The kirin is an ancient cousin of the unicorn and deer-like in appearance. They are good at running quickly for long distances and have long heavy manes from skull to midback. They are hunted by some of the top predators in Kurai, but possess a great number of natural defenses. They possess a diverse range of magical abilities including metal bending, forsight and shaping illusions.
Average Lifespan:: Immortal
Average Height:: 3.5 feet at the shoulder
Average Weight:: 250 pounds.
Location Found:: Kurai
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Horns Approximately every five years a kirin's horn is shed to make way for a new, larger horn which grows to full size within a few weeks. This time is particularly dangerous for them as their magic is weakened considerably when their horn is incomplete and any venom utilized is typically less potent. Those with a broken horn are considered outcasts by others of their species and are fiercely rejected if they seek to mate or join a family group.
Darklilly Plain A relationship has developed between the black flowers of Kurai's Darklilly Plain and the qilin, the kirin's predatory cousins. The qilin lure their prey into the flowerfields, injuring them with particular violence. The flowers work to kill the prey faster, and serve as camouflage for the qilin to hide. The mutual benefit results in the Darklilly Plains being a very dangerous place indeed, both blood-drinking flowers and dangerous qilin well fed.
Species info credited to Daweia and Blazeh/Verridith.
Appearance An ancient demonic cousin of the unicorn, the kirin of Kurai are quite deer-like in appearance with a light, muscular build that enables them to run at great speed for considerable distances. Thick protective scales cover their spine, shoulders and thighs, tapering into leathery skin and a long, heavy mane runs from their skulls down to the middle of their back. This is often complemented by an extended tuff which begins half way up their tail, though they are also known to be serpentine in appearance on rare occasions. Kirin possess only one horn, generally antler-like with sharp points that enable them to deposit a paralytic venom in defense against predators. Sharp, split hooves can sometimes resemble claws, with a dewclaw on each ankle for defense. They come in a vast variety of colors, from red and green to gold and black, but are generally born a solid color and gain others later in life based on their magical affinity.
Culture As a species hunted by some of Kurai's top predators, the kirin have developed a number of natural defenses. Until about twenty years of age, by which time they have usually gained mastery over their primary magic and attained their first markings, they travel together in small family groups. On rare occasions siblings with a close bond will stay together after this point but most strike out on their own, coming together only to mate. In general kirin call upon their profuse magical strength for security, however with sharp hooves, claws and an envenomed horn their physical defenses are also a considerate threat in combat. While they are generally a peaceful species they will not hesitate in fighting back when threatened.
Abilities A kirin's magical abilities can be as diverse in nature as a dragon's and extremely powerful, particularly in the species' Ancients. Elemental affinities are common but other skills such as the bending of metals, foresight, shaping illusions and harnessing reiatsu also appear quite frequently, while others such as the warping of time or space in small expanses have also been known to manifest on very rare occasions. The venom in their horn is poisonous to most of the predators which hunt them as well as hybrids of any species, causing temporary paralysis and occasionally hallucinations. In highly concentrated amounts, this venom can be deadly; it is almost always deadly to half-demons and most demon hybrids.
Zailen had always been a proud god, a fact he never once denied. For did he not have much to be proud of? None of the other gods of Kurai would agree, but he considered his Kingdom’s demons to be the best in the Realm. They lacked the fiercely skilled soldiers of War, the deadly assassins of Death, or the unrivalled poison masters of Pestilence, but they stood as strong as any of their rivals. But nor was Zailen entirely pleased. He watched as his demons hunted, and boasted of their skills at the hunt, but in his heart he knew their prey was unworthy of them, and gave them too little of a challenge.
In the guise of an avian, Zailen slipped away from Kurai, and walked the Realms in secret, determined to give his people prey that would be a true challenge of their skills. After seeing all the Realms, he was most impressed by the deer of Evylon, and the unicorn. He took a unicorn stallion and a doe from Evylon, then returned to Kurai. There, he took black soil, silver grass, red water, white wood, and grey stone, and placed them in a large stone basin. Then he slit the throats of unicorn and deer, letting their lifeblood flow into the basin.
As their flowing blood intermingled with the natural materials of Kurai, he took the flesh of the slain creatures, and added it in turn to the basin, together with an antler from the deer, the unicorn’s horn, and bones from each. Then he called down light from the red moon, and infused the basin with his own power. The unicorn and the deer of Evylon might’ve been worthy prey in their own lands, but this was Kurai, and his chosen prey must be able to not only to survive, but to survive here in the Realm of demons.
The water and blood in the basin boiled, and churned, melting the rest of the basin’s contents, and for a moment, the basin stilled. Patiently, Zailen waited, feeding upon the bodies of the unicorn and the deer, until a new creature rose from within the basin. Gently, the leonine god helped it climb out of the basin, and steadied it while it gained its balance. Deer-like it was, but not so delicate. Its legs were long, a single, thick, branching silver horn extended from its forehead, sharp, cloven hooves graced its feet, and thick, blood-red scales covered its sleek, athletic body. A long mane of a deep, dark red grew from the crown of its head and down its neck, and a thick tuft, as dark as its mane, sprouted from the lower third if its long tail.
All the Realm will be your enemy, kirin, and when they catch you they will kill you. But first they must catch you, runner, listener, wraith of the wild. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed, Zailen intoned. The first kirin stared at him, wide-eyed, and pranced upon its hooves before the god. But, even through the obvious fear within its gaze, Zailen was pleased to see unyielding defiance begin to burn.
"I defy you, my creator, and all who would hunt me down! But also, I honor you, my creator, for these gifts you have bestowed upon me. May no creature lower than yourself ever catch me!" the first kirin retorted, bowing deeply to Zailen before rising and racing away. Grinning fiercely, Zailen sent his chosen Lord out to hunt the first kirin, and the hunt began. However, the great stealth of Famine’s hunters failed them when the kirin sensed their coming through the very earth, and vanished after losing its pursuers through a river.
Then did proud Zailen challenge Neiren, Lethias, and Orphethas to send their Lords and hunters out to try their luck at claiming the first kirin as a prize. Lethias was the first to take up his challenge, and ordered her chosen Lord to hunt the creature down and bring death upon it. With great cunning did her hunters seek to ensnare their prey, carefully positioning themselves at key ambush spots while the Kingdom’s wolves drove the kirin before them. But the kirin’s gift of foresight allowed it to avoid the hidden hunters, and it escaped the ambush, vanishing into the wilds.
As Lethias stalked off in a huff, Neiren stepped forward to accept Neiren’s challenge, and in short order her chosen Lord was leading a great hunt out after the kirin, seeking to drive it into a blind panic by the ferocity of their pursuit. They chased it into the Maranth Dunes, where it stirred up a great sandstorm, blinding the eyes of its pursuers as it doubled back, darting between them, turning their steel-tipped arrows aside with a flick of its horn, then was gone.
Neiren stormed off in a towering rage, and Orphethas then accepted Zalen’s challenge with quiet confidence. His chosen Lord set out with a hunting party, and simply followed along behind the kirin with a steady, untiring pace, alert to any trickery, relying on their immense stamina to simply run the kirin to exhaustion. Cunning were the hunters, despite the thrill of the hunt, and they kept on the kirin’s trail for many hours, driving it towards Everfrost. Eventually, they had it cornered against a cliff, but as Orphethas turned a victorious smirk towards Zailen, he saw a knowing grin on the lion god’s face. The great hawk’s smirk vanished as he gazed back at the hunt just in time to see the kirin melt away into nothing.
It had been a mere illusion, though a very clever one, and Orphethas was forced to admit defeat. As he flew off in a disgruntled temper, Zailen, well pleased with the kirin, who had proved to be worthy prey four times over, made more of the creatures, though none were quite so gifted as the first, who bore the distinct silver horn to mark it among its fellows. Now, his people would truly be able to test their skills as hunters.
Proud as ever, Zailen watched many times as his chosen Lord led hunts out to find and kill the elusive first kirin, proud of both the skill of his Kingdom’s hunters, for they managed to claim many kirin, and in the skills and cunning of the first kirin, who both defied and honored him through its continued survival.
This Ancient First was a kirin that looked like a large, deerlike equine; he had scarlet scales and a bright silver antler, as well as a long and leonine tail. He was bold and bright, and had the ability to command both elemental magics and strong illusion.
Classification: dragonlike kirin. Location: widespread, but rare.
The qilin is a rather more draconic cousin of the kirin, predator more than prey. Though their horns lack the kirin's distinct venom and their colors show no sign of what ability they might possess, they sport harder scales and long, serrated fangs. Double-horned and cloven-hooved, the qilin sports a scaled muzzle and a luxurious mane, as well as a short tufted tail with long, thick hair. Loners, these creatures attack with a mixture of potent magic and fierce strength, using their hooves and fangs as weapons like any dragon would. Instead of being herbivores, like their kirin cousins, the qilin are omnivores - able to eat both plants and hunt animals, though a diet of mostly meat is quite common.