In Riiga, there are creatures which are not considered to be fauna due to possessing unique or supernatural ability, and are not considered to be monsters because they are not hostile toward humans. These creatures go by many names, from sent-ones or sentions in Benevis, hulask in Yvatshun, nirmauton in Vaman, or centrion in Remdor, just to name a few varieties of names.
Ones Sent from Above
A sention in Riiga is something that matches the following conditions:
- It is extraordinary in some way (rarity, ability, physiology, etc.)
- It can breed, unlike monsters.
- It is generally neutral toward humans, but can sometimes be tamed or even domesticated.
- It is mortal, and can die.
- It can be reproduced. If only one such entity existed, it would be considered something else.
- It will fight monsters if given the chance.
- Their appearance and disappearance is often tied to supernatural or divine events.
According to the Red Temple, sentions are divine fauna -- creatures imbued with supernatural ability or presence. Indeed, many sentions are utilised in Benevan society and help humans, such as the liogon or the synavos. They seem to come from nowhere, and when they disappear they do so without a trace. Remains of long-gone sentions are exceedingly rare, such as skeletons or pelts. In most parts of Riiga, it is taboo or even illegal to hunt or harm sentions without sufficient justification. Most authorities that be deem them to be allies of humans, rather than mere animals to be hunted.
Types of Sentions
A rare type of bird called the synavos is especially sensitive to the atmospheric and aethereal changes that occur when a black storm is brewing, and it emits a mournful cry when it does, noticeable due to its normally quiet demeanor. Synavos are usually kept in large cities in a specific tower called a Crying Tower, found on only the largest of castles or palaces. The cry is passed on by means of giant bells, horns, drums, or lines of beacons. Venquis are nowadays responsible for the acquisition of these sacred birds, and Antemplars are known to hunt these birds to reduce the effectiveness of civilised warning systems against black storms.
Synavos were only found a few hundred years ago, around the time of the formation of the Benevis Empire. It is believed that Nikina gifted Emperor Halartus Benevarus with a synavos as a way to bless his new empire, but it is widely believed that this legend is false, and that it was more likely the early venquis knights who discovered the synavos. They are tall birds, with long necks, large beaks, and a draping coat of brilliant orange, red, green, and purple feathers. It is extremely rare for commoners to lay eyes upon one.
Liogons are large winged lion-like creatures associated with Nikina. They are approximately twice as large as a male adult lion and share their appearance, with the addition of two large bronze-coloured feathered wings and a pair of antlers and hoofed forelegs. Given that they can fly and despite their size, they are much lighter than a lion. They are known to nest in highlands, hunting other large animals. Liogons generally raise only one or two cubs at once.
Liogons appeared the same time Vesdorians first came to Benevis around 700BD. They raised them and rode them as scouts. Liogons appeared in the wild over the next few centuries. When the Vesdorians were defeated during the Burning Sea Wars, liogons vanished with the last of them. Then around 400AL, when the Vastins began to explore thoroughly, they found small families of liogons high in the Golen Peaks. Over the next century, liogons were captured, bred, and tamed, and now today they are used much in the way of horses -- to ride into battle, and to travel quickly.
Atarru are creatures that strongly resemble the gundion lizard of Seleru, which is a very large lizard with a hood much like a cobra, but atarru have a single claw on each hand, a very long tail, a skeletal appearance, and are constantly wreathed in fire. Though they sound like monsters, they are known to desert nomads of the western Ebere Desert that they simply observe humans, and will act as beacons to guide them away from endless sand dunes in the night. There are connections between them and the Qoim Am, or Ghost Blazes, of the same region. Some believe they are caused by the atarru themselves.
Often regarded as legendary, behemoths are creatures which have left no known physical remains, but exist in the form of stone carvings left by the Umberians some 3500 years ago. They are depicted as creatures as burly as a bear, as regal as a lion, crowned like a majestic elk, and mighty enough to step over entire buildings. According to ancient songs, behemoths are able to feed on the shell of the earth, move without moving, speak to the core, summon fierce storms, and flare their eyes like the moon. They also cannot be tamed and only obey the will of the mountains and skies. The exact meaning of these lyrics is unknown. Artworks depicting Ilertav often borrow the likeness of the behemoth. There are some who think the behemoth was Ilertav visiting the mortal realm for a short time, before vanishing, never to be seen again. The Leisatru believe it could have been one of their deities -- likely Baelyr, Velyr, or Gvyrn.