SC.2023.27. Razhul (Raˈθul)

We lay this plinth here, in rememberance of the foe the otters vanquished through their playfulness, exhuberance and unwillingness to die. The razhul, a fierce seabird would often prey on otter young, and was found over all of Asirania. It is now considered extinct, with the last subject dying in captivity on this spot, in 798AK.
— Otter Exhibit, Megamisama Zoological Park, 815AK
On the nose

"Isn't that a bit much?"

"What's that?"

"Opening the new otter exhibit with that plinth there?"

"It's a message, but not the one you think..."


"No, I wanted to save that bird, although I'm usually siding with otters in that particular fight, but because otters are favoured of the elements, the kingmakers raised a stink, again, about my administration wanting to save a bird we'd purchased at great price, then lambasted us for not being able to save it, when it was their court case that prevented us from doing so."

"So, this message?"

"If you're going to hamstring me, then try to make it sound like it's my failure, I'm going to rub your face in it. Although, I do regret it came to this, I prefer the otters, but if that bird had learned to leave them alone, I'd have loved to let it live, just someplace it wasn't bothering any other rare animals."

"I thought otters were invasive in Kagomei."

"They're invasive in Kagomei, which is why it's a Goguryan Razhul. Or at least, it was called such, it lived all over Asirania as long as it had otter young, the eggs of other seabirds and fish roe to eat. PIcky eater, would only eat juveniles."

"Ugh, not doing wonders for its popularity there, I imagine."

"No, it was an uphill battle, just keeping one, the zookeepers hated feeding them, said it was unseemly."

"What were they feeding it?"

"Chicken eggs, mostly, with vitamin supplements, and fish roe on fridays."

"Well, they're gone now, feel any better?"

"Not completely gone, they're in comics now, an enemy of otterdude. I know that much."

"Ugh, who's an otterdude fan, not you, I take it."

"No, but my grand-nieces appear to be, it seems."

"Oh, and this nasty bird is an otterdude enemy? Fitting."

"Yeah, from what Bihar was telling me, Razhul's part of Otterdude's origin story now, killed Otterdude's family, and made him swear revenge."

"I thought Otterdude didn't do revenge?"

"He swore off revenge, once he caught Razhul, the first time. Had him committed instead, but Razhul keeps escaping, and it's apparently a recurring problem for Otterdude, I mean, how often can he put the bird behind bars, before the people Razhul kills outweigh his code..."

"And Bihar has an opinion on that?"

"No, she says, and she gave me hope for Kagomei's youth by saying that... 'If Otterdude had an easy solution to his problems, he'd be unrealistic, he has to keep fighting, to show us the way.' I kissed her cute lil forehead, I was almost in tears."

"There's something you're not telling me about her, you don't usually mention her..."

"I'm not going to make it, the virus is too advanced... I've invited her here, to say goodbye, and I feel this aquarium is my gift to her... Amarat's already stated he'll only be her regent, he wants her, not him, on that throne."

Shibue dug her nails in her palm, Amalthea was often thoughtless, but this was a new low, she struggled not to slap her. "You need to tell her, but you don't even think to tell your own lifeguard?" Her voice was venomous.

"What? I thought my doctor told you, he's supposed to."

"I imagine he's not telling me because he expects you to. It's a protection against you lying to your staff, not a removal of you having difficult conversations."

Amalthea sighed. "I'm sorry, I honestly thought he, or even Linni had told you."

"How the elements did Linni know?" Shibue's nostrils had flared, she was dangerously angry now.

"Who's my under-for-class again?"

"Linni, what's that got... Oh, someone has to classify it as secret, so no one else is told?"

"Got it in one, I told precisely three people with this knowledge, before you. My Netamei, my sister and Linni, because of classification reasons, I'd have skipped the Netamei, if I could have..."

"What? He's the one you should replace if you have any doubts about this trustworthiness..."

"It's not something I could point a clear file at... He's just too... polished, lately, for someone who'd been chosen because he was unconventional and unbent..."

"Maybe you're rubbing off on him?"

"Ahahahahaha, you're so funny, if I rubbed off on him, I'd have to fire him before I throttled him to death!"

"Maybe Linni is rubbing off on him then? Or Amarat?"

"Hmm, both have been spending more time with him."

Pop Culture

Many a traditional fairytale in Goghur has an especially aggressive Razhul as its antagonist, for they are famously territorial, and their feeding habits ingrained itself into the consciousness of its people.


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