Of all the creatures in the jungle, wild tigers are revered as sacred keepers of the balance of nature. Mankind’s awe and respect is mixed with fear, kept reserved through the allies that straddle man’s world and theirs. As a powerful hunter it is venerated, considered king of the beasts.
Such veneration begins in the form of tiger statues. Every town has at least one stone carving in the shape of a tiger, usually in the outskirts of town, to serve as a reminder of the lord of the wilderness. These statues typically contain the names of tigers in the area, a running ledger housed within the base updated regularly by allies.
These allies are people who have tiger animal companions. No ally rides a tiger into battle, for it is a mutual relationship of shared power. The tiger cannot speak, but the ally seems to understand them and has some power to communicate with them, and so they act as intermediaries between wild tigers and humans. Tigers come to understand the territory and claim to livestock of humans; humans come to recognize the territories and limit the hunting of the tiger’s prey. In these brokered deals, each lives in peace.
All is not well among the humans, though, for they engage in the hunt without reason: war. In this, custom builds up the strength of the tiger as a totemic source of victory. People make weapons in the design or name of the tiger, and hold legends of magical tigers that taught man the fighting arts.
(I do not own the images in the above collage, and all copyrights belong to their respective owners.)
Go to another world …