"Know thy quarry, know thyself."
—early naturalist and theologian, Frandelont Raimdelle
Even during an age of strife, adventurers will frequently find time to step away from the battles at hand, if not out of necessity, then simply for a change of pace. Whether procuring pelts for sale at the market, gathering ingredients for alchemic endeavors, or finding a tasty morsel to quell the incessant grumblings of one's belly, hunting is an indispensable part of an adventurer's daily routine. However, taking up a blade against the realm's wildlife can be no less dangerous than standing in a shield wall on the frontlines of battle, or defending a fortress against a bloody siege. The harsh environs of Eorzea have left their mark on the land's fauna, culling the weak and sharpening the senses of those that survived; and while they may not be tainted with the same dark ambitions that poison the hearts of men, the beasts are equally ruthless when threatened. Thus, a truly skilled hunter will never step into the wild without first fully understanding the beast they pursue.
The following passages are taken from Eorzea's highly seminal bestiary, the Raimdelle Codex. The compendium contains a priceless wealth of knowledge on the many plants and animals native to the Eorzean landmass, and although penned centuries ago, is still used across the realm by scholars and hunters alike.
As is the case in many contemporary transcriptions of the codex, each passage is followed by a modern interpretation of the original text.
The raptor is a sharp-set and full thirsty serpent, and naught but the lifeblood of man or beast may slake his bitter thirst, as it is said coldness of the raptor's blood driveth him to murther.
In holts and copses, raptors scheme and forge a plot atween them: one acteth the bait, and lureth their quarry on a chase over root and knot, and when their quarry waxeth weary, the second leapeth forth from hidden boughs and by great subtlety of guile, slayeth the prey and drinketh his blood anon for to warm himself.
Yet in spite of divers perils, he is oft for his silken skin of scales hunted and flayed, and his venomous claws be accounted good and profitable in working of Alchemic.
Raptors are cold-blooded, serpent-like beasts that inhabit dense forest regions. They often hunt their prey in pairs, with one acting as decoy and the other lying in wait until the prey has tired, then taking it unawares. Even though hunting the raptor can prove a lethal endeavor, the risk is often undertaken due to the combined value of the raptor's skin and venomous fangs, which fetch handsome prices from practitioners of alchemy.
No creature displayeth such fairness in shape and nobility as the anteloupe, for he hath a bestriped cloak that shineth when the sun doth strike upon it, and mighty horns that reacheth heavensward. He devoureth only herbs and shrubs on grassy plains, and spurneth rotten meats. Nathless he be so swift, that he be likened to wint'ry winds in swiftness of flight.
A single male bringeth forth a company of divers bluish females to the place where he dwelleth, and he loveth his wives with a wonder love, and leadeth them hither and thither about the plains thereat, and is ne'er alone for because he is a–feared of loneliness. And it is nicely curious that his wit of speaking is the best, yet howlings and lowings he uttereth not. In sooth, he hath a tail in likeness of a willow sprig, and with twice swaying or thrice he maketh others to obey.
If it hap a man hunteth the anteloupe, he is best to lurk in privy shadows and strike when a lone beast tarrieth after his kith, lest he be set upon by the company overcome with wroth. The male antelope has distinctive stripes across his backside and a pair of prominent horns, while female exhibits a demure, bluish coat. They are wholly herbivorous, gregarious, and extremely fleet of foot, with males of the species engaging in polygamy. They mainly inhabit grassy plains and savannahs, and are thought to communicate via the swaying of their tails. When hunting antelope, the most effective approach is to target a lone specimen, for the entire herd will attack should any of their members come to harm or danger.
Atop rocky crags dwelleth the aldgoat, wondrous hardy and woolly, and ravenous insomuch that hardly he may have provender enough to sate his ne'erending hunger, for nigh all men know the land's stark mountaintops were once leafy knolls ere the aldgoat came, or so telleth the Ishgardian myth, Tale of Bridges.
The male aldgoat hath a rough shapen head, as it were the head of a statue, and sinewy nape for to shield 'gainst whetted fangs. From his temples groweth forth twin crook'd horns, right strong and sturdy, with which he rendeth most cruelly. These are not absent the female, yet hers are tiny, for her disposition tendeth toward meekness and mildness. It is said witches use the horns and perform many witchcrafts therewith. While the aldgoat is young and tender and fair of disposition, he may yet be made tame and obedient. If however unbroken by his second Spring, he is lost and men he shall shun e'ermore.
Aldgoats are denizens of rocky, mountainous regions, indiscriminately eating any vegetation they happen across. They have thick, wooly coats and sharp horns, though the horns of the males are markedly larger than those of the females. These horns are highly sought after for their potency in various magical endeavors. The aldgoat also has a protective ring of tough flesh around its necks, which serves to defend against the bites of predators. Aldgoats can be successfully domesticated and raised as livestock provided they are broken before their second year.