the bare word seems scary. During hundreds of years the Mithral Wolves (Styrásh
lit. "Silver") has caused fear between the villages of
and hobbits. The
are the most common wolves on the whole Sarvonian continent and its mostly to
these animals people refer to when they speak of
wolves in general.
Although less sleek and elegant than their cousins the Ashmarian wolves from the north, the ilaróls are still very graceful and agile animals. The Styrásh name of the animal points to the silvery colour of its markings, the elven name therefore being quite fitting for this beast, meaning "Silver Wolf".
The Ilaról is about 2 fores and 1 palmspan high, the muscular body is usually 1
ped and 1 fore long and the bushy tail measures between 1- 2 fores. They are
heavy animals with a weight of 1 pygge 1 heb but the weight may vary depending
on their access to prey. The thickness of the fur varies slightly depending on
the region where the wolf is found (the further north,
the thicker) but the size and the build of the body remains the same.
The Ilaról has a narrow chest, strong shoulders, the elbows are kept close to the rib cage and it walks with slightly outward pointing paws. This allows both the front and hind legs on the same side to move in the same line so that the back paw enters the track left by the front paw. Further, the legs are quite long which not only enables the wolf to run fast but also enables it to move easily through deep snow.
The legs are so well angled that it is considered to be the most perfect of trotters! It is quite famous for its perseverance and its staying power. It is not unusual for a wolf to walk 10 leagues a night and there is evidence that some can travel nearly 50 leagues in a day.
The Ilaról’s paws have a very special construction. The northern Ilaról can retain heat in the blood vessels of the paws, and the fat in the paws stiffens in extremely cold temperatures.
The Ilaról also has quite characteristic markings that have given it its name. Over the length of the spine and down to the tail run several parallel silver coloured stripes, it also has several smaller spots of silver on the sides of its body. The tail is also tipped with the silver fur and the face has a mask the same colour. The rest of the body fur is a slate grey, quite a contrast to the shining silvery spots and stripes.
The Ilaról's coat is made up of two layers, tightly packed fur or wool under a long scraggy overcoat, which grows thick in winter, keeping the animal warm. This hair is shed in the spring and summer in large sheets and hunks. The further north the Ilaról is found the thicker the coat and the longer the overcoat. Further south the coat is sleek and silky during most of the year.
The Mithral Wolves have an incredible endurance, despite not running fast they
are able to chase down animals quite faster than themselves by team work. When
the Ilaról hunts they use the same system as their desertic cousins, the
ly’caons, substituting the ones chasing their prey so the runners will always
have full strength when tiring the prey before going to the kill, biting the
neck of the animal and asphyxiating it.
An Ilaról is able to smell a possible meal from a distance of 3 strals. When it picks up the scent it moves directly towards its prey in an attempt to catch it. The Ilaról has also excellent eye-sight, is capable of detecting the slightest of movements. It has an extraordinary large field of vision.
Territory. The Ilaról is common almost in all of the Sarvonian continent, from the cold steppes to the north down to the Narfost Plains. The wolves are especially common in the Mithral region in eastern Santharia, which is also from where their name derives. The only place where they can’t be found is in desertic areas such as the Ráhaz-Dáth Desert and its surroundings.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Mithral Wolf is a social animal, organizing itself in packs. Each pack has a leading, dominate pair. The top male, who submits to no one and to whom all the other males defer. Likewise, a top female, to whom all other females must submit (the subservient members are usually direct descendants of the leader parents).
For each gender, every Ilaról has a rank or place in line where they must submit to anyone higher than they are, but can bully or dominate the Ilaról lower in rank. At the bottom there are usually the weakest or youngest Ilaról. - These wolves have no one under them and may be harassed to the point where they disperse, or leave the pack becoming loners and wanderers that have no territory of their own. If they are very lucky and find mates of their own, and if there is enough territory available for them, they might be able to start a new pack of their own.
Within the pack, Ilaról will constantly demonstrate their rank. When two wolves in the pack meet, the higher-ranking one will show aggression and confidence by raising its tail, putting its ears forward, lifting its lips in a snarl, and making itself look as big and threatening as possible. The subordinate, or lower-ranking wolf, tries to make itself look small and non-threatening. Its tail will be tucked under its belly, ears laid back flat, and it will roll over and submit to the higher-ranking wolf, licking its muzzle and "letting it know that it's boss”.
The Ilaról are very aware that each pack has its own territory where it lives and hunts. This territory can change with the seasons dependent upon weather conditions or the movements of the animals that the Ilaról feeds on.
Even if the Ilaról has a sociable disposition it is only between the animals in the same pack. This way of living is necessary for such animals that require a certain amount of food for their survival.
The size of the territory depends on how many different types of animals live there and which of them are suitable as food. Where possible the different packs set up buffer zones, a "no-mans-land" between territories, in an attempt to reduce any possibility of confrontation or conflict between the packs. Packs that have overlapping territories try to avoid each other in this common territory.
By howling, the wolf can signal other individuals in his pack as to where he is at any particular time. When quarry goes into a buffer zone it sometimes gets left alone. The territory can vary from 25 to 400 perrys.
Diet. The prey of the Mithral Wolf varies depending on the place where it has its territory and the season of the year, mostly it feeds of large animals like many types of deer and goats. It is also not rare that they hunt wild pigs. Unfortunately these wolves also feed on any livestock that they would find and are hated and feared by farmers and herders.
Mating. Mating season can be anywhere from Córt'ometrá to Méh'avashín with the leading female having only five to seven days of heat. During this time, the leader pair may move out of the pack temporarily to prevent interruption from other pack members. Also the leader pair is almost always the only pair to mate, to avoid over population.
Usually the leader has dominance over the entire pack including the leader female. But this is not always true. During the mating season the leader female takes total dominance even while the pups are still in the den. This is for the rest of the pack to know that she is the one to serve. She also decides were the den will be. With this in the packs mind, they go in search of food and bring it back to the den either for the hungry, laborious female or for the pups.
When the two are about to mate, they bond, sleeping close and touching each other more and more. They will approach each other making quiet whining sounds, mouth each others muzzles, touch noses, and bump their bodies together. There may be mutual grooming and nibbling of each other's coats and the two may walk pressed close together. The male may bow to the female, toss and tilt his head, and lay his legs over her neck in what could only be described as a flirting manner. The two may even sleep side by side. After the mating occurs the pair will continue to be affectionate with each other trough all the heat period.
The gestation period for wolves is fifty-nine to sixty three days.
Pups are born completely blind and deaf (but have a keen sense of smell), depending on the their mother and other members of the pack. The whole pack takes care and raises the pups (non-breeding females produce milk and males compete to baby-sit).
Usually four to six pups are born together. This is called a litter, and the pups in a litter are called litter mates. Pups are born inside a den. A den is sometimes a small cave or a hole dug out of the ground.
If Ilaról pups are taken from their packs a very early age they may be domesticated and be almost as loyal as a dog, yet with very strong territorial and hunting impulses.
Usages. The pelt of the Ilaról can be used both to create clothing and as rugs, but because of the danger in actually hunting the animals it is very rare to see Ilaról fur in use.
Researchers. The most known researcher of the Ilaról was Heynrich the Insane, called like so because he decided to live in the wild close to an actual Ilaról pack to study them. He disappeared for several years and was believed to be dead, only to reappear in his native village accompanied by several “tame” Ilaróls that followed him as if he was a pack leader.
Discontent with human society and with people in general Heynrich decided to return the wild with his small "pack". He was never seen again.
Information provided by Lucirina Telor Vevan