X is for Xylophage

Xylophage - the beaver case

The old world is covered by dark and huge forests. These places are dangerous but they are the main source of heating to survive long winters. They also contribute to the food and furs supply required during the cold season. Any animal disrupting or helping collecting these resources from the forests is to be considered with great caution and care. Beavers and coypus are a very special case as they are both destructor and benefactor to Imperial woodmen.

Beavers are very common in the Empire. Abundance of rivers and forests supports a very large population. They are a great source of troubles but also of wealth. Their furs used for winter clothes, their meat even if not tasty is better than nothing. They can deforest or lighten large area, making them easier for forestry or to convert in farming land. On the other hand they are aggressive, sometime deadly and their huge structures change rivers flow or flood fields. The timbers they produce can escape into the navigable routes of the Empire and cause accidents like sinking barges. They somehow compete with lumberjacks or start to clear the forest of a noble causing him financial loss. In some area, local authorities offer some coins for every body brought back as a way to regulate beavers population. Beaver is an animal with serious and powerful enemies looking to exterminate it. But it has also powerful allies, mostly followers of Taal. These men and women revere the positive contributions of the beaver while minimizing the negative side. They minimize it by controlling the animals or by denying any wrong is done.

Der Kult der Kosmischen Biber (Reiklander for Cult of the Cosmical Beaver) is led by a boy named Justin. The cult use most of Taal symbols and rhetoric. But the cult is more a sect as Justin is the vocal advocacy of the great plan of the beaver spirit. The cult tries to setup prosperous communities of beavers by helping them in shaping their dams and ponds. They would spend several seasons living in area, defending the animals against trappers and other hunters. They would first ask nicely, try to negotiate, even pay for tranquility. However the cult always upsets some villagers or nobles sooner or later. Locals fight back usually with forks and torches. Justin always escapes and starts the same cult in another area.

Lately witchhunter bands are actively looking for him, they have a mission to arrest him and bring him back to the Celestial Order. Maybe ponds and clearings forming giant esoterics symbols only visible from high in the sky is the reasons of this hunt. Or the strange blinking light and shooting start in the sky above the main structure.

-JMT

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