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Northern Meldop #1091

General

Meldops are peculiar and occasionally dangerous creatures but essential to life for nomads and traders. They thrive in dry environments, whether the hot deserts of the Etain or the northern prairies leading up to the Arkene. They get most of the water they need from the plants they consume, and can go for long periods of time without either food or water thanks to humps of fat on their backs. The northern meldop has a shorter hump located over its shoulder and cannot last as long as its southern cousin without food, but in the high prairies it rarely needs to. The northern meldops migrate around the plains each year, wandering into the foothills of the mountains and as far north as the Dark Lake during the summer when the snow is shallowest. In the winter, these creatures can be found passing by the Keep in small herds of ten to twenty, along with other creatures like latifra beasts and musk oxen. Wild northern meldops rarely walk on ground that isn't covered in at least a little bit of frost, though they prefer to avoid larger snow drifts in the winter. They fare surprisingly well in warm climates too, however, and make for hardy pack animals that can easily travel the full trade routes from remote villages in the Arkene down to the southern coast, though their stubborn nature makes them less common travel companions than the southern variety.

Egg

This egg is warm and smells slightly sour.

Hatchling

Young meldops have yet to develop the fatty humps their parents have, and require food and water more frequently. They remain close to their mothers for their first year of life, and often remain within her sight for a few years after. The juveniles are shy at first, but often learn to be playful around other meldops. When the herd stops to create a mirage refuge for the night, the youngsters can often be seen exploring the oasis and running around with other young meldops. It takes several years for a meldop to master the ability to create a physical mirage, and in wild herds the eldest animals usually team up to create the strongest mirages they can manage. Youngsters may take years before they even attempt to conjure these temporary sanctuaries, and some individuals never learn this ability at all. Most of them do however learn how to spit a mild acid, and will often use this when roughhousing with each other.

Adult

Meldops are invaluable companions to those travelling in harsh environments. As well as being unusually hardy and able to go for long periods of time in barren wilderness, meldops have the unique ability to create mirages of desert oases or small, heated hot springs that manifest as physical places for a short time. These refuges can be life-saving, providing food and water to the meldops' weary human companions, and sheltering entire caravans from the hot sun or freezing snow. In the wild, meldops use these mirages to create safe havens where the herd can rest without fear for predators and where the weaker members of a herd can take a drink or nibble some grass to replenish their hump stores. The meldop that creates the mirage must use their own energy stores to make it, and anything consumed is drained from the animal. Herds will often band together to create parts of an oasis, with one animal providing water, one food, and one the heat for hot springs or the tall inedible plants that offer shade. Anything that isn't consumed can be recouped and restored as part of the animal's hump fat, but the process itself takes a small toll. Nomads are always careful to ensure that their meldops are well-fed and watered when they reach outposts, letting the animals eat and drink first before they take care of themselves, as a thanks for the many times the meldops have ensured their safety.

Notes

Obtained from: Stream (common)
Breeding: Yes
Renaming cost: 2000 gold
Release date: February 26th 2020

Breeds with the following:
Northern Meldop + Northern Meldop = Northern Meldop
Southern Meldop + Northern Meldop = Southern Meldop
Southern Meldop + Northern Meldop = Northern Meldop

Sprite art: Jrap17 | Description: PKGriffin

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