The Copper Coast
”Do you think that these beasts simply roll over and let you scratch them on the belly? This isn’t like riding a horse – that is unless you’ve ever heard of a horse with claws as long as your forearm and teeth that would give a dragon nightmares.” – Tammerlin Koreen
The tigers, known to the wild Bendari elves as the Miaug, are giant cats with a pair of huge fangs jutting from their powerful jaws. Due to these teeth, they are often referred to as saber-toothed tigers. In the wild, Miaug prey on just about anything that moves. They will patiently stalk a potential meal, striking whenever the creature lets down its guard.
Bendari elves typically use the great cats for both mounts and as camp sentinels. The elves believe they have a special bond with the animals. This is only reinforced by the rigorous undertaking to obtain Miaug cubs. This is a rite to prove oneself as an able Bendari Beastmaster. The elf must first find a tiger den. Then they must then remove all of their armor and weapons and enter the den and entice a cub with nothing but their bare hands and wits.
If the Bendari survives the ritual, they will need to grow their cub into the predator they were always meant to be. This will take some time and effort on behalf of the elf. They must start with small prey and work their way up to some of the toughest beasts that can still be eaten.
Soon, the cub will have grown into an awkward adolescent. It knows how to eat and even how to use its teeth to kill, but it knows nothing of subtlety. Now it must learn how to stalk like a beast in the woods. Once the young tiger has learned how to hunt and stalk its prey, it now it must be taught the lesson of survival as a Bendari. Not all creatures can be eaten, not all creatures can be avoided. Sometimes Bendari simply fight and kill for the sheer need of it. Such bloodlust is not natural for an animal – it must be taught at the hands of a master.
Bendari lore judges that the elf and the Miaug must ultimately be as one. The last rite will determine if the bond is now strong enough, that the great cat will consent to let it’s master mount it. But first, there is the matter of the saddle. The saddle is not something that can be purchased– it must be crafted by the one who wishes to ride.