Shunjilas

Shunjilas are among the most prized and reputable creatures that can be found in Damir.  Found near the massive forestland of Oringard, Shunjilas are renowned for using the trees as their homes.  Described to be foxes with three tails and a frill about its neck resembling a white collar, the Shunjila’s most famous attribute is its ability to glide. Using the trees as a means to both hunt and flee, the Shunjila gracefully glides from branch to branch.  On the ground, the Shunjilas possess both the speed and agility of any other fox.  Its three tails can be used to cover its tracks by releasing a scent in the air, confusing hunters.  The tails of a Shunjila are highly valued among merchants and tailors, who work closely with skilled hunters to obtain them.  Considered the “gold medal” for hunters, a Shunjila is particularly difficult to track and catch.  Yet their fur is in such high demand that any hunter who successfully hunts a Shunjila will be rewarded with a fortune.  Most Shunjilas can be found near the village Purewater, around the Paia River.

Ancient elven lore states that Shunjilas are magical creatures with telepathic capabilities.  Because of how tricky it is to catch a Shunjila, it was believed for several centuries that the creatures had the ability to turn invisible and vanish suddenly.  The wood elves of Oringard revered the Shunjilas as wise and crafty creatures, refusing to hunt them as they were seen as allies to the forest.  However, when the orcs invaded Oringard in 460 ACW, the Shunjilas were hunted for their meat and slaughtered.  Driven to the Paia River region of southwestern Oringard, Shunjilas are close to disappearing from Damir all together.

A favorite human fable told around the fires of Purewater is the Tale of Tayles.  The story goes that a great Shunjila named Tayles encountered a young woodsman in the forest.  The woodsman was lost, looking for help.  Darkness had fallen, and the woodsman could not determine which direction to head.  Tayles warned the woodsman that if he followed the river north it would lead him to the Mud Flats where he would drown in the soft mud.  He instead advised the woodsman to go south where he would find civilization and the help he would need.  The woodsman took Tayles’ word  and went south.  He walked straight into the Mud Flats and drowned in the mud.  While the story is simple, it paints the Shunjila character Tayles as a devious liar not to be trusted.  Some believe Tayles is no mythical character but real.  Actual accounts of hunters and woodsmen getting lost about the Paia River and walking into the Mud Flats has happened numerous times.  Many believe it is the work of Tayles, who has a knack for confusing the direction of travelers.  A second spin on the tale defends Tayles, and blames the woodsman’s death on his own stupidity and overall poor sense of direction.  Some say Tayles has saved countless lives from the Mud Flats by showing lost travelers the way by gliding across the stars in the direction they should travel; all that is needed is for the traveler to look up and follow.  Regardless of his depiction as guide or villain, Tayles is immortalized in Purewater folklore with endless stories detailing either his heroics or his misdeeds.

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