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Everything you want to know about...
Pronunciation: How it sounds
Plural: Arrow Heads
Baby Arrow head: Fletchling
Group of Arrow heads: A Horde
The Arrow Head is a small, nocturnal predator found in deep forests, swamps and jungles dotted around Ennth. They are stealthy hunters, using both the cover of the night and thick foliage to stalk potential prey. Arrow heads come in a variety of dark and muted colors to blend into their surroundings, with all sorts of different patterns and colorations. Skin patterns vary from spots, stripes and dappling, but there seems to be a correlation of patterns to what ecosystem they’re in.
The head is shaped like an arrow tip, hence the name. Adorned with colorful feathers, these protect the eyes from blood during hunts.
Hunting Behavior & Technique:
Arrow heads prefer to hunt in groups of about 6-10, known as a “horde”. Although they will eat any carcass, they are unique in the type of prey they prefer to hunt. A horde will always prefer to go after animals much larger than themselves. Wild rattle cattle are a prime target, as well as quarry oris.
Arrow heads have remarkably strong neck muscles and skulls, which allow them to punch through flesh in just a few sharp stabbing motions. The true devastation of the attack is when the arrow head uses its long rake-like fingers to clutch onto flesh and pull its head back out of the wound it once created. Opening its mouth as it does this, creates a larger gouge due to the backwards facing horns. Before it pierces flesh, the feathers will flatten over the eyes, protecting them from blood and viscera. Arrows will always prefer to hunt larger prey, stashing cashes of meat around and making it last for a long time. A horde can usually be sustained on one kill for many months until needing to hunt again.
Rattle cattle farmers that live near dense forests always take precautions. Domesticated cattle are always in danger of arrow head attacks, as the farmed animals are far easier to take advantage of.
Some farmers are known to wrap their fences with barbed wire to further deter any bold individuals who dare try and climb the fences. However, the best (and most common) arrow head deterrent is a loyal coatala. Raising them around cattle, a coatala will often naturally want to protect the cows there, often sleeping with them during the night. Coatala are fierce hunters and protectors, and a well socialized farm coat will stand up to a horde that gets too close. The only trouble with this tactic, is that the guardian coatala is often more unfriendly to wyngro farmers, making it difficult to sometimes care for the cattle themselves.
Ori Riding Precautions:
Arrow Heads may not often attack wyngrew, but the most dangerous thing about them on your traveling ventures is easily how susceptible your oris are to their attacks. Because oris are two legged creatures that are generally defenseless without the use of their legs, one stab could mean life or death for your ori. An ori with a busted leg while a hungry horde is stalking nearby, and your ori is pretty much done.
Riders have noted that hordes have stalked them for days at a time until the ori either bleeds out or has to be abandoned.
The best precaution for keeping your prized oris safe in the thick forests, are a pair of nice metal leg gauntlets. These need to be maintained well, and are often quite pricey, but worth it for that chance arrow head encounter.
Leather Leg Armor:
Needs replacing more often,
but more affordable.
Metal Leg Armor:
Impenetrable by arrow heads.
More expensive, but long lasting.
Hordes are very territorial and often compete for resources that could better sustain them, be it land size or quantity and size of prey. Interestingly enough, hordes share a similar feather color, and you’ll notice the same horde will have all blue feathers, or red, etc.
Between hunts, different hordes of arrow heads will often be busy fighting each other for territory, food, or fertile females.
Hoards are always composed of an alpha female, who delegates who gets to stay, and who gets to breed. There are many complex social behaviors that wyngrew are still yet to study, but because of their elusive behavior in the dark, there is still on-going research to be had.
Noises and Communication:
Arrow heads are known for their haunting, clicking/chattering sounds that echo in the night. These calls are able to bounce off their thick tree surroundings and make it very difficult to pinpoint the exact location of where they are coming from.
If you hear these calls in the woods from far away, a good strategy is to extinguish any fire, wrap up any unwrapped foods, and stay still. They are attracted to movement, sounds, food scents and heat, so laying low while a horde passes by is a good strategy.
Sexual Dimorphism & Reproduction:
Male and female arrow heads are generally the same size, but male coloration is much more vibrant and striking. Males (referred to as drakes) also have much longer feathers, which they display in a fan-like gesture when mating. Females (referred to as pikes) are sometimes seen with darker skins, but they are most notably identified by their sleeker bodies.
A female arrow head most often lays a brood of eggs (generally 1-9) in the spring, but she can have up to 3 broods in one year if food is readily available.
After a brood is laid, it’s buried in a secret location that only the mother knows, allowing her to keep hunting and aiding her horde. Alpha females often leave their male counterpart to guard the buried location from possible scavengers or rival packs looking to slurp them up.
Eggs hatch in approximately 4 months after they’re laid, with the newborn fletchlings needing to dig their way out of the dirt in order to take their first breaths. It’s survival of the fittest, and some die before they can reach the surface. The mother will feed her young the most fatty, richest organs from a hunt if she’s able to, helping them grow and thrive.
Fletchlings often mock fight their siblings to learn how to pounce, strike, and eventually take down real prey. They are allowed into the hunting party once their feathers grow in.
Travel Safety & Encounters with Arrow Heads:
Even though Arrow heads are very dangerous, there is some comfort in knowing that they are not normally known to hunt wyngrew. Arrows are incredibly sensitive to magic, and scare easily from the use of it. They also do not like light. Although if you make a campfire, they will often be attracted to check it out, often lurking in the darkness to wait for a good opportunity to strike.
When traveling, it is highly advised to travel with some fire conjuring runestones should you find yourself travelling into Arrow Head territory. Or better yet, learn fire magic yourself. This is a very showy type of elemental magic that is easy to scare them with.
When an encounter does occur, the best strategy is to hold your ground. They are more likely to jump attack your back as you’re running, or pick at your heels when you aren’t expecting it. Standing your ground and acknowledging their presence by intimidating them with shouting and magic is a good way to hold them back from attacking you, but beware: they are incredibly patient at biding their time. It’s best to get out in an open area where you can see them coming, or find shelter if a horde is following you.
Encounters are more likely to occur if you stray too far from the road or take an unplanned detour. You can always ask locals and travelers if they know of hotspots or sightings of these creatures so you can better gauge the safest route.