Dires are the most common subspecies among the wolves in Ayrea and are considered to be the 'original' species in this environment. They exist either as loners or as part of strictly organized pack structures, most of which have their own rules and governing bodies.
They are much larger than the wolf humans would be familiar with but otherwise look very similar. Their coats are strictly natural in origin but they can support dye and tattoos that lend them an unnatural appearance. In this subspecies, you will not find fantasy characteristics such as wings or horns but, they do often choose to adorn themselves in items found naturally or crafted from the world around them.
The dire species comes with two unique line sets outside of the basic template: Alpha and Seer.
Berserkers are the largest of the wolves in Ayrea. These brutes have sharp teeth and elongated claws to match their gruff look and sport a heavier, thicker body than their Dire counterparts. They are darker in color compared to the other species in Kells, where a pup born white amongst their ranks is rare. Their coat still only comes in natural variations but, like many other types of wolves, they often adorn themselves with dyes, tattoos, and varying items found around them.
They often live in family clans that are similar to packs and traditionally adopt surnames that pass from generation to generation to distinguish family lines. Unlike dire wolves, they recognize a King to whom all clan leaders bow their heads and a royal line that stretches back generations.
Once thought of to be the spirits of Ayrea, the Ethereal are beings that originate beyond the veil in the lands known as Irithyll. They are born with magic in their blood and rumor has it that they are as old as time itself, roused to life on the slopes of the crystal mountain that sits at the heart of their mysterious lands.
Unlike Dire wolves, the Ethereal may be unnaturally colored without the use of dye and it is actually less common to see them in earthy or dark tones. Their bodies are thin, lean and wisp-like with more length than real substance to their form.
At birth, each pup will be blessed by a patron god and it is from this blessing that they draw their magic. This magic manifests as useful, mild powers related to the god that they call their own.
Ethereals are one of the only subspecies of wolf that prefer not to gather in packs. Instead, they mate for life and often live in small family units out of love and bonding, not because it's a necessity for their survival.
This subspecies also manifests seers, which can be male or female.
Wolf-dogs, also called hybrids, are the smallest canine subspecies in the lands of Kells. This rambunctous, loyal bunch are the result of domesticated dogs being released back into the wild in the absence of human kind. Many of them retain traits similar to domesticated breeds but, it is important to note, they still have a large percentage of wolf in their blood compared to domesticated dogs of the human day.
Hybrids are the only subspecies of wolf that does not adhere to the practice of dye or tattoos, although they are often still found wearing items. They retain some of the only lore remembered about human kind and even go so far as to choose more human-like names for themselves, although much of what they retain about the two-leggers is convoluted and more akin to myth by now.
The Yukari are a subspecies shrouded in mystery and only recently discovered by the whole of Ayrea after living centuries, isolated and self-governed deep within the Desert to the south of the Kells forest. The most peculiar thing about their existence are the strange, naturally growing horns atop their skulls.
This subspecies of wolf is deeply rooted in mystery and tradition and should a stranger inquire about their origins, such questions will often be met with incredulous stares. The most one might gather, if they find the right source, is that the Yukari believe themselves to be descendants of Gods. If that is true, however, remains to be seen.
The Yukari are a lean breed of canine that sports an excessively long tail and horns that grow from the top of their head. In addition to the natural variety of colors found in the coats of other wolf breeds, the Yukari are also prone to a single, specific color that is more unnatural than not. Though these traits are clearly peculiar, there has been no magic observed among their kind.
Yukari society is dependent upon a belief in the elements and thus, they are divided into clans based upon this belief. The clans are Earth, Fire, Air and Water. It is these clans that determine not only the style of horn a pup is born with but, too, the odd color prevalent in their pelts. Though Yukari clearly look more like one another than they do other species, the division between clans is clearly visible in their appearance.
In Ayrea, there are few other species that are formidable enough to withstand a wolf and challenge them one-on-one. Although they are no match for a well-trained and cooperative pack, the almighty bear is one species that can hold its own.
Despite their large size and sometimes frightening appearance, bears are usually quite gentle and affectionate compared to the territorial and combative wolf. They are large, hulking creatures that employ their brain above their brawn in most situations, choosing to fish and scavenge for the majority of their diet.
The bear is a fiercely loyal creature and extends this loyalty most of all to its family, either blood relatives or chosen companions. They rarely gather in large groups, as their dietary habits require scavenging across large areas, but they can often be found in familial gatherings.
Bear pelts, like those of wolves, come in a variety of natural tones with unnatural colors applied through the use of dyes or tattoos.
In Ayrea, there are few other large predators that exist to challenge a wolf's territory. Although they are no match for a formidable, well-trained pack, the puma is still the second largest predator in Ayrea and will not hesitate to take advantage of poorly guarded territory.
Puma are smaller than both wolves and bears but pack tight muscle into their lithe bodies and that, combined with exceptional perception, balance and precision, makes them a formidable opponent indeed. They are nocturnal by nature and prefer to scout out an area from a higher vantage point, then surprise their prey from the shadows.
Unlike wolves, puma are a solitary type of creature. They are rarely found in groups and only stay together long enough to raise and train their offspring. When looking for a potential mate, puma are highly selective, choosing most often based on prowess and health so that they can pass along only the strongest genes. They rarely mate for life.
Like wolves and most other species in Ayrea, their pelts are only natural tones, although they sometimes supplement this with unnatural dyes or tattoos.
Deer are a hardy species that have evolved over time to suit one very specific purpose: survival. They are the largest game animal found in Ayrea and exist in almost every environment that it has to offer. As such, they are a constant target for the large predators of the land. This state as the preferred meal of choice has led them to become some of the swiftest creatures found in Ayrea and when this speed is paired with heightened senses and a dash of paranoia, they become uniquely suited to overcoming all obstacles.
Because there is generally more safety in numbers, most deer opt to live in herds that consist primarily of extended family groups. This allows them to protect their young and sick from being picked off. However, because deer are masters of survival, some of them turn to more peculiar methods of living. Though they may be at odds, it is not uncommon to find a deer in the company of a wolf or a pack, choosing to forge strong bonds with their would-be hunters as the ultimate means of safety.
Once thought to be a legend, Peryton are a species that hails from the mythic lands of Irithyll. They are sometimes referred to as "Flying Deer of Irithyll" but their similarities end at their antlers and long limbs. Unlike deer, who are often hunted as prey animals, Peryton are well respected by the wolf species in their homeland and have evolved none of the natural paranoia or suspicion native to the more common species.
Both male and female Peryton sport antlers and, despite having no natural predators, it’s been said that these antlers secrete poison as a natural deterrent to any unwise enough to try. Once a year, Peryton shed their horns, which are highly sought after for their decorative and poisonous properties.
Peryton primarily function as guardians, protecting the lands of their birth from intruders and would be menaces. It is no surprise that their most noble attribute is an unerring loyalty, both to their home land but also to their family. When a Peryton mates, it is almost always for life. Mated pairs form loose family units, raising their offspring until they are old enough to go out into the world and find their own way. Family may come back together to roost on occasion, but even if the children separate, the mates will always be found within a few yards of one another.
Abundant and quick, hares are one of the most widely sought after prey animals in all of Ayrea - if you are quick enough to catch one. Hares tend to live in family groups, making their homes in burrows that can be safeguarded from predators. They are a skittish species by default and are much more likely to take flight than to try and stand their ground and fight. After all, they are some of the smallest sentient creatures in the forest.
Although it is unwise to play with your food, so to speak, it is not uncommon for a wolf to befriend a hare and keep it as a companion. They are loyal, quick, and quiet creatures that make good spies or scouts. If a hare can come to trust a wolf, it may benefit them in the long run. Life is a lot easier when you have a big, strong friend at your side.
Like most creatures native to Ayrea, they come only in natural tones by default but may paint themselves in unnatural dyes.
Jackelope hail from Irithyll and are comparable to hares in the mortal realm. They are small familiars that are extremely social and live in family groups as added protection from predators. Like Hares, their natural home is a burrow, often underground or made in the strange landscape of Irithyll's peculiar flora.
They are easily most mischievous familiar in Irithyll and are wildly regarded as tricksters who are just as likely to lead a soul astray as they are to guide it. With their quick feet and impeccable memory, they are particularly well suited to navigation and exploration and may know paths that other creatures, even the wise Ethereal, do not.
Both male and female jackelope have horns, as they do not define gender among the species. Like most creatures in Irithyll, they also come in any variety of strange, peculiar colors and patterns.
Cunning and mischievous are the Raccoon species and though a wolf might tell you differently, it is the Raccoon themselves that first realized how convenient a wolf companion could be. The trade is beneficial to both parties, no matter who realized such first, as Raccoons have the most dexterity of any creatures in Ayrea. Their paws function not unlike human hands, making them highly prized for their ability to collect, create, and explore.
These creatures are very social and prefer to live in groups even if it is not among their own kind, meaning that they will often seek out and offer their services to any other soul they think may be able to offer them protection. They are not picky about their preferred home and will find the opportunity to make burrows or live within abandoned nests of other animals.
Raccoons, as creatures born in the mortal realm, only exhibit natural colors by default.
Vultures are the largest bird of prey in Kells. They are most commonly found in the Waylands, but have made a mark in the Redwoods as well. They are sharp and witty creatures with a keen eye for detail and, since these large and inelegant birds live off of scraps and bones, they have a keen sense of sight and smell to lead them to their next meal. They often follow predators, looming like a shadow while they do the hard work of the hunt, simply waiting to pick at the scraps.
Since meals can be hard to come by, it is not beneficial for this species to group together, though they may be familiar with and on good terms with other members of their species within the same area - or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, they may dislike them outright as competitors for their food. They often mate for company but tend to be quiet, observant creatures regardless of the size of their kettle.
They hail from the mortal realm and, as such, only come in natural tones with a tendency toward dark or muted colors that better help them skulk about in the shadows.
The Phoenix are an extremely rare, poorly understood species that can be found in either Ayrea or Irithyll, but with no consistency. Sightings of this great bird seem to come once in a blue moon and those that can claim to know one are even few and farther between.
What we know of them is very limited. They are born in eggs and must be nurtured to life by their caretaker. Stories drift down the grapevine, telling tales of wolves that were gifted such glorious gifts but is it true? There seems to be no one that can confirm this legend.
On the larger side of the bird of prey species, Owls are considered to be among some of the top hunters in all of Ayrea. They have many gifts that make them stronger hunters than their raven counterparts, such as an almost supernatural ability to hear the softest pattering of a mouse. They have incredible long-distance sight, especially in the darkness and have the ability to fly long distances in near silence. These creatures are most in their element when night has fallen, but they are masters of camouflage by the daylight.
While not quite as chatty as the raven, owls deserve an amount of respect for their mastery of hunting. Their reign over the forest is rarely challenged by other avian species, but these creatures are fairly solitary and tend to stick to the hollows of trees and emerge once the moon's light has risen. On occasion, they may roost together in small groups. Lately, they are becoming an increasingly more popular companion sought out by wolves to ally and befriend.
Though they hail from Ayrea, owls can come in natural or unnatural colors, though the latter is not very common.
One of the craftier creatures of Ayrea are the ravens, who sport a wide array of feather patterns and are, by all accounts, one of the more intelligent familiars to exist in the world. They have a fondness for understanding the world and appreciate gifts in the form of small trinkets and baubles.
These birds are slightly larger than the various crows, sparrows, and jays that occupy the forest, and could put up quite the fight against an owl should the desperation be great enough. Commonly, the raven demands respect from all of those who stop to listen to their chatter, and tend to fly in groups (or murders) in order to bolster their numbers and further their messages across the land. A wolf would be wise to befriend a raven that could act as their eyes above the tress. They are often used to carry messages from one place to another, but they do make for good companionship and conversations as well.
Wisps are the most common familiar to Irithyll. They light up the dark with their iridescent glow, and have been called the heart of the Ethereal. While they cannot speak the common tongue of Ayrea, they can communicate through their light output and, under extreme conditions, through waves of emotions felt briefly but intensely by their companions.
Wisps are very loyal to their wolf counterparts and will spend their entire life bonded to one; linking their lives together so that if the wolf should perish, so too will the wisp. Sometimes, several wisps will become attached to a single wolf, which can be both a blessing and a curse depending on who you ask. They are born from the magic in the land, and while they do not breed, grow, or possess gender, their magnificent, glowing bodies can come in any color possibly imagined.
From time to time a wisp might find itself running with the likes of other familiars and wildlife, but they are never fully capable of bonding in the same way as they do with wolves.