The Dujan is a mid-sized mammal creature that is common in central-south Naktian countries like Abun, Issad, Tin'Ris and Tier'Ma. An hybrid between a feline and a mustelid, the Dujan is mostly kept as a pet and is known for being a prized and valuable animal, due to its association with the nobility in Central and South Nakti.
The origins of the Dujan
The origins of the species date back to the prehistory, where the ancestor of the Dujan, the Oisivora (an Aldite word to mean "giant eater") used to live in the Issadi region. The Oisivora was a quite large carnivore animal, almost the same size of a Chirt, and was a pack animal. The early settlers in Issad used to hunt them, and they managed to progressively domesticate the cubs, in order to create a tamed predator that could be used during huntings.
Centuries have passed, and the Oisivora went extinct in the wild, while the domesticated specimen were kept breeding by the Issadi. Around the late Neolithic, the necessity of hunting lessened, allowed the breeders to adopt a more selective breeding, tending to favour the more docile specimen in spite of the more aggressive ones, leading to the creation of a smaller, new breed called "Dujan" which means "Companion" in Issadi language. The new race begun to attract the attention of the nobility of the time, and Issadi nobles begun to adopt them in their households.
According to what's been retrieved in Hyagar library in Issad, the most ancient mention of a Dujan dates back to year 124 of the Proto-History, mentioning a transaction done by a Fazan noble who traded two of his most prized horses for a male and female black Dujan, as a gift to his daughter.
The Dujan has the same size of a large cat; the shape of its skull resembles the one of a mustelid, while the body structure resembles the one of a feline. It has a long, puffy tail and often, it has dark stripes on its back and on the tail, along with a "collar" around its neck and a patch of darker fur on its chest. The most common fur colours of Dujan are orange, cream, brown, and grey. Extremely rare are the black and white Dujan, that are believed to be the most prized specimen. A series of long, non retractile claws give them the ability to dig and climb, while their whiskers are particularly sensitive to vibrations, making them aware of the presence of possible preys.
It is a docile, empathic animal. In Abun, the priests of Nyar believe that they understand words, concepts and situations just like humans. Due to the great empathy they have towards their owners, they are often preferred to cats or dogs as gifts to children, since they tend to be playful and highly protective towards them, just like if they are their own cubs.
Being the descendant of a predator like the Oisivora, the Dujan is mostly a carnivore animal, although it tends to be omnivore, according to the diet provided by the owner. White meat and fish are the most preferred food for the Dujan, although they can eat fruits too such as apples and pears. The Frip Fruit and its seeds are not recommended, as it is toxic to them.
Being an artificially-bred species, the Dujan is known to face a series of health issues during its late stages of life, one of the most common issues are related to the heart, which is also one of the most common causes of death of the animal. The heart of a Dujan beats faster than a cat or a dog, and during old age, this makes them more tired than other animals, forcing them to become lazy and apathetic, in order to avoid excessive strain.
Also, they cannot eat Frip Fruits and Ustam leaves: while the Frip Fruit and its seeds could cause nausea and a light fever in the animal, the Ustam leaves could kill them by anaphylactic shock, due to one of the enzymes featured in the herb.
The Dujan as a prized "good"
Due to its rarity, beauty and empathy towards people, the Dujan has become in people's minds as "the nobles' companion", making it an highly prized animal. Often, nobles from all over Central and South Nakti visit the Issadi Dujan breeders in order to buy one, or they contact the few merchants who have ties with the breeders that can sell them the animals for a price.
In Issad, the job of a Dujan breeder is highly regarded and is one of the best ways to get in touch with the local and foreign nobles. Since being a breeder is an important and respected job, the Issadi have gathered them into an order, that gives them an additional recognition among the merchants and the people who want to buy one. Since year 964 A.C. the Issadi monarchy officially introduced an "export limit" to the Dujan, in order to prevent a reduction of the specimen and to keep their value high.
The Dujan is unusual among the mammals. The reason is because the male is way smaller than the female, showing a quite visible sexual dismorphism between the two sexes. The female goes in heat every spring, and in this period, the predatory instincts of their ancestor, the Oisivora, take their mind.
When a female is in heat, she is very sensitive to every kind of stimulus: even if she is petted by her owner, she could reach an orgasm, as her body becomes very sensitive and releases an high amount of pheromones to attract males, but also the attention of other females (if present in the household) which will lead to a battle in order to determine who is going to mate with the male, while the male limits himself to watch the fight. In order to avoid such battles, that sometimes could even lead the animals to get wounded, Dujan owners who have more than one female tend to isolate the other females from the male during the mating season, and choose the partner they see as stronger and healthier for reproduction. Once the winner takes the male, the actual mating begins. The intercourse lasts for a very short time, around one minute, and then she leaves.
The females become more active and determined to mate, and they will even try to mate with other species or even Naktians, if they are allowed to do so, losing every kind of control they usually have. The Oisivora weren't monogamous animals, so they tended to change partners at every mating seasons, unlike their descendants, that usually tend to establish an emotional bond with the partner once they mated multiple times together.