The Discovery Pamphlet: Mallenoctus
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With any new creature comes the need to explain the social organization and habitat. So rather than just telling you everything about the creature Mallenoctus, here is an interview between The Discovery Pamphlet host Alexius Orbwell and Steeb Elwin, a renowned druid who has made it his goal to discover the behaviors of rare and interesting creatures.
 The Discovery Pamphlet
Good day. This is Alexius Orbwell bringing you this weeks edition of The Discovery Pamphlet. Today I will be talking with renowned wildlife expert and druid Steeb Elwin, who has spent the last couple of weeks studying the mallenoctus, a unique bird of prey well known for its unusual preference to hunt in packs and its deadly swoop attacks. This bird has remained largely a mystery, but Steeb not only was able to transform himself into a mallenoctus, but also spent a good deal of time with the birds watching their behavior. He is here to share what he has learned.
Alexius: "Good morning, Steeb, nice to have you with us."
Steeb: "Yes, nice to be here again, mate."
Alexius: "Let's get right down to it, shall we?"
Steeb: "Right, right."
Alexius: "What made you want to study the mallenoctus?"
Steeb: "Why, they are beautiful birds, and we know hardly anything about then. We knew they hunted in packs, that that they were very smart, and that they used amazing aerial swoops to attack prey."
Alexius: "Why do we know so little about them?"
Steeb: "Well their nests are impossibly high, at the tops of trees or unreachable locations in mountains. And they are almost invisible from the ground when they hunt."
Alexius: "So you took on their shape, and lived with them for two weeks was it?"
Steeb: "Yes, well, twelves days to be exact."
Alexius: "What was your strongest impression?"
Steeb: "I was astounded at how smart they are for animals, and how they are able to coordinate perfectly without making a sound."
Alexius: "Yes you mention then coordinating. We hear of them hunting in packs all the time, do they also live together in groups?"
Steeb: "Only loosely. I was observing a group in the Boar Mountains, and the different families had eyries a good distance apart, but within easy flying distance."
Alexius: "I know in the past some animals you have tried to observe have not taken kindly to your presents even when you are in their form. How did the mallenocti take you?"
Steeb: "Rather well. They treated me like a small town might treat a strange passerby, which I guess I was. They were a little suspicious, but let me come and go as I pleased. I even took the liberty of tagging along on the hunts on two nights.
Alexius: "I bet our readers would like to hear about that."
Steeb: "Oh yes, it was glorious, mate. They would go on hunts every few days around sunset. When the time came for a hunt, a few birds would take off and fly around the other nests. The other birds would then follow these leaders, who would disperse in different directions, their pack following behind. They would climb to a height of several thousand feet before diving on prey."
Alexius: "You don't mean to say that their eyesight is so good they can find prey from several thousand feet up in low light?"
Steeb: "Their vision is remarkable, but that would be hard to do even for them. They have one of their members fly lower to the ground, only about eight hundred feet up I would guess, too low for an effective dive. When he spotted prey, he would make a small dive over the target, and the others would dive towards it one after another to deliver a series of powerful blows. The golden streaks on their backs help greatly in this. It is like a beacon to the rest of the pack higher up, clearly visible even in low light."
Alexius: "Doesn't that make them vulnerable to other aerial predators?"
Steeb: "It does a bit, but it is more of a help because not much is flying higher than the pack, and the spotter has the pack to help him if he runs into trouble. The first night I was out, they brought down a large buck, the antlers would have been the prize of any huntsman's collection. They ate up and then returned home to feed their young. The second time, though, a large arrowhawk tried to nab the spotter. He was above the spotter and below the group. So when the group saw him, they let out a much louder cry then I would have though possible and dove for the arrowhawk. The spotter dodged out of the way of the arrowhawk's attack, and the others were on him before he had time to react. They tore at the wings of the arrowhawk and then just let him fall to his death. Then they did something really interesting. They ate this big bird and got full up, but then kept on hunting. They brought down a dire bear, but didn't take a bite of him. They ripped him up as best they could and then carried as much of him as possible back towards their nests. But instead of dispersing, they continued as a group to a large cave on one of the peaks. I followed them in and thought 'crikey, that's a big one!'"
Alexius: "There was a large Mallenoctus in the cave?"
Steeb: "Two of them, the biggest ones I had ever seen, with brilliant gold stripes on their backs. Other groups of birds came in, and they all were carrying food. They all gave it like an offering to the two birds."
Alexius: "What, like 'here, eat this don't eat me!'?"
Steeb: "Not at all, mate. It was more out of respect than fear."
Alexius: "Well that is very intriguing. I think we have just enough room for a few questions from our readers. Here is one we haven't covered yet from Aejgidius Giles, a farmer from West Ham. He writes, 'Dear Steeb, after I got lucky and scared away a giant last week, my entire village is looking to me to protect them and their livestock. I don't want to let them down. I was wondering if I should worry about mallenoctuses attacking the herds, and what I should do about it?'"
Steeb: "Well, first off, the plural is 'mallenocti,' and no they are not a real danger to herds. They are rare, and even if they are close they don't go for sheep and cows very often. But if you do want to know how to keep them away, like all nocturnal hunters, mallenocti try to avoid well lit areas. They lose much of their advantage. But you should worry more about wolves and things like that. Also, I hear rumor of a dragon being around Ham, so watch yourself, mate!"
Alexius: "Here is one signed a bit oddly from 'An Unshaven Pot-maker" from Warthogs."
Steeb: "Yes well those kids from Warthogs are a bit odd, no offense."
Alexius: "He writes, 'Mr. Elwin, I hear that the feathers of a mallenoctus are magical. How can I catch one?"
Steeb: "Oh, those kids at Warthogs always thinking about catching things. Like that ludicrousness game they came up with, how is that fun? But anyway, I am afraid you are out of luck. The feathers are not magical, and even if they were, I doubt very much you could catch one even with a magic boot or flying broom, I don't care who you are. So you should find something else to do with your time. Play a game of chess, climb that tree outside. I bet you will have a whomping good time."
Alexius: "Ok, last question. Here is one more along the lines of fain mail, lets see what it says. Nogare from Carvall in Alagassi writes "I think you are so cool, Steeb, I want to be just like you. In fact, I am going to explore a rare species my friend Brim says are called Razc, or something like that. The spelling is wierd. Any suggestions?"
Steeb: "I would say don't, but you have copied everyone else, so I doubt I could stop you from copying me."
Alexius: "Ok that is enough for today. Thank you, Steeb."
Steeb: "Thank you, Alexius."
Alexius: "To all our readers out there, pick up a pamphlet next week to read all about how a trebuchet works. Remember, send in your questions and you could get them answered by the experts. Until then, goodbye."