Midgard - Rudolph Picture

Unlike most animals on Midgard who get their names from Norse mythology or Finnish words, Rudolphs are named after the character from all these christmas stories.

If there was an equivalent of the unique continent of Australia on Midgard, it would be burried underground. The planet has a giant cave system between its last ocean and the sand pillar fields. Some areas have holes peeping to the surface that allows light to enter the caves and plants to grow in the moist environment.

Feeding on those plants is the Rudolph, named after the bulb on the tip of its nose that glows. These animals have large eyes to see so the bulb isn't used to light up the cave for travelling. Instead, a nerve allows the bulb to be lit at will to create a blinding red light. It is used to temporarily blind attackers who reside entirely in the darkness. Rudolphs have to visit light areas occasionally to feed on plants, so they can endure light to some degree. Predators usually can not endure the slightest light.

Rudolphs have a very interesting life cycle. They are born in stilts of 40 eggs and left behind. The eggs hatch one week later into small flying creatures, born deaf instead of blind, that remain in groups of collected babies, searching for scraps of plants. If a predators approaches the flock, they all lit their bulbs together to fend off the attacker. The bulb requires considerable energy to be lit so group defense works well for these animals.

Few will survive growing up and will eventually give up flight and start walking. The wings stop growing and hearing starts to develop better, but retain strong muscle and can be adjusted to focus hearing in one direction. Those who find a herd are allowed to join immediately since they have survived for 5 months. When fully grown, Rudolphs are as big as a Roe Deer.

Rudolphs also have a different ancestor than the Nidhogg or Slimer for example. They evolved from Midgard's fish rather than the squid, which is why they have eyes and a tail that was made to move up and down rather than side to side. When the first ocean evaporated, it left behind new environments such as the spires and the caves. Many animals who needed to escape the dry desert heat escaped to the caves and evolved into new creatures specialised for life underground. These animals, including the Rudolph, are not found anywhere else on the planet.

tag The idea of the Rudolph actually came to me from christmas decorations. We used to have miniature rudolph heads made from peanuts glued together, with a red nose made of wax and golden silk for the antlears. I pretended that the little peanuts were flying nymphs, similar to Barlowe's Sea Striders. They were also originally meant to live on Geb-7 but I instead moved them, along with many cave animals, to Midgard.
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