Varil ferret Species in Hislariya | World Anvil

Varil ferret

A small carnivore originating the Varil Archipelagus, the Varil Ferret is now almost completely extinct in its natural habitat.  

Survival onboard

Get back that stupid beast before she sinks!
— an exhasperated ship captain
  Where it now lives and prosper is onboard of the sailships that cross the Svajan Sea whatever their business might be.   Being them pirate ships or merchant ships, heavy war ships or the smallest of the fishing ships, nearly none of them dares to leave port without one of these formidable hunters onboard.   The ferrets have no affinity with water whatsoever and need to rely completely on the humans and Makarids onboard to be protected from falling overboard and almost surely drown, as they are completely inept swimmers and have a coat that soaks water and weight them down when immersed.   But many a sailor risked their lives to save those of the little creatures because their service on board is fundamental to the safety of the crew and the ship itself.  

An indispensable ally

I told them we needed more than one ferret!
— a sailor trying to cover himself with what's left of a barrel top
  The ferrets, in fact, are exceptional hunters of what is possibly the biggest enemy a crew can have during a long voyage: the ropeaters.   A pair of these little rodents can sneak onboard a ship before it leaves port and in the span of a week reproduce to a dozen who will hungrily eat every textile fibre they can find available: sails, ropes and crew clothes included.   Many a ship who had lost their ferret has been rescued with the mast and the whole of the crew completely naked, and many others were never found before the rodents attacked the wood too and sunk it, sending it to enrich The Sea Dragon's horde in the depth of the sea.

Symbolic references and superstitions

  Because of their usefulness onboard ships, the ferret is considered a good luck charm for any seafarer and it is considered a good omen to baptize "The Ferret" new ships and vessels.   This connotation, together with the predatory nature of the animal, made its symbology particularly used among pirates, who often wear ferret paws pendants on their neck or use a ferret pawprint, to indicate a raiding ship who will take live prisoners, or the outline of its jaws, to indicate a raiding ship who will fight to death any resistance, in their flags.  
Ferret canines are also used as self identification symbols by people who act as a predator in a primal relationship dynamic, and a ferret paw holding a ropeater tangled in a rope is used as self identifying symbol by those who enjoy rope bondage in general.

Cover image: by Thom Milkovic


Author's Notes

Thanks to TJ Trewin for the amazing ropeater drawing

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Jul 9, 2022 16:24 by TJ Trewin

Ooooh I love this! It makes me wonder if there are such phrases or idioms like "a ship without a ferret"

Journals of Yesteryear

Jul 9, 2022 16:44 by Simo

Oh, yes! That's a good one!

Jul 9, 2022 22:39 by Stormbril

I love these! The dynamic with them being predators to keep the rope eaters under control is excellent. The quotes are really well done and got a smile out of me as I read, sounds exactly like what keeping ferrets on a boat would be like :D

Jul 10, 2022 23:46 by JRR Jara

I loved this article, the quotes, the symbolism, the shenanigans! :D

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