Friday, July 16, 2010

The Weekly Offworlder

The Likable Lizard

Last week, I told you a bit about the small city of Quena and its famous igwaza (ig-waz-ah) trainers. I thought I'd tell you a bit more about these lizard-like creatures in this post.

During my travels, I've learned that there are twenty-two known species of igwaza found throughout Rynaga. They possess strong, squared jawlines, tough scaled hides and talons resembling those of a raptor. Most igawza are bi-peds, traveling on two legs. Their life-spans vary, but most live between 10 to 50 years of age.

Igwaza vary in color from white, gray, orange and brown to green, blue and black. White versions are uncommon and expensive to attain. Some igwaza employ camouflage in order to conceal themselves and their young. Diets among igwaza are very diverse. Some favor meat and will hunt down large insects in packs, while others are strict herbivores and omnivores.

While their appearance may seem threatening, igwaza are friendly creatures. Of course, they are very protective of their masters when trained and will become aggressive if they or their young are threatened in the wild. Igwaza range in height from four to 25 feet tall and are capable of running at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. The Lylean breed are able to fly, reaching speeds of more than 70 miles per hour.

I've documented some of the popular species of igwaza:

1. Lylean Igwaza - Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful of Veratar's creatures, Lylean Igwaza are sleek, agile, extremely fast and capable of flying at high altitudes. This species was almost wiped out by a plague decades ago. However, thanks to the efforts of Quenan, Hirojan and Phaedran trainers, their numbers are growing steadily. While it's possible to acquire a Lylean Igwaza, the expense is enormous and it is a long process. The city state of Lylea (due north and east of Quena) monitors the growth of this breed and it decides if and when a Lylean variant may be sold or purchased.

2. Grand Igwaza - Grand Igwaza are the largest of the Igwaza breeds. They are valued for their ability to carry, pull and push heavy burdens and are often used for support during building projects. They're also trained and used by Phaedran Ryngaurd as mounts and warrior beasts. However, one cannot force an Igwaza to absorb battle conditioning. If a creature feels tormented by its training it will become susceptible to injury, sickness and even death. Therefore, specific beasts are observed for signs of candidacy into this class.

3. Silentwood Igwaza - Also known as Evaders, this species is used for reconnaissance and hunting. Their ability to change color gives them the advantage of stealth. This breed can also go extended periods of time without food or water, which is good for long journeys. Their durability combined with speed and strength, make the Silentwood Igwaza one of the most popular modes of transportation.

4. Quenan Igwaza - The Quenan variant is the most common on Veratar. Many families keep them as mounts, hunting partners and scouts. Children are customarily given an igwaza egg at the age of 13. Children learn valuable lessons from caring for their igwaza pets. Once hatched, the little lizards grow to maturity within five years, at which time they are trained for riding.

5. Igwaza Runner - Runners are used for delivering messages to drop posts in cities straight from wilderness encampments. It is not uncommon for explorers and trackers to have a team of Runners at their disposal. Runners will routinely leave their masters on an errand and travel long distances back to their owners. Their sense of smell is extremely sophisticated. The Runner possesses an "olfactory memory," which allows it to associate specific scents with different places, objects and people. They can track these scents over hundreds of miles.

Earlier in Earth's history, the horse was used for it's towing capacity, as a beast of burden and as a means of transportation. The igwaza fills this role on Rynaga. Their power, agility and durability make them the perfect utility tool on the farm as well as the frontier. Their intelligence and loyalty make them one of the best friends a traveler can find.

-Safe travels!

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