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Cycle of life

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Here I will try to convey the typical ecosystem functions of the MH world (read: animal ecologies, habits and relationships with the environment) in a realistic and documentary-like fashion, just because I'm bored. Will attempt to depict usual days in these monsters' lifes from an objective point of view. Because I can. Hell yeah.


Snowy Mountains

Day

Outskirts of the mountains. The weather is much more warm here than in the top of the peaks. Grassy fields extend in the shores of a large, calm lake. A herd of Popo pasture in the dandelions that grow between the tall grass. These peaceful herbivores are distinguished by their woolen hair, which covers most of their bodies, and by their large tusks, bent upwards. It is a group of 6 individuals: 2 males, 2 females and 2 kids. The males are notoriously bigger and have longer tusks.

Snowy Mountains, Area 2

The Popo grazed aimlessly on the freshest shoots of grass, unaware they were being watched. Above them, a series of grass covered, step-like rock shelves led away, higher up the mountain, and it was from this high-ground that the predators prepared their ambush. They were wary, as well they should be. Popo, despite their lethargic, easy-going nature were surprisingly firm in the defence of their offspring, and their curving tusks were more than capable of inflicting a fatal gash up the flank of an overconfident Giaprey. They all had a thick layer of brown, shaggy hair that not only protected them from the freezing temperatures closer to the mountain peaks, but was also effective at catching the stabbing, scything claws of a Giaprey. A pack of Giaprey, however, is something that even the top predators of the mountain held in occasional fear, depending on the size and strength of the pack… and these five individuals were more than capable of taking down a young or ill Popo. Whilst being unnervingly intelligent predators they were also equipped with powerful, muscled legs, each ending in two sharp claws and one even larger one, sickle shaped, designed for stabbing arteries and other weakpoints. Their raptor-esque bodies were tireless, balanced by a long, whipping tail, and covered in electric blue scales patterned amongst white ones, which gave them surprisingly effective camouflage in the snow-filled icy caves that were their home. Their most dangerous features, however, were large, drooping talons on their forearms and an impressive, slender pale yellow beak, in which needle sharp teeth were distantly spaced out.


Oh, and they were led by a fearless pack leader, the Giadrome; identifiable by its great blue crest, it was the alpha male, a good fifty percent bigger than its subjects, and it commanded the pack with absolute authority. After taking control of the group some years ago, hormonal changes had dyed its sickle and foreclaws a deep blue and special glands in the throat (underdeveloped in normal Giaprey) released a combination of fluids that froze into a hard, icy substance on contact with solid material.


It was the Giadrome that now watched over the herd of Popo from high on the rocky steps… waiting for the perfect moment to strike…


There. A Popo with a pronounced limp and thick, hairless scar up its left side had wandered away from the rest of the group and towards the rock shelves. Whilst Popo generally had poor eyesight, especially with the long hair that often obscured their faces, this individual had its head down, snuffling across the ground – it’d never be able to see the pack coming.


The Giadrome screeched an order to its pack, the shrill call reverberating across the mountainside. The herd looked up in concern, but the Giaprey were already bounding down the rockface, covering two to three shelves in each jump. Alarmed bleats came from the Popo, and they quickly formed a protective circle with the young in the middle, the adults and their protective tusks on the outer edge.


The wanderer, however, had only begun to limp back to the group before a Giaprey stepped between them, beak agape, talons primed. It jumped…

The wanderer, however, had only begun to limp back to the group before a Giaprey stepped between them, beak agape, talons primed. It jumped, and landed firmly on the beast’s back. The Popo bucked and cried, but the foreclaws of the Giaprey were firmly snagged in its hair, and the aggressor wasted no time clawing at the flank with its longer, razor-sharp foot claws. Blood began to pour down the Popo’s side, clogging in the hair and dying it a deep red. The Popo wasn’t finished yet, however, and with a grunt and mighty heave it shook the Giaprey from its shoulders, throwing it to the floor. It was momentarily stunned, and even as the rest of the hunting pack approached, the enraged Popo charged forward, catching the Giaprey in the stomach with the very tip of its left tusk and ripping upwards sharply. An ear-splitting screech came from the mortally wounded Giaprey, but even as it fell back to the ground, bleeding copiously from the huge gash up the side of its body, the remainder of the group and their leader encircled the ailing Popo. The rest of the herd, distressed by all the screeches, roars of pain from the weakened Popo, and over-powering scent of blood on fresh grass, were panicking, retreating backwards from the Giaprey, tossing their heads and snorting angrily.


The Giadrome ignored them and focused on its prize. Its sharp eyes spotted the river of blood oozing from the beast, and the glands in its throat kicked into action. Rearing back, it spat a globule of fluid at the thrashing Popo, catching it squarely in the face. The two liquids together froze instantly into white ice, and the Popo cried out again, blinded and in agonising pain. With another shrill call at its remaining pack members, the Giadrome leapt at the Popo and caught it firmly on the ribcage. The Popo, however, was weaker than either individual had anticipated; it collapsed to the ground from the force of the blow, the ice covering its face cracking along one side. Snarling, the Giadrome lost its balance and went tumbling across the ground… but even as it regained its footing the remaining Giaprey were already advancing towards the stricken Popo.

Without pausing, they attacked, one biting at the throat, the others pulling away at the tender muscles. Within seconds, the poor creature died, blood seeping softly into the soil below it. The rest of the herd retreated in full, the sound of tearing flesh and the Giaprey’s crys of triumph following them for almost a mile.


Almost an hour later, after each individual had eaten its fill and the Popo’s corpse was little more than a skeleton held together by stringy, inedible muscles, the Giadrome looked up. Its beak was dyed a glorious crimson, but as it raised its head it caught the sound of the wounded Giaprey, crying out softly as it bled out from the gash the Popo had inflicted. Curiosity aroused, the Giadrome stepped over to its fallen subject and placed a clawed foot on its side as it lifted up and down with each laboured breath. Quick a snake, the Giadrome struck and bit out its throat, throwing it high into the air before turning its attention to the glistening red flesh of its belly. Such meat was not to be wasted.

Snowy Mountains, Area 7

Thousands of stars shone in the cloudless, dark blue sky. In the western slope of the highest mountain of the range, overlooking a large cliff, there was a vast snow-covered ledge where a herd of Anteka hopped around carelessly. Their hooves sank into the ankle-deep snow without them having the slightest problem to keep balance: after all, Antekas were highly adept at moving in sloppy and unstable terrains. Some of them stopped form time to time to huff the snow, trying to find traces of berries or edible plants without success; as the large groups of Popo that had been grazing there during the day had already devoured the few meager plants that could be found. Regardless, the herd wasn't there to eat, but to protect themselves from the freezing wind that blew from the east every night. The alpha male of the group, distinguished by its larger horns, was engaged in combat with a younger specimen that had dared to defy him. Their antlers collided and they both struggled to break free, trying to push the other contender back, with the older male eventually coming on top: he shook his head violently, making the young challenger flinch. The large-horned specimen raised his head proudly and gave a short bellow to the defeated one, who cowered and retreated in silence, humiliated. A couple of females had watched the whole scene while laying in the cold snow, and when the combat finished they lost interest and lowered their heads to the ground, preparing to sleep.

However, before they could even close their eyes, a terrifying, extremely loud roarechoed through the valley and shook the whole mountainside. Its pitch was unmistakable: it was that of one of the mountain's top predators, the Tigrex. The whole group raised their heads in awareness and looked around, trying to determine where the sound had come from and seeking for a escapeway. Just then, a lonely, adult Popo came from the small path that ran across the cliff, giving loud bellows to the air, visibly panicked. The Anteka regrouped and prepared to retreat, heading towards a pass between two large rocks, followed by the newcomer. The large silhouette of the flying wyvern appeared over the rocky plateau, its shadow standing against the full moon. It glided towards the terrified beast and stopped mid-air, flapping its wings with all its might to sustain itself in the cold wind. Hovering a good 6 meters over the ground, the Tigrex lowered the head and stared directly at the Popo, quickly measuring the distance that separed its prey from him before launching an attack. The poor animal had given a desperate bellow as it tried to accelerate its walk towards the rocky pass, but deep inside its lowly brain it knew death was drawing closer. The wyvern then faced towards the mammal, streched its neck, opened its wings wide and swooped to the ground, hoping to take out the Popo in one rush. However, its calcules proved to be wrong, as instead of having his teeth and claws sink into the warm meat of its soon-to-be victim he crashed head-first into the ground mere centimetres away from the animal, who growled in terror. The powerful and flexible limbs of the Tigrex, alongside the thick snow covering the rock, helped soften the hit, allowing him to regain its composture after suffering a mild stun. The now-landed wyvern turned to the Popo, who was still running away, firmly planted his claws into the ground and raised its head letting out a deep, powerful roar. Then it lowered the neck and, releasing a feral, higher-pitched scream, began rushing towards the wooly beast, giving enormous steps with his large, pawed wings.

Snowy Mountains, Area 8

Snow whirled in little eddies through the air, and despite setting slowly, there was already a fine layer on the Giadrome corpse.


This was not a problem, however, to the scavengers that approached. Three Blangos stalked forward, each with an aggression born from ravenous hunger. Their four legs gave them good traction in the snow, and their pristine white fur was perfect camouflage. Short, slightly squashed looking compact faces were topped with large, fluffy ears… but it was their faces that were particularly attention-grabbing. The forehead and checks were a pale indigo, but the nose, upper lips and eyebrows were pastel orange, contrasting starkly with the rest of their bodies. Whilst each individual had the necessary fangs and claws to forage for themselves, working as a group gave the opportunity to take down larger prey. Of course, no group was complete without a leader…


There was a loud thump on the snow behind them, and each Blango looked round. There stood a Blangonga – tall, imposing, heavily muscled. Sabre fangs jutted from its jaws, and despite walking on all fours, it was large enough to be able to pick up any of its smaller brethren in its giant forearms.


The Blangonga took a moment to examine its new surroundings; it, along with its group, were perched on a ledge high up near the peak of a mountain. To the left was a sheer drop, to the right was vertical mountain face – for a short while, until it petered out to another flat ledge, home to the shed skin of a Kushala Daora. Behind and in front were narrow, winding paths leading around the circumference of the mountain, wide enough for only one creature to pass at once.


Reassured there was no imminent danger, the Blangonga stepped forwards and picked up the Giadrome carcass in its hands, before beginning to tear off strips of flesh with each bite. While an adult, healthy Blangonga accompanied by its pack was more than capable of bringing down a solitary Giadrome, scavenging from a dead one removed any risk of injury.


A deafening roar shook the whole mountainside. The Blangonga flinched, and looked up from its meal, just in time to see a black shadow dropping down onto its little snow-covered plateau. The shade turned to face the group, and bellowed another challenge, the voice harsh and guttural. Snarling, the Blangonga quickly assessed the threat – quadrupedal; a fine layer of black fur; incredibly muscled shoulders and forearms, each ending in a large, grasping hand. The back legs were small by comparison, situated beneath a thin, coarse tail. The front end, however, was cause for concern – a surprisingly small head, topped by horizontally protruding horns, each capable of goring a smaller creature with ease.


Tossing its meal behind it, the Blangonga roared a reply to the intruder, then steadied itself for the upcoming fight. However, one brave Blango had already begun bounding across the snow at the Rajang, which turned to face it. Rearing back, the Rajang cocked an arm, then swung, catching the Blango on the head with a sickening crunch. It went flying back through the air, narrowly missing one of its partners, before landing in a broken heap at the edge of the drop-off. The group, wary now, tried a different approach – they spread out, forming a semi-circle around the Rajang, hoping to drive back against the sheer mountain face. The technique wasn’t very effective. Jumping backwards, the black beast turned and gaped at one unfortunate Blango – before firing an immense beam of lightning that struck it directly in the face. Blackened and charred, it slumped to the ground, its brain completely fried.


The Rajang was not finished. Seizing the initiative, it leapt forwards and grabbed a squealing Blango between its hands, nearly crushing several of its bones in the process. Then, arching its back, it flung the Blango off the ledge. The Blango cried out shrilly, and its call could still be heard for almost thirty seconds as it plummeted out of sight, before landing in the distance with a nearly inaudible thump.


The Blangonga and Rajang stood alone on the mountain at last. Each stood there, waiting for the other to make the first move, before the Blangonga reared back, taking in a deep lungful of icy air. The Rajang bounded forwards, but was caught mid-stride by the release of the Blangonga’s ice breath, hitting it squarely in the face. Blinded, the Rajang roared in agony, and without pausing swung a massive fist at the Blangonga’s head.


Thud.


It struck out again, this time with its left arm.


Thud.


The Blangonga was bleeding heavily now, crimson rivers running down its face and from the stump of one broken fang.


Thud.

The final punch cracked the Blangonga’s skull, driving it to the ground. Still the Rajang was not finished. It leapt into the air, far higher than any beast its size should be able to leap, and fired a huge ball of lightning directly at the Blangonga’s body. The resulting explosion blew the corpse several metres sideways, before it collided with the rocky face of the mountain, and the Rajang performed a mid-air summersault before landing perfectly on all four limbs. Brushing the icy crust from its eyes, it roared a final challenge at the empty mountainside, before leisurely making its way over to the body of the Blangonga and the two Blangos. There was enough meat there to provide a fine feast.

Credit to Lord Loss for Snowy Mountains: Area 2 and Area 8

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