The Ursek

An example of Bestia Ursek, the Ursek in Deiran, the Orzek in Arturan.

Native to the northern reaches of the Grunvale and beyond, the Ursek has a particularly fearsome reputation. The Ursek are often found roaming mountain passes and the darkest parts of ancient forests in relative solitude, only gathering in numbers when the need arises. These creatures are a mass of muscle and dense layers of body fat, which combined with their unnaturally rugged hide, affords them a great deal of resilience to to the average blade and spear. To stumble across the site of an Ursek attack is a sight of pure horror. Corpses torn apart, rib cages crushed and opened up like potted meat, limbs and innards strewn around while smashed and gnawed heads sit atop twisted necks. Little can stop one of these creatures when they attack, and nigh on impossible to stop if they are enraged.

The heavily wooded and mountainous areas of northwestern Deira,The Kingdom of Arthtir and the Cantons of Cathair play host to sizable numbers of Ursek and their smaller cousins the Urczarn, with Arthtir having a long standing tradition of their nobility hunting Ursek and Urczarn as a rite of passage. Thankfully the Ursek are isolated to the north, with only small groups of Urczarn occasionally being encountered in the southern mountains of the Grunvale.

The term Orzek is the earliest name for these creatures, originating amongst the isolated ancient tribes of Arthtir millennia ago, before it was carried south by Deiran traders and morphed into its current form. While the Ursek is noted as existing in the south during those times, it was such a rarity that it only appeared anecdotally in local myths and tales. Whereas the tribes of Arthtir had such regular and protracted encounters with the Ursek and Urczarn that they quickly formalised their names, with them entering their everyday lexicon and as an ever present threat. To this day the people of Arthtir stand against these creatures as their ancient ancestors did, using heavy spears to hold them at bay while warriors with jagged picks and serrated axes tear at the beasts flesh.

Thankfully I have only encountered one of these creatures on my travels, which was one too many despite my endeavors to catalogue such creatures. A truly terrifying sight, its blood caked brown furred mass thundering into our caravan while we were traversing the snow laden forests on the border Deira and Arthtir. It tore open two of my hired guards within seconds. The only reason I and the rest of our group made it to our destination was thanks to me prudently hiring a number hunters from Arthtir, all working as guides during a harsh winter due to there being little quarry at home to feed their families. Two of the hunters fell to the creature along with six other hired swords, leaving ten armed men slain by the creature, and seven other members of our caravan joining them. Were it not for those hunters I am sure I would not be sat here recounting that most traumatising of experiences.

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Hircyne

An example of Bestia Caprigor Hircynus, or Hircyne in common.

The Hircyne along with Baran and the Stier, are the most widespread and most common bestial forms across Yss. The Hircyne share features with domesticated goats, and have a wide range of colouration and forms, dependent on location and climate.  

Belligerent and stubborn, Hircyne are a significant threat to any that might encounter them. Unlike the Baran, the Hircyne find no issue eating bones, tendon and anything else their prey may be wearing. There are many examples of deceased Hircyne specimens with buttons, buckles, coins and other such detritus in their stomachs, and showing no ill effects such as inflammation or ulcers.  

Hircyne, Baran and Stier can often be found in mixed herds, though it is not unheard of for them to live in groups made up exclusively of their own kind. One common trait amongst these groups is their pride in their horns and their disdain of those without. They treat hornless bestials as lesser than their ungor kin, even if the bestial is equal or greater in the natural order (Though they will keep such notions to themselves if the creature is far larger than them). They will only work with other bestials if they see a significant threat or if an alpha forces them to accept the arrangement, often with a few examples made of any with dissenting opinions.

The modus operandi of the Hircyne, Baran and Stier is well covered by numerous tales, personal accounts and historical treatise. For their actions are innumerable and horrifying. No corner of Yss has remained untouched by their kind, the tales from Esel and the Grunvale as a whole would fill volumes on their own. No man, duardin or aelve alive has not heard of their vile actions, nor unacquainted with their foul visage.    

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Felgreif

An example of Bestia Felgreif, Felgreif or Fel-Griff in common. .

A newly discovered form of bestial, little is known about their behavior or social interactions. The pieces of information I have gleaned from the few sources that have encountered the Felgreif indicate that they are native to the highest reaches of the Ehrsuug Mountains, travelling down into the passes and ravines to prey on travellers, and the herbivorous creatures that thrive on the lower slopes of the mountains. 

It is to be noted that the earliest account of these creatures comes from little over two centuries ago, scrawled in a merchants journal with a rough sketch detailing their likeness. Prior to that there are no record of these creatures, though other avian forms have existed across Yss since time immemorial.  I find it of worry that the last recorded sighting of the God Kings own sworn warriors were seen heading towards the Ehrsuug range with great intent, barely a decade prior to the merchant making his notation. 

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Cervidian

An example of Bestia Cervidae, Cervidian in common, and Ceir-du in aelvish.

A relatively common bestial form across Yss with a number of subspecies adapted to the local environments, the Cervidian pose a regular threat to provincial towns and villages that lie close to wild hinterlands and forests. 

Their herds often range over vast areas, living a highly nomadic life. They have a particular affinity for highland regions and ancient forests, hunting through fog shrouded passes and dense undergrowth. 

Their herds are often filled with young headstrong warriors seeking to make a name for themselves with acts of bloodshed and displays of prowess. As such, ruts between herd members are common prior to battle, with members blooding each other in ritual combat to show their ferocity and so they may take a prime role in the hunt at the behest of their leader. Quite often a member of the herd will challenge the Alpha, entering a rut which can only end in the death of one of the participants. The locking of antlers can last days, with each fighter pushing themselves to extremes of exhaustion, pain and injury to emerge victorious. It is not unusual for one or both participants to die locked in place. Thankfully due to these bloody ruts many a raiding herd has lost interest in their prey, or other members step up to challenge the victor which leads to the herd descending into anarchy and turning on each other.

The Grunvale and the surrounding areas have a sizable number of Cervidian herds, with a number of notable herds ranging through the forest and highlands that divide Esel and the Mere March. The Elves that reside there take exceptional measures to eradicate them, leading tireless hunts to root them out. 

For the citizens of Esel it a cruel irony that something that bears the visage of the crowns symbol should be the source of such fear. Thankfully the brave knights of Esel and their retainers have slain many of their kind over the years in defence of their loyal subjects. 

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

The Kheranox

An example of Bestia Kheranoxis, or the Kheranox.

The Kheranox are native to the savannahs and jungles of Ihlshana, though other subspecies have been noted in the frigid Isval to the far north, and the Taldegun Range in the west. 

A highly aggressive and territorial species, the Kheranox are a destructive blight on the people of Ihlshana. The nomadic peoples and the coastal cities have all felt the single minded brutality of the Kheranox. Of all the bestial forms that wander Ihlshana, they are the most feared. Their rage coupled with their thick hides make them formidable opponents, even for seasoned warriors. They show little regard for other creatures, viewing themselves as the undisputed inheritors of Ihlshana and it’s lands. The humans are interlopers to be eradicated. 

Along with the free people of Ihlshana, the Kheranox are often in conflict with other bestials and human followers of the fel gods. The beast are to be dominated, the human followers mere pretenders calling upon the primordial gods power to make up for their inherent weakness. 

The Kheranox like so many other bestials clad and armour themselves with scavenged materials and weapons. They particularly favour the tall shields and heavy wooden clubs used by the human inhabitants of Ihlshana, both free and fel.  

The only being they respect that isn’t of their kind or one of the primordial gods, is the legendary Ekuqaleni, or the First, The Alpha, The Beast of Beasts. To meet and serve under this legendary figure is an aspiration for all Kheranox. Many a young Kheranox has taken the quest to seek this creature, exiling themselves to wander Yss and find it, or die trying.

Though rare, it is quite possible for one of these creatures to be found wandering the paths of the ‘vale, or the mountainous reaches that surround it. It is best to avoid them, interfere with their wanderings at your own peril.

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”