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~Notes III: Natural Enemies and Prey~
The forest of Mirkwood is notorious for its variety of dangerous species. To date, there are approximately 3 known species of spiders, 2 species of orcs, 2 species of wolves, 1 species of predatory bat, and 1 species of Dwarf. Remnants of a dragon (Serpentia derkesthai) may still be spotted beneath the Long Lake, though no other Serpentia have been reported in the area.
Of the three spider species (Lycosa tarentula, Latrodectus vulgaris, and Lactrodectus mocktans), only two pose great threat to the T. galadh. Lycosa tarentula is relatively small in size, and bites cause only minor skin irritations. Conversely, Latrodectus vulgaris and Lactrodectus mocktans may prove deadly. Each species may grow to the approximate size of an elephant, and the opaque, rope-like webbing produced is strong and highly adhesive. L. mocktans may be identified by its prominent chelicerae (pincers), L. vulgaris by its ability to speak. The T. galadh were observed to slay any spider upon immediate discovery; no arachnids were present in the Wood-Elven Halls and surrounding grounds.
Gobelin elderus, or orcs, generally inhabit the darker, rocky mountainous areas surrounding the T. galadh habitat. As no Uruk-hai (Gobelin sapien) have been observed since the War of the Ring, the species is believed to be extinct. Their lesser-evolved counterparts, however, continue to thrive. Aside from spiders, Gobelin (sp.) are one of the greatest predators of T. galadh. The T. galadh were observed to react to Gobelin elderus presence as they would a spider—the orc was slain upon immediate discovery.
Canis fatalis, or Wargs, are also thought to be extinct. Their lesser-evolved counterparts, the wild wolves (Canis lupus), will rarely attack Elves. Although vicious when provoked, the wild wolf was noted to avoid confrontation and shy away from T. galadh settlements.
The vampire bat, Chiroptera vampyrus, inhabits the darker, closely-knit tree canopies of Mirkwood. C. vampyrus is also found in caves (preferring wide, deep caverns) and beneath rocky overhangs. Bites induce harmful toxins which may prove fatal. Other side effects of the bite have yet to be discerned.
*Note: Unfortunately, researchers were not in possession of antidote to vampire bat bites. The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth sends its deepest condolences to the family of ‘Notes From the Field’ scientist J.Z.
As researchers did not enter Mirkwood to study its predators, and remained within the confines of the Telerius galadh territorial range, there were no further efforts to enhance knowledge of Mirkwood’s predatory species. Hence, organisms possessing glowing eyes (red, green, or yellow in color) or bulbous eyes were generally avoided.
DWARVES—PREDATOR OR PREY?
The topic of whether or not Dwarves (Khazad sp.) and Elves (Telerius sp. and Noldorius sp.) are in fact natural enemies has been hotly contested over the years. The researchers of Notes From the Field maintain a neutral stance on the issue, and merely wish to offer straightforward and unbiased observation on the two species. It must here be noted that researchers themselves are split on the matter. Similarly, half believe the chicken came first, whereas half believe it was, in actuality, the egg.
Historically, Elves and Dwarves (Khazad sp.) have shown unfavorable reaction towards each other (See: The Silmarillion by Tolkien, J.R.R). The two species rarely come into contact with one another, and generally avoid doing so. Though Dwarves generally inhabit the lower levels of the earth—mainly caves—and should therefore not interfere with the above-ground Elven habitats, the two species nonetheless appear to engage in some form of resource competition. Surprisingly enough, competition usually stems over that which is not vital to the existence of either (See: Shiny Things, jewels, treasure, mithril, or Silmarils).
Dwarves were said to be creation of the Vala Aulë (also see: Mahal). Though in single numbers they do not pose any great threat to Elves, groups or bands of Dwarves may be potentially deadly. Dwarves may be broken down into two separate species: Khazad cavernous and Khazad hillius, the latter inhabiting rolling mountainous areas, and the former inhabiting only caves. A classic case of genetic drift, it is believed both species originated from a single Dwarven species: Khazad mahalis, which gradually evolved to the K. cavernous and K. hillius species we know today.
THE DWARVEN THREAT (or: A Brief Anatomy of Khazad)
Khazad is a small, compact organism. Dwarven bones, unlike that of their human or Elven counterparts, lack any form of spongy marrow or hollowness. Rather, they consist of solid calcium carbonate. These solid bones, along with a wide, reinforced cranium, are believed to aid the Khazad during cavern collapses—a threat specific to their lifestyle and environment.
Having little light available in their underground habitats, Dwarves possess small eyes in proportion to the rest of the body. Tests have shown these eyes are, however, marvelously adept at distinguishing movement caused by shadow and torchlight versus that of an actually body.
Thick, muscular shoulders, coupled with large broad hands and a short neck make Khazad well equipped for tunneling. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of the Dwarf is the beard, which is present on both male and female of the species. Further studies are needed to discover the exact purpose of this excess of hair. To date, there are several hypotheses. Of worthwhile mention are the Protection Theory and the Avoidance Hypothesis.
The Protection Theory states that the beard hair serves as a block against dirt or grime—such as coal dust—which may aggravate the skin of the Khazad.
The Avoidance Hypothesis states that the beard hairs collect various forms of mud and dust, thus enabling Khazad to better camouflage itself and avoid any unwanted attention.
Food of the Elves and Dwarves differs only slightly. Elves tend to consume greater quantities of fruits and vegetables, whereas Dwarves favor meats and nuts. Testament to this is the more pronounced canines present in Khazad than in the Elder. It must be noted that Dwarves are not known to partake in the consumption of Elves, despite the organism’s fondness for meat.
Notes From the Field Researchers propose that Elf and Dwarf aversions stem from interspecific competition. Hence, it is believed Khazad should not be viewed as predator or prey, but rather, competition.
Scientists observed the Telerius galadh to behave antagonistically towards the local Dwarven species, Khazad hillius. [Text taken from the notes of C.S.]:
“We were delighted today when a band of Khazad hillius were observed walking along Mirkwood’s Elf-Path. The more adventurous and commonly viewed of the Dwarven species, K. hillius was nonetheless fascinating to observe. The K. hillius travel in single-file formation, the strongest and largest members positioned at the very front and back of the line, whereas the smaller and younger members travel in the middle. Though perhaps not a very safe way to travel while out in the open, such formations are probably of great use to the Dwarf while in caves.
The T. galadh were aware of the Khazad presence before even we ourselves. At first we thought they would be content to watch K. hillius pass by, as the Dwarves seemed to be doing nothing more than traveling through. We were mistaken.
One Elf took up a raucous chirrip, and was quickly joined by his mates. Personally, I think it was Phoebus who started the whole thing. B.W. thinks it was Zippy, but we all know Zippy is too docile to attempt such things. I have seen him mend butterfly wings; he certainly wouldn’t go about harassing Dwarves.
The K.hillius began to grow wary and eventually flustered as the Elves’ tone grew astonishingly insulting. (Again, Phoebus started it all. NOT Zippy.) The Dwarves then began to shake their fists at the trees and shout things in return. They bunched into a tight circle, younger K. hillius at the center. I was reminded of musk oxen herds. The T. galadh proceeded to pelt the poor K. hillius with acorns. K. hillius roared most impressively before quickly fleeing down the path.”
Further evidence is given in the observations of B.W:
“It was quite amazing to view T. galadh’s reaction to K. hillius. K. hillius appeared to have inadvertently invaded T. galadh territory, and a brutal encounter ensued. Started by the Elf Zippy, despite what a certain colleague may claim. It was Zippy.”
And by B.P.:
“I was disappointed the territorial battle didn’t amount to anything other than shouting and acorn tossing. Both T. galadh and K. hillius are said to have excellent fighting prowess; I would have enjoyed seeing how they fared against one another. For crying out loud, does it really MATTER which T. galadh started it?
P.S.—It was Phoebus.”
PREY AND FOOD CONSUMPTION OF T. galadh
Researchers had ample opportunity to observe the feeding habits of T. galadh, as the Elves engaged in numerous feasts throughout the course of the study. T. galadh was noted to feed on venison, rabbit, several types of fowl, and fish. Fruits, vegetables, breadstuff, and nuts were also consumed, suggesting the Wood-Elves to be a highly omnivorous group. All foods varied with seasonal availability.
Groups of T. galadh would often travel to the outer fringes of the wood to hunt for meat. Researchers are unsure of where the other food sources were procured. It is believed the Elves attained them through trade, or perhaps from gardens within the palace. Again, scientists may only speculate.
It is known that the T. galadh used ‘trade’ as a method of obtaining drink. The following was taken from the notes of B.W.:
“The T. galadh had some sort of winter feast this week. Again. We decided to analyze a sample of their wine, as they seem particularly fond of it. Okay so actually we were all freezing our [censored] off in the [censored] tree blinds, and B.P. came up with the brilliant idea we ought to trade for some booze.
In exchange for our remaining 5 band-aides and P.A.M’s sleeping bag (never liked her anyways. Hahahahaha. But, I digress…), we managed to procure three barrels from the dominant male Elf ‘Phoebus.’ The T. galadh never seem to be without wine—they are constantly importing full barrels and shipping out the empty ones along the river. Marvelous ingenuity, really, if you think about it.
These creatures never fail to amaze us: at times they show intelligence which very nearly rivals our own. Perhaps it sounds strange, but sometimes it almost feels as though they really understand us. Quite honestly, I believe this could be the biggest breakthrough since dolphins or chimpanzees.”
Subsequent analysis of wine samples revealed the wine was a deep crimson in color, and containing a sweet yet heavy aftertaste. Researchers also discovered it to be of an extremely intoxicating nature. The T. galadh seem to have built up an immense tolerance to its effects, and it is suggested blood samples be procured from the species to determine whether or not their bodies produce specific enzymes to combat the wine’s effect.
All notes taken during wine analysis were illegible, hence the following day’s notes are observed:
“Headache. Convinced T. galadh have wine flowing in veins as opposed to blood. N.W. airlifted out of forest after last night’s nasty fall from tree—our thoughts are with her. B.P. still missing. If not found by tomorrow will call park services and rescue authorities. Will never, ever, again consume contents of alcoholic nature. 21st birthday celebration to consist of Kool-aid.” [notes of B.W.]
THE LECTURE HALL
arabiasil- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your interest in ‘Notes From the Field.’ Though no species of Man were observed during researchers’ stay, the suggestion of further research has vast potential. Again, thank you for supporting the SRDM.
Darkwater- On behalf of the researchers of ‘Notes From the Field,’ the Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth wishes to express sincere gratitude for your decision to support the scientific cause. Thank you.
Phoenix Flight- Researchers were unable to discover why the phenomenon of zippers became so fascinating to T. galadh. It is believed the Elves equated it to the call of a bird or forest animal. The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your comments and hopes you continue to enjoy Notes.
PrincessEilonwy- The observation of masculinity displays in T. galadh offered immense insight on the species. Researchers will include further information on the male hair hair-braiding behavior in the final publication of Notes. The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your comments and suggestions. The ‘Proud To Be A High Elf’ book bag will be sent immediately. Again, thank you.
Sigil Galen- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth expresses sincere gratitude for your insightful comments. Researchers themselves are surprised that such dull, dry, and wordy scientific mumbo jumbo is actually being read. Similarly, guilty feelings of “tricking” readers to view textbook-like chapters have been recorded to great extent.
ren- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your interest in ‘Notes From the Field,’ and agrees: Biology does kick [censored due to rating].
babyface- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth apologizes for any embarrassing snorting fits due to Notes, and suggests perhaps the possibility of Breathe-Rite nasal strips (?). Researchers are regretfully unable to grant your request for three hairs from the head of T. galadh Legolas (See: fic Observation and Dissection of the Common Wood-Elf, Telerius galadh for further explanation). The SRDM asks that you please accept three golden hairs from the head of Phoebus as compensation. Thank you for supporting ‘Notes From the Field.’
Luinramwen- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth wishes to thank you for your boisterous support of research in Middle-earth. Please accept this moon-shaped key-chain with the words ‘Moon Over Ithilien’ stamped on the back as token of the SRDM’s gratitude. Researchers will attempt to touch on the migrating patterns of T. galadh within the conclusion of ‘Notes.’
BlueTigerCat- The Scientific Research Department apologizes for publishing delays. Notes III was believed to have been lost in the mail. Thank you for supporting the SRDM.
ccg- ‘Notes From the Field’ researchers wish to offer sincere thanks for your words of encouragement. Thank you; it is hoped you continue to read and enjoy.
Bleaulily- ‘Notes From the Field’ researchers are immensely flattered by your compliments, but insist they are in no way worthy of worship-ness. Researchers share your detestation of the Mary Sue (particularly female researchers), and the Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth wishes to gift you with a travel-sized Mary Sue voodoo doll (complete with enraged female T. galadh action figure).
Ithilien- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth expresses its sincere gratitude over your study grant. As the invasive species of Mary Sue become more rampant and numerous, the SRDM is in agreement that more must be learned of this organism. Researchers found the similarities between T. galadh courtship and that of humans astoundingly similar. It is also noted that studies have shown females to increase the rate of blinking around males, though it is (usually—though in the Mary Sue it is often exaggerated) involuntary. Researchers wish to thank you for your acknowledgement of the demise of the character, as very few have come to terms with his absence. Again, thank you for your continued support of the SRDM.
Insane Muse- Researchers were greatly intrigued by the mention of previously un-heard of species, Mrs. Sue. The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth wishes to know if you will conduct further observation on the experiment, and is willing to fund said cause. Thank you for your continued support of ‘Notes From the Field.’
Noldor Lass- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth is pleased you found the ‘Proud to Be a High Elf’ book bag acceptable. Researchers are greatly intrigued of knowing whether or not you succeeded in managing a Haldir Smug Face, as it is believed he was hit on the back as an elfling while making the expression, thus permanently fixing his face in such a manner. On behalf of the SRDM, thank you for your continued support.
Zion S.C.- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your valued input and support, and hopes you continue to read and enjoy ‘Notes.’
Mari- Researchers of ‘Notes From the Field’ wish to express the utmost gratitude for your comments. It is hoped you have regained normal breathing capabilities. Again, thank you.
Dr. Kim, PHD., Elf Research at Mordor University- Indeed, researchers from ‘Notes’ have observed the shocking phenomenon of male T. galadh rescuing the Mary Sue, particularly male T. galadh of the blonde-haired nature and all bearing the name “Legolas.” Sadly, failed rescue attempts have led to numerous deaths of the Legolas T. galadh. It is feared the blonde variation of Wood-Elf is in danger of becoming extinct. The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth happily accepts your offer of researching the Elder. Please contact the department head immediately for your first assignment. The SRDM will pass along your comments to the author Bryn in regards to ‘marinus stiria.’ Thank you for supporting the SRDM.
Dragon-of-the-north- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your comments and support. The SRDM is currently unaware of the possibility of Elven scientist, though most intrigued. Again, thank you.
Kal- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for supporting the T. galadh research project. It is not known to the SRDM which T. galadh rode the spider; it is, unfortunately, believed that the Wood-Elf Legolas may have been used for scientific purposes in earlier works, and no longer resides within Mirkwood. However, researchers cannot be certain. ‘Notes’ researchers thank you for the cookies.
gapofrohan- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your support of ‘Notes,’ and hopes you continue to read and enjoy the observations.
Hellga- Though highly tempted to test the effects of aspirin and caffeine on the T. galadh, researchers were ordered to interfere with Elven life as little as possible. The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your support, and inquires to know if your knowledge of pharmaceuticals is readily available (future studies are always in the works…).
Off-kilter- Researchers are greatly intrigued by your suggestion of grooming and behavioral observances within the T. galadh. On behalf of the scientists of ‘Notes,’ the Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth thanks you for your comments.
Jennifer Lee- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth is a staunch supporter of furthering education, and hopes that you continue to do so. Thank you for supporting the SRDM.
ellbee- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth maintains it is never too late to become a scientist. Thank you for supporting the SRDM; it is hoped you continue to read and enjoy ‘Notes.’
technetium- Researcher of ‘Notes’ gleefully agree that a dissection of the Mary Sue should take place. The request is currently being processed at the Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth Board of Trustees. Thank you for choosing to support ‘Notes From the Field.’
e- Thankfully, new editions of science textbooks are constantly being put to press. It is the Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth’s goal to one day include mention of T. galadh within these texts. On behalf of the researchers at ‘Notes From the Field,’ your support and comments are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Thundera Tiger- The Scientific Research Department of Middle-earth hopes your laughter did not lead to any prolonged hurt. Researchers are highly intrigued by this previously un-heard of species of Mary Sue. (There have been 2 new species recorded thus far.) An established invasive species, it is requested that the Middle-earth Department of Natural Resources declare open hunting season on the creatures, before they overrun the land. The SRDM thanks you for your continued support, and asks that you please accept this ‘Khaműl is My Nazgűl’ T-shirt as token of appreciation.
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