(£eŋωi spelling: singular corbári, plural corbáris)
Standing as much as 5 metres (16 feet) off the ground, this is an ugly three-headed monstrosity. Its powerful jaws, bulging eyes, and flattened nose strike terror into all dumb animals who see them, and the sandy colour of its fur helps it to hide in the desert environment it lives in (though mottled variants for forest environments were once prevalent). A modern human would be quick to describe it as a “three-headed dog”, though in truth it is not all that dog-like in appearance. It has no tail. Although they can grow as large as 5 metres high, 4 metres (13 feet) is a more average height. They usually measure about 2 metres (6.5 feet) from forelegs to rear legs.
Corbars are born in litters of two to six puppies, each measuring a mere 60 cm (2 ft). They feed on their mother’s milk for about the first 80 days of their life, at which point their teeth have grown in and they can begin to try meat.
This may be the most dangerous time for a corbar, since rocs are occasionally known to prey on young ones, and other, dumber predators may also consider them a tasty meal. However, it only takes two years for them to grow too large for predation. During this time they usually spend their time playing, mostly inside their den.
The onset of adulthood varies between 2 and 5 years of age. As an adult, they join the family hunt. If they are Gifted, the powers manifest at this stage of life. If the family grows too large, though, they may be kicked out and forced to find their own way.
Corbars rarely reach an age of more than 20 years, so anyone 20 or older would be considered elderly. They are generally respected as sources of wisdom, and some meat is reserved for them on every hunt.
The dead are dragged out into the desert and left there for the scavengers to feed on
Corbars eat meat, primarily brēgá. They may also feed on snakes and smaller animals. A single corbar needs to eat at least the equivalent of a whole brēgá per day in order to feel full, though in practice they don’t actually eat every single day, and only about one-third that much is needed to sustain them in decent health.
Although corbars do not have any innate powers, they may receive the Gift, and have the distinction of being the first species to ever use this power. A corbar who is lucky enough to have the Gift will manifest it at the onset of adulthood; if control is not learnt quickly, they usually perish within a year. However, this is rare; usually control is learnt.
Also of note is that they have an unusual appreciation for good music; in fact, music can and will directly affect their moods, making them angry, calm, or even sleepy.
Society and Culture
Corbars have something of a pack culture; each family group is composed of a breeding male and one to three females, plus offspring up to the age of about 10. At this age, the adult corbars typically strike out to form new family groups. Occasionally they will even be kicked out.
Above this simple hierarchy, they are ruled by a king, who has a family group of his own. Exactly what purpose the king serves is not clear at this time, but it is known that he is considered a representative for interactions with other species.
When a king dies, a new one is chosen by a combination of voting and conquest. Would-be candidates engage in heated duels for several days, after which two to four candidates usually come out as the most powerful. The voters then choose the final winner.
In case it has not been made clear already, corbars are quite intelligent.
Native to Ralinī, corbars once owned the forests between the Golden Tower and the city of Ānáglōsīá. However, over the long millenia of the Fading Age this area turned to desert (like many others near the Tower). Since this also decimated their food supply, they are not as populous as they once were; however, they have learned to thrive in the new environment. (Some are believed to have struck out into the unexplored wilderness beyond the Golden Triangle. Nothing has yet been found to support or refute this myth, but if true it would suggest that there are two subspecies of corbar extant.)
During and after the Fading Age, they went mostly unnoticed in their desert home, except for the time when the electrō Hades decided to import some to the planet Earth to guard his underworld. Although Hades’s plans of trapping spirits were thwarted by the mage Orpheus, these corbars continued to thrive on a diet consisting primarily of subterranean snakes and lizards.