The name Baluari is a portmanteau of the South American jaguar god Balam and the Tibetan goddess of snakes and poison Janguli coined by a researcher in 2003.
The earliest recorded account of the Baluari is the fireside tale “Wait ‘til Martin Comes”. Aside from this story very little is known about the species due to its venomous nature.
Most Baluari at first glance are easily mistaken for everyday cats. They are always black with gold eyes that appear red in some lighting. Their usual height is 12-14in. at the shoulder, with a body length of 16in. and a tail length of 8in. However Alpha males have been shown to grow much larger, some rivaling the genus Panthera. This is believed to be due to hormones caused by the stress of leadership.
Like most cats Baluari are most active from dusk to dawn. They live in colonies, sharing a water source and shelter. A colony is led by an Alpha male, whose job is to protect the group from both predators and other colonies. There is sadly only one colony remaining.
Once rank has been settled, battles for dominance are rare within a colony. Members are normally close and often groom each other as well as share parenting duties for the colony’s litters. Rank is undivided between genders and Alphas guard their rights with firm but gentle discipline.
Baluari reach sexual maturity at 18 months. The mating season is December – February and kittens are born two months later in litters of 1-5. There is no difference in mating practices between Baluari and other cats. Mothers will gather together and nurse each other’s kittens while others hunt. Males may also bring food to the females, but they are often unwelcome until training of the young begins.
Baluari, like most small felines, prey on rodents, birds, fish and lizards. Hunting usually takes place at night. Some members hunt in pairs, but most prefer to be alone. The stalk-and-ambush method is aided by their venom which quickly disables the victim.
Being much like felis catus and its wild kin, Baluari are presumed to share a similar lifespan. However this has never been proven as it is impossible to tell most Baluari apart and colony numbers are stable due to the fact excess members disperse once the group grows too large. It has been suggested in jest that perhaps they are immortal.
Impact on Prey SpeciesEdit
As noted above, Baluari prey on rodents, birds, fish and lizards. They are the only predators of their size in their home range, thus controlling to some extent the such populations, but no numbers exist at this time to give a larger picture.
Defenses and EnemiesEdit
Both genders have venomous claws but males lack the snake-like fangs for obvious reasons. Wolves, dogs and birds of prey are the Balauri’s main predators, but only the last was ever able to survive the encounter. Besides the venom, the Baluari shares most of its defenses with other felines, such as sharp claws and teeth. Female canines are hollow and inject venom same as their claws, while males have normal feline canines though their claws are no different than the females.
Baluari communicate much in the same way as common house cats; with meows, hisses, purrs, and body language. So far no unique vocalizations or gestures have been noted.
While Baluari themselves have shown a resistance to most diseases that claim the lives of their relatives, they are extremely well known for the “fever” that results from their venom. Unlike cat scratch disease, “scratch cat fever” has no cure. Due to the Baluari often being mistaken for the common cat, victims rarely know they are infected until the symptoms, which include fever, headache, impaired vision and eventually paralysis, appear. Symptoms begin to show within 24 hours and lead to death within 48.
Baluari once roamed much of North America. Mistaken for demons, they were eradicated during the witch trials, forcing their escape to Aufaniae. They lived in the Sylvan Forest until the encroachment by the founders of Palladium. Their sanctuary was briefly invaded; legend has it that they were directly responsible for curbing any further expansion.
There have been rare cases of Baluari mating with felis catus. Each of these has resulted in a slowed venom development for the offspring but otherwise they are no different than a full Baluari.
The tale mentioned above makes it seem that Baluari are immune to fire, eat live coals, and can speak in a human tongue. This is foolishness. Baluari will scavenge dying campfires for meat dropped and charred, but otherwise they avoid fire same as any other creature. All smaller felines make sounds that resemble speech and the Baluari are no exception. This can be mistaken for actual language.
- Schwartz, Alvin. (1981) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
- Schwartz, Alvin. (1992) Stories to Tell a Cat
- Hamilton, Virginia. (1993) The People Could Fly
The Baluari is the main species featured in The Felines Immortal.