The White Bear is a large carnivorous beast, which can mainly be found in the vast Cyhalloian Tundra and in the Icelands of Northern Sarvonia. It is known for its good swimming skills and especially their unusual "Death Ritual", where they search for crimson rose fields when they know that they are going to die. Smelling the sedative effect of the flower they enter a deep sleep from which they never wake up again.
Picture description. A White Bear and his cub in the Cyhalloian Tundra. Image by Bard Judith.
Appearance. The full grown White Bear can reach a height between 3.5 and 4 peds. Its appearance resembles the typical bear except for the skyblue eyes and, of course, its distinctive white fur. The white bear is a carnivorous beast. For that reason they have a full set of sharp teeth, all meant for tearing and chewing their prey. Their average sizes for arms and feet are about 1 fore and 2 palmspans are equipped with large and strong claws measuring about 5 nailsbreadths each. On their feet pads they have fur to keep grip on the ice. White Bears walk in all fours and have a fragmentary tail. They have fat to keep warm, as well as sustain them during hibernation.
White Bears are extremely good swimmers and enjoy staying by the water.
Travelling from island to island is an everyday promenade for them. In the water
they can reach great speed (20-25 strals per hour) but at the land they are much
slower (10-15 strals per hour). The White Bear's huge strength is also something
to take on account and beware of. Their White Bear's sense of smell is not only
important for the hunt but also during the mating season, allowing them to find
a female companion.
Territory. With a population of lesser than 400 individuals, due to the hunt by the Kasumarii and the Cyhallrhim elves, the greatest concentration of White Bears, talking about the 90 per cent of their population, can be found at the vast icy lands of the continent of Cyhalloi. Another place where you can find them are the so-called Icelands of Northern Sarvonia. White Bears are able to survive and inhabit in any cold and near-water place.
Habitat/Behaviour. The White Bear is not a territorial beast. In summer, autumn and spring, they love to wander between islands and just pass the night by the coast. In winter they hibernate in a caverns, choosing this location because of the safety and comfort of the place. They are solitary beasts that only stay with another of their kind during the mating period. In spite of this lonely behaviour, they have a taste for human proximity and you can find them usually following the Kasumarii carryhomes. The White Bear is a peaceful beast that avoids conflict if possible.
A typical day for a White Bear can be described as eating, eating and eating in order to cover their high daily quote of food. When not eating, you could find them swimming or sleeping.
Diet. The White Bear's diet consists basically of fish, needing to eat between 5 or 7 hebs of meat daily. From time to time White Bears include some carrion and seals on their diet as well. They don't eat human flesh except after being a long time without eating anything. When this happens, their survival instinct prevails and they attack the first prey they come upon (anything that smells and tastes like meat). In those cases, humans may be valid prey as well. The tundra inhabitants know of that and take special care after the hibernation period when the bears start leaving their caves and look for food.
Mating. After reaching its fifth year, the White Bear starts mating. They will mate once every two years during the spring. Feeling the pressing need of finding a female companion, they look for her. After finding one, they copulate, usually it is the first one they come by. They then stay together until winter. On that season the male leaves looking for a cave to hibernate. The female stays alone and gives birth to the cubs (an average of 2 or 3 cubs) sometimes during hibernation or just after it. She will raise them for a year and a half. When they reach that age, they are fully grown and ready to survive on their own.
Myth/Lore. The so-called "Death Ritual" of the White Bear is indeed more fact than myth: When a White Bear feels the nearness of death, it travels to the south and looks for a crimson rose field. They just lay there, between the roses, white spots breaking the crimson purity. They smell the flowers and enter a deep sleep from which they will never wake up. The roses continue with their life and death cicle, covering the body of the beast with wither petals. It seems that the corpse of the bear functions as a fertilizer because, after its death, the flowers start growing in richer quantity. - The Kasumarii know about the ritual and usually search the crimson fields for a dead bear, to take its fur and meat.
There is also a well known legend about a beast that ravages the Cyhalloian Tundra that may refer to a White Bear. Some accounts are included below:
"The beast is huge! it has to be at least 3 peds in height - and covered in fur! Or ice... I'm not sure. But it looks like a bear, walking erect with blood red eyes."
-- Estoor, Kar-ii Greendeath
"Had taken down a goat with my bow at 20 peds out, I did indeed. Saw the goat fall and everything... but when I got there, all I could find was a bloody mess. No goat anywhere. The thing took my kill and wasted my time. Next time I see him, he'll be MY meal."
-- Ammos, Kar-ii Korenjaan
"Child and I among bush. Pick of berries near Tower. Beast appear; hair like ice, eye of flame. Roar like cold wind entangled bear. We ran indeed."
-- Yo'inlia, Cyhallrhim
More details on the Tundra
Beasts can be found at the "Tundra
There's also another very popular story recounted all throughout Sarvonia, which shouldn't be forgotten to mention here: "The Princess and the White Bear" written down by Skald of Hargath and part of Master Tribell's famous fairy-tale collection "Miraculous Narrations".
Also, because of it peaceful nature and their taste for human nearness, some people say that the White Bears may have a human soul within their bodies.
Information provided by Sahndorf