Blazkul

Physical Description

A Fireclaw

Blazkul are the huge, strong, fire-breathing kul of the desert. The Blazkul, as with all kul, never stop growing. Their main growth period is the same as all other kul, but they reach the largest sizes of all kul that live on the surface. Males of the Blazewhip, Fireclaw, Firehorn, and Flamewing races reach heights between 2.6 - 3.0 m (8'6'' - 9'10''). Emberspike males are even a bit larger, ranging from 2.8 - 3.2 m (9'2'' - 10'6''). Females of all Blazkul races are smaller than the males, growing only between 2.3-2.6 m (7'6'' - 8'6''). The head shape of males varies slightly from that of females, being edgier, bulkier, and harder than those of the females, who tend to have slightly rounder snouts and cheeks. Males also are generally more muscular than the females. Females have wider hips, but overall more elegant and agile bodies. Generally speaking, they look very similar to Aezkul females, which in turn means that Aezkul females are indeed attractive to many Blazkul. Just like the majority of kul species, the Blazkul hide their reproductive organs in a slit near their tail. The genital slits of females are further back than those of males, which is one way to identify a hatchling's sex even right after hatching.

The wings of the Blazkul can easily carry them into the air, especially with the up drafts in the hot desert and Sacred Lands. Their wing digits grow shorter the further you go out, catering more to soaring rather than speed or maneuverability. The membrane attaches a fourth of or almost halfway down their tail. They can ride the thermals of the desert for eight hours at a time, just following the hot winds, however, in more temperate regions they tire much quicker. Blazkul wing muscles have simply been pampered by the thermals of the desert and are thus naturally weaker compared to those of Trezkul and especially the Aezkul.

Just like almost all kul species, the Blazkul have horns on their head, which can be either smooth or ridged. The horns can be slightly curved or straight, but they do not curl like ram horns or form a spiral. The horns are of an ivory white, light gray, or ebony black. Every Blazkul has at least two horns, but most have more. Some even have ten horns, which can look very impressive if arranged like a crown. The horns are mirrored, so the horns on one side of the head look the same as the horns on the other. In many case the horns at the top are longer than those at the bottom.

Starting between their horns, a row of fins goes down their entire spine all the way down to the tail. These fins are much smaller than those of the Sozkul, but can still rise according to the Blazkul's mood, and are connected to each other. These fins are the same color as the Blazkul's primary one, as detailed further below. Only the Emberspikes do not have these fins, featuring their name-giving spikes instead. Both spikes and fins can be raised, allowing the Blazkul to make themselves appear a bit larger, but it is not nearly as impressive a display as that of the Sozkul.

Blazkul have five digits on their front paws and four on their hindpaws instead of the usual three, to have a bigger surface area to allow for a good stand on the soft sand of the desert. Each digit is tipped with a sharp claw. These claws have the same color as the horns and are made to be used as weapons and not as a tool to dig. The claws on the hindpaws are longer than those on the forepaws, so they can be used to gut pinned enemies. To increase the grip Blazkul have on the smoother sands of the Searing Deserts, all four paws have rough, textured scales on their palms.

Speaking of scales, the rest of a Blazkul's body is almost completely covered in round, small, durable ones; only the belly and the chest are not covered by scales, but instead by much sturdier plates to protect these vital areas. These plates begin at the top of the chest and go all the way down to the tail base, which they also cover. They are also are clefted down the middle and resemble a rectangular shape, rather than the smoother and solid plates of other species. Their scales and hide hold the secret of the most iconic ability of the Blazkul - their extreme resistance to heat. While their flesh burns as easily as the flesh of any creature, their scales can withstand fiery blasts, even those produced by another Blazkul. Their bodies in general are tempered for heat, which allows them to live in the desert without suffering from hyperthermia. Though, after their body reached a certain core temperature (~80°C) they cannot reproduce or digest for a few days; should their bodies reach an even higher core temperature (~140°C) even vital functions will fail, and the blood will start solidifying. It is ill advised for a Blazkul to remain in an extremely hot area for too long.

Many Blazkul brightly embody their fiery element in their colors. Their scale colors vary from the bright red and yellows or purple and red-blues of flames to the dark tones of black smoke. Purple and red-blues are way more common among females than among males. Their chest plates match the Blazkul's primary or secondary color or are a dark grayish-black. A Blazkul may also possess markings in a secondary color, which color palette includes all aforementioned colors and white. They are often in the shape of splotch-like spots and stripes as well as uneven swerving stripes that resemble flames, but other more complex patterns are possible. A Blazkul's coloration isn't made to hide them well in the desert's sand, but to intimidate enemies and impress possible partners. It is important to note that a Blazkul, depending on their race, will have at least one part of their body marked by their secondary color. These striking colors fade down as the kul ages, though, becoming more and more gray as time goes on. Eventually they lose their lustrous hues and become one with the color of ash and soot that coats the ground of their Sacred Lands. The following image shows the colors of the Blazkul and how common/rare they are. Keep in mind that patterns can also be white.

Aezkul Base Coloration

Blazkul eyes range from orange to blue and are sharp in both day and night, but do not rival the sharpness of their Aezkul cousins. However, they do see better than the rest of the kul do, because they have to see far in their barren, flat habitat - the desert - to be able to discern distant prey. Despite their night vision, Blazkul are diurnal. The best sense a Blazkul possesses is their sense of smell. Kul in general have a keen sense of smell and are able to find prey by just sniffing it out. A Blazkul's hearing is nothing to boast about, but neither is it bad. It is just slightly worse than that of a human, due to their lack of an auricle.

Not only are Blazkul protected against fire and extreme heat, they have also harnessed fire as a weapon for themselves. They can breathe flames up to roughly 1400°C from their mouths, which are blue in color. It is not enough to melt iron, but bronze will easily be liquefied by a Blazkul's firebreath. Their firebreath works by mixing two fluids together when they leave the Blazkul's mouth. One of them is the base fluid, basically just fuel for the fire. It requires a fire or spark to ignite it in its natural state and sticks to almost any surface and floats on water. In order to ignite it without an outside influx of energy, the second fluid is required. It is a catalyst that, when mixed with the fuel, ensures that body temperature is enough to ignite the volatile mix when it comes into contact with the air. As a result, the fire breath is more of an ignited jet of liquid shooting out of the Blazkul's maw which is surrounded by fiery cloud caused by droplets separating from the main stream and burning up rapidly, not unlike a flamethrower. A fully grown Blazkul holds enough fire in their fire-bladder to spray flame for roughly 18 seconds straight and, once the fire-bladder is completely empty, it would take them around twenty days to completely refill it, given they have plenty to eat and drink. A starving Blazkul won't be able to regain their firebreath at all.

Since these kul live in the hot realms of the desert, they do not need to keep themselves warm very often. The sun does this for them. However, they can warm themselves if needed - their body is able to swap between being endothermic and exothermic at will beginning at a few months of age. The hatchlings start of as being exothermic only so that their caretaker has to keep them warm during the freezing nights of the desert. Also since they live in a very arid region, Blazkul can survive without water for up to two weeks if they start off well hydrated. After one week, however, a Blazkul starts to feel that they are dehydrating. They grow weaker and less nimble due to their body drying out.

Races

The Blazkul are separated into five different races. These races all have the general same shape and look similar at first glance, but they are also all unique in their own ways. Below, they are listed as they appear in the desert from west to east. Note that they are the same races as the five Blazkul hightribes mentioned on the Blazkul Hightribes page.

When two Blazkul of different races breed, there is a chance that they create a child that mixes the features of the parents' races together. This doesn't have to happen. In many cases, the child exclusively adopts the traits of one parent. However, a possible result of a Blazewhip reproducing with an Emberspike could be a Blazkul that has the spikes of an Emberspike but also the long tail of a Blazewhip. A child with mixed traits does not only come with more possibilities when it comes to its appearance and qualities. Crossbreeds are also prone to genetic defects, such as infertility or similar. Sometimes these negative traits simply come from mixing two positive ones together. A Flamewing that makes a child with a Fireclaw could have strong legs and strong wings for their size, but due their body requiring so many resources to grow both in such a manner could end up being rather small, and thus in the end weaker than their averagely larger brethren. Or they might suffer from a shortness of breath and generally low stamina, because their muscles demand more than their cardiovascular system can handle. The aforementioned Blazewhip/Emberspike hybrid could end up with a long tail, but one that isn't prehensile like those of pure blooded Blazewhips. Due to the abysmal diplomatic relations between the individual races crossbreeding almost never happens. Blazkul crossbreeds are more easily found among exiles or priests, who can traverse any Blazkul race's territory and thus get to know its inhabitants.

Firehorns

The Firehorns are noted by their signature horns. They come in more unusual shapes compared to the rest of the Blazkul and are generally larger. The horns also are not white or gray, but share their secondary color, however, their claws do not. Spiraled and curled horns naturally appear among them. The horn style can even be mixed. For example, the two top pairs of horns could be straight, but the bottom one is curved forward like those of a ram. Often it is possible to figure out a Firehorn's heritage and tribe from their horns, as they pass on their horn shape onto the next generation. Like all Blazkul, a Firehorn can only have an even number of horns.

Blazewhips

The Blazewhips have much longer and more powerful tails compared to the other races, entirely covered in their secondary color. Another special trait their tails have is that they are prehensile; they can completely control the motions of their tail. Their bodies tend to be more agile in general, being more nimbly build.

Emberspikes

Large and mighty, the Emberspikes are the most impressive Blazkul of them all. Tallest race of the second tallest kul, they are certainly a formidable foe to end up against. They have long spikes that go along their spine and tail rather than fins, which grow smaller as they go down the tail. To make lying on the back comfortable, the spikes can lay flat enough to align with the back by lying down into a slight concave. Just like the fins the spikes rise and lower according to the emotional state of the Emberspike, but they can be laid flat consciously.

Fireclaws

Fireclaws are recognizable by the secondary color that covers both their fore- and hindpaws. Their claws are also longer and sharper than other kul and they have stronger, thicker legs, so that they are even capable of competing with Emberspikes when it comes to strength. Very rarely, they can have hatchlings that hatch without a secondary color.

Flamewings

Having originated from Blazkul that lived in the Zule like the Aezkul do, they excel at aerial combat and are the best fliers of all the Blazkul. Their wings are covered in their secondary color, making them even more distinctive. The wings themselves are shaped for speed rather than the usual soaring, with the outermost digit being the longest and growing smaller as it goes inward. Their wing muscles are stronger and bigger, but to make up for that their fire bladder is smaller than those of the other Blazkul races, which means they can't spit as much fire before running out of fuel.

Behavior

Blazkul are predators that hunt with the aid of their wings, claws and rarely their fire. They're sentient as well as sapient. Despite their roots having laid in being a rather solitary species of aggressive males that only allowed their own mate in their territory, they managed to develop an advanced society based on strength and authority. Many of their customs are rather rough and often involve forcing selection on the next generation. Weakness is ruthlessly exterminated and only the strong may lead. Despite being relatively civilized, many Blazkul still act in a very instinctual fashion and often rely more on simple emotions than rational thought. The degree of 'feralness' varies between the races. It is strongest with the Flamewings, followed by the Fireclaws, Blazewhips, Emberspikes and then the Firehorns, who are the most civilized and least feral, but yet far more beast-like than the Aezkul.

A certain blood lust is very evident among the Blazkul when they start fighting, being often unable to stop until their foe has been slain. During their frenzies, it is hard to make them back down or flee, they appear to be resistant to pain and can push on even when severely injured. It is likely this heightened, improved form of an adrenaline-filled state evolved to be able to fend off vicious desert creatures, like wyverns or packs of lizogs. Females are more level headed; their scent and the tone of their voice is easily capable of calming angry males, which is very beneficial to the peace within the tribe, which is the smallest noteworthy social structure among the Blazkul.

Social

The Blazkul are viciously territorial. It requires a firm hierarchical structure to ensure that multiple males can stick together and work together without fighting each other and it requires occasional war so that they may vent their aggressions. Without a strong leader at their top and the occasional violent clash, the males easily grow unruly and begin to fight each other. Males are often very ambitious and traits such as shyness, cowardice, and similar are very rare among the Blazkul. Those hatched with such traits very rarely make it to adulthood in their ruthless society. Females on the other hand tend to take a step back when it comes to ambitions, but won't let themselves just be told what to do either. They are proud and strong-willed, just like the males. Once the hierarchy within a tribe is established, it becomes easier to keep the peace, so long as the leader - the chieftain - is capable of projecting authority, and the relations become more amiable. Crisis or a moment of weakness of the chieftain can lead to ambitious Blazkul trying their luck at rising in the ranks.

Within their tribes the Blazkul live alongside the Blazlin in a symbiotic relationship. The latter is a race of intelligent bipeds who offer dexterous paws, tools, weapons, and armor to the Blazkul, who in turn offer protection and order. Blazlin receive a lower societal status than the Blazkul, despite the knowledge and work they offer their tribes, because they are physically much weaker than a Blazkul and their religion dictates that they are meant to rule. Blazkul are smart enough to acknowledge the use of the Blazlin and wouldn't want them gone, even if they see them as lesser beings. Yet in most societies the Blazkul respect the Blazlin well, and never mistreat them.

Due to their distrust towards those who are not members of their own tribe, Blazkul rarely interact with members of another one, except they are part of the same region and considered allies. Members of their own or allied tribes are usually acted towards in a friendly fashion, but only members of their own tribe manage to earn complete trust relatively easily. Even rarer do they interact with other species. Non-Blazkul are commonly met with utter distrust and even violence. It is rare for any non-Blazkul to get along with a Blazkul due to this. Interspecies couples are an extreme rarity and hybrids that incorporate Blazkul are usually the result of forced couplings between a Blazkul male and an unwilling female, often of the Aezkul kind. Being as territorial as they are, the Blazkul do everything they can, even work with each other, to keep other species out of their natural habitat, their largest territory so to speak - the Searing Deserts.

Reproduction and Development

Females will look for the strongest, most capable male when picking their mates, so chieftains and Blazkul even higher up in the hierarchy tend to find mates the easiest. Of course the general personality of the male matters, too. Blazkul females are too proud as that they would accept being treated badly by their partner. Only males that prove they can care for their mate and will treat her as an equal have any chance at having one during their life. Since females are less numerous than males, it isn't uncommon that some males may end up not finding a partner for life at all and that they might relieve their sexual urges with other males, until they found a suitable female. Females are well aware of their own rarity and make it quite obvious that they are the ones who get to choose. This makes it even more important for males to impress and to be on their best behavior when courting. Mating itself is done like all kul handle it, by mounting the female and impregnating her during the fertile season, which is the end of winter for Blazkul.

After having been gravid for more than 80 days, the female lays her eggs. The average clutch ranges from one to four eggs, with the opposite ends of the scale being the rarest. As described on the Blazkul Hightribe page, they are handed over to the hatchling nursery for care and safekeeping. It takes another 180 days for the eggs to hatch, so they are usually hatched in fall. When they hatch, the Blazkul are very small. They usually are only a bit bigger than an adult's paw when fresh out of the egg. Most common are clutches of two eggs with three close behind. Blazkul grow swiftly, however, reaching up to half their adult height between the ages of six and seven, which is when they gain the abilities of flight and fire breathing as well.

Once they reach this age, their growth slows down until they reach sexual maturity at around age eighteen, when they are near the tallest they will be. From then on, they grow extremely slowly. Age induced frailty becomes apparent from the 400th year on. Death happens when they are around four to five hundred years of age. At this time, they can be quite large, reaching even up to 3.5 meters at the shoulder. However, this size hinders their flight. They sometimes struggle to hold their weight even on the ground due to their old age and size. Color will have faded from their scales as well, leaving them as large but gray husks of what likely was a great warrior. Given their harsh surroundings, the males rarely reach that high of an age.

Ecology

Habitat

Blazkul live in the Searing Deserts. As the name indicates, it is a very arid, sandy region. It is hot all year round and it barely ever rains. This does not mean that the desert is a lifeless, inhabitable area. The opposite is the case, at least near the thick rivers that flow through it. On their banks heat and water combined cause dense arid forests and bushlands to sprout, which create great habitats for prey and other predators. Thousands of years in the past, a Blazkul male would usually carve out a territory along those rivers and protect their hunting grounds against any other male, while hoping to attract one of the rare females into their domain. This has changed completely. Nowadays the Blazkul, as mentioned under the subcategory Social, live in tribes that consist of multiple males and females and settle along the rivers together with their Blazlin companions.

Very rarely do Blazkul seek to inhabit the other regions of Threa. Exiles or those who have no tribe, simply because their old one was completely annihilated or shattered by infighting, leave the desert sometimes in the hopes of acquiring their own territory in the northern regions. Food is more abundant in the forests of Threa's north and due to their size and natural weapons they usually have a relatively easy time becoming the apex predator of the region.

Diet

A Blazkul's diet consists purely of meat and sometimes fish, if they live near the coast. Blazkul make poor fishers, so seafood is usually supplied by the Blazlin. Meat is acquired by hunting or simply raised by the Blazlin in form of livestock. It is common in many hightribes to roast and even spice the meat intended for the Blazkul, however, wilder Blazkul prefer their meat raw and bloody, feeling that this is more natural. Vegetables and fruit at most serve as ways to enhance the taste of the meat, but are not viable as a source of nutrient, because large amounts of it upset a Blazkul's stomach.

Competition and Predators

One might expect that such large, fire-breathing creatures have little to fear, but that is wrong. The desert holds a few creatures that one would rather not want to come across. An example of this are desert wyverns, who are quite large, if not as large as Blazkul, and feature a very strong bite. They either hide in the sand, camouflaged by their sandy scales, waiting to strike unsuspecting prey, even Blazkul, or attack at night and steal eggs or murder unaware foes in their sleep. As they usually hide in pairs, they had the number advantage over Blazkul in the past, when they still lived in solitude. Nowadays desert wyverns are not such a huge threat anymore, but are still despised for stealing cattle or even the occasional egg if the guards weren't watchful enough. Especially small villages at the outskirts of a city's region suffer from their raids.

Another issue are lizog packs. While lizogs are far smaller than Blazkul, being around the size of a small horse, they hunt in packs and are vicious predators. If a Blazkul encounters a pack that has a good number of members, they will either have to take flight or try to fight them. They often just bite into a Blazkul and try to keep a grip on throat and limb in the hopes of weighting them down and bleeding them out. Even if it costs the pack a few members, the taste and nutritious value of a dead kul seem to be worth it. Since Blazkul can just fly, the biggest problem lizogs cause is that they eat the livestock of the Blazlin and eat the prey living of the hunting grounds.

The biggest threat for Blazkul are other Blazkul, because they constantly seek conflict and conquest.