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Direwolves are genetically-engineered wolves found on many worlds across the Imperium of Sidhae. Derived

Direwolves

from the genetic material of the extinct Pleistocene direwolves of Old Terra, these monstrous lupines far eclipse their prehistoric ancestors in size and power.

Overview

A typical direwolf is easily the size of a large horse, with massive jaws and fangs capable of biting through anything softer than hardened steel. Adapted to cold environments, direwolves are found mainly on arctic and tundra worlds, and the polar regions of temperate planets, where their giant size helps prevent heat loss.

Direwolves normally hunt in packs of 10-20 individuals, led by an alpha male. Despite their ferocious appearance and reputation, they are normally shy and avoid humans and Sidhae if possible, but will viciously defend their territory if the said stray into it. As with normal Terran wolves, some direwolves will also become loners. These lone wolves are exceptionally dangerous due to the strength and hunting prowess that it takes to survive alone.

Direwolves hold a prominent place in Sidh culture, being admired for their ferocity and pack loyalty. This is especially true for the infamous Alpha Legion, the direwolf holding a prominent place in it's heraldry.

While it is possible to tame a direwolf, these creatures do not submit easily to such efforts and will only become tame if taken in at a very young age. Direwolves do not respond well to conditioning and are difficult to train because of their strong sense of pack hierarchy, being willing to follow only those who have earned their recognition as pack leaders. However, those who have the patience to win the respect of their wolves will be rewarded with fiercely loyal pets as responsive to training as any dog. Pet direwolves, like most other wolves, do not respond well to verbal commands out of an instinctive dislike for human voice (probably a hereditary trait from their Pleistocene ancestors to whom humans were natural enemies), instead preferring non-verbal cues and orders.

There are documented instances of humans and Sidhae succeeding in assuming command of an entire pack of direwolves, usually by challenging and slaying their pack leader in single combat. These rare individuals have succeeded because of their profound knowledge of the animals and their mentality, and command great respect in their societies because of the sheer danger of taking on a direwolf alpha male, the average direwolf being large enough to be used as a mount by a fully-armored Sidh (and some Sidhae indeed using their tamed direwolves in such capacity).

Trivia

Archistrategos Arcadius Drax, commander of the Alpha Legion, is known for his ownership of two pet direwolves, Fenrir and Garm.

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