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Leopcoats are a hybrid animal created in Woodstockade in LY 825 by Darryl Des'Farrell. They are a combination of leopelles and curlycoats. The latter of these animals have been known on The Land since the time of Connor and Brigid. Curlycoats are themselves something like a hybrid animal, resembling both sheep and pigs, two animals that exist on Earth, but not on the Land. Curlycoats did in fact exist on Earth at some point, as well, though it is not believed that they currently do. However, when God created the Land, one of the many animals he created were curlycoats. So they are, on this world at least, not technically a hybrid. In any event, they exist in abundance around First Village and were later discovered in various other areas that were eventually settled by humans. When Roderick and the First 50 Elves sailed in search of a new home, curlycoats were among the livestock they brought with them. This was fortunate, as the species did not exist on the Isle of Freedom, where the elves founded their village of Woodstockade. However, an animal they discovered there which had never been seen elsewhere on the Land were the leopelles (pronounced "leh-pels"). These, like curlycoats, are not technically a hybrid, but would appear to be, to a Terran, because God created them based on Earth leopards and gazelles.

While curlycoats have always been very important to Landians (human and elven alike) as a source of meat and wool, no practical use was ever found for wild leopelles. While they were an interesting and beautiful species, they were never domesticated. However, Des'Farrell believed sorcerers should not abandon the field of magic known as bioengineering, which after all had been responsible for the creation of elves. But unlike Sorreters, he felt it would be better to make up entirely new kinds of hybrids, rather than attempting to bring mythical creatures to life based on fantasy stories from other worlds. And so, he chose curlycoats and leopelles for his first such project. The creature he produced, he called "leopcoats" (pronounced "lep-coats," though they are sometimes jokingly referred to as "labcoats"). They possess the size of leopelles (large enough to ride, though somewhat smaller than striders), as well as their speed. In fact the majority of their features are like leopelles, the one truly obvious feature inherited from curlycoats being wool coats- which is, of course, the most obvious trait of curlycoats, themselves. A more subtle, and yet more useful feature leopcoats got from curlycoats is their domesticity. Unlike leopelles, leopcoats are not predators, and are generally friendly towards people. While it is rare to use their wool, and unthinkable to use them for meat, leopcoats make excellent mounts, and since their creation have often been used by elves for riding.

After elves reintegrated with human society following the Coming of the Order, leopcoats have gained a certain degree of popularity among some humans, and in some villages have become a fashionable alternative to striders. In 910, a Sorreter named Nicolai Blitz, an employee of Stock-in-Trade (a company that imports leopcoats from Woodstockade for sale in human villages, among various other livestock it handles), had the idea of enchanting leopcoats with the ability to fly. This made them the first living spell devices, and is somewhat controversial. However, the utmost care is given to training leopcoats to handle the power of flight, and it is uncommon for them to engage in the activity without a rider who is also experienced at handling inanimate flying objects such as carpets. In spite of the protests, there has never been a documented accident involving flying leopcoats, nor is there any evidence of the animals' mistreatment. They have become popular spectacles among most of those who've seen them, and were regarded as one of the most interesting features of the 912 World Fair in Ship.

See alsoEdit

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