Dires are giant, domesticated wolves used as a mounted cavalry. They compose the primary strength of Sekkai’s ground forces, in conjunction with the draux. With the recent near-extinction of the draux, the dires have become the primary ground support units. They come in three species: the lightweight moonrunners, the medium weight duskstriders, and the heavyweight sundashers. Growth from puppy to mature adult takes, on average, 8 months.Abilities: Magical:
Dires are a highly intelligent species, much more so than your average domesticated canine. They are capable of transmitting their emotions to the human who bonded to them but these abilities fall short of educated communication.
Dires also have an unusual resilience to magic which aids them in battle against their large fellow predators, the dragons. If an element is magically summoned, e.g. a Lightning's electricity or a Fire's flames, the effect upon the dire is greatly reduced. Unless faced with a direct and concentrated blast, a dire may suffer only medium damage instead of annihilation. Dire riders, however, are not anywhere near as resistant. It is recommended they wear armour at all times.
On very rare occasions a dire may be born with a few small magical abilities. This extends to manipulation of water, subterranean sonar, minor generation and manipulation of fire, temperature control and other such abilities.Non-magical:
This is pretty straight forward. A few thousand pounds of angry wolf, tipped with teeth and claws can do a hell of a lot of damage even to the largest opponent.Uses:Moonrunners
: Runners, messengers, hit-and-run fighters. Agile fighters for cramped areas, or other areas when speed is valued more than strength. Armoring usually made of light metal and plated leather. Duskstriders
: Vary in between the breed standards and make up the bulk of the dire forces. Extremely useful, they can be used indiscriminately for both speed and heavy cavalry depending on the dire's physical build. Armor also varies the most in this group, depending on the dire’s skills and rider's specialties.Sundashers
: Heavy soldiers, guards, escorts, and other areas where strength is needed. Usually they have heavy armor plating on thick leather for armor. Their riders usually use long swords, lances, spears or pikes, depending on preference. Also wearing a short sword or long sword for foot-fighting if ever dismounted. Riders usually wear armor of their own preference, depending on the situation at hand.Food:
Carnivorous, usually fed on cows or sheep. Will often hunt in a small pack, making multiple kills, and share amongst their pack if there is a food shortage. Pups are often trained by older dires and their riders to hunt, and can usually kill their own food halfway before maturity. Dires only kill enough for their needs and never waste any of the food; their strong jaws are more than capable of devouring an entire carcass- bones and all.Relation:
They quickly develop a bond with their rider, with an emotional tie that allows them to feel each other’s emotions. In the wild, dires are unique in that they treat all pack members as equals. They take the most experienced and wisest dire in a group as their leader, and easily accepting new dires into any group. Thus transfers from one group of dires to another are easily made, and dires nearly always remember another wolf they have met. They are pack animals and usually prefer to live with other dires than remain alone- but loner dires are not unheard of. Dires are fiercely loyal and if they feel that another dire's handler is being threatened, a dire will often move to protect the handler- even if it is not their own. For that reason, it is advisable that you do not make any threats to a dire handler near the dire stables lest you incur the wrath of the entire pack.Housing:
Dires are kept in a stable-like complex with stalls for the dires. These are connected to adjacent fields so the dires can wander freely at any tmie, to exercise or hunt. To feed the dires, caretakers usually release livestock into the fields, leaving it to the dires to hunt. The handlers usually stay in a residence next to the stables.Habitat:
As a domesticated war mount, the dires range anywhere their handlers do, though they usually keep the sundashers out of Assaria due to the heat on their heavy fur, and the reverse with the moonrunners, as their thin fur is not well accustomed to the coldness of northern Vidalaner. Though there are ways to overcome these natural disadvantages, they usually stick to simply keeping them out of those areas. As duskstrider fur varies from dire to dire they are capable of roaming most anywhere.
The moonrunners are the smallest of the dire species, averaging about 5-6 ft at the top of the head, or the height of an average human (5’6”). They are short-furred with tufted ears and a very cat-like build, sporting a small mane along the nape. Usually found mostly in Assaria and Nyushi. They are built for running with large lungs and a long, thin tail as a counter-weight. Generally, this species averages around 600lbs with some variation. One month old puppies are usually around 30 lbs and gain 70 lbs a month.
The duskstriders are the most common of the dire species, and have a more regular wolf build. They have slightly longer fangs, and are typically 6-7 ft at the top of the head, so that an average human (5’6”) comes to their shoulder. Duskstriders frequently stray out of their breed standards due to a high genetic diversity and can be both lightweight runners or heavy 'tanks'. The lighter end of this breed averages around 800 lbs at maturity, but the heavier individuals are generally around 1200. One month old puppies are 40-60 lbs and gain 95-150 lbs per month.
The final dire species is the sundasher, which is the largest. They have a similar muscular structure to that of a draft horse, with a heavier, stocky build. They are built for strength and endurance, with large paws, claws, and prominent fangs, similar to those of a saber tooth tiger. They have two short tails and small horns behind their ears. Their fur is usually long and shaggy, and they are typically 7-8 ft at the top of the head, so that an average human (5’6”) is a foot or so short of their burly shoulders. The heavyweights of the dires, these creatures can weigh upwards of 2000 lbs. One month old puppies weigh 100lbs or more and gain near 250 lbs a month.