"We really need to import these things across the Calinan. They'd go down a hit with the nobles. Shame they can't pull chariots."The hyba is a creature native to the Marai Desert in Calina, both present in large herds, and regularly used as a draft and pack animal.
-A Helikan merchant after riding a hyba.
On first glance, the hyba can easily be believed to be a giant antelope. On a closer inspection, it is a creature has features common to both antelope and horse; it is much more muscular than an antelope, with the powerful limbs and a thick trunk seen in horses and similar animals. Its head is more akin to the antelope, with a slightly curved neck, a short whiskered muzzle, protruding ears and two hard prongs at the top of the head. The hyba also has thick fur that acts as insulation; both protecting from the harsh sun of the Marai and keeping it warm during the cold night. Its fur changes with the seasons, becoming lighter to reflect sunlight.
Ecology and Habitats
Hyba are equipped for desert climates, having evolved in the Marai Desert. However they are able to adapt well enough to the more temperate climates of northern Calina.
Dietary Needs and Habits
The hyba is a grazing animal and usually eats grasses and shrubs, and wild fruits wherever they can find them. The hyba also possess oval-shaped blood cells, which allow them to take in a great deal of water, often enough to survive a week or more.
Wild hyba are herd animals and are matriarchal, usually led by a mated 'king' buck and 'queen' doe, usually the oldest in the herd. The strongest of the herd often ride on the outside of it to defend it; these can be both bucks or does, whoever is best suited.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Hyba are most commonly used as beasts of burden; usually either as a draft animal to pull wagons, or as a pack animal to carry heavy equipment. Despite this, hyba do not appear to make for good animals for chariots, with most attempts ending in failure. In the Marai, it is said that many of the Dhar have learned to ride hyba and use them as mounts. Hyba milk is also common in Calinan diets.
45 - 50 years
1.4 - 1.8m
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Hyba are usually a distinctive tan colour, lightening in the summer.