Rond

Ronds are, by all accounts, surprisingly unimpressive considering their relative rarity. They are large beasts of burden, used mostly by Halflings to work farms, or as slow-moving transportation or hauling beasts. Their size, which is large even in comparison to more common cattle, is a charming juxtaposition with their affinity to Halflings. Perhaps the kinship stems from their obvious disparity, as the ronds can trust that rarely will a Halfling pose a serious threat to them. Nevertheless, it is always a warming sight to see a large, horned beast with a small, plucky Halfling perched atop its back!

Basic Information

Anatomy

Ronds are very large, four legged beasts of burden, somewhat similar to what one might imagine a buffalo crossed with a bear would look like. Their legs are extremely powerful, and have large, bluntly-clawed paws at their base, which are used both for gripping the earth beneath them, and grasping at vegetation to eat. Their thick torsos end in a small, under-developed tail which seems to serve the sole purpose of whipping away flies. Most distinctively, they boast two large, curved horns, one on each side of their blunt heads. These horns protrude beyond their mouths, requiring them to eat with the help of their front paws for the most part, but also enabling them to charge and butt against rival mates. Female Ronds have horns as well, though theirs often curl backwards, and seem to serve little to no practical purpose, though larger horned females are often more desirable during mating season.

Genetics and Reproduction

Ronds reproduce sexually, and females carry their offspring for close to a year before giving birth to a live baby. Infant ronds can already walk, and feed from their mother's milk for a few weeks before being able to digest vegetation. They remain with their mothers for up to 3 months after birth, but will rarely leave the herd altogether unless they are a male which is driven out.   Male Ronds compete for mates through a head-butting ritual, with the victor receiving his choice of mate from the herd, usually the female with the largest horns, unless she is his mother. Males who break this protocol are often driven from the herd, and if this happens amongst tamed ronds, the farmer will usually be forced to drive the exiled rond away.

Growth Rate & Stages

Ronds grow to maturity within 3 years of birth, at which stage, males are able to mate, and are usually considered fit to work. They can be trained much younger than this, and often training is more successful if undertaken at younger ages. Female ronds can usually bear children at five years old, and remain fertile for up to 15 years after that, after which they shed their horns.

Ecology and Habitats

Wild ronds are quite rare, but can be found in warmer temperate forests in both Faenir and Iatos. They are known to exist in the forests of Rusilla and Cornadia in Faenir, and are used often as beasts of burden by the Halflings of Rusilla. They live comfortably outside forests, but only when tended to by caring farmers, as they require more vegetation than can be found easily on the ground of fields and paddocks.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Ronds require large amounts of vegetation to thrive, though they can survive on surprisingly little. Usually, they will feast on ferns and other types of lower vegetation in their natural habitat, but can also be fed with grain or leaves if that is what is available. When little to no food is available, ronds will become dormant, and can sleep for most of the day in this state, making them useless if not cared for properly.

Additional Information

Domestication

Ronds are practical beasts, and are quite easily tamed. They seem to prefer the company of people to the wild life, and will often stay with anyone who feeds them enough. They are docile enough to load with wagons or ploughs, and will happily be lead through most environments, though they don't fare well when asked to travel in the cold. Training them is more difficult, and only some Halflings are known to have the ability to get ronds to act without prompting. Some farms in Rusilla have whole herds of ronds working their fields without a farmhand in sight.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Other than being useful beasts of burden for transportation or farm work, ronds produce nothing of unique importance. As with other similar beasts, their skin can be used as a good leather, and their milk can be consumed safely, though they don't produce much. Their meat is tough, and not highly desired by most peoples. Some Halflings believe that their horns, when crushed and dissolved in solution, can produce a potion which increases physical strength, though the magical community has not put such claims to the test, and the effect is not so potent that ronds are farmed for such a purpose.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Ronds have a well developed sense of hearing, and wild herds spook very easily at uncommon sounds. Their eyesight is often quite poor, though it is unknown as to whether this is due to their head-butting habits, or is the result of some genetic development. In general, Ronds are quite docile, and are very easily tamed. They seem to have some sort of affinity with Halflings, and some Halflings are known to be able to train Ronds to perform simple tasks without prompting. The nature of this communication or connection is unknown.
Lifespan
20-25 years
Average Height
2 metres
Average Weight
900-1,200 kg
Average Length
4 metres
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Dark fur, with little to no patterning. Light horns, which darken towards the root.

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