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Ironsides are large, sturdy lizards native to the mountains of Qopith. They have a close relationship with the people of Osna, who frequently employ them in the mining industry. Their prominent role in iron operations outside the city of Ironforge earned them the name "ironside."  


Standing at about 7-10 hands, ironsides are a rather large species of lizard. They are well-muscled, standing on four legs about twice as thick as a dwarf's. A male ironside measures about 7 feet from snout to vent, while a female can grow up to 9 feet. Individuals can weigh up to 4 tons but often weight around 2-3 tons.

Ironsides are low-set, with short legs in comparison to the rest of their body. These legs end in five elongated toes, each capped with a curved claw. On the hind toes, the elongation is prominent, with the second toe from the outside being about twice as long as the toe closest to the body. This helps ironsides to grip onto the smooth stone surfaces and loose gravel of their native habitat and even allows them to scale nearly vertical surfaces at a fast enough pace.

Ironsides have a line of short spines running along their chins and a dorsal ridge which runs from their crown to the end of their tail. They have several types of scales in various locations across their bodies, such as the large tuberculate scales scattered on their heads among the smaller overlapping scales. Their ventral scales are fused into larger, smooth plates to reduce friction, while their lateral and dorsal scales are thicker, smaller, and tightly overlapping. Ironsides blend in well with their environment thanks to the mottles patterns of browns, greys, and blacks that dominate their scales.

The eyes are large and positioned on the sides of the head, such that ironsides have a wide field of view. They see a limited range of color but have great visual acuity at very low light levels. A set of pits across the snout allows ironsides to sense infrared radiation. They have a keen sense of smell, aided by a vomeronasal organ located between the nostrils and the soft palate.

Ironsides have blunt, rounded snouts and have small, serrated teeth to support their herbivorous diet. Many of the plants that grow in the Talons of the Sky, to which they are endemic, are tough and fibrous, requiring more mechanical processing. As such, the ironside has a very strong bite force, stronger even than that of the Angin's Giant Lizard, a larger, carnivorous reptile.



The ironside is a polyandrous species, with females taking 2-5 males as their mates. The males compete for female choice, although the population is so scattered that generally only a few males will be in the same vicinity as a female. Male displays include inflating the throat, raising the spines on their chins, and a "push-up" display where the male bobs up and down using its forelimbs. The female indicates her choice by touching her snout to the base of the male's tail.

For each male she has, a female ironside will lay a clutch of 5-8 eggs. These eggs are oval-shaped and have a red shell with brown speckles. The eggs are buried in nests of gravel or sand, and the males are left to guard the nests. As with many reptiles, sex determination is temperature dependent. This sex determination follows the type II pattern, where females are produced at low and high temperatures, whereas males are produced at middle temperatures. Eggs are laid during the spring just above the treeline, after the winter snows have fully melted. The embryos take about 8 weeks to develop, hatching in the late spring or early summer once there are plenty of plants for the young to eat. Males take over a majority of the parental care, while females patrol their territories and chase away other invading females. Females without territories may enter a female's territory and try to mate with her males, sometimes by destroying their eggs or killing offspring.

Young ironsides spend their first year with their fathers on their mothers' territories, after which they leave for good. Juveniles then spend about 5 years wandering on their own until they are ready to reproduce themselves. At this point, females will establish a territory or try to steal one from another female, while males begin to search for an eligible female to mate with.


Domestic Use

Because ironsides are large and sturdy, they are frequently seen working in mining operations or as beasts of burden. They can be hitched to carts or sleds and can easily haul loads upwards of a ton, depending on the individual. In mountainous or rough terrain, they are favored over other hauling animals such as horses or oxen, since they can traverse these areas much more easily thanks to their clawed toes.

Ironsides are intelligent creatures, and have their own simple language. Many domesticated ironsides have been known to learn the language of their keepers, and are thus considered to be almost on the same level as the two-legged races of Galactus. In Osna, where they are native, a set of specific rules has been outlined as to how they may be treated. Although they are not considered to be full citizens, they are often allowed to choose their employment and some even receive wages should they choose. Many opt not to, instead choosing to receive food and shelter and freedom to leave when they choose. Some form close relationships with their employers, regarding them as companions and equals. Some Osnians say that the only thing preventing ironsides from being considered a race in their own right is their lack of opposable thumbs.

Ironsides are also used in personal transport. Many Osnians who travel across the mountains will ride ironsides, favoring them for their stamina, ability to traverse rough terrain, and knowledge of the area.

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