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"He loves me...he loves me not."
|Alternate Names/Spellings||(pl) Sak|
|Origins||Egyptian Mythology, Legend and Folklore|
|Species||Magical Beast (Chimera [Zoophyte])|
The Sak is a creature with origins in Egyptian mythology, legend and folklore. Accounts of the creature's existence survive into the present-day by the discovery of monuments dedicated to it.
These monuments seem to indicate that the creature was worshiped (or, at least, honored) in the earlier periods of Ancient Egypt's 17th Dynasty. Though, while the creature was honored by monuments, there seems to have also been some fear attached to it.
This is due to the composite nature of its appearance, and what each element of its appearance was meant to represent. This fear was particularly in regards to females of the species, as they had potential to help rear up yet more of their kind into existence.
Paradoxically, females Sak are the only gender portrayed in unearthed monuments to the species. Many speculate that, while many found the females more frightening and powerful than the male (for their power to bear young), that same ability probably made them preferable over males in obscure fertility rites and rituals of the time.
The Sak, like its cousins the Gryphon and the Hieracosphinx, has a body which combines the nature of numerous living things (most of which are animal species). It possesses a head like a hawk, foreparts and all four paws like a lion, and hindparts like a horse (excluding hooves and horse tail).
Its size ranges within that of a big cat (in particular, a lion). And, similar to many desert-ranging species, it is most commonly tan with brown markings (often a streaked and/or dapple pattern), though darker and lighter fur coloration are possible.
Yet, its undoubtedly most distinguishing feature has got to be the tail. While it starts off similar to a big cat's long, slender tail, the color slowly graduates from ordinary mammal colors to a healthy green or woody brown, before terminating in a lotus, which blooms like a normal flower.
It stands to reason that the Sak would act as any other wild animal; for the most part docile, but capable of aggression and hostility, if territory or offspring are threatened. Furthermore, while they come together in due season to mate, and the mother keeps offspring around until they are old enough to fend for themselves, the Sak is otherwise a solitary creature.
Still, if the monuments of old are to be believed, the Sak is docile enough that it can be tamed and raised in captivity. At least, such is known of the females of the species (who are almost exclusively depicted, in ancient findings, as having leashes about their necks).
Due to its chimerical nature, it is primarily a carnivore. And with the passing of the seasons, it may be attracted to locations with high populations of bees and other insects, by which its tail-flower may be pollinated.
The abilities of the Sak are primarily physical in nature. It has a beak with which to peck at food and (along with claws) ward off potential attackers. Its body size is similar to a lion, and thus it possesses the speed, strength and durability of a lion. And all of its senses are like unto a lion, except for its sense of sight, which surpasses that of a lion or a hawk (including night vision).
Aside from this, it possesses a lotus on its tail. At least in some cases, it is believed that the Sak has a psychic rapport with this flower, allowing it to release the flower's pheromones at will. This assists in numerous social interactions, including the attraction of pollinating insects, attraction of a mate, marking of territory with one's specific flower scent, signaling to family members, or the like. These pheromones may be lotus only in name (ie the scientifically identified species of plant called lotus) or may actually be the mythical species of lotus, depending on breed.
To some degree, the flower even allows the Sak to undergo a bit of photosynthesis, allowing or extra intake of nutrients and, if necessary, going longer than normal without physical food.
The lotus with which the Sak's tail is tipped, is naturally very highly coveted (by Lotus-Eaters, botanists, among others--even animal trappers). And while the individual petals can safely be plucked and regrow with no harm or pain to the Sak, there are some who pluck the central stem of the flower. This is not only painful, but fatal, as it connects to blood vessels leading to vital organs in the Sak's body.