“What difference then, between the cowardly Kalang and bold Bellator? None I say. A beast is a beast, and all should serve man.”Praetor Gratius Lupus
Also Known as: Six-hand, Selam, Kwekla (Vic.), Yukson (Muj.), Altiel (Neh.)
Habitat: Forests, Jungle
Hazard Level: Minimal
Lurking somewhere in the branches of the Syrinal family tree is the peaceful and reclusive Kalang, an arboreal herbivore believed to be distantly related to both Grommen and Bellatori. The word Kalang derives from the Bellator word for Coward, demonstrating the Bellator perception of these creatures as flighty and fearful, an accurate if harsh assessment of the species temperament. While in their youth Kalang rarely exceed 1.5 meters in height and 3 meters in length, the species grows throughout its considerable lifespan and some records report elder specimens as tall as 4 meters and as long as 8. Due to this increasing size the species demonstrates differing ecological roles in youth and old age, going from highly mobile arboreal foragers to terrestrial grazers and bark feeders in older age. Kalang are a rare, reclusive, and placid species that sustains itself on fruits and barks deep in the forests and jungles of Aeldos and is of little bother to anyone.
Kalang possess six bilaterally symmetrical limbs each ending in a highly dexterous hand with hardened fingers that are well adapted to climbing. They have large thick bodies covered in colourful scale-feathers which are used both for camouflage and social displays. These feathers are also found on their long semi-prehensile tail which is used for balance and stabilization while climbing. Kalang have broad faces that are characterized by some as ‘friendly’ or ‘placid’, a description which may be due to the lack of facial plates found in other Syrinals. In place of the temporal and zygomatic plates common in other Syrinals they have wide cheek flaps covered in downy feathers used for mating displays and which give them a more open facial structure. The Kalang mouth has hardened dental plates which are used for rendering even the hardest barks and fruits into paste for digestion.
During their arboreal stage Kalang utilize all their limbs and their long tail for locomotion and manipulation while traveling through the dense forests of Lux and Mujin searching for fruits. As Kalang age they grow too large for this arboreal lifestyle and eventually descend to the ground where they become hexapodal quadrupeds, using their four hind legs for locomotion and two forelimbs for manipulation.
Kalang possess several defensive adaptations:
- Like all Syrinals Kalang have extremely durable and light bones that reduce their body weight, aiding their agility and allowing them to survive considerable falls and blunt trauma.
- Their layered scale-feathers also allow them to endure attacks that might be lethal to others.
- Kalang also possess a flexible syrnix that can mimic most sounds, augmented with a throat pouch that allows them to emit a particularly loud “stun tone” that deafens or disorient attackers and is used to warn other members of the species of dangers, even from great distances.
Kalang social habits vary throughout their life. For their first century they are solitary but social creatures; social bonding occurs between females and their younger offspring but males and adolescents prefer isolated lives. They assume extensive ranges of territory which tend to show limited overlap and are typically centered on rich sources of fruit where large, elaborate nests are constructed. Interaction is uncommon but also not usually hostile. The only exception to their typically isolated structure in youth are decadal rut seasons where Kalang will locate each other via mating calls and gather in large groups for the purposes of breeding. These ruts include all breeding age members, typically those above 50 years of age, and can last for several days at a time, though they rarely result in more than a few births. As they age past a century the elder terrestrial Kalang become more social and tend to gather in small bands of 3-4, living in communal nests or herds. These bands will remain together until the death of all members.
Kalang are clever creatures with a range of keen senses that allow them to sense approaching danger. They lack the territoriality of Grommen or martial prowess of Bellatori and instead tend to retreat from danger. Young Kalang use their speed and agility to escape into inaccessible trees while elder Kalang utilize are often found near Tark, living in symbiosis with the colossal ungulates, warning them of danger and protecting their young while feeding off the fruits and lichens which grow on the great beasts and allowing the Tark to frighten off dangerous predators.
Kalang are rare and skilled at avoiding traps and capture. Those few that have been captured have died rapidly while in captivity. Dissection of these specimens indicate cardiac issues and suggest they are literally frightened to death by captivity. Ancient Bellatori legends and stories suggest it is possible to domesticate the species but no current examples are known.
The rarity of Kalang make them relatively unknown to most and of interest to only the most dedicated hunters. Those who pursue them tend to do so for their novelty, taking their skulls or feathers as trophies of note.
Rumours and Lore
- Those with keen senses report that Kalang emit a distinctly sweet smell when calm and an extremely bitter scent when frightened.
- Some Bellatori stories claim that Kalang can be taught the rudiments of language
- In the book “On Bestial Intellect” Victran Lady Tessa Shaw documents several months of close study of the species. In this report she claims to have observed tool construction and use, complex communication, and even numeracy. Her reports and associated request to have the species classified as semi-sapient by the Athyralith Academy have largely met with derision.
- Nehepi adventurer Lamar Kurz claims to have encountered a specimen drunk on fermented honey which was able to perfectly recite the Doxa.