Group: Shoal of Hyards
General Info: The amphibious Hyards are curious creatures, resembling both reptiles and felines. Their low-slung panther-like bodies are covered with sleek and smoothly overlapping scales of varying colors depending on rank. Their ears are perpetually flat against their heads to help streamline their forms, and they have extra webbing between their toes to help propel them in the water. A single spiral horn in the center of their forehead curves gently back, a feature which plays a major part in their mating ritual. Male Hyards possess manes and tail tufts similar to those of lions. A Hyard's diet consists of fish and whatever other small things they can catch, with much variety in personal tastes.
Though intelligent enough to manage short sentences in thought-speech, they tend to have numerous problems with grammar. The short sentences they can manage are supplemented with expressive body language and numerous melodic rumblings and chirps.
Mating Info: The Hyard mating ritual is a three part process, starting just before sunrise and lasting all day. The female will select a large flat rock near a body of water to bask on. Males will arrive and join her in warming up in the sun. During the course of the day the female may chose to engage in small talk with the males, or she may simply sit in silence and appraise her admirers. Towards sunset she will rise, her scales almost glowing from the long day in the sun. Facing the males she begins a slow, circling dance. The males join in, their dances either mimicking or complementing hers. Eventually she will move away to a clear stretch of sand where she begins to trace patterns in the sand with her horn. Her suitors do the same and once they are done she will select a mate based on the grace of his dance and the skill shown in his drawings.
During the entire ritual there is a barely suppressed air of tension and violence. Any male who touches the female before she has chosen a mate will be attacked, wither by the Queen herself, or by the other jealous males.
Bonding Info: After laying her eggs in a nest of mud and leaves on the water's edge, the queen will bury them and abandon them. A change in tide or water level can leave the eggs submerged. This does not harm the eggs, though it may make them harder to find. When the eggs hatch the young Hyards will slide into the water to look for food such as tadpoles or small fish. Those hoping to Bond with a Hyard may gain a hatchling's attention and trust with offerings of food.
The sole queen of Hyards, Slates are proud and dignified, as well as considerably larger than any of the other ranks. Their colors tend to be solid, clean shades of gray and white, never tinted by any hue. Very rarely a Slate will have black markings, though their horns are always pure white. When a Slate lays her eggs there tend to be at least a dozen, though they may not all hatch.
Larger of the two Hyard lords, Chalks are the perfect counterparts to their Slate queens. Chalks know that they are the highest of the Lords, a fact which colors their world view. Knowing that they are superior to the other ranks, they try to be patient with them. The colors of their scales as well as their manes match their calm demeanors, ranging from bright white to a more creamy color. The tips of their horns are black, as well as their tail tufts.
The lesser Hyard lord, Amazonites tend to be quick both in mind and body. Their brightly colored scales only add to this impression, ranging from sky blue at the lightest to a deep turquoise. The colors of their horns, manes, and tail tufts tend to be white, though yellow tints are not uncommon.
Easily the most colorful of Hyards, these common males can come in any combination of different shades of white, black, red, brown and green. Their manes and tail tufts range from pure white to all shades of gray and sometimes silver or black; the patterns on their scales are usually stripes and swirls. No two Banded Onyx Hyards will be the same in either color or personality.
Sugilites have scales in a shocking array of pinks, purples and reds. Many tend towards darker shades, but bright, electric colors are not at all rare. The patterns on their scales tend to be very random, sometimes striped or spotted, sometimes with each individual scale a different hue. Their horns are a flat, dull black, providing contrast to the colors of their scales. Sugilites lead mating dances frequently, but never clutch.
Lowest ranking of all Hyards, they are like a female counterpart to their Banded Onyx kin. Their scales are pitch black at first glance, but when the light strikes them a rainbow is revealed in the manner of an oil slick against a black background. Their horns are solid lustrous black, like their scales. Though they hold ritual dances more often than the other two female ranks, they never lay eggs.
Common males, Jades come in a wide range of greens, although they also may end up with a bluish tint. Their manes and tufts of their tail come in all shades of gold, rarely going so light that they appear white, while their horn can either be gold or green. Their scales have no set pattern, nor is it uncommon for them to simply be one solid color. Personalities are varied, but they often seem to bring good luck to those closest to them.