Flora and Fauna
Dogs are common throughout the North, though they are more common with the Nobility and the aspiring merchant classes than the commoners. Most breeds of dogs are related to hunting, or some variant of working Dog, though there are also Guard Dogs and a few breeds of Lap Dogs bred in recent times for the laps of Noble-women. The Following is a short list of common dog-breeds.
- Greyhounds. Perhaps the most common breed in the north, which are used for Coursing Hare, Fox and Deer, as well as being common, one might almost say traditional, pets of the nobility.
- Alaunt. a larger dog that the Greyhound, with a greater degree of endurance. They are used sometimes to hunt Bear or Boar, or kept as guard-dogs. These shaggy behemoths are well survived in the winter, but their temperament makes them volatile and not good pets.
- Mastiff. The Largest breed of Dog extant in the North, the Mastiff, with it’s large head and sturdy body is sometimes used in hunting, but more commonly seen among those who value animals in their guard-dog capacity. Several cities use them on Patrols.
- Bloodhounds. A More specialized breed, the Bloodhound is used either in hunts, released in packs to trace down animal scents, or more recently, in assisting in the tracking of people. Some have taken to using the Dog to hunt criminals, escapee’s, or poachers. However, like the Greyhound it is viewed as a rarefied breed, and virtually none exist outside the confines of breeders and the noble classes.
- Harrier. A Smaller dog breed, used to hunt Hare by trailing them. While somewhat specialized in comparison to other dogs, the breed has found itself popular with the newly rich, as one can maintain one or two without the necessity of a full kennel.
- Shepherds. Actually several related breed of medium sized dog used primarily in herding sheep, though sometimes trained to guard sheep. They have been used as ‘Warning’ Dogs as well. Several distinct regional breeds have emerged, including the Jassit and Telvan Shepard, the former being slightly smaller, and having a much lighter colouring than the later.
- Spaniels. Another hunting dog, though typically used in the hunting of Fowl, especially Water Fowl like Ducks. Smallish, the Spaniels have several different distinct breeds in different parts of the north, with varying Hair styles. The Spaniel does not originate in the North However, having come from somewhere to the South-West originally.
- Butterfly Spaniels. A very recent Breed, these tiny ‘lap dogs’ have ears and heads that resemble a Butterfly, hence the name. Bred from Spaniels by the Telvan Kennel-master of Lord Rove, they have become some-what of a fashionable accessory for many noble-women.
- Imp-Dogs. Known by several other names, these tiny little dogs with their strange squashed faces were, and are, imported through Southern Merchants, who make varied claims as to their origins. They are temperamental lap-dogs, who in both appearance and personality seem to resemble their name-sake.
- Dwarven Guard-dog. The Dwarven Guard-Dog is a strange animal. Like the Dwarves who have bred this animal, it is short, squat and stout, with a strange, almost dour-looking squashed in face. The Dog however, is renowned for it’s ferocity and resistance to damage. It’s typically used to Guard Dwarven Holds. The Breed had been used by others, as Guard-Dogs, or by some to hunt especially dangerous game. Regardless, they are very difficult to breed, and thus remain an important commodity of Dwarven communities.
Horses have long been a critical animal in many area’s of life. From the Warhorse of the Knight, the Riding Horse of the Nobility, the Carthorse of the common peddlar to the draft horse of free farmer, Work, transportation and War all require the use of horseflesh.
There are various ‘types’ of horses, and quite a few breeds within those types. Broadly, one has;
- Destrier-A Relatively rare breed used principally by Knights engaged in Heavy Warfare or in Jousts. Even amoung knights they are not particularly common, most prefering the lighter, more agile Courser. They are equivilent to Heavy Warhorses.
- Courser-The Most common of Warhorses. The Courser, while not as light and agile as the Rouncey, is nowhere near the size of the Destrier. They are the most common horse, not only for Knights, but for Men-at-Arms and Squires. Most Nobles will have a couple in their stables and notable breeds come from several places. Sturdier than a Light War-horse, but not as big as a Heavy War-horse.
- Rouncey-The Smallest of hte Warhorses. Another horse common to men-at-arms and squires. The Rouncey is small, quick and sometimes used for scouting or similar. The Equivilent to a Light Warhorse.
- Palfrey-The Common Riding Horse, valued for it’s even gait and temperment. A Palfrey is probably the most common type of horse bred, a horse ridden by Nobles, especially noble-women, or the emerging merchant classes. Equivilent to a Light Horse.
- Draft Horse-Heavier, Sturdy horses used for pulling carts or agriculture work. They tend to be slightly shorter than a Destier, but broader and stockier. Equivilent to a Heavy Horse.
Plants, both Domestic and Wild, and their Magical/Alchemical uses
- Bloodroot-Known to Grow in Swamps and Wet Area’s, folklore says blood-root marks the spot of a corpse done by violence. Certain the plant itself, which sprouts like a very small bush with dull leaves and the occasional darkish red flower, seems mundane enough, though the sap that come sfrom it’s roots gives it it’s name. It is useful in many Alchemical processes and some magical rites, especially those involving the Undead and Healing.
- Dawn Flowers-This pretty flower grows in wide open fields and is a favourite of lovers. It’s small, bright yellow petals seem to almost glow. Wreaths of them are often used in early spring-time rituals and dances by young women. Alchemists and others who delve use them for many simple potions and unguents.
- Darkwood Tree-This rare Tree grows deep in old forests, it’s dark spotted trunks looking almost black, with broad, roanded leaves of a deep, dark green than tend to turn to dark browns in the autumn. The wood of this tree is prized for it’s strength and it’s ease of enchantment. Alchemists, Witches and Wizards, as well as their servants, have long prized it. However it is a difficult tree to grow, and most groves of it are now guarded by Druids or other power creatures, the wood thus commands quite a price.
- Chokers Vine-Considered a Weed by most, this slender vine-like plant often wraps itself around other plants and quite literally chokes them to death as it grows, covering them with it’s thin, blade-like leaves. It is noxious and can ruin walls if allowed to grow up them, though it’s secondary property means that some people do allow it to grow. It contains a paralytic poison that can be used as pain medicine in very small, controlled doses, but that causes rather more disturbing effects in larger doses.