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Stone Martens

Stone Martens are widely recognized as one of the few creatures associated with a specific god of the Lialin pantheon. The furry creatures are common enough in the forests, particularly in the mountains and in Northern Orellia, but those are mostly wild creatures. The tamed version of the animal can be found in any temple or church dedicated to The Stone Man as well as many wealthy households, where they serve as messengers to inhabitants.  

The Myth

Stone Martens are known for nesting in rocky outcroppings. When buildings are created from stone, such as the foundations for a barn or house, or a stone basement, they find their homes in cracks and crevices in the walls there as well. The way the creatures seem to slip through gaps much too small for them, and their propensity for finding places to nest that humans, at least, can rarely find, has led to the common belief that these Martens do genuinely come out of the stone.   This has led to the additional conclusion that the Martens can move through solid stone, or at least slip through the cracks in the world. They are seen as favorite creatures of the Stone Man, and for that reason, often raised and kept by his disciples in Cairnhouses.  

Practicality

While some do keep martens as pets, many of them now serve additional purposes. Given the preference in Orelli building styles for towering structures of stone and expansive cities, messengers found their journeys increasingly lengthy and vertical.   During renovations to one of the temples in Dawnfall, it was discovered that there was just enough space between the stones, between one temple dormitory and another, for an inquisitive marten to pass through. Enterprising disciples found that the martens could be trained to make the journey more or less on command, and could also be trusted to carry small burdens. What began as a way to pass clandestine notes for fun has since blossomed into a common method of intrabuilding communication.   Stone martens aren't suited to long distances, but they are remarkably agile climbers and movers. Those who are trained can pass from one part of a castle or establishment to another, bearing messages or coin in their harnesses. It's become commonplace among the elite to have tunnels for them built into newer homes, or modified into older ones. Most households only keep a pair, or perhaps a trio.   Larger establishments, such as hotels, government offices, or castles, may have as many as twenty martens at a time, some trained for specific wings of the the building.
Scientific Name
Martes Mola
Conservation Status
Limited Protection - Royal decree, religious backing   Domesticated specimens are protected; wild cousins are hunted only during times of famine.

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Cover image: by Zac Cain

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Author's Notes

"Stone Marten" is another name for the Beech Marten, Martes Foina, though the martens described in Tower's Fall are not meant to match any specific species present on Earth - rather, another branch that might've been.


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