; they’re almost extensions of the Ulgaroth’s body.
They are quite long and tall; an adult will grow to three and a half peds in length from nose to rump and will stand at two and a half peds at the withers. Matching this, their hooves can grow to a little more than a fore in diameter, and are extremely hard and well suited to rocky terrain.
Because of the heaviness of their hooves and their muscular frames, they walk quite heavily, crushing anything underfoot as they travel. They walk most commonly with their heads held high, surveying the land around them while they use the strength of their legs to deter any smaller predators.
Their gait, much like horses, alternates between the left fore-leg and the right hind-leg to the right fore-leg and the left hind-leg. Again, like horses, when they rise in pace, they will first begin to jolt about, but will find their stride when they begin to gallop.
Their heads, at maturity, will be around one fore and one palmspan from the back of the skull to the tip of the muzzle, which is possessed of a jutting under bite. Their eyes are very deep-set, and positioned on the sides of its head above prominent cheek bones. Above the eyes, the ears sit, pointing out to the sides, able to rotate in many directions. They are shapes somewhat like a hollowed out horn that points into its skull.
The horn that sits atop the mouth is, at most, two palmspans in length, but is quite narrow in orientation. Smooth and strong, the horn reaches up with a slight curve back toward the eyes, though this is very subtle, and finishes with a rounded end, giving it the appearance of being shorter than it actually is. The curve becomes more pronounced in females, but even in the most extreme cases, the horn is still extremely straight.
The powerfully built neck itself is about one fore thick at the shoulder and narrows to slightly less than this at the back of the neck. While the rest of the beast is muscular and lean, the Ulgaroth’s head is meaty and the muscles around the jawbones are not quite so prominent, giving the beast very subtle jowls.
Commonly, in the wild, an Ulgaroth will have a thick pelt of fur that is similar to wool in appearance, but closer to the thick fur of a bear, giving them protection against predators. Because of its thickness, the fur will often catch on smaller twigs and brush and will become tangled and knotted. Domesticated Ulgaroth on the other hand have a tendency to have shorter coats due to light shaving by their riders, and perhaps also diet. No specific reason is present for the thinning of fur in domesticated Ulgaroth.
The most dominant colour of fur in an Ulgaroth is a medium sandy colour which will lighten to a white-patched cream in its elder years. While these colours are the most common, wild Ulgaroth are often darker browns, and even black, due to the thickness of their coat.
Naturally white or black skinned Ulgaroth, and even albinos, are extremely rare, but have been sighted.
An obvious strength in an Ulgaroth is its extremely powerful figure and
intimidating size. While it is a calm beast, if frenzied, it can stamp and
thrash and cause mayhem to any would-be attackers.
Because of the beast’s height, added to which is the extra length of its neck, it is not only able to evade smaller attacking predators, but it can survey the land around it, often seeing over the crest of a hill before it rises fully into view. It also uses its neck’s length to reach into water and into the heights of foliage to reach fruits and vegetables that it eats.
The Ulgaroth’s horn, worn above the nose, looks extremely intimidating, but is used only to brush aside twigs and foliage, and never purposely used in a fight. The ears are also quite sensitive to sound, and this makes them extremely useful in surveillance with their long necks.
A good Ulgaroth that is trained well can travel up to two and a half furlays in a single day of travel, with a walking speed of around six or seven strals in an hour.
Territory. Ulgaroth are native to Sarvonia, stretching their territory all around the northern part of the continent from the Tandala Highlands up to the Peninsula of Aden and as far west as the Vindel Mountains. Because of their short coats, they are not seen in the Icelands, and do not travel any further north than the Heath of Wilderon.
Though the Ulgaroth live most prominently in Northern Sarvonia, there are a few wild herds further south in Santharia also. Some say that they have seen Ulgaroth walking as far south as the Ráhaz-Dáth desert, although these claims have been dismissed as utterly ridiculous by Talia Sturmwind, a Compendium researcher and expert on that area, with the words "Completely preposterous; the idea of such a beast inhabiting the Ráhaz-Dáth desert without being known by the inhabitants is absurd". She leaves no room for doubt that, in her expert opinion, these claims are the product of too imaginative a tongue or too capacious a beer flagon.
The furthest south that an Ulgaroth herd is known to populate is the Caeytharin Mountains, although they are few and far between as they move further south from the Tandala Highlands.
They are most often seen in the lands of the Ash’mari barbarians west of the Celeste Mountains, and also in the Shadowlands. The borderland of the grassland around the Peninsula of Aden also holds smaller populations of the Ulgaroth.
In captivity, the beasts are found in nearly every village and township in the north when in the presence of the Kuglimz and the Ash’mari barbarians, and some elves, such as the nomadic Mélad’rhim elves, where they are used as pack beasts. There is still no place more common or fitting for the large beasts than with the Ash’mari after horses turned away from the tribe.
Habitat/Behaviour. Being good-natured and, for the most part, harmless, an Ulgaroth have low tolerances for mistreatment. They become enraged and will thrash about if they sense malicious intent in the treatment by their masters. With their powerful hooves and large, muscular bodies, they will stamp down heavily on the ground and, if necessary, buck and fling any riders to the ground.
Incidents like these are rare, however, as they are feared for their size and strength as well as revered, and they are rarely attacked. They will sleep in a kneeling position for around ten hours, but even in this position, they are extremely alert and will flee at any sign of danger. With their extremely sensitive hearing, their owners are wary around the sleeping beasts as they will kick out with their powerful hooves before they gallop away at high speeds.
While it is said that violent incidents involving the Ulgaroth are rare, this does not take into account the feral herds living on and around the Peninsula of Aden. The feral Ulgaroth there are violent and unable to be ridden by any but the most skilled horse breakers. Their coats are often a lot shaggier than usually, and their hooves often grow to a whole palmspan larger in diameter, making them extremely dangerous beasts.
Living for around fifty human years, wild Ulgaroth will live in small family herds made of two or three couples and their foals. Parent Ulgaroth will raise their foals until they can fend for themselves, at which point the child will migrate and travel to find a mate and join their own herd. They will stay with only one mate in their entire lifetime, and will rarely travel with any others that are not of its herd or family. The children will not even join other Ulgaroth of the same sex to search for mates. They travel alone until they manage to impregnate a new mate and will live with their mate and any other couples in the area.
Widowed Ulgaroth will not search for new mates, but will, rather, continue on with their small herd, sleeping alone. Any Ulgaroth that has lost its life partner seems to rot away and become malnourished, sleeping longer every day. In truth, they seem to have lost their will to live, and they are less likely to defend themselves against predators.
Diet. Being herbivores, the Ulgaroth eat mainly the althz’onn grasses in the Celeste Lowlands and roots and tubers in the Crystal Lake area as well as around the southernmost part of the Luquador River.
If these plants are not dominant in an area, they will also eat plants bearing fruits or the leaves themselves on trees and shrubs.
They eat every day just before sunset, just once, until they are full. They often wake up a few hours before dawn and relieve themselves. Because they are unable to urinate or defecate and run at the same time, this prevents them from being chased by predators that would attack them whilst they relieve themselves at dawn.
Mating. Searching for their life partner begins at maturity at the age of six or seven years. A male, upon finding a female, will rhythmically nuzzle her rear. If the female wishes to join him, she will turn and return the gesture.
The pair will nuzzle each other for a short while before mating. Pregnancy is almost always successful, although the pair will mate once every five or six years. Subsequent pregnancies are not often as successful in pairs, but are not entirely unheard of.
When the mother bears her foal, she will stay with it until it can keep up with the adults in their travels. After this, they will migrate aimlessly across the grasslands or about their land.
Usages. Because of their easy dispositions, the most common use of the Ulgaroth is domestication by the Ash’mari and Kuglimz, who use the beast’s incomparable strength to their own advantage.
However, their calm and shy natures make them terrible combat mounts. The Ash’mari barbarians, unable to ride horses, have employed this often, but have failed again and again in the attempt to train the Ulgaroth for war. This does not deter them, as the beasts are built for war with thick, hard skins that even sharp weapons have trouble penetrating.
Because of this, the Kuglimz and Ash’mari use them as mounts for transport, and along with the Mélad’rhim elves also, they are used as beasts of burden, pulling carts and carrying bags and goods for their masters.
Known for his studies of larger beasts of Northern Sarvonia, Sordoc “the Great” or “the Lame” (as he is popularly known) has been a prevalent researcher of the Ulgaroth alongside a Kuglimz guide named Garrod from the Celeste Lowlands.
Because of Sordoc’s fascination with larger beasts, his studies with the Ulgaroth of Northern Sarvonia have been extensive. In addendum to his original publication of “Romancing the Beasts”, Sordoc wrote an entire chapter on the Ulgaroth entitled, “The Gentle Giant.”
About the Ulgaroth, he said the following (Notes have been added to assist with the reading of the passages here:
“Sordoc the Great first
came upon the Ulgaroth when meeting him (Garrod, his guide) on the
lowlands. He walked toward Sordoc the Great with two of the huge beasts
following two ropes he held in his hand. These two beasts were unsaddled,
with the ropes simply looped around their necks.
At the end of this chapter, he speaks of the mating procedures that he has seen:
“Almost an entire month
has passed since the pair began to study the fine creatures, but only now
did Sordoc the Great find himself with the vision of two fine, mature
specimens to watch in their courting ritual.
Sordoc and Garrod travelled
across the Celeste Lowlands and
across parts of Northern Sarvonia,
studying the Ulgaroth in domestication and in the wild, for more than three
months before Sordoc returned to his home to add onto his book.
Myth/Lore. The Ulgaroth, believed to be unicorns that had bred with lower breeds of horses, amazed the Ash'mari after being unable to domesticate horses of their own. The barbarians believed their luck was to change with this brilliant beast.
Earliest contact with the creature might have been with older beasts whose fur had turned whiter, making the barbarians believe they were holy, sent to save their people.
They believed that with the union of a unicorn and a horse, the horn had changed and become different, and that the beast carried the transporting frame of a horse and the image closer to a unicorn, with unbeatable strength. As such, they revere and fear the Ulgaroth, almost never mistreating them.