As you explore the forests of Tetzcotal, you might occasionally come across small, quiet bats that appear to be walking on the forest floor. Ambula bats, so named for their strong forearms that allow them to clamber around and even run short distances on all four limbs, are unusual among bats for many reasons, most notably their diet. While the hatchlings are fine drinking milk for their first few months, once they are weaned, they must feed on the blood of magical creatures. No one is sure why exactly the bats need magical creature blood in particular, but they don't seem to harm their victims when they feed. The bats fly around at night using their echolocation to guide their way until they come across a sleeping creature, then they land, walk up to it, make an incision near the feet or flank, and lap up the blood that drips off. The bats' saliva has special properties which can be used in healing potions, and their wings, fur, and teeth are often appropriated for magical items. Fully-grown ambula bats rarely grow larger than a mouse.
It is difficult to travel through Tetzcotal at night and not at least hear the chirps of bats overhead. The forest is home to millions of these tiny creatures, but the ambula bats in particular are rarer sights, shyer by nature and often wary of larger animals. They feed on the magic of other creatures by ingesting their blood, and as such, have become the subject of many folk tales and superstitions. Ambula bats have been known to harbor diseases unique to magical creatures because of the way they feed, but only a small portion of the bats actually carry any dangerous disease. They are communal creatures, nesting in caves with up to three or four hundred other ambula bats, all of whom are related or familiar with one another. The bats groom each other, care for each other's hatchlings, and even feed weak or injured bats from their colony. Occasionally a magi will find an intact bat egg nestled in the crooks of a cave wall, and should they raise it back at the Keep, they will find their new companion to be gentle and affectionate. The main trouble in keeping ambula bats is finding a magical companion willing to donate some of its blood for the bat's meals.
Sprite art: Tekla | Description: PKGriffin