The Bestiary Descriptions

The descriptions for the Beasts of the East calendar were composed by the Sixteenth Tyger of the East, Master Alexandre Lerot d’Avigne, Prince of Insulae Draconis.

The tiger is known for its speed, and it partakes in some part of the nature of the panther, whose implacable foe is the dragon.  It is found on eastern shores, where it lives in peace until roused.  It is the greatest of hunters.  It comes in many colours, but the largest and strongest are blue.

The dragon is a fierce foe, whose weapon is its tail, for lashing its enemies and crushing them in its coils.  Two kinds are known.  Draco viridis lives far from the sea, and is the natural enemy of the tiger.  Draco niger, the black dragon, prefers coastal locations and is found across the eastern ocean.

The lion is the king of the beasts, and the rarest and most noble kind are black in colour and found in northern climes near the sea.  They are reclusive, and when hunted hide their tracks by erasing them with their tails.  The ones with short, curly hair are timid, and the ones with long hair are fierce.

The stag is one of the great beasts of the hunt.  It loves music and can be lured by the sound of a reed pipe.  The white stag is the purest of all beasts, and to see one is a sign of good fortune.  The stag is found in mountainous regions.

The griffon has the body of lion and the head and wings of an eagle.  It is the foe of the horse.  They are very strong and will carry off an ox to devour.  They are avaricious and dig for gold with their claws.

The ram is a powerful animal whose ferocity may be tamed by drilling a hole in his horn.  He was the first beast to be sacrificed on an altar, which is why his name is called Aries.  He lives by the coast in southern regions.

The seahorse is called hippocampus and is known for its wisdom and learning.  Among the noble beasts of the sea it is called primus inter pares.  It lives on the coasts and coastal waters of eastern lands and is very protective of its home.

The salamander is a remarkable lizard.  It is so cold that it can survive the hottest of fires, and its touch extinguishes small fires.  By this it shows its righteousness, for it is in the fire and not consumed. Because of this many smaller animals seek its guidance.

The yale has two horns that it may point to the fore or the rear or to each side.  By this it defends itself from attack on all sides and is shown to be a master of tactics.  It lives surrounded by other beasts, and has developed this trait for that reason.

The hedgehog is among the cleverest of animals.  During the harvest, it goes into the vineyard and gathers grapes by spearing them upon its spikes, and in this manner brings them home to feed its young.  When men approach, it curls upon itself and makes the noise of a cart to deceive its foes.

The shark is the laziest of fish, but is fierce when roused.  When hunting, it swims in a circle which it draws tight around its prey.  If its victim remains still, the shark will often lose interest and swim on.  It is the foe of the lava otter, for they are too much alike to live in peace.  It is found throughout the world, but schools most heavily along the eastern shores.

The rhino is kin to the unicorn, but far more common.  It is a stupid beast, but difficult to kill for its hide is of surpassing toughness.  It bears a single horn upon its face, which causes it to be nearly blind, and it is best hunted with long spears like a boar.  It is found in all climes, but never in great numbers.