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Updated: Apr 4

jeong (plural jeong):

Readers of Follow the Shadows meet the savage jeong right at the beginning. These carnivores hunt the forests along the coast and any human caught on the ground after sunset will be lucky to survive the night.

The jeong of Moerden are large predators that have a lot in common with the wolves of Canada. Jeong, however, are much bigger with bulky shoulders at a height of more than three feet, more like the extinct dire wolf (Late Pleistocene era). Most jeong are black, which allows them to move unseen in the dark, but some have tan coloring on the chest. 

Jeong travel in packs and are chiefly nocturnal. They may be about during the day if their hunt has been unsuccessful. Jeong that have fed will sleep away the daylight hours in sheltered places under dense foliage, and a pack has a number of such places in an extended territory. They are bold rather than fearful but they aren’t strong swimmers; they don’t hunt on beaches and avoid entering the water. They respect fire, but fire isn’t enough to keep them away. The best way to escape the jeong is to climb a tree.

Jeong have poor vision but compensate with a keen sense of smell. They map terrain by scent and are expert at gauging the weather. A jeong can tell how far away potential prey is (and whether it has moved on), and how many prey individuals are present in a given location. The pack leader decides which prey to pursue and the pack works together to gain a meal. They eat anything they can catch, including a dragon if the opportunity presents itself. Sick dragons and the very young are at risk if they are alone.

Aside from their excellent hunting skills, jeong aren’t particularly intelligent. There have been instances of joeng being domesticated and trained as hunting “dogs” after being taken from their pack at a young age. When properly trained, they can be trustworthy and even affectionate. 

The origin of the name jeong is unclear, however, this is a common name in both Chinese and Korean cultures so the creature may have been named after, or by, a human visitor to Moerden. It’s fun to speculate that the supernatural “black shuck” of British folklore may have been inspired by jeong who somehow made their way to Earth.

© Rosemary Drisdelle 2024

The Black Shuck, legend of East Anglia, sounds

a lot like a jeong. Illustration by Liza Phoenix

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