A thorpin is one of the Great Gadians of the Archipelago of Orion. Making their home in the waters off the shores of the farthest southern islands in the chain of islands in the Great Ocean, thorpins have five developmental stages.
Thorpins are born in the ocean, near the shores of the Thorpin Islands. At birth, they are relatively small, no bigger than a mouse. Their mothers keep the young in shallow lagoons in the leeward side of the islands while the male thorpins hunt and bring back food. For almost three months, the thorpin family unit remains in this lagoons while the young are developing.
After about three months, the young thorpins have developed the strength to scramble onto land pulling themselves up the beaches into some protected woodlands near the lagoons. There, the thorpins, with lots of fat stored up, wrap themselves in a cocoon, where they stay for another three months. When they emerge, they enter their third phase of life. The fins they had as babies have grown and, while still webbed are now working legs. The thorpins also boast a set of four wings, allowing them to fly and hunt prey from above.
They have also formed the rows of razor like teeth that continue to grow and be replaced throughout their life. Upon emerging from their cacoons, the thorpins are ravenous and in their early history with humans, would often come in conflict with them.
But, since domestication, the thorpins are fed and cared for as soon as they emerge from the cacoons. They are kept ranches throughout the islands during this phase, while they grow and can be trained to be ridden and used for hunting and fishing.
In this third stage, the thorpin will grow from about the size of a small dog to a large dolphin. Though they are strong and can be ridden, thorpins are not particularly fast and are the slowest of the Gadian on land, though they have great stamina. They are proficient in the air, but nothing can match their speed in the water.
Like their parents, a third stage thorpin has a blow hole that allows it to hold its breath for long periods of time when they are swimming.
After nearly five years in this stage, the thorpin will return to the sea, where they enter they excrete a second cocoon around themselves, but this one floats. For the next four months, the thorpin will float in these luminescent balls in the sea. Both the islanders and the fully adult thorpins protect the spheres during there time of vulnerability.
In the last month, the thorpins inside the balls begin to eat them and eventually put on a tremendous amount of weight. It is also at this time that their legs lengthen and flatten and become true fins. Two of their wings fuse into a dorsal fin and the final two wings are lost. And then they emerge into their final stage of life.
No longer able to walk on land or fly, they spend their remaining lives in the water. In all a thorpin can live for up to 80 years and during this time they continue to grow, often reaching the size of a whale, though they are thinner.
Thorpin Islands relies on the thorpin during the third stage to represent them in the Gadian Tournament. Like the Dragon and Bastim islanders, Thorpin Islanders participate in the tournament when they are between the ages of 12 to 15. Interestingly, all thorpin riders are female, but unlike the Griffin Islanders, who require all tournaments entrants to be male as a matter of tradition, thorpins do not bond well with males during the third stage. Thorpins themselves do not have a gender until they enter the fifth stage.
Translated from The Book of Gadians, Dragon Island Academy
This is background for the latest book I’m working on.