While it may seem sudden, Atelloune's Wildlife Files is back for another round! I trust that you have all been good animal-loving boys and girls while I was away.
This may come as a surprise, but Professor Clavauert is in the Near East now, and he has discovered all sorts of wonders that cannot be found on Quon or the Mindartian continent. In fact, I just received this letter from him yesterday:
To my dear assistant Atelloune... Read and be amazed!
I have discovered the possibility that there may be survivors of that ancient beastman race! Please take a look at the enclosed sketch.
These are tracks I found just yesterday near my old beastman friend Pabool Ja's place. At first glance, they appear to be the tracks of some variety of toad, but what I want you to pay close attention to is the lack of foreleg prints... Do you understand now? Yes, that's right—these must be no other than the tracks of a living descendant of those ancient creatures! I cannot return home until confirming a living specimen with my own eyes. Please keep my research lab going until then!
What adorable little footprints, don't you think? So, wondering what the "ancient beastman race" is, are you? Well, there's no doubt about it! It's the "Poroggo" race! You know the story of the frog princess, do you not? The spoiled, boy-crazy frog princess who used magic to enslave a dashing Tarutaru man and make him her groom, only to, in the end...ah, you get the point.
Anyway, today's topic is the Poroggo! The Poroggo is an unverified, almost mythical, creature. But regardless of all their mystery, Poroggos are actually quite similar in appearance to the common toads that live near the waters of Vana'diel! Ah, this is such an exciting find! They really are adorable!
Let us get down to the juicy details now, shall we?
Not long ago, an ancient text was discovered in the restricted books section of the Optistery. It was an old parchment full of rather biased history, but it also contained highly credible information regarding Poroggos in the chapter on the Age of Magic, interlaced with descriptions of the Windurstian eccentric Samariri's treasons.
According to the information found in the text, the naïve girl felt sorry for the toads that were often trampled on the paths of Windurst Waters, and used a forbidden spell to increase the size of their tiny bodies and allow them to walk on two feet. Thus was the Poroggo race born. But the changes didn't stop there... Poroggos mastered the common tongue and even began to dabble in the realm of magic, which the Tarutaru had previously monopolized. Poroggos began to feel that they were also people--brothers and sisters to the peaceful inhabitants of Vana'diel...
And so, people accepted the Poroggos, bringing about sublime peace, and the inhabitants of Vana'diel lived happily ever after...you think? If you believe that, I'm afraid you're as naïve as Samariri...
In truth, pandemonium ensued when the inhabitants of Windurst discovered their city was inhabited by frog-like beastmen! The military was dispatched to eliminate the new threat, and soon the Poroggo were no more.
Are you all following so far? The Poroggos that show up in old fairy tales are no things of mere myth, but are creatures that were born of forbidden magic, only to have their lives cut short a few days later. Quite a tragic story, isn't it?
When this information was disclosed, there was another panic in Windurst Waters...but this time, it was felt by only one person: our very own Professor Clavauert.
Several years ago, during an excavation in Windurst Waters, Professor Clavauert unearthed the bones of a mysterious animal from a layer of earth several hundred years old. The following is a report of his findings to a society of scholars in Jeuno:
"At first I thought the great piles of bones dug up in Windurst Waters were a larger variety of toad, but after a full skeleton was put together, I realized that I had found a new race previously unknown to the people of Vana'diel.
"The basic skeletal structure closely resembles that of a common toad, but the shape of its four limbs slightly differs. Its hind legs are structured so that the creature could walk on two legs like the civilized races of Vana'diel, and its forelegs—or perhaps "arms" would be a more appropriate term—feature opposing thumbs. Furthermore, the size of the skull is far greater than that of a normal toad, allowing for a very large brain. Perhaps this mysterious creature evolved over a long period of time to adapt to the lands of Sarutabaruta, which at the time were very arid."
And so, Professor Clavauert named the creatures "Poroggos" after the eccentric frog princess from the fairy tales.
Scholars at the time ridiculed the findings, refusing to listen to Clavauert's arguments and pointing out that if Poroggos had truly evolved from toads, they would not have existed in the same time period.
Even the Professor himself admitted that there were inconsistencies in his work. Still, he believed that his theory was correct, and searched tirelessly to prove them. In order to do so, he needed to find the missing link between toad and Poroggo.
Professor Clavauert staked his reputation as a wildlife scholar on his claim, so he received quite a shock when the ancient text was discovered. Even if the data explained the inconsistencies of his findings, the fact that the "missing link" was actually a forbidden spell cast by a Tarutaru turned his theory on its head. It was for this reason that the Professor decided to set out for the Near East... Heh heh, our Professor has an unexpectedly delicate side after all, doesn't he?
And with that, it's another wrap for Atelloune's Wildlife Files!
What? You're still not satisfied, even with all the information about footprints, ancient texts, and mysterious fossils? You put a lady in a spot, you know...
I labored quite extensively using some rather less-than-virtuous methods to get this for Professor Clavauert, but...I suppose it wouldn't hurt to show all of you. Now, feast your eyes on these previously highly classified, never-before-seen images taken with a remarkable Near Eastern recording device!
Now none of you have room to complain, do you? If you really are that curious, you should go see if you can find a living, breathing Poroggo yourself! That will be your homework for today!
Illustration by Mitsuhiro Arita
- Tracking the Elusive Beast (09/27/2006)