Now, I know what you're thinking, "Mandrakes aren't beasts, they're plants!". I admit that the baby Mandrakes are, indeed, merely rather loud plants for the most part, but it seems that you've never bumped into an adult.
Let's start at the beginning. Baby Mandrakes, usually just referred to as 'those goddamned screaming blighters" are not the sort of thing you want to grow in your back garden. There's a little tuft of purple grass-like material to warn people away, but invariably some curious alchemist comes to try and pull it up for some experiments...then the screaming starts. Old women tell tales of a Mandrake's screams being instant death, which is technically true, but not in the way they probably mean. When a Mandrake root emits its distinctive wail, the slumbering adults under the earth rise up to see what's causing all the ruckus. This is when you start running...if you even notice them.
See, baby Mandrakes are rather distinctive looking things, bearing a resemblance to those creepy wooden carvings that are supposed to resemble Humans but look just a little bit off. Adult Mandrakes on the other hand...not so much. These abominations hide deep beneath the earth, draining sustenance from underground water sources and the nutrients of the dead. When a baby Mandrake's cry is heard, all the adults in range rise from their slumber...and they are hideous. At their centre lies some sort of sphere where (presumably) their organs are stored, but this spot is absolutely covered by thin, extremely sharp spines. So when someone pulls up a baby Mandrake, and a survivor of the incident says that they were killed? That person was essentially rolled to death by an adult Mandrake.
An all female species, some regard them as blessed women of Luminara, but research suggests that this is not the case. Instead, the Nymphs were created when a Human woman begged the death god Kronis for beauty no man could possibly resist. Her reasons for this vary from tale to tale, some saying that she was jealous of another woman, others stating that she wished to attract the attention of a local lord. Whatever the case, Kronis gifted her the boon she craved...for a price. The creature that had been created indeed had beauty, greater than any man would wish for, but with two heavy manacles which chained her down. Firstly, she became nymphomaniacal, gaining a kind of predatory instinct to hunt the opposite sex. Second, if indeed the Nymph's hunt was successful, her partner in the act would be dead by the end of it. The Nymph from the legend cursed the death god, running into the wilderness to raise the child that now rested within her.
If indeed modern day Nymphs descend from this woman, it would certainly explain some of their behaviour. Unlike other 'beast races' who experience intercourse with other races, Nymphs will only ever hunt for Humans, possibly lending credence to the story. While they are not known for wearing many items of clothing, a Nymph will always equip a belt or some other small accessory to help store an item vital to their existence. Each and every Nymph, no matter where their birth place, carries a small, spherical stone close to their person. It is impossibly smooth, with the hue depending on the skin colour of the Nymph...or perhaps it is the other way around? In any case, this leads to some Nymphs receiving rather outlandish skin colours, ranging from burgundies to pale yellows, but their attractive aura usually nullifies this as an issue in their hunt for men. Should a Nymph be separated from her stone, she will slowly transform back into a Human woman. This comes with all the problems of age, as a Nymph of fifty years looks exactly the same as a Human in her twenties, and if the Nymph is over one hundred years or so, then the removal of the stone spells certain death.
There have been times when a Nymph has decided to abandon her true nature to live in the world of Humans, but this is very uncommon. From birth, each Nymph has a very strong attachment to their stone, with the phrase "you'll have to pry it out of my cold dead hands" being somewhat appropriate. Nevertheless, it has occurred that a Human male has won a Nymph over enough to persuade her to leave the stone...precisely once, to be exact. No one is certain who it was, as the records were destroyed when Nazagul attacked, but rumours continue to circulate that it was one of the royal line that persuaded the Nymph...perhaps this is why the royalty of Elon seem to age so well? Regardless, it is not recommended to try and repeat this trick yourself. It is definitely not worth the risk.
The Cockatrice is a relatively new creature, with sightings of it only starting two hundred years ago. Due to its appearance, which is some unholy combination of a chicken and a Wyvern, many have made the assumption that they were made because 'a Wyvern got especially lonely one day'. This is not the case. Instead, a Dark Elf, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his ancestor, tried to summon a demon to the world with the power of Kronis, since that went so well last time, right? What the Dark Elf received was a rather disappointing looking thing, only coming up to around two feet tall, but his sadness quickly turned to horror as the creature turned to face him. Within seconds, the Elf had been petrified, appearing to be a very well made statue to any who came across him.
As no other Cockatrices were known to exist, no one is quite sure how more than one is laying about, though a few leading Halfling scientists propose that it may reproduce asexually...whatever that means. Along with its petrifying gaze, a Cockatrice has two razor sharp fangs which have very interesting properties. As a Cockatrice's main method of attack is through its stony glare, it needs some kind of way to get at the food while the prey is petrified. A Cockatrice's fangs are coated with a sort of petrification antidote, but it injects it only a little bit at a time. Basically, this allows it to bite small chunks out of its prey without curing the poor thing completely, allowing the food to be stored for a very long time. Cockatrices only appear in the wild around Tumma Eeva, but attacks against Humanoids are uncommon unless they are travelling alone. If you should happen to face a Cockatrice, then it is perhaps best to run away if you can. If this is not possible, just try not to look into its eyes. No one's come up with a sure-fire way of blocking petrification, and it is a sorry fate indeed to be eaten by these avian monstrosities.
Boy oh boy, you certainly don't want to bump into these in the night...or any time of day, really. Imagine a snake, jet black, and every few centimetres there's what looks like some sort of bone sticking out. The head looks relatively normal, except for a dangling purple sack that contains its infamous Wyrm gas. An adult Underwyrm is usually around twenty feet long, but as Wyrms have no maximum length, it is possible to encounter ones infinitely longer. Worryingly, these terrifying creatures are native to Elon, though they usually stay underground in the day time and the ones that become a nuisance are usually curtailed by local adventurers...for the right price.
Even for professional adventurers, however, this is still quite a risky, if profitable, venture. Underwyrms, upon provocation, release a revolting gas from their mouths which melts the very flesh from your bones, though doing so also results in the death of the Underwyrm. As such, it is usually advised to take out Underwyrms with archery, magic or, if those aren't options, trick it into using the gas in the wrong place. This isn't as easy as it may sound, though, as an Underwyrm has a kind of heat vision it can use to detect living organisms. In other words, your distraction point is going to be something living, or something that is somewhat warm. Too hot and the Wyrm will think it is fire, too cold and the Wyrm will think it is dead. As previously stated, this is a self defence mechanism more than anything, since the usually prey of Underwyrms are small rodents or large insects. It's only when they grow too large that the Human population starts getting antsy.
The creation of Halfling and Human teamwork, these were developed too late to be used in the Duality War, but this didn't stop them from becoming more widespread after the conflict's fallout had cleared. Commonly composed of stone, though metals may also be used, these hulking creatures are about Human height, but with the stockiness of a Dwarven warrior. Their strength multiplies depending on their material; Stone is roughly two times the strength of a man, and by comparison, Mythril is roughly ten times that! Humans like to think outside the box on this one, so instead of using them for combat, Stone Golems are often used to help with construction. Oddly enough, one particularly famous bar in Frieden uses a Stone Golem as a bouncer of all things...though it should be noted that no one dares mess about there, so maybe it is worth the cost?
See, there's a reason that Golem use isn't as widespread as it could be, and that's purely because the majority of Elon's population are poor farmers and day labourers. To build a Golem, not only do you need the correct 'starting material' such as stone or what not, but you also need a Force Gem. These are only found in the Vuori Mountains, and rarely at that, so when someone wants to make a Golem, they'd best have a chat with the Dwarves. A long one, involving lots of money changing hands. This acts as a core for the Golem, animating it for as long as the 'Binder' lives. This is the person nearest to the Golem when it is animated, the one who directs the Golem's movements, as it has no thoughts of its own. It takes time to master the art of directing Golems, especially if you want to do something else at the same time, but for those who can pull it off, they have a deadly companion who will never leave their side. A really goddamn heavy one.
The sole reason that Elven tree houses have windows on them. After Nymphs became more well known, a cult of Elven Kronis worshippers prayed to the death God to become more beautiful than even they, as the Elves were very jealous of the Nymphs. In their own words, they said that they "wanted to be like the Nymphs". Kronis doesn't tend to dish out blessings willy nilly, however, so he rather cruelly twisted their words to meet his own goals. Their hands and feet shifted and morphed into the talons of a bird, and two large crow wings sprouted from their back. They were no longer people, just like the Nymphs. They were driven to seek out men to propagate their all female species...just like the Nymphs. However, unlike the Nymphs, they were far uglier than even Goblins, forcing them to kidnap their male participants rather than persuade them as a Nymph might. This was the Harpies' punishment for their folly, and an especially harsh one at that.
If this is truly the tale of their origins, it certainly reflects well on their behaviour. Harpies do not bother with Humans, only taking Elven species back to their nests for breeding and food. Intercourse with a Harpy does not bring direct death, but it is customary for them to devour their partner after the act is complete, which is rather practical when you think about it. After all, the elf is only going to spread rumours if you return him to his home, and what are you going to do with one anyway? So they just eat him. Lovely.
As another obvious nod to the legend, Harpies have a great hatred of Nymphs, though they tend to have trouble finding them. Harpies travel in murders as crows do, but a Nymph's illusory leanings tend to thwart their efforts despite searching in groups of five to fifteen. A mother Nymph always teaches their children an illusion spell to disguise themselves as a tree, which is possibly the reason that Harpies move nests so often; they're hoping to land on a tree that's actually a Nymph. Though given that Harpies only inhabit the Elven Forest and Tumma Eeva, two places where Nymphs are rather uncommon, it is unclear how true this theory is. Just, whenever you're in the Forest, remember to look up once in a while...you don't want to get Harpy crap on your clothes, do you?
The one and only. The Kirin is an equestrian beast, looking much like a scaly horse, with the exception of a pair of dragon-like wings and a horn not dissimilar to one of a Unicorn. This is one of the three great Avatars, each holding half of a god's power within them. The Kirin is Kronis' creature, an omen of death to most who happen across it, or a sign of good things to come for Kronis' worshippers. Whatever the case, it is ill-advised to approach The Kirin should you find it, as it will not hesitate to demonstrate why it is blessed by Kronis, the lord of death. In other words? You'd be six feet under before you could even shout for help.
Should, by some miracle, a person actually succeed in slaying The Kirin, a few things will happen. Firstly, unless you are protected by Luminara, it will let out a spell that'll knock you down dead. Second, everyone will live a little longer than they should for a bit while Kronis recovers. Third, The Kirin will be birthed anew, growing amongst a family of wild horses. This can take anywhere from a week to a year, and honestly, it's ill advised to do so anyway. As much as most folks aren't a big fan of Kronis, death happens for a good reason, and upsetting the balance could make some very terrible events occur, no matter how much of a great idea it may sound at first. Even kings have tried to kill The Kirin before, and every single one failed utterly. Try not to follow in their footsteps, if at all possible.
The Phoenix is a bird that has mystified the people of Tel Anar for many ages, and even with the advent of Halfling insight into the bird's workings, it is still held up as one of the wonders of the modern world. An adult Phoenix isn't a particularly large beast, having a wingspan of around seven to eight feet, but it makes up for this through its main spectacle; the fire. A Phoenix from two years onwards appears forever aflame, though the magical fire running down each and every feather will only harm another if the Phoenix wishes it. When not on fire, a Phoenix wears crimson red feathers that speak of a darker nature beneath all the beauty, along with a curved black beak and sharp talons that have been the end of many rodents of the wilds.
As they are highly intelligent, the people that keep Phoenixes as pets don't usually refer to them as such, merely as 'friends'. This is probably for the best, as Phoenixes have been shown to understand all spoken languages, though no one has ever heard them speak any. Phoenix owners like to joke that this rare bird could speak, but it's smart enough not to, and with the many studies conducted by curious Halflings, it's hard to deny that this joke could actually be a reality.
Saying that, however, having a pet Phoenix is rare, for several reasons. First and foremost, you'd have to find one, and as there can only be one hundred and twenty in the world at one time, that becomes a challenge in and of itself. Second, a Phoenix is a very proud bird, and when you get right down to it, it's more like the Phoenix chooses you, not the other way around. If a Phoenix decides it doesn't want to be by your side, no amount of persuading is going to make it change its mind. See, a Phoenix doesn't judge based on what you seem to be; it judges based on what you are. If a Phoenix happens to turn its (figurative) nose up at you, then perhaps it's best to rethink your life. A Phoenix's disapproval is a heavy thing to carry on your shoulders.
Coming back to the one hundred and twenty thing, this is the part which the Halflings haven't quite puzzled out yet. When a Phoenix dies, be it from old age (which does take a while, as they live for a few hundred years) or from other means, the remains of the bird will turn to ash. Folk tales would have you believe that they 'rise from the ashes', which isn't quite true, but is also not entirely false. From what people have been able to fathom, once a Phoenix dies, a mating pair may produce a Phoenix egg which will birth with the soul of the dead Phoenix. Each Phoenix remembers all of its past lives, so if your pet Phoenix happens to pass away, it may deem it necessary to return to your side once it has grown enough. As such, a wild Phoenix is a rather uncommon thing to find, with most species considering it a token of good luck for a journey ahead.
Just remember one thing; it is a very, very bad idea to purposefully kill a Phoenix. Not only is it said to bring much misfortune, which is bad enough as it is, but also the Phoenix is protected by the royal family of Elon, being on their flag and all. Should it be found that you have slain a Phoenix, barring very special circumstances, it may be wise to start counting your days, since you won't be spending 'em living soon enough.
No one's quite sure where this particular creature made its debut officially, but there's no uncertainty about where it made its first public appearance; in the restaurant! Indeed, a Unicorn is a tasty dish to have, so much so that they were hunted to near extinction for their delectable meat. It is said that the only people who don't like Unicorn are those who haven't tried it yet, and that's not terribly surprising given the rarity of the meal nowadays. The only people who keep Unicorns currently are the Human and High Elven royalties, and they are certainly not kept for eating.
Along with the Pegasi, Unicorns are occasionally given out as rewards to people who have done great things for their respective kingdoms. As long as they do not sell it at any point, the person who has received the beast can do what they wish with it, though the most common use is for battle, unsurprisingly. A Unicorn can utilise certain types of magic in combat, mostly of the defensive variety. Should their rider be in danger, they can summon a temporary 'force field' around them, which protects them from danger for a short time. More spells may be taught to the Unicorn as one might to a wizard, as they have a highly developed intellect similar to that of a Human, so a few adventurers of times passed had transformed their peaceful, horned creature into a fire spewing beast of death and destruction. Unicorns only come in white, though, so if you want the full death and destruction experience, it's advised to put some coloured armour on them or something.
Without their magic, a Unicorn is somewhat similar to a regular old horse in terms of physical prowess, though they do tend to have a lot of stamina for such a fair creature. Their vitality is about the same, though, so if you want to keep your Unicorn alive, it would be wise to train it in defensive spells or give it some more 'solid' defences. Never know what someone will do for a meal these days.
The second best dish in the lan- just kidding, just kidding. Pegasi aren't actually edible, their meat containing a very potent poison...which is actually the reason that they're just as near-extinct as the Unicorns. Pegasus made poison is the deadliest substance known to Tel Anar, capable of killing the receiver within seconds of ingestion. As this is nowhere near enough time for it to be digested, Halflings theorise that the poison is actually magic based, and it's probable that you die more from the guilt of killing a Pegasus than anything else. Not many vials of poison remain on the land, as enterprising individuals tended to use them as soon as possible, and the Elven and Human royalties are trying to keep it that way by keeping the remaining Pegasi in their care.
Like Unicorns, Pegasi are also given out as rewards to great people, but due to the hugely negative consequences of Pegasus poison, the gifting of these beasts is even rarer than that of Unicorns. If you do happen to obtain a Pegasus, know that it will be a strong friend by your side that will carry you through many ordeals. Pegasi look much like regular horses, apart from the four tiny wings sprouting from the middle of each leg. The size of these wings in proportion to the body suggest that these creatures work on some kind of magical boundaries, which is also (presumably) the reason that they can go so fast. A Pegasus is nothing much on the ground, but in the air, these creatures can travel at just below the speed of sound...no, I'm not joking. Should you happen to not actually be friends with the Pegasus, you will no doubt fall to your death on the earth below, but with a true companion, Pegasi will always keep their masters on board, at any cost. Still, it's recommended to pack some goggles or something, because whoa nelly, your eyes are going to be watering after that particular ride.
The avatar of Balance. As with the Kirin, there's only one of these, and as with the Kirin, it is very difficult to kill...in fact, no one's actually succeeded to this day. The Niseag is a sea creature, some calling it a sea serpent, though this isn't strictly true. It has a very long neck attached to a rather plump torso, with four fins sprouting at odd angles; two near the front on the top side, the other two near the back on the bottom. It also bares a strong, muscled tail, but this is almost always hidden beneath the waves, so it is rarely mentioned when someone tells of The Niseag.
Oh, and they do tell. In a world full to the brim with legends and myths already, you won't find a creature with more surrounding it than The Niseag. Most of them paint it as a benevolent creature, a friend to sailors lost at sea, helping them from their shipwrecks to the safety of land. The others put it as the one who makes such shipwrecks, gobbling them up before they can even scream for help. In reality, The Niseag is neither and both of these things, serving each purpose when the situation demands it. Life and death are equally important, both happening for a reason, and being a creature of Balance, The Niseag will do whatever is necessary to retain the status quo.
A few expeditions have been made to find this legendary beast, be it to slay it or befriend it, but each and every one has been in vain. Even the ones involving magical detection produced no leads whatsoever, leading some to think that The Niseag doesn't actually exist. But it does, oh yes.
Originating from the Helvetti Isles, the Thunderbird slowly began to migrate into Tel Anar, thanks to being mercilessly hunted down by the Lightning Dragons. Since dragons thought they were worthwhile enough to hunt, that's probably a clue to the nature of Thunderbirds...because they're absolutely huge. The average wingspan of an adult Thunderbird is roughly seventeen feet for Luminara's sake, with the body being quite well in proportion! Most of the time, a Thunderbird's feathers are a charcoal black, but when a storm hits, the winged beasts become a blinding gold colour. Given the size, a few researchers have thought it related to the albatross, but due to their unusual abilities, it's possible that they also share ancestry with a Phoenix.
You see, Thunderbirds feed on lightning clouds, so when there's a storm, great, they won't go hungry. However, if it happens not to be awfully cloudy, they can cause a storm to sustain themselves. This usually takes around three or more Thunderbirds to pull of, since starting a storm from nothing is no easy task, but it can be the respite or ruin of whatever they happen to be over. For most of their lives, a Thunderbird is flying around the sea, so this isn't such a problem, but sooner or later they must make a nest, which is where the troubles really start. You can guarantee that there will be a storm at least every three days wherever a Thunderbird happens to nest, which often causes a lot of flooding and/or forest fires if left unchecked. Still, in periods of drought, the Thunderbird's ability is invaluable, filling up the lakes and reservoirs so everyone doesn't die of thirst, which is why many major cities keep a few captive Thunderbirds around just in case. Should wild Thunderbirds be causing a hassle in an area, the Dark Elves are usually hired to do a bit of hunting, as a common nesting ground for these birds is in the dark forest of Tumma Eeva anyway. Dark Elves aren't the most talented with a bow, but there would be no way that they could hire the Wood Elves to do it.
Dwarves like to claim that the Halflings needed their help to make these, as they did Humans for the Stone Golems, but the reality is that Steam Guardians were made by a single Halfling on a late Thursday evening. After drinking perhaps more than was good for him, Primus the Halfling discovered a way of making Golems without using Force Gems. The problem? They...didn't turn out quite as he'd imagined them. White gas floated around a small centre of water, with no discernible features on the thing, coming to around the same height as he was due to the amount of ingredients used. It should be noted here that you can make larger Steam Guardians by utilising more ingredients, but this was certainly the last thing on Primus' mind as he ran for the exit.
As they have no 'driving force' as it were, Steam Guardians can only be comprised of gases...though, despite the name, not just steam. As long as you can successfully bottle up enough of it, you sure as hell can make a Steam Guardian out of it. All you need is the gas, a bit of water, and the know-how on building a Guardian altar. Once you've made or found one, all you need to do is place the gas and water next to each other, voice the secret chant and BOOM, Steam Guardian at your service. Kind of.
There's another problem, of course. Since there's no Force Gem, that also means that there's no Binder, so enlisting Steam Guardians to your service is a little...difficult. If you don't suggest something yourself, the Steam Guardian will use a form of telepathy to ask of you a boon of some kind. A few of them just ask that you supply them daily with water, as without the substance they will pass back into the planes whence they came. Others like to be a little more twisted, usually the ones comprised of poisonous gases, who tend to demand a human sacrifice or other such nonsense. Should you comply with the demand and keep your end of the bargain, they will keep theirs.
Steam Guardians, like Elementals, can produce large amounts of their gas at will, which makes them invaluable to your average Hobbit scientist when ingredients are scarce. Not only that, but they can be effectively used in battle, if you know what you're doing. For example, an Oxygen Steam Guardian can greatly accentuate the effectiveness of Fire Elementals, while a Chlorine elemental can kill an entire room of men. Be warned, however, for Warmages are highly trained in banishing Steam Guardians, which is one of the reasons they are rarely used on the battlefield in modern times. Not only that, but being free spirits of their own, Steam Guardians are almost as dangerous to you as to your enemies, if you're not careful.
Just don't summon a Steam Guardian of a gas you can't deal with. It won't end well.
Earth! Fire! Wind! Water! Heart! Goooo Plan...oh wait, that's not right. Who wrote this thing?! There aren't any Wind Elementals, those'd be Steam Guardians...and a Heart Elemental? Seriously?
Sigh...well, guess I'd better start over. Elementals are formed through subtle imbalances of magic in areas of high concentration, no matter where that happens to be. This can occur naturally, usually in places like The Forgottens where few people dare tread, with the most common Elemental type being the Water type...though, since they're currently in a frozen tundra, it's no surprise that they get the name Ice Wraiths instead. The other types tend to dot the landscape on occasion, with the elements being Earth, Fire, Water and Aether. I'll explain each Elemental in turn, as they tend to differ rather drastically in nearly all respects.
Earth Elementals are by far the most common, cropping up pretty much wherever there's access to good old fashioned dirt and a little running magic. An Earth Elemental begins life as a minuscule brown sphere, summoned to our plane by chance or by a summoner's plight. It will immediately seek out a large source of earth, sniffing it out as a bloodhound might a criminal, which they then precede to encase themselves in until they achieve what farmer's call "Death Ball" status. Looking roughly spherical, these Elementals are only slightly smaller than an adult Mandrake, though it should be noted that there's less likelihood of getting mauled to death by these things. Indeed, Earth Elementals are actually quite playful, being both best friends and worst enemies of Elon's many farmers.
On one hand, a field inhabited by an Earth Elemental will always remain highly fertile, producing crops no matter what else may happen to the field. On the other...well, they have a tendency to crush crops in an effort to protect them from the insects that may land on them. Still, should you have a well trained Earth Elemental, then it will be an invaluable friend by your side, be it from the wild or summoned by a Wizard. Not only that, but all they really need to stick with you is a bit of dirt. What if they don't get any? Uh...that's when things get a little messy. There have been scattered reports of Earth Elementals eating their masters if they aren't given enough dirt...but those are just rumours, I'd suspect. I mean, how do you eat without a mouth?
Let's move onto Fire Elementals. These ferocious beasties are somewhat of a rarity 'in the wild' only popping up in volcanoes or places equally hot. They appear as a sort of fiery spiral, about the height of the average Human, but that's just about where the similarities end. Fire Elementals are highly destructive, sending out bolts of fire at everything in sight, occasionally trying to dig down deeper in a curious drilling motion. No one's entirely sure why they keep trying this, since they aren't renowned lovers of earth, but a few Halflings put forward the theory that they're trying to reach the centre of the planet...which is really, really hot. As far as anyone known they haven't succeeded yet, though, so if you see a Fire Elemental desperately drilling a hole, they might appreciate you grabbing a shovel and giving a hand...or you know, your racial equivalent. Who knows, maybe they'll halt melting your face off long enough to watch you struggle?
Of course, if you've got a tame Fire Elemental, that's a completely different kettle of fish. They're still destructive, of course, but you can actually put that destructiveness to good use! They've got that whole drill thing going for them, pretty much the most comprehensive manipulation of fire outside of a wizard and a rather large temper...now what does this spell out? If you guessed war, then I'm afraid you're wrong, as a bucket of water will get rid of these guys faster than you can say "Oh Luminara there's a Fire Elemental over there!". Still, should you be fighting enemies without any of that blue-ish substance on hand, these things will put on quite the show for you.
Ah yes, Water Elementals. Lovely old chaps, and very useful to boot. They look sort of like what you'd get if you stretched a wave vertically and made it float a little bit off of the ground, foam and all. They're easygoing for the most part, with direct attacks on people being rare to completely unfounded. Still, should you ask them nicely or happen to be their master, they'll make some water for you to do what you please with it...just don''t try and fish in it, for Kronis' sake, you'll be there all day. They're pacifists by the way, so if you were thinking of drowning your enemies in a sea of...well, water, you'd best look elsewhere. Although...if you drop the temperature down a few notches, then you might be onto something. That something commonly being known as an Ice Wraith, of course.
Ice Wraiths...they're rather different. It'd be an understatement to tell you that Water Elementals hate being frozen, so it's not terribly surprising that they've dropped their pacifism clause like a sack of Earth Elementals. I mean, they're not quite as aggressive as Fire Elementals, but they'd definitely skewer you with an icicle if you look at them funny. Not only that, but the touch of an Ice Wraith will be pretty much instant death unless you happen to be a fellow Elemental...on a side note, it's also a nice way of making cold beer. If you're planning on using an Ice Wraith for combat, then I've got a few instructions for you. First, summon a Water Elemental and freeze it. The second step is run, run as fast as those little legs will carry you while the Wraith takes out its anger on anything in the near vicinity. By all (living) accounts, it's generally not a good idea to stick around.
And finally, we get to Aether. This is where we start to run out of material to work with here, as there's only ever been one Aether Elemental in history, and unlike the other Elemental types, it's a bit more permanent in nature. It appears as an indescribably bright light to those fortunate to see it, apparently possessing great power over both life and death. Many foolish people have attempted to seek out the Aether Elemental to revive a dead friend, and precisely one has succeeded. From the accounts of the revived individual, we know a little more about the creature. According to the legend, the Aether Elemental works on Equivalent Exchange. Basically, should you wish for a Life to be restored, you must give one of equal value...that's personal value, by the way. You can't just give your pet bunny rabbit over to the Aether Elemental and expect it to bring back your dead mother; that'd be dumb.
In the legend, an egotistical young man set out to find the Aether Elemental for his own personal gain, possibly to enslave it and sell the beast on for the right price. He was followed by his loyal servant Marie, who had been his friend when no-one else would, through all the trials and hardships of youth. It was only when his friend was killed, right when the Aether Elemental was in his grasp, that the man truly realised what he had lost. He called out for the Elemental, willing to sacrifice his own life to restore that of his lifelong friend. In some versions his wish is granted, with Marie wandering back to civilisation to become a very prominent figure indeed. In others, the Aether refuses to respond, and the man commits suicide in grief. The general population, bleeding hearts that they are, latched onto the slightly happier ending, which is pretty much the only way that we are aware of the Aether Elemental's existence. How am I so sure it exists, then, if this is really the only piece of evidence I have?
Majestic masters of the sky, these fantastical creatures probably have more in common with Centaurs than any aerial species such a Dragons. Gryphons have the main body of a lion, but the head, wings and front talons of a bird. This is archetypally the head of an eagle, but Gryphons carry quite the variety of wing and head types that can presumably be traced back to ancestors long ago...no one really cares much, though. A Gryphon is a Gryphon, eagle head or no, and both will tear your hand clean off if you're not careful.
The normal Gryphon habitat is usually high up on the Undarian or Vuori mountaintops, most likely due to Gryphon eggs needing very low temperatures to hatch. However, as a Gryphon is a warm blooded creature who isn't that inclined to the cold, it is somewhat odd that their eggs require such hostile environments to properly hatch. A popular myth around wizard taverns is of Saori the elf mage, hired by Dwarves to curtail the rapidly multiplying population of Gryphons. Apparently, the strange temperature requirement on the eggs was what Saori performed to lessen the Gryphon numbers, but as no official records exist of this event, the myth is probably not true. Still, as tamed Gryphons have never allowed an High Elf to ride them, the myth may contain a hint of truth, as myths often do.
As I implied beforehand, Gryphons can be tamed, with a surprising amount of trade surrounding this particular aspect of the animals. A few select Dwarves, known as the Beastmasters, tame the Gryphons and sell them to the Human military (for a nice price, of course). You might think that, due to their lack of cavalry, Dwarves would be clamouring for a Gryphon to ride but...this isn't the case. The airships that Halflings occasionally produce are fine for Dwarves to travel on, as the ship has large chunks of rock as part of the inner workings. However, on a Gryphon, a Dwarf will feel (possibly for the first time) the absence of rock beneath their feet. Due to their troublesome Stone Sense kicking in, this causes them to vomit rather powerfully off the side of the Gryphon, something the creatures rarely take kindly too. Luckily, the Humans hadn't figured out the method of creating airships (they still haven't to this day) so when the Gryphons went up for sale, they were the first to buy the lot.
Other than for military use, Gryphons are quite a rare yet powerful mount that only really appears in certain groups of people. A few nobles like to keep the smaller ones as pets, with the king of Elon keeping an especially well bred stock of eagled head Gryphons, but the majority of Gryphon purchases lie in the adventuring sector. Despite their picky attitude towards Elves, many historical Gryphons have assisted their adventuring companions to great fame and fortune, no doubt breeding into the king's line of the beasts once the adventuring was over. They not only possess impressive capacity for flight, able to keep up with many adult Dragons at top speed, and it would seem that they certainly inherited the strength and bravery of a lion if nothing else. Be cautious, however, as a Gryphon who sees a Wyvern will chase after it until either the Wyvern or the Gryphon itself perishes. Not a single Beastmaster in all of the land has been able to breed this aspect of Gryphons out of the tame ones, just as the disdain for High Elves could not. And if a High Elf happens to be riding a Wyvern?
...best keep a safe distance of at least two continents.